How Does Cellular Authentication Work

WHAT IS A CELLULAR NETWORK

A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the link to and from end nodes is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called “cells”, each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver

A cellular network is a radio network distributed over land through cells where each cell includes a fixed location transceiver known as base station. These cells together provide radio coverage over larger geographical areas. User equipment (UE), such as mobile phones, is therefore able to communicate even if the equipment is moving through cells during transmission.

Cellular networks give subscribers advanced features over alternative solutions, including increased capacity, small battery power usage, a larger geographical coverage area and reduced interference from other signals. Popular cellular technologies include the Global System for Mobile Communication, general packet radio service, 3GSM and code division multiple access.

Cellular network technology supports a hierarchical structure formed by the base transceiver station (BTS), mobile switching center (MSC), location registers and public switched telephone network (PSTN). The BTS enables cellular devices to make direct communication with mobile phones. The unit acts as a base station to route calls to the destination base center controller. The base station controller (BSC) coordinates with the MSC to interface with the landline-based PSTN, visitor location register (VLR), and home location register (HLR) to route the calls toward different base center controllers.

Cellular networks maintain information for tracking the location of their subscribers’ mobile devices. In response, cellular devices are also equipped with the details of appropriate channels for signals from the cellular network systems. These channels are categorized into two fields:

  • Strong Dedicated Control Channel: Used to transmit digital information to a cellular mobile phone from the base station and vice versa.
  • Strong Paging Channel: Used for tracking the mobile phone by MSC when a call is routed to it.

A typical cell site offers geographical coverage of between nine and 21 miles. The base station is responsible for monitoring the level of the signals when a call is made from a mobile phone. When the user moves away from the geographical coverage area of the base station, the signal level may fall. This can cause a base station to make a request to the MSC to transfer the control to another base station that is receiving the strongest signals without notifying the subscriber; this phenomenon is called handover. Cellular networks often encounter environmental interruptions like a moving tower crane, overhead power cables, or the frequencies of other devices.

TYPES OF CELLULAR NETWORK

Cellular Network Types

Briefly explain the following types of cellular networks.

a.GSM
b.GPRS
c.CDMA
d.MOBITEX
e.EDGE

1.GSM

Global System for Mobile Communication means that cellular phones connect to it by searching for cells in the immediate vicinity. GSM phones may be identified by the presence of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM),it contains a user’s subscription information, as well as some contact entries. This allows a user to switch devices without needing to contact the service provider thus significantly reducing roaming costs while experiencing no reductions in service. GSM supports voice calls and data transfer of up to 9.6kbps.

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GSM Cellular Network

2.GPRS

General Packet Radio Service permits for advanced data services. Data transmission is significantly faster than GSM, which is up to 54kbps. It added packet-switched functionality and ‘kick started’ the delivery of the Internet on mobile handsets. The higher data rates allow users to take part in video conferences and interact with multimedia Web sites and similar applications using mobile handheld devices as well as computers.

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GPRS Cellular Network

3.CDMA

Code Division Multiple Access is a form of multiplexing, which allows numerous signals to occupy a single transmission channel, optimizing the use of available bandwidth. CDMA consistently provides better capacity for voice and data communications than other commercial mobile technologies, allowing more subscribers to connect at any given time, and it is the common platform on which 3G technologies are built. Provides maximum data rates up to 300 kbps. It is more expensive compared to GSM and GPRS.

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CDMA Cellular Network

4.MOBITEX

Mobitex is originally designed for text pagers with 512 bytes of data transmission rate. In a Mobitex network, a radio base station, with one or more switches (called MX switches), serves as the transmitter for each single cell (area of coverage) of up to 30 km. The base stations, among them, provide an area of coverage and determine the network capacity. Users of wireless devices, such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), communicate through the base station nearest to them and can move freely from one cell to another.

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MOBITEX Cellular Network

5.EDGE

Enhanced Data for Global Evolution is an extension to the GSM/GPRS networks. EDGE supports peak theoretical network data rates of 474 kbps, with average throughput of 70 to 130 kbps on both the downlink and the uplink. The average rates are fast enough to support a wide range of data services, including streaming audio and video, fast Internet access and large file downloads. EDGE also can support Push-to-Talk (PTT) services.

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EDGE Cellular Network

FEATURES OF A CELLULLAR NETWORK

Cellular networks offer a number of desirable features:

  • More capacity than a single large transmitter, since the same frequency can be used for multiple links as long as they are in different cells.
  • Mobile devices use less power than with a single transmitter or satellite since the cell towers are closer

Features of Cellular Systems

Wireless Cellular Systems solves the problem of spectral congestion and increases user capacity. The features of cellular systems are as follows −

  • Offer very high capacity in a limited spectrum.
  • Reuse of radio channel in different cells.
  • Enable a fixed number of channels to serve an arbitrarily large number of users by reusing the channel throughout the coverage region.
  • Communication is always between mobile and base station (not directly between mobiles).
  • Each cellular base station is allocated a group of radio channels within a small geographic area called a cell.
  • Neighboring cells are assigned different channel groups.
  • By limiting the coverage area to within the boundary of the cell, the channel groups may be reused to cover different cells.
  • Keep interference levels within tolerable limits.
  • Frequency reuse or frequency planning.
  • Organization of Wireless Cellular Network.

Cellular network is organized into multiple low power transmitters each 100w or less.

WHAT IS CELLULLAR NETWORK AUTHENTICATION

What is Cellular Authentication

1.Cellular authentication is the authentication process that is used when a mobile phone is attached to a network (e.g., GSM or UMTS network). This authentication is based on a smart card that is inserted in the mobile phone.

Cellular Authentication for Mobile and Internet Services introduces the reader into the field of secure communication for mobile applications, including secure web browsing with a phone or PC, Single Sign-On (SSO), mobile broadcast content protection, secure location services, etc.  The book discusses the Generic Authentication Architecture (GAA) of the mobile standardization body 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and its American counterpart 3GPP2 in full detail and with all variants. It explains the usage of GAA by various standardization bodies and standardized applications, and also looks at a number of non-standardized ones, such as secure remote login to enterprise environment and card personalization. 

 Cellular Authentication for Mobile and Internet Services:

  • Describes the usage of the generic authentication architecture (GAA) by various standardization bodies and standardized applications, covering mobile broadcast / multicast service security, Single Sign-On, HTTPS (i.e. secure web browsing), secure data access, secure location services, etc
  • Provides guidance on how to integrate the generic authentication into existing and future terminals, networks and applications
  • Explains the functionality of the application security in general as well as on application developer level
  • Describes various business scenarios and related security solutions, and covers secure application implementation and integration
  • Brings together essential information (currently scattered across different standardization bodies) on standards in one comprehensive volume

This excellent all-in-one reference will provide system and protocol designers, application developers, senior software project managers, telecommunication managers and ISP managers with a sound introduction into the field of secure communication for mobile applications. System integrators, advanced students, Ph.D. candidates, and professors of computer science or telecommunications will also find this text very useful.

Costs and benefits of authentication

As technology improves, cybercriminals are also getting smarter. A NEW DARK WEB AUDITrevealed 15 billion stolen credentials from 100,000 data breaches circulating among cybercriminals. With these credentials, fraudsters have the ability to take over bank accounts, infiltrate company trade secrets, access healthcare records, and much more.

That means the traditional username and password combo is liable to risk. Multi-factor authentication, which adds an additional authentication step to the login process, makes it harder for a criminal to steal information. If there are companies with only one factor of authentication that can be targeted, fraudsters will be less inclined to go after those where they will encounter multi-factor authentication hurdles.

Note that, though crucial in today’s landscape, multi-factor authentication comes with its own set of costs and benefits. First, we will brief you on pandemic-related identity changes that will have an impact on authentication moving forward. Next, we’ll take you through a breakdown of what is multi-factor authentication, and some of the prominent advantages and disadvantages of using this form of authentication.

Digital identity in a brave new world

The world is facing an uncharted ascent into the new digital landscape. We are riding an abrupt, steep curve of change that none of us could have known prior to the onset of the pandemic. The number of people needing to transmute physical identity credentials into digital identities has skyrocketed, increasing the importance of strong authentication.

In the whitepaper Future of Identity 2.0, Mitek’s CTO, Steve Ritter, outlines six significant identity-related change vectors that have sharply increased in velocity since the pandemic, but are all interrelated

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