GPRS Tunneling Protocols

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What Does GPRS Tunneling Protocols Mean?

GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) is an Internet Protocol (IP) based protocol suite used to carry general packet radio service (GPRS) within the following networks:

  • Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)
  • 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE)
  • Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

GTP allows GSM customers to travel while staying connected to the Internet. GTP can be used with Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

Techopedia Explains GPRS Tunneling Protocols

GTP is divided into three categories:

  1. GTP-C: This is used only for core networking to carry the data and signals.
  2. GTP-U: This is used to carry signals between GPRS and radio-access network (RAN).
  3. GTP-Prime: This is used like GTP-C and GTP-U and to transfer the charging data to the charging-gateway.

Used to provide better communication solutions, GTP was designed for GPRS core-networks. It is more reliable because it can be used with both UDP and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) stacks. GTP was standardized within GSM-standard 9.60. All versions of GTP use UDP for transportation.

GTP has only two versions – 0 and 1. There are many differences between these versions. In version 0 signaling and tunneling protocols are integrated on a single port, but version 1 uses two protocols: GTP-C and GTP-U. Version 1 was launched with an attempt to support WAN communication such as X.25 transmission. Version 0 can be used with TCP and UDP, while version 1 can be used with UDP only.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.