The mobile device users are increasing very rapidly so people need more services.
With the improving wireless technologies, Multimedia Messaging on Wireless Networks
became available in GSM. To support multimedia communication between mobile device
users, Multimedia Messaging Service has been defined as standard.
Multimedia Messaging Service is a non-real time communication service, supporting
users to send or receive images, sound, and video together with text messages. At first, I have
found the papers “Wireless based Multimedia Messaging System” prepared by Jerry Zeyu
Gao, Gauri Durve, Sirisha Alam, Simon Shim and “MMS – The Modern Wireless Solution for
Multimedia Messaging” prepared by Miraz-E-Mostafa to start analyzing MMS. In common,
these papers give details of MMS functionalities and features, architecture, message structure,
encoding, information flow, transport of MMS.
In order to understand well enough how MMS works, I wanted to go through the
previous stage of it; Short Message Service (SMS). The paper written by G. Peersman and S.
Cvetkovic, “The Global System for Mobile Communications Short Message Service”
published in IEEE Personal Communications Journal, June 2000, analyzed well the SMS with
In the next section, you can find the summary of what I have learnt so far in my
research on these papers.
I have written about the significant increase of mobile device users and the Multimedia
Messaging Service is a standard for supporting extended service for these people. Actually,
MMS is an evolution of Short Messaging Service.
SMS has been very successful before 3rd generation (3G) of wireless communication
systems. Unfortunately, it has both limitations and short comings when we compare with 3G
standards. Users can only send maximum of 160 alphanumeric characters in one short
message. This was very good for 2G, but not enough for 3G. So what are 2G and 3G wireless
2G wireless networks are digital networks (for spectral efficiency and not for digital
services). The characteristics of it are; maximum data rates of 9.6 kbits/second to 14.4
kbits/second if you are in just the right place, Digital voice (results in a lower quality voice
but uses less precious spectrum), enhanced telephony features such as caller-id, services such
as text based messaging (big winner), downloads of still images and audio clips, etc.
3rd generation technology is used in the context of mobile phone standards. 3G
networks are wide area cellular telephone networks which evolved to incorporate high speed
internet access and video telephony.
According to these standards SMS was very successful for 2G networks as I
mentioned above. In the journal SMS within GSM, the functionalities and features are well
defined and I want to go through on SMS, which is defined in it. First of all, delivery of the
message is guaranteed even when the cellular terminal is unavaible that is because of SMS
uses store and forward approach. The network will hold the message and deliver it shortly
after the cellular terminal announces its presence on the network. An other fact of SMS is that
it supports international roaming with very low latency makes it particularly suitable for
applications such as paging, email and voice mail notification, and messaging services for
There are two types of SMS; the cell broadcast and point-to-point. In cell broadcast, a
message is transmitted to all active handsets or mobile stations present in a cell that have the
capability to receive SMS. In point-to-point type, SMS is sent from one mobile to another, PC
to mobile or vice versa which is maintained by Short Message Service Center (SMSC).
SMSC is an electronic form of ordinary mail postal service that stores and forwards
the messages when they can be delivered. Each GSM network should have at least one SMSC
to check, organize and send the message to the operator.
What about the GSM network architecture (shown below in Figure 1)? This consists
of Mobile Station (MS), Base Station Subsystem (BSS) and the Network Subsystem and
common for both SMS and MMS. Mobile Station consists of physical terminal and contains
the radio transceiver, the display and digital signal processors and Subscriber Identity Module
(SIM). SIM allows users to access a network and provides subscribed services for them.
The BS is composed of two parts; base transceiver station (BTS), base station
controller (BSC). These two communicate across the specified Abis Interface. BTS defines
the cell, handle radio link protocols with MS. Depending on the number of MSs in a particular
area, the number of BTSs can change.
BSC handles radio channel setup, frequency hopping, and handoffs. BSC is a
connection between MS and MSC. The BSC is also converting 13kbits/s voice channel (used
by the radio link) to the standardized 64kbits/s (used by the Public Switched Phone
The Network Subsystem is mainly developed on Mobile Switching Center, which
takes care of registration, authentication, location updating, handovers, and routing to a
roaming subscriber. Plus, it acts as a gateway to the PSTN or ISDN (Integrated Services
Figure 1: The basic GSM architecture
When we come back to analyzing MMS, we will see this is the architecture for it also,
as it is same in GSM networks, but as an extra we need MMS user database server. This is
because of that MMS also uses store and forward approach like in SMS.
At the end of my first findings, I want to add the figure 2, which shows the system
architecture of Mobile – MMS.
Figure 2: Mobile- MMS system architecture
OUTLINE FOR THE FINAL REPORT
I have covered the general topics for the GSM, SMS and MMS including 2G and 3G
networks. Now I am planning to go into details of GSM protocol architecture, SMS network
architecture, how messages are send/received, and practical implementations on the first side.
Then, I am going to discuss the system design, message structure and encoding,
information flow and transport of MMS.
These are going to be strength by analyzing the system performance evaluation results
done by Jerry Zeyu Gao, Gauri Durve, Sirisha Alam, Simon Shim in the paper “Wireless
based Multimedia Messaging System”.
Lastly, I am going to deal with ongoing works and current position MMS in Wireless
Additional papers and subjects can be added to those topics according to the necessity.
I am not going to make any simulations so there are no expected results to get. Only
there will be the analyze of system performance evaluation done by Jerry Zeyu Gao, Gauri
Durve, Sirisha Alam, Simon Shim, which includes user login, send MM message (image),
send MM message (audio), read MM message (image) and read MM message(audio).
 Jerry Zeyu Gao, Gauri Durve, Sirisha Alam, Simon Shim, “Wireless based Multimedia
Messaging System”, IEEE International Conference, (CEC/EEE’06),
 MMS – The Modern Wireless Solution for Multimedia Messaging, Miraz-E-Mostafa
 G. Peersman and S. Cvetkovic, “The Global System for Mobile Communications Short
Message Service”, IEEE Personal Communications, pp. 15-23, June 2000
 Miraj-E-Mostafa, “Circuit-Switched Mobile Multimedia Telephony – Terminal
Requirements and Call Control”, in Proceeding of the 3 rd International Symposium on
Wireless Personal Multimedia Communications 2000 (WPMC 2000), Bangkok, Thailand,
vol. 2, pp. 994-999, November 2000
 WAP 205, “Multimedia Messaging Service Architecture Overview Specification”
 WAP 209, “Multimedia Messaging Service Encapsulation Protocol”
 WAP 206, “Multimedia Messaging Service Client Transactions Specification”
 CMPE549 Wireless LANs Lecture Notes, prepared by Dr. Salamah