During the flight to Bangalore I kept working on the system_information branch of OpenBSC. This branch has been lingering in git for quite some time, but I haven't yet felt confident enough to merge it into the official master.
In OpenBSC so far, the SYSTEM INFORMATION messages (type 1 through 6) are not really generated by actual code. Rather, we use some templates that are patched here and there with actual operational parameters such as the ARFCN of the current cell. This has been easy for the very early start of the project, but it has started to become more of a problem lately.
One example are neighbor cell lists. If you operate a network with multiple cells, then of course you want to provide proper neighbor cell lists. At HAR2009, we solved the problem by manually hard-coding the respective bitmasks. That's of course not a proper solution.
Another problem is the notoriously complex encoding of the rest octets, which culminates in the SI13 REST OCTETS describing the GPRS parameters of a cell.
After a couple of hours in-flight hacking at the code in the sytem_information branch, I am now confident that it provides superior quality SI messages and rest octets than the hard-coded templates we used to have before.
Neighbor Cell lists and even SI13 rest octets are looking great when checking them in the wireshark dissectors. I think it's ready for prime time now, and the code should get merged into the master branch ASAP.
Now I am only left with one question: Should I consider this the first part of the FOSS.in GSM workout? ;)