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B2G RIL

This page contains information about B2G's interaction with the Radio Interface Layer of Android. The RIL provides access to the radio hardware, which is needed to send/receive calls, SMS messages, and other things that require interaction with a cell network.

Talking to the Radio

Low Level Access

Kernel access for specific phones are vendor specific, included in the phone's firmware distribution. To access these drivers, android uses the libril library. Information on libril and android's telephony architecture is available at http://www.netmite.com/android/mydroid/development/pdk/docs/telephony.html

Source code for libril and rild is available in the B2G checkout as

glue/gonk/hardware/ril

Alternatively to the vendor specific drivers, the project ofono-ril should be able to support many modems thanks to the ofono open source telephony stack.

Socket Access

In order to access libril, android uses an ipc socket interface to the rild daemon. The daemon simply creates a socket named "rild" and manages transfers of ipc parcels (http://developer.android.com/reference/android/os/Parcel.html) through it.

A sample emulator implementation of rild is available alongside the libril source code. Actual rild implementations for phones are proprietary and distributed by the vendor.

Due to wanting a single event source for dealing with events, the rild socket requires exclusive access from a single process. In a normal android installation, this would happen via the com.android.phone process. In order to make our own code talk to the socket, the current strategy is to change the socket name in the RIL.java file to something other than "rild" (since we can't recompile vendor specific rild).

Android Access

Android code specific to RIL communication is in

glue/gonk/frameworks/base/telephony/java/com/android/internal/telephony/RIL.java

The Java code communicates with the rild socket via the Binder IPC system, using objects known as Parcels. Parcels are simply flattened, serialized data structures. libbinder exists for C++ in glue/gonk/frameworks.

To access sockets via C, android uses libcutils, also available in glue/gonk/frameworks.

Parcel Formats

Parcels contain information about the transaction that they are a part of, as well as event data.

Event data will be one of the follow types:

  • Void - No return
  • Int List - First int is the number of ints in the list, followed by the ints
    • Byte 0x0c - uint32_t - number of ints in the packet
    • Byte 0x10 - uint32_t- - list of ints
  • String - A single string (16-bit)
    • Byte 0x0c - uint32_t - length of string
    • Byte 0x10 - wchar_t- - string of length specified
  • Strings - An array of strings (16-bit)
    • Byte 0x0c - uint32_t - number of strings
    • Byte 0x10 - Strings - strings in format listed for single string (size + string)
  • Custom Struct - A set of different types specific to the message (SMS messages, call lists, etc...). These are usually unpacked by hand in the handler function.

RIL Parcel - Process -> rild

Each RIL Socket Write has the following format:

  • Byte 0x00 - uint32_t - Header (Size of Following Parcel)
    • PARCEL BEGINS AFTER THIS FIELD
  • Byte 0x04 - uint32_t - RIL Event ID (IDs available in glue/gonk/hardware/ril/include/telephony/ril.h)
  • Byte 0x08 - uint32_t - Packet Serial Number (Used to track send/receive order)
  • Byte 0x0c - void* - Event Data

RIL Parcel - rild -> Process (solicited reply)

Each RIL Socket Read (for a solicited response) has the following format:

  • Byte 0x00 - uint32_t - Header (Size of Following Parcel)
    • PARCEL BEGINS AFTER THIS FIELD
  • Byte 0x04 - uint32_t - 0 (To signify it is a reply to a previously sent solicited request)
  • Byte 0x08 - uint32_t - Packet Serial Number (Used to track send/receive order)
  • Byte 0x0c - uint32_t - Error code (0 on success)
  • Byte 0x10 - void* - Event Data

It is expected that the client maintains a list of previously made solicited requests to match the replies to, via the serial field.

The expectations of each RIL event are outlined in the comments for the fields in the ril.h file.

RIL Parcel - rild -> Process (unsolicited event)

Each RIL Socket Read (for a solicited response) has the following format:

  • Byte 0x00 - uint32_t - Header (Size of Following Parcel)
    • PARCEL BEGINS AFTER THIS FIELD
  • Byte 0x04 - uint32_t - 1 (To signify it is a reply to a previously sent solicited request)
  • Byte 0x08 - uint32_t - RIL Event ID (IDs available in glue/gonk/hardware/ril/include/telephony/ril.h)
  • Byte 0x0c - void* - Event Data

The client responds (as needed) to unsolicited events by sending a solicited event, which follows the outline mentioned above.

The expectations of each RIL event are outlined in the comments for the fields in the ril.h file.

Phone Workflow

Initialization

The initialization step is required to turn the radio on. - Program connects to rild socket - Radio: UNSOL_RESPONSE_RADIO_STATE_CHANGED with radio status - Program: SCREEN_STATE to TRUE - Program: RADIO_POWER (Turns radio on, if radio status is RADIO_STATE_OFF)

Service Status Update

  • Radio: UNSOL_RESPONSE_NETWORK_STATE_CHANGED
  • Program: OPERATOR
  • Program: REGISTRATION_STATE
  • Program: GPRS_REGISTRATION_STATE

Dialing

  • Go through initialization and Service Status Update steps
  • Program: DIAL

Hanging Up

Call Receive

SMS Receive

  • Radio: UNSOL_RESPONSE_NEW_SMS
  • Program: RIL_REQUEST_SMS_ACKNOWLEDGE

Gecko Internals Design

For preliminary design documentation of WebTelephony/WebAPI, see https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebAPI/WebTelephony

Design Overview

The RIL communications system will consist events in the context of 3 threads, as well as a socket proxy daemon:

  • The IPC Thread, where IO to the Radio Socket will happen
  • A JS Worker thread, where low level telephony support (parsing parcels to/from socket, dealing with GSM/CDMA/SIP and SIM card commands, etc...) will be implemented
  • The Main Gecko Thread, where the Telephony DOM will expose high level commands to the navigator.phone object.

Radio Base Class - IO Thread

The Radio Base Class declares the basic communication function signatures for radios, as well as managing a queue of binary blobs coming from and going to the radio. It contains no knowledge of the blob structure, just blob length and the blobs themselves. This means we can push the Parcel (or whatever serialization method we decide to use) creation up into the Telephone class, keeping Radio in its own thread to deal with I/O.

Radio JS Worker Thread

The Radio Implementation class will handle

  • Providing an interface to phone status (Network Name, Signal Strength, Current Calls, Radio Events, etc...)
  • Creating and Managing data in flight from/to the radio

Radio communication at the parcel level happens in the worker thread, which then queues the serialized binary blobs to the Radio I/O thread. It also reads information sent from the radio, to trigger events like incoming calls.

Telephony DOM

The Telephone class is responsible for exposing high level functions to Javascript (Dial, Hangup, SMS, etc...). More information on this is available as part of the WebTelephony project.

Relevant Websites

Relevant Bugs