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GSM Handover Problems & Solutions

ZTE university

Training goals
To master different types of handover
and their signaling flows;
To master handover statistical signaling
point and MR tasks;
To know common handover problems
and the handling procedures.

Contents
Overview of handover
Flow of handover signaling
Handover statistics
Handover problem analysis

Aims of handovers
Why there are handovers?

To keep calls going on during movement;


To improve network service quality;
To decrease call drop rate;
To decrease congestion rate.

Handover classification
Intra-cell

Inter-MSC

Handover
classification

Inter-BSC

Intra-BSC

Contents
Overview of handover
Flow of handover signaling
Handover statistics
Handover problem analysis

Intra-cell handover

Air

BTS

BSC

TC

Signaling flow of intra-cell handover

Inter-cell handover within one BSC

A ir

A
BTS

BSC

TC

BTS

O ld C e ll / B T S

N e w C e ll / B T S

Signaling flow of inter-cell handover within one BSC

Inter-BSC handover
N e w C e ll / B T S

A ir

B SC

BTS

TC

M SC
BTS

O ld C e ll / B T S

B SC

TC

VLR

Signaling flow of inter-BSC handover

Inter-MSC handover
N e w C e ll / B T S

A ir

BSC

BTS

BTS

O ld C e ll / B T S

B SC

TC

TC

M SC

M SC

VLR

VLR

Basic signaling flow of Inter-MSC handover


MS/BSS-A

BSS-B/MS
MSC-A

A-HO-REQUIRED

MSC-B

MAP-Prep-Handover req.

VLR-B
MAP-Allocate-Handover-Number req.
MAP-Send-Handover-Report req.
MAP-Send-Handover-Report resp.
A-HO-REQUEST

MAP-Prep-Handover resp.

A-HO-REQUEST-ACK

IAM
A-HO-COMMAND

A-CLR-CMD/COM

ACM
MAP-Process-Access-Sig req.

A-HO-DETECT

MAP-Send-End-Signal req.

A-HO-COMPLETE

ANSWER
End of call

RELEASE
MAP-Send-End-Signal resp.

Signaling flow of inter-MSC back-handover


MS/BSS-B

BSS-A/MS
MSC-A

MSC-B

MAP-Prep-Sub-Handover req.

VLR-B
A-HO-REQUIRED

A-HO-REQUEST
A-HO-REQUEST-ACK
MAP-Prep-Sub-Handover resp.

A-HO-COMMAND

MAP-Send-End-Signal resp.

A-CLR-CMD/COM

A-HO-DETECT
A-HO-COMPLETE

Release

Signaling flow of inter-MSC handover to a third MSC


MS/BSS
MSC-B
MSC-A

MSC-B

VLR-B
VLR-B

A-HO-REQUIRED
MAP-Prep-Sub-Handover req.
MAP-Prepare-Handover req.

MAP-Allocate-Handover-Number req.

MAP-Prepare-Handover resp.

MAP-Send-Handover-Report req.

IAM
MAP-Send-Handover-Rep. resp. (1)
ACM
MAP-Prep-Sub-Ho resp.
A-HO-COMMAND
A-HO-DETECT
MAP-Process-Access-Signalling req.
A-HO-COMPLETE
MAP-Send-End-Signal req.
Answer
Release
MAP-Send-End-Signal resp.
A-CLR-CMD/COM
(end of call)
Release
MAP-Send-End-Signal resp.

Basic flow of handover signaling


Inter-cell handover
within BSC

Inter-BSC handover
within MSC

There is no HO-Request message for intra-BSC handover; all


information is analyzed within BSC; Once a target cell in the BSC
fulfilling handover conditions is found, send Channel activation
message directly;

BSC reports CGI and handover cause of original cell and target cell to
MSC through HO-Request;
After MSC finds target cell LAC, it sends HO-Request to the BSC
which the target cell belongs to;
Target BSC activates channel in target cell, and executes the
following flow.

Basic flow of handover signaling

MSC inquires REMOTLAC sheet (including LAC and


route address of adjacent MSC);
Inter-MSC handover

MSC sends Prepare-HO message to the target MSCB according to the route address;
According to the Prepare-HO message, target MSCB requests for Handover number from VLR-B, then sends
HO-Request message to BSC-B;
After the target BSC-B receives HO-Request ACK, it
sends Prepare-HO ACK message to the original
MSC, and executes the following flow.

Main differences between intra-BSC handover and


inter-BSC handover
MSC transmits HO-REQ message,
MSCparticipates
participates
MSC
ornot
not
or

and CGI of original cell and target


cell is carried in the message;
As for inter-BSC handover, MSC

InterInterBSC
BSC
handove
handove
rr

participates in it since HORequest;


As for intra-BSC handover, HOCGIisiscarried
carried
CGI
ornot
not
or

Performed message is sent to MSC


only after the handover is
completed; MSC doesnt participate
before that;
For intra-BSC handover, CGI isnt
carried in any message, its handled
within BSC.

IntraIntraBSC
BSC
handove
handove
rr

Flow of handover algorithm


MS

MSC

UL MR

Intra-MSC
handover

Confirmation of
adjacent cell CGI
Execution of
handover decision
Selection of
target cell
External cell?
No
Channel activation

Yes

Target MSC
HO request

Process of MR

Target BSC
HO request

BA2 sheet

BSC

HO request

BCCH
frequency
point, BSIC
and level
values of
the six
adjacent
cells (with
strongest
level) and
serving cell;

BTS

List of cells
under one LAC

Common timers at BSC


T3107

T3103

Suitable for: intra-cell handover


Start-up: BSC sends assignment
command
Stop counting: when assignment
completed or assignment failure is
received;

Suitable for: inter-cell handover

Start-up: BSC sends handover


command

Stop counting: when handover


completed or handover failure is
received;

T8

T7

Suitable for: inter-BSC handover

Suitable for: inter-BSC handover

Start-up: original BSC sends HORequest to MSC

Stop counting: when handover


command is received from target
BSC (or when theres no idle channel
available in target cell, a HORequest rejected message is
returned.)

Start-up: original BSC receives HO


command from MSC
Stop counting: when clear instruction
command is received from MSC

Contents
Overview of handover
Flow of handover signaling
Handover statistics
Handover problem analysis

Information contained in MR
UL MR
1. DL DTX performance
2. UL receive level/quality
3. BS Power
4. MS power level
5. TA
6. DL dynamic power control

DL MR
1.
UL DTX performance
2.
DL receive level/quality
3.
Adjacent cell level
4.
UL dynamic power control

MR cycle

MR is sent to BTS in SACCH UL direction;


When MS is in SDCCH, MR cycle is 470ms/time;
When MS is in TCH, MR cycle is 480ms/time.

26 multiframes of 4
TCHs

480ms

12TCH

1SACCH

12TCH

1 idle

Indicator definition of handover success rate


KPI name

Handover success rate

Indicator
definition

busy hour number of handover success times /busy hour total


number of handover request times *100%
V6.20 (C900060098+C900060102+C900060120+C900060094
+C900060096)*100/
(C900060097+C900060213+C900060214+C900060215
+C900060099+C900060100+C900060101+C900060216
+C900060119+C900060093+C900060095)

Signaling statistical point of handover success

C900060098

C900060102

BSC-controlled inter-cell incoming handover success

C900060120

Intra-cell handover success

MSC-controlled incoming handover success

C900060097

No. of MSC-controlled outgoing handover success times

Signaling statistical point of handover success

C900060094

BSC-controlled inter-cell outgoing handover success

Signaling statistical point of handover request

C900060097

C900060213

BSC-controlled inter-cell incoming handover execution

C900060214

Execution of cell queuing

Execution of forced release

C900060215

Execution of force handover

Signaling statistical point of handover request

C900060099

Execution of forced release

MSC BSC-controlled incoming handover execution

C900060101

Execution of queuing

C900060100

C900060119

Execution of intra-cell handover

Signaling statistical point of handover request

C900060216

C900060095

Execution of force handover


No. of MSC-controlled outgoing handover execution times

C900060093

No. of BSC-controlled inter-cell outgoing handover execution times

Handover-related measurement tasks


Handover
causes
measurement

Measure the frequency of MS handovers caused by various kinds of


reasons, so as to examine radio environment of a cell;

Common
handover
measurement

Measure the process of MS handover to inspect handover success or


failure and abnormal situations causing failures, so as to improve the
cells radio configuration and observe traffic dispersion, etc.;

Measurement
of adjacent cell
handover

Subcell
statistical
measurement

Measure the number of times of incoming/outgoing handover


attempt/success/failure from/to certain cells, and number of times of
handover caused by different reasons, so as to get the handover
situations of the serving cell and its adjacent cells and to optimize their
radio configurations correspondingly;

Focus on traffic load of the second subcell.

Contents
Overview of handover
Flow of handover signaling
Handover statistics
Handover problem analysis

Analysis handover problems

Analysis of handover problems


Location method of handover problems

Common handover problems


Common handover problems

Possible influences

Handover
nonoccurance

Result in call drop;

Handover failure

Affect call quality and result in call


drop;

Frequent handover

Affect call quality, and increase


system load;

Handover hysteresis

Affect call quality and result in


call drop;

Discovery of handover problems


TOPN
TOPNanalysis
analysis

Traffic statistics
analysis

Customer complaints

Abnormal
Abnormalnumber
numberof
ofhandover
handovertimes
times
Call
Calldrop
drop
Bad
Badcoverage
coverage

DT/CQT tests

Poor
Poorspeech
speechquality
quality
Handover
Handoverproblem
problem

Meters at A interface

Handover to best cell


inhibited

Slow handover
No handover
Handover failure
Frequent handover

Flow of handover problem checking

Location methods of handover problems

Analyze traffic statistics


Conduct handover statistics measurement, identify problem
range:

If just some cells fail to make handovers to the cell, check


handover data, check if co-channel and co-BSIC exist;
If the cell fails to take handovers from all other cells, check its
data.

Check warnings: single board malfunction, transmission and


clock malfunctions, etc.;
Check if radio parameters are set reasonably

If co-channel or co-BSIC exist among adjacent cells;


If handover parameters are set reasonably;
If data configuration of external cells is correct.

Location methods of handover problems

Interference checking
DT analysis
Signaling analysis: Um interface Abis interface A
interface;
Hardware checking: like DCU, transceiver, clock generator,
RF connection lines between boards;
Antenna system checking

Analysis of handover problems

Coverage & interference


Antenna system
BTS software & hardware
transmission
BSC software & hardware
A interface malfunction
Busy target cell
Connection & adaptation to equipment from different suppliers

Coverage & interference

Coverage:

Poor coverage: due to influence from forest, complex


landforms, houses, indoor coverage, etc.;

Isolated site: no adjacent cells around;

Skip-zone coverage: no adjacent cells available due to


isolated-island effect;

Interference:

It makes MS unable to access in UL, or DL signal


receiving problem will be resulted.

Handover nonoccurance due to isolated-island


effect
Handover cant
happen due to
lack of adjacent
cells.

Non-adjacent
cell
adjacent cell N1
Serving cell
Non-adjacent
cell
adjacent cell N2

Skip-zone
coverage leads to
isolated island.

Non-adjacent
Adjacent cell N3
cell

Antenna system problems

Too large VSWR


Reversed installation of antenna
Non-standard antenna installation
Unreasonable azimuth, down-tilt
Below-standard antenna insulation
Twisted cables, loosened connectors and wrong
connections;

BTS software/hardware

Problems about CDU TRM, etc.


Clock generator malfunction
Internal communication cable malfunction
BTS software malfunction

Transmission and BSC problems

Transmission fault

Unstable transmission
Too high transmission error rate

BSC hardware/software malfunctions

Clock generator malfunction: unconformity among clocks in


different BTSs due to clock generator malfunction;
Problem about single board
Wrong data configuration
Unreasonable setting of handover threshold
CGI, BCCH and BSIC values in external cell data sheet do not
match up to those in the corresponding BSC;
Wrong BSC signaling point in list of cell under a LAC in MSC; cochannel& co-BSIC adjacent cells exist.

A interface malfunction, busy target cell, handover


between equipment from different suppliers

A interface malfunction

Abnormal handover due to lack of link resource, abnormal


calls;
Busy target cell

Abnormal handover due to lack of link resource, abnormal


calls;
handover between equipment from different suppliers

Difference in signaling at interface A and interface E


between ZTE and other suppliers equipment, causing
non-recognition or non-support problem, including speech
version, handover code and addressing mode (CGI or
LAI) etc., which will result in handover failure.

Typical case 1- carrier malfunction

malfunction description:
Performance indicators at OMCR show that handover
success rate of Cell 2 (3carriers) in the flood prevention
center is lower, and number of handover cause of DL
interference is higher.

Typical case 1- carrier malfunction

Problem description:

Through analysis of the cells signaling trace data at OMCR,


its discovered that the cells BCCH carrier suffers from
frequent Assignment failure, while TCH carrier is in normal
condition, as shown in the figure:

Typical case 1- carrier malfunction

Problem analysis
From inspection of the calls with Assignment Failure
problem, its discovered that the problem is caused by intracell handover (assignment flow is adopted in intra-cell
handover), as shown in the figure:

Signaling statistics show strong DL level, but RX quality is


low, which results in a lot failed intra-cell handovers on the
same carrier due to DL interference. Check TCH carrier
and it is confirmed normal.

Typical case 1- carrier malfunction

Problem checking
Exchange BCCH frequency point with that of TCH;
Through observation of signaling statistics, its discovered
that the original BCCH carrier still suffers from problem, which
the original TCH carrier is still in normal condition;
Eliminate frequency interference;
Confirm that the problem is caused by high DL error rate due
to malfunction of BCCH carrier.
Problem handling
Change the carrier with fault, number of times of handover
caused by DL interference reduces greatly, and the cells
handover success rate increases a lot.

Typical case 2- frequency interference

Problem description:

The data in performance report shows that Cell 1 under a


BTS suffers from low handover success rate.
Problem analysis

Examine the problem cell, discover that 2 cells under a


BTS co-channel and co-BSIC, and close to each other,
which results in low handover success rate in the cell.
Problem handling

After adjustment of frequency point, handover success


rate obviously increases, and number of handover times
reduces.

Typical case 2- frequency interference

Typical case 3- clock malfunction

Problem description

For a newly-commissioned BTS, handover nonoccurance


appears during DT: the MS occupies a channel in cell A; during
DT from cell A to cell B, cell B cant be observed in the adjacent
cell list, and it doesnt start normal handovers.

Problem analysis

Its a common network problem that handover nonoccurance


appears in many cells;
Its a newly-commissioned BTS; handover parameters are as
default in the system;
Check adjacent cells relation, no problem found;
Observe from test MS, find out that adjacent cell frequency
appears in the adjacent cell, but BSIC cant be decoded.
Since adjacent cell is searched through BA2 table during a call, and BA2
relies on BCCH and BSIC to confirm an adjacent cell, when the adjacent cells
BSIC is unobtainable, BSC is unable to locate it, thus handover wont be
started.

Typical case 3- clock malfunction

Problem analysis

Process of MS deciphering on DL channel

Decipher FCCH decipher SCH SCH comprises


MS frame synchronous information and BSIC.

MS can show adjacent cell frequency point, but not BSIC.


Its suspected that adjacent cells SCH information cant be
deciphered by MS due to clock or transmission fault.

Check clock and transmission

BTS adopts network clock

BSC traces superior clock

MSC traces superior GPS clock through long-distance


satellite link

The long-distance satellite link is found unstable, which


leads to high error rate on the meter, and warning of clock
deterioration appears on MSC.

Typical case 3- clock malfunction


Problem handling
Decide that its handover
problem caused by poor
clock quality.
Bring new GPS clock
device and adopt the local
one, thoroughly solve clock
malfunction.
Problem of handover
nonoccurance is solved.
Experience conclusion
If no high accuracy clock
available, clock in BTS can
be used; calibration of each
BTS must be made by
using frequency meter and
LMT to ensure that
frequency deviation meets
precision requirement.

Typical case 4-problem about other


suppliersparameter setting

Problem description

At a marginal network, success rate of handovers between our


equipment and that of other suppliers is rather low.
From the OMCR statistics, there are more inter-BSC handovers,
but success rate is low. After DT, we find that there are
unnecessary handovers started from other suppliers equipment
during normal calls.

Typical case 4-problem about other


suppliersparameter setting

Problem analysis
Observe settings of other suppliers OMCR parameters, we
discover that each adjacent cell has its own property;
The max transmission power of the cell with problem is set
as 5dBm.
Problem handling
The problem is solved after the value is changed to 33dBm.
Handover success rates of ZTE and other suppliers
equipment are all improve to normal level.

Typical case 5-HO parameter setting problem

Problem description
During DT at a BTS, we find slow handover problem is
common (>10S), which affects speech quality and even causes
call drops.
Problem: level of cell 2 is higher than that of cell 3 by 20dB,
total handover time is 15s.

Typical case 5-HO parameter setting problem

Problem analysis and handling

Slow handover seriously affects network quality. Make adjustment of


handover parameters accordingly:

Change adjacent cell handover threshold to improve timeliness of


handover trigger;

Adjust the whole networks handover window to be 2, so as to


accelerate handover speed;

Adjust the whole networks handover preprocess to 2, so as to


accelerate handover speed.
Parameter

Before
adjustment

After adjustment

Level threshold
(HOMARGINRXLEV)

30

28

Quality threshold
(HOMARGINRXQUAL)

30

26

Result

Test after adjustment shows that handover time is reduced to 5s;


the slow handover problem is solved and speech quality is
improve.

Questions for thinking

Please simply illustrate effects on handover due to


changing T3103 T3107.
Suggestions on parameter settings of handovers on
highway.