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Showing posts with label Release 8. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Release 8. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Multi-Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI)

I am sure we all know that LTE bands have been growing, every few months. All the 32 bands for FDD have now been defined. The 33rd band is where TDD bands start. What if we now want to have more FDD bands? Well, we will have to wait to fix that problem.

Picture Source: LG Space

Anyway, as can be seen in the above picture, some of the frequency bands overlap with each other. Now you may have a UE thats camped onto one frequency that is overlapping in different bands. Wouldn't it be useful to let the UE know that you are camped in more than one band and you can change it to another frequency which may be a different band but you were already on it in the first place (it may sound confusing).

Here is a much simpler table from the specs that show that when a UE is camped on band 5, it may also be camped on bands 18, 19 and 26. Remember the complete bands may not be overlapping but may only be partially overlapping.

An example could be Sprint that used Band 38 TDD (BW 50MHz) for its legacy devices but is now able to use Band 41 (BW 194MHz) as well. The legacy devices may not work on Band 41 but the new devices can use much wider band 41. So the transmission would still say Band 38 but the new devices can be informed of Band 41 using the System Information Block Type 1. AT&T has a similar problem with Band 12 and 17.

Even though this was implemented in Release-8, it came as a part of Late Non-critical extensions. Its a release independent feature but not all UE's and Network have implemented it. The UE indicates the support for MFBI using the FGI (Feature Group Indicator) bits. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

eMBMS Physical layer aspects from T&M point of view

Based on the success of the recent posts on eMBMS, here and here, this final post on this topic is a look at physical layer perspective from Test and Measurement point of view. Slides kindly provided by R&S



A video of this is also available on Youtube, embedded below:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

CSFB Performance

Here is another presentation from Qualcomm from the '4G World'.



With regards to SI Tunneling mentioned in the presentation, I found the following in another Qualcomm whitepapers:


With Release 9 Enhanced Release with Redirection—SI Tunneling, the device follows 3GPP release 9, where SIB information can be tunneled from the target Radio Access Network (RAN) via the core network to the source RAN and be included in the redirection message sent to the device. This can avoid reading any SIBs on the target cell. 

The predominant solutions deployed today are based on Release 8 Release with Redirection — SIB Skipping, in order to achieve good call setup times, good reliability, and simplify deployments. It is anticipated that Release 9 Enhanced Release with Redirection will be deployed in the near future. At this time, there is not as much push for handover-based CSFB since both Release 8 Release with Redirection—SIB Skipping and Release 9 Enhanced Release with Redirection—SI Tunneling have largely addressed any call setup time issues that may have existed with the Basic Release with Redirection solution.


I have blogged on this topic before, here.

More on Dual Radio here and SVLTE here.

Monday, 5 November 2012

3GPP Standards Self Organizing Networks

The following is a presentation by 3GPP on Self-Organising Networks in the SON Conference 2012:



A basic tutorial on SON is available also on 3GPP website here.

A detailed list of 3GPP work items on SON is available to view and download from here.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Radio relay technologies in LTE-Advanced

The following is from NTT Docomo Technical journal

Three types of radio relay technologies and their respective advantages and disadvantages are shown in Figure 1. 
A layer 1 relay consists of relay technology called a booster or repeater. This is an Amplifier and Forward (AF) type of relay  technology by which Radio Frequency (RF) signals received on the downlink from the base station are amplified and transmitted to the mobile station. In a similar manner, RF signals received on the uplink from the mobile station are amplified and transmitted to the base station. The equipment functions of a layer 1 relay are relatively simple, which makes for low-cost implementation and short processing delays associated with relaying. With these  features, the layer 1 relay has already found widespread use in 2G and 3G mobile communication systems. It is being deployed with the aim of improving coverage in mountainous regions, sparsely populated areas and urban areas as well as in indoor environments.


The RF performance specifications for repeaters have already been specified in LTE, and deployment of these repeaters for the same purpose is expected. The layer 1 relay, however, amplifies intercell interference and noise together with desired signal components thereby deteriorating the received Signal to Interference plus Noise power Ratio (SINR) and reducing the throughput enhancement gain.


The layer 2 relay, meanwhile, is a Decode and Forward (DF) type of relay technology by which RF signals received on the downlink from the base station are demodulated and decoded and then encoded and modulated again before being sent on to the mobile station. This demodulation and decoding processing performed at the radio relay station overcomes the drawback in layer 1 relays of deteriorated received SINR caused by amplification of intercell interference and noise. A better throughput-enhancement effect can therefore be expected compared with the layer 1 relay. At the same time, the layer 2 relay causes a delay associated with modulation/demodulation and encoding/decoding processing. In this type of relay, moreover, radio functions other than modulation/demodulation and encoding/decoding (such as mobility control, retransmission control by Automatic Repeat request (ARQ), and user-data concatenation/segmentation/reassembly) are performed between the base station and mobile station transparently with respect to the radio relay, which means that new radio-control functions for supporting this relay technology are needed. 




The layer 3 relay also performs demodulation and decoding of RF signals received on the downlink from the base station, but then goes on to perform processing (such as ciphering and user-data concatenation/segmentation/reassembly) for retransmitting user data on a radio interface and finally performs encoding/modulation and transmission to the mobile station. Similar to the layer 2 relay, the layer 3 relay can improve throughput by eliminating inter-cell interference and noise, and additionally, by incorporating the same functions as a base station, it can have small impact on the standard specifications for radio relay technology and on implementation. Its drawback, however, is the delay caused by user-data processing in addition to the delay caused by modulation/demodulation and encoding/decoding processing.


In 3GPP, it has been agreed to standardize specifications for layer 3 relay technology in LTE Rel. 10 because of the above features of improved received SINR due to noise elimination, ease of coordinating standard specifications, and ease of implementing the technology. Standardization of this technology is now moving forward.


Layer 3 radio relay technology is shown in Figure 2. In addition to performing user-data regeneration processing and modulation/demodulation and encoding/ decoding processing as described above, the layer 3 relay station also features a unique Physical Cell ID (PCI) on the physical layer different than that of the base station. In this way, a mobile station can recognize that a cell provided by a relay station differs from a cell provided by a base station.


In addition, as physical layer control signals such as Channel Quality Indicator (CQI) and Hybrid ARQ (HARQ) can terminate at a relay station, a relay station is recognized as a base station from the viewpoint of a mobile station. It is therefore possible for a mobile station having only LTE functions (for example, a mobile station conforming to LTE Rel. 8 specifications) to connect to a relay station. Here, the wireless backhaul link (Un) between the base station and relay station and the radio access link (Uu) between the relay station and mobile station may operate on different frequencies or on the same frequency. In the latter case, if transmit and receive processing are performed simultaneously at the relay station, transmit signals will cause interference with the relay station’s receiver by coupling as long as sufficient isolation is not provided between the transmit and receive circuits. Thus, when operating on the same frequency, the wireless backhaul-link and radio-access-link radio resources should be subjected to Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) so that transmission and reception in the relay station are not performed simultaneously.




Scenarios in which the introduction of relay technology is potentially useful have been discussed in 3GPP. Deployment scenarios are shown in Table 1. Extending the coverage area to mountainous and sparsely populated regions (rural area and wireless backhaul scenarios) is an important scenario to operators. It is expected that relay technology can be used to economically extend coverage to such areas as opposed to deploying fixed-line backhaul links. Relay technology should also be effective for providing temporary coverage when earthquakes or other disasters strike or when major events are being held (emergency or temporary coverage scenario), i.e., for situations in which the deployment of dedicated fixed-line backhaul links is difficult. In addition, while pico base stations and femtocells can be used for urban hot spot, dead spot, and indoor hot spot scenarios, the installation of utility poles, laying of cables inside buildings, etc. can be difficult in some countries and regions, which means that the application of relay technology can also be effective for urban scenarios. Finally, the group mobility scenario in which relay stations are installed on vehicles like trains and buses to reduce the volume of control signals from moving mobile stations is also being proposed.


In 3GPP, it has been agreed to standardize the relay technology deployed for coverage extension in LTE Rel. 10. These specifications will, in particular, support one-hop relay technology in which the position of the relay station is fixed and the radio access link between the base station and mobile station is relayed by one relay station.



References
[1] 3GPP TS36.912 V9.1.0: “Feasibility study for Further Advancement for E-UTRA (LTE-Advanced),” 2010.
[2] 3GPP TS36.323 V9.0.0: “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP) specification,” 2009
[3] 3GPP TS36.322 V9.1.0: “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Radio Link Control (RLC) protocol specification,” 2010.
[4] 3GPP TS36.321 V9.2.0: “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol specification,” 2010.
[5] 3GPP TS36.331 V9.2.0: “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Radio Resource Control (RRC); Protocol specification,” 2010.
[6] 3GPP TS36.413 V9.2.1: “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); S1 Application Protocol (S1AP),” 2010.
[7] 3GPP TR36.806 V9.0.0: “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Relay architectures for E-UTRA (LTEAdvanced),” 2010.
[8] IETF RFC4960: “Stream Control Transmission Protocol,” 2007.
[9] 3GPP TS29.281 V9.2.0: “General Packet Radio System (GPRS) Tunnelling Protocol User Plane (GTPv1-U),” 2010.


Monday, 27 February 2012

Voice over HSPA (VoHSPA) and CS over HSPA (CSoHS)


4G Americas has recently released a whitepaper entitled, "Delivering voice over HSPA". This paper describes the technological features that are being developed to make Voice over HSPA (VoHSPA) a reality. It describes the two potential options for VoHSPA. The first option leverages IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) technology developed in conjunction with Long Term Evolution (LTE), and is referred to as IMS Voice over HSPA or simply IMS Voice. The other option delivers voice by modifying existing circuit-switch based techniques so that those communications can be transmitted over an HSPA infrastructure, and is referred to as CS Voice over HSPA (CSoHS). Both the options are shown in the picture above. Note that there is no discussion about Over the top (OTT) type voice services like Skype, etc. 

The chief among benefits anticipated from VoHSPA are increases in the spectral efficiency of mobile networks. With these new techniques, voice calls can be delivered more efficiently from a spectral standpoint over Packet Switched (PS) rather than Circuit Switched (CS) networks freeing up radio resources for additional data traffic.


The 4G Americas report defines work completed by the GSMA for a minimum mandatory set of features defined in existing 3GPP Release 8 specifications (IR 58: IMS Profile for VoHSPA) that should be implemented in order to insure an interoperable, high quality, IMS-based telephony service over an HSPA radio access layer. In the white paper, 4G Americas recommends additional features, above the minimum mandatory features in IR 58, for VoHSPA either under an IMS or a CS approach, in order to minimize packet losses and variations in packet arrival times that can impair the quality of voice communications.

The whitepaper is available to download from here.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Reducing CSFB Timing with RRC R9 Optimisations

While in the initial testing CSFB timing used to be between 6-8 seconds, most Rel-8 phones can complete the CSFB procedure between 4-4.5 seconds. Unfortunately this is still a lot in terms of signalling. To reduce this in Rel-9 there is a simple optimisation that has been done.
In the RRC Connection Release message, there is a possibility to add UTRAN/GERAN System Information messages. In the picture above, I have only shown UTRA System Information but a similar picture can be drawn for GERAN.

Once all the Mandatory SIB's are sent to the UE then it can immediately camp on without the need to read any other additional system info. This will reduce the CSFB time between 1-2 seconds.

The lesser the CSFB time, the better the Quality of end user experience

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

New 4G Americas whitepaper on HSPA evolution in 3GPP standards

Some forecasts put HSPA at over 3.5 billion subscribers by the end of 2016. Operators with HSPA and LTE infrastructure and users with HSPA and LTE multi-mode devices will be commonplace. There are 412 commercial deployments of HSPA in 157 countries, including 165 HSPA+ networks. Thus, with the continued deployment of LTE throughout the world, and the existing ubiquitous coverage of HSPA in the world, HSPA+ will continue to be enhanced through the 3GPP standards process to provide a seamless solution for operators as they upgrade their networks. While LTE, with 33 commercial deployments to date and over 250 commitments worldwide, will be the mobile broadband next generation technology of choice for HSPA, EV-DO, WiMAX and new wireless operators, HSPA will continue to be a pivotal technology in providing mobile broadband to subscribers.

The white paper explains that as 3GPP specifications evolve, their advanced features help to further the capabilities of today’s modern mobile broadband networks. With each release there have been improvements such as better cell edge performance, increased system efficiencies, higher peak data rates and an overall improved end-user experience. 3GPP feature evolution from Rel-7 to Rel-10 has pushed possible HSPA peak data rates from 14 Mbps to 168 Mbps. Continued enhancements in 3GPP Rel-11 will again double this capability to a possible peak data rate of 336 Mbps:
  • Rel-7: 64QAM or 2X2 MIMO => 21 or 28 Mbps
  • Rel-8: DC + 64QAM or 2X2 MIMO + 64QAM => 42 Mbps
  • Rel-9: DC + 2X2 MIMO + 64QAM => 84 Mbps
  • Rel-10: 4C + 2X2 MIMO + 64QAM => 168 Mbps
  • Rel-11: (8C or 4X4 MIMO) + 64QAM => 336 Mbps
“If operators are able to gain new additional harmonized spectrum from governments, they will no doubt deploy LTE, However, it is clear that HSPA+ technology is still exceptionally strong and will continue to provide operators with the capability to meet the exploding data usage demands of their customers in existing spectrum holdings,” Pearson said.

The paper is embedded as follows:

This paper and other similar papers are available to download from the 3G4G website here.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A look at "Idle state Signalling Reduction" (ISR)

The following is from 3GPP TS 23.401, Annex J:

General description of the ISR concept

Idle state Signalling Reduction (or ISR) aims at reducing the frequency of Tracking Area Updates (TAU, in EUtran) and Routing Area Updates (RAU, in UTRAN/GERAN) procedures caused by UEs reselecting between E-UTRAN and GERAN/UTRAN which are operated together. Especially the update signalling between UE and network is reduced. But also network internal signalling is reduced. To some extent the reduction of network internal signalling is also available when ISR is not used or not activated by the network.

UMTS described already RAs containing GERAN and UTRAN cells, which also reduces update signalling between UE and network. The combination of GERAN and UTRAN into the same RAs implies however common scaling, dimensioning and configuration for GERAN and UTRAN (e.g. same RA coverage, same SGSN service area, no GERAN or UTRAN only access control, same physical node for GERAN and UTRAN). As an advantage it does not require special network interface functionality for the purpose of update signalling reduction.

ISR enables signalling reduction with separate SGSN and MME and also with independent TAs and RAs. Thereby the interdependency is drastically minimized compared with the GERAN/UTRAN RAs. This comes however with ISR specific node and interface functionality. SGSN and MME may be implemented together, which reduces some interface functions but results also in some dependencies.

ISR support is mandatory for E-UTRAN UEs that support GERAN and/or UTRAN and optional for the network. ISR requires special functionality in both the UE and the network (i.e. in the SGSN, MME and Serving GW) to activate ISR for a UE. For this activation, the MME/SGSN detects whether S-GW supports ISR based on the configuration and activates ISR only if the S-GW supports the ISR. The network can decide for ISR activation individually for each UE. Gn/Gp SGSNs do not support ISR functionality. No specific HSS functionality is required to support ISR.

NOTE. A Release 7 HSS needs additional functionality to support the 'dual registration' of MME and SGSN. Without such an upgrade, at least PS domain MT Location Services and MT Short Messages are liable to fail.

It is inherent functionality of the MM procedures to enable ISR activation only when the UE is able to register via E-UTRAN and via GERAN/UTRAN. For example, when there is no E-UTRAN coverage there will be also no ISR activation. Once ISR is activated it remains active until one of the criteria for deactivation in the UE occurs, or until SGSN or MME indicate during an update procedure no more the activated ISR, i.e. the ISR status of the UE has to be refreshed with every update.

When ISR is activated this means the UE is registered with both MME and SGSN. Both the SGSN and the MME have a control connection with the Serving GW. MME and SGSN are both registered at HSS. The UE stores MM parameters from SGSN (e.g. P-TMSI and RA) and from MME (e.g. GUTI and TA(s)) and the UE stores session management (bearer) contexts that are common for E-UTRAN and GERAN/UTRAN accesses. In idle state the UE can reselect between E-UTRAN and GERAN/UTRAN (within the registered RA and TAs) without any need to perform TAU or RAU procedures with the network. SGSN and MME store each other's address when ISR is activated.

When ISR is activated and downlink data arrive, the Serving GW initiates paging processes on both SGSN and MME. In response to paging or for uplink data transfer the UE performs normal Service Request procedures on the currently camped-on RAT without any preceding update signalling (there are however existing scenarios that may require to perform a RAU procedure prior to the Service Request even with ISR is activated when GERAN/UTRAN RAs are used together, as specified in clause 6.13.1.3 of TS 23.060 [7]).

The UE and the network run independent periodic update timers for GERAN/UTRAN and for E-UTRAN. When the MME or SGSN do not receive periodic updates MME and SGSN may decide independently for implicit detach, which removes session management (bearer) contexts from the CN node performing the implicit detach and it removes also the related control connection from the Serving GW. Implicit detach by one CN node (either SGSN or MME) deactivates ISR in the network. It is deactivated in the UE when the UE cannot perform periodic updates in time. When ISR is activated and a periodic updating timer expires the UE starts a Deactivate ISR timer. When this timer expires and the UE was not able to perform the required update procedure the UE deactivates ISR.

Part of the ISR functionality is also available when ISR is not activated because the MM contexts are stored in UE, MME and SGSN also when ISR is not active. This results in some reduced network signalling, which is not available for Gn/Gp SGSNs. These SGSNs cannot handle MM and session management contexts separately. Therefore all contexts on Gn/Gp SGSNs are deleted when the UE changes to an MME. The MME can keep their MME contexts in all scenarios.

Note:
Gn = IP Based interface between SGSN and other SGSNs and (internal) GGSNs. DNS also shares this interface. Uses the GTP Protocol.
Gp = IP based interface between internal SGSN and external GGSNs. Between the SGSN and the external GGSN, there is the border gateway (which is essentially a firewall). Also uses the GTP Protocol.


"Temporary Identity used in Next update" (TIN)

The UE may have valid MM parameters both from MME and from SGSN. The "Temporary Identity used in Next update" (TIN) is a parameter of the UE's MM context, which identifies the UE identity to be indicated in the next RAU Request or TAU Request message. The TIN also identifies the status of ISR activation in the UE.

The TIN can take one of the three values, "P-TMSI", "GUTI" or "RAT-related TMSI". The UE sets the TIN when receiving an Attach Accept, a TAU Accept or RAU Accept message as specified in table 4.3.5.6-1.


"ISR Activated" indicated by the RAU/TAU Accept message but the UE not setting the TIN to "RAT-related TMSI" is a special situation. By maintaining the old TIN value the UE remembers to use the RAT TMSI indicated by the TIN when updating with the CN node of the other RAT.

Only if the TIN is set to "RAT-related TMSI" ISR behaviour is enabled for the UE, i.e. the UE can change between all registered areas and RATs without any update signalling and it listens for paging on the RAT it is camped on. If the TIN is set to "RAT-related TMSI", the UE's P-TMSI and RAI as well as its GUTI and TAI(s) remain registered with the network and valid in the UE.

When ISR is not active the TIN is always set to the temporary ID belonging to the currently used RAT. This guarantees that always the most recent context data are used, which means during inter-RAT changes there is always context transfer from the CN node serving the last used RAT. The UE identities, old GUTI IE and additional GUTI IE, indicated in the next TAU Request message, and old P-TMSI IE and additional P-TMSI/RAI IE, indicated in the next RAU Request message depend on the setting of TIN.

The UE indicates also information elements "additional GUTI" or "additional P-TMSI" in the Attach Request, TAU or RAU Request. These information elements permit the MME/SGSN to find the already existing UE contexts in the new MME or SGSN, when the "old GUTI" or "old P-TMSI" indicate values that are mapped from other identities.


ISR activation

The information flow in Figure below shows an example of ISR activation. For explanatory purposes the figure is simplified to show the MM parts only.

The process starts with an ordinary Attach procedure not requiring any special functionality for support of ISR. The Attach however deletes any existing old ISR state information stored in the UE. With the Attach request message, the UE sets its TIN to "GUTI". After attach with MME, the UE may perform any interactions via E-UTRAN without changing the ISR state. ISR remains deactivated. One or more bearer contexts are activated on MME, Serving GW and PDN GW, which is not shown in the figure.

The first time the UE reselects GERAN or UTRAN it initiates a Routing Area Update. This represents an occasion to activate ISR. The TIN indicates "GUTI" so the UE indicates a P-TMSI mapped from a GUTI in the RAU Request. The SGSN gets contexts from MME. When the MME sends the context to the SGSN, the MME includes the ISR supported indication only if the involved S-GW supports the ISR. After the ISR activated, both CN nodes keep these contexts because ISR is being activated. The SGSN establishes a control relation with the Serving GW, which is active in parallel to the control connection between MME and Serving GW (not shown in figure). The RAU Accept indicates ISR activation to the UE. The UE keeps GUTI and P-TMSI as registered, which the UE memorises by setting the TIN to "RAT-related TMSI". The MME and the SGSN are registered in parallel with the HSS.

After ISR activation, the UE may reselect between E-UTRAN and UTRAN/GERAN without any need for updating the network as long as the UE does not move out of the RA/TA(s) registered with the network.

The network is not required to activate ISR during a RAU or TAU. The network may activate ISR at any RAU or TAU that involves the context transfer between an SGSN and an MME. The RAU procedure for this is shown in Figure above. ISR activation for a UE, which is already attached to GERAN/UTRAN, with a TAU procedure from E-UTRAN works in a very similar way.

Reference: 3GPP TS 23.401: General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) enhancements for Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN) access

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Couple of presentations on GNSS and LCS

I came across couple of presentations from International Conference on Localization and GNSS, held in Tampere, Finland, June 29-30, 2011

This first presentation by Lauri Wirola of Nokia gives good summary of standardized positioning technologies in use today. It also lists the difference between control plane and user plane positioning. The 3GPP based positioning from Rel 5 to Rel 8 has been listed. Overall a very interesting presentation.

The second presentation by Ignacio Fernández Hernández of the European Commission, gives an overview of the EU satnav programmes (Galileo, EGNOS) and current R&D status; Present some numbers and findings of the overall GNSS R&D panorama in EU and abroad; Present some trends and challenges in location technologies for the following years. Another interesting presentation I think.


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Advanced IP Interconnection of Services (IPXS) in 3GPP Rel-11

The following is edited from the 3GPP documents:

IP is being introduced in both fixed and mobile networks as a more cost-effective alternative to circuit switched technology in the legacy PSTN/PLMN, as well as the underpinning transport for delivering IMS based multi-media services.

In order to ensure carrier grade end to end performance, appropriate interconnect solutions are required to support communications between users connected to different networks. There are currently a number of initiatives underway outside 3GPP addressing IP Interconnection of services scenarios and commercial models to achieve this; for example, the GSM Association has developed the IPX (IP Packet Exchange). Also, ETSI has recently defined requirements and use case scenarios for IP Interconnection of services. These initiatives require the use of appropriate technical solutions and corresponding technical standards, some of which are already available and others which will require development in 3GPP.

Moreover, new models of interconnection may emerge in the market where Network Operators expose network capabilities to 3rd party Application Providers including user plane connectivity for the media related to the service.

The main objective of IPXS is thus:
To specify the technical requirements for carrier grade inter-operator IP Interconnection of Services for the support of Multimedia services provided by IMS and for legacy voice PTSN/PLMN services transported over IP infrastructure (e.g. VoIP).

These technical requirements should cover the new interconnect models developed by GSMA (i.e. the IPX interconnect model) and take into account interconnect models between national operators (including transit functionality) and peering based business trunking.

Any new requirements identified should not overlap with requirements already defined by other bodies (e.g. GSMA, ETSI TISPAN). Specifically the work will cover:
Service level aspects for direct IP inter-connection between Operators, service level aspects for national transit IP interconnect and service level aspects for next generation corporate network IP interconnect (peer-to-peer business trunking).
Service layer aspects for interconnection of voice services (e.g. toll-free, premium rate and emergency calls).
Service level aspects for IP Interconnection (service control and user plane aspects) between Operators and 3rd party Application Providers.

To ensure that requirements are identified for the Stage 2 & 3 work to identify relevant existing specifications, initiate enhancements and the development of the new specifications as necessary.

The following is a related presentation on Release-8 II-NNI with an introduction to Rel-9 and Rel-10 features.

The 3GPP references can be seen from the presentation above.

European Commission conducted a study on this topic back in 2008 and produced a lengthy report on this. Since the report is 187 pages long, you can also read the executive summary to learn about the direction in technical, economic and public policy.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Quick Recap of MIMO in LTE and LTE-Advanced

I had earlier put up some MIMO presentations that were too technical heavy so this one is less heavy and more figures.

The following is from NTT Docomo Technical journal (with my edits):

MIMO: A signal transmission technology that uses multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to perform spatial multiplexing and improve communication quality and spectral efficiency.

Spectral efficiency: The number of data bits that can be transmitted per unit time and unit frequency band.

In this blog we will first look at MIMO in LTE (Release 8/9) and then in LTE-Advanced (Release-10)

MIMO IN LTE

Downlink MIMO Technology

Single-User MIMO (SU-MIMO) was used for the downlink for LTE Rel. 8 to increase the peak data rate. The target data rates of over 100 Mbit/s were achieved by using a 20 MHz transmission bandwidth, 2 × 2 MIMO, and 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (64QAM), and peak data rates of over 300 Mbit/s can be achieved using 4×4 SU-MIMO. The multi-antenna technology used for the downlink in LTE Rel. 8 is classified into the following three types.

1) Closed-loop SU-MIMO and Transmit Diversity: For closed-loop SU-MIMO transmission on the downlink, precoding is applied to the data carried on the Physical Downlink Shared Channel (PDSCH) in order to increase the received Signal to Interference plus Noise power Ratio (SINR). This is done by setting different transmit antenna weights for each transmission layer (stream) using channel information fed back from the UE. The ideal transmit antenna weights for precoding are generated from eigenvector(s) of the covariance matrix of the channel matrix, H, given by HHH, where H denotes the Hermitian transpose.

However, methods which directly feed back estimated channel state information or precoding weights without quantization are not practical in terms of the required control signaling overhead. Thus, LTE Rel. 8 uses codebook-based precoding, in which the best precoding weights among a set of predetermined precoding matrix candidates (a codebook) is selected to maximize the total throughput on all layers after precoding, and the index of this matrix (the Precoding Matrix Indicator (PMI)) is fed back to the base station (eNode B) (Figure 1).


LTE Rel. 8 adopts frequency-selective precoding, in which precoding weights are selected independently for each sub-band of bandwidth from 360 kHz to 1.44 MHz, as well as wideband precoding, with single precoding weights that are applied to the whole transmission band. The channel estimation used for demodulation and selection of the precoding weight matrix on the UE is done using a cell specific Reference Signal (RS) transmitted from each antenna. Accordingly, the specifications require the eNode B to notify the UE of the precoding weight information used for PDSCH transmission through the Physical Downlink Control Channel (PDCCH), and the UE to use this information for demodulation.

LTE Rel. 8 also adopts rank adaptation, which adaptively controls the number of transmission layers (the rank) according to channel conditions, such as the received SINR and fading correlation between antennas (Figure 2). Each UE feeds back a Channel Quality Indicator (CQI), a Rank Indicator (RI) specifying the optimal rank, and the PMI described earlier, and the eNode B adaptively controls the number of layers transmitted to each UE based on this information.

2) Open-loop SU-MIMO and Transmit Diversity: Precoding with closed-loop control is effective in low mobility environments, but control delay results in less accurate channel tracking ability in high mobility environments. The use of open-loop MIMO transmission for the PDSCH, without requiring feedback of channel information, is effective in such cases. Rank adaptation is used, as in the case of closed-loop MIMO, but rank-one transmission corresponds to open-loop transmit diversity. Specifically, Space-Frequency Block Code (SFBC) is used with two transmit antennas, and a combination of SFBC and Frequency Switched Transmit Diversity (FSTD) (hereinafter referred to as “SFBC+FSTD”) is used with four transmit antennas. This is because, compared to other transmit diversity schemes such as Cyclic Delay Diversity (CDD), SFBC and SFBC+FSTD achieve higher diversity gain, irrespective of fading correlation between antennas, and achieve the lowest required received SINR. On the other hand, for PDSCH transmission with rank of two or higher, fixed precoding is used regardless of channel variations. In this case, cyclic shift is performed before applying the precoding weights, which effectively switches precoding weights in the frequency domain, thereby averaging the received SINR is over layers.

3) Adaptive Beamforming: Adaptive beamforming uses antenna elements with a narrow antenna spacing of about half the carrier wavelength and it has been studied for use with base stations with the antennas mounted in a high location. In this case beamforming is performed by exploiting the UE Direction of Arrival (DoA) or the channel covariance matrix estimated from the uplink, and the resulting transmit weights are not selected from a codebook. In LTE Rel. 8, a UE-specific RS is defined for channel estimation in order to support adaptive beamforming. Unlike the cell-specific RS, the UE specific RS is weighted with the same weights as the data signals sent to each UE, and hence there is no need to notify the UE of the precoding weights applied at the eNode B for demodulation at the UE. However, its effectiveness is limited in LTE Rel. 8 because only one layer per cell is supported, and it is an optional UE feature for Frequency Division Duplex (FDD).

Uplink MIMO Technology

On the uplink in LTE Rel. 8, only one-layer transmission was adopted in order to simplify the transmitter circuit configuration and reduce power consumption on the UE. This was done because the LTE Rel. 8 target peak data rate of 50 Mbit/s or more could be achieved by using a 20 MHz transmission bandwidth and 64QAM and without using SU-MIMO. However, Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) can be used to increase system capacity on the LTE Rel. 8 uplink, using multiple receiver antennas on the eNode B. Specifically, the specification requires orthogonalization of the demodulation RSs from multiple UEs by assigning different cyclic shifts of a Constant Amplitude Zero Auto-Correlation (CAZAC) sequence to the demodulation RSs, so that user signals can be reliably separated at the eNode B. Demodulation RSs are used for channel estimation for the user-signal separation process.


MIMO TECHNOLOGY IN LTE-ADVANCED

Downlink 8-Layer SU-MIMO Technology

The target peak spectral efficiency in LTE-Advanced is 30 bit/s/Hz. To achieve this, high-order SU-MIMO with more antennas is necessary. Accordingly, it was agreed to extend the number of layers of SU-MIMO transmission in the LTE-Advanced downlink to a maximum of 8 layers. The number of transmission layers is selected by rank adaptation. The most significant issue with the radio interface in supporting up to 8 layers is the RS structure used for CQI measurements and PDSCH demodulation.

1) Channel State Information (CSI)-RS: For CQI measurements with up-to-8 antennas, new CSI-RSs are specified in addition to cell-specific RS defined in LTE Rel. 8 for up-to-four antennas. However, in order to maintain backward compatibility with LTE Rel. 8 in LTE-Advanced, LTE Rel. 8 UE must be supported in the same band as in that for LTE-Advanced. Therefore, in LTE Advanced, interference to the PDSCH of LTE Rel. 8 UE caused by supporting CSI-RS must be minimized. To achieve this, the CSI-RS are multiplexed over a longer period compared to the cell-specific RS, once every several subframes (Figure 3). This is because the channel estimation accuracy for CQI measurement is low compared to that for demodulation, and the required accuracy can be obtained as long as the CSIRS is sent about once per feedback cycle. A further reason for this is that LTE-Advanced, which offers higher data-rate services, will be developed to complement LTE Rel. 8, and is expected to be adopted mainly in low-mobility environments.


2) UE-specific RS: To allow demodulation of eight-layer SU-MIMO, the UE-specific RS were extended for SU-MIMO transmission, using a hybrid of Code Division Multiplexing (CDM) and Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM) (Figure 4). The UE-specific RS pattern for each rank (number of layers) is shown in Figure 5. The configuration of the UE-specific RS in LTE-Advanced has also been optimized differently from those of LTE Rel.8, extending it for SU-MIMO as well as adaptive beamforming, such as by applying twodimensional time-frequency orthogonal CDM to the multiplexing between transmission layers.


Downlink MU-MIMO Technology

In addition to the peak data rate, the system capacity and cell-edge user throughput must also be increased in LTE-Advanced compared to LTE Rel. 8. MU-MIMO is an important technology for satisfying these requirements. With MU-MIMO and CoMP transmission (described earlier), various sophisticated signal processing techniques are applied at the eNode B to reduce the interference between transmission layers, including adaptive beam transmission (zero-forcing, block diagonalization, etc.), adaptive transmission power control and simultaneous multi-cell transmission. When these sophisticated transmission techniques are applied, the eNode B multiplexes the UE-specific RS described above with the PDSCH, allowing the UE to demodulate the PDSCH without using information about transmission technology applied by the eNode B. This increases flexibility in applying sophisticated transmission techniques on the downlink. On the other hand, PMI/CQI/RI feedback extensions are needed to apply these sophisticated transmission techniques, and this is currently being discussed actively at the 3GPP.

Uplink SU-MIMO Technology

To reduce the difference in peak data rates achievable on the uplink and downlink for LTE Rel. 8, a high target peak spectral efficiency of 15 bit/s/Hz was specified for the LTE-Advanced uplink. To achieve this, support for SU-MIMO with up to four transmission antennas was agreed upon. In particular, the two-transmission-antenna SU-MIMO function is required to satisfy the peak spectral efficiency requirements of IMT-Advanced.

For the Physical Uplink Shared Channel (PUSCH), it was agreed to apply SU-MIMO with closed-loop control using multiple antennas on the UE, as well as codebook-based precoding and rank adaptation, as used on the downlink. The eNode B selects the precoding weight from a codebook to maximize achievable performance (e.g., received SINR or user throughput after precoding) based on the sounding RS, which is used for measuring the quality of the channel transmitted by the UE. The eNode B notifies the UE of the selected precoding weight together with the resource allocation information used by the PDCCH. The precoding for rank one contributes to antenna gain, which is effective in increasing cell edge user throughput. However, considering control-information overhead and increases in Peak-to-Average Power Ratio (PAPR), frequency-selective precoding is not very effective in increasing system throughput, so only wideband precoding has been adopted.

Also, for rank two or higher, when four transmission antennas are used, the codebook has been designed not to increase the PAPR. The demodulation RS, which is used for channel estimation, is weighted with the same precoding weight as is used for the user data signal transmission. Basically, orthogonalization is achieved by applying a different cyclic shift to each layer, but orthogonalizing the code region using block spread together with this method is adopted.


Uplink Transmit Diversity Technology

Closed-loop transmit diversity is applied to PUSCH as described above for SU-MIMO. Application of transmit diversity to the Physical Uplink Control Channel (PUCCH) is also being studied. For sending retransmission request Acknowledgment (ACK) and Negative ACK (NAK) signals as well as scheduling request signals, application of Spatial Orthogonal-Resource Transmit Diversity (SORTD) using differing resource blocks per antenna or an orthogonalizing code sequence (cyclic shift, block spread sequence) has been agreed upon (Figure 6). However, with LTE-Advanced, the cell design must be done so that LTE Rel. 8 UE get the required quality at cell-edges, so applying transmit diversity to the control channels cannot contribute to increasing the coverage area, but only to reducing the transmission power required.

Monday, 21 March 2011

A quick primer on Coordinated Multi-point (CoMP) Technology

From NTT Docomo Technical Journal:

CoMP is a technology which sends and receives signals from multiple sectors or cells to a given UE. By coordinating transmission among multiple cells, interference from other cells can be reduced and the power of the desired signal can be increased.

Coordinated Multi-point Transmission/Reception:

The implementation of intracell/inter-cell orthogonalization on the uplink and downlink in LTE Rel. 8 contributed to meeting the requirements of capacity and cell-edge user throughput. On the downlink, simultaneously connected UE are orthogonalized in the frequency domain. On the other hand, they are orthogonalized on the uplink, in the frequency domain as well as the code domain, using cyclic shift and block spreading. It is possible to apply fractional frequency reuse (A control method which assigns different frequency ranges for cell-edge UE) to control interference between cells semi-statically, but this is done based on randomization in LTE Rel. 8. Because of this, we are planning to study CoMP technology, which performs signal processing for coordinated transmission and reception by multiple cells to one or more UE, as a technology for Rel. 11 and later in order to extend the intracell/ inter-cell orthogonalization in LTE Rel. 8 to operate between cells.


Independent eNode B and Remote Base Station Configurations:

There are two ways to implement CoMP technology: autonomous distributed control based on an independent eNode B configuration, or centralized control based on Remote Radio Equipment (RRE) (Figure 7). With an independent eNode B configuration, signaling over wired transmission paths is used between eNode B to coordinate among cells. Signaling over wired transmission paths can be done with a regular cell configuration, but signaling delay and overhead become issues, and ways to increase signaling speed or perform high-speed signaling via UE need study. With RRE configurations, multiple RREs are connected via an optical fiber carrying a baseband signal between cells and the central eNode B, which performs the baseband signal processing and control, so the radio resources between the cells can be controlled at the central eNode B. In other words, signaling delay and overhead between eNode B, which are issues in independent eNode B configurations, are small in this case, and control of high speed radio resources between cells is relatively easy. However, high capacity optical fiber is required, and as the number of RRE increases, the processing load on the central eNode B increases, so there are limits on how this can be applied. For these reasons, it is important to use both distributed control based on independent eNode B configurations and centralized control based on RRE configurations as appropriate, and both are being studied in preparation for LTE-Advanced.

Downlink Coordinated Multi-point Transmission:

Downlink coordinated multi-point transmission can be divided into two categories: Coordinated Scheduling/ Coordinated Beamforming (CS/CB), and joint processing (Figure 8). With CS/CB, a given subframe is transmitted from one cell to a given UE, as shown in Fig. 8 (a), and coordinated beamforming and scheduling is done between cells to reduce the interference caused to other cells. On the other hand, for joint processing, as shown in Fig. 8 (b-1) and (b-2), joint transmission by multiple cells to a given UE, in which they transmit at the same time using the same time and frequency radio resources, and dynamic cell selection, in which cells can be selected at any time in consideration of interference, are being studied. For joint transmission, two methods are being studied: non-coherent transmission, which uses soft-combining reception of the OFDM signal; and coherent transmission, which does precoding between cells and uses in-phase combining at the receiver.

Uplink Multi-cell Reception:

With uplink multi-cell reception, the signal from a UE is received by multiple cells and combined. In contrast to the downlink, the UE does not need to be aware of whether multi-cell reception is occurring, so it should have little impact on the radio interface specifications.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

ETWS detailed in LTE and UMTS

Its been couple of years since the introductory post on 3GPP Earthquake and Tsunami Warning service (ETWS). The following is more detailed post on ETWS from the NTT Docomo technical journal.

3GPP Release 8 accepted the standard technical specification for warning message distribution platform such as Area Mail, which adopts pioneering technology for faster distribution, in order to fulfil the requirements concerning the distribution of emergency information e.g. earthquakes, tsunamis and so on in LTE/EPC. The standard specifies the delivery of emergency information in two levels. The Primary Notification contains the minimum, most urgently required information such as “An earthquake occurred”; the Secondary Notification includes supplementary information not contained in the Primary Notification, such as seismic intensity, epicentre, and so on. This separation allows implementation of excellent information distribution platforms that can achieve the theoretically fastest speed of the warning distribution.

The purpose of the ETWS is to broadcast emergency information such as earthquake warnings provided by a local or national governments to many mobile terminals as quickly as possible by making use of the characteristic of the widespread mobile communication networks.

The ETWS, in the same way as Area Mail, detects the initial slight tremor of an earthquake, the Primary Wave (P wave - The first tremor of an earthquake to arrive at a location), and sends a warning message that an earthquake is about to happen to the mobile terminals in the affected area. ETWS can deliver the first notification to mobile terminals in the shortest theoretical time possible in a mobile communication system (about four seconds after receiving the emergency information from the local or national government), which is specified as a requirement by 3GPP.

The biggest difference between Area Mail and the ETWS is the disaster notification method (Figure 1). Earthquake warnings in Area Mail have a fixed-length message configuration that notifies of an earthquake. ETWS, on the other hand, achieves distribution of the highest priority information in the shortest time by separating out the minimum information that is needed with the most urgency, such as “Earthquake about to happen,” for the fastest possible distribution as a Primary Notification; other supplementary information (seismic intensity, epicentre, etc.) is then distributed in a Secondary Notification. This distinction thus implements a flexible information distribution platform that prioritizes information distribution according to urgency.

The Primary Notification contains only simple patterned disaster information, such as “Earthquake.” When a mobile terminal receives a Primary Notification, it produces a pre-set alert sound and displays pre-determined text on the screen according to the message content to notify users of the danger. The types of disaster that a Primary Notification can inform about are specified as “Earthquake,” “Tsunami,” “Tsunami + Earthquake,” “Test” and “Other,” regardless of the type of radio access.

The Secondary Notification contains the same kind of message as does the existing Area Mail service, which is, for example, textual information distributed from the network to the mobile terminal to inform of the epicentre, seismic intensity and other such information. That message also contains, in addition to text, a Message Identifier and Serial Number that identifies the type of disaster.

A major feature of the ETWS is compatibility with international roaming. Through standardization, mobile terminals that can receive ETWS can receive local emergency information when in other countries if the local network provides the ETWS service. These services are provided in a manner that is common to all types of radio access (3G, LTE, etc.).

Network Architecture

The ETWS platform is designed based on the Cell Broadcast Service (CBS). The ETWS network architecture is shown in Figure 2. Fig. 2 also shows the architecture for 3G network to highlight the features differences between LTE and 3G.

In the ETWS architecture for 3G, a Cell Broadcast Centre (CBC), which is the information distribution server, is directly connected to the 3G Radio Network Controller (RNC). The CBC is also connected to the Cell Broadcast Entity (CBE), which distributes information from the Meteorological Agency and other such sources.

In an LTE radio access network, however, the eNodeB (eNB) is directly connected to the core network, and eNB does not have a centralized radio control function as the one provided by the RNC of 3G. Accordingly, if the same network configuration as used for 3G were to be adopted, the number of eNB connected to the CBC would increase and add to the load on the CBC. To overcome that issue, ETWS for LTE adopts a hierarchical architecture in which the CBC is connected to a Mobility Management Entity (MME).

The MME, which acts as a concentrator node, is connected to a number of eNBs. This architecture gives advantages to the network, such as reducing the load in the CBC and reducing the processing time, and, thus preventing delay in distribution.

Message Distribution Area

In the 3G ETWS and Area Mail systems, the distribution area can be specified only in cell units, which creates the issue of huge distribution area database in CBC. In LTE ETWS, however, the distribution area is specified in three different granularities (Figure 3). This allows the operator to perform area planning according to the characteristic of the warning/emergency occasions, e.g. notice of an earthquake with a certain magnitude needs to be distributed in a certain width of area, thus allowing efficient and more flexible broadcast of the warning message.

1) Cell Level Distribution Area: The CBC designates the cell-level distribution areas by sending a list of cell IDs. The emergency information is broadcasted only to the designated cells. Although this area designation has the advantage of being able to pinpoint broadcast distribution to particular areas, it necessitates a large processing load in the network node (CBC, MME and eNB) especially when the list is long.

2) TA Level Distribution Area: In this case, the distribution area is designated as a list of Tracking Area Identities (TAIs). TAI is an identifier of a Tracking Area (TA), which is an LTE mobility management area. The warning message broadcast goes out to all of the cells in the TAIs. This area designation has the advantage of less processing load when the warning message has to be broadcast to relatively wide areas.

3) EA Level Distribution Area: The Emergency Area (EA) can be freely defined by the operator. An EA ID can be assigned to each cell, and the warning message can be broadcasted to the relevant EA only. The EA can be larger than a cell and is independent of the TA. EA is a unit of mobility management. EA thus allows flexible design for optimization of the distribution area for the affected area according to the type of disaster.




Message Distribution

The method of distributing emergency information to LTE radio networks is shown in Figure 4. When the CBC receives a request for emergency information distribution from CBE, it creates the text to be sent to the terminals and specifies the distribution area from the information in the request message (Fig. 4 (1) (2)).

Next, the CBC sends a Write-Replace Warning Request message to the MME of the specified area. This message contains information such as disaster type, warning message text, message distribution area, Primary Notification information, etc. (Fig. 4 (3)). When the MME receives this message, it sends a response message to the CBC to notify that the message was correctly received. The CBC then notifies the CBE that the distribution request was received and the processing has begun (Fig. 4 (4) (5)). At the same time, the MME checks the distribution area information in the received message (Fig. 4 (6)) and, if a TAI list is included, it sends the Write-Replace Warning Request message only to the eNB that belong to the TAI in the list (Fig. 4 (7)). If the TAI list is not included, the message is sent to all of the eNB to which the MME is connected.

When the eNB receives the Write-Replace Warning Request message from the MME, it determines the message distribution area based on the information included in the Write-Replace Warning Request message (Fig. 4 (8)) and starts the broadcast (Fig. 4 (9) (10)). The following describes how the eNB processes each of the specified information elements.

1) Disaster Type Information (Message Identifier/Serial Number): If an on-going broadcast of a warning message exists, this information is used by the eNB to decide whether it shall discard the newly received message or overwrite the ongoing warning message broadcast with the newly received one. Specifically, if the received request message has the same type as the message currently being broadcasted, the received request message is discarded. If the type is different from the message currently being broadcast, the received request message shall overwrite the ongoing broadcast message and the new warning message is immediately broadcasted.

2) Message Distribution Area (Warning Area List): When a list of cells has been specified as the distribution area, the eNB scans the list for cells that it serves and starts warning message broadcast to those cells. If the message distribution area is a list of TAIs, the eNB scans the list for TAIs that it serves and starts the broadcast to the cells included in those TAIs. In the same way, if the distribution area is specified as an EA (or list of EAs), the eNB scans the EA ID list for EA IDs that it serves and starts the broadcast to the cells included in the EA ID.

If the received Write-Replace Warning Request message does not contain distribution area information, the eNB broadcasts the warning message to all of the cells it serves.

3) Primary Notification Information: If Primary Notification information indication exists, that information is mapped to a radio channel that is defined for the broadcast of Primary Notification.

4) Message Text: The eNB determines whether or not there is message text and thus whether or not a Secondary Notification needs to be broadcasted. If message text exists, that text is mapped to a radio channel that is defined for the broadcast of Secondary Notification. The Secondary Notification is broadcast according to the transmission intervals and number of transmissions specified by the CBC. Upon the completion of a broadcast, the eNB returns the result to the MME (Fig. 4 (11)).


Radio Function Specifications

Overview : In the previous Area Mail service, only mobile terminals in the standby state (RRC_IDLE) could receive emergency information, but in ETWS, emergency information can be received also by mobile terminals in the connected state (RRC_CONNECTED), and hence the information can be delivered to a broader range of users. In LTE, when delivering emergency information to mobile terminals, the eNB sends a bit in the paging message to notify that emergency information is to be sent (ETWS indication), and sends the emergency information itself as system information broadcast. In 3G, on the other hand, the emergency information is sent through the paging message and CBS messages.

Message Distribution method for LTE: When the eNB begins transmission of the emergency information, a paging message in which the ETWS indication is set is sent to the mobile terminal. ETWS-compatible terminals, whether in standby or connected, try to receive a paging message at least once per default paging cycle, whose value is specified by the system information broadcast and can be set to 320 ms, 640 ms, 1.28 s or 2.56 s according to the 3GPP specifications. If a paging message that contains an ETWS indication is received, the terminal begins receiving the system information broadcast that contains the emergency information. The paging message that has the ETWS indication set is sent out repeatedly at every paging opportunity, thus increasing the reception probability at the mobile terminal.

The ETWS message itself is sent as system information broadcast. Specifically, the Primary Notification is sent as the Warning Type in System Information Block Type 10 (SIB10) and the Secondary Notification is sent as a Warning Message in SIB11. By repeated sending of SIB10 and SIB11 (at an interval that can be set to 80 ms, 160 ms, 320 ms, 640 ms, 1.28 s, 2.56 s, or 5.12 s according to the 3GPP specifications), the probability of the information being received at the residing mobile terminal can be increased. In addition, the SIB10 and SIB11 scheduling information is included in SIB1 issued at 80-ms intervals, so mobile terminals that receive the ETWS indication try to receive SIB10 and SIB11 after first having received the SIB1. By checking the disaster type information (Message Identifier and Serial Number) contained in SIB10 and SIB11, the mobile terminal can prevent the receiving of multiple messages that contain the same emergency information.

3G Message Distribution Method: For faster information delivery and increased range of target uers in 3G also, the CBS message distribution control used in Area Mail was enhanced. An overview of the 3G radio system is shown in Figure 5.

In the Area Mail system, a Common Traffic Channel (CTCH) logical channel is set up in the radio link, and emergency information distribution is implemented by sending CBS messages over that channel. To inform the mobile terminals that the CTCH logical channel has been set up, the RNC orders the base station (BTS) to set the CTCH Indicator information element in the system information broadcast to TRUE, and transmits the paging message indicating a change in the system information broadcast to the mobile terminals. When the mobile terminal receives the CTCH Indicator, it begins monitoring the CTCH logical channel and can receive CBS messages.

In ETWS, by including the Warning Type in the paging message indicating a change in the system information broadcast, processing for a pop-up display and alert sound processing (Primary Notification) at the mobile terminals according to the Warning Type can be executed in parallel to the processing at the mobile terminals to start receiving the CBS messages. This enhancement allows users whose terminals are in the connected state (RRC_CONNECTED) to also receive emergency information. In the previous system, it was not possible for these users to receive emergency information. Also including disaster type information (Message Identifier and Serial Number) in this paging message makes it possible to prevent receiving multiple messages containing the same emergency information at the mobile terminal.

More detailed information (Secondary Notification) is provided in CBS messages in the same way as in the conventional Area Mail system, thus achieving an architecture that is common to ETWS users and Area Mail users.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB): A Quick Primer

I have explained CSFB with basic signalling here and there is a very interesting Ericsson whitepaper explaining all Voice issues in LTE here.

The following CSFB details have been taken from NTT Docomo Technical Journal:

The basic concept of CS Fallback is shown in Figure 1. Given a mobile terminal camping on LTE, a mobile terminating voice call arrives at the terminal from the existing CS domain via EPC. On receiving a paging message, the mobile terminal recognises that the network is calling the mobile terminal for CS-based voice and therefore switches to 3G. The response confirming the acceptance of a call request is then sent from the mobile terminal to the 3G-CS system, and from that point on, all call control for the voice service is performed on the 3G side.

The CS Fallback consists of a function to notify a mobile terminal of a call request from the CS domain and combined mobility management functions between CS domain and EPC for that
purpose. The network architecture of CS Fallback is shown in Figure 2.


One of the remarkable characteristics of the EPC supporting CS Fallback is that it connects the Mobile Switching Center (MSC) and Visited Location Register (VLR) in the 3G CS domain
with the Mobility Management Entity (MME), which provides EPC mobility management functionality. The interface connecting MSC/VLR and MME is called an SGs reference point. This
interface is based on the concept of the Gs reference point that exchanges signalling with MSC, which connects to the Serving General Packet Radio Service Support Node (SGSN), a 3G
packet switch. The SGs provides nearly all the functions provided by the existing Gs.

The CS Fallback function uses this SGs reference point to transfer the mobile terminating call requests from the CS domain to LTE. It also provides combined mobility management
between the 3G CS domain and the EPC to enable this transfer to take place.


Combined Mobility Management between CS Domain and EPC Network:

A mobile communications network must always know where a mobile terminal is located to deliver mobile terminating service requests to the mobile user on the mobile terminating side. The procedure for determining terminal location is called “mobility management". As a basic function of mobile communications, 3G and LTE each provide a mobility management function.

To complete a call using the CS Fallback function, the CS domain needs to know which LTE location registration area the mobile terminal is currently camping on. To this end, the MME must correlate mobility management control of the CS domain with that of EPC and inform MSC/VLR that the mobile terminal is present in an LTE location registration area.

The 3G core network already incorporates a function for linking mobility management of the CS domain with that of the Packet Switched (PS) domain providing packet-switching functions. As described above, the CS domain and PS domain functions are provided via separate switches. Thus, if combined mobility management can be used, the mobility management procedure for the terminal only needs to be performed once, which has the effect of reducing signal traffic in the network. This concept of combined mobility management is appropriated by the CS Fallback function. Specifically, MSC/VLR uses the same logic for receiving a location registration request from SGSN as that for receiving a location registration request from MME. This achieves a more efficient combined mobility management between the CS domain and EPC while reducing the development impact on MSC.

As described above, a mobile terminal using LTE cannot use 3G at the same time. This implies that the MME, which contains the LTE location registration area (Tracking Area (TA)), is unable to identify which MSC/VLR it should send the mobility management messages to from the TA alone. To solve this problem, the mapping of TAs and 3G Location Areas (LA) within MME has been adopted. The concept behind TA/LA mapping is shown in Figure 3. Here, MME stores a database that manages the correspondence between physically overlapping TAs and LAs. This information is used to determine which MSC/VLR to target for location registration.

The combined TA/LA update procedure for CS fallback is shown in detail in Figure 4. First, the mobile terminal sends to the MME a Tracking Area Update (TAU) request message indicating a combined TAU and the current TA in which the mobile terminal is currently present (Fig. 4 (1)). The MME then performs a location update procedure towards Home Subscriber Server (HSS), which is a database used for managing subscriber profiles (Fig. 4 (2)). Next, the MME uses the TA/LA correspondence database to identify the corresponding LA and the MSC/VLR that is managing that area, and uses the SGs reference point to send a Location Area Update (LAU) request message to the MSC/VLR together with the LA so identified (Fig. 4 (3)). The MSC/VLR that receives the LAU request message stores the correspondence between the ID of the MME originating the request and an ID such as the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) that identifies the subscriber (Fig. 4 (4)). This enables the MSC/VLR to know which MME the mobile terminal is currently connected to and that the mobile terminal is camping on LTE. Following this, the MSC/VLR performs a location registration procedure with the HSS (Fig. 4 (5)). Finally, the MSC/VLR informs the MME of temporary user identity (Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI)), which is used at the time of a mobile terminating call in the CS domain, and indicates that location registration has been completed. The MME then informs the mobile terminal of the TMSI and of the LA that the mobile terminal has been registered with thereby completing combined location registration (Fig. 4 (6) (7)).

CS Fallback Call Control Procedures - Mobile Originating Call:


To originate a voice call using the CS Fallback function, a mobile terminal in the LTE location registration area must first switch (fall back) to 3G. The mobile-originating voice call procedure is shown in Figure 5. To originate a call, the mobile terminal begins by sending a CS fallback service request message to the MME (Fig. 5 (1)). Since a packet-communications transmission path (bearer) must always exist in EPC for the purpose of providing an always-on connection, the bearer also has to be handed over to 3G. To accomplish this, the MME issues a handover command to the mobile terminal in LTE and initiates a handover procedure (Fig. 5 (2)). The mobile terminal changes its radio from LTE to 3G during this procedure (Fig. 5 (3)). On completion of handover, the mobile terminal issues an originating request for voice service to the MSC/VLR. A voice-call connection is then established using an existing calloriginating procedure on 3G and the CS Fallback procedure is completed (Fig. 5(4)).

CS Fallback Call Control Procedures - Mobile Terminating Call:

The mobile terminating voice call procedure using CS Fallback is shown in Figure 6. When the MSC/VLR receives a message indicating the occurrence of a mobile terminating call (Fig. 6 (1)), the MSC/VLR identifies the corresponding MME from the call information received (Fig. 6 (2)). Then, the MSC/VLR sends a paging message (Fig. 6 (3)) towards the MME. Next, the MME sends a paging message to the mobile terminal in LTE (Fig. 6 (4)). This paging message includes an indication that the call is a CS service, and on identifying the call as such, the mobile terminal sends a CS fallback service request signal to the MME (Fig. 6 (5)). Following this, a handover procedure to 3G as described above takes place (Fig. 6 (6), (7)). The mobile terminal that is now switched to 3G sends a paging response message to the MSC/VLR at which it is registered (Fig. 6 (8)). Finally, an existing mobile terminating call procedure on 3G is executed and the CS Fallback procedure is completed (Fig. 6 (9)).