Mobility Management

What Does Mobility Management Mean?

Mobility management is a functionality that facilitates mobile device operations in Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks. Mobility management is used to trace physical user and subscriber locations to provide mobile phone services, like calls and Short Message Service (SMS).


Techopedia Explains Mobility Management

UMTS and GSM are each made up of separate cells (base stations) that cover a specific geographical area. All base stations are integrated into one area, allowing a cellular network to cover a wider area (location area).

The location update procedure allows a mobile device to notify a cellular network when shifting between areas. When a mobile device recognizes that an area code differs from a previous update, the mobile device executes a location update, by sending a location request to its network, prior location and specific Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI). A mobile device provides updated network location information for several reasons, including reselecting cell location coverage due to a faded signal.

Location area includes a group of base stations assembled collectively to optimize signaling. Base stations are integrated to form a single network area known as a base station controller (BSC). The BSC manages allocation of radio channels, acquires measurements from cell phones, and handles handovers from one base station to another.

Roaming is among the basic procedures of mobility management. It enables subscribers to use mobile services when moving outside of the geographical area of a specific network.


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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.