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Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT)

ETCT 06204

Digital Cellular Network

Ally, J


The Cellular Concept-System Design

 The design objective of early mobile radio systems was to achieve a
large coverage area by using a single, high powered transmitter with an
antenna mounted on a tall power.
 Large coverage Area/Larger size radios with large batteries.
 Limited no. of channels.
 Poor Quality of Service [Bell Mobile NY City, in 1970s 12 Ch/1000 Sqr
 Still in use for some Public/Private organizations.

History of Cellular Networks
Why cellular networks?

 Greater capacity

 Efficient use of frequency

 To increase coverage of non cellular system

 Replaces a large transmitter (large cell) with smaller or low power transmitters
(small cells), each providing coverage to only a small portion of the service area.

 Each base station is assigned a portion of the total channels available in the entire

 Neighboring base station are assigned different groups of channels so that the
interference between base station (and the mobile users under their control) is


Single Cell ‘Network’

Replacement of huge single cell by a
number of small cells

Types of Mobile Communication Cells
The size of a cell is dictated by capacity demand

 Macro-cell: provides Radio coverage served by a power cellular

base station (tower) providing coverage larger than micro cell.

 Micro-cell: served by a low power cellular base station covering

limited area such as a mall, a hotel or transportation hub.

 Pico-cell: covering a small area such as in building offices,

shopping malls, train stations or more recently in air craft.

 Mega-cell: covering a large area more than macro-cell always its

coverage provided by the satellite.

Frequency Reuse/Planning
 Frequency Reuse: the design process of selecting and
allocating channels groups for all of the cellular base
stations with a system.
 Cellular radio systems rely on an intelligent allocation
and reuse of channels throughout a coverage region.
 Each cellular base station is allocated a group of radio
channels to be used within a small geographical area
called a cell.
 Base stations in adjacent cells are assigned channel
groups which contain completely different channels than
neighboring cells.
 By limiting the coverage area to within the boundaries of
a cell, the same group of channels may be used to
cover different cells that are separated from one
another by distance large enough to keep interference
levels within tolerable limits.
The Cellular Concept

Figure 2.1 Illustration of the cellular frequency reuse concept. Cells with the
same letter use the same set of frequencies. In this example, the cluster size,
N=7, and the frequency reuse factor is 1/7 since each cells contains one-
seventh of the total number of available channels.

Why hexagon? Why not circle?
 While it might seem natural to choose a circle to present the
coverage area of a base station, adjacent circles cannot be
overlaid upon on a map without leaving gaps or create
overlapping regions.

 When considering geometric shapes which cover an entire

region without overlapping and with equal area, there are
three sensible choices: a square, an equilateral triangle, and
a hexagon.

 A cell must be designed to serve the weakest mobiles within

the footprint, and these are typical located at the edge of the
cell. For a given distance between the center of a polygon
and its farthest perimeter points, the hexagon has the largest
area of the three.

 The N cells which collectively use the
complete set of available frequencies is
called Cluster.
 To understand the frequency reuse
concept, consider a cellular system
which has a total of S duplex channels
available for use.
 If each cell is allocated a group k
channels (K < S)
 If N is the frequency reuse factor
(Cluster size), then S=kN
 If a cluster is replicated M times within
the system, then system capacity as a
measure of total number of duplex
channels C, is given as C=MkN=MS

Frequency Reuse Factor
 The capacity of cellular system is directly proportional to the
number of times a cluster is replicated in a fixed service area.
 The factor N is called the cluster size and is typically equal to
4,7, or 12.
 If the cluster size is reduced while the cell size is kept constant,
more clusters are required to cover a given area, hence more
capacity (a larger value of C) is achieved.
 Large N- weaker interference, but lower capacity
 Small N- higher capacity, more interference, need to maintain
certain S/I level
 Each cell within a cluster assigned 1/N of the total available
 The frequency reuse factor is given by 1/N.
 CDMA system frequency reuse factor is 1/1.

System Design Example-01
A total of 33 MHz bandwidth is allocated to a particular FDD Cellular Phone System. If the
Simplex Voice/Control Channel bandwidth is 25 KHz, Find the total # of Channels available
per Cell if the System uses (a) 4-Cell Frequency Reuse (b) 7-Cell Frequency-Reuse Plan. If
1 MHz out of the total allocated bandwidth is used for Control Channels, determine an
equitable distribution of the Control and Voice Channels in each Cell in case of each
Frequency-Reuse Plan.
 Total allocated bandwidth = 33 MHz,
 Duplex Channel bandwidth = 25x2=50 KHz
 Total # of Available Channels = 33,000/50 = 660 Channels.
 (a) N= 4, so total # of Channels/Cell = 660/4 = 165 Channels
 (b) N=7, so total # of Channels/Cell = 660/7 = 95 Channels
 In Case of 1 MHz bandwidth allocated for Control Channels, total # of Control Channels = 1000/50=20
Channels per Systems.
 Out of 660 Channels, 20 are used as Control and remaining 640 as Voice Channels.
 (a) N=4, Each Cell can have 20/4=5 Control Channels and 640/4=160 Voice Channels. But, each Cell
needs only one Control Channel, so, each cell will be assigned one Control Channel and 160 Voice
 (b) N = 7, Each Cell can have 20/7 = 3 Control Channels and 640/7=91 Voice Channels [Plus 3
Extra], but it needs only 1 Control Channel, so, we can assign 4 Cells with 91 Voice Channels and
one Control Channels, and 3 Cells with 92 Voice Channels.

Channel Assignment Strategies
 Objective: Maximize the System Capacity while Minimizing
the Interference

 Classification:
 Fixed channel assignment
 Dynamic channel assignment

 Choice has Impact on System Performance:

 Handoff
 Call Initialization
 MSC Processing Load

Handoff Strategies
 What is Handoff?
When a mobile moves into a different cell while a
conversation is in progress, the MSC automatically transfers
the call to a new channel belonging to the new base station
 Processing important task in any cellular radio
 Must be performed successfully, infrequently, and
imperceptible to users.
 Identify a new base station
 Channel allocation in new base station
 High priority than initiation request( block new calls
rather than drop existing calls)

Handoff Types
 Hard Handoff - (break before make)
 FDMA, TDMA (1G and 2G Systems)
 Mobile has radio link with only one BS at anytime
 Old BS connection is terminated before new BS
connection is made
 Soft Handoff (make before break)
 CDMA systems mobile has simultaneous radio link
with more than one BS at any time
 New BS connection is made before old BS
connection is broken
 Mobile unit remains in this state until one base
station clearly predominates

Interference and System Capacity
 What is Interference? Unwanted signal which affects the
speech quality and system capacity.
 Sources of interference: Several including another mobile in
the same cell, a call in progress in the neighboring Cell,
other base stations operating in vicinity using the same
frequency band, or some non-cellular device/system leaking
energy in the cellular frequency band.
 The two major types of system-generated cellular
interference are:
 Co-Channel Interference
 Adjacent Channel Interference
 In practice, the transmitters from competing cellular carriers
are often a significant source of out-of-band interference,
since competitors often locate their base station in close
proximity to one another in order to provide comparable
coverage to customers.
Co-channel Interference and Capacity
 Frequency reuse implies that that in a given
coverage area there are several cells that use the
same set of frequencies.
 These cells are called co-channels cells, and the
interference between signals from these cells is
called co-channel interference.
 Co-channel interference cannot be combated by
simply increasing the power of a transmitter,
because an increase in carrier transmit power
increases the interference to neighboring co-channel
 To reduce co-channel interference, co-channel cells
must be physically separated by a minimum distance
to provide sufficient isolation due to propagation.

Adjacent Channel Interference
 Adjacent channel interference (ACI): is
interference resulting from signals which
are adjacent in frequency to the desired
 ACI results from imperfect receiver F B
filters which allow nearby frequencies to 6,13,20,2 2,9,16,23
leak into passband. 7

 ACI can be minimized through careful C G

3,10,17,2 7,14,21,2
filter design and channel assignment 8
[by keeping the inter-channel frequency E
difference as large as possible]. 5,12,19,2

 Some channel assignment schemes

keeps this difference in a cell by at least
N channel Bandwidths, where N is the
cluster size.

Power Control for Reducing Interference
 In practical cellular radio and personal
communication systems the power levels
transmitted by every subscriber unit are under
constant control by the serving base stations.
 This is done to ensure that each mobile transmits
the smallest power necessary to maintain a good
quality link on the reverse channel.
 Power control not only helps prolong battery life for
the subscriber unit, but also dramatically reduces
the reverse channel S/I in the system.
 Power control is important for CDMA spread
spectrum systems that allows every user in every
cell to share the same radio channel.

Trunking and Grade of Service
 Trunking Theory:
 Developed by a Danish Mathematician, A.K. Earlang in
the late 19th century
 It helps in establishing a trunked system which can

provide communication services to a large group of

users with limited number of available circuits / channels
in the system [based on a certain GOS]
 A Sharing Concept: Large number of users share a small
number of channels in a cell/system
 Based on a statistical behavior of users
 All PSTN/Cellular radio systems exploit trunking to cover a
large user community with their limited number of circuits /
frequency spectrum

Key Definitions for Trunked Theory
 Set-up Time: Time required to allocate a trunked radio
channel to a requesting user.
 Blocked/Lost Call: A call which can not be completed at
the time of the request, due to congestion.
 Holding Time: Average duration of a typical call,
denoted by H (in seconds)
 Request Rate: Average number of call requests/unit
time. Denoted by  (in seconds)
 Traffic Intensity: Average channel occupancy,
measured in Erlangs. Denoted by A.
One Erlang represents the amount of traffic intensity
carried by a channel that is completely occupied (i.e. 1
call-hour per hour or 1 call-minute per minute). For
example, a radio channel that is occupied for 30
minutes during an hour carries 0.5 Erlangs of traffic.

Key Definitions for Trunked Theory (2)
 Load: Traffic intensity across the entire trunked radio
system, measured in Erlangs.
 Grade of Service (GOS): A measure of congestion, in terms
of probability of call being blocked (for Erlang B) or call
being delayed (for Erlang C).
 Traffic Intensity Offered by a User: Au =  H (in Erlangs).
 Total offered traffic intensity by a users: A = UAu, where U
is the total number of system users.
 Traffic Intensity per Channel: Ac = UAu/C = A/C, where C is
the total number of channels in a system.
 Maximum System Traffic Capacity: Equal to the number of
available channels [in Erlangs].

Improving Capacity in Cellular System
 As the demand for wireless services increases,
the number of channels assigned to a cell
eventually becomes insufficient to support the
required number of users.

 At this point, cellular design techniques are

needed to provide more channels per unit
coverage area.

 Techniques such as cell splitting, sectoring, and

coverage zone approaches are used in practice
to expand the capacity of cellular system.