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FUNCTIONAL FEATURE DESCRIPTION

Advanced Support of Concentric Cells in Release B6.2

This document covers the following feature :

40 14 02 Support of Concentric Cells (advanced)

and the following features it comprises :


40 14 04 Intracell handover
40 14 06 Inner zone direct handover
40 14 08 Adjacent cell interference check

Contents

1. REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................ 2
2. INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................... 3
3. ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................. 4
4. USE OF CONCENTRIC CELLS .................................................................................................. 4
5. INITIATION OF CALLS ............................................................................................................... 5
6. HANDOVERS.............................................................................................................................. 5
6.1 Outgoing Handovers............................................................................................................. 5
6.2 Incoming Handovers............................................................................................................. 6
6.3 Intracell Handover ................................................................................................................ 6
6.3.1 Emergency Intracell Handover due to Interference........................................................ 6
6.3.2 Emergency Intracell Handover due to Level .................................................................. 7
6.3.3 Betterzone Intracell Handover....................................................................................... 8
7. OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE ............................................................................................ 9
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1. REFERENCES
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GSM 04.08 version 5.4.0 Mobile Radio Interface Layer 3 Specification.


GSM 08.58 version 5.3.0 BSC-BTS interface Layer 3 Specification

ACRONYMS

BSC : Base Station Controller


BSS : Base Station Subsystem
BTS : Base Transceiver Station
EDR : External Directed Retry
ETSI : European Telecommunication Standards Institute
HO : Handover
IDR : Internal Directed Retry
MS : Mobile Station
MSC : Mobile Switching Center
OMC-R : Operation and Maintenance Center : Radio part
SDCCH : Stand-alone Dedicated Control Channel
TCH : Traffic Channel
TRX : Transceiver
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2. INTRODUCTION
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This document deals with the operation of the “Concentric Cells” feature in the BSS release B6.2.

The present functional feature description is a complement of the description of the features
40 14 02, 40 14 04, 40 14 06 and 40 14 08 provided within the document “GSM900/GSM1800 BSS
Release B6.2 Feature Description”.

The scope of the present document is hereafter detailed :

In section 3, an abstract shows the benefits brought by the feature,

In section 4, the use cases of concentric cells are presented,

In section 5, the initialization of calls within concentric cells is described,

In section 6, how intracell and intercell handovers are performed is shown,

In section 7, the configuration aspect is addressed.


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3. ABSTRACT
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With the booming success of mobile communications, the GSM networks experience large amount
of traffic with a limited frequency spectrum available. They must therefore handle more efficiently
the available scarce radio resources.

Transforming macrocells into concentric cells is a solution which will bring the operator two main
advantages :

- increase the quality of the network without reducing the capacity with the same number of
TRXs,
- increase the capacity while keeping the same quality if additional TRX are used. For
example, transforming 3 TRX-cells into cells with 1 TRX for the inner zone and 3 TRXs for
the outer zone can bring a 30% capacity increase.

4. USE OF CONCENTRIC CELLS

The concentric cell consists in splitting the cell area of a regular cell into an inner zone and an outer
zone which can be operated differently. To each zone is attached a certain number of TRXs. The
outer zone contains at least one TRX bearing all control channels including BCCH.

The zone is a geographical concept which does not necessarily match a radio coverage. This
means the MS which are closer to the base station use preferably the inner zone TRXs whereas the
MS situated in the outer zone communicate on the pertaining TRXs.

The concentric cell increases capacity by using spectral resources more efficiently. It takes
advantage of its definition in two zones to apply a frequency plan with a smaller frequency reuse
pattern for the inner zone TRXs.

The smaller cluster size will most of time enable to add one additional TRX in the inner zone without
the need for extra frequencies. The result is an overall capacity increase which can reach 25
percent on a cell with four TRXs.

One of the advantages of the concentric cell implementation in two zones is the possibility to be
used in parallel with frequency hopping. The hopping can be introduced on all channels in the inner
zone to minimize the impact of smaller reuse cluster size and induced interference without
impacting control channels borne on outer zone TRX. As a result, the capacity increase can be
obtained while maintaining the same level of interference.
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Concentric cells appear to be a cost-effective solution for solving congestion problems on hot spots.

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It will be efficient if cell radius is not yet too small in order that the inner zone, whose area is
typically about one half of total cell area, can catch a good proportion of the overall cell traffic.
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Typical cell radius limit is about 1 km.

It will therefore mainly be used in the early densification steps of a network as a temporary low-cost
solution prior to deploying a more sophisticated capacity enhancement solution in a subsequent
phase such as cell splitting.

Practically, the operator will see the following short term benefits :

- save money because it is a low cost solution,


- save money because it allows to delay temporarily investment in new sites if traffic growth is
moderate,
- increase revenues by decreasing blocking rate on congested cells and thus call requests not
served.

5. INITIATION OF CALLS

An SDCCH connection is always allocated to the outer zone.

Then, in order to assign from the start a TCH in the zone corresponding to the MS location,
information on level measured on SDCCH will be used : if there is a too high level on the uplink and
downlink outer zone, the MS will be assigned a TRX of the inner zone. It can be noted that this
criteria will also be used for interzone handover detection (see section 6).

The MS will also benefit from the quality check performed by this handover detection which consists
in checking that the interference level created by neighbour cells on this frequency is weak. This
makes sure the MS will get a good quality of communication. The interference levels are taken into
account only for neighbour cells in the same layer and the same frequency band as the serving cell.
This check is further detailed in section 6.2.

6. HANDOVERS

6.1 Outgoing Handovers

For initiation of an intercell handover between a concentric cell (inner and outer zone) and the
defined adjacent cell, the same handover criteria and handover strategies hold true as for non-
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concentric cells.

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6.2 Incoming Handovers
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In case of incoming intercell handover on SDCCH a channel of the outer zone of the concentric cell
is always assigned to the MS.

In case of incoming intercell handover on TCH, the BSS will optimize the allocation and the MS will
be handed over in the zone corresponding to its location.

This improves the traffic handling of the BSS especially on tri-sectored sites. Indeed, direct
handover from the inner zone of one sector towards the inner zone of a second sector will be
possible without intermediate outer zone transfer. This will reduce the overall number of handovers
in concentric cells and additionally in this example it suppresses the risk of loosing the call if the
outer zone is saturated.

This optimization corresponds to the feature 40 14 06. It will be performed each time the two
following conditions are fulfilled :

- the parameter EN_BETTER_ZONE_HO is set to enable,


- the target concentric cell belongs to the same BSC as old serving cell (this means it is an
intercell intra-BSC handover).

In the other cases, the MS will be handed over to the outer zone.

6.3 Intracell Handover

In case of concentric cell environment, the intracell handover can be of two types : intrazone or
interzone. It can also be triggered upon two kinds of configuration : emergency handover or a better
zone handover.

6.3.1 Emergency Intracell Handover due to Interference

The emergency handovers are mostly triggered either for cause : “too high interference level on the
uplink” or “too high interference level on the downlink”. In this case, it becomes necessary to
change the channel assigned to the call for another channel in the same cell, on which the
measured interference level is the smallest possible.

In concentric cells, this strong interference is very likely to happen mostly when the MS is in the
inner zone as the maximum capacity in concentric cells can only be achieved when the “inner
zones” are large enough.
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In this case it is relevant to change of TRX (non hopping case). This is achieved with the feature
40 14 04 (see corresponding feature description).

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As a result, when the MS is in the inner zone, the target channel will be selected according to the
following order of preference :
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- it belongs to another TRX,


- it belongs to same TRX.

The channel may or may not change of zone. If it changes of zone, the intracell handover is named
“interzone” handover.

When the MS is in the outer zone, the preference will be :

- another TRX within the outer zone,


- same TRX.

When frequency hopping is used on the channel, this will be taken into account for the evaluation of
the interference level and the handover decision. This will be reflected by the parameter
OFFSET_HOPPING_HO defined on a per cell basis at the OMC-R.

6.3.2 Emergency Intracell Handover due to Level

Two emergency handovers are specific to concentric cells. The first one is triggered for cause “too
low level on the uplink, inner zone” and the second one “too low level on the downlink, inner zone”.

These handovers will be triggered when the MS is handled by an inner zone TRX when one of the
following conditions is fulfilled :

- the inner zone uplink level is low,


- the inner zone downlink level is low.

In the first case, the MS has actually reached its maximum allowed power in the inner zone (see
corresponding parameter in section 7) and the received level by the BTS is still too low.

In the second case, the BTS has actually reached its maximum allowed power in the inner zone
(see corresponding parameter in section 7) and the received level by the MS is still too low.

In both cases, a handover towards the outer zone is triggered.


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6.3.3 Betterzone Intracell Handover
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“Betterzone handovers” can also take place inside the concentric cell. They enable to handle the
MS between the two zones as efficiently as possible. They are all based on level considerations.

The better zone handover consists in changing of zone within the concentric cell because the other
zone is more suitable to handle the MS. This is not an emergency handover in the way the MS can
keep going on same channel but it is not the most suitable one.

This handover applies on an MS handled by an outer zone TRX while entering the inner zone : it
can go on with this TRX but it is better to switch to an inner zone TRX to maximize traffic in the
inner zone. Therefore, when the outer zone level in uplink and downlink are both too high, an
interzone handover from an outer zone TCH towards an inner zone TCH is triggered. This is
available with feature 40 14 00.

The better zone handovers will be enabled/disabled through the parameter


EN_BETTER_ZONE_HO which is introduced also with the feature 40 14 06 (see section 6.2).

The feature 40 14 08 will make sure that the MS is safely switched from the outer zone into the
inner zone and keeps a good quality of communication. With this feature, each decision to transfer
a call to a frequency of the inner zone is dependent on the condition that the interference level
created by neighbour cells on this frequency is weak enough.

Therefore, the handover detection will take into account the levels received from the neighbour
cells whose BCCH frequency corresponds to one of the inner zone frequencies. The levels will be
compared to the thresholds NEIGHBOUR_RXLEV(0,n) which will be set in advance by the operator
on a couple of cells basis. This flexible tuning will allow a case by case tuning of the acceptable
interference.

The interference levels will also be taken into account only for neighbour cells in the same layer and
the same frequency band as the serving cell.

If the inner zone is congested, the MS will stay in the outer zone.
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7. OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
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A cell can be moved into a concentric cell only by software configuration. There is no hardware
modification.

The following parameters can be defined at the OMC-R :

- CELL_PARTITION_TYPE : this parameter (per cell) must be set CONCENTRIC to 1 to


declare the cell concentric,
- ZONE_TYPE : this must be set to OUTER ZONE or INNER ZONE (per TRX)
- MS_TXPWR_MAX_INNER : maximum power of a MS in the inner zone
- MS_TXPWR_MAX : maximum power of a MS in the outer zone
- MS_TXPWR_MIN : minimum power of a MS
- BS_TXPWR_MAX : maximum power of BTS in the outer zone
- BS_TXPWR_MIN : minimum power of BTS
- BS_TXPWR_MAX_INNER : maximum power of BTS in the inner zone
- RXLEV_XX_ZONE : threshold for initiating a handover from the inner into the outer zone
- ZONE_HYSTERESIS : hysteresis parameter for initiating handover from the outer zone to
the inner zone,
- OFFSET_HOPPING_HO : parameter to take into account hopping in handover triggering,
- EN_BETTER_ZONE_HO enables or not the feature 40 14 06 together with interzone HO
within concentric cells,
- NEIGHBOUR_RXLEV(0,n) : threshold for received level from neighbour cells set per adjacent
cell relationship (see section 6.2).

End of Document
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