Some more progress with the BS11 Abis (BSC) implementation

Very infrequently I've been reporting about my humble attempts in talking the A-bis protocol to the Siemens BS11 microBTS GSM base station.

Since Dieter Spaar and myself are going to have a talk about this at the 25C3 in a couple of days, I'm currently working every minute of each day to get that Free Software BSC-side A-bis implementation going.

While the actual code is getting more and more in shape, I'm now back to fixing the underlying infrastructure: mISDN. The mISDN kernel code base is _really_ hard to understand... if I have problems with it - despite about a decade of experience with network protocols and Linux kernel development - then that probably says quite a bit about it. It would definitely benefit from quite a bit more documentation. Anyway, it's FOSS, so no reason to complain. Use the source, Luke.

So just about one hour before I had to leave to travel to my parents (where I could not take a 48kg GSM BTS with me) I finally had mISDN in shape to be able to support multiple TEIs with different SAPIs on the D Channel of timeslot 1 of the E1 interface carrying A-bis. My userspace code was happily sending and receiving OML (Organization and Maintenance Layer) and RSL (Radio Signalling Link) frames, while the L2ML (Layer 2 Management Layer) is entirely handled by the slightly patched TEI manager that mISDN has in the kernel.

Funny enough, after initializing OML and RSL, the first unsolicited message I got was the error event report about the 'intrusion detection' at the BTS, since I was operating it with open connector panel ;)

So now I've returned to the actual BSC/MSC subset implementation. I'm still confident to finish something that can handle reliably handle voice calls between two handsets registered to that BTS. All on one TRX, no frequency hopping, not using any A5 encryption. POGS (Plain-Old-GSM-System).

I'm very excited about everything that I've learned about the various higher-layer parts of GSM in the last weeks since

Let's hope that our software plus the presentation at 25C3 can trigger other people to show similar enthusiasm about this topic. There's an almost endless number of opportunities for GSM related security research out there.