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‫الجمهـــــوريــــــة الجـــزائـــريـــــــة الـــديمقـــــراطيـــــــة الشـعبيـــــة‬

Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur Ministère de la Poste, des Télécommunications,


et de la Recherche Scientifique des Technologies et du Numérique

Institut National des Télécommunications et ‫المعهــــــد الوطنـــي لالتصـــــاالت‬


des Technologies de l’Information et de la ‫وتكنــــولوجيــات اإلعالم واالتصال‬
Communication

Projet de Fin d’Études pour l’obtention du Diplôme

d’Ingénieur d’Etat en Télécommunications

Option : Systèmes des Télécommunications

Thème
Dimensioning of Tracking Areas in an LTE Network

Présenté par :
M. SIDIBE Bakary
M. SAMA Salaou Issiakou

Encadré par : M. TIENTI Aberrahim

Soutenu devant le jury :


M. KAID OMAR Omar Président
M. ROUMANE Ahmed Examinateur

Promotion : IGE 38
Année Universitaire : 2017- 2018
Resumé
La charge de signalisation due au suivi et au paging des terminaux a toujours été une
préoccupation pour les opérateurs. Zone de suivi ou Tracking Area (TA) est un ensemble de
cellules dans les réseaux de Long Term Evolution (LTE). Les TAs gèrent et localisent les UEs
dans un réseau LTE. La préoccupation de performance la plus connue est la charge de Tracking
Area Update vs la charge de paging.
LTE donne plus de flexibilité, en matière de configuration de TA, par rapport aux générations
précédentes. Cette flexibilité est offerte par les moyens de Tracking Area List (TAL). TAL est
attendue pour surmonter certaines limitations liées au TA conventionnelle. Comment exploiter
cette flexibilité pour avoir un dimensionnement de TA qui permet de réduire la charge de
signalisation reste un problème ouvert. Ce thème exploite le concept de Tracking Area List
dans les réseaux LTE dans le but de déterminer le nombre d’eNodeBs convenable à inclure
dans un Tracking Area List.
Mots clés : Dimensionnement, Zone de suivi, Liste des Zones de suivi, LTE, Capacité de Paging,
MME, eNodeB

i
Abstract
Signaling overload due to tracking and paging User Equipment (UEs) has always been a
concern for the network operators. Tracking Area (TA) is a logical grouping of cells in Long
Term Evolution (LTE) networks. TAs manage and locate UEs in an LTE network. A well-known
performance consideration is that of Tracking Area Update (TAU) overload versus paging
overload.
LTE gives more flexibility in terms of TA configuration compared to previous generations. This
flexibility is offered by means of Tracking Area List (TAL). TAL is expected to overcome certain
limitations of the conventional TA scheme. How to exploit this flexibility to have a TA design
that reduces signaling overload remains an open issue. This thesis exploits the TAL concept in
LTE networks in order to determine the suitable number of eNodeBs to be included in a
Tracking Area List.
Key words: Dimensioning, Tracking Area, Tracking Areas List, LTE, Paging capacity, MME,
eNodeB

ii
Contents
Resumé ................................................................................................................................................. i
Abstract ................................................................................................................................................ii
List of tables .........................................................................................................................................v
List of figures ....................................................................................................................................... vi
Acronyms ............................................................................................................................................ vii
General introduction ............................................................................................................................... 1
Chapter 1: LTE Network overview ........................................................................................................... 3
1.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 3
1.2. LTE Architecture Overview ...................................................................................................... 3
1.2.1. The Core Network ........................................................................................................... 4
1.2.2. The Access Network ........................................................................................................ 7
1.3. Tracking area overview ......................................................................................................... 10
1.4. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................. 11
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures ..................................................................................................... 13
2.1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 13
2.2. EMM/ECM states and EPC interfaces.................................................................................... 13
2.2.1. EMM and ECM states .................................................................................................... 13
2.2.2. Interfaces ....................................................................................................................... 14
2.3. Example of Signaling Procedures .......................................................................................... 17
2.3.1. Attachment Procedure .................................................................................................. 17
2.3.2. Location Update ............................................................................................................ 18
2.3.3. Inter-eNodeB handover over x2 interface .................................................................... 20
2.4. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................. 22
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning.............................................................................. 23
3.1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 23
3.2. Guidelines for dimensioning Tracking areas ..................................................................... 23
3.3. Paging ................................................................................................................................ 24
3.4. Paging Capacity.................................................................................................................. 27
3.5. TA Dimensioning................................................................................................................ 34
3.6. Conclusion ......................................................................................................................... 37
Chapter 4: Implementing of the TA Dimensioning tool ........................................................................ 38
4.1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 38
4.2. The Programming Language .............................................................................................. 38
4.3. Used tool ........................................................................................................................... 38
4.4. Overview of Technocrate Tracking Areas Dimensioning Tool ........................................... 39

iii
4.5. Functioning of Technocrate Tracking Areas Dimensioning Tool ....................................... 39
4.6. Conclusion ......................................................................................................................... 42
General Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 43
BIBLIOGRAPHIE ...................................................................................................................................... 44

iv
List of tables
Table 3.1: Recommended Settings of maxNoOfPagingRecords [6] ..................................................... 26
Table 3.2: Number of Scheduling Blocks per Frame [6] ...................................................................... 29
Table 3.3: Number of CCEs per frame [6] ............................................................................................ 32

v
List of figures
Figure 1.1: LTE architecture [2].............................................................................................................. 4
Figure 1.2: The EPC Architecture [2] ..................................................................................................... 5
Figure 1.3: PGW [7] ................................................................................................................................ 6
Figure 1.4: LTE Access network [3] ....................................................................................................... 7
Figure 1.5: difference between OFDMA and SC-FDMA [5] ................................................................. 9
Figure 1.6: MIMO [8] ........................................................................................................................... 10
Figure 1.7: TAC and TA List [6]........................................................................................................... 11
Figure 2.1: Main interfaces in the LTE Network [7]............................................................................. 14
Figure 2.2: RRC Connection establishment [3] .................................................................................... 17
Figure 2.3: Location Update Procedure [7] ........................................................................................... 19
Figure 2.4: Message Sequence Chart of Location Update [7] ............................................................... 20
Figure 2.5: Handover over x2 interface [2] ........................................................................................... 21
Figure 3.1: Paging Frames and Occasions [6] ....................................................................................... 24
Figure 3.2: Paging Procedure [6]........................................................................................................... 25
Figure 3.3: Effect of nB Settings on Number of Paging Frames and Paging Occasions [6] ................. 27
Figure 3.4 Paging Capacity in Relation to PDSCH load [6] ................................................................. 30
Figure 3.5 Paging Capacity per PO versus Blocking Probability [6] .................................................... 31
Figure 3.6: Paging Capacity versus Tolerable PDCCH Load [6].......................................................... 33
Figure 3.7: Overview of Process for TA dimensioning [6] ................................................................... 35
Figure 4.1: NetBeans Logo ................................................................................................................... 38
Figure 4.2: Welcome interface .............................................................................................................. 39
Figure 4.3: Authentication interface ...................................................................................................... 40
Figure 4.4: Interface of calculating MME paging capacity ................................................................... 40
Figure 4.5: Interface of calculating eNodeB paging capacity ............................................................... 41
Figure 4.6: Interface of calculating of the final result ........................................................................... 41

vi
Acronyms

3GPP :3rd Generation Partnership Project HSS: Home Subscriber Server

APN: Access Point Name IMS: IP Multimedia Subsystem

ARQ: Automatic Repeat reQuest IP: Internet Protocol

AS: Access Stratum LTE: Long Term Evolution

AuC : Authentication Center NAS: Non-Access Stratum

BS : Base Station MIMO: Multiple Input Multiple Output

CDMA : Code Division Multiple Access MM: Mobility Management

CDR: Cell Data Rate MME: Mobility Management Entity

CN: Core Network OCS: Online Charging System

CS: Circuit-Switched OFCS: Offline Charging System

DRB: Dedicated Radio Bearer OFDM: Orthogonal Frequency Division


Multiplexing
ECM: EPS Connection Management
OFDMA: Orthogonal Frequency Division
EDGE: Enhanced Data rate for GSM Multiple Access
Evolution
PCEF: Policy Control Enforcement
EIR: Equipment Identity Register Function
eNodeB: evolved Node Base station PCRF: Policy Control & Charging Rules
EMM: EPS Mobility Management Function

EPC: Evolved Packet Core PDN: Packet Data Network

EPS: Evolved Packet System PGW: PDN Gateway

E-UTRAN: Evolved Universal Terrestrial PLMN: Public Land Mobile Network


Radio Access Network PS: Packet-Switched
FTP: File Transfer Protocol QCI: QoS Class Identifier
GBR: Guaranteed Bit Rate QoS: Quality of Service
GGSN: Gateway GPRS Support Node RA: Routing Area
GPRS: General Packet Radio Service RAT: Radio Access Technology
GSM: Global System for Mobile RBS: Radio Base Station
Communication
RNC: Radio Network Controller
GTP: GPRS Tunneling Protocol
SAE: System Architecture Evolution
GUTI: Global Unique Temporary Identity
SC-FDMA: Single Carrier Frequency
HARQ: Hybrid ARQ Division Multiple Access

vii
SCTP: Stream Control Transmission TAL: TA List
Protocol
TFTS: Traffic Flow Templates
SGSN: Serving GPRS Support Node
UE: User Equipment
SMS: Short Message Services
UMTS: Universal Mobile
SIB: System Information Block Telecommunication System
SGW: Serving Gateway VoIP: Voice over IP
TA: Tracking Area

viii
ix
Acknowledgment

We would like first to give thanks to Allah, without whom none of this would have
been achieved.
We are kindly pleased to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to our advisor
Mr. Tienti Abderrahim for his support, availability, guidance, patience and
motivation throughout the whole period that made this project a success. We
could not have imagined having a better advisor and mentor for our project.
We would also like to thank our internship advisor Mr Amine BARKART, at
Ooredoo, for his guidance and help in our project.
Special thanks to the Mak-INTTIC family and to all our Algerian friends who in
one way or another helped us in the accomplishment of this project.
We could not finish without thanking all of our teachers at INTTIC, who in one
way or another helped us throughout five years of studies with quality educational
information to complete our engineering studies.

x
General introduction

General introduction
The concept of dividing the territory into cells, each cell being covered by a base station was
defined in the 70s in the United States.
The first networks in Europe appeared in the Nordic countries in the 80s. We speak of first
generation because, these were the first networks and the transmission were analog. The
principle is to transmit a communication on a frequency and what we call FDMA, Frequency
Division Multiple Access. The life of these networks was approximately from 1980 to 1995.
A huge innovation was the deployment of a network based on digital transmission: GSM for
Global System for Mobile communications. GSM is still used frequently today. The principle
is to use one frequency to transmit several communications by dividing the time into slots, each
slot supporting one communication, this is called TDMA, Time Division Multiple Access.
These networks are called second generation and they only enabled telephony and the exchange
of SMS, Short Message Services.
With the development of the internet in the 90s, there was a need to have mobile access to the
internet. This was managed by adding procedures and equipment to the GSM network and this
was called GPRS, Global Packet Radio Service with an evolution called EDGE, Enhanced Data
Rate for the GSM Evolution, the throughput was increased in comparison with what was
initially possible with GPRS. The principle of GPRS is to supply a service of packet
transmission and to use new modulations on the radio channel.
Starting in the 90s, the specification of new system was created which permitted higher
throughputs and this system was called UMTS, Universal Mobile Telecommunication System.
The technology used by UMTS is based on spread spectrum, this technology is called CDMA,
Code Division Multiple Access. The first networks of UMTS were deployed starting in 2002-
2003 and are still operational. With UMTS, it’s possible to access an IP network at typically
two megabits per second.
The third generation was completed by what is sometimes called the 3.9 generation, with
HSDPA, High Speed Downlink Packet Access. Throughputs were increased using a new
modulation, going up to 10 megabits per second. HSDPA was deployed starting in 2008.
Fourth generation has a different approach. The principle of fourth generation is to say, now,
we have a lot of services available on IP, voice over IP, videophone, web browsing, social
networks, and so on; Therefore, it’s not useful to define services specific to a mobile network.
What a 4G network provides is just the transmission of IP packets from a mobile terminal to
fixed or mobile server or the other way around. Therefore, the only service provided in 4G is
high throughput IP access, it can go up to 100 megabits per second. The technology in Europe
and throughout the world corresponding to 4G is called LTE for Long Term Evolution. The
transmission on the radio interface is based on OFDMA, Orthogonal Frequency Division
Multiple Access.
LTE networks have been deployed since 2010 and now the coverage of this type of network is
very large in Europe and throughout the world.
One of the key tasks of location management is to keep track of UEs in the network. Tracking
Area (TA) is a logical grouping of cells in a network and is used to track and page UEs. The

1
General introduction

TA concept is similar to location Area (LA) concept in the circuit-switched (CS) domain and
Routing Area (RA) concept in the packet-switched (PS) domain.
The concept of Tracking Area List aims to reduce the signaling overload due to Tracking Area
Update and paging. The goal of our theme, dimensioning of Tracking Areas in the LTE
network, is to find the suitable number of eNodeBs to be included in the Tracking Area List in
order to reduce the Tracking Area Update and Paging signaling at the very least possible.
In the first chapter, we give an overview of the LTE architecture and describe the entities and
their functions.
The second chapter describes the most important signaling procedures that are made in general
in the LTE network.
In the chapter three we will talk about dimensioning of tracking areas in the LTE network,
which aims to find the suitable number of eNodeBs to be included in a tracking area list.
The fourth chapter and the last part will be about developing of a tool for dimensioning tracking
areas in the 4G cellular network.

2
Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

1.1. Introduction
The long-term evolutionary access technology called LTE (Long Term Evolution) is quickly
becoming the network technology of choice for 4G deployments around the world. As user
demand for mobile broadband services continues to rise, LTE and its ability to cost-effectively
provide very fast, highly responsive mobile data services appears to be the right technology at
the right time [1].
For many operators, LTE represents a significant shift from legacy mobile systems as the first
all-Internet Protocol (IP) network technology and will impact the way networks are designed,
deployed, and managed. Mobile operators will need to deal with specific challenges associated
with LTE, such as interoperability with legacy and other 4G systems, ensuring end-to-end
network QoS and high-quality service delivery, and interaction with IMS (IP Multimedia
Subsystem) for the delivery of multimedia services and voice.

The main drivers for LTE development are:


• Reduced delay for connection establishment
• Reduced transmission latency for user plane data
• Increased bandwidth and bit rate per cell, also at all the cell edge
• Reduced costs per bit for radio transmission
• Greater flexibility of spectrum usage
• Simplified network architecture
• Seamless mobility, including between different radio access technologies
• Reasonable power consumption for the mobile terminal [2].

1.2. LTE Architecture Overview


While the term “LTE” encompasses the evolution of the Universal Mobile Telecommunications
System (UMTS) radio access through the Evolved UTRAN (E-UTRAN), it is accompanied by
an evolution of the non-radio aspects under the term “System Architecture Evolution” (SAE),
which includes the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network [3].
Together LTE and SAE comprise the Evolved Packet System (EPS). EPS provides the user
with IP connectivity to a PDN for accessing the internet, as well as for running services such as
Voice over IP (VoIP). An EPS bearer is typically associated with a QoS. Multiple bearers can
be established for a user in order to provide different QoS streams or connectivity to different
PDNs. For example, a user might be engaged in a voice (VoIP) call while at the same time
performing web browsing or FTP download. A VoIP bearer would provide the necessary QoS
for the voice call, while a best-effort bearer would be suitable for the web browsing or FTP
session.

3
Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

The network must also provide sufficient security and privacy for the user and protection for
the network against fraudulent use. This is achieved by means of several EPS network elements
that have different roles. Figure 1.1 shows the overall network architecture, including the
network elements and the standardized interfaces.
At a high level, the network is comprised of the CN (EPC) and the access network E-UTRAN.
While the CN consist of many logical nodes, the access network is made up of essentially just
one node, the evolved NodeB (eNodeB), which connects to the UEs. Each of these network
elements is interconnected by means of interfaces that standardized in order to allow multi-
vendor interoperability. This gives network operators the possibility to source different network
elements from different vendors. In fact, network operators may choose in their physical
implementations to split or merge these logical network elements depending on commercial
considerations.

Figure 1.1: LTE architecture [2]

1.2.1. The Core Network


The core network (called EPC in SAE) is responsible for the overall control of the UE and
establishment of the bearers. The logical nodes of the EPC are [2]:

• PDN Gateway (P-GW)


• Serving Gateway (S-GW)
• Mobility Management Entity (MME)
• Home Subscriber Server (HSS)
• Policy Control and Charging Rules Function (PCRF)
In addition to these nodes, since the EPS only provides a bearer path of a certain QoS, control
of multimedia applications such as VoIP is provided by the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS),
which is considered to be outside the EPS itself.

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Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

Figure 1.2: The EPC Architecture [2]

a. PCRF
The Policy Control and Charging Rules Function is responsible for policy control decision-
making, as well as for controlling the flow-based charging functionalities in the Policy Control
Enforcement Function (PCEF), which resides in the P-GW. The PCRF provides the QoS
authorization (QoS Class Identifier [QCI] and bit rates) that decides how a certain data flow
will be treated in the PCEF and ensures that this is in accordance with the user’s subscription
profile [3].

b. HSS
The Home Subscriber Server contains user’s SAE subscription data such as the EPS-subscribed
QoS profile and any access restrictions for roaming. It also holds information about the PDNs
to which the user can connect. This could be in the form of an access point name (APN) (which
is a label according to DNS naming conventions describing the access point to the PDN) or a
PDN address (indicating subscribed IP address). In addition, the HSS holds dynamic
information such as the identity of the MME to which the user is currently attached or
registered. The HSS may also integrate the authentication center (AuC), which generates the
vectors for authentication and security keys [3].

c. P-GW
The PDN Gateway is responsible for IP address allocation for the UE, as well as QoS
enforcement and flow-based charging according to rules from the PCRF, it is responsible for
the filtering of downlink user IP packets into the different QoS-based bearers. This is performed
based on Traffic Flow Templates (TFTS). The P-GW performs QoS enforcement for
guaranteed bit rate (GBR) bearers. It also serves as the mobility anchor for interworking with
no-3GPP technologies such as CDMA 2000 and WiMAX networks [3].

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Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

Figure 1.3: PGW [7]

d. S-GW
All user IP packets are transferred through the Serving Gateway, which serves as the local
mobility anchor for the data bearers when the UE moves between eNodeBs. It also retains the
information about the bearers when the UE is in the idle state (known as “EPS Connection
Management –IDLE” [ECM-IDLE]) and temporarily buffers downlink data while the MME
initiates paging of the UE to reestablish the bearers. In addition, the S-GW performs some
administrative functions in the visited network such as collecting information for charging (for
example, the volume of data sent to or received from the user) and lawful interception. It also
serves as the mobility anchor for interworking with others 3GPP technologies such as general
packet radio service (GPRS) and UMTS [3].

e. MME
The Mobility Management Entity (MME) is the control node that processes the signaling
between the UE and the CN. The protocols running between the UE and the CN are known as
the Non-Access Stratum (NAS) protocols [3].
The MME is responsible for the NAS connection with the UE. All NAS signaling messages are
exchanged between the UE and MME to trigger further procedures in the core network if
necessary. A new function of the E-UTRAN is NAS signaling security. The purpose of this
feature is to protect the signaling messages that could reveal the true subscriber’s identity and
location unauthorized eavesdropping [2].
The MME is also responsible for paging subscribers in the EPS Connection management
(ECM) IDLE state (including control and execution of paging retransmission) and is concerned
with tracking area list management. The list of tracking areas is the list of locations where the
UE will be paged.
To route the user plane data streams the MME will select the best fitting PDN-GW and S-GW.
It will also connect the E-UTRAN with the 3G UTRAN using the s3 interface (MME to SGSN).
When necessary, a relocation of gateways will be triggered and controlled by the MME.
As its name suggests, the MME will perform management of handovers by selecting a new
(target) MME or SGSN for handovers to 2G or 3G of 3GPP access networks. Also, it is the

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Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

MME that hosts the connection to the HSS across the s6a interface and, hence, it is responsible
for roaming management and authentication of subscribers.
Last but not least, the MME sets up, modifies, and release default and dedicated bearers. This
function is commonly known as the bearer management function [2].
According to standard documents, the MME will allow lawful interception of signaling traffic
and transfer of warning messages (including selection of an appropriate eNodeB). The purpose
of warning message transfer is to inform people living in a larger area about upcoming natural
disasters like storms, bush fires, or tsunamis [3].
The main functions supported by the MME can be classified as [3]:

• Functions related to bearer management


This includes the establishment, maintenance and release of the bearers and is handled by
the session management layer in the NAS protocol.

• Functions related to connection management


This includes the establishment of the connection and the security between the network
and UE and is handled by the connection or mobility management layer in the NAS
protocol layer.

1.2.2. The Access Network


The access network of LTE, E-UTRAN, simply consists of a network of eNodeBs, as illustrated
in Figure 1.4. For normal user traffic (as opposed to broadcast), there is no centralized controller
in E-UTRAN; hence the E-UTRAN architecture is said to be flat.

Figure 1.4: LTE Access network [3]

The eNodeBs are normally inter-connected with each other by means of an interface known as
X2 and to the EPC by means of the S1 interface – more specifically, to the MME by means of

7
Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

the S1-MME interface and to the S-GW by means of the S1-U interface. The protocols which
run between the eNodeBs and the UE are known as the Access Stratum (AS) protocols [3].

a. Function of eNodeB
The eNodeB is the network entity that is responsible for radio interface transmission and
reception. This includes radio channel modulation/demodulation as well as channel
coding/decoding and multiplexing/demultiplexing [2].
System information is broadcast in each cell on the radio interface DL to provide basic
information to UEs as a prerequisite to access the network.
The LTE base station hosts all RRC functions such as broadcast of system information and
RRC connection control including:

• Paging of subscribers.
• Establishment, modulation, and release of RRC connection including the allocation of
temporary UE identities (Radio Network Temporary Identifier, RNTI).
• Initial security activation, which means the initial configuring of the Access Stratum (AS)
integrity protection for the control plane and AS ciphering for both control plane and user
plane traffic.
• RRC connection mobility that includes all types of intra-LTE handover (intra-frequency
and inter-frequency). In the case of handover, the source eNodeB will take care of the
associated security handling and provide the necessary key and algorithm information to
the handover target cell by sending specific RRC context information embedded in a
transparent container to the handover target eNodeB.
• Establishment, modification, and release of DRBs (Dedicated Radio Bearers) carrying user
data.
• Radio configuration control, especially the assignment and modification of ARQ and
Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request (HARQ) parameters as well as Discontinuous Reception
(DRX) configuration parameters.
• QoS control to ensure that, for example, user plane packets of different connections are
scheduled with the required priority for DL transmission and that mobiles receive the
scheduling grants for UL data transmission according to the QoS parameters of the radio
bearers.
• Recovery functions that allow re-establishment of radio connections after physical channel
failure or Radio Link Control Acknowledged Mode (RLC AM).
The most crucial part for measuring the eNodeB performance is the UL/DL resource
management and packet scheduling performed by the eNodeB. This is probably the most
difficult function which requires the eNodeB to cope with many different constraints like radio
link quality, user priority, requested QoS, and UE capabilities. It is the task of the eNodeB to
make use of the available resources in the most efficient way [2].
Other functions of the eNodeB comprise the transfer of dedicated NAS information and non-
3GPP dedicated information, the transfer of UE radio access capability information, support E-
UTRAN sharing (multiple Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN) identities), and management
of multicast/broadcast services.

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Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

The support of self-configuration and self-optimization is seen as one of the key features of the
E-UTRAN. Among these functions we find, for example, intelligent learning functions for
automatic updates of neighbor cell lists (handover candidates) as they are used for RRC
measurement tasks and handover decisions.
The eNodeB is a critical part of the user plane connections. Here the data is routed, multiplexed,
ciphered/deciphered, segmented, and reassembled. It is correct to say that on the E-UTRAN
transport layer level, the eNodeB acts as an IP router and switch. The eNodeB is also
responsible for optional IP header compression. On the control plane level, the eNodeB selects
the MME to which NAS signaling messages are routed.

b. Network Access Methods

❖ OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) and SC-FDMA (Single Carrier
Frequency Division Multiple Access), are the two access techniques adopted by the fourth-
generation networks (LTE).
OFDMA is a multi-user version of the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple (OFDM)
digital modulation scheme. It is a combination of TDMA and FDMA essentially, and it is used
in the downlink. For the uplink, the LTE networks use a derivative, which is SC-FDMA.
In OFDMA the symbols are transmitted each through a subcarrier, while in SC-FDMA each
symbol is spread over all the sub-carriers allocated, see figure 1.5 [5].

Figure 1.5: difference between OFDMA and SC-FDMA [5]

❖ MIMO, Multiple Input Multiple Output, is another LTE technology innovations used to
improve the performance of the system. It uses multiple antennas at both the transmitter and
receiver to improve communication performance. It offers significant increases in data

9
Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

throughput and link range without using additional bandwidth or transmission power. This
is achieved by higher spectral efficiency (more bits per second per hertz of bandwidth) and
link reliability or diversity (reduced fading).
Although MIMO adds complexity to the system in the terms of processing and the number
of antennas required, it enables high data rates to be achieved along with much improved
spectral efficiency. As a result, MIMO has been included as an integral part of LTE. The
basic concept of MIMO uses the multipath signal propagation that is present in all terrestrial
communications.
For the downlink direction, a configuration of two transmit antennas at the base station and
two receive antennas on the mobile terminal is used as baseline, although configurations
with four antennas are also being considered [8].

Figure 1.6: MIMO [8]

1.3. Tracking area overview


A Tracking Area corresponds to the Routing Area (RA) used in Wideband Code Division
Multiple Access (WCDMA) and GSM/Edge Radio Access Network (GERAN). The TA
consists of a cluster of eNBs having the same Tracking area code.
The TA provides a way to track UE location in idle mode. TA information is used by the MME
when paging idle UE to notify them of incoming data connections.
In LTE, the MME provides the UE with a list of tracking areas where the UE registration is
valid. When the MME pages a UE, a paging message is sent to all eNBs in the TA list. The
concept of TA lists is shown in the following figure:

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Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

Figure 1.7: TAC and TA List [6]

The MME sends the TA list to the UE during the TA update procedure. TA updates occur
periodically, and when a UE enters a cell with a TAC not in the current TA list. The TA list
makes it possible to avoid frequent TA updates due to ping-pong effects along TA borders. This
is achieved by including the old TA in the new TA list received at TA update.

❖ Limitations of Tracking Area


In a conventional TA, cells are divided into mutually exclusive sets and each set is a TA. A UE
performs a TAU whenever it changes TA. There are some limitations of conventional TA

• Ping Pong Effect


In conventional TA scheme, a UE performs TAU whenever it moves to a cell belonging to a
new TA. Whenever a UE moves back and forth between two cells belonging to different TAs,
there will be excessive TAUs. This performance is referred to as the ping-pong effect.

• Mass mobility Signaling Congestion


Signaling congestion may occur when a large number of UEs behave in a similar manner, e.g.
massive and simultaneous UE movement in train scenario. Signaling congestion is caused by
excessive TAUs from UEs in a short time interval.

1.4. Conclusion
In this first chapter we have seen an overview of the LTE network in general, and the LTE
Network architecture which is compound of an Access network called e-UTRAN and Core
network called EPC.
In the Access network, we talked about some main functions of the eNodeB and different
Access technics (OFDMA, SC-FDMA) used in the LTE network and in the core network we

11
Chapter 1: LTE Network overview

talked about the functions of some main entities in the network such as MME, HSS, SGW,
PGW... We have also seen an overview of the Tracking Area concept in the LTE Network.

12
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures


2.1. Introduction
In mobile communications, signaling is the exchange of information between involved nodes
in the network that sets up, controls, and terminates each mobile service. It has always been one
of the most important assets within a mobile network. Signaling messages are used to provide
instructions to the various elements within a network, these instructions may be attachment
procedures instructions, tracking area update instructions, session management instructions,
mobility management instructions, charging instructions, and so on. In this chapter EPC main
interfaces and some signaling procedures will be discussed.

2.2. EMM/ECM states and EPC interfaces


2.2.1. EMM and ECM states

On the NAS layer the two EPS Mobility Management (EMM) states defined to describe the
results of mobility management procedures like attach and tracking area update. The EMM
states are [4]:

• EMM-DEREGISTERED
• EMM-REGISTERED
The UE in the EMM-DEREGISTERED state is not attached to the network. From the MME’s
point of view, there is no active context for a UE; no routing information, and no location
information.
After a successful attach, the UE enters the REGISTERED state. Now the MME knows where
to page the UE and the HSS is able to provide routing information for mobile terminating
connections of this particular subscriber. In the EMM-REGISTERED state, the UE always has
an active PDN connection and EPS security context.
The EPS Connection Management (ECM) states indicate if there is an active signaling
connectivity between the UE and the EPC. The ECM states are:

• ECM-IDLE
• ECM-CONNECTED
The location of a UE in the ECM-IDLE state is known by the network on behalf of the current
tracking area list. This list contains all tracking areas for which the UE performed successful
initial registration (attach) to the network and subsequent successful tracking area update
procedures.
All tracking areas in a Tracking Area List to which a UE is registered must be connected to the
same MME (according to 3GPP 23.401).
A UE is in the ECM-IDLE state when no active NAS signaling connection between the UE and
network exists. In other words, there are no SRBs (Signaling Radio Bearers) assigned to this

13
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

mobile. If the UE changes its geographic position it may perform cell selection/reselection when
necessary.
The UE and MME should enter the ECM-CONNECTED state whenever the UE sends or MME
receives one of the following NAS messages: Attach Request, Tracking Area Update Request,
Service Request, or Detach Request.
When the UE is in the ECM-IDLE state it is possible that the UE and the network have different
sets of established EPS bearers stored in their system memory. When the UE and the MME
enter ECM-CONNECTED state, the set of EPS bearers is synchronized between the UE and
the network.
ECM state and the EMM state do not strictly depend on each other. For instance, a UE can be
in ECM-IDLE, but EMM-REGISTERED. However, a UE can also be in ECM-CONNECTED
while in EMM-DEREGISTERED, yet this happens during the radio connection for initial
registration. Firstly, the UE must enter ECM-CONNECTED to send Attach Request, and only
if Attach Accept is sent back by the network does this UE enters EMM-REGISTERED [5].

2.2.2. Interfaces

Figure 2.1: Main interfaces in the LTE Network [7]

➢ Uu interface
The Uu or radio interface is the reference point between the terminal (UE) and eNodeB, it
allows transporting user data and signaling messages [7].

➢ X2 interface
The X2 interface is the reference point between two eNodeBs, it allows transporting user data
and signaling messages [7].

➢ S1 interface
The S1 interface is defined between eNodeB and EPC. This interface is divided into a control
plane which is going from the eNodeB to MME known as (S1-MME) and a user plane between

14
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

eNodeB and SGW known as (S1-U). The role of the S1 interface is to enable the eNodeB and
EPC to coordinate session and mobility management for subscribers [4].
A. S1-MME
The S1-MME interface provides the following functions:

• Context transfer, these are some information sent by the MME to the eNodeB which permit
it to setup IP connectivity as well as one or more EPS bearer.
• Mobility management, during an intra-system handover, the interface S1 is used to ensure
the change of eNodeB or of an EPC entity. In case of an inter-system handover, the S1
interface will also be involved.
• Paging, when the UE is in the LTE idle state and data arrives at the EPC, the S1 interface
is used to send paging instructions to the eNodeB.
• NAS signaling, this signaling information is exchanged between UE and MME across S1
interface. It includes session and mobility management information.

B. S1-U
The S1 User plane (S1-U) is defined between eNodeB and SGW in order to allow the user data
to be routed. The user data are transported on S1-U by the GTP protocol. It provides a non-
guaranteed delivery service to the user plane traffic between these nodes.

➢ S3 Interface
The S3 interface is defined between MME and SGSN to enable user and bearer information
exchange. This exchange takes place during the inter-RAT (Radio Access Technology)
handover and is performed whatever the state of the mobile (Idle and/or Connected state). The
GTP-C is the protocol which ensures the transport of signaling upon the S3 interface.

➢ S5 Interface
The S5 interface is defined between SGW and PGW to provide user plane tunneling and tunnel
management. This interface is used when the SGW needs to connect to a PGW for PDN
connectivity, or in case of handover intra-system with relocation of SGW. The protocol used
on this interface is GTP for both the control plane and user plane.

➢ S6a Interface
The reference point S6a between MME and HSS for signaling exchange. This exchange of
signaling may be information of subscription to a service or for authentication in order to allow
the user access to the network.
Compared to 2G/3G core network, the functionality provided by S6a is similar to the one of Gr
interface, but due to the all-IP concept of EPC the protocol used on this interface is the diameter
protocol.
In the IP world diameter is known as the successor of radius, a protocol for granting access and
authentication.

15
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

➢ S8 interface
The S8 interface is defined between home PLMN and visited PLMN in case of roaming. It
provides user plane and control plane between the SGW in the visited PLMN and PGW in the
home PLMN.
It is also a variant of S5 interface, based on GTP protocol using GTP-C for control plane and
GTP-U for user plane.

➢ S10 Interface
This is the reference point between MMEs for MME relocation and MME-to-MME information
transfer. This reference point provides mobility functions for intra-E-UTRAN
handover/relocation. In other words, signaling procedures on this interface are triggered by UE
mobility.

➢ S11 interface
A reference point between the MME and SGW entities for signaling via the GTP-C protocol,
exchanged during the attachment of the mobile, the establishment of a session and the handover
with relocation of the SGW entity.

➢ S13 Interface
This interface ensures the transfer of the mobile-specific information between the MME and
the EIR.

➢ SGi Interface
The SGi interface is defined between the PGW and the packet data network. This network may
be an operator external public or private packet data network or an intra-operator packet data
network, for example for the provision of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) services. This
interface ensures the transfer of user data between both of those parts.

➢ GX interface
This reference point provides transfer of (QoS) policy and charging rules from the PCRF to the
Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF) in the PDN-GW. This means that a set of
rules for charging the transmission of a particular user data stream (called service flow) will be
requested by the PDN-GW upon bearer establishment and the PCRF will provide the required
parameters for the charging process. Especially, it will signal which of the following charging
models would be applied:

• Volume-based charging
• Time-based charging
• Volume and time-based charging
• Event-based charging
• No charging (if the user pays at a monthly flat rate)

16
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

2.3. Example of Signaling Procedures


In this section, we will talk about some main signaling procedures done in the LTE Network.
Those signaling procedures are Attachment procedure, location update procedure, mobility
management procedure.

2.3.1. Attachment Procedure

This procedure is done in two principle phases:

• RRC connection establishment between UE and eNodeB (only phase discussed in this
document)
• Mobile registration at the MME

➢ RRC Connection establishment between UE and eNodeB


Step 1: connection establishment
Upper layers in the UE trigger connection establishment, which may be in response to paging.
The UE checks if access is barred. If this is not the case, the lower layers in the UE perform a
connection-based random-access procedure. The UE starts a timer (known as T300) and sends
the RRCConnectionRequest message. This message includes an initial identity (S-TMSI or a
random number) and an establishment cause [3].

Figure 2.2: RRC Connection establishment [3]

17
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

If E-UTRAN accepts the connection, it returns the RRCConnection setup message that includes
the initial radio resource configuration including SRB1. Instead of signaling each individual
parameter, E-UTRAN may order the UE to apply a default configuration – i.e. a configuration
for which the parameter values are specified in the RRC specification [3].
The UE returns the RRCConnectionSetupComplete message and includes the NAS message,
an identifier of the selected PLMN (used to support network sharing) and, if provided by upper
layers, an identifier of the registered MME based on the last two parameters, the eNodeB
decides on the CN node to which it should establish the S1-connection.
Step 2: initial security activation and radio bearer establishment.
E-UTRAN sends the SecurityModeComand message to activate integrity protection and
ciphering. This message, which is integrity-protected but no ciphered, indicates which
algorithms shall be used.
The UE verifies the integrity protection of the SecurityModeControl message, and, if this
succeeds, it configures lower layers to apply integrity protection and ciphering to all subsequent
messages (with the exception that ciphering is not applied to the response message, i.e. the
SecurityModeComplete (or SecurityModeFailure) message).
E-UTRAN sends the RRCConnectionReconfiguration message including a radio resource
configuration used to establish SRB2 and one or more DRBs (Dedicated Radio Bearer). This
message may also include other information such as a piggybacked NAS message or a
measurement configuration. E-UTRAN may send RRCConnectionReconfiguration message
prior to receiving the SecurityModeComplete message. In this case, E-UTRAN should release
the connection when one (or both) procedures fail (because the two procedures result from a
single S1-procedure, which does not support partial success).
The UE finally returns RRCConnectionReconfigurationComplete message.
A connection establishment may fail for a number of reasons, such as the following:

• Access may be barred


• In case cell reselection occurs during connection establishment, the UE aborts the procedure
and informs upper layers of the failure to establish the connection.
• E-UTRAN may temporarily reject the connection establishment by including a wait timer,
in which case the UE rejects any connection establishment request until the wait time has
elapsed.
• The NAS may abort an ongoing RRC connection establishment, for example upon NAS
timer expiry.

2.3.2. Location Update


The concept of location update known as Tracking Area Update in LTE terminology is a process
of allowing the EPS to know permanently the geographic position of UE inside of the network.

18
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

There are several types of tracking area update depending on whether the mobile moves from
one TA to another under the control of the same MME, or two different MME with one or also
two different SGW [4].

Figure 2.3: Location Update Procedure [7]

We’ll take a very simple case, with an eNodeB that is part of the Tracking Area TA1, a terminal
that has the {TA0, TA1} list in memory, a second cell corresponding to a second eNodeB
belonging to TA2. The various base stations here are linked to the same Serving Gateway and
depend on the same MME.
We’re going to assume that the terminal is correctly connected to the network. That means,
first, it is in EMM-Registered state. Second, it has no radio activity, we mean the user has no
application running and generating exchanges.
The user is moving. If there is no radio activity, that means it is not in ECM-Connected state
but in ECM-Idle state. The terminal is moving and enters the coverage of base station 2. It notes
at that moment that the tracking area identity broadcast is not on its list, so, it must make a
location update. The first thing to do, is to establish a radio connection just after, an S1-AP
connection is set up.
The MME knows the state of the terminal, so it knows for this terminal that it broadcast the list
{TA0, TA1} and that the terminal was located in a cell belonging to this list. The terminal, once
all the connections have been established, sends an NAS, Non-Access Stratum, message, which
is EMM Tracking Area Update Request. The MME will then erase from its memory the former
location of the terminal and update it by sending a new list. we’ve assumed that it sends a list
starting with at least {TA2, TA3} which isn’t represented here.
The message sent back is an EMM Tracking Area Update Accept message with TA2, TA3 and
so on. Thus, the terminal updates the list in its memory. The update is made correctly, the
terminal can return to ECM-Idle state [7].

19
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

Figure 2.4: Message Sequence Chart of Location Update [7]

Let’s see how that happens, with this message sequence chart.
The terminal detects that it is in a cell that does not belong to the list. It establishes the radio
connection, it sends the Tracking Area Update Request message, indicating its GUTI and where
it was before. There can be authentication and key agreement, a procedure commonly called
AKA, and then cyphering activation.
In general, the MME will take advantage of this to allocate a new TMSI, which enables it to
construct a new GUTI, Globally Unique Temporary Identity.
In our example, the MME chooses a list with {TA2, TA3…} and it sends this list to the terminal.
The terminal updates its GUTI, and the list, and it indicates that it has taken this list into account.
From this moment on, the MME knows that, until it receives a new message, the UE is located
in a cell on the list. It can then release the radio and S1‑AP connections [7].

2.3.3. Inter-eNodeB handover over x2 interface


When the UE changes its geographic position, a handover is required. Ideally this handover is
executed using the X2 interface – as long as the UE does not leave the LTE coverage area in
general [2].
As illustrated in Figure 2.5, there are three major steps to be executed in the network for this
kind of handover. An additional step is a subsequently executed tracking area update procedure
after the UE is connected to the target cell. This tracking area update is not shown in Figure 2.5,
but described in the full message flow illustrated in the previous section (location update).
The three major steps of the X2 handover are the following:

• An X2 handover preparation procedure is executed on the X2 interface to connect the source

20
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

and the target eNodeB with each other. During this procedure a signaling connection using the
X2 Application Part (X2AP) is established as well as a temporary user plane tunnel to forward
unsent user plane data from the source to the target eNodeB.

• Using a S1AP path switch request procedure the target eNodeB updates the MME with the
new geographic position of the UE and requests a new route for the GTP-U tunnel on the
S1-U interface.
• To enable this new route for user plane data on S1-UE, the MME needs to communicate
with S-GW, basically to negotiate the new endpoints of the GTP-U tunnel.
Surely, not just the S1-U tunnel must be switched, but also the radio bearer on the air interface.
In fact, the UE changing cell on the radio interface performs a RRC reconfiguration procedure
and must enter the new cell using the random-access procedure. This mandatory random access
during handover is a new functionality of the LTE radio interface signaling. In 2G and 3G radio
networks, random access was only used to establish a new connection between the UE and
network, but not during handover.

Figure 2.5: Handover over x2 interface [2]

21
Chapter 2: LTE Signaling procedures

2.4. Conclusion
Existing 3G networks are not able to cope with the increasing demand for increasing bandwidth,
which has led to the development of new technologies to meet subscribers’ bandwidth
requirements. With a downlink of more than 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps uplink, LTE promises to
provide high bandwidth on move.
In this chapter, we have covered all necessary interfaces and main signaling procedures
performed by the UE and the network elements in LTE to provide services to the UE. All of
these procedures have been explained in the context of end-to-end signaling and the interactions
of various network elements.

22
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

3.1. Introduction
Dimensioning aims to find a suitable number of eNBs to be included in a TA list. While
dimensioning the TA/TAL below mentioned two criteria’s have to be taken into consideration:
A small number of eNBs in a TA list may require frequent TA updates. Frequent updates
increase the MME load and UE battery consumption. In addition, frequent updates may reduce
the paging success rate, because the UE cannot respond to paging during the TA update
procedure.
While, if we increase the number of eNBs in the TA list, the TA update frequency is reduced.
The drawback of adding more eNBs to the TA list is that the paging load increases. The upper
limit of the number of eNBs in a TA list is determined by the paging capacities of the MME
and eNB.

3.2. Guidelines for dimensioning Tracking areas


Dimensioning aims to find a suitable number of eNodeBs to be included in a TA list [6].

• Key Terms
The following terms are used in this section:
Paging: The procedure in which the MME notifies an idle UE about an incoming data
connection. The procedure includes sending a paging message over the S1 Application Protocol
(S1-AP) and the air interface.
Page: The message sent by the Mobility Management Entity (MME) to the User Equipment
(UE) during paging.
Paging capacity: The average number of pages per second that a node can handle. Paging
capacity incorporates various margins to manage conditions like traffic fluctuations.
Paging Frame (PF): The radio frames where UE paging can take place.
Paging load: The fraction of resources required for paging.
Paging Occasion (PO): The sub frames where UE paging can take place. Paging record Pages
to different UEs can be multiplexed in the same Radio Resource Control (RRC) paging
message. A paging record is the information associated with one of those pages.
Blocked page: A blocked page is a page that cannot be transmitted over the air interface at the
first valid Paging Occasion (PO) due to lack of resources.

23
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

3.3. Paging
Paging is used primarily to notify user equipment in idle state about incoming data
connections. This document provides a summary of the paging function with emphasis on the
parts relevant for TA dimensioning.

3.3.1. Paging Frames and Paging Occasions


UE paging is possible only in certain frames and sub frames. These are referred to as
terminologies are PF (Paging Frame) and PO (Paging Occasion).
• Paging Occasion (PO) is a sub frame where there may be P-RNTI transmitted on PDCCH
addressing the paging message.
• Paging Frame (PF) is one Radio Frame, which may contain one or multiple Paging
Occasion(s).

Figure 3.1: Paging Frames and Occasions [6]

LTE has two timing units:


• Timing unit in Frame scale (SFN: System Frame Number).
• Timing Unit in sub frame level (Sub frame Number).
In same way for the paging cycle, PF (Paging Frame) + PO (Paging Occasion) let us know the
exact timing when UE has to wake up to catch the paging message being sent to it.
The default Paging Cycle determines the Discontinuous Reception (DRX) cycle, that is, how
frequently a UE monitors POs. A shorter DRX cycle decreases the time for paging but increases
battery consumption.
The UE_ID is a number between 0 and 1023, calculated by the following expression:

𝑼𝑬_𝑰𝑫 = 𝒏𝑰𝑴𝑺𝑰 𝒎𝒐𝒅 𝟏𝟎𝟐𝟒 Eq 3.1 [6]

Where 𝑛𝐼𝑀𝑆𝐼 : is the last 10 digits of the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI).

The UE_ID is used to derive the System Frame Numbers (SFNs) in which a particular UE
monitors paging.

24
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

3.3.2. Paging Procedure


The MME is the core node responsible for UE paging. When the MME receives a downlink
data notifications message from the Serving Gateway (SGW), the MME sends an S1-AP paging
message to all eNBs in the TA list. When the S1-AP paging message arrives at the eNBs it is
queued until the valid PO occurs. The message is then transmitted over the air interface using
resources on the Physical Downlink Control Channel (PDCCH) and the Physical Downlink
Shared Channel (PDSCH).
The Downlink Control Information (DCI) containing the scheduling assignment for the paging
message is transmitted over PDCCH. The scheduling assignment is common for all UE
monitoring a certain PO.
The following figure illustrates the paging procedure:

Figure 3.2: Paging Procedure [6]

When UE monitoring the PO detects the scheduling assignment, the UE demodulates and
decodes the RRC paging message sent on the PDSCH. The RRC paging message contains
information about the exact identity of the UE being paged. UE that do not find their identities
in the RRC paging message discard the data and sleep according to the DRX cycle. A UE
recognizing its identity sends a service request to the MME. Several UE may be addressed in
the same RRC paging message.
If the MME does not receive the service request within T3413 seconds, it resends the S1-AP
paging message. In the initial attempt the message is sent to the eNBs within the same TA list.
The maximum number of transmission attempts is specified by parameter N3413. When paging

25
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

messages arrive in the eNB, the RRC layer tries to send the paging message in the first valid
PO. If it is impossible to send the paging message in the first PO because of blocking, for
example, attempts are made to send the paging message in subsequent POs according to the
DRX cycle.
The RRC layer tries to send the paging message during a period specified by the parameter
paging Discard Timer, after which the paging message is discarded.
It is recommended that the paging message Discard Timer be set equal to or smaller than T3413.
To guarantee at least one retransmission attempt by the RRC layer, the paging Discard Timer
must be set to a larger value than the DefaultPagingCycle.

a. Parameter maxNoOfPagingRecords
A paging record refers to the paging information of one particular UE in the RRC paging
message. The parameter maxNoOfPagingRecords controls the upper limit of the number of
paging records that are conveyed during one PO.
Pages that cannot be sent during the first valid PO are referred to as blocked pages. Such pages
are subject to transmission in subsequent POs. To allow for a fast paging procedure minimizing
the risk of delay, it is recommended that maxNoOfPagingRecords be set according to values
shown in the following table:
Bandwidth 5 MHz 10MHz 15 MHz 20 MHz
Max Paging Records 7 16 16 16
Table 3.1: Recommended Settings of maxNoOfPagingRecords [6]

In table 3.1, the value corresponds to the maximum number of paging records that can fit in a
5 MHz subframe. The value 16 is the upper limit specified by 3GPP.
For 5 MHz bandwidth, setting maxNoOfPagingRecords to 7 could lead to a scenario in which
a paging message consumes the entire bandwidth of a subframe. Since paging has higher
priority than user data, this could prevent transmission of user data in the subframe.
By setting maxNoOfPagingRecords to a value lower than 7, it is possible to guarantee that
paging messages do not consume all resources in a subframe. With appropriate dimensioning,
the occasions where paging traffic consumes the entire resources of a subframe are rare and
such precautions are generally not required.
The recommendation is to set maxNoOfPagingRecords equal to 7 for 5 MHz bandwidth.
maxNoOfPagingRecords should never be set to a value higher than 7 for 5 MHz bandwidth.
With that setting, the eNB may try to create paging messages exceeding the available resources
in the subframe, leading to failure of the entire paging message transmission.

b. Parameter nB
To a large extent, the eNB paging capacity is determined by the number of available POs per
radio frame. This number is configured using the parameter nB. Valid values for nB include:
T/32, T/16, T/8, T/4, T/2, T, 2T, 4T, where T is the defaultPagingCycle
The following rules apply:

26
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

• If nB is set equal to or larger than T, all radio frames may be used for paging and there are
𝑛𝐵 /T POs per PF. An example is show in figure bellow
• If nB is set lower than T, only a fraction 𝑛𝐵 /T of the radio frames may be used for paging
and there is one PO per PF
To summarize, the number of POs per radio frame (that is, the value relevant for paging
capacity) is given by the following expression:

𝒏𝑩
𝒏𝑷𝑶,𝒇𝒓𝒂𝒎𝒆 = Eq 3.2 [6]
𝑻
Where 𝑛𝐵 is the value of the parameter 𝑛𝐵 .

The following figure provides an example of the effect of 𝑛𝐵 settings on the number of paging
frames and paging occasions:

Figure 3.3: Effect of nB Settings on Number of Paging Frames and Paging Occasions [6]

The impact of nB on paging capacity is described as follows:


• A lower value of nB leads to fewer POs with more UEs paged on each occasion
• A higher value of nB provides more POs with fewer UEs paged in each occasion.
In general, a lower setting is used when it is important to minimize PDCCH load. The drawback
of a lower setting is that the paging messages become larger, increasing the risk that a page
cannot be transmitted during the first valid PO.

3.4. Paging Capacity


As described in the previous sections, the paging capacities of the MME and RBS (eNB) have
an impact on TA dimensioning. This section describes how to estimate the MME and eNB
paging capacities.

3.4.1. MME Paging Capacity


MME paging capacity depends on the number of SCTP/S1 boards in the MME. For TA
dimensioning, the recommendation is to not exceed 1500 outgoing pages/s per SCTP/S1 board.
The MME paging capacity is expressed as:

27
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

𝑪𝑴𝑴𝑬 = 𝟏𝟓𝟎𝟎 𝒏𝑺𝑪𝑻𝑷/𝑺𝟏 Eq 3.3 [6]

Where

𝐶𝑀𝑀𝐸 : is the paging capacity of the MME for outgoing pages per second.
𝑛𝑆𝐶𝑇𝑃/𝑆1 : is the number of SCTP/S1 boards.
As an example, an MME configured with 5 SCTP/S1 boards has a paging capacity of 1500 * 5
= 7500 outgoing pages/s.

3.4.2. RBS (eNodeB) Paging Capacity


The eNodeB Paging capacity depends partly on Central Processing Unit (CPU) constraints, and
also on the amount of resources that the paging traffic is allowed to consume. The more
resources used for paging, the higher the paging capacity.
The following criteria are used when calculating the eNodeB paging capacity:
CPU load: The consumption of CPU resources due to paging traffic must be reasonably low
for the CPU to handle other tasks. The capacity in relation to CPU constraints is referred to as
𝐶𝐶𝑃𝑈 .
PDSCH load: The consumption of PDSCH resources due to paging must be reasonably low.
Paging traffic has higher priority than user data and a high paging traffic may reduce downlink
capacity and achievable bit rates. The capacity in relation to PDSCH load is referred to as
𝐶𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 .
Blocking: The fraction of paging records being blocked due to PDSCH limitations must be
low. Blocking introduces delays in the paging procedure and in the set-up of the data
connection. The capacity in relation to blocking is referred to as 𝐶𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 .
PDCCH load: The consumption of PDCCH load due to paging must be reasonable low. Paging
traffic may reduce the PDCCH ability to carry other signaling traffic such as downlink
scheduling assignment and uplink scheduling grants. The capacity in relation to PDCCH load
is referred to as 𝐶𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 .
The following sections describe how to calculate the paging capacity for each of the four
criteria. The total eNodeB capacity is given as the minimum of the four capacity figures:

𝑪𝑹𝑩𝑺 = 𝒎𝒊𝒏 (𝑪𝑪𝑷𝑼 , 𝑪𝑷𝑫𝑺𝑪𝑯 𝒍𝒐𝒂𝒅 , 𝑪𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 , 𝑪𝑷𝑫𝑪𝑪𝑯 𝒍𝒐𝒂𝒅 ) Eq 3.4 [6]

a. Paging Capacity and CPU load


Incoming pages are handled by CPUs in the eNodeB. To ensure that paging traffic does not
have an adverse effect on the ability of the CPU to handle other tasks, paging traffic must be

28
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

reasonably low. For the purpose of TA dimensioning, the average paging capacity intensity
should not exceed 200 pages/s. the paging capacity related to CPU load is expressed as:

𝑪𝑪𝑷𝑼 = 𝟐𝟎𝟎 Eq 3.5 [6]

b. Paging Capacity and PDSCH Load


To calculate the paging capacity in relation to PDSCH load, the first step is to consider the
average number of scheduling blocks, 𝑛𝑆𝐵,𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒 required to convey a page over PDSCH. The
exact number depends on the number of paging records included in the RRC paging message.
A useful approximation is provided by the following equation:

𝒏𝑺𝑩,𝒑𝒂𝒈𝒆 = 𝟐. 𝟕𝟓 + 𝟎. 𝟐𝟒 (𝒏𝑷𝑫𝑪𝑪𝑯 𝒔𝒚𝒎𝒃 − 𝟏) Eq 3.6 [6]

Where 𝑛𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏 : is the number of symbols used for PDCCH. In the current release
(release 14), 𝑛𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏 is equal to 2 for systems with a bandwidth of 5 MHz, and equal
to 1 for systems with larger bandwidths.
Using the cost for conveying one paging message, the PDSCH paging load is expressed as a
function of the paging intensity:

𝒏𝑺𝑩,𝒑𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝑰𝒑𝒂𝒈𝒆,𝒔 [𝟐. 𝟕𝟓 + 𝟎. 𝟐𝟒(𝒏𝑷𝑫𝑪𝑪𝑯𝒔𝒚𝒎𝒃 − 𝟏)]𝑰𝒑𝒂𝒈𝒆,𝒔


𝑳𝑷𝑫𝑺𝑪𝑯 = = Eq 3.7 [6]
𝟏𝟎𝟎𝒏𝑺𝑩,𝒇𝒓𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝟏𝟎𝟎𝒏𝑺𝑩,𝒇𝒓𝒂𝒎𝒆

Where:

𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑠 : is the paging intensity, that is, the average number of incoming pages to the eNodeB
per second.

𝑛𝑆𝐵,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 : is the available number of scheduling blocks per frame see the table
Bandwidth 5MHz 10MHz 15MHZ 20MHz
𝑛𝑆𝐵,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 250 500 750 1000
Table 3.2: Number of Scheduling Blocks per Frame [6]

To calculate the paging capacity for PDSCH load, 𝐶𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 , the following expression is
used:

𝟏𝟎𝟎 𝒏𝑺𝑩,𝒇𝒓𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝑳𝑷𝑫𝑺𝑪𝑯 𝒎𝒂𝒙


𝑪𝑷𝑫𝑺𝑪𝑯 𝒍𝒐𝒂𝒅 = Eq 3.8 [6]
𝟐. 𝟕𝟓 + 𝟎. 𝟐𝟒(𝒏𝑷𝑫𝑪𝑪𝑯𝒔𝒚𝒎𝒃 − 𝟏)

Where 𝐿𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥 : is the tolerable PDSCH load due to paging.

29
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

For convenience, the paging capacity as a function of the tolerable PDSCH load is plotted in
the following figure:

Figure 3.4 Paging Capacity in Relation to PDSCH load [6]

The value to use for 𝐿𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥 is determined by the operator. As a general rule
𝐿𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥 should not exceed 5%.
c. Paging Capacity and Blocking
The number of paging records that can be transmitted during a subframe is limited by parameter
maxNoOfPagingRecords. For low blocking levels, it is reasonable to assume that the incoming
pages arrive according to a Poisson process. In that case, the capacity in relation to blocking is
governed by the following expression:

𝑪𝑹𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈,𝑷𝑶
𝑹𝒎𝒂𝒙 − 𝒆 −𝑪𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈,𝑷𝑶
∑𝑹𝑹=𝟎
𝒎𝒂𝒙
(𝑹𝒎𝒂𝒙 − 𝑹)
𝑷𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈,𝒎𝒂𝒙 = 𝟏 − 𝑹! Eq 3.9 [6]
𝑪𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈,𝑷𝑶

Where:

𝐶𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔,𝑃𝑂 : is the paging capacity in relation to blocking expressed as pages per PO.
𝑃𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔,𝑚𝑎𝑥 : is the tolerable probability for a page being blocked.
𝑅𝑚𝑎𝑥 : is the value of maxNoOfPagingRecords.

30
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

Eq 3.9 is valid only if the IMSIs used in the network are distributed uniformly over the 1024
UE_IDs. For convenience, the equation is plotted in the following figure that show paging
capacity per PO versus blocking probability and value of maxNoOfPagingRecords:

Figure 3.5 Paging Capacity per PO versus Blocking Probability [6]

The dimensioning process requires the paging capacity in pages per PO, 𝐶𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔,𝑃𝑂 , to be
converted to paging capacity in pages per second, 𝐶𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 . The following expression gives
paging capacity in relation to blocking in pages per seconds:

𝑪𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 = 𝑪𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈,𝑷𝑶 𝟏𝟎𝟎𝒏𝑷𝑶,𝒇𝒓𝒂𝒎𝒆


𝒏𝑩 Eq 3.10 [6]
= 𝑪𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈,𝑷𝑶 𝟏𝟎𝟎
𝑻

Where 𝑛𝑃𝑂,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 is the number of POs per radio frame, configured by the parameter 𝑛𝐵 .

To illustrate the procedure, assume that in a 5 MHz system, maxNoOfPagingRecords is set to


7, and the tolerable blocking probability for paging records is 2%. The maximum paging
capacity per PO is about 4 if 𝑛𝐵 is set to 1/2T (0.5 paging occasions per radio frame) the
paging capacity becomes

𝑪𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 = 𝟒 ∗ 𝟎. 𝟓 ∗ 𝟏𝟎𝟎 = 𝟐𝟎𝟎 𝒑𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒔/𝒔.

By increasing 𝑛𝐵 , the paging capacity in relation to blocking can be increased however, an


increase of 𝑛𝐵 has an adverse effect on the paging capacity in relation to PDCCH load.

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Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

The value to use for 𝑃𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔,𝑚𝑎𝑥 is determined by the operator. As a general rule,
𝑃𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔,𝑚𝑎𝑥 should not exceed 2%.

d. Paging Capacity and PDCCH Load


A common scheduling assignment for the paging message is sent on PDCCH. Assuming that
the pages arrive according to a Poisson process, the probability of a scheduling assignment to
send is given by:

𝑃𝑆𝐴 = 1 − 𝑒 −𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑃𝑂 Eq 3.11 [6]

Since the scheduling assignment needs to reach all UEs in the cell (including those located in
poor radio conditions), it is transmitted using 8 Control Channel Elements(CCEs). The
average number of CCEs required for paging traffic per frame is expressed as:

𝑛𝐶𝐶𝐸,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 = 8𝑛𝑃𝑂,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 (1 − 𝑒 −𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑃𝑂 ) Eq 3.12 [6]

The PDCCH load is calculated by comparing the number of CCEs used for transmitting the
scheduling assignment per frame with the total number of CCEs per frame. The equation for
PDCCH capacity is written as:

𝑛𝐶𝐶𝐸,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝐿𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥
𝐶𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 = −100𝑛𝑃𝑂,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 × ln [1 − ] Eq 3.13 [6]
8𝑛𝑃𝑂,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒

Where

𝐶𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 : is the paging capacity in relation to PDCCH load.

𝑛𝐶𝐶𝐸,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 : is the number of CCEs per frame


𝐿𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥 : is the tolerable PDCCH load due to paging
The following table lists the number of CCEs per frame. The settings for the current release
(release 14) are shown in bold:
Bandwidth 5 MHz 10 MHz 15 MHz 20 MHz
𝑛𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏𝑜𝑙𝑠 = 1 30 80 120 170
𝑛𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏𝑜𝑙𝑠 = 2 120 250 370 500
𝑛𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏𝑜𝑙𝑠 = 3 200 410 620 840
Table 3.3: Number of CCEs per frame [6]

Eq 3.13 is valid only if the IMSIs used in the network are distributed uniformly over the 1024
UE_IDs.

32
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

For convenience, the equation is plotted in the following figure that shows paging capacity
versus tolerable PDCCH load for the current release:

Figure 3.6: Paging Capacity versus Tolerable PDCCH Load [6]

The value of nB has a large effect on the paging capacity in relation to PDCCH load. The value
of 𝐿𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥 is determined by the operator. As a general rule 𝐿𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥 should not
exceed 5%.

❖ Example of Calculating eNodeB paging Capacity


This section provides an example of calculating eNodeB paging capacity.

➢ Input
For a 5 MHz RBS (eNodeB) with maxNoOfPagingRecords = 7, the paging capacity should be
calculated based on the following criteria:
• Paging capacity in relation to CPU load must not be exceeded
• PDSCH load due to paging traffic should not exceed 5%

33
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

• Blocking probability should not exceed 2%


• PDCCH load due to paging traffic should not exceed 5%.

➢ Solution
The following list shows the stages in finding a solution for paging capacity:
S.1. A suitable starting point is the paging capacity in relation to CPU load given by Eq 3.5:

𝐶𝐶𝑃𝑈 = 200
S.2. The second step is to evaluate the paging capacity in relation to the PDSCH load criterion.
By using Eq 3.8 or figure 3.4, the paging capacity in relation to PDSCH load is:
100 𝑛𝑆𝐵,𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝐿𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻,𝑚𝑎𝑥 100 × 250 × 0.05
𝐶𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 = = ≈ 417
2.75 + 0.24(𝑛𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏 − 1) 2.75 + 0.24(2 − 1)
S.3. The third step is to evaluate the paging capacity in relation to the blocking criterion.
According to figure 3.5, with maxNoOfPagingRecords equal to 7 and a tolerable blocking
probability equal to 2%, the paging capacity per PO is approximately equal to 4. The paging
capacity in pages per seconds is calculated as:
𝑛𝐵 𝑛𝐵
𝐶𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 = 𝐶𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔,𝑃𝑂 100 = 4 × 100
𝑇 𝑇
A setting of nB = T results in a paging capacity in relation to blocking of 400 pages/s. reducing
nB to ½ T results in a paging capacity in relation to blocking of 200 pages/s.
S.4. The fourth step is to evaluate the paging capacity relation to the PDCCH load criterion. By
using Eq 3.13 or (easier) figure 3.6, the conclusion is that with nB = T, the paging capacity in
relation to PDCCH load is approximately 140 pages/s. with nB = ½ T, the paging capacity in
relation to PDCCH capacity is infinite.
To maximize the paging capacity in relation to both steps 3 and 4, nB = ½ T is selected.
S.5. The total eNodeB capacity is given by Eq 3.4 to 200 pages/second:

𝐶𝑅𝐵𝑆 = 𝑚𝑖𝑛 (𝐶𝐶𝑃𝑈 , 𝐶𝑃𝐷𝑆𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 , 𝐶𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 , 𝐶𝑃𝐷𝐶𝐶𝐻 𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑 )


𝐶𝑅𝐵𝑆 = min(200, 417, 200, ∞) = 200

3.5. TA Dimensioning
TA Dimensioning is the task of finding the number of eNodeBs to be included in a TA list so
that excessive TA updates signaling are avoided. The process of TA dimensioning contains two
main tasks:
• TA dimensioning for the MME

34
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

• TA dimensioning for the RBS (eNB)


These steps can be done sequentially or in parallel. The output of the tasks is the total number
of RBS (eNBs) suitable to include in a TA list. For information on the number of RBS (eNBs)
to include per TA, and the number of TAs to include in a TA list, an overview of the process
for TA dimensioning is shown in the following figure:

Figure 3.7: Overview of Process for TA dimensioning [6]

➢ Input Data
The following input data is required in the TA dimensioning process:

• Paging capacity of the MME, 𝐶𝑀𝑀𝐸


• Paging capacity of the RBS, 𝐶𝑅𝐵𝑆
• Paging intensity per subscriber (during busy hour), 𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑠 . This figure differs greatly
between networks.
• Number of Simultaneously Attached Users in an MME during busy hour, 𝑛𝑆𝐴𝑈,𝑀𝑀𝐸 .
This figure depends on number of subscribers and the number of MMEs in the core network.
• Average number of subscribers per RBS during busy hour, 𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑅𝐵𝑆 . This figure depends
on the number of subscribers and the number of RBSs.

➢ Equations
Having estimates of the input data described in the previous section, the maximum number of
RBSs in the TA for MME paging capacity is calculated as:

35
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

𝐶𝑀𝑀𝐸
𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝐿𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑀𝑀𝐸 = Eq 3.14 [6]
𝑛𝑆𝐴𝑈,𝑀𝑀𝐸 × 𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑠

In a similar way, the number of RBSs per TA list in relation to the RBS paging capacity is
calculated as:

𝐶𝑅𝐵𝑆
𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝐿𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑅𝐵𝑆 = Eq 3.15 [6]
𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑅𝐵𝑆 × 𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑠

The final result is given by the minimum of the two:

𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡 = min(𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑀𝑀𝐸 , 𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑅𝐵𝑆 )


Eq 3.16 [6]

❖ Example of TA Dimensioning
This section provides an example of TA dimensioning.

➢ Input
In this example, the number of RBSs in the TA list is calculated based on the MME being
configured with 5 SCTP/S1 boards.
The following data is used in the example:
• In a city with 700,000 attached subscribers there are two MMEs.
• 50% of the subscribers have PC cards and 50% have handheld terminals.
• It is assumed that there are 0.39 paging requests for PC card users and 1.68 paging requests
for handheld users per busy hour.
• There are approximately 5000 users per RBS and the RBS paging capacity has been
determined to be approximately 200 pages/s, according to the example in previous section.

➢ Solution
The following list shows the tasks in finding a solution for TA dimensioning:
S.1. The first step is to calculate the paging intensity per subscriber and per second:

0.39 × 0.5 + 1.68 × 0.5


𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑠 = = 0.0002875
3600

S.2. The second step is to perform TA dimensioning in relation to the MME:

36
Chapter 3: Tracking Areas Dimensioning

Assuming that the number of attached users in the two MMEs are equally split between the two
MMEs, 𝑛𝑆𝐴𝑈,𝑀𝑀𝐸 becomes:

700 000
𝑛𝑆𝐴𝑈,𝑀𝑀𝐸 = = 350 000
2

The MME Paging capacity with 5 SCTP is:

𝐶𝑀𝑀𝐸 = 1500𝑛𝑆𝐶𝑇𝑃 = 1500 ∗ 5 = 7500

Using Eq 3.14 gives the number of RBS per TA list for MME paging capacity:

𝐶𝑀𝑀𝐸 7500
𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝐿𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑀𝑀𝐸 = = = 75
𝑛𝑆𝐴𝑈,𝑀𝑀𝐸 × 𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑠 350 000 ∗ 0.0002875

S.3. The third step is to perform TA dimensioning in relation to RBS paging capacity by using
Eq 3.15:

𝐶𝑅𝐵𝑆 200
𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝐿𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑅𝐵𝑆 = = = 140
𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑅𝐵𝑆 × 𝐼𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒,𝑠𝑢𝑏,𝑠 5000 ∗ 0.0002875

S.4. The maximum number of RBSs to include per TA list is given by Eq 3.16. In this example,
the TA list size is limited by the MME capacity to 75 RBSs per TA list:

𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡 = min(𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑀𝑀𝐸 , 𝑛𝑅𝐵𝑆,𝑇𝐴𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡,𝑅𝐵𝑆 ) = 75

3.6. Conclusion
In this chapter we have seen the dimensioning of tracking areas in a LTE network in order to
determine the suitable number of eNodeBs to be included in a tracking area list based on the
MME and eNodeB paging capacities. To determine the MME paging capacity, the number of
SCTP/S1 boards has to be taken into consideration and for the eNodeB paging capacity we have
to take into consideration other parameters such as CPU load, PDSCH and PDCCH load, and
blocking due to PDSCH limitations.

37
Chapter 4: Implementing of the TA Dimensioning tool

Chapter 4: Implementing of the TA Dimensioning tool

4.1. Introduction
The dimensioning of the tracking areas in an LTE network is a step that is the subject of several
calculations often tedious. The most used calculation software currently is undoubtedly the
powerful Microsoft Office tool: Excel. While recognizing its power and its intervention in
several areas, it is clear that its interface is not very ergonomic, and its use requires a good
mastery of the tool. In view of this, we decided to develop our tool, certainly, not comparable
to Excel but ergonomic and very easy to use.
Technocrate Tracking Areas Dimensioning Tool is a computing tool specific to the
dimensioning of Tracking Areas in a 4G mobile Network. The programming language and
presentation of the tool will be the main focus of this chapter.

4.2. The Programming Language


The programming language java (object-oriented programming language) was used for the
realization of our tool. It is convenient and used by several developers.

4.3. Used tool


The NetBeans development environment is the main software used in this project.

❖ NetBeans
NetBeans began in 1996 as Xelfi (word play on Delphi), a Java IDE student project under
the guidance of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University in Prague. It
is a Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that provides a programming interface
to the user and Compile source code, debug and test the program as you go. It is open source
which justifies its use by several developers. We used NetBeans version 8.2 which is more
sophisticated than its predecessors.

Figure 4.1: NetBeans Logo

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Chapter 4: Implementing of the TA Dimensioning tool

4.4. Overview of Technocrate Tracking Areas Dimensioning Tool


It is a java program that calculates the number of sites needed to be included in a Tracking Area
List to reduce the frequency of the location update and the paging load. To do this, a
configuration and a number of parameters (which can vary from one operator to another)
defined in input and output, have been set up. But well before all this, user authentication is
necessary in order to allow access only to the right person.

❖ Setting Parameters
We have defined some parameters which allow the user to configure the application base one
his needs in order to dimension the tracking areas in the LTE network.

• The bandwidth
• The number of subscribers in the network and the number of subscribers per MME and
per eNodeB
• The number of MME in the network
• The number of SCTP/S1 boards and the paging capacity of a SCTP/S1 board
• The parameter nB (the number of paging occasion per frame)
• The paging Intensity per eNodeB and per Subscriber

4.5. Functioning of Technocrate Tracking Areas Dimensioning Tool

❖ Welcome interface

Figure 4.2: Welcome interface

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Chapter 4: Implementing of the TA Dimensioning tool

❖ Authentication interface

Figure 4.3: Authentication interface

Each engineer should have a user name and password pre-registered in the database of the
vendor. If the user enters the right identifiers he will be grant the workspace interface, else the
access will be denied.

❖ Workspace interface

Figure 4.4: Interface of calculating MME paging capacity

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Chapter 4: Implementing of the TA Dimensioning tool

Figure 4.5: Interface of calculating eNodeB paging capacity

Figure 4.6: Interface of calculating the final result

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Chapter 4: Implementing of the TA Dimensioning tool

4.6. Conclusion
Technocrate Tracking Areas Dimensioning tool is a student project developed as part of our
final project. To make it as powerful as we want, we need some information and a good mastery
of the Java language. We recognize the weakness of our tool to not exactly meet the needs of
operators for now. We are working hard to make a contribution to the development of the
telecommunications world as our countries need them. Information has become a strategic
resource.

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General Conclusion

General Conclusion
LTE is strongly positioned to lead the evolution in the communications industry for several
years. It improves spectral efficiency, simplifies deployment of all-IP real-time services,
facilitates integration with non-wireless networks, and supports interworking with legacy
wireless technologies. It achieves all of these things through a flat, scalable architecture that is
designed to manage and maintain service QoS in a mobile environment with significantly
higher data throughput.
This project has allowed us to talk about the overall network of the 4G (LTE).
The chapter 1 of our project was about the overview of an LTE network which allowed us to
have the basic concept of 4G technology and we have also seen in that chapter the main access
methods and an overview of tracking area. The chapter 2 was centered on the signaling in the
LTE network.
The main goal of our project was the dimensioning of tracking areas in an LTE network in order
to determine the suitable number of eNodeBs to be included in a tracking area list based on the
MME and eNodeB paging capacities.
This study has allowed us not only to improve our knowledge in the mobile network domain
but also to be familiar with some software such as NetBeans; which triggered our mind of
developer the idea to develop an application for tracking areas dimensioning in the 4G network.
The chapter 4 is entirely based on the description of that tool which we think to be useful in the
future.
However, we don’t pretend to have mastered all concept related to our theme, but we can say
that we have found expected results of the part we discussed. We are willing next time to think
about tracking areas planning in the LTE network which we didn’t mention in this project and
hence, to improve our application in the process of developing. Our wish is that this project will
serve as reference for the future radio engineers.

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BIBLIOGRAPHIE

BIBLIOGRAPHIE
[1]: Exploiting Tracking Area List Concept in the LTE Networks, Mohsin Nawaz, on
2013/10/04
[2]: LTE Signaling, troubleshooting, and optimization, first Edition, by Ralf Krecher and
Karsten Gaenger. Published in 2011 by John Wiley and sons.
[3]: Wiley, LTE, The UMTS Long Term Evolution from theory to practice, 2 nd Edition by
Stefamia Sesia, Issam Toufik and Matthew Baker, 2011.
[4]: Principles and Architecture of Diameter Signaling in LTE Network, PFE, IGE37, à
l’INTTIC d’Oran, 2017.
[5]: The impact of small cells on MME signaling, methods to reduce and optimize MME core
signaling caused by small cells, Application note by Alcatel Lucent, 2013.
[6]: Dimensioning Tracking Area for LTE Network, by Rahul Sharma, Rahul Atri, Preet
Kanwar Singh Rekhi, Shukhvinder Singh Malik, Mandeep Singh Arora, in March 2014.
[7]: 4G networks essential, Xavier Lagrange, Christophe Couturier, Alexander Pelov, 2018
[8]: Modeling and dimensioning of mobile networks from GSM to LTE, Maciej Stasiak,
Mariusz Glabowski, Arkadiuz wisniewski, Piotr Zwierzykowski,, first edition in 2011.

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