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Showing posts with label UMTS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UMTS. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Taking 5G from vision to reality

This presentation by Moray Rumney of Agilent (Keysight) in Cambridge Wireless, Future of Wireless International conference takes a different angle at what the targets for different technologies have been and based on that what should be the targets for 5G. In fact he has an opinion on M2M and Public safety as well and tries to combine it with 5G. Unfortunately I wasnt at this presentation but from having heard Moray speak in past, I am sure it was a thought provoking presentation.



All presentations from the Future of Wireless International Conference (FWIC) are available here.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Multi-RAT mobile backhaul for Het-Nets

Recently got another opportunity to hear from Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect, Network Strategy, EE. His earlier presentation from our Cambridge Wireless event is here. There were many interesting bits in this presentation and some of the ones I found interesting is as follows:

Interesting to see in the above that the LTE traffic in the backhaul is separated by the QCI (QoS Class Identifiers - see here) as opposed to the 2G/3G traffic.




This is EE's implementation. As you may notice 2G and 4G use SRAN (Single RAN) while 3G is separate. As I mentioned a few times, I think 3G networks will probably be switched off before the 2G networks, mainly because there are a lot more 2G M2M devices that requires little data to be sent and not consume lots of energy (which is an issue in 3G), so this architecture may be suited well.


Finally, a practical network implementation which looks different from the text book picture and the often touted 'flat' architecture. Andy did mention that they see a ping latency of 30-50ms in the LTE network as opposed to around 100ms in the UMTS networks.


Mark Gilmour was able to prove this point practically.

Here is the complete presentation:



Thursday, 14 February 2013

Scalable UMTS (S-UMTS) to accelerate GSM Refarming


Looks like a good idea from LTE will possibly be applied to UMTS/HSPA and it will also help accelerate the re-farming of GSM spectrum. A recent presentation from Qualcomm below:



Available to download from here.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Fast Dormancy Timings

Nearly a year and half back, I posted a blog about Fast Dormancy here. This issue has surely been fixed in most of the devices and the networks are able to handle the issue even if the handsets have not been fixed. I found an interesting table in a Huawei journal that shows the timings used by different devices that are being reproduced for people who may be interested.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Redirection, Reselection, Handovers and other Inter-RAT combinations in LTE


Another one from Qualcomm's 4G World presentation. You can see the number of scenarios that would have to be taken into account for; this was one of the reasons I believed SVLTE may be a good choice.

Related posts:


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

CELL_FACH to LTE Mobility

At the moment, transition from RRC states from UMTS to LTE can happen from CELL_DCH to E-UTRA_RRC_CONNECTED state via Handover or from UTRA_IDLE to E-UTRA_RRC_IDLE via Cell Reselection. There is a study ongoing to transition from CELL_FACH to LTE. The state has not been specified but my guess is that it would probably be E-UTRA_RRC_CONNECTED. The following is the reasoning based on RP-111208:

It is our understanding that some of the Cell_FACH enhancement proposals for Release 11 are targeted to make it more attractive to keep UEs longer in the Cell_FACH state than is expected with pre-Rel-11 devices. This expectation that the UEs may stay longer in the Cell_FACH state is in turn motivating the mobility from Cell_FACH state to LTE proposal.

For instance, as the network can already today release the Cell_FACH UE’s RRC Connection with redirection, network may want to redirect UE to the correct RAT and frequency based on the UE measurement. Specifically if the network strategy is to keep the UEs long time in Cell_FACH state, it would make sense to provide the network the tools to manage the UEs’ mobility in that state. In addition, the needs for mobility to LTE are somewhat different from mobility to e.g. GERAN, as the former would be typically priority based while the latter would happen for coverage reasons. Thus, if introduced, the network controlled mobility from UMTS Cell_FACH would be specifically interesting for the UMTS to LTE case.


Will update once I have more info.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Network Mode of Operation (NMO)

Picture Source: Tektronix

The Network Mode of Operation (NMO) is also sometimes referred to as Network Operation Mode (NOM). The Network Modes have different values and interpretation in UTRAN and GERAN

In both the cases the Operation modes is decided based on the Gs interface between the CS CN (core network) a.k.a. MSC and the PS CN a.k.a. SGSN

In UTRAN:

Network Operation Mode I (NMO-I) is used when the Gs interface is present. In this case during the registration a Combined Attach (includes GPRS Attach & IMSI Attach procedures) procedure can be performed. A GMM Attach Request message with the attach type set to Combined Attach is used. Upon completion of this procedure, MM Status is IMSI Attached and GMM State is Attached.

In Network Operation Mode II (NMO-II) the GS Interface is not present. So the GMM attach procedure and the IMSI Attach (via Location Update) has to be performed seperately. This causes additional signalling.

Basic air interface signalling in case of NMO2 is shown here.


In GERAN:

Network operation mode 1. A network which has the Gs interface implemented is referred to as being in network operation mode 1. CS and PS paging is coordinated in this mode of operation on either the GPRS or the GSM paging channel. If the mobile device has been assigned a data traffic channel then CS paging will take place over this data channel rather than the paging channel (CS or PS).

Network operation mode 2. The Gs interface is not present and there is no GPRS paging channel present. In this case, paging for CS and PS devices will be transferred over the standard GSM common control channel (CCCH) paging channel. Even if the mobile device has been assigned a packet data channel, CS paging will continue to take place over the CCCH paging channel and thus monitoring of this channel is still required.

Network operation mode 3. The Gs interface is not present. CS paging will be transferred over the CCCH paging channel. PS paging will be transferred over the packet CCCH (PCCCH) paging channel, if it exists in the cell. In this case the mobile device needs to monitor both the paging channels.

The GERAN part above is extract from the book Convergence Technologies for 3G Networks.


The Gs interface, has a number of subtle but important advantages:

During an ongoing GPRS / EDGE data transfer (TBF established), mobiles can't detect incoming voice calls and SMS messages as they are focused on receiving packets and thus can not observe the paging channel. In NMO-1, the circuit switched part of the network forwards the paging message to the packet switched side of the network which then forwards the paging message between the user data blocks while a data transfer is ongoing. Mobiles can thus receive the paging message despite the ongoing data transfer, interrupt the session and accept the voice call or SMS.

Location/Routing area updates when moving to a cell in a different location/routing area are performed much faster as the mobile only communicates with the packet switched part of the network. The packet switched network (the SGSN) then forwards the location update to the circuit switched part of the network (to the MSC) which spares the mobile from doing it itself. This is especially important for ongoing data transfers as these are interrupted for a shorter period of time.

Cell reselections from UMTS to GPRS can be executed much faster due to the same effect as described in the previous bullet. Whithout NOM-1 an Inter RAT (Radio Access Technology) cell reselection with Location and Routing Area update requires around 10 to 12 seconds. With NOM-1 the time is reduced to around 5 to 6 seconds. An important difference as this reduces the chance to miss an incoming call during the change of the radio network. Also, ongoing data transfers are interrupted for a shorter time,an additional benefit that should not be underestimated.


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.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

LTE to 3G Handover Procedure and Signalling

It may be worthwhile brushing up the LTE/SAE Interfaces and Architecture before proceeding.

1) Overview of Handover Operation

With EPC, continuous communication is possible, even while the terminal switches from one type of radio access system to another.

Specifically, in order to achieve the internal network path switching required to change radio access systems, the S-GW provides a mobility management anchor function for handover between 3GPP radio access systems, and the P-GW provides the function for handover between 3GPP and non-3GPP radio access systems. In this way, the IP address does not change when the terminal switches radio access systems, and communications can continue after handover.



In handover between the 3GPP radio access systems, LTE and 3G, handover preparation is done before changing systems, including tasks such as securing resources on the target radio access system, through cooperation between the radio access systems (Figure 3 (a)(A)). Then, when the actual switch occurs, only the network path needs to be switched, reducing handover processing time (Fig.3 (a)(B)). Also, loss of data packets that arrive at the pre-switch access point during handover can be avoided using a data forwarding function (Fig.3 (b)).

In this way, through interaction between radio access systems, fast handover without packet loss is possible, even between radio access systems such as LTE and 3G which cannot be used simultaneously.

2) Handover Preparation Procedure (Fig.3 (a)(A))

The handover preparation procedure for switching radio access from LTE to 3G is shown in Figure 4.


Step (1):The terminal sends a radio quality report containing the handover candidate base-stations and other information to the eNodeB. The eNodeB decides whether handover shall be performed based on the information in the report, identifies the base station and RNC to switch to, and begins handover preparation.

Steps (2) to (3): The eNodeB sends a handover required to the MME, sending the RNC identifier and transmission control information for the target radio access system. The MME identifies the SGSN connected to the target RNC based on the received RNC identifier and sends the communication control and other information it received from the eNodeB to the SGSN in a forward relocation request signal. The information required to configure the communications path between the S-GW and SGSN, which is used for data transmission after the MME has completed the handover, is sent at the same time.

Steps (4) to (5): The SGSN forwards the relocation request to the RNC, notifying it of the communications control information transmitted from the eNodeB. The RNC performs the required radio configuration processing based on the received information and sends a relocation response to the SGSN. Note that through this process, a 3G radio access bearer is prepared between the SGSN and RNC.

Step (6): The SGSN sends a forward relocation response to the MME in order to notify it that relocation procedure has completed. This signal also includes data issued by the SSGN and required to configure a communications path from the S-GW to the SGSN, to be used for data forwarding.

Steps (7) to (8): The MME sends a create indirect data forwarding tunnel request to the S-GW, informing it of the information issued by the SSGN that it just received. From the information that the S-GW receives, it establishes a communications path from the S-GW to the SGSN for data forwarding and sends a create indirect data forwarding tunnel response to the MME.

Through this handover preparation, target 3G radio-access resources are readied, the radio access bearer between the SGSN and RNC is configured, and the data forwarding path from the
S-GW to the SGSN configuration is completed.


3) Handover Procedure for Radio Access System Switching (Fig. 3(a)(B)):

The handover process after switching radio access system is shown in Figure 5.



Steps (1) to (2): When the handover preparation described in Fig.4 is completed, the MME sends a handover command to the eNodeB. When it receives this signal, the eNodeB sends a handover from LTE command for the terminal to switch radio systems. Note that when the eNodeB receives the handover command from the MME, it begins forwarding data packets received from the S-GW. Thereafter, packets for the terminal that arrive at the S-GW are forwarded to the terminal by the path: S-GW, eNodeB, S-GW, SGSN, RNC.

Steps (3) to (6): The terminal switches to 3G and when the radio link configuration is completed, notification that it has connected to the 3G radio access system is sent over each of the links through to the MME: from terminal to RNC, from RNC to SGSN, and from SGSN to MME. This way, the MME can perform Step (10) described below to release the eNodeB resources after a set period of time has elapsed.

Step (7): The MME sends a forward relocation complete acknowledgement to the SGSN. A set period of time after receiving this signal, the SGSN releases the resources related to data forwarding.

Step (8): The SGSN sends a modify bearer request to the S-GW to change from the communications path before the handover, between the S-GW and eNodeB, to one between the S-GW and SGSN. This signal contains information elements required to configure the path from S-GW to SGSN, including those issued by the SGSN. When the S-GW receives this signal, it configures a communications path from the S-GW to the SGSN. In this way, the communications path becomes: S-GW, SGSN, RNC, terminal; and data transmission to the target 3G radio access system begins.

Note that after this point, data forwarding is no longer needed, so the S-GW sends a packet to the eNodeB with an “End Marker” attached, and when the eNodeB receives this packet, it releases its resources related to data forwarding.

Steps (9) to (10): The S-GW sends a modify bearer response to the SGSN, indicating that handover procedure has completed. The MME also releases eNodeB resources that are no longer needed.

Through this handover procedure, data is forwarded during the handover, the switch of radio access bearer is completed, and the communications path from the P-GW to the terminal is updated.

In the examples above, we described the handover procedure between 3GPP radio access systems in which the S-GW did not change, but handovers with S-GW relocation are also possible. In these cases, the P-GW provides the anchor function for path switching, as with switches to non-3GPP access systems.

TERMS

Anchor function: A function which switches the communications path according to the area where the terminal is located, and forwards packets for the terminal to that area.

Relocation: Switching communications equipment such as area switches during communication.


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

UMTS-LTE in 3.5GHz

There are two new bands: 3.4-3.6 GHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz decided for Broadband Wireless Access, which are already widely available for licensing in Europe. These bands have earlier been allocated to the Fixed Service on a primary basis in Region 1. Furthermore, the 3.4-3.6 GHz band was allocated to the mobile service on a primary basis and identified for IMT at WRC 07.

These bands constitute a substantial amount of spectrum that will be available in many countries in the short term. In Europe (Region 1) both bands can be used so block sizes could be large for any duplex arrangement.

The UMTS-LTE 3500 MHz Technical Report (3GPP TR 37.801) is already available as a study of current plans in the frequency bands 3.4-3.6 GHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz for UMTS and LTE systems. Specification work is due for first publication in March 2011 (TSG#51), with a series of specifications updated or being created.

The technical report is embedded below:

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Packet Flow in 2.5G, 3G, 3.5G and 4G




The 'LTE Signaling' is a very interesting book just being released that is a must have for people who are involved in design, development and testing. A book that explains the basic concepts from beginning till advanced concepts and explains how different components and interfaces fit together.

Though I havent yet read this book, I have read the earlier one titled UMTS Signaling, from the same authors that is an excellent reference for understanding Signalling in UMTS. I have no doubt that this book will be the same high quality.

The Excerpt on Wiley's website provides complete chapter 1 which is quite detailed and the Packet flow pictures and details below is extracted from this book.
The first stage of the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), that is often referred to as the 2.5G network, was deployed in live networks starting after the year 2000. It was basically a system that offered a model of how radio resources (in this case, GSM time slots) that had not been used by Circuit Switched (CS) voice calls could be used for data transmission and, hence, profitability of the network could be enhanced. At the beginning there was no pre-emption for PS (Packet Switched) services, which meant that the packet data needed to wait to be transmitted until CS calls had been finished.

In contrast to the GSM CS calls that had a Dedicated Traffic Channel (DTCH) assigned on the radio interface, the PS data had no access to dedicated radio resources and PS signaling, and the payload was transmitted in unidirectional Temporary Block Flows (TBFs) as shown in Figure 1.2.

In Release 99, when a PDP (Packet Data Protocol) context is activated the UE is ordered by the RNC (Radio Network Controller) to enter the Radio Resource Control (RRC) CELL_DCH state. Dedicated resources are assigned by the Serving Radio Network Controller (SRNC): these are the dedicated physical channels established on the radio interface. Those channels are used for transmission of both IP payload and RRC signaling – see Figure 1.7. RRC signaling includes the exchange of Non-Access Stratum (NAS) messages between the UE and SGSN.

The spreading factor of the radio bearer (as the combination of several physical transport resources on the Air and Iub interfaces is called) depends on the expected UL/DL IP throughput. The expected data transfer rate can be found in the RANAP (Radio Access Network Application Part) part of the Radio Access Bearer (RAB) assignment request message that is used to establish the Iu bearer, a GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) tunnel for transmission of a IP payload on the IuPS interface between SRNC and SGSN. While the spreading factor controls the bandwidth of the radio connection, a sophisticated power control algorithm guarantees the necessary quality of the radio transmission. For instance, this power control ensures that the number of retransmitted frames does not exceed a certain critical threshold.

Activation of PDP context results also in the establishment of another GTP tunnel on the Gn interface between SGSN and GGSN. In contrast to IuPS, where tunnel management is a task of RANAP, on the Gn interface – as in (E)GPRS – the GPRS Tunneling Protocol – Control (GTP-C) is responsible for context (or tunnel) activation, modification, and deletion.

However, in Release 99 the maximum possible bit rate is still limited to 384 kbps for a single connection and, more dramatically, the number of users per cell that can be served by this highest possible bit rate is very limited (only four simultaneous 384 kbps connections per cell are possible on the DL due to the shortness of DL spreading codes).

To increase the maximum possible bit rate per cell as well as for the individual user, HSPA was defined in Releases 5 and 6 of 3GPP.

In High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) the High-Speed Downlink Shared Channel (HSDSCH) which bundles several High-Speed Physical Downlink Shared Channels (HS-PDSCHs) is used by several UEs simultaneously – that is why it is called a shared channel.

A single UE using HSDPA works in the RRC CELL_DCH state. For DL payload transport the HSDSCH is used, that is, mapped onto the HS-PDSCH. The UL IP payload is still transferred using a dedicated physical data channel (and appropriate Iub transport bearer); in addition, the RRC signaling is exchanged between the UE and RNC using the dedicated channels – see Figure 1.8.

All these channels have to be set up and (re)configured during the call. In all these cases both parties of the radio connection, cell and UE, have to be informed about the required changes. While communication between NodeB (cell) and CRNC (Controlling Radio NetworkController) uses NBAP (Node B Application Part), the connection between the UE and SRNC (physically the same RNC unit, but different protocol entity) uses the RRC protocol.

The big advantage of using a shared channel is higher efficiency in the usage of available radio resources. There is no limitation due to the availability of codes and the individual data rate assigned to a UE can be adjusted quicker to the real needs. The only limitation is the availability of processing resources (represented by channel card elements) and buffer memory in the base station.

From the user plane QoS perspective the two major targets of LTE are:
• a further increase in the available bandwidth and maximum data rate per cell as well as for the individual subscriber;
• reducing the delays and interruptions in user data transfer to a minimum.

These are the reasons why LTE has an always-on concept in which the radio bearer is set up immediately when a subscriber is attached to the network. And all radio resources provided to subscribers by the E-UTRAN are shared resources, as shown in Figure 1.9. Here it is illustrated that the IP payload as well as RRC and NAS signaling are transmitted on the radio interfaces using unidirectional shared channels, the UL-SCH and the Downlink Shared Channel (DL-SCH). The payload part of this radio connection is called the radio bearer. The radio bearer is the bidirectional point-to-point connection for the user plane between the UE and eNodeB (eNB). The RAB is the user plane connection between the UE and the Serving Gateway (S-GW) and the S5 bearer is the user plane connection between the S-GW and public data network gateway (PDN-GW).

The end-to-end connection between the UE and PDN-GW, that is, the gateway to the IP world outside the operator’s network, is called a PDN connection in the E-UTRAN standard documents and a session in the core network standards. Regardless, the main characteristic of this PDN connection is that the IP payload is transparently tunneled through the core and the radio access network.

To control the tunnels and radio resources a set of control plane connections runs in parallel with the payload transport. On the radio interface RRC and NAS signaling messages are transmitted using the same shared channels and the same RLC transport layer that is used to transport the IP payload.

RRC signaling terminates in the eNB (different from 3G UTRAN where RRC was transparently routed by NodeB to the RNC). The NAS signaling information is – as in 3G UTRAN – simply forwarded to the Mobility Management Entity (MME) and/or UE by the eNB.

You can read in detail about all these things and much more from the Wiley's website here.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

SON for reducing Opex in Legacy Networks

Presented by Stéphane Téral, Principal Analyst, Mobile and FMC Infrastructure, Infonetics Research in the 1st Self-Organizing Networks Conference, 30th Nov and 1st Dec. 2010 at the Waldorf Hilton.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Fast Dormancy in Release-8

Nokia Siemens Networks has collaborated with Qualcomm to carry out the industry’s first successful interoperability test of the new 3GPP standardized Release 8 Fast Dormancy feature. Unlike proprietary approaches to fast dormancy, the new standard allows operators to take full advantage of smart network features such as Cell_PCH without worrying that individual handset settings will ignore network controls.

The test was conducted at Nokia Siemens Networks’ Smart Lab in Dallas using Nokia Siemens Networks’ Flexi Multiradio Base Station and Radio Network Controller and Qualcomm’s QSC7230TM smartphone optimized chipset. The test showed how smartphones can act dynamically, exploiting Cell_PCH on Nokia Siemens Networks’ smart networks or adjusting to Fast Dormancy on other vendors’ traditional networks.

In fact the operators have been getting upset quite for some time because of smartphone hacks that save the UE battery life but cause network signalling congestion. See here.

To explain the problem, lets look at the actual signalling that occurs when the UE is not transmitting anything. Most probably it gets put into CELL_PCH or URA_PCH state. Then when keep alive messages need to be sent then the state is transitioned to CELL_FACH and once done its sent back to CELL_PCH. Now the transitioning back from CELL_FACH (or CELL_DCH) to CELL_PCH can take quite some time, depending on the operator parameters and this wastes the UE battery life.

To get round this problem, the UE manufacturers put a hack in the phone and what they do is that if there no data to transmit for a small amount of time, the UE sends RRC Signalling Connection Release Indication (SCRI) message. This message is supposed to be used in case when something is gone wrong in the UE and the UE wants the network to tear the connection down by sending RRC Connection Release message. Anyway, the network is forced to Release the connection.

If there is another requirement to send another keep alive message (they are needed for lots of apps like Skype, IM's, etc.) the RRC connection would have to be established all over again and this can cause lots of unnecessary signalling for the network causing congestion at peak times.

To speed up the transitioning to CELL_PCH state in Release-8 when the UE sends SCRI message, its supposed to include the cause value as "UE Requested PS Data session end". Once the network receives this cause it should immediately move the UE to CELL_PCH state.

This is a win win situation for both the network and the UE vendors as long as a lot of UE's implement this. The good thing is that even a pre-Rel8 UE can implement this and if the network supports this feature it would work.

GSMA has created a best practices document for this feature which is embedded below.

Further Reading:

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

3GPP Green activities / Energy Saving initiatives


3GPP has been working on Energy saving initiatives for Release-10 and Release-11. Here is a very quick summary of some of these items.

Telecommunication management; Study on Energy Savings Management (ESM)

Most mobile network operators aim at reducing their greenhouse emissions, by several means such as limiting their networks' energy consumption.

In new generation Radio Access Networks such as LTE, Energy Savings Management function takes place especially when mobile network operators want e.g. to reduce Tx power, switch off/on cell, etc. based on measurements made in the network having shown that there is no need to maintain active the full set of NE capabilities.

By initiating this Work Item about Energy Savings Management, 3GPP hopes to contribute to the protection of our environment and the environment of future generations.

The objective of this technical work is to study automated energy savings management features. Usage of existing IRPs is expected as much as possible, e.g. Configuration Management IRP, etc. However, this technical work may identify the need for defining a new IRP.

The following operations may be considered in this study item (but not necessarily limited to):
• Retrieval of energy consumption measurements
• Retrieval of traffic load measurements
• Adjust Network Resources capabilities


OAM aspects of Energy Saving in Radio Networks

There are strong requirements from operators on the management and monitoring of energy saving functions and the evaluation of its impact on the network and service quality. Therefore an efficient and standardized Management of Energy Saving functionality is needed. Coordination with other functionalities like load balancing and optimization functions is also required.

The objectives of this work item are:
• Define Energy Savings Management OAM requirements and solutions for the following use cases,
• eNodeB Overlaid
• Carrier restricted
• Capacity Limited Network
• Define OAM requirements and solutions for coordination of ESM with other functions like
• Self-Optimization
• Self Healing
• Traditional configuration management
• Fault Management
• Select existing measurements which can be used for assessing the impact and effect of Energy Saving actions corresponding to above Energy Saving use cases.
• Define new measurements which are required for assessing the impact and effect of Energy Saving actions, including measurements of the energy consumption corresponding to above Energy Saving use cases.


Study on impacts on UE-Core Network signalling from Energy Saving

Energy Saving (ES) mechanisms are becoming an integral part of radio networks, and consequently, of mobile networks. Strong requirements from operators (for reasons of cost and environmental image) and indirectly from authorities (for the sake of meeting overall international and national targets) have been formulated. With the expected masses of mobile network radio equipment as commodities, in the form of Home NB/eNBs, this aspect becomes even more crucial.

It is necessary to ensure that ES does not lead to service degradation or inefficiencies in the network. In particular:
• the activation status of radio stations (on/off) introduces a new scale of dynamicity for the UE and network;
• mass effects in signalling potentially endanger the network stability and need to be handled properly.

It is unclear whether and how currently defined procedures are able to cope with, and eventually can be optimized for, ES conditions; thus a systematic study is needed.

The study aims, within the defined CT1 work areas, at:
• analysing UE idle mode procedures and UE-Core Network signalling resulting from frequent switch on/off of radio equipment in all 3GPP accesses, including home cell deployment and I-WLAN;
• performing a corresponding analysis for connected mode UEs;
• analysing similar impacts from activation status of non-3GPP access networks;
• documenting limitations, weaknesses and inefficiencies in these procedures, with emphasis on mass effects in the UE-Core Network signalling;
• studying potential optimizations and enhancements to these procedures;

The study shall also evaluate and give recommendations on potential enhancements to 3GPP specifications (whether and where they are seen necessary).


Study on Solutions for Energy Saving within UTRA Node B

Due to the need to reduce energy consumption within operators’ networks, and considering the large amount of UMTS network equipment deployed in the field around the world, the standardisation of methods to save energy in UMTS Node Bs is seen as an important area of study for 3GPP.There has not been a large amount of focus on energy-saving in UMTS networks so far in 3GPP, although some solutions have been agreed in Release 9. Therefore it is proposed to start an initial study phase to identify solutions and perform any initial evaluation, such that a subset of these proposals can be used as the basis for further investigation of their feasibility.

The objective is to do an initial study to identify potential solutions to enable energy saving within UMTS Node-Bs, and do light initial evaluation of the proposed solutions, with the aim that a subset of them can be taken forward for further investigation as part of a more focused study in 3GPP.

The solutions identified in this study item should consider the following aspects:
• Impacts on the time for legacy and new UEs to gain access to service from the Node B
• Impacts on legacy and new terminals (e.g. power consumption, mobility)

Some initial indication of these aspects in relation to the proposed solutions should be provided.


Study on Network Energy Saving for E-UTRAN

The power efficiency in the infrastructure and terminal should be an essential part of the cost-related requirements in LTE-A. There is a strong need to investigate possible network energy saving mechanisms to reduce CO2 emission and OPEX of operators.

Although some solutions have been proposed and part of them have been agreed in Release-9, there has not been a large amount of attention on energy saving for E-UTRAN so far. Many potential solutions are not fully shown and discussed yet. Therefore, it is proposed to start an initial study phase to identify solutions, evaluate their gains and impacts on specifications.

The following use cases will be considered in this study item:
• Intra-eNB energy saving
• Inter-eNB energy saving
• Inter-RAT energy saving

Intra-eNB energy saving, in EUTRAN network, a single cell can operate in energy saving mode when the resource utilization is sufficiently low. In this case, the reduction of energy consumption will be mainly based on traffic monitoring with regard to QoS and coverage assurance.

A lot of work on Inter-eNB energy saving has already been done for both LTE and UTRA in Rel-9. This Study Item will investigate additional aspects (if any) on top of what was already agreed for R9.

Inter-RAT energy saving, in this use case, legacy networks, i.e. GERAN and UTRAN, provide radio coverage together with E-UTRAN. For example E-UTRAN Cell A is totally covered by UTRAN Cell B. Cell B is deployed to provide basic coverage of the voice or medium/low-speed data services in the area, while Cell A enhances the capability of the area to support high-speed data services. Then the energy saving procedure can be enabled based on the interaction of E-UTRAN and UTRAN system.

The objective of this study item is to identify potential solutions for energy saving in E-UTRAN and perform initial evaluation of the proposed solutions, so that a subset of them can be used as the basis for further investigation and standardization.

Energy saving solutions identified in this study item should be justified by valid scenario(s), and based on cell/network load situation. Impacts on legacy and new terminals when introducing an energy saving solution should be carefully considered. The scope of the study item shall be as follows:
• User accessibility should be guaranteed when a cell transfers to energy saving mode
• Backward compatibility shall be ensured and the ability to provide energy saving for Rel-10 network deployment that serves a number of legacy UEs should be considered
• Solutions shall not impact the Uu physical layer
• The solutions should not impact negatively the UE power consumption

RAN2 will focus on the Intra-eNB energy saving, while RAN3 will work on Inter-RAT energy saving and potential additional Inter-eNB energy saving technology.


Study on Solutions for GSM/EDGE BTS Energy Saving

There has not been a large amount of focus on energy-saving in GSM/EDGE networks so far in 3GPP, although some solutions have been agreed in previous Releases, notably MCBTS. Therefore it is proposed to start an initial study phase to identify solutions and perform any initial evaluation, such that a subset of these proposals can be used as the basis for further investigation of their feasibility.

The objective is to study potential solutions to enable energy saving within the BTS (including MCBTS and MSR), and evaluate each proposed solutions in detail. These potential solutions shall focus on the following specific aspects
• Reduction of Power on the BCCH carrier (potentially enabling dynamic adjustment of BCCH power)
• Reduction of power on DL common control channels
• Reduction of power on DL channels in dedicated mode, DTM and packet transfer mode
• Deactivation of cells (e.g. Cell Power Down and Cell DTX like concepts as discussed in RAN)
• Deactivation of other RATs in areas with multi-RAT deployments, for example, where the mobile station could assist the network to suspend/minimise specific in-use RATs at specific times of day
• And any other radio interface impacted power reduction solutions.

The solutions identified in this study item shall also consider the following aspects:
• Impacts on the time for legacy and new mobile stations to gain access to service from the BTS
• Impacts on legacy and new mobile stations to keep the ongoing service (without increasing drop rate)
• Impacts on legacy and new mobile stations implementation and power consumption, e.g. due to reduction in DL power, cell (re-)selection performance, handover performance, etc.
• Impacts on UL/DL coverage balance, especially to CS voice

Solutions shall be considered for both BTS energy saving non-supporting and supporting mobile stations (i.e. solutions that are non-backwards compatible towards legacy mobile stations shall be out of the scope of this study).

Thursday, 30 September 2010

RF Pattern Matching adopted in 3GPP Release-10

RF Pattern Matching is now a recognized unique location method in standards that provides carriers and OEMs with the ability to offer high accuracy location-based services that traditionally haven’t been available with low-accuracy Cell-ID based technologies. RF Pattern Matching will be incorporated into Release 10 of the 3G UMTS specifications, expected to become final in late 2010 or early 2011. This will also set the stage for opportunities to incorporate RF Pattern Matching into LTE and other future air interfaces.


“The decision to incorporate RF Pattern Matching into the 3G UMTS specifications is needed for all service providers wanting to provide the highest-SLA option for LBS as it gives them more credible options for public safety and commercial applications,” said Manlio Allegra, president and chief executive officer at Polaris Wireless. “This level of LBS accuracy will create an improved user experience for wireless customers, which ultimately generates additional revenue streams for carriers and other enterprises offering LBS applications.”


Polaris WLS™ is a patent-protected implementation of RF Pattern Matching, which provides the best network-based location performance in urban and indoor settings and is a perfect complement to A-GPS, enabling a best-in-class hybrid solution. Polaris’ WLS™ works without the RF Pattern Matching definition in standards, but standardization through 3GPP allows for future performance enhancements and provides flexibility for the solution and carrier implementations. Polaris’s current WLS products will continue to operate within existing standards.


By being included in the 3G UMTS standard, Polaris’ location technology has received further validation as one of the most accurate in the world. Polaris will now be considered a preferred provider to Tier 1 carriers and infrastructure vendors who want to add a high accuracy location solution to their technology mix that meets the new 3GPP standard.


The FCC is currently considering new E911 Phase II regulations that would improve indoor location capabilities for first responders. Using RF Pattern Matching, Polaris’ WLS™ software solution enables carriers and OEMs to be prepared to meet these new FCC requirements with little or no investment in new infrastructure or hardware.

RF Pattern Matching Discussion document presented in 3GPP is embedded below: