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Introduction

LTENetworkInfrastructureandElements

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Contents
11.Introduction
22.EUTRANandeNodeBs
2.12.1.HistoryfromUMTS
2.22.2eNodeBs:TheSingleEUTRANNode
2.32.3TheX2Interface
2.42.4eNodeBFunctionalities
33.EvolvedPacketCore(EPC)anditsComponents
3.13.1MME(MobilityManagementEntity)
3.23.2HSS(HomeSubscriberServer)
3.33.3TheServingGW(ServingGateway)
3.43.4ThePDNGW(PacketDataNetworkGateway)
3.53.5ThePCRF(PolicyandChargingRulesFunction)Server
4References
5ExternalLinks

1.Introduction
The following extract from [1] provides a very good understanding of the overall LTE Network Infrastructure and
elements. The Figure below describes the LTE & UMTS overall network architecture, not only including the
Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Access Network (EUTRAN), but also other
components, in order to show the relationship between them. For simplification, the picture only shows the
signallinginterfaces.Insomecases,bothuserdataandsignallingaresupportedbytheinterface(liketheS1,S2
or 3G PS Gi interfaces) but, in some other cases, the interfaces are dedicated to the Control plane, and only
supportsignalling(liketheS6andS7interfaces).

ThenewblocksspecifictoEvolvedUMTSevolution,alsoknownastheEvolvedPacketSystem(EPS),aretheEvolved
PacketCore(orEPC)andtheEvolvedUTRAN(orEUTRAN).OtherblocksfromtheclassicalUMTSarchitecturearealso
displayed,suchastheUTRAN(theUMTSAccessNetwork),thePSandtheCSCoreNetworks,respectively,connectedto
thepublic(oranyprivate)IPandTelephoneNetworks.TheIMS(IPMultimediaSubsystem)islocatedontopofthePacket
CoreblocksandprovideaccesstobothpublicorprivateIPnetworks,andthepublictelephonenetworkviaMediaGateway
networkentities.TheHSS,managingusersubscriptioninformationisshownasacentralnode,providingservicestoall
CoreNetworkblocksof3Gandevolved3Garchitecture.

Note:Thepicturedoesnotrepresentthenodesinvolvedinthesupportofchargingfunction.
Discussedbelowaretheindividualsubcomponents:

2.EUTRANandeNodeBs
2.1.HistoryfromUMTS
FromthefirstreleasesoftheUMTSstandard,theUTRANarchitecturewasinitiallyverymuchalignedwith2G/GSMAccess
Networkconcepts.Thegeneralarchitecturefollowsthegoodold2G/GSMstarmodel,meaningthatasinglecontroller
(theRNC)maypossiblycontrolalargenumberthetypicalnumberincommercialnetworksisaboutseveralhundreds
of radio Base Stations (the Node B) over the Iub interface. In addition, an interRNC Iur interface was defined to allow
UTRAN call anchoring at the RNC level and macrodiversity between different Node B controlled by different RNCs.
MacrodiversitywasaconsequenceofCDMAbasedUTRANphysicallayers,asameanstoreduceradiointerferenceand
preservenetworkcapacity.TheinitialUTRANarchitectureresultedinasimplifiedNodeBimplementation,andarelatively
complex,sensitive,highcapacityandfeaturerichRNCdesign.Inthismodel,theRNChadtosupportresourceandtraffic
managementfeaturesaswellasasignificantpartoftheradioprotocols.

2.2eNodeBs:TheSingleEUTRANNode
ComparedwithUTRAN,theEUTRANOFDMbasedstructureisquitesimple.Itisonlycomposedofonenetworkelement:
the eNodeB (for evolved Node B.). The 3G RNC (Radio Network Controller) inherited from the 2G BSC (Base Station
Controller) has disappeared from EUTRAN and the eNodeB is directly connected to the Core Network using the S1
interface.Asaconsequence,thefeaturessupportedbytheRNChavebeendistributedbetweentheeNodeBortheCore
NetworkMMEorServingGatewayentities.

2.3TheX2Interface
Anewinterface(X2)hasbeendefinedbetweeneNodeB,workinginameshedway(meaningthatallNodeBsmay
possiblybelinkedtogether).Themainpurposeofthisinterfaceistominimizepacketlossduetousermobility.Asthe
terminalmovesacrosstheaccessnetwork,unsentorunacknowledgedpacketsstoredintheoldeNodeBqueuescanbe
forwardedortunnelledtotheneweNodeBthankstotheX2interface.Fromahighlevelperspective,thenewEUTRAN
architectureisactuallymovingtowardsWLANnetworkstructuresandWifiorWiMAXBaseStations.

2.4eNodeBFunctionalities
FunctionaldefinitioneNodeBasWLANaccesspointssupportallLayer1andLayer2features associated to the E
UTRAN OFDM physical interface, and they are directly connected to network routers. There is no more intermediate
controllingnode(asthe2G/BSCor3G/RNCwas).Thishastheadvantageofasimplernetworkarchitecture(fewernodes
ofdifferenttypes,whichmeanssimplifiednetworkoperation)andallowsbetterperformanceovertheradiointerface.As
describedinChapter4,theterminationofLayer2protocolsineNodeBratherthanintheRNChelpstodecreasedata
transmissionlatencybysavingthedelayincurredbythetransmissionofpacketrepetitionsovertheIubinterface.Froma
functional perspective, the eNodeB supports a set of legacy features, all related to physical layer procedures for
transmissionandreceptionovertheradiointerface:

Modulationanddemodulation.
Channelcodinganddecoding.
Besides,theeNodeBincludesadditionalfeatures,comingfromthefactthattherearenomoreBaseStationcontrollersin
theEUTRANarchitecture.Thosefeatures,whicharefurtherdescribedinChapter4,includethefollowing:

RadioResourceControl:thisrelatestotheallocation,modificationandreleaseofresourcesforthetransmission
overtheradiointerfacebetweentheuserterminalandtheeNodeB.

RadioMobilitymanagement:thisreferstoameasurementprocessingandhandoverdecision.
RadiointerfacefullLayer2protocol:intheOSIDataLinkway,thelayer2purposeistoensuretransferofdata
betweennetworkentities.Thisimpliesdetectionandpossiblycorrectionoferrorsthatmayoccurinthephysicallayer.

3.EvolvedPacketCore(EPC)anditsComponents
TheEPC(EvolvedPacketCore)iscomposedofseveralfunctionalentities:
TheMME(MobilityManagementEntity)

TheHSS(HomeSubscriberServer)
TheServingGateway.
ThePDNGateway(PacketDataNetwork).
ThePCRF(PolicyandChargingRulesFunction)Server.

Thefollowingsubsectionsdiscusseachoftheseindetail:

3.1MME(MobilityManagementEntity)
The MME is in charge of all the Control plane functions related to subscriber and session management. From that
perspective,theMMEsupportsthefollowing:

Securityproceduresthisrelatestoenduserauthenticationaswellasinitiationandnegotiationofciphering
andintegrityprotectionalgorithms.

TerminaltonetworksessionhandlingthisrelatestoallthesignallingproceduresusedtosetupPacketData
contextandnegotiateassociatedparametersliketheQualityofService.

Idle terminal location management this relates to the tracking area update process used in order for the
networktobeabletojointerminalsincaseofincomingsessions.
TheMMEislinkedthroughtheS6interfacetotheHSSwhichsupportsthedatabasecontainingalltheusersubscription
information.

3.2HSS(HomeSubscriberServer)
TheHSS(HomeSubscriberServer)istheconcatenationoftheHLR(HomeLocationRegister)andtheAuC
(AuthenticationCenter)twofunctionsbeingalreadypresentinpreIMS2G/GSMand3G/UMTSnetworks.TheHLRpartof
theHSSisinchargeofstoringandupdatingwhennecessarythedatabasecontainingalltheusersubscriptioninformation,
including(listisnonexhaustive):
UseridentificationandaddressingthiscorrespondstotheIMSI(InternationalMobileSubscriberIdentity)and
MSISDN(MobileSubscriberISDNNumber)ormobiletelephonenumber.

UserprofileinformationthisincludesservicesubscriptionstatesandusersubscribedQualityofService
information(suchasmaximumallowedbitrateorallowedtrafficclass).
TheAuCpartoftheHSSisinchargeofgeneratingsecurityinformationfromuseridentitykeys.Thissecurityinformationis
providedtotheHLRandfurthercommunicatedtootherentitiesinthenetwork.Securityinformationismainlyusedfor:

Mutualnetworkterminalauthentication.
Radiopathcipheringandintegrityprotection,toensuredataandsignallingtransmittedbetweenthenetwork
andtheterminalisneithereavesdroppednoraltered.

3.3TheServingGW(ServingGateway)
From a functional perspective, the Serving GW is the termination point of the packet data interface towards EUTRAN.
When terminals move across eNodeB in EUTRAN, the Serving GW serves as a local mobility anchor, meaning that
packets are routed through this point for intra EUTRAN mobility and mobility with other 3GPP technologies, such as
2G/GSMand3G/UMTS.

3.4ThePDNGW(PacketDataNetworkGateway)
SimilarlytotheServingGW,thePDNgatewayistheterminationpointofthepacketdatainterfacetowardsthe
PacketDataNetwork.AsananchorpointforsessionstowardstheexternalPacketDataNetworks,thePDNGW
alsosupportsPolicyEnforcementfeatures(whichapplyoperatordefinedrulesforresourceallocationandusage)
aswellaspacketfiltering(likedeeppacketinspectionforvirussignaturedetection)andevolvedchargingsupport
(likeperURLcharging).

3.5ThePCRF(PolicyandChargingRulesFunction)Server
ThePCRFservermanagestheservicepolicyandsendsQoSsettinginformationforeachusersessionandaccounting
ruleinformation.ThePCRFServercombinesfunctionalitiesforthefollowingtwoUMTSnodes:

ThePolicyDecisionFunction(PDF)
TheChargingRulesFunction(CRF)
ThePDFisthenetworkentitywherethepolicydecisionsaremade.AstheIMSsessionisbeingsetup,SIPsignalling
containingmediarequirementsareexchangedbetweentheterminalandthePCSCF.Atsometimeinthesession
establishmentprocess,thePDFreceivesthoserequirementsfromthePCSCFandmakesdecisionsbasedonnetwork
operatorrules,suchas:

Allowingorrejectingthemediarequest.
UsingneworexistingPDPcontextforanincomingmediarequest.
Checkingtheallocationofnewresourcesagainstthemaximumauthorized
TheCRFs role is to provide operatordefined charging rules applicable to each service data flow. The CRF selects the
relevant charging rules based on information provided by the PCSCF, such as Application Identifier, Type of Stream
(audio,video,etc.),ApplicationDataRate,etc.

References
[1]P.Lescuyer,andT.Lucidarme,EvolvedPacketSystem(EPS):TheLTEandtheSAEEvolutionof3GUMTS,JohnWiley
&SonsLtd.

ExternalLinks
[1]WorldwideCellularNetworkInfrastructureContractsandMarketShareQ32011:
http://www.marketresearch.com/SignalsandSystemsTelecomv3882/WorldwideCellularNetworkInfrastructure
Contracts6564818/

http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4a851c/worldwide_cellular
[2]WorldwideLTEMarketUpdateandSubscriptionForecastsQ32011(includesalistofLTEinfrastructurecontracts):
http://www.marketresearch.com/SignalsandSystemsTelecomv3882/WorldwideLTEUpdateSubscriptionForecasts
6564973/
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/3187a2/worldwide_lte_mark

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