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  Passive GSM Intercept -- Cell Seeker III
Hardware and software for Communications Monitoring and Analysis
Cell Seeker III High Speed network Mapper
    Mobile phones have become part of daily life for millions of subscribers worldwide. The mobile phone companies construct networks such that subscribers are provided with the best reception and most complete cellular coverage possible. The most obvious evidence of this is the increasing number of cell towers (BTS, Base Station Transceivers) appearing alongside our road and rail networks and anywhere the mobile service is required. For a number of reasons some cell towers are not at all obvious and others may be unlicensed and mobile.
    There are many reasons and motivations for there to be an independent mobile phone cell survey capability.
    • Law Enforcement organisations require accurate knowledge of cell reception footprints for evidential and investigative purposes.
    • Security and military organisations require accurate knowledge of cell reception footprints for target location purposes, GSM surveillance, counter surveillance and for electronic counter measures.
    • Commercial tracking applications require cell information for geo-location purposes.
    • Network providers require cell coverage and cell prioritisation information for network optimisation purposes.
    ComsTrac provides both equipment and services for the accurate mapping of mobile networks.

    Cellular Network Surveying and Cell Site Surveys
    The process of surveying the mobile phone infrastructure is designed to produce an accurate mapping of the reception footprint of a particular BTS (Base Transceiver Station) or network. All BTS have one or more cells associated with them and cells can be of a variety of shapes and sizes.
    Cells are never of a regular geometric shape. The reception footprint of cells may be modified by the presence of buildings, structures and topographical features.
    The antenna utilised for the transmission and reception of the RF based mobile phone service can also give rise to anomalies. It is vital to know how these anomalies influence the reception footprint of a given cell.
    The accurate mapping of a single BTS and its associated cells is often referred to as a Cell Site Survey, a terminology popular with the Law Enforcement community.
    The mapping process involves the following

    • Factory pre-calibration of survey equipment using a Spectrum Analyzer.
    • Measurement of RF transmission levels at various points within the area of interest. The higher the number of points the more accurate the cell footprint will be known.
    • GPS readings taken simultaneously with each set of transmission level readings.
    • Off air identification of the MNC (Mobile Network Code i.e the service provider), LAC (Location Area Code) and Cell ID (Cell identity) of the cell being mapped and a number of other useful parameters including ARFCN, BSIC, C1 & C2.
    • Off air identification of the frequency of transmissions (e.g. 900, 1800 or 2100MHz etc).
    • Processing of the data into a database and digital mapping system to provide reporting, graphical representation of the cell(s) and supporting data.
    Optional comparison with historical data to determine changes and identification of unlicensed cells.

Cells can be different shapes and sizes
Survey equipment and systems:
    Cell Seeker tm III-MR High Speed mapper
    In Cell Seeker System III the emphasis is on high speed gathering of cell data from large numbers of cells from a moving vehicle or from a pedestrian carry-pack.
    The hardware comprises a vehicle based laptop fitted with a high speed custom built mobile network mapping unit, in-built GPS and roof mounted antennae.
    The unit has a single USB outlet for connection to a laptop or notebook. USB connection to a Windows based PDA is also an option.
    Up to 8 networks can be sampled simultaneously either 2G or 3G and UHF/VHF cards can be included, for example, to map TETRA towers.
    The system can be provided with on board logging for autonomous operation in a vehicle for later data upload or data may be uploaded as it is sampled via USB. The ability to save data onto a USB memory stick is planned.

    The features of this system are:
    • All networks are handled simultaneously
    • Large geographical areas can be covered quickly.
    • The laptop combines the data capture and mapping processes.
    • Data can be gathered at high speed (e,g for Motorway cell mapping).
    • Areas of zero or poor coverage are identified.
    • Continuous display of all networks sampled with Serving Cell/Adjacent cell dynamics and all associated data.

    Technical Data:
    • Size: 190mm x 110mm x 75 mm
    • Weight: 1000g

    • Power supply: 12v vehicle type adapter.
    • 6db, 10db and active antennae options.
    • Up to 8 network sampling modules each with GPS and 2G/3G capability.

Individual network sampling module

Cell Seeker III-MR control interface
    Cell Seeker back office system
    Data collected from Cell Seeker systems, GSM interceptors and other devices may be securely and efficiently uploaded to the Cell Seeker Back Office system. A full suite of storage and analysis programs provide access to the following functions.
    • Storage of Base Transceiver Station (BTS) data.
    • Storage of Cell information and BTS cross referencing.
    • Auto upload of survey data with creation of cell and BTS records as appropriate.
    Screening and analysis of survey data.
    • Mapping of specific survey or mission data to provide cell footprints for tracking, law enforcement evidential purposes or security mission purposes.
    • Compatible with user created maps, MicroSoft MapPoint and Internet based mapping such as Google Maps.
    • Cell centroid calculations, handset co-location and other forensic utilities.
    • Reporting

Example high level coverage map

Cell Survey Services
    ComsTrac employs experienced consultants who can be deployed with the required equipment to perform training, independent cell mapping services in support of Law Enforcement and other qualifying organisations. Professionally prepared training material, reports, presentations and other supporting material are provided as part of the service. The same consultants are available for advice and legal work.

Address:947/36 Moo 12 Bangna-Trad Road Km. 3.2, Bangna Bangkok 10260