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GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 GSM Principles and Call Flow.................................................................................... 3
1.1 GSM Frequency Band Allocation ..................................................................................... 3
1.2 Multiple Access Technology and Logical Channel.............................................................4
1.2.1 GSM Multiple Access Technology........................................................................... 4
1.2.2 TDMA Frame.......................................................................................................... 5
1.2.3 Burst....................................................................................................................... 7
1.2.4 Logical Channel...................................................................................................... 9
1.3 Data Transmission.......................................................................................................... 12
1.3.2 Voice Coding......................................................................................................... 13
1.3.3 Channel Coding.................................................................................................... 14
1.3.4 nterleaving .......................................................................................................... 15
1.3.5 Encryption ............................................................................................................ 17
1.3.6 Modulation and Demodulation..............................................................................17
1.4 Timing advance............................................................................................................... 18
1.5 System nformation......................................................................................................... 19
1.6 Cell Selection and Re-Selection...................................................................................... 21
1.6.1 Cell Selection........................................................................................................ 21
1.6.2 Cell Selection Process ......................................................................................... 22
1.6.3 Down Link Failure ........................................................................................... 23
1.6.4 Cell Re-Selection Process.................................................................................... 23
1.7 Frequency Hopping ........................................................................................................ 24
1.7.1 Types of Frequency Hopping................................................................................25
1.7.2 Frequency Hopping Algorithm............................................................................... 27
1.7.3 Benefits of Frequency Hopping.............................................................................30
1.8 Discontinuous Reception and Discontinuous Transmission............................................32
1.8.1 Discontinuous Reception and Paging Channel.....................................................32
1.8.2 DTX...................................................................................................................... 34
1.9 Power Control................................................................................................................. 36
1.9.1 Power Control Overview ...................................................................................... 36
1.9.2 MS Power Control................................................................................................. 37
1.9.3 BTS Power Control............................................................................................... 38
1.9.4 Power Control Processing.................................................................................... 39
1.10 mmediate Assignment Procedure................................................................................ 41
1.10.1 Network Access License and Random Access Request.....................................41
1.10.2 nitial mmediate Assignment.............................................................................. 43
1.10.3 nitial Message.................................................................................................... 43
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.10.4 mmediate Assignment Failure............................................................................45
1.11 Authentication and Encryption ...................................................................................... 45
1.11.1 Authentication .................................................................................................... 46
1.11.2 Encryption .......................................................................................................... 48
1.11.3 TMS Reallocation .............................................................................................. 50
1.11.4 Exceptional Situations......................................................................................... 51
1.12 Location Update............................................................................................................ 52
1.12.1 Generic Location Update (nter-LA Location Update).........................................52
1.12.2 Periodic Location updating................................................................................. 54
1.12.3 MS Attach and Detach...................................................................................... 55
1.12.4 Exceptional Situations........................................................................................ 56
1.13 MS Originating Call Flow............................................................................................... 58
1.13.1 Called Number Analysis ..................................................................................... 58
1.13.2 Voice Channel Assignment (Follow-up Assignment)...........................................59
1.13.3 Call Connection ................................................................................................. 62
1.13.4 Call Release....................................................................................................... 63
1.13.5 Exceptional Situations........................................................................................ 64
1.14 MS Originated Call Flow................................................................................................ 67
1.14.1 Enquiry............................................................................................................... 67
1.14.2 Paging ............................................................................................................... 68
1.14.3 Call Establishment for the Called Party..............................................................69
1.14.4 The nfluence of Call Transfer to Routing............................................................70
1.14.5 Exceptional Situations........................................................................................ 71
1.15 HO................................................................................................................................. 73
1.15.1 HO Preparation................................................................................................... 74
1.15.2 HO Types............................................................................................................ 77
1.15.3 HO Process Analysis.......................................................................................... 79
1.15.4 Exceptional Situations........................................................................................ 88
1.16 Call Re-Establishment ................................................................................................. 89
1.16.1 ntroduction......................................................................................................... 89
1.16.2 Call Re-Establishment Procedure.......................................................................90
1.16.3 Exceptional Situations........................................................................................ 91
1.16.4 SM Procedure..................................................................................................... 92
1.16.5 Short Message Procedure on SDCCH When MS is calling ...............................92
1.16.6 Short Message Procedure on SDCCH When MS is called ................................93
1.16.7 Short Message Procedure on SACCH When MS is calling................................94
1.16.8 Short Message Procedure on SACCH when MS is called..................................95
1.17 CBS............................................................................................................................... 95
1.17.1 CBS Mechanism ................................................................................................ 96
1.17.2 BSC-BTS Message Transmission Mode.............................................................97
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Chapter 1 GSM Principles and Call Flow
1.1 GSM Frequency Band llocation
GSM cellular system can be divided into GSM900M and DCS1800M according to
frequency band, with carrier frequency interval of 200 KHz and up and down
frequencies as follows:
Table 1.1 GSM frequency allocation
GSM900 Up 890915
Down 935960
25 1124 124
DCS1800 Up 17101785
Down 18051880
75 512885 374
"Up and "down are classified according to base station. Base station transmitting -
mobile station receiving is "down; mobile station transmitting - base station receiving
is up.
With the expanding services, GSM protocol adds EGSM(expanded GSM frequency
band) and RGSM (expanded GSM frequency band including railway service) to the
original GSM900 frequency band. The frequency band allocation is as follows:
Table 1.& EGSM/RGSM frequency allocation
EGSM Up 880915
Down 925960
35 0124
RGSM Up 876915
Down 921960
40 0124
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.& Multiple ccess Technolo'y and (o'ical Channel
1.&.1 GSM Multiple ccess Technolo'y
n cellular mobile communications system, since many mobiles stations communicate
with other mobiles stations through one base station, it is necessary to distinguish the
signals from different mobile stations and base stations for them to identify their own
signals. The way to this problem is called multiple access technology. There are now
five kinds of Multiple access technology, namely: Frequency Division Multiple Access
(FDMA), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Code Division Multiple Access
(CDMA), Space Division Multiple Access (SDMA), and polar division multiple access
GSM multiple access technology focuses on TDMA, and takes FDMA as
complement. The following only introduces FDMA and TDMA technologies.
). F*M
FDMA divides the whole frequency band into many single radio channels (transmitting
and receiving carrier frequency pairs). Each channel transmits one path of speech or
control information. Any subscriber has access to one of these channels under the
control of the system.
Analog cellular system is a typical example of FDMA application. Digital cellular
system also uses FDMA, but not the pure frequency allocation. For example, GSM
takes FDMA technology.
)). T*M
TDMA divides a broadband radio carrier into several time division channels according
to time (or timeslot). Each subscriber takes one timeslot and sends or receives
signals only in the specified timeslot. TDMA is applied in digital cellular system and
GSM adopts a technology combined with FDMA and TDMA.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.&.& T*M Fra%e
The basic conception of GSM in terms of radio path is burst. Burst is a transmission
unit consists of over one hundred of modulation bits. t has a duration limit and takes
a limited radio frequency. They are exported in time and frequency window which is
called slot. To be specific, in system frequency band, central frequency of slot is set in
every 200 KHz (in FDMA). Slot occurs periodically in each 15/26 ms, which is about
0.577 ms (in TDMA).The interval between two slots is called timeslot. ts duration is
used as time unit, called burst period (BP).
Time/frequency map illustrates the concept of slot. Each slot is expressed as one little
rectangle with 15/26ms length and 200 KHz width. See Figure 1.1. Similarly, the 200
KHz bandwidth in GSM is called frequency slot, equal to radio frequency channel in
GSM protocol.
Burst represents different meaning in different situation. Sometimes it concerns time
frequency "rectangle unit, and sometimes not. Similarly, timeslot sometimes
concerns time value, and sometimes means using one of every eight slots
Using a given channel means transmitting burst with a particular frequency at
particular time, that is, a particular slot. Generally, the slot of a channel is not
continuous in time.
Fi'ure 1.1 Timeslot
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Physical channel combines frequency division multiple access and time division
multiple access together. t consists of timeslot flow that connects base station (BS)
and mobile station (MS).The position of these timeslots in TDMA frame is fixed.
Figure 1.2 shows the complete structure of TDMA frame, including timeslot and burst.
TDMA frame is a repetitive "physical frame in radio link.
One TDMA frame consists of eight basic timeslots, about 60/13=4.615ms in total.
Each timeslot is a basic physical channel with 156.25 elements, coving
There are two kinds of multiframes, consisting of 26 and 51 continuous TDMA frames
respectively. Multiframes are applied when different logical channels are multiple used
in one physical channel.
The 26 multiframe, with a period of 120 ms, is used in traffic channel and associated
control channel. Among the 26 bursts, 24 are used in traffic and 2 are used in
The 51 multiframe, with a period of 3060/13=235.385 ms, is specially used in control
Many multiframes together form a super frame. Super frame is a continuous
5126TDMA frame, that is to say, a super frame consists of fifty-one 26 TDMA
multiframes or twenty-six 51 TOMA multiframes. The period of super frame is 1,326
TDMA frames, or 6.12 s.
Many super frames together form a hyper frame.
A hyper frame consists of 2,048 super frames with a period of 12,533.7s, or 3 hours
and 28' 53'' 760'''. t is used in encrypted voice and data. Each period of hyper frame
consists of 2,715,648 TDMA frames numbered from 0 to 2,715,648. The frame
number is transmitted in sync channel.
The structure of GSM frame is shown in Figure 1.2.
0 1 2 3 2044 2045 2046 2047
0 1 2 3 48 49 50 47
0 1 24 25
0 1 24 25 1 49 50 0
0 1 4 5 7 6 2 3
TB tail bits
GP guard period
GP 68.25
58 information bits 26 training sequency 58 information bits
constant bits 142
information bits 39extended training sequency64 information bits 39
synchronization sequence 41 information bits 36
Normal burst NB
Frequency correction burst FB
synchronized burst SB
Access burst AB
1 Hyper frame =2018 Super frames =2715648 TDMA frames (3 28 53 760 )
1 Super frame =1326 TDMA frames 6.12 s
1 Multiframe =26TDMA frames 120 ms 1 Multiframe =51 TDMA frames 3060/13ms
1 TDMA frame =8 time slots 120/26=4.615ms
1 time slot =156.25 bits duration 15/26=0.557ms
1bit duration 48/13=3.68us
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 1.& Structure of TDMA frame
1.&.3 Burst
Burst is the message layout of a timeslot in TDMA channel, which means each burst
is sent to a timeslot of TDMA frame.
Different message in the burst determines its layout.
There are five kinds of bursts:

Normal burst: used to carry messages in TCH, FACCH, SACCH, SDCCH,

BCCH, PCH and AGCH channels

Access burst: used to carry message in RACH channel

Frequency correction burst: used to carry message in FCCH channel

Synchronization burst: used to carry message in SCH channel

Dummy burst: transmitted when no specific message transmission request from

system (n cells, standard frequency sends message continuously)
Each kind of burst includes the following elements:

Tail bits: ts value is always 0 to help equalizer judge start bit and stop bit to
avoid lost synchronization.

nformation bits: t is used to describe traffic and signaling information, except

idle burst and frequency correction burst.

Training sequence: t is a known sequence, used for equalizer to generate

channel model (a way to eliminate dispersion). Training sequence is known by
both transmitter and receiver. t can be used to identify the location of other bits
from the same burst and roughly estimate the interference situation of
transmission channel when the receiver gets this sequence. Training sequence
can be divided into eight categories in normal burst. t usually has the same BCC
setting with cells, but when accessed to burst and synchronization bust, training
sequence is fixed and does not change with cells. For example, in access burst,
training sequence is fixed (occupying 41 bits). The 36-bit message digit of the
random access burst includes BSC information of the cell. BSC settings of the
same BCCH should be different, in order to avoid mis-decoding of random
access burst from neighboring cells into local access.

Guard period: t is a blank space. Since each carrier frequency can carry a
maximum of eight subscribers, it is necessary to guarantee the non-overlapping
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

of each timeslot in transmission. Although timing advance technology (introduced
later) is used, bursts from different mobile stations still show little slips; therefore,
protection interval is adopted to allow transmitter to fluctuate in a proper range in
GSM. On the other hand, GSM requires protection bits to keep constant
transmission amplitude of the effective burst (except protection bits) and properly
attenuate the transmission amplitude of mobile station. The amplitude
attenuation of two sequential bursts as well as proper modulation bit stream can
reduce the interference to other RF channels.
The following is a detailed introduction to the structure and content of burst:

Access burst
t is used for random access (channel request from network and switchover access).
t is the first burst that the base station needs in uplink modulation.
Access burst includes a 41-bit training sequence, 36-information bit, and its protection
interval is 68.25 bits. There is only one kind of training sequence in access burst.
Since the possibility of interference is rather little, it is unnecessary to add extra kinds
of training sequences. Both training sequence and protection interval are longer than
normal bursts in order to offset the bug of timing advance ignorance in the first access
of mobile station (or switch over to another BTS) and improve demodulation ability of
the system.

Frequency correction burst

t is used for frequency synchronization in mobile station, equal to an unmodulated
carrier. This sequence has 142 constant bits for frequency synchronization. ts
structure is pretty simple with all constant bits being 0. After modulated, it becomes a
pure sine wave. t is used in FCCH channel for mobile station to find and modulate
synchronization burst of the same cell. When mobile station gets the frequency
through this burst, it can read the information of following bursts (such as SCH and
BCCH) in the same physical channel. Protection interval and tail bit are the same with
that of normal burst.

Synchronization burst
With a 64-bit training sequence and two 39-bit information fields, synchronization
burst is used for time synchronization of mobile station in SCH channel. t belongs to
downlink. Since it is the first burst required to be modulated by mobile station, its
training sequence is relatively long and easy to be detected.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization


Normal burst
t has two 58-bit groups used in message field. To be more specific, two 58-bit groups
are used to transmit subscriber data or voice together with two stealing flags. Normal
burst is used to describe whether the transmitted is traffic information or signaling
information. For example, to distinguish TCH and FACCH (when TCH channel is used
as FACCH channel to transmit signaling, the stealing flag of the 8 half bursts should
be set to 1. t has no other use in channels except in TCH channel, but can be
regarded as the extension of training sequence and always set to 1.Normal burst also
includes two 3-bit tails and a protection interval of 8.25 bits. The only bug is that the
receiver has to store the preceding part of burst before modulation. Normal burst has
a total of 26 bits, 16 of which are information bits. n order to get 26 bits, it copies the
first five bits to the end of the training sequence and the last five bits to the head of
the training sequence. There are eight kinds of such training sequence (these eight
sequences have the least relevancy with each other). They correspond to different
base station color code (BCC, 3 bits) respectively to distinguish the two cells using
the same frequency.

Dummy burst
This kind of bust is sometimes sent by BTS without carrying any information. ts
format is the same with normal burst. The encrypted bits are changed into mixed bits
with certain bit model.
1.&.+ (o'ical Channel
n real networking, each cell has several carrier frequencies and each frequency has
eight timeslots, proving eight basic physical channels. Logical channel carries out
time multiplexing in one physical channel. t is classified according to the type of
information in physical channel. Different logical channel transmits different type of
information between BS and MS, such as signaling and data service. GSM defines
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

different burst type for different logical channel.
n GSM, logical channel is divided into dedicated channel (DCH) and common
channel (CCH), or traffic channel (TCH) and control channel (CCH) sometimes.
). TC"
TCH carries coded voice or subscriber data. t is divided into full rate TCH (TCH/F)
and half rate TCH (TCH/H) with 22.8 bit/s information and 11.4 Kbit/s information
respectively. Using half of the timeslots in TCH/F can get TCH/H. A carrier frequency
can provide eight kinds of TCH/F or sixteen kinds of TCH/H. Voice channel types are
as follows:

Enhanced full rate speech TCH (TCH/EFS)

Full rate speech TCH (TCH/EFS)

Full rate 9.6 Kbit/s TCH (TCH/F9.6)

Full rate 4.8 Kbit/s TCH (TCH/F4.8)

Full rate 2.4 Kbit/s TCH (TCH/F2.4)

)). CC"
CCH is used to transmit signaling or synchronous data. t mainly consists of
broadcast channel (BCCH), common control channel (CCCH), and dedicated control
channel (DCCH).
))). BCC"

Frequency Correction Channel (FCCH)

t carries the information for frequency correction in mobile station. Through FCCH,
mobile station can locate a cell and demodulate other information in the same cell,
and recognize whether this carrier frequency is BCCH or not.

Sync Channel (SCH)

After FCCH decoding, mobile station has to decode SCH information. This
information contains mobile station frame synchronization and base station
identification. Base station identification code (BSC) occupies six bits, three of which
are PLMN color codes ranging from zero to seven, and the other three are base
station color codes (BCCs) ranging from zero to seven.
Reduced TDMA frame (RFN) occupies 22 bits.

Generally, each BTS has a transceiver containing BCCH in order to broadcast system
information to mobile station. System information enables mobile station to work
efficiently in null state.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

),. CCC"

Paging Channel (PCH)

PCH is a downlink channel used to page mobile station. When the network wants to
communicate with a certain mobile station, it sends paging information marked as
TMS or MS through PCH to all the cells in LAC area according to the current LAC
registered in mobile station.

Access Grant Channel (AGCH)

AGCH is a downlink channel used for base station to respond the network access
request of mobile station, that is, to allocate a SDCCH or TCH directly. AGCH and
PCH share the same radio resource. Keep a fixed number of blocks for AGCH or just
borrow PCH when AGCH requires without keeping special AGCH block (AGB).

Random Access Channel (RACH)

RACH is an uplink channel used for mobile station to request SDCCH allocation in
random network access application. The request includes the reason to build 3-bit
(call request, paging response, location update request and short message request)
and 5-bit reference random number for mobile station to identify its own access grant
,. *CC"

Stand-alone Dedicated Control Channel (SDCCH)

SDCCH is a bi-directional dedicated channel used to transmit information of signaling,
location update, short message, authentication, encrypted command, channel
allocation, and complementary services. t can be divided into SD/8 and SD/4.

Slow Associated Control Channel (SACCH)

SACCH works with traffic channel or SDCCH to transmit subscriber information and
some specific information at the same time. Uplink mainly transmits radio
measurement report and the first layer head information; downlink mainly transmits
part system information and the first layer head information. The information includes
quality of communications, LA, CELL D, BCCH signal strength in neighboring cells,
NCC limit, cell options, TA, and power control level.

Fast Associated Control Channel (FACCH)

FACCH works with TCH to provide signaling information with a rate and timeliness
much higher than that provided by SACCH.
There is another control channel called cell broadcast channel (CBCH) besides the
three control channels mentioned above. t is used in downlink and carries short
message service cell broadcast (SMSCB) information. CBCH uses a physical channel
same as SDCCH.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

,). Channel Co%bination
Logical channel is mapped to physical channel according to certain rules. The channe
l combinations specified in GSM protocol are as follows:


TCH/H(0,1) + FACCH/H(0,1) + SACCH/TH(0,1)

TCH/H(0,0) + FACCH/H(0,1) + SACCH/TH(0,1) + TCH/H(1,1)


FCCH + SCH + BCCH + CCCH + SDCCH/4(0..3) + SACCH/C4(0..3)(BCCH


BCCH + CCCH(BCCH extension)

SDCCH/8(0. .7) + SACCH/C8(0. .7)

,)). -nco%bined BCC".S*CC" and Co%bined BCC".S*CC"
Paging information transmits in the timeslot 0 of BCCH. Timeslot 0 has the following s
ub channels:

Broadcast channel (BCH): FCCH, SCH, BCCH


DCCH (combined BCCH/SDCCH): SDCCH, SACCH, CBCH ( if using cell

Physical channel timeslot 0 is made of multiframes logically. Each multiframe is 235.4
ms in length. Multiframe has different channel configurations, such as combined
BCCH/SDCCH and uncombined BCCH/SDCCH. Different configuration has different
paging capacity.

Uncombined BCCH/SDCCH
Each frame of Uncombined BCCH/SDCCH can have nine paging blocks. The timeslot
0 of BCCH carrier frequency does not have SDCCH channel or CBCH channel.

Each multiframe of combined BCCH/SDCCH can have three paging blocks. The
timeslot 0 of BCCH carrier frequency contains four SDCCH subchannels (no CBCH)
or three SDCCH and one CBCH subchannel.
The configuration of combined BCCH/SDCCH has a great influence on paging
capacity. Each multiframe has only three paging blocks instead of nine in uncombined
BCCH/SDCCH, which means the paging capacity of cells with combined
BCCH/SDCCH is only one third of that of cells with uncombined BCCH/SDCCH.
1.3 *ata Trans%ission
Radio channel has totally different characteristics from wired channel. Radio channel
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

has a strong time-varying characteristic. t has a high error rate when the signal is
influenced by interferences, multipath fading, or shadow fading. n order to solve
these problems, it is necessary to protect the signals through a series of
transformation and inverse transformation from original subscriber data or signaling
data to the information carried by radio wave and then to subscriber data or signaling
data. These transformations include channel coding and decoding, interleaving and
de-interleaving, burst formatting, encryption and decryption, modulation and
demodulation. See Figure 1.1
Fi'ure 1.1 Forward and reverse data transmission process
1.3.& ,oice Codin'
Modern digital communication system usually uses voice compression technology.
GSM takes tone and noise from human throat as well as the mouth and tongue filter
effect of acoustics as voice encoder to establish a model. The model parameters
transmit through TCH channel.
Voice encoder is based on residual excited linear prediction encoder (REP) and its
compression effect is strengthened through long term predictor (LTP). LTP improves
residual data encoding by removing the vowel part of voice.
Voice encoder divides voice into several 20 ms voice blocks and samples each block
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

with 8 kHz, so each block has 160 samples. Each sample is quantified through
frequency A 13 bits (frequency 14 bits). Since the compression rates of frequency A
and frequency are different, add three and two "0 bits to the quantification values
respectively, and then each sample gets 16 bits quantification value. Therefore, 128
Kbit/s data flow is obtained after digitizing but before encoding. This data flow is too
fast to transmit in radio path and has to be compressed in encoder. With full speed
encoder, each voice block is encoded into 260 bits to form a 13 Kbit/s source coding
rate. Next is channel coding. With 20 ms as a unit, 260 bits are output after
compression encoding, so the encoding rate is 13Kbit /s.
Compared with the direct coding transmission of voice in traditional PCM channel, the
13kbps voice rate of GSM is much lower. More advance voice encoder can reduce
the rate to 6.5kbps (half rate encoding).
1.3.3 Channel Codin'
Channel coding is used to improve transmission quality and remove the influence of
interferential factors on signals at the price of increasing bits and information. The
basic way of coding is adding some redundant information to the original data. The
added data is calculated on the basis of original data with certain rules. The decoding
process of receiving end is judging and correcting errors with this redundant bit. f the
redundant bit of received data calculated with the same way is different from the
received redundant bit, errors must have occurred in transmission. Different code is
used in different transmission mode. n practice, several coding schemes are always
combined together. Common coding schemes include block convolutional code, error
correcting cyclic code and parity code.
n GSM, each logical channel has its own coding and interleaving mode, but the
principle is trying to form a unified coding structure.

Encode information bit into a unified block code consisting of information bits and
parity check bits.

Encode block code into convolutional code and form coding bits (usually 456

Reassemble and interleave coding bits and add a stealing flag to form
interleaving bits.
All these operations are based on block. The block size depends on channel type.
After channel coding, all channels (except RACH and SCH) are made of 464-bit
block, that is, 456 coded information bits plus 8-bit header (header is used to
distinguish TCH and FACCH). Then these blocks are reinterleaved (concerning
n TCH/F voice service; this block carries one speech frame of information. n control
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

channel, this block usually carries one piece of information. n TCH/H voice service,
speech information is transmitted by a block of 228 coded bits block.
For FACCH, each block of 456 coded information bits is divided into eight sub blocks.
The first four sub blocks are transmitted by even bits of the four timeslots borrowed
from the continuous frames of TCH, and the rest four sub blocks borrows odd bits of
the four timeslots from the four continuous frames delayed for two or four frames after
the first frame. Each 456 coded bit block has a stealing flag (8 bits), indicating
whether the block belongs to TCH or to FACCH. n the case of SACCH, BCCH or
CCCH, this stealing flag is dummy.
The synchronous information in Downlink SCH and the random access information in
uplink use short coded bit blocks transmitted in the same timeslot.
n TCH/F, a 20ms speech frame is encoded into 456-bit code sequence. The 260 bits
of the 13 Kbit/s 20ms speech frame can be divided into three categories: 50 most
import bits, 132 important bits and 78 unimportant bits. Add 3 parity check bits to the
50 most important bits, and these 53 bits together with 132 important bits and 4 tail
bits are convolutionally encoded ( with 1/2 convolutional coding rate ) into 378 bits,
plus the 78 unimportant bits, and the 456 bits code sequence is obtained.
n BCCH, PCH, AGCH, SDCCH, FACCH and SACCH, data is transmitted by Link
Access Procedure on the Dm channel (LAPDm). Each LAPDm frame has 184 bits,
together with 40 bits error correcting cyclic code and 4 tail bits, through 1/2
convolutional coding rate, and the 456 bits code sequence is obtained.
Each SCH contains 25-bit message field. Among them, 19 bits are frame number and
6 bits are BSC number. These 25 bits plus 10 parity check bits and 4 tail bits are 39
bits. Through 1/2 rate convolutional coding, 78 bits are obtained, which occupy an
entire SCH burst. .
RACH message only has 8 bits, including 3-bit setup cause message and 5-bit
discrimination symbol. On the basis of these 8 bits, add 6 bits of color code (obtained
through the MOD 2 of the 6-bit BSC and 6-bit parity check code), plus 4 tail bits to
get 18 bits. Through 1/2 rate convolutional coding, 36 bits are obtained, which
occupy an entire RACH burst.
1.3.+ )nterlea/in'
f speech signal is modulated and transmitted directly after channel coding, due to
parametric variation of mobile communication channel, the long trough of deep
feeding will affect the succeeding bits, leading to error bit strings. That is to say, after
coding, speech signal turns into sequential frames, while in transmission, error bits
usually occur suddenly, which will affect the accuracy of continuous frames. Channel
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

coding only works for detection and correction of signal error or short error string.
Therefore, it is hoped to find a way to separate the continuous bits in a message, that
is, to transmit the continuous bits in a discontinuous mode so as to change the error
channel into discrete channel. Therefore, even if an error occurs, it is only about a
single or very short bit stream and will not interrupt the decoding of the entire burst or
even the entire information block. Channel coding will correct the error bit under such
circumstances. This method is called interleaving technology. nterleaving technology
is the most effective code grouping method to separate error codes.
The essence of interleaving is to disperse the b bits into n bursts in order to change
the adjacent relationship between bits. Greater n value leads to better transmission
performance but longer transmission delay. Therefore, these two factors must be
considered in interleaving. nterleaving is always related to the use of channel. GSM
adopts secondary interleaving method.
After channel coding, The 456 bits are divided into eight groups; each group contains
57 bits. This is the first interleaving, also called internal interleaving. After first
interleaving, the continuity of information in a group is broken. As one burst contains
two groups of 57-bit voice information, if the two-group 57 bits of a 20 ms voice block
after first interleaving are inserted to the same burst, the loss of this burst will lead to
25% loss of bits for this 20 ms voice block. Channel coding cannot restore so much
loss. Therefore, a secondary interleaving, also called inter-block interleaving, is
required between two voice blocks. The entire interleaving process is shown in Figure
Fi'ure 1.1 nterleaving process
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

After internal interleaving, the 456 bits of a voice block B are divided into eight
groups. nterleave the first four groups of voice block B (B0, B1, B2, and B3) with the
last four groups of voice block A (A4, A5, A6, and A6), and then (BO, A4), (B1, A5),
(B2, A6), and (B3, A7) form four bursts. n order to break the consistency of bits, put
block A at even position and block B at odd position of bursts, that is, to put B0 at odd
position and A4 at even position. Similarly, interleave the last four groups of block B
with the first four groups of block C.
Therefore, a 20 ms speech frame is inserted into eight normal bursts after secondary
interleaving. Theses eight bursts are transmitted one by one, so the loss of one burst
only affects 12.5% voice bits. n addition, as these bursts have no relations with each
other, they can be corrected by channel coding.
The secondary interleaving of control channel (SACCH, FACCH, SDCCH, BCCH,
PCH, or AGCH) is different from voice interleaving which requires three voice blocks.
The 456-bit voice block is divided into eight groups after internal interleaving (the
same as that of voice block), and then the first four groups are interleaved with the
last four groups (the same interleaving method as that of voice block) to get four
nterleaving is an effective way to avoid interference, but it has a long delay. n the
transmission of a 20 ms voice block, the delay period is (9*8)-7=65 bursts (SACCH
occupying one burst), which is 37.5 ms. Therefore, MS and trunk circuit have echo
cancellers added to remove the echo due to delay.
1.3.0 1ncryption
Security is a very important feature in digital transmission system. GSM provides high
security through transmission encryption. This kind of encryption can be used in
voice, user data, and signaling. t is used for normal burst only and has nothing to do
with data type.
Encryption is achieved by XOR operation of poison random sequence (generated
through A5 algorithm of encryption key Kc and frame number) and the 114
information bits of normal burst.
The same poison random sequence generated at receiving end and the received
encryption sequence together produce the required data after XOR operation
1.3.2 Modulation and *e%odulation
Modulation and demodulation is the last step of signal processing. GSM modulation
adopts GMSK technology with BT being 0.3 at the speed of 270.833 Kbit/s and Viterbi
algorithm. The function of modulation is to add a certain feature to electromagnetic
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

wave according to the rules. This feature is the data to transmit. n GSM, the phase of
electromagnetic field bears the information.
The function of demodulation is to receive signals and restore the data in a modulated
electromagnetic wave. A binary numeral has to be changed into a low-frequency
modulated signal first, and then into an electromagnetic wave. Demodulation is the
reverse process of modulation.
1.+ Ti%in' ad/ance
Signal transmission has a delay. f the MS moves away from BTS during calling, the
signal from BTS to MS will be delayed, so will the signal from MS to BTS. f the delay
is too long, the signal in one timeslot from MS cannot be correctly decoded, and this
timeslot may even overlap with the timeslot of the next signal from other MS, leading
to inter-timeslot interference. Therefore, the report header carries the delay value
measured by MS. BTS monitors the arrive time of call and send command to MS with
the frequency of 480 ms, prompting MS the timing advance (TA) value. The range of
this value is 063(0233 us), and the maximum coverage area is 35km. The
calculation is as follows:
3.7us/bit is the duration per bit (156/577); 63bit is the maximum bit for time
coordination; c is light velocity (transmission rate of signal); 1/2 is related to the
round-trip of signal.
According to the preceding description, 1bit to 554 m, due to the influence of multi-
path transmission and the accuracy of MS synchronization, TA error may be about 3
bits (1.6km).
Sometimes a greater coverage area is required, such as in coastal areas. Therefore,
the number of channels that each TRX contains must be reduced. The method is to
bind odd and even timeslots, so there are only four channels (0/1, 2/3, 4/5, and 6/7)
for each TDMA frame in extended cell. Allocate channels 0, 2, 4, and 6 to MS. Within
35 KM around BTS, the TA value of MS is in the normal range 0-63; for the area
beyond 35 KM, TA value stays at 63. This technology is called extended cell
technology. The maximum value of TA in BTS measurement report is
63+156.25=219.25 bit, so the maximum radius of coverage area is:
1/23.7us (63+156.25) 3108m/s=120km
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 1.1 Principle of dual timeslot extended cell
The principle of dual timeslot extended cell is shown in Figure 1.1. n real scheme, in
order to improve the utilization of TRX, both common TRXs and dual timeslot TRXs
can be included. BCCH must be in dual timeslot TRX to receive random access from
any area. The calls within 35 km are allocated to common TRX; the calls within 35
km120 km and the switched in calls are allocated to dual timeslot TRX. f the system
detects the switched in call is within 35km, it will switch over this call to common TRX.
f the MS in conversation goes beyond 35 km, an intra-cell switchover will be carried
out. Therefore, both the capacity requirement for remote areas and the coverage
requirement for local areas can be satisfied.
1.0 Syste% )nfor%ation
System information is sent to MS from network in broadcast form. t informs all the
MSs within the coverage area of location area, cell selection and re-selection,
neighbor cell information, channel allocation and random access control. By receiving
system information, MS can quickly and accurately locate network resources and
make full use of all kinds of services that network provides. There are 16 types of
system information: type1, 2, 2bis, 2ter, 3, 4, 5, 5bis, 5ter, 6, 7, 8, and 13.
System information is transmitted on BCCH or SACCH. MS receives system
information in different mode from different logic channel.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization


n idle mode, system information 1 4, 7, and 8 are transmitted on BCCH ;

n communication mode, system information 5 and 6 are transmitted on SACCH;

The content of system information is as follows:

System information 1 cell channel description + RACH control parameter,

transmitted on BCCH

System information 2 frequency description of neighbor cell + RACH control

information + network color code (NCC) permitted, transmitted on BCCH, used
for cell re-selection

System information 2bis Extended neighbor cell BCCH frequency description +

RACH control information, transmitted on BCCH, used for cell re-selection.

System information 2ter Extended neighbor cell BCCH frequency description,

transmitted on BCCH, used for cell re-selection.

System information 3 Cell identity + location area identity (LA) + control

channel description + cell selection + cell selection parameter + RACH control
parameter, transmitted on BCCH.

System information 4 LA + cell selection parameter + RACH control parameter

+ CBCH channel description + CBCH mobile configuration, transmitted on

System information 5 Neighbor cell BCCH frequency description, transmitted

on SACCH channel, used for cell handover.

System information 5bis Extended neighbor cell BCCH frequency description,

transmitted on SACCH channel, used for cell handover.

System information 5ter Extended neighbor cell BCCH frequency description,

transmitted on SACCH channel, used for cell handover.

System information 6 Cell Global dentification (CG) + cell option NCC

Permitted, transmitted on SACCH.

System information 7 cell re-selection parameter

System information 8 cell re-selection parameter

BCCH is a low-capacity channel, every 51 multiframes ((235 ms) have only four
frames (one information block) to transmit a 23 byte LAPDm message.
Each information unit contains:

Cell channel description contains all the frequencies used in this cell.

RACH control information contains parameters such as Max Retrans,

TX_integer, CBA, RE, EC, and AC CN.

Neighbor cell BCCH frequency description contains the BCCH frequency that the
neighbor cell uses.

Allowed PLMN is used to provide NCC Permitted that MS monitors on BCCH


Control channel description contains parameters such as MS

GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

BA-PA-MFRMS, and T3212.

Cell selection contains parameters such as power control (PWRC) indication,

discontinuous Transmission (DTX) indication, and RADO-LNK-TMEOUT.

Cell selection parameter contains parameters such as cell re-selection


CBCH channel description contains channel type and TDMA deviation (the
combination mode of dedicated channel), timeslot number (TN), training
sequence code (TSC), hopping frequency channel indication H, mobile allocation
index offset (MAO), hopping frequency sequence number (HSN) and absolute
radio frequency channel number ( ARFCN).

CBCH mobile configuration contains the relationship between hopping channel

sequence and cell channel description.

Cell re-selection parameter contains CELLRESELND, cell bar qualify (CBQ),

cell reselection offset (CRO), temporary offset (TO), and penalty time (PT).
1.2 Cell Selection and 3e4Selection
1.2.1 Cell Selection
When a MS is switched on, it tries to contact GSM PLMN that the SM permits and
select a proper cell to extract control channel parameters and other system
information. This process is called cell selection.
The priority levels of cells include normal, low, and barred. Low priority level cell is
selected when there is no proper normal cell.
A proper cell means:

The cell belongs to the selected network;

The cell is not barred;

The cell is not in the national prohibited roaming location area;

The path loss between MS and BTS is under the limit set by network.
The priority level of a cell is determined by CELL_BAR_QUALFY (CBQ) and
Table 1.1 Cell priority level
CB5 CB Cell priority le/el Cell re4selection status
0 0 Normal Normal
1 1 Barred Barred
0 0 Low Normal
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1 1 Low Normal
1.2.& Cell Selection Process
To perform cell selection and re-selection, MS requires all the frequencies monitored
to stay at the unweighted average value of Relev RLA_C.
). Cell Selection 6hen MS Storin' 7o BCC" )nfor%ation
MS searches all RF channels (at least 30 channels for 900 M, 40 for 1800 M, and 40
for PSC1900) in the system to obtain the Relev of each RF channel, and calculate the
RLA_C based on at least five samples in three to five seconds, and then arrange
these levels in descending order to select the proper BCCH. MS selects the cells with
normal priority first. f the proper cells have low priority, MS will select the cell with the
highest Relev. MS has already decoded and identified all these frequencies by now. f
there is no proper cell, MS will keep on searching. t takes a maximum of 0.5 s to
synchronize a BCCH TRX and 1.9 s to read the synchronized BCCH TRX data,
except that it takes n*1.9s(n>1)to obtain the system information.
)). Cell Selection 6hen MS Storin' BCC" )nfor%ation
f MS stores the BCCH frequency list of the former selected networks, MS will perform
measurement sampling procedure (only for the stored BCCH TRX) according to this
list. f the cell selection within this list fails, common cell selection will be performed. f
all the cells have low priority level, MS will select the cell with the highest Relev. MS
has already decoded and identified all these frequencies by now. When a 900 M MS
enters the 900/1800 network, MS will probably choose 900 M network and ignore the
priority level, because the MS stores all the 900 M frequency information in BCCH
frequency list.
))). Cell Selection Criteria
Parameter C1 is the path loss criteria for cell selection, C1 of the service cell must
exceed 0, the formula is as follows:
For DCS 1800 cells:
OFFSET- P), 0)
n the formula:
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

RLA_C: Average value of Relev
RXLEV_ACCESS_MN: Minimum Relev that MS allows
MS_TXPWR_MAX_CCH: Maximum transmit power on control channel
P: Maximum transmit power of MS
POWER OFFSET Power offset related to MS_TXPWR_MAX_CCH used by
DCS1800 cells.
1.2.3 *own (in8 Failure
Downlink failure criteria are based on DSC. When a mobile phone stays in a cell,
DSC is initialized to an integer most close to 90/N ( N is BS_PA_MFRMS, range
value: 29). Each time when mobile phone successfully decodes a message on its
paging subchannel, DSC increases by 1, but DSC cannot exceed the initial value;
when decoding fails, DSC decreases by 4. When DSC<=0, downlink failure occurs.
Down signaling link failure will lead to cell re-selection.
1.2.+ Cell 3e4Selection Process
n cell re-selection, mobile phone will synchronize and read the information from six
BCCH TRXs (in BA list) with strongest signals outside the service area. For multi-
frequency mobile phones, the TRXs with strongest signals may be in different
frequency bands.
n idle mode, mobile phone monitors all the BCCH TRXs in BA list and averages each
Relev from BCCH TRX within 5 s to Max {5, ((5 * N + 6) DV 7) * BS_PA_MFRMS / 4}
s. N is the number of BCCH TRXs outside service area in BA list. Each RLA_C
requires at least five level measurement samples and has to be updated from time to
time. Service area samples the Relev at least once for each paging block to mobile.
RLA_C is calculated by averaging the level samples received from 5s to Max {5s, five
consecutive paging blocks of that MS}.
Each RLA_C update is followed by the update of the six BCCH TRXs outside the
service area in BA list. And the latter update may be even faster.
Mobile phone decodes all the BCCH data in a service cell every other 30 s and the
BCCH data blocks related to cell re-selection parameters of the six BCCH TRXs with
strongest signals every other five minutes. When the mobile phone detects that a new
BCCH TRX becomes one of the six TRXs with strongest signals, this BCCH TRX data
should be decoded within 30 s. Mobile phone checks the BSCs of the six BCCH
TRXs with strongest signals to make sure they are in the same cell. f the BSC of a
TRX is changed, the MS will regard the TRX as new TRX and reread the BCCH data.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

MS will re-select a neighbor cell as service cell under certain condition. This condition
includes several factors, such as RLA_C, cell restriction (decided by cell_bar and
cell_bar_qualify), and access state of the neighbor cell.
Cell re-selection adopts C2 algorithm. The calculation formula is as follows:

When PENALTY TME is not 11111


When PENALTY_TME is 11111

When X>0, function H(x) =0; when X>O, function H(x) =1.
T is a timer; its initial value is 0. When a cell is included in the six neighbor cells with
strongest signals by MS, the timer T of this cell begins to time; when a cell is excluded
from the six neighbor cells with strongest signals by MS, T will be reset.
CELL_RESELECT_OFFSET adjusts the value of C2.
After T starts, TEMPORARY_OFFSET will modify the C2 algorithm according to the
defined value before the penalty time in order to avoid a micro cell or a cell with small
coverage area is selected by a fast moving MS. f the defined penalty time is out, the
temporary offset will be ignored. Penalty time can avoid the frequent cell re-selection
in those coverage areas like express highway.
These parameters in C2 algorithm works only when
CELL_RESELECTON_NDCATON is activated. Otherwise, MS will ignore the
PENALTY_TME, under such circumstances, C2=C1.
Cell re-selection will be triggered under the following conditions:

The C2 value of a certain cell (belonging to the same location area with the
current cell) exceeds that of the current cell by 5 seconds successively;

The C2 value of a certain cell (belonging to different location area from the
current cell) exceeds the sum of the C2 value of the current service cell and cell
selection hysteresis value by 5 seconds successively;

The current service cell is barred;

MS detects downlink failure;

The C1 value of the service cell is less than 0 for 5 seconds successively.
1.9 Frequency "oppin'
With the ever growing traffic volume and the limited frequency resource, frequency
reuse is more and more aggressive. Therefore, the problem of how to reduce
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

frequency interference becomes more and more remarkable. The essence of anti-
interference is to fully utilize the current spectrum, time domain, and space resources.
The key measures include frequency hopping, discontinuous transmission (DTX), and
power control. Frequency hopping also can effectively reduce the influence of fast
1.9.1 Types of Frequency "oppin'
GSM radio interface uses slow frequency hopping (SFH) technology. The difference
between slow frequency hopping and fast frequency hopping is that the frequency of
latter changes faster than frequency modulation. n GSM, the frequency remains the
same during burst transmission. Therefore, GSM frequency hopping belongs to slow
frequency hopping.
n frequency hopping, the carrier frequency is controlled by a sequence and hops with
time. This sequence is frequency hopping sequence. Frequency hopping sequence is
a sequence of frequencies decided by hopping sequence number (HSN), mobile
allocation index offset (MAO) and frame number (FN) through a certain algorithm in
the mobile allocation containing N frequencies. The N channels of different timeslots
can use the same hopping sequence. The different channels of the same timeslot in
the same cell adopt different MAO.
Frequency hopping can be divided into frame hopping and timeslot hopping according
to time domain and RF hoping and baseband hopping according to implementation

Frame hopping: the hopping frequency changes once in each TDMA frame
period. Each TRX can be regarded as a channel. The TCH of BCCH TRX cannot
join in the frequency hopping in a cell. The hopping TRX should have a different
MAO. Frame hopping is an exception of timeslot hopping.

Timeslot hopping: the timeslot frequency of each TDMA frame changes once.
The TCH of BCCH TRX can join in the frequency hopping, which happens in
baseband hopping.

RF hopping: both transmission and reception of TRX join in the frequency

hopping. The number hopping frequencies can exceed the number of TRXs in
the cell.

Baseband hopping: each transceiver works at a fixed frequency. TX does not join
in frequency hopping. Frequency hopping is performed through the handover of
banseband signal. Therefore, the number of hopping frequencies cannot exceed
the number of TRXs in the cell.
The two frequency hopping modes above are based on BTS. As for MS, since each
MS has only one TRX unit, RF hopping is the only mode.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

). Baseband "oppin'
The system has multiple baseband and TRX processing unit. Each TRX processing
unit has a fixed working frequency; each baseband processing unit processes one
line of service information and sends the processed information to the TRX unit with
bus topology in time sequence according to frequency hopping rule. This kind of
frequency hopping is called "baseband hopping.
n baseband hopping, each transceiver works with a fixed frequency. The bursts on
the same speech path are sent to each transceiver. Baseband hopping is based on
the handover of baseband signals. Since the transceiver of each BTS has a fixed
working frequency, both broadband combiner and cavity combiner can be adopted.
The number of TRXs decides the maximum number of frequency hopping. The
problem for baseband hopping is that if one TRX board fails, the corresponding code
word will be lost, thus affecting all the calls under hopping mode in the cell.
Fi'ure 1.1 Baseband hopping
)). 3F "oppin'
Under this mode, each line of service information is processed by fixed baseband unit
and frequency band unit. The working frequency of frequency band unit is provided
by frequency combiner. Under the control of control unit, frequency can be changed
according to certain rules. n RF hopping, the frequencies used by a TRX to handle all
the bursts of a call come from the frequency change of combiner, instead of the
handover of baseband signals. The number of TRXs is not limited by carrier
frequency. As the working frequency of TRX changes, which means the frequency of
the input port to combiner changes, only broadband combiner can be adopted. This
kind of broadband combiner leads to about 3dB insertion loss in two-in-one
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

combination and the loss is greater in the link insertion of multi-combiner. GSM
protocol does not specify which kind of frequency hopping is used in GSM BTS. The
mode of frequency hopping can be decided by operators according to the
Fi'ure 1.1 RF hopping
1.9.& Frequency "oppin' l'orith%
The parameters related to frequency hopping algorithm are as follows:

CA: cell allocation, the collection of frequencies used by a cell

FN: TDMA frame number, broadcasted on sync channel. FN (02715647)

synchronizes BTS with MS

MA: mobile allocation, the collection of radio frequencies used for MS frequency
hopping. t is a subset of CA. MA contains N frequencies, 1>N>64.

MAO: mobile allocation index offset, (0N-1). During communication, the radio
frequency at air interface is an element of MA. Mobile allocation index (MA, 0N-
1) is used to determine the element of MA. That is to say, the actual frequency
used is decided by MA. MAO is the initial offset of MA and it is used to avoid
the contention of frequency by several channels at the same time.

HSN: hopping sequence number (063). t determines that the hopping

sequence with concentrated frequencies is adopted in frequency hopping. When
HSN=0, the hopping is cyclic hopping; when HSN=0, the hopping is random
The proper setting of parameters is based on the understanding of the use of each
parameter in hopping algorithm and the hopping theory. The proper setting ensures
the healthy working state of the system. Figure 1.1 is the flow chart of frequency
hopping algorithm.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

in 7 bits
T1 MOD !
"#$%&si'e OR
,++--&p t.b%e
M/=M m+* 20N1IN
T=T3 m+*
)=M/ )=(M/3T) m+* N
MAI=()3MAIO) m+* N
5bits 11bits
bits bits N1IN bits
N1IN bits
9 N
N1IN bits
N1IN bits
N1IN bits
Fi'ure 1.1 Frequency hopping algorithm
n Figure 1.1:
Mod: modular arithmetic
^: power arithmetic
NBN: number of bits required to represent N = NTEGER (log2 (N) +1)
According to GSM protocol 0502:
For cyclic hopping (HSN = 0):
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

MA, integer (0 ... N 1) : MA = (FN + MAO) modulo N (2-2)
Otherwise, see Figure 1.1:
M, integer (0 ... 152) : M = T2 + RNTABLE((HSN xor T1R) + T3)
S, integer (0 ... N 1) : M' = M modulo (2 ^ NBN)
T' = T3 modulo (2 ^ NBN)
f M' < N:
S = M'
S = (M'+T') modulo N
MA, integer (0 ... N 1) : MA = (S + MAO) modulo N (2-3)
Remarks: For the cyclic hopping in discontinuous transmission (DTX), the number of
hopping frequencies should avoid N mod 13 = 0, because under such condition, the
probability of transmission and measurement of SACCH frame at the same frequency
is rather high, and the harms are obvious. See the description of DTX in section 1.8
RNTABLE is a function with the parameters from integer 0 to 113, GSM protocol
defines its values as shown in Table 1.1:
Table 1.1 RNTABLE(X)
The following conclusion can be used in the rough estimate of whether inter-
frequency or intra-frequency collision exists:
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

When HSN=0, S equals the frame number, in other cases, S is only related to frame
number and frequency hopping number. When HSN is fixed and frame number is the
same, S must be the same. Therefore, as the TRXs of each sync cell have the same
frame number, different hopping groups in sync cells can adopt the same HSN. A
proper configuration of MAO can avoid the inter-cell or intra-cell frequency collision
within the same BTS. The aggressive frequency reuse adopts this theory.
1.9.3 Benefits of Frequency "oppin'
n GSM, frequency hopping has two benefits: frequency diversity and interference
). Frequency *i/ersity
Frequency hopping can reduce the influence of signal strength change due to
multipath transmission. This effect equals that of frequency diversity. n mobile
communications, Rayleigh fading leads to the great change of radio signal in a short
time. This kind of change is related to frequency: a more independent fading
accompanies a greater frequency difference. The 200 KHz interval generally ensures
the independence of inter-frequency fading, while the 1 MHz interval can fully
guarantee this kind of independence. Through frequency hopping, all the bursts
containing the code word of the same speech frame are protected from the damage
of Rayleigh fading in the same way. See Figure 1.1.
Fi'ure 1.1 Fading
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Statistics shows that frequency hopping gain is related to environmental factors,
especially to the moving speed of MS. When the MS moves at a high speed, the
location difference between two bursts on the same channel is also affected by other
kinds of fading. The higher the speed is, the lower the gain will be. Frequency
diversity benefits a lot to a large number of MSs moving at low speed.
Frequency hopping gain is also related to the number of frequencies. When the
number of frequencies decreases, the hopping gain falls. The relationship between
the number of frequencies and hopping gain can be explained in this way: frequency
hopping is pseudo spectrum spread, and the hopping gain is the processing gain after
transmission frequency band spread. The basic way to test frequency hopping gain is
to calculate the differences between different C/ at different hopping frequencies
under the same FER. These C/ differences are the frequency hopping gain.
The relationship between the number of frequencies and frequency hopping gain is
shown in Table 1.1. (The actual gain may be affected by environment)
Table 1.1 The relationship between the number of frequencies and frequency
hopping gain
7u%ber of T3:s in
frequency hoppin'
Gain of frequency di/ersity!dB$
=1 0
2 3
3 4
4 5
5 5.5
6 6
7 6.3
8 6.5
9 6.8
10 6.9
>=11 7
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

)). )nterference /era'in'
Frequency hopping provides the diversity of interference on transmission channel, so
that all the bursts containing the code word of the same speech frame are protected
from the damage of interference in the same way. Through error correction coding
and interleaving of the system, the original data can be restored from the rest part of
the received flow. The hopping gain is obtained only when the interference is in
narrowband distribution. f the interference is in broadband distribution, all the bursts
will be destroyed and the original data cannot be restored. Therefore, no hopping gain
is obtained. The common interference after frequency hopping can be regarded in
narrowband distribution.
n frequency hopping, error rate tends to increase in the test, but we feel the
conversation quality improves. t is because although the error rate increases, the
influence of interference is homogenized in frequency hopping, the speech restoring
ability improves because of the interleaving and de-interleaving before. n GPRS data
services, frequency hopping can be harmful when the data rate is rather high (CS4).
1.; *iscontinuous 3eception and *iscontinuous
1.;.1 *iscontinuous 3eception and Pa'in' Channel
n idle mode, if MS selects a cell as its service cell, it begins to receive the paging
information from this cell. But in order to reduce power consumption, discontinuous
reception (DRX) is introduced in GSM. Each user (MS) belongs to a paging group
and each paging group corresponds to a paging subchannel. MS can calculate which
group it belongs to based on the last three digits of its MS and the configuration of
paging channel in this location area, and then locate the paging subchannel of this
paging group. n fact, in idle mode, MS just listens to the paging information from the
system on its subchannel (MS also monitors the Relev of BCCH carrier frequency in
non-service area during this period of time) and ignores the information on other
paging subchannels. Some of the hardware equipments are even switched off to save
the power of MS. But MS must complete the required task of network information
measurement within a specified time.
Through DRX, MS can receive the broadcast short messages that the users want to
know with less power consumption, thus extending the service time. BSC has to send
scheduling messages to support DRX at MS. One scheduling message contains lots
of broadcast short messages to be sent soon. The time that all broadcast short
messages of a scheduling information takes is a scheduling cycle. Scheduling
information contains the description of all short messages to be broadcast in order
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

and also indicates the position of the messages in scheduling cycle. Through
scheduling messages, MS can find the broadcast short messages it wants quickly so
as to reduce its power consumption.
The number of paging subchannels of each cell can be calculated based on the
configuration type of CCCH, BS_AG_BLKS_RES (the number of blocks belonging to
AGCH in 51 multiframe), and BS_PA_MFRMS (the number of 51 multiframes used as
one paging subchannel cycle).
When there are three CCCHs in a 51 multiframe, the number of paging subchannels
When there are nine CCCHs in a 51 multiframe, the number of paging subchannels is
n addition, the configuration of CCCH parameters has the following principles:

The greater the parameter BS_PA_MFRMS, the more the paging subchannels,
and the less the users of each paging subchannel, but the total capacity of the
system remains the same, because the average delay of the paging information
on radio channel increases. When the ratio of retransmission waiting is relatively
high, BS_PA_MFRMS should be improved to increase the paging subchannels;
when the ratio of retransmission waiting is relatively low, BS_PA_MFRMS should
be reduced to shorten the paging delay.

The capacities of paging subchannels of all cells in a location area should be the
same, because the paging message of a location area must be sent in all the
cells of this location area at the same time.

The longer the cycle of paging channel, the less power the MS in this service
area takes. For example, in cities, this cycle can be defined as 2, which means
MS listens to paging messages once for every 102 frames. n rural areas, this
cycle can be defined as 4 or 6. The MS with the paging channel cycle of 6
consumes 18% less power than the MS with the paging channel cycle of 2. After
measuring the system information, MS enters the rest state and listens to the
paging information in the specified paging blocks only and measures the Relev
of BCCH of neighbor cells at the same time. After 30 s, MS will listen to system
information again to judge the cell re-selection process.

n GSM, CCCH mainly includes AGCH and PCH. ts primary function is to

transmit immediate assignment messages and paging messages. CCCH can be
one or several physical channels and it can also share a physical channel with
SDCCH. The combination mode of CCCH depends on the parameter
CCCH_CONF. The configuration of CCCH_CONF must be consistent with the
actual configuration. t is recommended that when there is only one TRX in a
cell, the configuration of CCCH can be a physical channel shared with SDCCH
(3 CCCH information blocks).
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization


When the traffic volume is extremely large, in case one physical timeslot is not
enough, GSM specification allows the configuration of multiple CCCH channels
on the TRX besides BCCH, but these channels must be used in timeslot 0, 2, 4,
and 6.

When CCCH_CONF is confirmed, parameter BS_AG_BLKS_RES actually

decides the ratio of AGCH and PCH on CCCH. t is recommended that this
parameter be configured as little as possible in order to reduce the response
time of MS to paging.
1.;.& *T:
). *T: </er/iew
During communication, only 40% time is used for conversation; no useful information
is transmitted during the rest 60% time. f all the information is transmitted to network,
many of the system resources will be wasted, in addition, the interference will
aggravate. n order to solve this problem, GSM adopts DTX technology to stop signal
transmission when there is no voice signal. Therefore, the interference level is
reduced and the system efficiency is improved.
There are two kinds of transmission modes in GSM: normal mode and discontinuous
transmission (DTX) mode. n normal mode, noise and voice have the same
transmission quality. n DTX mode, the transmission of unuseful messages is
prohibited. MS only sends man-made noise signals that are tolerable, which means
this noise will not annoy the listeners nor affect the conversation. This kind of noise is
called comfort noise. n DTX mode, 260-bit code is transmitted in every 480 ms; in
normal mode, 260-bit code is transmitted in every 20 ms.
Whether the downlink DTX is adopted or not is controlled by network operators of the
exchange part. This kind of control is based on BSC. The control information is
transmitted to baseband processing part through dedicated signaling channel, and
then arrives at TC through the inband signaling of TRAU frame to indicate whether
downlink DTX is adopted. For some vendors, the downlink DTX can be configured on
the basis of cell.
Uplink DTX is configured by network operators of the radio part. The parameter DTX
in system information consists of 2 bits. ts coding scheme is shown in Table 1.1:
Table 1.1 Value range of DTX
*T: Meanin'
00 MS can use DTX
01 MS must use DTX
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

10 MS is not allowed to use DTX
11 Reserve
Parameter DTX is contained in "cell option of information unit and transmitted
periodically in the system information of each cell broadcast. MS decides whether to
start DTX function based on this information.
DTX can be used for voice signal transmission and nontransparent data transmission.
BCCH TRX does not use this technology. The benefits of DTX are listed below:

Uplink DTX can save MS batteries and reduce interference.

Downlink DTX can save BTS power consumption and reduce interference and
intra-BTS intermodulation.

Uplink DTX and downlink DTX used together can improve the intra-frequency
ratio of the system. This kind of improvement, when used in aggressive-
frequency-reuse cell planning, especially when used with frequency hopping, can
greatly expand the system capacity.
)). ,oice cti/ity *etection
For voice activity detection (VAD), the source must indicate when the transmission is
required. When DTX mode is activated, the encoder must detect the signal is voice or
noise. Therefore, the VAD is required. VAD can differentiate voice from noise through
calculating some signal parameters and threshold values. This kind of differentiation
is based on an energy rule: the energy of noise is always lower than that of voice.
VAD generates a group of threshold value in every 20 ms to judge whether the next
20ms block is voice or noise. When the background noise is too loud, the noise signal
will be regarded as voice signal to transmit.
))). Silence )ndicator
The coding procedure of noise is the same as that of voice. After sampling and
quantification, a noise block will be produce by encoder in every 20ms. Like voice
block, the coded noise block also contains 260 bits, which forms a SD frame. The
SD frame will go through channel coding, interleaving, encryption and modulation
and finally be sent by eight continuous bursts.
On TCH, a complete SACCH information block has four 26 muliframe cycles (480
ms). n order to differentiate voice frame and SD frame, these eight continuous
bursts are arranged at the beginning of the third multiframe. During other time of the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

480 ms, no information is transmitted except SACCH timeslot. The SD frame made
from the 20 ms noise block is interleaved with the preceding frame and the following
frame; the first SD frame is interleaved with the preceding voice frame and the
following SD frame.
),. Measure%ent
Uplink DTX and downlink DTX are two irrelevant procedures that are activated by
system parameters respectively. There are two kinds of measurement in GSM: full
measurement and sub measurement.
Global measurement is the average of the level and quality of the 104 timeslots in a
measurement cycle (four 26 multiframes); local measurement is the average of level
and quality of 12 timeslots, including eight continuous TCH bursts (for TCH/F, 0-103
TDMA frames as a cycle. The frame numbers of these eight bursts are 52, 53, 54, 55,
56, 57, 58, and 59. when no voice or signaling is transmitted, the descriptor of comfort
noise they contain is called SD) and four SACCH bursts (0-103 TDMA frames as a
cycle, for timeslot 0, the frame numbers of these four bursts are 12, 38, 64, and 90;
for timeslot 1, the frame number is that of timeslot 0 plus 13. similarly, the frame
numbers that the eight timeslots correspond to can be obtained in this way). n order
to achieve uniformity, no matter the uplink DTX or downlink DTX is activated or not,
BTS and MS must complete these two kinds of measurement. Each SACCH
measurement report of BTS and MS indicates whether DTX is used in last
measurement report time. BSC choose one of the two kinds of measurement based
on this indication.
1.= Power Control
1.=.1 Power Control </er/iew
Power control is to change the transmission power of MS or BTS (or both) in radio
mode within certain area. Power control can reduce the system interference and
improve the spectrum utilization and prolong the service time of MS battery. When
the Relev and quality is good, the transmission power of the peer end can be reduced
to lower the interference to other calls.
n GSM, power control can be used in uplink and downlink respectively. The power
control range for uplink MS is 20 dB30dB. Based on the power class of MS (most
MSs belongs to class 4, which means the maximum transmission power is 33 dbm),
each step can change 2 dB. The downlink power control range is decided by
equipment manufacturer. Although whether to adopt uplink or downlink power control
function is decided by network operators, all MSs and BTS equipments must support
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

this function. BSS manages the power control in the two directions.
To facilitate BCCH frequency pull-in and the measurement of Relev (including the
Relev of neighbor cell BCCH frequency), GSM protocol specifies that no power
control is allowed for the timeslots in the downlink of BCCH TRX.
1.=.& MS Power Control
The power control of MS includes two adjustment stages: stable adjustment stage
and initial adjustment stage. Stable adjustment is the common way to implement
power control algorithm. nitial adjustment is used at the beginning of call connection.
When a connection occurs, MS sends signals with nominal power (before receiving
power adjustment commend, the nominal transmission power of MS is the maximum
transmission power on BCCH of the cell. f MS does not support this power level, it
will adopt other power level most close to this level, such as the maximum power
level supported by the classmark of MS in indication message establishment).
Therefore, MS accesses to network through RACH with the maximum power
broadcast on BCCH. When MS power is lower than this value, it will transmit with its
maximum transmission power. The system specifies that the power level of the first
message that MS sends on DCH is also this value. The system control begins after
MS receives the power control command in SACCH information block from SDCCH
or TCH.
Since BTS can support multi-call at the same time, the Rxlev should be quickly
reduced in the new connection. Otherwise, other calls supported by this BTS will
deteriorate and the calls in other cells will also be affected. The purpose of initial
adjustment stage is to quickly reduce the transmission power of MS to get the stable
MR, so MS can be adjusted according to stable power control algorithm.
The required parameters in uplink power control, the expected uplink Rxlev, and the
uplink received quality can be adjusted according to the situation of the cell. After
receiving a certain number of uplink MRs, the system compares the actual uplink
Rxlev and received quality obtained by interpolation, filtering, and other methods with
the expected values and calculate the power level that the MS should be adjusted to
through power control algorithm. f the calculated power level differs from the output
power level of MS and meets certain limit conditions (such as step limit of power
adjustment and range limit of MS output power), the system will send power
adjustment command.
The command of changing MS power and the required time advance will be sent to
MS in the layer 1 header of each downlink SACCH information block. MS will
configure the power level it uses now in its uplink SACCH information block and send
it to BTS in measurement report. This level is the power level of the last burst in the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

previous SACCH measurement cycle. When MS receives the power control
information in SACCH information block from DCH, it will transmit with this power
level. One power control message does not make the MS switch to the required level
immediately. The maximum change rate of MS power is 2 dB for every 60 ms. For 12
dB, before MS receives the next power control message, it will not end as one
SACCH measurement cycle takes 480 ms. n addition, it takes three measurement
cycles to send power control message and execute the command. Therefore, the
power control cycle should not be too short in order to ensure its accuracy. See
Figure 1.1.
Fi'ure 1.1 Execution of power control command
The purpose of uplink power control adjustment is to minimize the difference between
the actual uplink Rxlev and received quality and the expected uplink Rxlev and
received quality. The purpose of interpolation and filtering is to process the lost
measurement reports and remove temporary nature to ensure the stability of power
control algorithm.
The difference between initial adjustment and stable adjustment is that the expected
uplink Relev and received quality and the length of filter in initial adjustment are
different from that of stable adjustment, and the initial adjustment only has downlink
1.=.3 BTS Power Control
BTS power control is an optional function. t is similar to MS power control, but it only
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

uses stable power control algorithm. The required parameters are Rxlev threshold
(lower limit), and the maximum transmission level can be received (upper limit). The
Relev is divided into 64 levels ranging from 0 to 63. Level 0 is the lowest Rxlev; level
63 is the highest Rxlev.
BTS power control is divided into static power control and dynamic power control.
Dynamic power control is the fine tuning based on static power control. There are six
steps (2 dB/step) of static power control according to Protocol 0505. f the maximum
output power is 46 dBm (40W), the step 6 is 34 dBm.
Static power control step is defined in the cell distributes list of data management
system, which specifies the maximum output power (suppose this value is Pn) of
static power control. For step 15 of dynamic power control, the corresponding value
range is Pn dBPn-30dB. When the maximum power control still cannot satisfy the
requirement, adjust static power control step to improve the maximum output power
of dynamic power control Pn.
1.=.+ Power Control Processin'
). Measure%ent 3eport )nterpolation
Each measurement report has a sequence number. f network detects incontinuous
sequence numbers, it means some of the measurement reports are missing. The
network will complete the reports based on interpolation algorithm.
As shown in Figure 1.1, the network receives measurement reports n and n+4. t
detects the sequence numbers are not continuous, so it uses an algorithm to add
n+1, n+2, and n+3 (yellow) to complete the reports.
The purpose of measurement report interpolation is to avoid call loss when the power
is too low.
Fi'ure 1.1 Measurement report interpolation
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

)). Measure%ent 3eport Filterin'
Network will not judge the state of MS based on only one measurement result,
because that is too incomprehensive, in addition, the MS may be fluctuating.
Therefore, filtering is required. Filtering combines several continuous measurement
results together to determine the state of MS during this period of time. n Figure 1.1,
the network uses four measurement reports (yellow).
TA has filters for Rxlev and received quality of uplink and downlink
The purpose of measurement report filtering is to remove temporary nature and
ensure the algorithm stability.
Fi'ure 1.1 Measurement report filtering
))). Power Control d>ust%ent
Calculate the power adjustment value based on the difference between the Rxlev and
the expected value.

Power control adjustment based on Rxlev

Power control module compares the estimate value of Rxlev obtained through pre-
processing of measurement report with the expected value, and calculates the step
length of adjustment. n power control algorithm, variable step is often used for quick
power control.

Power control adjustment based on received quality

Power control module compares the estimate value of received quality obtained
through pre-processing of measurement report with the expected value, and
calculates the step length of adjustment. When the received quality is bad, improve
the transmit power; when the received quality is good, reduce the transmit power.
This kind of power control adopts fixed step.

Comprehensive decision for power control

Consider both Rxlev and received quality and adopt different power control strategies
in different conditions to keep the stability and efficiency of power control algorithm.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Table 1.1 Comprehensive decision for power control
3ele/ power control
3ecei/ed quality
power control
Co%prehensi/e power
control ad>ust%ent
Reduce TP Reduce TP Reduce transmit power
Reduce TP mprove TP No action
Reduce TP No action Reduce TP
mprove TP Reduce TP mprove TP
mprove TP mprove TP mprove TP
mprove TP No action mprove TP
No action Reduce TP Reduce TP
No action mprove TP mprove TP
No action No action No action
TP = transmit power
Table 1.1 shows how comprehensive decision for power control works. When the
received quality requires the improving of transmit power while the Rxlev requires the
reducing of it, the system will make a comprehensive decision to perform no power
control adjustment, because bad received quality and good Rxlev represent strong
network interference. Under such circumstances, improving transmit power will further
increase the interference.
1.1? )%%ediate ssi'n%ent Procedure
The purpose of immediate assignment is to establish a radio connection (RR
connection) between MS and system at Um interface.
1.1?.1 7etwor8 ccess (icense and 3ando% ccess 3equest
The request of MS for channel assignment is controlled by its own access level and
the access grant level broadcast in cell. Each MS has one access level of the ten
levels from 0 to 9. n addition, it may also have one or several levels of the five
special access levels from l1 to 15. Access level is stored in SM card. BCCH system
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

information broadcasts access levels and special access levels that the network
grants and the information that whether all MSs allow emergency call or allow special
access levels only. f the mobile originated call is not emergency call, the MS can
access to network only when it belongs to the granted access level or granted special
access level. f the mobile originated call is emergency call, the MS can access to
network only when all the MSs in the cell allow emergency call or it belongs to the
granted special access level.
When an MS wants to establish connection with the network, it sends a channel
request to network through RACH channel. Channel request information contains 8-
bit useful signaling information, among which 3 bits6 bits are used as the minimal
indicator of access cause. The system processes different channel requests based on
this rough indication. t differentiates the granted calls from the denied calls and
assigns proper channels for the granted calls. This kind of process is especially useful
when the network is overload and the flow control is required. Since the channel
capacity is limited, this indicator cannot transfer all the information from MS, such as
the detailed cause of channel request, user identity and the features of mobile
equipment. These kinds of information are sent in the following SABM messages. The
8-bit information also contains the random discriminator sent by the MS and the
immediate assignment command (it contains information about the assigned
channel). mmediate assignment command carries the discriminator sent by the
previous MS. MS compares this discriminator with its own discriminator and judges
whether it is the message for itself from network. Since there are at most 5 bits in the
8 bits information carrying discriminator, only 32 MSs can be differentiated at the
same time. Further discrimination of the MSs requires the response information at Um
interface. Channel request information belongs to internal information of BSS.
n GSM, RACH is a kind of ALOH. n order to reduce the collision on RACH during
MS access to network and improve the efficiency of RACH channel and MS access.
GSM specifies the required access algorithm for MS. This kind of algorithm defines
three parameters: Tx_interger T, the maximum retransmission times RET, and
parameter S related to T and channel combination.
T represents the number of timeslots between two transmissions when continuous
channel requests are sent. S is an intermediate variable depends on T and the
configuration of CCCH. See the description of this parameter in Chapter 7. RET is the
MS maximum retransmission times allowed in order to avoid access collision. Each
time after MS sends access request, T3120 is to receive (or reject) immediate
assignment message. MS will retransmit access request for the messages that are
not received or rejected when T3120 times out under the premise that RET is not
exceeded and restart the T3120. When the retransmission times reaches RET and
T3120 times out, T3126 will be started to receive (or reject) immediate assignment
message. When T3126 times out, cell re-selection will be initiated.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.1?.& )nitial )%%ediate ssi'n%ent
After decoding the channel request information, BTS sends a channel required
message to BSC. This message contains important additional information and the
estimation of TA by BTS. After receiving this message, BSC selects a proper channel
for this request and activates the land resources by sending a channel active
message to BTS. BTS returns a channel active acknowledge message to BSC. f
BSC receives this message, BTS will send an immediate assignment command or
immediate assignment extended message on CCCH. n order to improve channel
efficiency, GSM introduces the message layout of immediate assignment extended
that contains the assignment information of two MSs. The immediate assignment
message contains the assignment information of one MS. According to GSM
specifications, MS must identity the immediate assignment (extended) information for
the last three channel requests.
f there is no channel to activate, BSC will send an immediate assignment reject or
immediate assignment extended reject message to MS. After receiving the reject
message, MS stops T3120 based on one of the last three channel requests and starts
T3122. During the specified time of T3122, MS has no access to network and turns
into idle mode. Before T3122 times out, MS cannot initiate connection attempt except
emergency call within the same cell.
After receiving immediate assignment message, MS compares the received
assignment command with the information stored in its channel request and judges
whether this message is for itself. f this message matches one of its last three
channel requests, MS will stop T3120 or T3126 and switch to the assigned channel.
Then it starts to establish the signaling link by using Set Asynchronous Balanced
Mode (SABM) command.
1.1?.3 )nitial Messa'e
After receiving immediate assignment message and decoding it, MS adjusts its
configuration of transmission and reception to the assigned channel and transmits
signaling according to the TA value specified by BSS and the initial maximum
transmission power broadcast in BCCH system information (see the description of
msTxPwrMaxCCH). MS sends an SABM frame on assigned SDCCH/TCH to
establish the asynchronous balanced mode (SAP=0) that is used to establish
signaling message link layer connection under acknowledgement mode. According to
GSM protocol, SABM carries an initial message that contains layer 3 service request
When two MSs send the same channel requests (which is possible in high traffic
volume area), the two MSs may respond to the same dedicated channel. in order to
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

save this problem, after receiving SABM frame, BTS makes no modification but sends
a UA frame (no frame number acknowledgement) containing the same information as
that of initial message. f the information of UA frame is different from that of SABM
frame, MS will abandon this channel and start reaccess process. Only the right MS
can stay on this channel.
SABM frame carries four kinds of initial messages: CM service request (such as call
setup, short message, and supplementary service), location updating request
(generic location updating, periodic location updating, and MS attach), MS detach,
and paging response. All these messages contain the identity of MS, detailed access
cause, and MS classmark (indicating some key features such as transmission power
level, encryption algorithm, short message capacity, and frequency capacity).
After receiving the initial message, BTS sends an establish indication message to
BSC. BSC receives this message and sends complete layer 3 information to MSC to
request SCCP connection to MSC. Layer 3 information carries the causes for CM
service request, which includes mobile originated call, emergency call, location
updating, and short message service. This information also carries cipher key
sequence number, MS identification number, and some physical information of the
MS such as transmit power level, ciphering algorithm, pseudo-synchronization, and
short message. After receiving this information, MSC sends connection confirmed
message to BSC (if the connection cannot be established, MSC will send SCCP
refused message) to indicate that the signaling link between MS and MSC has been
established. By this time, MSC can control the transmission properties of RR
management; BSS monitors the transmission quality and prepares for handover.
Then the MM connection begins.
Authentication or encryption is triggered when required in the following processing.
The process of immediate assignment is shown in Figure 1.1.
Fi'ure 1.1 mmediate assignment
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

n the immediate assignment process, T3101 starts when BSC sends channel active
message to BTS and ends when the establish indication is received. f T3101 times
out before signaling channel is established, the activated channel will be released.
1.1?.+ )%%ediate ssi'n%ent Failure

f a failure occurs to the underlaying MS on the new channel before the

establishment of signaling link, the network releases the assigned channel of
MS. The following processing depends on the failure type and previous actions.
f the failure is caused by the mismatch of message field in decision contention
and no re-assignment is initiated, the immediate assignment is restarted.
f the failure is caused by other reasons or if the re-assignment triggered by the
mismatch of message field in decision contention is carried out and the
assignment still fails, MS turns into idle mode and triggers cell re-selection.

f the available information is not sufficient to define a channel after the MS

receives immediate assignment message, RR connection fails.

f the assigned frequencies of MS belong to two or more than two frequency

bands, RR connection fails. f the assigned frequency of MS is not consistent
with the requested frequency but supported by MS, MS accesses the channel
with the frequency used in channel request. f MS does not support the assigned
frequency, RR connection fails.

f T3101 times out before the signaling channel is established, network releases
the assigned channel. Network cannot tell whether MS resends the access
attempt or not.
1.11 uthentication and 1ncryption
GSM takes lots of measures to protect the safety of system, such as using Temporary
Mobile Subscriber dentity (TMS) to protect MS, using Personal dentification
Number (PN) to protect SM card, authentication through authentication center (AUC)
for network access, encryption, and equipment identity register.
Authentication and encryption require a group of three parameters that generated in
AUC. Each client is assigned a Mobile Station nternational SDN Number (MSSDN)
and MS when registers in GSM network. MS is preserved onto SM card through
SM printer and SM printer will generate a corresponding client authentication value Ki that is
stored in SM card and AUC as permanent information. AUC has a pseudo number
generator used to generate a random number RAND. GSM defines algorithm A3, A8,
and A5 that are used for authentication and encryption. n AUC, RAND and Ki
together produce a response number SRES through A3 authentication algorithm and
a Kc through A8 encryption algorithm. RAND, Kc, and SRES form a three-parameter
group of client. This group is stored in the data base of this client in HLR. Generally,
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

AUC transfers five groups of parameters to HLR for automatic storage. HLR can save
ten groups of such parameters. When MSC/VLR requests for three-parameter group
transfer, HLR sends five groups at the same time for MSC/VLR to use one by one.
When there are two groups left, MSC/VLR will request for transfer again.
1.11.1 uthentication
Authentication is the process that GSM network checks whether the MS or TMS
from MS at radio interface is valid or not. The purpose of authentication is to avoid
unauthorized access to GSM network and the theft of private information by illegal
users. Authentication also provides parameters for MS to calculate new encryption
The network initiates authentication procedure in the following situations:

MS requesting for the change of information in VLR or HLR;

Service access, including MS originated call, MS terminated call, MS activation

and deactivation, and supplementary services;

The first network access after MSC/VLR reboot;

Mismatching Cipher key Sequence;

Whether to initiate authentication procedure depends on if the Kc value of the last
service processing stored in network consistent with that of the present access stored
in MS. f consistent, authentication procedure can be escaped and this Kc value is
used directly for encryption; if not, Kc value needs to be recalculated. MS does not
send Kc value to network through radio path for the sake of privacy. Therefore, Cipher
Key Sequence Number (CKSN) is introduced. CKSN is sent to MS by MSC/VLR
through authentication request message during the last network access. t is stored in
both SM card and MSC/VLR. During the initial access of MS, CKSN is sent to
MSC/VLR through the initial request message of SABM frame. MSC/VLR compares it
with the last CKSN. f they are not consistent, authentication is required before
encryption. f CKSN=0, it means no Kc is assigned. Authentication procedure is
initiates and controls by network. MSC/VLR sends an authentication request
message to MS to initiate authentication procedure and T3260.
). uthentication Success
The procedure for authentication success is shown in Figure 1.1:
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 1.1 Procedure for successful authentication
2) AUTHENTCATON REQUEST contains a RAND (128 bits) and a CKSN. The Ki
and RAND together generate a SERS (32 bits) through algorithm A3 and a Kc
(64 bits) through algorithm A8. The new Kc replaces the former key and is stored
in SM card together with CKSN.
3) MS sends AUTHENTCATON RESPONSE to network. After receiving this
message, the network stops T3260 and checks its validity (network compares it
with the SERS generated by Ki and RAND through algorithm A3 and check
whether they are consistent or not), and then enters the subsequent procedures,
such as encryption.
)). uthentication 3e>ect
f authentication fails, it means AUTHENTCATON RESPONSE is invalid.

f the MS uses TMS, the network will initiate identity procedure. f the MS
provided by the MS is different from that in network, the network will restart the
authentication procedure; if the MS is correct, the network will send

f the MS uses MS, the network will send AUTHENTCATON REJECT directly
to MS. The procedure for authentication reject is shown in Figure 1.1:
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 1.1 Procedure for authentication reject
After sending AUTHENTCATON REJECT message, the network releases all the MM
connections under establishment and restarts the procedure for RR connection
After receiving AUTHENTCATON REJECT message, MS sets the roaming disabled
flag and deletes information such as TMS, LA, and cipher key.
state, it stops T3220 after RR connection is released. f possible, MS initiates local
release procedure after the normal release procedure or T3220 timeout; if not (such
as the MS detach after switch off), MSRR exits abnormally.
f MS receives AUTHENTCATON REJECT message in other state, it exits all MM
connections and call re-establishment procedures, stops T3210 and T3230, sets and
starts T3240 to enter WAT FOR NETWORK COMMAND state and wait for the
release of RR connection; f RR connection is not released after T3240 timeout, MS
will exit RR connection abnormally. Under the two conditions above, MS enters MM
DLE and NO MS state.
1.11.& 1ncryption
Encryption occurs in service requests such as location updating, service access, and
inter-office handover. t requires the support of GSM network equipment (especially
BTS), as well as the encryption ability of MS. The encryption procedure is shown in
Figure 1.1:
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

). Si'nalin' Procedure
Cipheri ng Mode CMP (4)
Ci pher Mode CMD (1)
Encrypti on Mode CMD (2)
Ci pheri ng Mode CMD (3)
Ci pher Mode CMP (5)
Fi'ure 1.1 Encryption procedure
1) MSC sends BSC a Ciphering Mode CMD that contains encryption algorithm, Kc,
and whether the MS is required to add ME in Ciphering Mode CMP.
2) BSC decides the final algorithm based on the encryption algorithm in Ciphering
Mode CMD, the encryption algorithm that BSC allows, and the encryption
algorithm that MS supports, and then inform BTS.
3) BSC sends MS Ciphering Mode CMD to inform MS of the selected encryption
4) After receiving Ciphering Mode CMD, MS starts the transmission of ciphering
mode and sends Ciphering Mode CMP to the system.
5) After receiving the Ciphering Mode CMP from MS, BSC transfer it to MSC.
)). Procedure *escription

A5 algorithm
GSM protocol specifies eight kinds of encryption algorithm from A5/0 to A5/7. A5/0
stands for no encryption. The encryption procedure is initiated by the network. The
encryption information of Cipher Mode CMD specifies the required encryption
algorithm. The algorithm that generates encrypted code is called A5 algorithm. t
calculates by using the Kc (64 bits) and the current frame number (22 bits) to
generate a 114-bit encryption sequence and then implements XOR operation with the
114-bit burst. Two encryption sequences are used for uplink and downlink. For each
burst, one sequence is used for MS encryption and BTS decryption, the other
sequence is used for BTS encryption and MS decryption.

Encryption algorithm selection

When MS initiates call request, the SABM frame carries Classmark 1 or 2 to indicate
whether the MS supports algorithm A5/1, A5/2, or A5/3, and reports Classmark 3 in
CLASS MARK CHANGE to further indicate whether the MS supports Algorithm A5/4,
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

A5/5, A5/6, or A5/7(n system information, if ECSC=1, MS reports Classmark 3
immediately; if ECSC = 0, the Classmark 3 is reported after CLASSMARK ENQURY
is initiated by the network. Therefore, the configuration of ECSC = 1 is recommended
when the encryption is used). MSC sends encryption command based on the
configuration of secret data. BSC chooses the intersection of the encryption algorithm
allowed in the command sent by MSC, the encryption algorithm allowed in BSC data
configuration, and the encryption algorithm supported in the MS report. n the
intersection, BSC selects a proper algorithm based on the priority level of A5/7 > A5/6
> A5/5 > A5/4 > A5/4 > A5/3 > A5/2 > A5/1 > A5/0.

Encryption in handover
The HANDOVER REQUEST contains the encryption information unit that indicates
the required encryption algorithm and key. f one of the two A interfaces of BSS is in
PHASE , due to the limitation of ETS GSM PHASE protocol (no ciphering mode
setting information unit in handover command), the two A interfaces match only when
they share the same encryption algorithm (such as A5/2) to ensure the normal inter-
BSC handover. Otherwise, special treatment has to be made to the target MSC or
target BSC (or the source MSC or source BSC) to change the handover command for
inter-BSC handover.
For the interconnection of A-interfaces when the encryption is used, whether special
data configuration is required for BSC and MSC must be considered.
1.11.3 TMS) 3eallocation
After authentication and encryption, the system sends CM SERVCE ACCEPT or
TMS reallocation command to MS and initiates T3250.
When MS registers in the location area for the first time, the network allocates a TMS
to it. When the MS leaves this location area, it releases the TMS. When the MS
receives the TMS reallocation command, it saves the TMS and LA and sends TMS
reallocation complete message. After receiving this message, the network stops
f the system cannot identify TMS of the MS, for example, when the data base error
occurs, the MS must provide its MS. The identification program is initiated before the
TMS reallocation to request for the MS.
The identification program sends identity request message to the MS, after receiving
this message, the MS provides its MS by sending identity response message to the
network. When this procedure is over, authentication, encryption, and MS
reallocation are implemented if required.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.11.+ 1@ceptional Situations
). uthentication

RR connection failure
f the network detects RR connection failure before receiving AUTHENTCATON
RESPONSE, it releases all the MM connections and terminates all the active MM

T3260 timeout
T3260 is started when MSC sends authentication request to BSC and stops when
MSC receives AUTHENTCATON RESPONSE. f the T3260 times out before the
AUTHENTCATON RESPONSE is received, the network releases RR connection,
terminates the authentication procedure and all the active MM procedures, and then
releases all the MM connections and initiates RR connection release procedure.

Unregistered SM card
f the SM card of the MS is not registered, the network sends AUTHENTCATON
REJECT message directly to the MS.
)). 1ncryption

Encryption reject
f BSS does not support the encryption algorithm specified in CPHERNG MODE
CMD, it sends CPHER MODE REJECT message to MSC.
f the encryption is initiated in BSS before MSC requests for the change of encryption
algorithm, BSS also sends CPHER MODE REJECT message to MSC.

Un-encrypted MS
The CPHERNG MODE COMMAND message is valid when:
The un-encrypted MS receives CPHERNG MODE COMMMAND message that
requires encryption.
The un-encrypted MS receives CPHERNG MODE COMMMAND message that
requires non-encryption.
The encrypted MS receives CPHERNG MODE COMMMAND message that
requires non-encryption.
n other cases, CPHERNG MODE COMMAND is considered wrong. The MS sends
RR STATUS message with the cause of protocol error and performs no action.
))). TMS) 3eallocation

RR connection failure
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

f RR connection fails before TMS reallocation complete message is received, all the
MM connections are released and both the old and new TMSs are saved during a
certain recovery time.

T3250 timeout
T3250 is started when MSC sends TMS_ REALL_ CMD message or LOC UPD ACC
message with the new TMS and stops when MSC receives TMS _REALL_COM. f
T3250 times out before the TMS _REALL_COM is received, MSC sends CLEAR
COM message to release RR connection and terminate TMS reallocation.
1.1& (ocation -pdate
n GSM, the paging information cannot be sent in the whole network due to the
capacity limit of the paging channel. Therefore, the definition of location area (LA) is
introduced. LAC contains many cells. The paging for the MS is carried out through the
paging in all the cells within the LA of the MS. The size of the LA is of vital importance
to the system performance in network design.
The registration management for the LA is required since the paging for the MS is
carried out through the paging in all the cells within the LA, which brings about the
definition of location update. Location update is divided into generic location update,
periodic location update, and MS attach.
1.1&.1 Generic (ocation -pdate !)nter4( (ocation -pdate$
When the MS moves from one LA to another LA, registration is required. f the LA
stored in the MS is different from the LA of the current cell, the MS informs the
network to change the location information it stores. This procedure is called generic
location update.
n idle mode, if cell re-selection occurs when the MS moves within the LA, the MS will
not inform the network immediately but implement cell re-selection without location
update or network involvement. f the MS moves to another LA after re-selection, the
MS informs the network of this LA change, which is called forced registration.
According to whether the VLR changes or MS involves, generic location update is
divided into the following types:
). )ntra ,l3 (ocation -pdate
t is the simplest location update that requires no MS. t happens in the current VLR
without informing the HLR.
n the initial message carried by SABM frame, the access cause is MM LOCATON
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

UPDATNG REQUEST that carries the MS TMS and LA. The generic location
updating is indicated. MSC receives this message and forwards it to VLR. VLR
updates the MS location information and stores the new LA, and then sends a new
TMS to MS if required (MS uses the former TMS if no TMS is carried in the TMS
re-allocation command). After receiving the TMS re-allocation complete message,
MSC sends location updating accept message and releases the channel. Location
updating completes.
Fi'ure 1.1 Location updating procedure
)). )nter4,(3 (ocation -pdatin'A Sendin' TMS)
After the MS enters a cell, if the current LA is different from the LA it stores, it sends
its LA and TMS to VLR through MSC in location updating request. VLR deduces the
former VLR based on the LA and TMS it received and sends a
MAP_SEND_DENTFCATON to the former VLR to request for MS and
authentication parameter. The former VLR sends the MS and authentication
parameters to the current VLR. f the current VLR cannot obtain the MS, it sends MS
an identity request message to request for the MS. After receiving the MS, VLR
sends HLR the location updating message that contains the MS identity information
for the data query and path establishment of HLR. After receiving this message, HLR
stores the number of the current VLR and sends MAP/D_CANCEL_LOCATON to the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

former VLR if the current MSC/VLR has the normal service rights. After receiving this
message, the former VLR deletes all the information about this MS and sends the
HLR a MAP/D_CANCEL_LOCATON_RESULT message to confirm the deletion. The
HLR will send MAP_NSERT_SUBSCRBER_DATA message to provide the current
VLR with the information it requires (including authentication parameters) after the
procedure for authentication, encryption, and TMS reallocation is over, and confirm
the location updating after receiving the response from the VLR.
))). )nter4,(3 (ocation -pdatin'A Sendin' )MS)
The procedure is similar with the procedure above but easier because it requests for
authentication parameter from the HLR through MS directly.
1.1&.& Periodic (ocation updatin'
The network and the MS lose contact when:

The MS is switched on but moves out of the network coverage area (dead zone).
The network lost contact with the MS and regards it still in attach status.

The MS sends MS detach message and the uplink quality is bad due to
interference, the network may not be able to decode this message correctly. The
MS is still regarded in attach status.

The MS is power off. t cannot inform the network of its status and the contact is
f the paging for MS happens when the contact is lost, the system sends paging
information in the LA that the MS registered before. The network cannot receive the
response from the MS. The system resource is wasted. To solve this problem, the
implicit detach timer is introduced in the VLR for the MS status management. n
addition, measures are taken in BSS to force the MS to report its location periodically.
Therefore, the network is informed of the status of MS. This kind of mechanism is
called periodic location updating. The network sends a periodic location updating time
T3212 to all the users in the cell through BCCH to force the MS to send location
updating request with the cause of periodic location updating after T3212 times out.
Before the T3212 times out, if the timeout value is changed (for example, the service
cell changes and the T3212 timeout value is broadcast), the MS uses the time when
the change happens as the initial value and keep on timing.
f the T3212 times out when the MS is in NO CELL AVALABLE, LMTED SERVCE,
updating is initiated after the MS is out of these service status.
Periodic location updating ensures the close contact between network and mobile
users. The shorter updating period leads to better network performance. But the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

frequent location updating will increase the signaling flow and reduce the utilization of
the radio resources, or even affect the processing ability of MSC, BSC, and BTS. On
the other hand, it will greatly increase the power consumption of MS and reduce its
standby time. The T3212 setting should be based on comprehensive consideration.
The procedure for periodic location updating is the same as that for generic location
1.1&.3 )MS) ttach and *etach
MS attach and detach means to attach a binary mark to the subscriber record in
MSC/VLR. The former one is marked as access granted, and the latter one is marked
as access denied.
When the MS is switched on, it informs the network of its status change by sending
an MS ATTACH message to the network to inform. After receiving this message, the
network marks the current user status in the system database for the paging program.
f the current LA and the LA the MS stores are the same, MS attach is initiated. The
procedure is similar to the intra VLR location updating only that the location updating
request message is marked as MS attach and the initial message contains MS of
the MS.
f the current LA is different from the LA stored, generic location updating is initiated.
When the MS is switched off, the MS detach is triggered by a key-press. Only one
command is sent to MSC/VLR from the MS. This is an unacknowledged message.
After receiving this message, MSC informs VLR to do detach mark to this MS while
the HLR is not informed of the no-radio of this user. When the paging for this user
occurs, HLR requests for the MSRN from the VLR and is informed of the no-radio of
this user by this time. Therefore, no paging program is implemented. The paging
message is handled directly, such as playing the record: "The subscriber is powered
The procedure above is explicit MS detach. There is also implicit detach. The implicit
detach happens before the implicit detach timer times out. f the contact between MS
and network is not established, the VLR sets the MS status as detach. The implicit
detach timer is set longer than the periodic location updating timer T3212 to avoid
"abnormal" implicit detach. The implicit detach is denied during the establishment of
radio connection. The implicit detach timer is reset after the release of radio
connection. mplicit detach timer is also called MS delete time.
VLR deletes the MS marked as detach periodically (The period is adjustable) and
reports the user status to the HLR.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.1&.+ 1@ceptional Situations
). MS

Access denied because of access level limit

MS stays in the service cell and performs the normal cell re-selection procedure
without triggering location updating. When the current cell allows access or other cell
is selected, The MS initiates location updating immediately.

MMEDATE ASSGNMENT REJECT message is received during random

MS stays in the service cell and starts T3122 based on the value in the immediate
assignment reject message. The normal cell selection and re-selection procedure is
performed. f the cell that the MS stays changes or T3122 times out, the MS initiates
location updating.

Random access failure

f the random access fails, T3213 is started. After the T3213 times out, the random
access procedure is initiated. f two successive random accesses fail, the location
updating is terminated. For the subsequent processing, see the following description.

RR connection failure: Location updating procedure is terminated. For the

subsequent processing, see the following description.

T3210 timeout: Location updating fails. For the subsequent processing, see the
following description.

The completion of RR connection is abnormal: Location updating fails. For the

subsequent processing, see the following description.

Location updating reject due to reasons other than #2, #3, #6, #11, #12, or #13:
MS waits for the release of RR connection. For the subsequent processing, see
the following description.
# 2 (MS unknown in HLR)
# 3 (llegal MS)
# 6 (llegal ME)
# 11 (PLMN not allowed)
# 12 (Location Area not allowed)
# 13 (Roaming not allowed in this location area)
Subsequent processin': f the T3210 is still timing, stop it; f T3210 times out, RR
connection fails. Add 1 to the location updating attempt timer. The following
processing depends on the LA (stored and received from the service cell) and the
value of the location updating attempt timer.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

f the location updating status is UPDATED, the stored LA and the received LA are
the same, and the location updating attempt timer is less than 4, MS keeps the
UPDATED status. After the release of RR connection, the sub status of MM DLE
becomes NORMAL SERVCE. The MS also stores the information about the former
location updating type. The T3211 is started after RR connection release. After it
times out, the location updating procedure is started again.
f the location updating status is not UPDATED, or the stored LA is different from the
received LA, or the location updating attempt timer is equal to or less than 4, the MS
deletes the ciphering key sequence, LA, TMS stored in SM card and sets the
location updating status as NOT UPDATED. After the release of RR connection, the
sub status of MM DLE becomes ATTEMPTNG TO UPDATE. After the RR
connection release, if the location updating attempt is less than 4, T3211 is started.
Otherwise, T3212 is started. After the T3211 or T3212 times out, the location updating
procedure is started again.
After the sub status of MM DLE becomes ATTEMPTNG TO UPDATE, the MS will do
the following:

f T3211, T3213, or T3212 times out, perform location updating.

f LA changes, perform generic location updating

f the cause for the status change is (3), (4), (6) (the cause is not the abnormal
release with unknown reason), or (7) (cause "retry in the new cell), perform
location updating when entering the new cell.

f the cause for the status change is (5), (6) (the cause is abnormal release with
unknown reason), or (7) (the cause is not "retry in the new cell), location
updating is not performed when entering the new cell.

No MS detach.

Support emergency call request

Respond the paging with MS

Perform generic location updating triggered by the request from CM layer (if the
location updating succeeds, the MML connection request will be accepted. For
details, see section 4.5.1 of the Protocol 0408).
)). Matchin' Between )MS) *elete Ti%e and T3&1&
f the periodic location updating fails for four times, T3212 will be started for the next
update. n the bad coverage area, especially in the area where the uplink and
downlink do not match (downlink is better than uplink), after the periodic location
update fails,
Another location updating is initiated after T3212 times out. Therefore, the T3212 is
set to be shorter in the bad coverage area. n addition, if the MS delete time is less
than twice of the T3212, the users stay in the service area but cannot be called. So
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

the MS delete time should be more than twice of the T3212 and based on LAC.
))). 7etwor8

RR connection failure
Among all the sub procedures attached to the location updating procedure, if the RR
connection fails, it is handled according to the exception handling of other common
f no other common procedure is attached to the location updating procedure, the MS
location updating is terminated.

Protocol error
f the network detects protocol error after receiving LOCATON UPDATNG
REQUEST, it sends LOCATON UPDATNG REJECT message to the MS with the
following cause if possible:
#96 required E error
#99 E error or no E exists
#100 Conditional E error
#111 Protocol error, undefined
After sending LOCATON UPDATNG REJECT to the MS, the network initiates
channel release procedure.
1.13 MS <ri'inatin' Call Flow
The MS needs to set up a main signaling link to connect to MSC first, and then
initiates the authentication, encryption, and TMS reassignment flow.
1.13.1 Called 7u%ber nalysis
After the authentication, encryption, and TMS reassignment flow are over, the MS
starts the call setup flow.
First, the MS sends a SETUP message to the network side. This message contains
called number and the required services. The MSC implements the call proceeding
according to the message.
When receive the SETUP message, the MSC sends the outgoing call message
SEND_NFO_FOR_O/C_CALL to the VLR. After receive the outgoing call message,
the VLR analyzes the items such as called number, the calling party capability, and
network resources capability according to the user information obtained from the HLR
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

during the location updating process, to check whether to accept this call request. f a
certain item cannot be passed, the VLR sends the RELEASE COMPLETE message
to the MS. The call fails. The MS then proceeds to release the bottom layer
connection and switches to the idle state. f the above items can be passed, the VLR
sends the COMPLETE_CALL message to the MSC. After receive this message, the
MSC sends the CALL PROCEEDNG message to the MS. t means that the call
request is accepted and the call is set up.
Fi'ure 1.1 MS originating call flow
1.13.& ,oice Channel ssi'n%ent !Follow4up ssi'n%ent$
After send the CALL PROCEEDNG message to the MS, the MSC activates the
follow-up assignment according to the service request. That is, assign the TCH voice
channel to the user. At this time, the MSC sends the ASSGNMENT REQUEST
message to the BSC. This message contains the information such as the requested
channel type to request the BSC to assign the TCH voice channel for the call.
After receive the channel request from the MSC, the BSC sends the Channel
Activation for TCH message to the BTS to activate corresponding terrestrial
resources and start a timer at the same time if the TCH channel resources are
available. f the BTS has prepared the resources such as circuit, the BTS sends the
CHANNEL ACTVATON ACK message to the BSC. f the BSC has no available
resources to assign, it sends the RESOURCE FALURE message to the MSC. But if
the system allows queuing, the BSC sends the QUEUNG NDCATON message to
the MSC and places the assignment request in the queue and starts the timer T11. f
the T11 times out, the BSC sends the CLEAR REQUEST message to the MSC.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

The immediate assignment request, intra-BSC handover, and inter-BSC handover do
not support queuing. Only the TCH resource request (that is, the assignment request
and intra-cell handover) allows queuing. The TCH resource requests in the queue are
assigned with relevant channels in the sequence of their priorities. n the length of the
queue reaches its threshold or the timer times out, the request is rejected.
When the BSC receives the CHANNEL ACTVATON ACK message from the BTS,
the BSC puts the physical information of the channel provided by the BTS in the
ASSGNMENT COMMAND message (this message contains the information such as
channel type, voice/data indication, channel rate, voice decoding algorithm and
transparent transmission indicator, assignment priority and CC). The ASSGNMENT
COMMAND message is sent to the MS through the SDCCH channel.
Fi'ure 1.1 TCH channel assignment procedure
After receive the ASSGNMENT COMMAND message from the BTS, the MS adjusts
the transceiver configuration to the TCH channel and then sends the SABM message
to the BTS through the FACCH channel in the way of stolen frame. After the BTS
receives the SABM message, the BTS sends the ESTABLSH NDCATON message
to the BSC and then sends an Unnumbered Acknowledge (UA) to the MS, just as the
initial signaling channel assignment does.
After receive the UA, the MS sends the ASSGNMENT COMMPLETE message to the
BTS through the FACCH channel. f the MS fails to identify the assignment
information and fails to occupy the specified channel due to the radio interface failure,
radio interface message failure or interference, or hardware problems, the MS returns
to the original channel and sends the ASSGNMENT FALURE to the BTS. f the MS
does not receive the ASSGNMENT COMMAND sent from BTS or the BTS does not
receive the response message sent from MS due to interference or other causes, the
system starts the corresponding timers (such as T3103 or T3107) and when the timer
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

times out, the channel is released.
When receive the ASSGNMENT COMPLETE message, the BSC sends the
ASSGNMENT COMPLETE message to the MSC. At the same time, it also sends the
RF CHANNEL RELEASE message to the BTS to release the occupied SDCCH
signaling channel. When the BTS releases the signaling channel, it sends the RF
CHANNEL RELEASE ACK message to the BSC. After the BSC receive the
message, it considers that the signaling channel is in idle state and can be assigned
to other channel requests.
For different purposes, the GSM has three different channel assignment flows. They
are initial channel assignment, follow-up channel assignment, and handover channel

nitial channel assignment: is mandatory to establish the link transmission

between the MS and the network. For example, process the location updating
During the establishment of the signaling transmission, if the TCH channel is
assigned preferably, this assignment is called very early assignment (VEA). After the
MSC sends the ASSGNMENT REQUEST message, the BSC does not apply for new
channel but initiate the Mode_Modify flow. After the Mode_Modify is complete, the
BSC reports the ASSGNMENT COMPLETE message to the MSC.
f the SDCCH channel is assigned first, and the TCH channel is assigned when it is
needed, and then ASSGNMENT REQUEST message from MSC is sent before the
Alerting message, this assignment is called early assignment (EA).
f the SDCCH channel is assigned first and the TCH is assigned after the called party
sends the CONNECT message, Generally, it adopts the EA mode.
Fi'ure 1.& Mode modify in the early assignment flow
f the EA mode is used in the initial assignment, when no SDCCH is available, assign
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

the TCH channel for the channel request directly. The TCH channel replaces the
SDCCH channel to send the signaling message. Please note that using the TCH
channel to transmit the signaling wastes the resources a lot because one TCH
channel equals eight SDCCH channels. When this situation is quite serious, add
more SDCCH to meet the requirement in time.

Follow-up channel assignment

After the signaling channel finishes the authentication and encryption process, if there
is still voice or data request, the follow-up channel assignment is triggered to assign a
TCH channel.

Handover channel assignment

This assignment is used to apply for channels due to handover during the call
The system judges whether the handover occurs in the SDCCH or in the TCH to
assign corresponding channels. The handover flow and the assignment flow in the
cell are the same. The only difference is that the message names are different.
Similar to the immediate assignment flow, in the MS assignment flow, the timer T3107
starts when the BSC sends the ASSGNMENT COMMAND message to the BTS.
After the BSC receives the ASSGNMENT COMPLETE message from the BTS, the
timer T3107 resets. Generally, the timeout of the timer is caused by the bad radio
coverage. When the timer times out, the MS is considered disconnected with the
network and the resources are released for other MSs. Based on the statistics, the
channel assignment is generally complete within two seconds. f the BSC does not
receive the ASSGNMENT COMPLETE message within two seconds, the assignment
fails. But sometime, the network quality is bad, some messages needs to be sent
several times, in this case, the assignment can be extended to five seconds.
Generally, if the traffic load of the cell is heavy, set the timer as 2 seconds to 5
seconds. f not heavy, set the timer as 10 seconds.
1.13.3 Call Connection
After receiving the ASSGNMENT COMPLETE message from the BSC, the MSC
sends the nitial Address Message (AM) that includes the information used to establish
the route to the called network. The MSC will receive the call setup report soon. f
succeeds, the MSC receives an ADDDRESS COMPLETE message (ACM); if fails
because of certain reason (such as busy line or congestion), the MSC receives a
RELESASE message from the called end.
f MSC receives the ACM, MSC sends the ALERTNG message to the MS (MS
translates it into ring back tone). This message is a DTAP message. f no answer is
received from the called party and the calling party does not terminate the connection,
the network will terminate the call or perform no answer call transfer after a while.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

f the called party picks up the phone, MSC receives an ANSWER message. The link
between the calling party and the called party is connected. MSC sends a CONNECT
message in the CC protocol to the MS. After receiving this message, the MS sends a
CONNECT ACKNOWLEDGE message in the CC protocol to the system. The system
starts charging after receiving this message. f the called end is data device, it enters
CONNECT status directly after receiving the SETUP indication. The call connection
procedure is over and the two parties start the conversation or data transmission
1.13.+ Call 3elease
f the calling party hangs up first, the MS sends disconnect message to MSC through
FACCH. After receiving this message, the MSC sends release message to inform the
called party to terminate the communication. The end-to-end connection is over. But
the call is not complete, because certain tasks such as sending charge indication are
performed. When the connection to the MS is no longer necessary, the system sends
a RELEASE message to the MS and starts T308. After receiving this message, the
MS sends a RELEASE COMPLETE message to the system and the call is over. The
MS stops the T308 after receiving the RELEASE COMPLETE message. Similarly, if
the called party hangs up first, it sends a RELEASE message to the calling party. The
MSC sends the calling party a DSCONNECT message after receiving the RELEASE
message. f the call is terminated in an abnormal way, this message further indicates
the cause for that.
When the MSC receives the RELEASE COMPLETE message from the MS, it sends
a CLEAR COMMAND message to BSC to release all the signaling links. This
message contains the cause for the call clearance, such as handover complete or
location updating complete. The call connection release is over. f the abnormal
release occurs because of radio link failure or device failure, the BSC sends a CLEAR
REQUEST message to the MSC.
After receiving the CLEAR REQUEST message, BSC sends a CHANNEL RELEASE
message to the MS and starts T3109 to show that all the lower layer links are
released. Meanwhile, it requires the MS to enter the idle mode. When the MS
receives the CHANNEL RELEASE message, it removes the uplink signaling link (to
stop sending the measurement report of uplink channel associated signaling on
SACCH). The MS sends DSC message to BTS and starts T3110. After receiving this
message, The BTS sends UA to MS and the RELEASE NDCATON to the BSC.
When the T3110 times out or the MS receives the UA frame, it enters the idle mode.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 1.1 Call release
n order to ensure the timely removal of the uplink and downlink, when the BSC sends
the CHANNEL RELEASE message to the MS for the uplink removal, it also sends a
deactivate SACCH (SACCH) to the BTS requiring for the release of the downlink
signaling (to stop the signaling connection between the two parties). After receiving
this message, the BTS stops the transmission of the downlink SACCH frame and
sends the deactivate SACCH acknowledgement to the MSC.
After receiving the RELEASE NDCATON message, BSC resets the T3109 and
starts the T3111, and sends RF CHANNLE RELEASE to the BTS (the T3111 is reset
at the same time), requiring for the release of TCH resources. When the BSC
receives the RF CHANNLE RELEASE acknowledgement message from the BTS, it
sends a CLEAR COMPLETE message to the MSC, indicating that the radio link
clearance is over and the channel is available for reallocation.
After receiving the CLEAR COMPLETE message, the MSC releases the SCCP
connection by sending RLSD and receiving RLC. The whole MS originating call flow
is over.
1.13.0 1@ceptional Situations
). 7o 1stablish )ndication Messa'e )s 3ecei/ed fter Channel cti/ation
The main causes are:
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization


The MS may send many channel requests even if the BSS works well, which
activates many signaling channels. But the MS only occupies one of them. Other
channels are released by the BSC after the T3101 times out as they cannot
receive the establish indication from the MS. f the Tx_interger is proper, the
cause for this problem is that the uplink reception is normal but the downlink
signal cannot be received by the MS. Under such circumstances, the received
level and the received quality of uplink and downlink should be checked. f the
MS is not far away from the BTS but the received level and the received quality
are bad, check the antenna feeder and the TRX in BTS.

mproper configuration of Tx-integer in BSC

The Tx-integer affects the interval of channel request re-sending. mproper Tx-integer
only leads to the activation of many channels by BSS, but no call will be affected.
)). BSC Sendin' )%%ediate ssi'n%ent 3e>ect
f the BSC sends immediate assignment reject to the MS after receiving the channel
required message, the usual causes are:

No proper signaling channel is available for the MS because of all channels are
busy or the channels are blocked.

BTS sends channel activation negative acknowledge after receiving the channel
activation message.
f the BTS sends lots of channel activation negative acknowledge messages to the
BSC, it is usually because the transmission at Abis interface is not stable, which leads
to the inconsistent channel status of the BSC and BTS, or because errors occur in
certain board of BTS.
))). MSC Sendin' *isconnect Messa'e )nstead of ssi'n%ent 3equest to
Ter%inate the Call
n the call connection process, the immediate assignment is followed by the
assignment procedure. But due to certain reasons, the MSC sends a disconnect
message instead of the assignment request message to the MS and then terminates
the call. Under such circumstances, many complaint phones from users cannot get
through. Check the following:

The A interface circuit of MSC

The data consistencies of the A interface between the MSC and BSC, especially
the circuit pool data.
),. ssi'n%ent Failure
After receiving the assignment request, the BSC sends assignment failure message
instead of assignment complete. The usual causes are:
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization


No proper voice channel is available for the MS.

BSC has no proper voice channel for the MS because all the voice channels are busy
or the channels are blocked.
The cause value carried by the assignment failure message is no radio resource.

The MS voice channel access fails.

Under this condition, the assignment failure is reported from the MS.
Due to the special features of the radio transmission, this kind of assignment failure
occurs most frequently and is unsolvable. f the occurrence rate is too high, check the
antenna feeder, the BTS board, and the parameters related to channel access in BSC
data configuration.

The A interface circuit of BSC fails, for example, the CC in the assignment
request is not available.

The hardware of BSC fails.

The cause value in the assignment failure message sent by BSC is equipment failure.

The transmission at A interface fails.

,. *irected 3etry
After receiving the assignment request message from the MSC, if no TCH is available
and the BSC allows directed retry, the BSC implements the handover with the cause
value of directed retry to change the service cell of the MS.
,). 1@ceptional Procedure *ue to Call *rop
Call drop may occur any time during the call flow, which affects the following
procedures. For example, the call drop occurs when the BSC receives the
assignment request message from the MSC. The assignment procedure may be not
complete (the channel may be just assigned and no assignment command message
is sent). Under this condition, BSC may send clear request message instead of
assignment complete message or assignment failure message to the MSC.
,)). 1@ceptional Procedure *ue to "an'up
Hang up of the calling party or the called party may occur any time during the call
flow, which affects the following procedures. For example, the hangup occurs when
the BSC receives the assignment request from the MSC. Under this condition, the call
flow may be terminated before the BSC sends assignment complete or assignment
failure to the MSC. This assignment procedure neither succeeds (BSC sends
assignment complete) nor fails (BSC sends assignment failure).
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

,))). 1@ceptional procedure because MSC sends clear co%%and
After the A interface connect is established, MSC may send clear command or
disconnect message to the BSC during the call flow, which affects the following
procedures. For example, the hang up occurs when the BSC receives the assignment
request from the MSC. Under this condition, the call flow may be terminated before
the BSC sends assignment complete or assignment failure to the MSC. This
assignment procedure neither succeeds (BSC sends assignment complete) nor fails
(BSC sends assignment failure)
f it happens many times, analysis the following two factors:

The cause value carried in the clear command

The cause value is usually the call control if the call is terminated in a normal way.
Otherwise, the cause value may be protocol error, equipment failure, or others.

The interval between the clear command or disconnect message and the last
The interval between the clear command or disconnect message and the last
message indicates whether the exceptional procedure is triggered by timeout.
1.1+ MS <ri'inated Call Flow
1.1+.1 1nquiry
After the signaling link for the calling end is established, the nitial Address Message
with nformation (A) is send from the calling end to the GMSC. The A contains the
MSSDN of the called party. GMSC analyzes the identification number of the CCS7 of
the HLR and sends this HLR the SEND_ROUTNG_NFORMATON message. After
receiving this message, the HLR checks the user record, and then performs different
procedures and responds the GMSC as follows:

Under normal circumstances, the HLR only has the partial information about the
identification of the current VLR, such as the CCS7 address or the universal
mark. To get the routing information for the call, the HLR sends the VLR a
PROVDE ROAMNG_ NUMBER message that contains the user MS
information, requiring the VLR to provide a MSRN for this call. When the
MSC/VLR receives this message, it selects a roaming number from the idle
numbers to temporarily connect it to the MS, and sends the
PROVDE_ROAMNG_NUMBER_RESULT message with the MSRN assigned to
this call in it to the HLR. When the HLR receives the MSRN, it transfers the
information by sending a SEND_ROUTNG_NFORMATON_RESULT message
to the call originating GMSC. Then the GMSC can find the VLR with the obtained
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

MSRN and sends the A to it. After receiving this message, the MSC restores
the MS of this user in its memory record with the MSRN and starts the paging
for the MS. After the call is established, this roaming number is released for
another user.

f the record of the called party is set as Barring of All ncoming Calls (BAC) or
Barring of ncoming Calls when roaming is outside the home PLMN country
(BC_roam) according to the message sent by the VLR and the user is in
roaming now, the HLR rejects this call.

f the user record is set as Call Forwarding Unconditional (CFU), the HLR sends
the MSRN to the original GMSC to analyze this number and redefine the routing.

f no VLR number of the user is found and no call forwarding is set, Error
message will be sent to the GMSC.
1.1+.& Pa'in'
After receiving the A from the GMSC, the called MSC sends a
SEND_NFO_/C_CALL message to the VLR and the VLR will analyze the called
number and the network resource capacity to check whether this requirement is
acceptable. f certain item is not accepted, it informs the calling end that the call
establishment fails. Under normal circumstances, the VLR sends the MSC a PAGNG
MAP message that contains the location area identification (LA) and the MS or
TMS of the called party, informing the MSC to perform the paging procedure.
When the MSC obtains the LA information of the MS from the VLR, it sends all the
BSCs in this LA the paging message that contains the cell list and the TMS and MS
information required for paging. The MS can be used in the paging for the MS
through the cell paging channel. n addition, it is also used to confirm the paging
subchannel in the discontinuous reception processing.
BSC sends the PAGNG COMMAND to all the cells in the LA. This command
message contains the paging channel group number and the timeslot number
(obtained by the calculation of the last three numbers of the MS, the total number of
the paging channels, and the total number of the paging timeslots).
When the cell receives this paging command, it sends the PAGNG REQUEST
message on the paging channel. The message contains the MS or TMS of the user
f the called MS detects the paging by decoding the paging information, it sends a
channel request to initiate the channel allocation process. After receiving the
immediate assignment command from the network, the MS sends the initial message
of PAGNG RESPOSE on the channel assigned through the SABM frame, and then
implements the authentication, encryption, TMS reallocation, and finally begins the
call establishment process.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 1.1 Paging flow
1.1+.3 Call 1stablish%ent for the Called Party
After the TMS reallocation is over, the MSC sends the MS a SETUP message that
includes all the details required such as the service type and the calling number. After
receiving this message, the called MS confirms the information and sends a CALL
CONFRMED message back if the service is available. The call confirmed message
carries the parameters that the MS selects, such as the channel type (full rate TCH or
half rate TCH) and the service type.
After receiving the call confirmed message, the MSC sends the assignment command
to the BSC for the voice channel allocation. After the assignment procedure is over,
the called MS sends an ALERTNG message to the network and a ringing prompt
occurs to the called MS. when the MSC receives this message, it sends an Address
Complete Message (ACM) to the calling end. After receiving this message, the calling
end makes a ring back tone as the originating user prompter.
The called user hears the ringing and responds, and then sends a CONNECT
message to the MSC. After receiving this message, the MSC connects all the
transmission links. The end-to-end transmission is established.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.1+.+ The )nfluence of Call Transfer to 3outin'
n the supplementary services, call transfer has the greatest influence on call routing.
The call transfer is mainly caused by Call Forwarding Unconditional (CFU), Call
Forwarding Busy (CFB), Call Forwarding on mobile subscriber Not Reachable
(CFNRc), and Call Forwarding on No Reply (CFNRy). The routing selection for each
function is as follows:
). CF-
When the GMSC sends the SEND_ROUTNG_NFORMATON message to the HLR,
if the CFU function is available, the HLR sends the
SEND_ROUTNG_NFORMATON_RESULT message with the transfer number in it
back to the GMSC for it to redefine the routing.
)). CFB
When the GMSC finds the VMSC/VLR with the MSRN obtained from the HLR, but the
called end is busy and the CFB function is available, the VMSC/VLR implements the
call transfer of the transfer number and sends it to the third party. f the CFB function
is not available, the GNSC handles the call directly, such as playing the user bush
))). CF73c
The routing selection for this function is based on how the network decides the called
party is not reachable. The processing is different for different criteria.
f the last location registration of the called user fails, and the HLR keeps the record of
this situation and knows the MS is unreachable, it makes the CFNRc decision by
f the HLR does not keep the record of this situation, the call flow continues until the
MSC performs the paging for the user and gets no response from the user in due
time. The user is decided not reachable. The MSC forwards this call. This kind of
situation has many causes. One of them is that the user enters the dead zone or the
MS is power-off, but the VMSC has not made the periodic check on the MS attached
user yet, so it cannot judge the MS status and the paging fails. Another cause is that
the MS is in frequent location updating on the edge of the LA and cannot respond the
paging or the channel request fails, which leads to paging timeout.
f the MS is in MS detach (the MS is switched off or out of the service area for a long
time), because the detach tag is in the VLR instead of the HLR, the call forwarding
can only be initiated by the VMSC/VLR. When the VLR periodically deletes the long-
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

term detached MS and informs the HLR, the HLR need not contact the VLR.
),. CF73y
f the paging of the VMSC for the user succeeds and the called end sends the
ALERTNG message to the system, but the called user makes no response in due
time and the CFNRy function is activated, the call forwarding procedure is initiated.
,. C6 and "<(*
Call Waiting (CW) is a supplementary service. When the MSC receives the A from
the calling end, if the called user is in another conversation and the CW function is
enabled, the MSC skips the paging procedure and directly sends a SETUP message
to the MS by using the current signaling mode. When the CW function is enabled, the
handover of the two calls can be performed.
When the CFB and the CW are enabled at the same time, the CW is initiated first if
another call is coming. The CFB will be initiated when a third call is coming.
1.1+.0 1@ceptional Situations
This section only analyzes the common abnormal procedures. For other abnormal
procedures, see "Mobile Originating Call Establishment Procedure."
Upon paging failure, the MSC prompts voice information to the calling party, indicating
the called MS is outside the serving area or cannot be connected. n this case, trace
the signaling on interfaces A and Abis to check whether the paging failure is caused

No PAGNG COMMAND at A interface

No PAGNG COMMAND at Abis interface

No PAGNG RESPONSE at Abis interface

No PAGNG RESPONSE at A interface

). 7o Pa'in' Co%%and at )nterface
Through signaling tracing over interface A, the MSC is detected that it has not sent a
PAGNG message to the BSC. n this case, check the data configuration and MS
information in the MSC/VLR and HLR on the NSS side. Additionally, power off the
called MS, power it on and make a test call to check whether the MS is normal.

Checking user data in VLR

When an MS is paged, the MSC judges the current state of the MS by the user data
(including MS active state, registered LA, cell information), and decides whether or
how to send the PAGNG message.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

f the MS state has changed (for example, the MS is switched off, or has entered a
different LA) and has not registered in the network normally or updated user data in
VLR, the MS may probably be unable to be paged.
n that case, the MS only need to initiate a location updating procedure to ensure that
the user data in VLR is correct. The period of periodic location updating is indicated in
system information. On MSC side, there is also a location updating period (See
"Location updating Procedure"). The two parameters of BSC and MSC must satisfy a
certain relationship, which requires that MS must initiate a location updating
procedure within the period specified in MSC.

Checking RA- or Cell-Related parameter settings in MSC

f a routing area or cell related parameter is incorrectly set in the MSC, the
transmission of the PAGNG message may fail. For example, if a wrong target BSC is
selected, the PAGNG message that should have been sent to the local BSC will be
sent to another BSC.
)). 7o Pa'in' Co%%and at bis )nterface
Upon receiving the PAGNG message from the MSC, the BSC detects that the MSC
has not sent PAGNG COMMAND to the BTS over interface Abis. n this case, check
the operations and data configuration in the BSC

Checking if flow control is enabled

Check if the system load suddenly increases due to centralized transmission of short
messages or mass access bursts.

Checking relevant data configuration

Check if the CG information in BSC data configuration is consistent with the LAC
information in the PAGNG message over A interface. Additionally, if RA- or cell-
related parameter is not correctly set in the MSC, for example, a wrong target BSC is
selected, the PAGNG COMMAND message cannot be successfully sent over Abis
Check whether the following parameters in the [System information table] are
correctly set: "BS_AG_BLKS_RES", "CCCH-CONF" and "BS_PA_MFRMS".
))). 7o Pa'in' 3esponse at bis )nterface
Through signaling tracing over Abis interface, the BSC is detected that it has not
received the Establishment ndication (PAGNG RESPONSE) after sending PAGNG
COMMAND to the BTS. n this case, check the relevant data configuration and radio
signal coverage.

Check if there is PCH or AGCH overload due to centralized short message

transmission or mass access bursts.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization


Check the called MS or SM in it.

Check BTS by making test calls in a different cell.

Check data configuration in BSC

Check whether the following parameters in the [System information table] are
correctly configured: "BS_AG_BLKS_RES", "CCCH-CONF", "BS_PA_MFRMS",
"Tx-integer," and "MS MAX retrans". Check the setting for "location updating
period" in BSC and that in MSC

Check radio signal coverage

Due to the problem of radio signal coverage, there might be some blind coverage
areas. The MS that has entered a blind coverage area cannot receive the
PAGNG REQUEST message. n that case, the MS cannot be paged.
Such cases, if any, only exist in partial areas.
),. 7o Pa'in' 3esponse at )nterface
Through signaling tracing at Abis interface, the BSC is detected that it has received
an Establishment ndication (PAGNG RESPONSE) message from the BTS but this
message is not reported over interface A.
1.10 "<
As a key technology in the cellular mobile telecommunication system, handover (HO)
can reduce the call drop rate and the network cross interference. The handover
procedure consists of handover trigger, handover preparation and decision, and
handover execution.
HO can be divided into synchronous HO and asynchronous HO based on Timing
Advance (TA). Synchronous HO means the two cells are synchronized with each
other and the MS can calculate the new TA (the HO command indicates whether the
HO is synchronous or not). Asynchronous HO requires the BTS to calculate the new
TA. When the MS receives the HO command and requests for the new BTS access,
the new BTS informs the MS of the calculated TA. The MS access to the new channel
can also be divided into four types: synchronous, asynchronous, pre-synchronous,
and pseudo-synchronous. The first three types are required in MS and the last one is
optional. The pseudo-synchronous HO can be performed only when the MS supports
this function. n the pseudo-synchronous HO, the handover command from the BTS
of the original service cell contains the RTD value (the TA difference between the
source BTS and the target BTS). The MSC calculates the TA required for the access
to the new BTS based on the RTD value.
The HO process involves MS, BTS, BSC, and MSC. According to the location where
the HO happens, the HO can be divided into intra-cell HO and inter-cell HO. To be
more specific, intra-cell HO, intra-BTS HO, intro-BSC HO, intra-MSC HO, and inter-
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

MSC HO. The function of each unit is: MS measures the downlink performance and
the signal strength; BTS monitors the received signal level and quality of the uplink
and the interference level of the idle traffic channel; BSC handles the measurement
report and makes the HO decision; MSC decides the target cell of the inter-BSC HO.
1.10.1 "< Preparation
). Measure%ent 3eport
The HO decision depends on the measurement report (MR) sent by MS through
uplink SACCH to the network and the MR of the uplink sent by BTS. These two
reports are sent to BSC at the same time for decision. The system information that
includes the parameters of the current cell and the neighbor cell are sent to the MS
under the dedicated mode through the downlink SACCH. The MS reports the RXLEV
and quality, TA value, power control, and DTX usage to the network according to the
system information. n addition, the MS also performs the pseudo-synchronization
with the neighbor cell defined by the system for HO and measures the RXLEV from
the BCCH. The MS measures all the frames except the idle frames that are used to
synchronize the neighbor cell and decode SCH. The MS reports the condition of the
cell and the six neighbor cells with the strongest RXLEV it measures during the
measurement period to the system for the HO decision.

Measurement period
The SACCH measurement period is different if the MS occupies different channel
under the dedicated mode.
f the SACCH is associated with SDCCH, the measurement period is 470ms,
because a complete SACCH message block occupies two 51 multiframes of SDCCH.
f the SACCH is associated with TCH, the measurement period is 480 ms,
because a complete SACCH message block occupies four 26 multiframes of TCH.
A complete MR consists of four continuous SACCH bursts. On the SDCCH, the four
bursts are transmitted continuously. On the TCH, each 26 multiframe has only one
SACCH burst, so a complete MR requires four 26 multiframes.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 1.1 Measurement period
Whether to use DTX or not, the MR has two values: full measurement value and sub
measurement value. For details, see the DTX description in Chapter 2.

MR processing
BTS handles the uplink MR it makes and the downlink MR it collects from the MS. t
obtains the sample values of the RXLEV, RXQUAL, and TA, and then calculates the
arithmetical mean value and the weighted mean value based on the related
parameters. When the time is up, the system decides whether to perform the level
handover, quality handover, or distance handover.
)). 7ei'hbor Cell Monitorin'
To establish the HO relation with the neighbor cells, the MS must listen to the
standard frequency of the neighbor cells defined in the system message. The
standard frequency carries the synchronous channel and frequency correction
channel. One way to decide the received channel is the standard frequency channel
is to confirm that the frequency carries a FCCH. The MS also decodes the SCH that
carries the TDMA frame number and BSC. The MS can only analyze the BCCH
standard frequency of the neighbor cell in the idle timeslot of the TCH multiframe. n
fact, during the data exchange, the interval between the end of the reception and the
beginning of the transmission (about 1 ms) can be used to measure the RXLEV and
the RXQUAL, but it is not sufficient to measure the level of the neighbor cell. The
interval between the end of the transmission and the beginning of the reception
(about 2 ms) is sufficient to measure the level of the neighbor cell, but not sufficient to
find the FCCH. n the 26 muliframe of TCH, there is always an idle frame (about 6
ms) available for MS to decode the FCCH and SCH. But the FCCH of the neighbor
cell may not be found during this timeslot. Therefore, the use of the arithmetic feature
of the two numbers 26 and 51 is required. Because these two numbers have no
common factor, the FCCH can be found during the 11 periods. When SACCH is
associated with SDCCH, although its period is also 51 multiframe, the SDCCH
channel assigned to the MS only occupies 1/8 of the 51 multiframe. Since there are
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

lots of idle timeslots, the MS can synchronize the neighbor cell.
When the MS receives the SCH, the synchronization is established. To translate the
message on the downlink CSCH, the MS must know the training sequence of the
CSCH. The training sequence is of eight types, matching the BCC 0 to BCC 7 of
BSC respectively. The BSC carried by the SCH can inform the MS of the training
sequence number of its service cell.
BSC also enables the MS to differentiate the cells using the same BCCH frequency.
The two cells with the same BCCH frequency and BSC must be far from each other.
The MS reports the six neighbor cells with the strongest signals, but differentiates
them according to the BSC and frequency it obtains to achieve the pre-
synchronization. The MR only contains the sequence number of the frequencies in
the BA list. Therefore, if a cell shares the same frequency and BSC with the neighbor
cell and its signal is strong enough, error report and decision of MS may occur,
leading to HO failure and call drop.
))). Conditions 3equired for 7ei'hbor Cells to Boin in "< *ecision 5ueue
When the BTS receives the report on the neighbor cell from the MS, it checks
whether this neighbor cell is qualified to join in the HO decision queue. The following
conditions must be met:
RXLEV(n) > RxLevMinCell(n)+ MAX(0,Pa(n)) + OFFSET (2-4)
RXLEV(n) is the RXLEV of the neighbor cell; RxLevMinCell(N) is the minimal access
level of the neighbor cell; OFFSET is the offset of the minimal access level;
MS_TXPWR_MAX(n) is the maximal transmit power of MS defined by the system;
MAX_POWER_OF_MS is the maximal transmit power the MS can achieve. The unit
is dBm.
RxLevMinCell(n) and MS_TXPWR_MAX(n) are defined by the HO cell parameters.
Under the dedicated mode, the system informs the MS by sending the system
message through SACCH. The neighbor cell can be listed in the HO candidate cells
only when its RXLEV is qualified according to the formula above.
The defined RxLevMinCell (n) must be higher than the RXLEV_ACCESS_MN. f it is
too low, the threshold for the candidate cells is reduced, which may lead to HO failure.
The purpose to define the Pa is to ensure the low power MS can access the neighbor
cell only when the RXLEV is high enough, thus improving the quality of conversation.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.10.& "< Types
HO must be performed on time under different conditions to ensure the quality of
communication. According to the cause of the HO, it can be divided into Power
Budget (PBGT) HO, edge HO, bad quality (BQ) HO, direct retry, and timing advance
(TA) HO.
). PBGT "<
PBGT HO is based on path loss. PBGT HO algorithm looks for a cell with less path
loss to decide whether HO is necessary. The biggest difference between the PBGT
HO and others is that the triggering condition is path loss but not receiving power.
The formula of PBGT HO is as follows:
PBGT (n) > PGBT_Ho_Margin (n) (2-5)
PBGT(n) = ( BSTX_MAX - RXLEV_DL - PWR_C_D ) - ( BSTX_MAX(n)-
( BSTX_MAX(n)- min(MSTX_MAX(n),P) - BSTX_MAX + min (MSTX_MAX,P) ,0 )
BSTX_MAX: The maximum transmit power of BS in service cell
BSTX_MAX (n): The maximum transmit power of BS in neighbor cell
RXLEV_DL: The downlink received signal level in service cell
RXLEV_UL: The uplink received signal level in service cell
SENS_CORRECT: The correct factor of MS/BS receiver sensitivity
RXLEV_NCELL (n): the received signal level of MS from neighbor cell n
PWR_C_D: the decrease of the transmission power in BTS power control
P: Max MS Transmission power
MSTX_MAX (n): Max MS transmit power allowed of the neighboring cell n
MSTX_MAX: Max MS transmit power allowed of the service cell
The neighbor cell with the biggest PBGT (n) is selected as the target cell for HO. The
PGBT_Ho_Margin is the defined RXLEV difference value between the service cell
and the neighbor cell when the HO is initiated. f this value is too low, it may lead to
ping-pong handover; if it is too high, HO hysteresis may occur and the HO efficiency
is reduced. Since the PGBT_Ho_Margin is defined for the specific neighbor cell, the
traffic load can be adjusted accordingly. For example, when cell A and cell B are
adjacent, A is the high-traffic cell and B is the low-traffic cell, the call distribution can
be balanced by reducing the PGBT_Ho_Margin from A to B and increasing that from
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

B to A. n fact, this way to balance the call distribution equals the decrease of the
coverage area for cell A and the increase of the coverage area for cell B.
PBGT HO only happens between the peer cells. .
)). 1d'e "<
The uplink/downlink edge HO margin is defined in the HO parameters. When BSC
finds in the MRs from the MS and BTS that the uplink or downlink RXLEV is lower
than the edge HO margin defined, it selects a proper neighbor cell from the MRs as
the target cell to initiate HO, thus avoiding the call drop.
n the edge HO, the RXLEV of the neighbor cell should be higher than that of the
service cell by a certain value. This value is called the edge HO margin. This
algorithm is also used to avoid ping-pong handover. The edge HO margin should be
higher than the minimal access level of the MS.
))). B5 "<
The decision mechanism of BQ HO is similar to that of the edge HO. When BSC finds
in the MRs from the MS and BTS that the bit error rate of the uplink or downlink is
higher than the BQ HO margin defined, the BQ HO is initiated. To further differentiate
the BQ HO, the interference HO is introduced. f the RXLEV is higher than the defined
RXLEV margin of the interference HO and the RXQUAL is higher than the quality HO
margin, the frequency interference exists. The interference HO will trigger the intra-
cell HO (when the intra-cell HO is available) first to improve the bad conversation
quality due to interference, and then trigger the inter-cell HO. The intra-cell HO is not
effective when the frequency hopping is used. By improving the interference HO
margin, the BQ HO will be mainly performed between cells.
),. *irect 3etry
During the call establishment, the SDCCH is assigned first and then is the TCH. f the
service cell has no idle TCH, the call attempt usually fails because of TCH
congestion. To fully utilize the radio resources and reduce the congestion, the direct
retry function is introduced. When the SDCCH is assigned, but no TCH is available,
the assignment request is sent in the form of MR and the call is accessed to the idle
speech channel. After the direct retry function is enabled, the queuing function can be
activated to provide enough time for the system to select the neighbor cell available
for direct retry.
,. T "<
TA HO can be used to control the coverage area of the BTS. When the BSC finds the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

TA value reported by the MS is higher than the defined margin, the TA HO is initiated.
f the TA margin is relatively low, the frequent ping-pong handover may be triggered.
Therefore, special attention should be paid to the matching of different kinds of HO.
1.10.3 "< Process nalysis
). )ntra4Cell "<
n the real network, sometimes the interference may occur to certain frequency or a
certain TRX fails, leading to the high RXLEV but low RXQUAL or the remarkably low
signal level of TRX. To improve the conversation quality and avoid the call drop, the
intra-cell HO is used.
The intra-cell HO is initiated by the RXLEV margin or RXQUAL quality. During the
conversation, BSC analyzes the MR from the MS and BTS. f the requirement for
intra-cell HO margin is satisfied, it sends a CHANNEL ACTVE message to BTS to
initiate the intra-cell HO. The connection process is similar to the TCH assignment
during the call establishment. Because the TCH is also assigned within the cell, the
BTS can indicate the MS to perform the intra-cell HO through HO command or
assignment command. When the BSC receives the ASSGNMENT
COMPLETE/HANDOVER COMPLETE message from the BTS, it sends MSC the HO
PERFOMED message that contains the HO type. Then the BSC sends a RF
CHANNEL RELEASE message to BTS. After receiving the message, the BTS
releases the TCH resource and sends a RF CHANNEL RELEASE ACK message
When the intra-cell HO is enabled, intra-cell HO increases a lot, and the system load
also increases. Therefore, if the traffic load is already heavy, the intra-cell HO function
is not recommended.
)). )ntra4BSC "<
ntra-BSC HO is performed by BSC and no MSC has to be involved. To inform MSC
that the HO is complete, BSC will send a HO PERFOMED message to MSC. The
whole procedure is shown in Figure 2.1.
1) The MS sends MR to BTS1 on SACCH at Um interface, and BTS1 forwards the
message to the BSC.
2) BSC receives the MR. f it decides that the MS should be handed over to another
cell, it sends Channel cti/ation to BTS2 of the target cell to activate the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure &.1 ntra BSC HO
3) BTS2 receives the CHANNEL ACTVATE. f the channel type is correct, it turns
on the power amplifier on the specified channel to receive information in the
uplink direction, and send CHANNEL ACTVATE ACK to the BSC.
4) After receiving the CHANNEL ACTVATE ACK from BTS2, the BSC sends
HANDOVER COMMAND to the MS through BTS1 and starts T3103. The
handover command contains all the feature information of the transmission on
the new channel and the data required for MS access. t also indicates whether
this HO is synchronous or asynchronous.
5) After receiving the HANDOVER COMMAND, the MS decides the type of it. f it is
synchronous HO, the MS sends the target cell four continuous HANDOVER
ACCESS messages on the assigned TCH, and then starts the transmission
based on the calculated. For the synchronous HO, the former TA can be used;
for pre-synchronous HO, the TA in the handover command is used (f the TA is
not provided in the handover command, the default value is used); for pseudo-
synchronous HO (MS reported whether this HO is supported or not before), the
TA is calculated based on the difference value provided in the handover
command. Please note that the HANDOVER ACCESS is send by the access
burst. t is the only time when the access burst is used on the DCH. t only
contains the 8-bit HO reference number obtained from the handover command.
Since this reference number is known to the target cell, the target cell can check
whether the access request is from the expected MS with this number.
The HO reference number is not fully defined in the protocol. During the HO
access, if the assigned TCH is on the BCCH, due to synchronization error and
delay or other reasons, the access burst may offset to the BCCH RACH timeslot.
f the 8-bit reference number is the same as a service application number, the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

system will regard it as a random access by mistake and assign the SDCCH
through AGCH, leading to a waste of AGCH and SDCCH. But as the access
burst contains the BSC information, only the HO access cell will be affected.
Since there are more than four HO access bursts, and after the new BSS assigns
a channel to the MS, it will no re-assign this channel to other MS, even if no
reference number is used, the network can find the MS to access and the HO will
not be affected.
To further avoid the waste of radio resources, the reference number is assigned a
fixed value that is different from the application number for service type in
random access.
6) BTS2 receives the HANDOVER ACCESS from the MS, and send HANDOVER
DETECT to the BSC notifying that the HANDOVER ACCESS message is
7) For asynchronous HO, after the BTS2 channel of the target cell is activated, it
waits for the MS access on the assigned DCH (until the T3103 times out). When
it detects the handover access from the MS, the BTS2 sends the HO DETECT
message to the BSC and the PHYSCAL NFO that contains the calculated TA to
the MS. During the PHYSCAL NFO transmission, the network initiates T3105.
Before receiving the SABM frame response from the MS, the BTS2 re-enables
the T3105 after timeout and resends the PHYSCAL NFO NY1. For
asynchronous HO, after receiving the PHYSCAL NFO, the MS sends the SABM
to the BTS2; for synchronous HO, the MS sends the SABM to the BTS2
immediately after sending the HANDOVER ACCESS.
8) For asynchronous HO, the MS starts the T3124 when sending the HANDOVER
ACCESS message for the first time and stops the T3124 after receiving the
PHYSCAL NFO. For details, see the parameter description section.
9) After receiving the first SABM, BTS2 sends BSC the EST ND to inform it of the
radio link establishment. When the network receives this message, it sends an
ESTABLSHE NDCATON message to the BSC to show that the data link layer
is established. Meanwhile, it also sends the UA response frame to the MS. after
receiving the UA response, the MS regards that the signaling answer mode is
established with this cell.
10) The MS sends HANDOVER COMPLETE to the BTS2, and BTS2 forwards it to
the BSC. Then it sends the target cell a HANDOVER COMPLETE message that
only contains the handover complete indication but no other information. The MS
stops considering the possibility to return to the former channel only when this
message is sent. f the MS does not receive the PHYSCAL NFO from the target
cell or the UA response frame, it sends a HANDOVER FALURE message on the
source channel.
11) After receiving the HANDOVER COMPLETE message, the BSC stops the T3103
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

and sends MSC the HANDOVER PERFORMED that contains the handover
type. Meanwhile, the BSC initiates the local release for the former channel of
BTS1. When the target cell receives the handover complete message from the
MS, it forwards it to the BSC. After receiving this message, the BSC sends the
RF CHANNEL RELEASE message to inform the source cell to release the
former TCH. When the source cell receives this report, it sends a RF CHANNEL
RELEASE ACK to indicate the radio channel is released and available for
another assignment.
))). )ntra MSC "<
Compared with the intra-BSC HO procedure, the procedure for the inter-BSC HO only
has several A interface signaling added.
1) When the MS has to be handed over to the cell where the BSC2 belongs to, the
BSC1 sends a HO REQURED message that contains cell D of the target cell
group and the source cell and the HO cause to the MSC and starts T7 at the
same time.
2) After the MSC receives this message, if it shares the same LAC with the target
cell, it searches the BSC of the target cell (BSC2) and sends the BSC2 a
HANDOVER REQUEST message that contains the information of the target cell
and the source cell, transmission mode, encryption mode, classmark, and the
channel type required. When the BSC2 receives this message, it sends MSC a
CC message to indicate that the connection between the MSC and its SCCP is
established for transmission of the information from the A interface.
3) After the new channel is activated, the BSC2 sends the MSC a HO REQUEST
ACK to indicate that the channel is available. This message carries the HO
command with the information about the resource allocation in it to show that the
local end is ready for HO.
4) After receiving the HO REQUEST ACK, the MSC sends a HO COMMAND to the
BSC1. BSC1 stops the T7 and starts the T8, and forwards the HO COMMAND to
the MS and starts T3103, informing the MS to access the new channel. This
command contains the cell D, channel type, and HO reference.
5) After receiving the HO COMPLETE from the BSC2, MSC sends a CLEAR
COMMAND to the BSC1. This command contains the clear cause (such as HO
clear). BSC1 stops T8 and T3103, and releases the former channel. Meanwhile,
it sends a CLEAR COMPLETE message to the MSC.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

Fi'ure 0.1 nter-BSC HO within MSC
T3103 is started when BSC sends the HO command and cleared when the BSC
The T3103 should be set less than T8. During the HO, the BSC provides the time for
TCH both in the source cell and the target cell according to the T3103. When the
T3103 is timing, two channels are reserved. The longest HO (NTER MSC) may take
about five seconds, so the T3103 can be set to five seconds. f it is set too long, the
system resources will be wasted.
f the target cell and the source cell are not in the same LA, a location updating will be
performed at the end of each call.
),. )nter4MSC "<
The procedure for inter-MSC HO is shown in Figure 7.1.
1) When MSCa receives the HANDOVER REQURED message from the BSC, if it
finds that the LAC of the preferred target cell is not in the local LAC list, it queries
the remote LAC list that contains the routing address of the neighbor MSC/VLR.
2) When the target MSCb is found, the MSCa sends a PREPARE HANDOVER
message that contains the HANDOVER REQUEST to it.
3) After receiving the PREPARE HANDOVER message, the MSCb sends the VLRb
an ALLOCATE_HO_NUMBER message to request for HO number (HON)
assignment. The HON indicates the routing between MSCa and MSCb.
4) VLRb selects an idle HON and sends it to MSCb through the SEND HO
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

REPORT message.
5) MSCb establishes a SCCP link to the target BSC and sends a HANDOVER
REQUEST message to BSCB. Then the BSC activates the channel of the target
cell. After receiving the channel activation response from the target cell, the BSC
sends MSCb a HANDOVER REQUEST ACK message that contains the HO
6) After receiving this message, MSCb sends a PREPARE HANDOVER ACK
message that contains the HANDOVER REQUEST ACK and the HON to the
7) MSCa receives this message and sends an AM to MSCb. The AM contains the
HON assigned by VLRb for MSCb to identify which speech channel is reserved
for the MS. MSCb sends a SEND HO REPORT RESP message to the VLRb
anytime after it receives the AM.
Fi'ure 9.1 nter-MSC HO
8) After MSCa receives the ACM from the MSCb, it sends the HO command to the
MS. Then the MS will perform the HO access to the target cell.
9) After receiving the HO access message from the MS, MSCb sends MSCa a
PROCESS ACCESS SGNALLNG message to indicate that the HO is detected.
10) When the target cell receives the HANDOVER COMPLETE message from the
MS, it informs the MSCb. Then the MSCb sends a SEND END SGNAL REQ
message to MSCa to inform it the HO is complete. After the HO-DETECT or HO-
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

COMPLETE is received, the connection between MSCa and MSCb is
established. MSCb will release the HON.
11) When MSCa receives the HO complete message, it sends a clear command to
the former BSC to release the channel resource. The inter-MSC HO is complete.
To avoid the PSTN/SDN contradiction of the MSCa and MSCb, MSCb must
send an answer signaling when receiving the HO-DETECT/COMPLETE.
12) MSCa controls the call until it is cleared. When MSCa clears the MS call, it also
clears the call control function of MSCa and sends a MAP-SEND-END-SGNAL
message to release the MSCb MAP resource.
MSCb sends a HO failure indication to the MSCa if the MSCb cannot identify the
target cell, the HO to the target cell is not allowed, the target cell has no radio
channel available, or the data error occurs. The MSCa will perform the HO to the
secondary cell or terminate the HO.
,. Subsequent )nter4MSC "<
After the MSCb receives the HO request, it checks this target cell belongs to MSCb
and performs the inter-MSC HO. After the HO is complete, it informs the MSC.
The subsequent HO is the handover of MSCb to other MSC after an inter-MSC HO is
complete. The target MSC can be the former MSCa or the new MSCb'. The circuit
switch happens in the MSCa for both situations. After the subsequent HO is complete,
the connection between MSCa and MSCb is released. The procedure for the
subsequent HO with circuit switch is as follows:

MSCb is handed over back to MSCa

Fi'ure 1.1 MSCb is handed over back to MSCa
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

This message contains MSCa number, target cell D, and all the information in
2) MSCa is the call control MSC. t can search the idle channel immediately without
target HO number routing.
3) After the radio channel is assigned, MSCa sends a MAP PREPARE
4) f the TCH is busy, BSSa sends a QUEUNG NDCATON to MSCb (optional).
contains the subsequent TCH assignment result (HO REQUEST ACK or HO
FALURE). f the radio channel cannot be assigned or the error occurs to the
target cell D, or the target cell D does not match the target MSC number
response that contains the HO FALURE information in it is sent to the MSCb.
MSCb keeps the connection to the MS.
5) f the MSCa is successfully assigned, and the MAP PREPARE SUBSEQUENT
HANDOVER response is sent to MSCb. The MSCb requests the handover of the
MS to the new cell of the MSCa by sending a HO command.
6) After receiving the HO complete message, MSCa releases the circuit connection
to MSCb.
7) MSCa must send a proper MAP message to terminate the MAP procedure for
MSCa and MSCb during the basic HO. When MSCb receives the MAP SEND
END SGNAL response message, it releases the BSSb resources.

MSCb is handed over to MSCb'

GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

7ote 1C This %essa'e can be sent anyti%e after the )M is recei/ed.
Fi'ure 9.1 MSCb is handed over to MSCb'
1) MSCb receives the HO request and finds that the target cell does not belong to
the MSCb. t sends a PREPARE SUBS HANDOVER to the MSCa. This message
contains the MSCb' D, target cell D, and all the information in HO REQUEST.
MSCa will initiate a basic HO to MSCb'.
2) f the MSC can be found in the MSCa LAC list and remote LAC list (it contains
information about other MSC), after the HON is provided by the VLRb' and the
MSCb' channel is activated,
3) MSCa sends a MAP PREPARE SUBSEQUENT HANDOVER response message
to the MSCb. This message contains the HO REQUEST ACK from the BSSb'
and the BSSMAP information that may be special.
4) After receiving this message, MSCb sends the HO command to the MS. After the
access succeeds, if the MSCa receives the MAP SEND END SGNAL
REQUEST (it contains the HO COMPLETE information of the BSSb') from the
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

MSCb', the HO is complete and the connection between MSCa and MSCb is
released. MSCa also sends the MAP SEND END SGNAL response to MSCb to
end their MAP conversation. MSCb receives this message and releases the
radio resources.
5) After the subsequent HO is complete, the MSCb' replaces the MSCb. Any
subsequent inter-MSC HO is the same as described above.
The remote LAC list of MSCa must be complete and contain as many MSCs as
possible besides the neighbor MSC. For example, if a user in place A calls another
user in place B, the MSC in place A must contains all the data of the MSCs and cells
within the area between A and B. Otherwise, the HO cannot be performed and the call
1.10.+ 1@ceptional Situations
The following are some extra exceptional situations on the basis of what has
described before.
). "< Failure *ue to C)C 1@ception
f the CC allocated in the Handover REQ received by BSC is marked as BLOCK,
BSC will respond to MSC with Handover Failure due to "requested terrestrial resource
)). "< Failure *ue to MS ccess Failure
f the BTS cannot decode Handover Access or Handover Completed correctly when a
MS accesses the new channel, the HO will fail. The MS returns to the old channel,
and responds with a Hanover Failure message.
For the intra-BSC handover, if the BSC has not received the Handover CMP
message on the new channel, or Handover Failure message on the old channel at
expiry of timer T3103A, it will consider the call as dropped and send a Clear REQ
message to the MSC on the old channel. Upon receiving the Clear CMD message
from the MSC, the BSC releases the old channel and notifies the target cell to release
the new channel. f timer T3103B1 or T3103B2 times out, the target cell will release
the new channel.
For the inter-BSC handover, if BSC1 has not received the Handover CMP message at
expiry of timer T3103B2, it will send a Clear REQ message to the MSC to release the
call. f BSC2 has not received the Handover DET or Handover CMP message, it will
send a Clear REQ message to the MSC for the same purpose.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.12 Call 3e41stablish%ent
1.12.1 )ntroduction
The re-establishment procedure allows MS to resume a connection in progress after
a radio link failure, possibly in a new cell or in a new location area (re-establishment
in a new location area initiates no location updating).
Whether call re-establishment is allowed depends on the calling status, the cell's
allowance of call re-establishment, and activated MM connection (MM is in status 6
"MM connection activated" or status 20 " Waiting for additional MM connection" Call
re-establishment can only be initiated by MS. GSM protocol does not specify the
implementation mode for the short message service and the independent call
supplementary service. n the other end, no voice is heard during the call re-
During the radio transmission, a connection may be broken suddenly because of the
great transmission loss due to obstructions such as bridges, buildings, or tunnels.
When the call re-establishment is used, the MS can maintain the conversation by
using another cell in a short time, thus improving the network quality. Call re-
establishment can be regarded as the HO initiated by MS to save the interrupted call
in the current cell.
Call re-establishment is of two types according to the entity that has the radio link
failure first.
). 3adio (in8 Failure <ccurs to MS First
The MS sends a call re-establishment request in the selected cell (source cell or
target cell). The former channel resource is released after the BTS timer times out.
)). 3adio (in8 Ti%eout <ccurs to BSS First
After the radio link timer in BTS times out, the BTS sends a radio link failure message
to the BSC and BSC activates the SACCH. According to the protocol, the network
must handle the context for a while after detecting the lower layer faults for the
successful call re-establishment. The implementation mode and duration are decided
by the equipment provider. After detecting the radio link failure, the MS selects a
neighbor cell with the highest RXLEV within five seconds and sends the channel
request in the selected cell. This cell should not be barred and the C1 is over 0. n
addition, this cell must permit the call re-establishment. f all the neighbor cells are not
qualified, the call re-establishment is abandoned.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

During the call re-establishment, the MS cannot return into the idle mode. f the MS
selects a cell in different LA as the target cell for call re-establishment, it cannot
perform location updating until the call ends.
Under normal circumstances, the call re-establishment procedure lasts about 4 to 20
seconds. Most users have hung up the phone before the procedure is over.
Therefore, the call re-establishment cannot achieve its goal but wastes a lot of radio
resources. For the areas with limited channel resources, the activation of this function
is not recommended.
1.12.& Call 3e41stablish%ent Procedure
Figure 1.1 shows the procedure for call re-establishment.
Fi'ure 1.1 Call re-establishment
1) After the MM connection failure indication is reported to the CM entity, if the MS
receives at least one request for MM connection re-establishment from CM, it will
initiate the call re-establishment procedure. f several CM entities request for re-
establishment, only one re-establishment procedure will be initiated.
2) After the CM sends the request for the re-establishment of MM connection, MM
sublayer sends a request for the establishment of RR connection and enters the
WAT FOR REESTABLSH state. This request includes an establishment cause
and a CM re-establishment request. When the RR sublayer indicates a RR
connection is established (the CM re-establishment request message has been
sent through the Um interface), the MM sublayer starts T3230 and indicates to all
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

the CM entities that the MM connection is under construction. The MM sublayer
stays in WAT FOR REESTABLSH state.
The CM Re-establishment Request message contains the MS identity (MS or
TMS), Classmark 2, and encrypted sequence number.
Whether the CM entity can request for re-establishment depends on protocol
discriminator (PD).
3) After receiving the CM re-establishment request, the network analyzes the
request type and starts the MM program or RR program. The network can start
the classmark enquiry program to obtain more information about the MS
encryption ability. The network can also decide to perform the authentication
procedure or ciphering mode setting procedure.
4) When the RR sublayer indicates the ciphering mode setting procedure is over or
the CM SERVCE ACCEPT message is received, the MM connection is re-
established. The T3230 stops and informs all the CM entities related to the re-
establishment to enter the MM CONNECTON ACTVE state.
5) f the network cannot connect the re-establishment request to the current MS
call, it sends the CM SERVCE REJECT with the reject cause to the MS.
The reject cause (value) includes unidentifiable call (#38), unidentifiable MS (#
4), unauthorized ME (# 6), network failure (#17), congestion (#22), unsupported
service (#32), and temporary service failure (#34)
6) After receiving the CM SERVCE REJECT, the MS stops T3230 and releases all
MM connections and RR connections. f the reject cause if #4, the MS deletes
the TMS, LA, and CKSN in SM card, and changes the status from "updating
into "no updating, and then enters the "WAT FOR NETWORK COMMAND
state. The location updating will be initiated after the RR release.
f the reject cause is #6, the MS deletes the TMS, LA, and CKSN in SM card,
and changes the status from "updating" into "roaming inhibit. The SM is
regarded invalid until the MS is switched off or the SM card is pulled out.
1.12.3 1@ceptional Situations
). 3e41stablish%ent Prohibition or Failure
When MM connection is established, the MM layer may send an indication to the CC
layer. f the MM layer is disconnected, the connection may be re-established through
CC request.
f the re-establishment is not allowed, and the call is initiated within the establishment
or clearing period, the CC layer shall release MM connections.
f re-establishment is unsuccessful, MM connections shall be released, and a release
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

indication shall be sent to the CC layer.
)). 33 Connection Failure
f random access failure or RR CONNECTON FALURE is detected by the MS, the
MS will stop timer T3230, abort the call re-establishment procedure, and release all
MM connections.
f RR CONNECTON FALURE is detected by the MSC, the MSC will abort the call re-
establishment procedure and release all MM connections.
))). T3&3? Ti%e4out
f the T3230 times out, the MS will stop call re-establishment and release MM and RR
1.12.+ SM Procedure
Short messages can be transmitted either on SDCCH or SACCH. A short message
procedure can be classified into short message calling procedure and called
procedure. For details, see GSM03.40 protocol.
1.12.0 Short Messa'e Procedure on S*CC" 6hen MS is callin'
). Si'nalin' Procedure
Fi'ure 1.1 Short message procedure on SDCCH when MS is calling
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

)). Procedure *escription
The random access, immediate assignment, authentication, and encryption
procedures of short message procedure on SDCCH when MS is calling are the same
as general procedures. After encryption, the MS sends SABM again, notifying the
network side that this user needs short message service (SMS). Then, BSC provides
a transparent-transmission channel for MS to exchange short message information
with MSC. n this procedure, the MSCs of some manufacturers are capable to send
ASS REQ to BSC, requesting it to assign channel for short message transmission.
The time for sending ASS REQ is the same as that for a common call. BSC can
provide SMS either by allocating other channels or by using the original SDCCH.
Point to Point short messages protocol is divided into connection management layer
(CM), relay layer (RL), transport layer (TL) and application layer (AL).
CP_DATA and CP_ACK are the messages on CM layer, CP_DATA is used to transmit
the content of RL and AL message, and CP_ACK is the acknowledgement message
The release procedure after message is sent is the same as general ones.
1.12.2 Short Messa'e Procedure on S*CC" 6hen MS is called
). Si'nalin' Procedure
Fi'ure 1.1 Short message procedure on SDCCH when MS is called
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

)). Procedure *escription
The paging response and immediate assignment procedures of short message
procedure on SDCCH when MS is called are the same as general procedures. For
the short message procedure when MS is called, after encryption, the BSC sends
EST REQ to MS to establish short message connection. When EST CNF is received
from MS, the connection is successfully established. BSC transparently transmits the
short message till the end of the transmission.
The release procedure after message is sent is the same as general ones.
1.12.9 Short Messa'e Procedure on SCC" 6hen MS is callin'
). Si'nalin' Procedure
Fi'ure 1.1 Short message procedure on SACCH when MS is calling
)). Procedure *escription
The MS sends CM SERV REQ through FACCH. The MSC responds with the CM
SERV ACC message and establishes CC layer connection. Then, it establishes RR
layer connection on SACCH, and sends the short message.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.12.; Short Messa'e Procedure on SCC" when MS is called
). Si'nalin' Procedure
Fi'ure 1.1 Short Message Procedure on SACCH when MS is Called
)). Procedure *escription
The BSC receives the CP DATA message from MSC, and establishes an RR layer
connection for SMS. Upon reception of CP ACK from MS, MSC sends the short
1.19 CBS
Cell Broadcast Service (CBS) is similar to paging station broadcast information. t
means the mobile network operator broadcasts the public information to the mobile
users within a certain area. The information that the users can read is called CBS
message. t is generated by the Cell Broadcast Entity (CBE) and sent to the Cell
Broadcast Center (CBC) for processing. After the processing, it is forwarded to the
BSC and broadcast to the users through CBCH. The MS can only receive the CBS
message in idle mode. Unlike the Point to Point Short Message service, the CBS
message is broadcast without the acknowledgement of the user terminal.
CBS includes:

Common public information service, such as weather, news, stock market,

exchange rate, and lottery.

Special public information service, such as people search, traffic navigation, and
call charge prompt.

Advertising service, such as information about stores, restaurants, and theaters.

GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

1.19.1 CBS Mechanis%
Operators or information providers can define the cell broadcast area through CBE.
The minimal area is a cell and the maximal area can be all the cells of the BSCs that
the CBC connects with. Features such as intervals, duration, and priority levels can
also be specified to meet different requirements. The field length of the CBS message
sent to BSC from CBC must be 82 bytes. f the length is shorter than 82 bytes, fill
codes are added to it. f the length exceeds 82 bytes, the message is broken to a
maximum of 15 pages. f the sending fails, the message may be sent again and the
message with high priority level is sent first. The CBS information is sent to the proper
cells through four continuous SMS BROADCAST REQUEST messages or one SMS
BROADCAST COMMAND message. Each CBS message contains 82-byte user
information and 6-byte header. The CBS message can be sent to BTS in the form of
BTS can send the CBCH Load ndication message to BSC and the system will speed
up or delay the message sending according to this message. Although the BSC
considers the CBCH capacity when sending the message and the BTS can indicate
the status of the current CBCH, when the CBCH LOAD NDCATON mode is
enabled, the BTS can send CBCH LOAD NDCATON to request for immediate
broadcast of the m(115) SMSCB timeslot message when the CHCB is idle. After the
BSC sends the m timeslot message, it sends messages according to its own
schedule. f the message volume that the BTS requests exceeds the volume that the
BSC can provide, the BSC only sends the messages within its volume limit. When the
CBCH LOAD NDCATON mode is enabled, the BTS can send CBCH LOAD
NDCATON to stop the sending of the m(115) timeslot message if overload occurs.
Then the BSC will continue the sending according to its own schedule.
CBCH LOAD NDCATON is only used in DRX mode.
The CBCH is of two types: basic CBCH and extended CBCH. They are four
continuous multiframes. The TB of basic CBCH is 0, 1, 2, or 3; The TB of extended
CBCH is 4, 5, 6, or 7. TB = (FN DV 51) mod (8).
For the basic CBCH, the CBS message head is sent on the multiframe with TB being
0; for the extended CBCH, it is sent on the multiframe with TB being 4. The system
message on BCCH indicates whether the CBS is available or not. When SMSCB is
used, the BS_AG_BLKS_RES is set as 1 or above. When the CBCH is mapped to
the CCCH+SDCCH/4, the number of BS_AG_BLKS_RES will not be limited by
MS recomposes the CBS message and displays it for the user.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

MS obtains the CBS message from the CBCH. BTS informs MS of the short message
information during the schedule in the form of bitmap by sending schedule message.
There are three reception modes for MS on CBCH:

Non-DRX mode. MS reads the first block of all message timeslots. The rest
blocks will be read if the message head indicates that the following timeslots are
used. f the MS does not support other reception mode, or it does not receive the
scheduling for the next message timeslot, Non-DRX mode is used.

First DRX mode. f MS receives the scheduling for the next message timeslot,
but the first scheduling message of the last scheduling period, or all the
information of the last period or even earlier period is not received, first DRX
mode is used.

Second DRX mode. f MS receives the important information of the last

scheduling period and reads the first scheduling message of the current period,
second DRX mode is used.
Whether the network uses DRX to receive the broadcast short message can be set
through the maintenance console in BSC.
1.19.& BSC4BTS Messa'e Trans%ission Mode
A CBS message consists of eighty eight 8-bit bytes. These bytes are divided into four
message blocks with each block containing twenty two 8-bit bytes. Each block is
added by an 8-bit block type, and the length of the block is twenty three 8-bit bytes. A
CBS message contains four continuous blocks: first block, second block, third block,
and fourth block.
As Figure 1.1 shows, when the SMS BROADCAST REQUEST mode is used, the
message is sent to BTS from BSC. The BSC handles the queuing, repetition, and
short message sending. t also considers the CBCH capacity and takes charge of the
SMS segmentation at radio interface. n the SMS BROADCAST REQUEST message,
each SMSCB nformation cell carries a complete frame that can be transmitted on
CBCH and the layer 2 information that indicates the radio path. SMSCB Channel
ndicator cell indicates the CHCH used for broadcast. f this cell does not provide the
information, the basic CBCH will be used.
GSM Radio Network Planning and Optimization

As Figure 1.2 shows, when the SMS BROADCAST COMMAND mode is used, SMS
BROADCAST COMMAND message is sent to BTS from BSC. BSC requires the
immediate message sending during the next CBCH time. The default broadcast mode
for BTS can also be set through this message. n the default broadcast mode, if there
is no other message to broadcast, BTS will send the default message.

n the SMS BROADCAST COMMAND message, the SMSCB message cell contains
the information to be broadcast on CBCH. t has four continuous blocks with a
maximum of 88 bytes. BTS segments the message and establishes the block format.
t also adds bytes to the block if required. SMSCB Channel ndicator cell indicates
the CHCH used for broadcast. f this cell does not provide the information, the basic
CBCH will be used.