The work undertaken by 3GPP in updating and maintaining the standards for existing technologies as well as introducing new technologies is undertaken by Technical Specifications Groups, TSGs and under these are Working Groups, WGs.
In total there are four 3GPP Technical Specifications Groups, or TSGs, each of which consists of multiple Working Groups, WGs.
3GPP Technical Specification Groups structure
The 3GPP Technical Specification Groups or TSGs are structured with a hierarchy to enable them to function in an organised fashion.
The 3GPP Technical Specification Groups, TSGs organisation is summarised in the table below:
|3GPP Technical Specification Groups and Working Groups
|Project Co-ordination Group (PCG)|
|TSG GERAN **
GSM EDGE Radio Access Network
Radio Access Network
Service & Systems Aspects
Core Network & Terminals
|GERAN WG1 **
| RAN WG1
Radio Layer 1
|GERAN WG2 **
Radio Layer 2 spec
Radio Layer 3 RR spec
Interworking with external networks
|GERAN WG3 **
| RAN WG3
Iu spec, Iub spec, Iur spec, UTRAN O&M requirements
| RAN WG4
Radio performance, protocol aspects
Smart card application elements
Mobile terminal conformance testing
Legacy RAN radio and protocol / GSM EDGE Radio Access Network
Mission critical applications
** From mid-2016 the work of the GERAN working groups were amalgamated into the RAN WG5 & 6 groups. GERAN WG1 & 2 were amalgamated into RAN WG6 (GSM EDGE Radio Access Network), and GERAN WG3 was amalgamated into RAN WG5 (Mobile Terminal Conformance Testing).
Project Co-ordination Group, PCG
The 3GPP Project Coordination Group is the body that oversees the work of the 3GPP Technical Specifications Groups and the Working Groups.
The Project Coordination Group meets formally every six months. In these meetings it undertakes a number of functions including: final adoption of 3GPP Technical Specification Group work items, ratification of election results; and ratification of the 3GPP resources.
The PCG manages the various Specifications Group areas.
The RAN or Radio Access Network specifications groups are known as TSG RAN. This is split into six working groups: RAN WG1 to RAN WG6. Often these are shortened to just RAN1 to RAN6.
The TSG RAN is responsible for the definition of the functions, requirements and interfaces associated with the radio access network, i.e. UTRA / E-UTRA in both FDD and TDD modes.
TSG RAN encompasses both user equipment and base station functionality addressing areas including radio performance, physical layer, layer 2 and layer 3 RR specification in UTRAN/E-UTRAN; specification of the access network interfaces (Iu, Iub, Iur, S1 and X2); definition of the O&M requirements in UTRAN/E-UTRAN.
TSG RAN also addresses the conformance testing of both the UE and the Base Stations to ensure complete interoperability regardless of the manufacturer / designer of the equipment.
The Service and System Aspects Working Group is known as TSG SA.TSG SA is responsible for the overall architecture and service capabilities of systems based on 3GPP specifications and, as such, has a responsibility for cross TSG co-ordination.
There are six working groups known as SA WG1 to SA WG6. Again these are often referred to as just SA1 to SA6.
Each working group is responsible for a different area of the services and systems: SA1 - Services; SA2 - Architecture; SA3 - Security; SA4 - Codec; SA5 - Telecom management; and SA6 - Mission critical applications.
The TSG CT is the working group that addresses the Core Network and Terminals.
In this role it is responsible for specifying terminal interfaces (logical and physical), terminal capabilities (such as execution environments) and the Core network part of 3GPP systems.
The TSG GERAN assesses the legacy requirements for the GSM / EDGE networks that are still active. As GSM has been particularly successful since its introduction in the early 1990s, it has been necessary to retain the TSG GERAN.
TSG GERAN is responsible for the specification of the Radio Access part of GSM/EDGE
In early 2016 an announcement was made by 3GPP that the TSG GERAN would be incorporated into TSG RAN, GERAN1 and GERAN2 being incorporated into RAN6 and GERAN3 into RAN5
By the fact that 3GPP has an organised set of TSGs and WGs with defined roles, it is possible for the different areas to work separately and undertake the work without fear of overlap. Needless to say there is a lot of cooperation and coordination still required between the different TSGs and WGs.
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