The Core Network is divided in circuit switched and packet switched domains. Some of the circuit switched elements are Mobile services Switching Centre (MSC), Visitor location register (VLR) and Gateway MSC. Packet switched elements are Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) and Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN). Some network elements, like EIR, HLR, VLR and AUC are shared by both domains.
The Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) is defined for UMTS core transmission. ATM Adaptation Layer type 2 (AAL2) handles circuit switched connection and packet connection protocol AAL5 is designed for data delivery.
The architecture of the Core Network may change when new services and features are introduced. Number Portability DataBase (NPDB) will be used to enable user to change the network while keeping their old phone number. Gateway Location Register (GLR) may be used to optimise the subscriber handling between network boundaries. MSC, VLR and SGSN can merge to become a UMTS MSC.
The following links will help you get an understanding of ATM concepts
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