Databases are an integral part of the telecommunications Industry. Anything from billing and customer information, to directories and equipment configuration involves the use of a database. Every facet of the business utilizes database information in one way or another.
The role of databases in wireless communications is even more prominent than what is seen in conventional wire line applications. Obviously, the wireless user doesn't have any physical connections to the network. There is no twisted pair, fiber line, or co-ax connecting them. In a wireless network the users lead a virtual existence. They're out there somewhere. If they need to make a call the network has to have the ability to recognize them. If they have to receive a call the network must know where they are and how to reach them. The only solution to this problem is to track and record their position.
As mentioned earlier, telecommunications providers use databases in almost everything they do.
This document will discuss a few databases that are essential to the operation of a wireless network. The databases are called the Home Location Register and the Visitor Location Register. These two databases are present in all wireless networks regardless of the equipment manufacturer or carrier. Their structure and functionality are dictated by the IS-41 telecommunications standard. This standard governs all signaling between wireless switches. In the Nortel Switch used by Voicestream here in Orlando the databases reside on a Unix based platform.
When a wireless user powers up their phone it registers itself with the network. The Mobile Identification Number and Electronic Serial Number of the phone are recorded in what is called the Visitor Location Register Database (VLR). The VLR' s main function is to record all of the users who are currently active on the local network, whether they are...