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Guideline for Network Design and Optimization

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization

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  • 1 OBJECTIVE
  • 2 SUMMARY
  • 2.1 Review Structure
  • 2.1.1 Performance Review
  • 2.1.2 Network Design and Dimensioning Review
  • 2.2 Network Performance and Design Review Philosophy
  • 2.2.1 Network Performance Audit
  • 2.2.2 Network Design and Dimensioning Review
  • 3 NETWORK PERFORMANCE REVIEW
  • 3.1 OMC Statistics Review
  • 3.1.1 Call Success Rate
  • 3.1.2 Call Setup Success Rate
  • 3.1.3 SDCCH RF Loss
  • 3.1.4 TCH Blocking
  • 3.1.5 TCH Assignment Failure (RF)
  • 3.1.6 SDCCH Access Performance
  • 3.1.6.1 SDCCH Blocking
  • 3.1.6.2 SDCCH Access Success Rate
  • 3.1.7 Dropped Calls
  • 3.1.7.1 Call Drop Rate
  • 3.1.7.2 Mean Time Between Drops (MTBD)
  • 3.1.7.3 Breakdown of Drop Call Reasons
  • 3.1.8 Handovers
  • 3.1.8.1 Intra-BSS Handover Failures
  • 3.1.8.2 Inter-BSS Handover Failures
  • 3.1.8.3 Handover Causes
  • 3.2 A-Interface Analysis
  • 3.2.1 Call Setup Failures
  • 3.2.2 Location Update Success Rate
  • 3.2.3 Handover Causes
  • 3.3 Call Trace Analysis
  • 3.3.1 Downlink Receive Level and BTS Power
  • 3.3.2 Uplink Receive Level and Mobile Transmit Power
  • 3.3.3 Uplink and Downlink RxQual Distributions
  • 4 DRIVE TEST ANALYSIS
  • 4.1 Drive Test Process
  • 4.2 GSM Drive Test Metrics
  • 4.2.1 Graphical Presentation
  • 4.2.1.1 Route Plots
  • 4.2.1.2 Events
  • 4.2.2 Statistical Analysis
  • 4.2.2.1 RxLev Distribution:
  • 4.2.2.2 RxQual Distribution:
  • 4.2.2.3 FER Distribution:
  • 4.2.2.4 MS TX Power:
  • 4.2.2.5 Access Failure Rate (1-Call Setup Success Rate):
  • 4.2.2.6 Blocked Call Rate:
  • 4.2.2.7 Call Drop Rate:
  • 4.2.2.8 Handover Failure Rate:
  • 4.2.2.9 Average SQI:
  • 4.3 GPRS Drive Test
  • 4.3.1 Graphical Presentation
  • 4.3.1.1 Route Plots
  • 4.3.1.2 Events
  • 4.4 Network Performance Review - Summary
  • 5 NETWORK DESIGN AND DIMENSIONING REVIEW
  • 5.1 Network Design Summary
  • 5.1.1 Size
  • 5.1.2 Subscribers
  • 5.1.3 Description of the environment
  • 5.1.4 Available Spectrum
  • 5.2 RF Design Detailed Analysis
  • 5.2.1 Site Design
  • 5.2.1.1 Network Growth Pattern
  • 5.2.1.2 High Sites Replacement
  • 5.2.1.3 RF Design Strategy
  • 5.2.2 Traffic Distribution
  • 5.2.3 Frequency Plan
  • 5.2.3.1 Site design
  • 5.2.3.2 Terrain and Topography
  • 5.2.3.3 External Interference
  • 5.2.3.4 BCCH Plan
  • 5.2.3.5 Non-BCCH Plan
  • 5.3 Optimising for Growth
  • 5.3.1 Synthesizer Frequency Hopping (SFH)
  • 5.3.1.1 Hopping spectrum allocation
  • 5.3.1.2 Choice of SFH Design
  • 5.3.1.3 Hopping System Parameters
  • 5.3.2 Baseband Frequency Hopping and Multiple Re-use Patterns (MRP)
  • 5.3.3 Downlink Power Control and DTX
  • 5.3.4 Microcell Traffic Management Algorithms
  • 5.3.5 Dual Band Traffic Management Algorithms
  • 5.4 The Network Growth Planning Process
  • 5.5 BSS Database Review
  • 5.5.1 Radio Resource Timers
  • 5.5.1.1 rr_t3111 (layer 2 channel release guard timer) =>1200ms
  • 5.5.1.3 link_fail => 16 SACCH
  • 5.5.1.4 radio_link_timeout => 16 SACCH
  • 5.5.1.5 rr_t3109 (TCH Reallocation Timer) => 8000ms
  • 5.5.1.6 rr_t3103 (Intra-BSS Handover Guard Timer) => 15000ms
  • 5.5.1.7 bssmap_t10 (Assignment Guard Timer) => 14000
  • 5.5.1.8 bssmap_t8 ( Handover Guard Timer) => 14000
  • 5.5.2 Handover and Power Control Parameters
  • 5.5.2.1 RxQual Handovers:
  • 5.5.2.2 RxLev Handovers:
  • 5.5.2.3 Uplink Power Control:
  • 5.5.2.4 MS Fast Power Down:
  • 5.5.2.5 Downlink Power Control:
  • 5.5.2.6 Adaptive Handover:
  • 5.5.2.7 Adaptive Power Control:
  • 5.5.2.8 Directed Retry and Intelligent Directed Retry (Handover on Congestion):
  • 5.6 Location Area Planning and Paging Performance
  • 5.7 System Processor Performance
  • 5.8 MTL Performance
  • 5.9 Additional BSS Design Issues
  • 5.9.1 Hardware configurations
  • 5.9.2 Transmit Combining Options
  • 5.9.3 Antenna Selection
  • 5.9.4 Diversity Choice
  • 5.10 BSS Operations Review
  • 5.10.1 Frequently Occurring Alarms
  • 5.10.2 Frequency of Outages
  • 5.10.3 Transmit Power Calibration
  • 5.10.4 External Alarms
  • 5.10.5 Maintenance Schedules
  • 6 RECOMMENDATIONS

© Copyright 2004 AIRCOM International Ltd

All rights reserved. No part of this work, which is protected by copyright, may be reproduced in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or storage in an information retrieval system – without the written permission of the copyright owner.

Guidelines for Network Design and Optimization

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization

CONTENTS
1 2 OBJECTIVE............................................................................................................................6 SUMMARY..............................................................................................................................7 2.1 REVIEW STRUCTURE ..........................................................................................................7 2.1.1 Performance Review .................................................................................................7 2.1.2 Network Design and Dimensioning Review .............................................................7 2.2 NETWORK PERFORMANCE AND DESIGN REVIEW PHILOSOPHY ........................................7 2.2.1 Network Performance Audit .....................................................................................7 2.2.2 Network Design and Dimensioning Review .............................................................8 3 NETWORK PERFORMANCE REVIEW ..........................................................................9 3.1 OMC STATISTICS REVIEW ................................................................................................9 3.1.1 Call Success Rate......................................................................................................9 3.1.2 Call Setup Success Rate..........................................................................................11 3.1.3 SDCCH RF Loss .....................................................................................................14 3.1.4 TCH Blocking..........................................................................................................15 3.1.5 TCH Assignment Failure (RF) ...............................................................................16 3.1.6 SDCCH Access Performance .................................................................................17
3.1.6.1 3.1.6.2 SDCCH Blocking ............................................................................................................. 17 SDCCH Access Success Rate .......................................................................................... 18

3.1.7
3.1.7.1 3.1.7.2 3.1.7.3

Dropped Calls.........................................................................................................19
Call Drop Rate .................................................................................................................. 19 Mean Time Between Drops (MTBD) .............................................................................. 21 Breakdown of Drop Call Reasons.................................................................................... 22

3.1.8
3.1.8.1 3.1.8.2 3.1.8.3

Handovers ...............................................................................................................23
Intra-BSS Handover Failures ........................................................................................... 23 Inter-BSS Handover Failures ........................................................................................... 24 Handover Causes .............................................................................................................. 25

3.2 A-INTERFACE ANALYSIS .................................................................................................27 3.2.1 Call Setup Failures .................................................................................................27 3.2.2 Location Update Success Rate ...............................................................................29 3.2.3 Handover Causes ....................................................................................................31 3.3 CALL TRACE ANALYSIS...................................................................................................32 3.3.1 Downlink Receive Level and BTS Power ...............................................................32 3.3.2 Uplink Receive Level and Mobile Transmit Power ...............................................34 3.3.3 Uplink and Downlink RxQual Distributions ..........................................................35 4 DRIVE TEST ANALYSIS ...................................................................................................37 4.1 DRIVE TEST PROCESS ......................................................................................................38 4.2 GSM DRIVE TEST METRICS ............................................................................................38 4.2.1 Graphical Presentation ..........................................................................................38
4.2.1.1 4.2.1.2 Route Plots........................................................................................................................ 38 Events ............................................................................................................................... 39

4.2.2
4.2.2.1 4.2.2.2 4.2.2.3 4.2.2.4 4.2.2.5

Statistical Analysis..................................................................................................40
RxLev Distribution:.......................................................................................................... 40 RxQual Distribution: ........................................................................................................ 40 FER Distribution: ............................................................................................................. 41 MS TX Power:.................................................................................................................. 41 Access Failure Rate (1-Call Setup Success Rate):........................................................... 42

Page 2

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization

4.2.2.6 4.2.2.7 4.2.2.8 4.2.2.9

Blocked Call Rate:............................................................................................................ 42 Call Drop Rate:................................................................................................................. 43 Handover Failure Rate: .................................................................................................... 43 Average SQI: .................................................................................................................... 44

4.3 GPRS DRIVE TEST ..........................................................................................................44 4.3.1 Graphical Presentation ..........................................................................................44
4.3.1.1 4.3.1.2 Route Plots........................................................................................................................ 44 Events ............................................................................................................................... 45

4.4 5

NETWORK PERFORMANCE REVIEW - SUMMARY .............................................................45

NETWORK DESIGN AND DIMENSIONING REVIEW...............................................46 5.1 NETWORK DESIGN SUMMARY .........................................................................................46 5.1.1 Size ..........................................................................................................................46 5.1.2 Subscribers..............................................................................................................46 5.1.3 Description of the environment ..............................................................................46 5.1.4 Available Spectrum .................................................................................................46 5.2 RF DESIGN DETAILED ANALYSIS ....................................................................................47 5.2.1 Site Design ..............................................................................................................47
5.2.1.1 5.2.1.2 5.2.1.3 Network Growth Pattern .................................................................................................. 47 High Sites Replacement ................................................................................................... 47 RF Design Strategy .......................................................................................................... 48

5.2.2 5.2.3
5.2.3.1 5.2.3.2 5.2.3.3 5.2.3.4 5.2.3.5

Traffic Distribution .................................................................................................48 Frequency Plan.......................................................................................................49
Site design......................................................................................................................... 49 Terrain and Topography................................................................................................... 49 External Interference ........................................................................................................ 49 BCCH Plan ....................................................................................................................... 49 Non-BCCH Plan............................................................................................................... 50

5.3 OPTIMISING FOR GROWTH ...............................................................................................51 5.3.1 Synthesizer Frequency Hopping (SFH)..................................................................52
5.3.1.1 5.3.1.2 5.3.1.3 Hopping spectrum allocation ........................................................................................... 52 Choice of SFH Design...................................................................................................... 52 Hopping System Parameters ............................................................................................ 52

5.3.2 Baseband Frequency Hopping and Multiple Re-use Patterns (MRP) ..................53 5.3.3 Downlink Power Control and DTX ........................................................................53 5.3.4 Microcell Traffic Management Algorithms............................................................53 5.3.5 Dual Band Traffic Management Algorithms..........................................................54 5.4 THE NETWORK GROWTH PLANNING PROCESS ................................................................54 5.5 BSS DATABASE REVIEW .................................................................................................55 5.5.1 Radio Resource Timers...........................................................................................55
5.5.1.1 5.5.1.2 5.5.1.3 5.5.1.4 5.5.1.5 5.5.1.6 5.5.1.7 5.5.1.8 rr_t3111 (layer 2 channel release guard timer) =>1200ms.............................................. 55 rr_t3212 (Periodic Location Update Timer) => Align With MSC Implicit Detach Timer 55 link_fail => 16 SACCH.................................................................................................... 56 radio_link_timeout => 16 SACCH .................................................................................. 56 rr_t3109 (TCH Reallocation Timer) => 8000ms............................................................. 56 rr_t3103 (Intra-BSS Handover Guard Timer) => 15000ms ............................................ 56 bssmap_t10 (Assignment Guard Timer) => 14000 ......................................................... 57 bssmap_t8 ( Handover Guard Timer) => 14000.............................................................. 57

5.5.2
5.5.2.1 5.5.2.2 5.5.2.3 5.5.2.4 5.5.2.5 5.5.2.6 5.5.2.7 5.5.2.8

Handover and Power Control Parameters ............................................................57
RxQual Handovers: .......................................................................................................... 57 RxLev Handovers:............................................................................................................ 58 Uplink Power Control: ..................................................................................................... 58 MS Fast Power Down: ..................................................................................................... 58 Downlink Power Control: ................................................................................................ 59 Adaptive Handover:.......................................................................................................... 59 Adaptive Power Control:.................................................................................................. 59 Directed Retry and Intelligent Directed Retry (Handover on Congestion):.................... 59

5.6

LOCATION AREA PLANNING AND PAGING PERFORMANCE .............................................60 Page 3

..............Guideline for Network Design and Optimization SYSTEM PROCESSOR PERFORMANCE.............................................9..................................................63 5.......................................................................1 Frequently Occurring Alarms ..............................9............3 Transmit Power Calibration...9.........................................................................64 5.........................................10...........................................................10.................................10...............................................................64 5............................5 Maintenance Schedules ...65 Page 4 ................................................................................10.................................................2 Frequency of Outages...........................................64 5....62 5..1 Hardware configurations.................................................3 Antenna Selection ...............................................64 6 RECOMMENDATIONS...............................................63 5..........................2 Transmit Combining Options .................64 5..............................................64 5..........................................62 5..63 5..................4 Diversity Choice.........................8 MTL PERFORMANCE ..........................4 External Alarms ......................................................63 5......................................63 5............................................10 BSS OPERATIONS REVIEW ....7 5.....9 ADDITIONAL BSS DESIGN ISSUES .............................................10..........................9......................................

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization REVISION HISTORY Revision Date Name Comments Page 5 .

An audit will typically result in a series of recommendations and an action plan for network design and performance improvements. but can also be applied to other technologies. Page 6 . along with a process for ongoing performance review and analysis. The process is biased towards GSM networks. Operators of GSM/GPRS networks have access to enormous amounts of performance data from a wide range of tools and reporting mechanisms available to them. including GPRS. The aim of a performance audit is to focus on those key metrics which are most useful in measuring system performance and to make efficient use of the tools and large quantities of data available. The purpose of such an audit is to assess the performance of a network using the full range of available data. and identify aspects of the design and operation of the network that can be improved.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 1 OBJECTIVE The purpose of this document is to describe the process of conducting a Network Performance Audit and Design Review.

1 Network Performance Audit The performance Review is not intended to provide all the answers to all the problems. but to highlight the major issues and provide all the necessary background for further analysis.2 Network Performance and Design Review Philosophy The Network Audit and design review is intended to be the starting point for a network improvement programme. optimisation and maintenance issues as possible and to allow a logical and methodical action plan to be generated from the results and recommendations.1 Review Structure 2.) System Dimensioning and Expansion Strategy Frequency planning.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 2 SUMMARY The Network Audit process will be described according to the following outline structure: 2. 2. etc. map data and model calibration Link Budgets Design strategy and spectrum utilisation (dual band. including frequency hopping GPRS Design Strategy 2.1.2 • • • • • • RF Planning Tools. investigation and in-depth troubleshooting of the major performancePage 7 .1 • • • • • • • Performance Review Network Performance statistics review (OMC) Call Trace Analysis A-Interface performance statistical analysis Alarms and Events GSM Performance Drive Test GPRS Performance Drive Test Competitive Drive Test Benchmarking Network Design and Dimensioning Review 2.2.1. multi-layer. The purpose of the audit is to identify as many network design.

These findings help to guide the auditor towards the aspects of the network design requiring the most attention. in what kind of graph and what format? Interpretation: What are the possible conclusions we can draw from the results? Recommendations: Based on our observations and conclusions. It is important that any network performance audit should follow a methodical process and should be systematic in it’s approach to data collection.2. what recommendations can we make for improvements to the network design and/or design process? Page 8 . what recommendations can we make for solving the problem or for further investigation? Network Design and Dimensioning Review 2. and what conclusions can we draw? Recommendations: Based on our observations and conclusions. the following logical process is applied: • • • • • Objective: What parameter are we trying to measure? Description: Why are we measuring it and what is the relevance of the measurement to network performance? Report Format: How should the measurement be presented. For each of the performance category headings in the outline structure.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization impacting problems in the network. Similarly to the Network Performance Audit.2 The Network Design Review draws on the conclusions and findings from the Network Performance Audit. the following logical process is then applied: • • • • • Objective: What design parameter (or set of parameters) are we reviewing? Description: Why are we reviewing it and what is the relevance of the parameter (or set of parameters) to network functionality and performance? Format: How should the design data be presented to allow us to effectively review it? Conclusions: How does the observed design practice compare with known best practices.

and also to display along with traffic data to observe the relationship of Call Success Rate with network loading. presented in such a way as to extract as much useful information as possible and quickly identify network performance problems. It is useful to observe changes in Call Success Rate over time.1 Call Success Rate Objective: To determine the percentage of calls which are successfully set up and which are terminated normally (ie. Page 9 .Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 3 N ETWORK P ERFORMANCE R EVIEW The network Performance Review aims to make use of all the commonly available data sources. AIRCOM International Performance and Benchmarking tools can be used for many elements of the performance review.Call Drop Rate) Format 1: Call Success Rate is usually studied for the whole network. It combines call setup success rate and drop call rate into one single figure.1 OMC Statistics Review Key performance metrics required to assess network performance are presented in the following sections. 3. and may vary according to the network operator and/or network equipment vendor. Application notes covering the use of AIRCOM tools for this purpose are available separately.1. Description: Call Success Rate is a good overall indicator of network health. The choice of tools used to create the required reports is not critical. 3. to give an overall indication of network health. and is generally calculated from the following formula: Call Success Rate = Call Setup Success Rate x (1. The format of the reports presented in this document is generic. do not drop).

and show the separate components of call failure rate Objective: To determine the contribution of dropped calls and call setup failures to the total call failures figure. Page 10 . Poor Call Success Rate requires further investigation of Call Setup Success Rate and Call Drop Rate as described in the following sections.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Conclusions: Call Success Rate in itself does not allow any detailed conclusions to be drawn. and to see the separate contribution of call drops and call setup failures to the total figure. Format 2: Calculate Call Failure Rate (1-Call Success Rate). It is useful to observe Call Failure Rate on a per-BSC basis.

Interference) Format 1 (Failures per BSC): Calculate Call Setup Failure Rate per BSC. the individual failure categories are calculated as follows: Page 11 . eg. as described above. MSC clearing) Blocked TCH Assignment (Insufficient TCH resources) Failed Assignment (Failure to assign to TCH due to RF reasons. Call setup failures can be categorised as follows: • • • Failure before assignment (SDCCH RF loss. successful call setup).Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 3.2 Call Setup Success Rate Objective: To determine the proportion of call attempts that result in a successful call completion (ie. It is important to identify the causes and determine the origin of call setup failures. and to identify and quantify the individual reasons for call setup failure. In generic terms. MSC service rejection. and show individual failure categories as components of the overall figure. There are various ways to accomplish this through statistical analysis as described below. user clearing. Description: Call setup failures can occur for a number of reasons.1.

Page 12 . This is described in a later section. To do this accurately requires access to MSC statistics. or the collection of A-Interface logs using a protocol analyser such as K1103/K1205. Failed Assignments (RF): Allocation requests from MSC – Allocation commands blocked – Allocations completed Failed Call Setups before Assignment: Total Call Setup Failures – Failed Assignments (Blocking) – Failed Assignments (RF) Note: Call setup failures before assignment – further analysis The category of call setup failures before assignment can be further subdivided into it’s component failure reasons.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Failed Assignments (Blocking): TCH Blocking statistic (TCH allocation commands blocked due to lack of Radio Resources).

Causes of call setup failure for each poorly performing cell can then be identified and analysed. This analysis should also be performed for cells whose performance is known to be critical (eg. call setup failures can be presented for the worst 10 cells per BSC. or important routes). etc. Those cells covering important VIP areas. Failure causes that may be easily analysed from BSS statistics are: • • • SDCCH RF Loss (call setup failure before assignment) TCH Assignment Failure (Blocking) TCH Assignment Failure (RF) Page 13 . cells on remote highways. for example cells inside conference centres while not in use. This helps to focus on the cells causing the greatest impact to the call setup success rate. Cells known to carry very low traffic should be discounted.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Format 2: Worst Ten Cells Having identified the worst BSC’s.

including call setup. etc. Hardware problems (Poor link balance. Description: SDCCH’s are used in a large number of transactions. many mobiles at the coverage boundary. High SDCCH RF loss is not only a cause of poor call setup success rate. SMS.3 SDCCH RF Loss Objective: To determine the proportion of allocated SDCCH’s which are dropped due to RF reasons. Page 14 . and so on.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 3. poor frequency plan or external interference. poor calibration. but also poor location area update success rate. Interpretation: High SDCCH RF Loss is generally caused by one of the following problems: • • • Interference on SDCCH carriers. radio failure) Recommendations: Each cell identified with high SDCCH RF Loss should be investigated according to the possible problems shown above. location update. IMSI Attach/Detach success rate. Poor coverage. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with highest SDCCH RF Loss Rate.1.

or between 900 and 1800 carrier layers in dual band systems) Surrounding cells temporarily off-air Failure of one or more radio carriers in the cell.) Cell coverage area too large (coverage optimisation required) Poor traffic management between cell layers (eg. causing remaining carrier(s) to become overloaded. Between macro and micro layers. Interpretation: High TCH Blocking is usually caused by one of the following conditions: • • • • • • Cell requires expansion (sometimes not possible due to frequency plan constraints) Unusual traffic conditions (traffic jam. etc. Page 15 .4 TCH Blocking Objective: To determine the proportion of attempts by the BSS to allocate a TCH that are blocked due to lack of available TCH resources.1. holiday traffic. exhibition. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with the highest TCH blocking figures.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 3. Description: TCH blocking impacts call setup success rate. and also handover success rate since TCH resources are required to accept incoming handovers. High TCH Blocking is generally an indication of insufficient capacity in the network (or part of the network).

00 5. Often there will be a combination of issues resulting in TCH blocking in a network.5 TCH Assignment Failure (RF) Objective: To quantify the proportion of allocated TCH channels that are unable to be successfully accessed by a mobile. However for some reason the mobile has been unable to complete the call setup on the allocated traffic channel.00 30.1 m 17 10 35Es 50 65 t1 10 27 -M 8m 16 o2 50 1 10 0 2C 8du 11 11 2 10 56 P 516 es1 50 10 37 Ja 8 n2 11 .00 0. this can be calculated generically as follows: TCH Assignment Failures (RF) = Allocation requests from MSC – Allocation commands blocked – Successful Allocations TOP 20 TCH ASSIGNMENT FAILURE RATE 45. MSC has assigned a circuit. Description: TCH assignment failure refers to the case in which the BSS has allocated a control channel (SDCCH). 3.00 25.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Recommendations: Cells with high TCH blocking should be investigated according to the above possible causes. Optimisation of network design for maximum capacity is a complex process requiring the input of many more design parameters.00 15. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with highest TCH Assignment Failure Rate.00 35.00 50 10 850 1 10 701 817 Re pm 11 2 10 7 -R 5e 67 pm 13 18 2 10 -T 4ri 11 658 m4 10 2Pv 510 163 g1 10 6Ja 411 10 643 n1 5516 Bu 17 r 10 3. all of which must be tackled for a complete solution.bej2 11 10 18 8-A 91 lv 82 -A vl3 D 1200 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 TCH_assignment_ failure_rate Call Vol Page 16 .00 20.64 2 10 5 4.68 10 93 -L 513 16 bt3 10 33 4-F 16 35 ot2 13 1A 1 50 04. As discussed.00 40. This process will be discussed in the Network Design and Dimensioning Review section.3 -A 50 60 vu 10 59 2 867 Po rg 11 37 1 10 -Al am 11 5.00 10.1 10 As 4 ta 13 .1. and the BSS has allocated a traffic channel (TCH). This is generally caused by interferencerelated problems on the traffic channel carriers.

such as call setup.1 SDCCH Access Performance SDCCH Blocking Objective: To determine the proportion of SDCCH allocation attempts that are blocked due to a lack of available SDCCH resources. resulting in excessive uplink interference. Page 17 . Antennas too high.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: High TCH Assignment Failure Rate (RF) is generally caused by the following conditions: • • • • Interference on TCH carriers due to poor frequency plan. poor calibration) Recommendations: Cells with high TCH Assignment Failure Rate (RF) should be investigated according to the possible causes shown above. SDCCH Blocking results in the failure of mobiles to access the network for a number of actions. IMSI attach/detach. etc. Poor coverage (many mobiles on coverage boundary) Hardware problem (poor link balance.6. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with highest SDCCH Blocking Rate.6 3. Regardless of this. 3. while others do not. Description: Some equipment vendors consider blocking on the SDCCH channels to be a component of Call Setup Failure Rate. location update.1.1. or external interference. This is usually available as a statistic from the OMC.

cities built on rivers. and so on (sometimes referred to as ‘phantom RACH’s). This is gererally available as a statistic reported in the OMC. and will result in a SDCCH assignment which cannot be successfully accessed by any mobile.3. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with lowest SDCCH Access Success Rate. Poor location area border planning is frequently a cause of SDCCH resource problems.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: • • • • • Increase in traffic requires expansion of SDCCH Resources Cell coverage area too large.2 SDCCH Access Success Rate Objective: To determine the proportion of allocated RACH’s (Random Access Channels) successfully accessed by mobiles. SDCCH resources can simply be increased to carry excessive SDCCH traffic due to poor planning. bays. but this in turn reduces available TCH resources and may result in TCH blocking.1. too many ‘Phantom RACH’s (also related to poor SDCCH Access Success Rate – Section 2. Periodic location update timer too short) Interference.6.2) Poor Location Area border planning (too many location updates) Inappropriate timer settings in BSS database (eg. Description: Some RACH’s received and decoded by the BSS are from distant mobiles. causing SDCCH holding time to increase Recommendations: Each cell with high SDCCH Blocking should be analysed according to the above possible causes. 3. Page 18 . especially in difficult RF environments such as coastlines. and so on.3. but excessive allocation of SDCCH resources to Phantom RACH’s results in a waste of SDCCH resources and contributes to SDCCH blocking. spurious emissions resembling RACH’s. but can also be calculated from raw statistics. After the expiry of BSS timers the SDCCH resources are deallocated and returned to the radio resource pool. and is an inefficient use of network infrastructure.

1. 3. 900MHz cordless telephones in GSM uplink channels 50-55) Antennas too high and/or inappropriate vertical beamwidth. and/or not properly oriented. Hardware problem (eg. Experience shows that all of these causes occur frequently.7. such as relocating into a less prominent place or making use of building structures to shield the antenna from unwanted interference. This can generally be remedied by antenna optimisation of some kind. External uplink interference (eg. although the most fundamental cause is poor RF planning and poor antenna location.7 Dropped Calls A call that suffers abnormal termination is termed a dropped call. receiving uplink interference from distant mobiles.1 Call Drop Rate Objective: To quantify the proportion of successful call set-ups that subsequently suffer abnormal termination. many of which can be quantified through statistical analysis. Dropped calls occur for a multitude of reasons. poor link balance) Recommendations: Cells with poor SDCCH access success rate should be analysed according to the above possible causes. 3.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: • • • • Cell coverage area too large.1. Page 19 .

Drop calls can also arise due to a failure in communication on any of the interfaces (and subsequent expiry of timers on the air interface). mobile moving indoors. Poor quality and call drops due to overloaded frequency hopping carriers Page 20 . Drop Call Rate is also sometimes calculated per BSC to help identify the worst performing BSC’s or worst performing regions of a network. etc. inappropriate antenna selection.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Description: Calls usually drop as a result of a failure to maintain communication over the air interface. speech quality and data throughput. handover failure. Call Drop Rate is usually a good indication of overall network performance. mobile battery failure. This can be due to interference. but can also be calculated from raw statistics. Interpretation: • • • Interference due to poor frequency plan Interference due to poor site design. Cells with very low call volume should normally be discounted or treated with a lower priority. Drop Call Rate is calculated with the following generic formula: TCH RF Losses + Handover Failures (RF Loss) Total call setups + Incoming Handovers Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with highest Drop Call Rate. mobile moving out of range of the cell. high sites. although experience suggests air interface failure is the most usual cause. BSS hardware problem. mobile hardware problem. This is generally available as a statistic reported in the OMC. and so on.

TCH blocking and so on. This is a useful measure often preferred by network operators as it gives a better indication of actual user perception compared to Drop Call Rate.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization • • • • • Insufficient coverage (indoor or outdoor) Poorly optimised coverage areas causing handover problems Poorly optimised neighbour lists Traffic congestion leading to ‘cell dragging’ (handover delayed due to lack of TCH resources at target cell) and call drops. hardware problems etc. Action plans to address poor call drop performance will probably be developed in conjunction with other performance initiatives for improving call setup. Format: Show the worst 10-20 cells for highest MTBD. 3.1. while MTBD remains the same). Hardware problem (eg. If the number of incoming handovers to a cell increases. Poor link balance. radio failure) Recommendations: Cells suffering from bad call drop rate should be analysed according to the above possible causes. Description: This is usually calculated as the ratio of number of call drops to total TCH usage time during a given interval. and are generally related to a number of other symptoms of poor performance. Poor call setup success rate.7. the drop call rate ratio decreases. The Drop Call Rate figure can be influenced by other factors such as incoming handovers (eg.2 Mean Time Between Drops (MTBD) Objective: To determine the average time duration between call drops. TCH blocking. Page 21 . The problems causing high drop call rate are many and varied. eg.

7. dropped calls can be divided into 2 distinct categories.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: Same as for Call Drop Rate. and count only ‘Handover_Fail_DROP’. Some equipment manufacturers count handover failures that do not drop but in fact re-establish again on the originating cell (Handover_Fail_RETURN). It is useful to understand the contribution of these two categories to the total drop call rate as this assists troubleshooting.3 Breakdown of Drop Call Reasons Objective: To break down and quantify the different reasons for dropped calls. TCH RF Losses and Handover Failures. High handover failure rate can also be attributed to other handover-specific reasons: • Insufficient coverage at handover boundary Page 22 . 3. Recommendations: Same as for Call Drop Rate. Description Generally speaking. showing contributions of TCH RF Loss and Handover separately.1. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with highest Drop Call Rate. Make the distinction between ‘Handover_Fail_DROP’ and ‘Handover_Fail_RETURN’. Note: Handover Failure in this case specifically means handover failures that result in a dropped call (Handover_Fail_DROP). TCH RF Loss and Handover Failures Combined 12 10 Failure % 8 6 4 2 0 cell01 cell02 cell03 cell04 cell05 cell06 cell07 cell08 cell09 cell10 Cell ID Interpretation HO_FAIL_LOST_M S TCH RF Loss Reasons for high TCH RF Loss rate are the same as for Call Drop Rate.

It is helpful to consider these different handover types separately. Description: Intra-BSS handovers are managed by the BSC without MSC involvement. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with lowest intra-BSS Handover Success Rate. Intra-BSS handovers taking place between cells of the same BTS site are usually synchronised. especially intra-BSS and inter-BSS which combine to make up the majority of all handovers. 3.1 Intra-BSS Handover Failures Objective: To determine the proportion of Intra-BSS handover attempts that are successfully completed. inter-BSS.1.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization • • Handover parameters incorrectly set Neighbours incorrectly defined Recommendations: The same as for Drop Call Rate. and their success rate is generally better than intra-BSS handovers between cells of different sites. 3. Also examine handover boundaries between cells with high Handover Failure Rate.8 Handovers Failures can often occur in GSM during the handover process. There are several types of handovers (intra-cell. intra-BSS. Especially inter-BSC and inter-MSC handover boundaries need larger overlaps as the handover process takes longer than the intra-BSC case. inter-MSC). Page 23 .8.1.

Description: The Inter-BSS handover process involves the MSC. Most equipment manufacturers provide ‘per-neighbour’ statistics at the OMC.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: • • • • • • Interference at handover boundary Hardware problem at target cell (eg. This tends to result in a greater chance of the handover failing. unless specific steps are taken in the design process to allow for larger coverage overlaps at inter-BSS boundaries. and therefore requires more complex signalling and takes more time compared to intra-BSS handovers.8. 3. Page 24 . These show for each of the poorly performing cells which neighbour relationships are suffering the worst failure rate. Format: Display the worst 10-20 cells with lowest inter-BSS Handover Success Rate.) Traffic congestion at target cell causing delayed handover Insufficient coverage at handover boundary Handover parameters incorrectly set Neighbours incorrectly defined Recommendations: Cells with poor intra-BSS handover success rate should be examined for the possible causes as described above. Having established this. especially for fast moving mobiles. Poor link balance. poor calibration etc.1. individual neighbour relationships can be analysed for failure causes.2 Inter-BSS Handover Failures Objective: To determine the proportion of Inter-BSS handover attempts that are successfully completed.

Page 25 . Description: As an input into the audit process. Having established this. Handover parameters incorrectly set Neighbours incorrectly defined Problems on inter-MSC links. 3.8. it is helpful to understand the numbers of handovers taking place according to the different causes.1. in case inter-BSS handover is across a MSC border Recommendations: Cells with poor inter-BSS handover success rate should be examined for the possible causes as described above. etc. hilly terrain. Most equipment manufacturers provide ‘per-neighbour’ statistics at the OMC. and consequently a design problem that needs to be addressed.) Poorly defined inter-BSS boundaries causing high inter-BSS handover traffic.3 Handover Causes Objective: To determine the distribution of handover attempts according to their cause values. especially for inter-BSS neighbours in difficult RF conditions (highways. These show for each of the poorly performing cells which neighbour relationships are suffering the worst failure rate.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: • • • • • Insufficient coverage at handover boundary. individual neighbour relationships can be analysed for possible failure causes. This may reveal an abnormally large proportion of handovers due to a specific handover cause.

A Large proportion of quality handovers would indicate interference problems and/or incorrect settings of quality handover thresholds. Page 26 . Interpretation: The majority of handovers taking place in a properly configured GSM system will be due to Power Budget (Better Cell) decision.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization The main handover causes are: • • • • • • • • • Uplink Quality Uplink Level Uplink Interference Downlink Quality Downlink Level Downlink Interference Power Budget (Better Cell) Distance (timing advance) Congestion Format: The pie-chart below shows a typical distribution of handover causes. with the majority of handovers caused by Power Budget decision. A large proportion of level handovers would indicate coverage problems and/or incorrect settings of level handover thresholds. It is particularly useful to monitor changes in the distribution of handover causes while monitoring the progress of optimisation action plans.

which are transparent to the BSS. the A interface data must be investigated. from each of the BSCs under investigation. hence do not include signalling issues between the Mobile and the MSC. Description: It is possible to quantify the following call setup failure causes: • • • • • • CM Service Reject SDCCH RF Loss User Initiated CM Service Abort Set Up / Call Proceeding Losses Blocked TCH Assignment TCH Assignment Failure Format: A-Interface analysis can be presented per-BSC.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 3. This is typically achieved by taking a sample 20 Megabytes of data. The following reports can be generated from the collected data: 3. Page 27 . In order to achieve a complete understanding of call set-up failures. The exercise should be repeated for Mobile Originating and Mobile Terminating calls. the first showing a simplified breakdown (pre-assignment and post-assignment). showing the different causes for call setup failure. using a K1205 Protocol Analyser. Analysis of the A-Interface logs requires a post-processing tool of some kind.2.1 Call Setup Failures Objective: A-Interface analysis allows us to accurately quantify the causes of call setup failure for both mobile-originating and mobile-terminating calls. This is more accurate than the previous call setup analysis using BSS statistics. and the second showing a more detailed breakdown of the pre-assignment failures. which must include DTAP signalling.2 A-Interface Analysis The BSS performance statistics only refer to radio-related information. The following example shows 2 charts for the same group of BSC’s.

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: Analysis of Mobile Originated call setup failures immediately shows that around 50% of all failures are caused by ‘user initiated CM service abort’. and other such unintentional mistakes. Clearly it is not possible to address this problem through network optimisation. accidentally pressing the call button twice. This is due to mobile users dialling wrong numbers and then quickly clearing the call. Page 28 .

Page 29 . such as MSC circuit problems.2 Location Update Success Rate Objective: To determine the success rates of the different types of location updates. Format: Show location update success rates per LU type and per BSC. as an input into the design review process. PSTN interface problems. congestion. Description: Location updates can be categorised as follows: • • • Normal (moving between Location Areas) Periodic (set by timer. usually every 4-8 hours) IMSI Attach (Location Update when switching on and registering) The success rates of different types of location update can be helpful in identifying network problems. An action plan addressing the main issues should be made.3.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization The other failure causes give an indication of Network Health as follows: Pre-assignment Failures: • • CM Service Reject Set Up / Call Proceeding Losses These failures indicate problems outside the control of the BSS. 3. routing errors. further analysis should focus on two main areas: • • Non-BSS issues affecting whole BSC’s or the whole network BSS-related issues probably due to specific cell performance issues. such as interference.2.2. It may also be useful to know the number of location updates according to LU type. Recommendations: Having established any call setup problems on a per-BSC basis. hardware failure and so on. Radio Failures: • • • SDCCH RF Losses TCH Assignment Failures Blocked TCH Assignments These failures occur as a result of radio-related problems. etc. as discussed in detail in section 2.

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Page 30 .

3. including interference problems and poor coverage. Analysis of these messages provides a breakdown of all the handovers by cause value. Description: The handover cause value is contained within the ‘Handover Required’ message on the A-Interface. according to the above guidelines. Format: Show Handover causes per BSC in percentage terms: Page 31 .3 Handover Causes Objective: To determine the causes of all handovers.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: Poor location update success rate is often an indication of poor RF conditions. Recommendations: The reasons for poor location update should be investigated further.2. However a poor success rate of one particular type of location update suggests there may be a MSC-related problem requiring further investigation. or could indicate excessive location updates due to poor location area planning. Very large numbers of normal location updates compared to periodic and IMSI Attach location updates could be due to small location areas with heavy traffic. from analysis of A-Interface logs.

UL/DL RxLev distribution.3 Call Trace Analysis Analysis of call trace files provides additional information not available from BSS statistics and A-Interface logs. 3. and show BTS Transmit Power distribution per BSC and per Cell. A large proportion of quality handovers would indicate interference problems and/or incorrect settings of quality handover thresholds. neighbour analysis. On a BSC level it provides a more general indication of coverage level. mobiles generate one MR per SACCH multiframe (approx 450ms). Format: Show cumulative distributions of Downlink RxLev per BSC and per Cell. or may be monitored on a per-BSC level for more general performance observations. UL and DL measurement information is then compiled at the BTS and sent to the BSC on the A-Bis link. Recommendations: BSC’s with abnormally high proportions of Level.1 Downlink Receive Level and BTS Power Objective: To observe the distribution of Downlink receive measurements on per-BSC basis and per-Cell basis. during a call). ‘Call Trace’ refers to the collection of Measurement Reports (MR’s) generated for Uplink and Downlink and made available at the BSC for collection.3. A BSC covering predominantly rural areas with low cell density and large areas of marginal coverage will typically have a greater proportion of U/L and D/L Level handovers (if enabled). A large proportion of level handovers would indicate coverage problems and/or incorrect settings of level handover thresholds. compared to a busy BSC in an urban area with high site density. Page 32 . and so on. Reports available from Call Trace Analysis include UL/DL RxQual distribution.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: Typically 70-80% of handovers will be due to Power Budget (Better Cell) decision. and require vendor-specific tools for analysis and post-processing. 3. timing advance. The BTS Transmit Power distribution is also related to this. Quality or Interference handovers should be investigated further. While in Dedicated Mode (ie. Call trace data collection procedures are vendor-specific. These may be used to troubleshoot individual cells or carriers. along with BTS Transmit Power measurements Description: The Downlink Receive level distribution gives an indication of the coverage in a cell with respect to the distribution of actual mobiles in the cell.

3.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Example 3.BTS Power Distribution shown for one BSC.1a . Interpretation: A large proportion of MR’s reported at a very low Downlink RxLev indicates many mobiles are operating in areas of poor coverage.1b . Page 33 .Downlink RxLev distribution shown per BSC Example 3.3.

The Mobile Transmit Power distribution is also related to this.2 Uplink Receive Level and Mobile Transmit Power Objective: To observe the distribution of Uplink receive measurements on per-BSC basis and perCell basis. This would be typical of a cell covering a rural area.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization In a similar way. Format: Show cumulative distributions of Uplink RxLev per BSC and per Cell. On a BSC level it provides a more general indication of coverage level.2a . and show Mobile Transmit Power distribution per BSC and per Cell. along with Mobile Transmit Power measurements Description: The Uplink Receive level distribution gives an indication of the coverage in a cell with respect to the distribution of actual mobiles in the cell. 3. Example 3. This could then be an input into a coverage improvement plan. Recommendations: If poor coverage is suspected.Uplink RxLev distribution shown per BSC Page 34 .3.3. a large proportion of BTS transmit power measurements at full or nearly-full power indicates that coverage is weak and consequently the BTS is transmitting at or near full power all the time. the analysis could be repeated per cell for all cells in the BSC to establish those with the weakest coverage.

3 Uplink and Downlink RxQual Distributions Objective: To observe the distribution of RxQual measurements and identify cells or BSC’s with poor RxQual. This is especially true of Frequency Hopping Systems.2b .3. the following conclusions could be considered: • • • • Most of the mobiles in the cell are operating at or near the cell boundary. in turn causing the mobiles to transmit full power. Page 35 . Recommendations: Mobile transmit power should always be minimised as far as possible.BTS Power Distribution shown for three BSC’s. 3. Incorrect settings of power control parameters (power window) Poor frequency plan. If the ms power distribution shows a high proportion of mobile transmit powers at or near full power.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Example 3. large rural cell) There is excessive loss in the receive antennas/feeders causing a loss in sensitivity of the base station. including any vendor-specific enhanced power control algorithms. and hence need to transmit full power to maintain the uplink (eg. excessive interference causing the mobiles to transmit higher power.3. Based on the observations. all possibilities to reduce mobile transmit power should be considered. Interpretation: Mobile Transmit Power should always be minimised so as to minimise uplink interference levels and maximise system capacity.

as follows: Cumulative RxQual Distributions per BSC and per cell (example of poor quality cell) Page 36 .Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Description: RxQual distributions simply give an indication of the BER (Bit Error Rate) of the received signal at the BTS and Mobile. On a per-cell basis they help to identify cells with particular quality problems. Format: RxQual cumulative distributions can be shown per cell or per BSC.

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Interpretation: A poor RxQual distribution indicates a quality problem of some sort: • • • • Interference. not only those ones driving along certain pre-defined drive test routes. or as an alternative to. Page 37 . Drive testing has the following advantages over OMC statistical analysis: • • • • Drive test data is representative of the actual experience of subscribers. Drive test data is much easier to understand and much harder to dispute. and combine the results for a more complete understanding of the performance issues in the network. Drive test allows the measurement of speech quality from the subscriber’s perspective It is easy to collect drive test data for several networks simultaneously for competitive benchmarking purposes. OMC statistical analysis. radio failure…) Recommendations: Any cell found with a poor RxQual distribution should be investigated according to the above possible causes. mobiles at cell boundary Hardware problem (poor calibration. The main advantages of OMC statistical data are as follows: • • It is comprehensive and includes data from all subscribers. Call Trace is especially useful for fast and efficient trouble-shooting on a cell and carrier level. Many operators do not fully trust OMC statistics as they may understand or agree with the formulas used to derive key performance metrics. 4 D RIVE T EST A NALYSIS Drive Test Performance Analysis can be carried out in addition to. It is readily available and easy to manipulate into the required report formats. poor frequency plan Poor antenna location. uplink/downlink interference problem Poor coverage. There are many other possible applications of Call Trace data. Therefore it is recommended to conduct analysis based on both drive test and OMC statistics. poor link balance. limited only by the availability of suitable functionality in the tools provided by the vendor.

4.). etc. allowing the visualisation of specific problems by location: 4.1 Route Plots RxLev Full: RxLev Sub: RxQual Sub: FER: SQI Plot: Route Coverage Plot Route Coverage Plot (excluding dummy bursts during DTX operation) Route Quality Plot (excluding dummy bursts during DTX operation) Route Frame Erasure Rate Plot Route Plot of Speech Quality Index (or equivalent. Drive test to be carried out during normal daylight hours to reflect normal network load conditions.1 Graphical Presentation The following parameters can be displayed on a map. as derived from OMC statistics. If possible simultaneously collect GSM speech and GPRS drive test data.1 Drive Test Process A detailed description of the drive test process is outside the scope of this document. if available) RxQual Full: Route Quality Plot MS TX Power: Route plot of Mobile Transmit Power Page 38 . Allow 10s idle time between calls. Below is a brief summary of the main points to be considered: • • • • • Drive test routes should be chosen to be representative of the part of the network under study.2.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4.2. GPRS data calls to be set according to the average data call length for the network. Calls to be made preferably mobile-to-PSTN.2 GSM Drive Test Metrics GSM drive test data can be presented in a number of ways. • 4. A combination of graphical presentation and statistical analysis is recommended. A complete GPRS drive test process document is also available separately. At least 1000 calls required for good statistical confidence. suburban. Call duration to be equal to the average call duration for the network.1. The examples below show measurements for 2 networks for comparison purposes. covering a range of different coverage areas (urban.

2.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4.1. Call Drops: Plot of dropped call events Setup Failures: Plot of call setup failure events HO Failures: Plot of Handover Failure events HO Success: Plot of Successful Handover events (if required) Page 39 . RxLev or RxQual.2 Events Events plots may be superimposed on one of the above route plots. eg.

2 Statistical Analysis The following set of statistics should be calculated from the collected drive test data: 4.2.2.1 RxLev Distribution: The proportion of RxLev Measurements falling within defined ranges. RxLev Distribution 4500000 Number of Measurements 4000000 3500000 3000000 2500000 2000000 1500000 1000000 500000 0 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Network A Network B RxLev 4.2 RxQual Distribution: The proportion of RxQual Measurements falling within defined ranges. RxQual Distribution 12000000 Number of Measurements 10000000 8000000 6000000 4000000 2000000 0 Network A Network B ua l0 ua l1 ua l2 ua l3 ua l4 ua l5 ua l6 R xQ R xQ R xQ R xQ R xQ R xQ R xQ R xQ ua l7 Page 40 .2.2.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4.2.

2. Mobile Transmit Power Distribution 10000000 Number of measurements 9000000 8000000 7000000 6000000 5000000 4000000 3000000 2000000 1000000 0 33 31 29 27 25 23 21 19 17 15 13 Network A Network B MS TX Power Page 41 . Frame Erasure Rate Distribution 12000000 Number of Measurements 10000000 8000000 6000000 4000000 2000000 0 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 Network A Network B FER 4.2.4 MS TX Power: The proportion of Mobile Transmit Power Measurements falling within defined ranges.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4.2.3 FER Distribution: The proportion of Frame Erasure Rate Measurements falling within defined ranges.2.

3% 0% Network A Network B No Service Attempts Blocked Calls 0.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4.2.0% of Ac ce 8.0% 0.0% em pts 4.0% % 10.0% ss Att 6.8% 8.6 Blocked Call Rate: The proportion of call attempts that fail due to lack of resources.2. Access Failure Rate % 12.5 Access Failure Rate (1-Call Setup Success Rate): The proportion of call setup attempts that fail.0% 2.5% 8.0% Page 42 .2% 4. Blocked Calls and No Service [%] 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0.0% Network A Network B 9.2.2.2% 9.

2.9% 1.5% mp let 2. Handover Summary 1600 1400 Nu m be r of Ha nd ov er s 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Network A Network B Handover completed Handover failed 1176 1444 35 12 Page 43 . Dropped Call Rate % 3.8 Handover Failure Rate: The proportion of handover attempts that fail.2.0% Network A Network B 2.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4.3% 4.2.0% ed Cal 1.0% 0.0% of Co 2.5% % 3.5% ls 1.2.5% 0.7 Call Drop Rate: The proportion of calls terminated abnormally before the end of the call.

1 Route Plots UL/DL RLC Throughput: UL/DL LLC Throughput: UL/DL RLC Block Error Rate (BLER): UL/DL RLC Retransmission Rate: UL/DL Coding scheme used (CS1-4): UL/DL Number of timeslots used: Radio Link Layer data throughput Logical Link Layer throughput (user data) Radio Link Block Error Rate Radio Link Retransmission Rate Allocated Coding Scheme Allocated timeslots Page 44 .3 GPRS Drive Test GPRS drive test data can be presented in a number of ways.9 Average SQI: The average Speech Quality Index measured over the combined drive test route.1 4. 4.1. allowing the visualisation of specific problems by location: 4.3 19. Average Speech Quality Index (SQI) 24 21 SQI 18 15 12 9 6 3 0.0 Network A Network B 19.3.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4. A combination of graphical presentation and statistical analysis is recommended. much the same as GSM drive test data.2.2.1 Graphical Presentation The following parameters can be displayed on a map.3.

at which time all the required information will be available to allow detailed recommendations to be made. BSC level and Cell level. The following headings should be included here: • Network Performance Summary Data SDCCH Assignment Success Rat Call Setup Success Rate Network Name XYZ-net 91.85% 0. RxLev.1.2 Events Events plots may be superimposed on one of the available route plots. on Network level.Summary The summary of the Network Performance Review should aim to highlight the specific performance problems identified in the network. Page 45 Handover Success Rate Call Volume / traffic Call Success Rate TCH Congestion Drop Call Rate . RxQual.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 4.40% 1.4 Network Performance Review .3.60% Key Network Performance Observations List of worst performing cells and BSC’s Detailed conclusions can be made only after completing the Network Design and Dimensioning Review. PDP Context Activation Failure: PDP Context Loss: Failure to activate PDP Context (Packet Data Protocol) Loss of PDP Context (GPRS Call Drop) 4. eg.10% 1244300 95.70% • • 93. RLC throughput.73% 92. etc.

1.2 • • • Subscriber Distribution. lakes) 5. by area or by clutter. flat.1.1 Size How big is the network? Plots from network planning tools are useful as a visual aid.) Presence of water bodies (coastline. etc. Projected subscriber growth. and the constraints inside which the network has been designed and is being operated. current and projected (typically in the range of 2025mE per subscriber in the busy hour) Description of the environment 5. usage and growth information: Roughly how many subscribers distributed over the network. and how is it split between the different layers? Page 46 . such as: Type of urban environment (typical building heights. hilly. estuaries. building density.) Type of terrain (mountainous. Traffic generated by subscriber. pre-paid and fixed contract. 5. along with numerical information in spreadsheets: • • • • • • • MSC’s BSC’s BTS’s Cells OMC’s HLR/VLR.4 Available Spectrum What spectrum is available.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 5 N ETWORK D ESIGN AND D IMENSIONING R EVIEW 5. SMS Centres Subscribers 5.3 It is helpful to know about environmental factors that influence network design and performance.1. rivers. etc.1.1 Network Design Summary Before making any recommendations based on network performance reports it is important to know more about the network.

Guard Band 1 ch BCCH 14 ch TCH Hopping 26 ch Guard Band 1 ch MICRO 8 ch Dual Band (900/1800) spectrum should also be shown.2 High Sites Replacement A typical process for replacing or modifying high sites would be as follows: • From BSS performance statistics and call trace logs.1 Site Design Network Growth Pattern Networks in urban areas (especially older networks) tend to follow a set growth pattern: • • • Launch rollout with minimum sites for maximum coverage. Next a more detailed analysis is required. Fill in coverage holes and add capacity by cell splitting Add increasing numbers of microcells.1. identify those cells which contribute the most interference to the largest number of other cells.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization The following example shows a typical allocation of GSM channels given an available spectrum of 10MHz (50 Channels). Page 47 . In terms of RF design.1 5.1.2 RF Design Detailed Analysis The high level design summary provides an overview of the relevant information. and increasingly contribute uplink and downlink interference into the network as the number of lower sites around them increases.2. 5.2. 5.2. in-building cells and street-level cells to increase capacity focused on high subscriber density areas. the problem with this approach is that the legacy sites from the launch rollout phase tend to be high and prominent. The net effect of this is to minimise frequency re-use efficiency and limit the capacity of the network. 5. Therefore a process is required to identify and eliminate these interferers to allow network growth to continue and high quality to be maintained.

Hotspot detection: Using Call Trace logs. The key to the efficient utilisation of network infrastructure is to attempt to distribute traffic evenly between BTS’s and achieve maximum frequency re-use efficiency. Prioritise the integration of the required new sites to target high sites in order of severity. allowing traffic distribution to be controlled to a greater extent by the optimiser. and will be provided as an input into the network expansion and rollout process. or lowering the antennas to a position consistent with surrounding sites if possible.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization • Develop a plan for de-commissioning the site. • The network design review will include a study of high sites in urban areas of the network where growth is limited by frequency re-use problems.2.2 In most networks it is found that the distribution of traffic between cells is not even. This includes a review of the following design techniques: • • • Microcellular and Picocellular underlay Dual Band (Dual-BCCH and Single-BCCH) In-building cell deployment Traffic Distribution 5. helping the RF designer to plan new sites in exactly the right locations to serve high traffic areas. • Page 48 . and that a small number of cells may be heavily congested while most others are underutilised. including: • • • Removal of high or prominent sites which tend to ‘suck in’ disproportionate levels of traffic owing to their high coverage level compared to surrounding sites. and therefore the interference levels in the network are reduced. There are various techniques available to achieve this. and to provide input into the expansion process to account for performance-related issues. 5.2. An action plan will be developed according to this outline process. it is possible to determine roughly the location of traffic hotspots.3 RF Design Strategy Although not strictly part of a performance and optimisation review. it is important to consider the design strategy in place in the network. Include in the rollout plan the requirements for additional in-fill sites due to the loss of coverage from the high site. These included microcell handover algorithms. As new low sites are integrated. congestionbased handover algorithms and so on. de-commission or modify the high site in such a way as to cause minimum disruption to coverage. This also has the effect of reducing the average path loss between BTS and mobile (because on average the BTS’s are closer to the mobiles).1. Downtilting antennas to reduce levels of unwanted coverage outside the intended coverage area. Traffic Management Algorithms: Many BSS vendors provide advanced traffic management algorithms.

Finally. that use part of the GSM Uplink spectrum (between channels 70 and 75). Another example could be interference in coastal or port areas from radio communications systems offshore (such as shipping.3.2 Terrain and Topography Hilly terrain presents more frequency planning problems compared to flat terrain.3. This will also include a review of GPRS traffic projections. frequency reuse efficiency is affected by site design. This could be due to unauthorised users occupying radio spectrum for other communications purposes.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization The design review will include a study of the traffic distribution across the network. These can generally be resolved by agreements between operators in the neighbouring networks. 5. and for the most congested cells recommendations will be made for ways to re-distribute traffic. as cell coverage areas are harder to control and unwanted ‘splashes’ of coverage are hard to avoid. This section attempts to highlight the main considerations behind creating an efficient frequency plan. 5. A poor frequency plan is usually the result of a poor RF design. etc. An example of this is the 900MHz cordless telephone standard used in the USA. Site design and antenna location can be critical in minimising these effects.1 Site design As mentioned in previous sections.). Although these phones are generally not licensed to be used outside the USA. 5. 5. and how this will impact the combined traffic distribution carried by the network.3. in border regions of neighbouring countries there may be spectrum re-use issues. 5. In many cases these inputs are directly relevant to the ongoing network expansion and rollout process. they are widely available in most countries of the world and result in strong uplink interference.2. interference levels) is directly related to the quality of the RF design.3. drilling platforms.2.3 Frequency Plan Frequency Planning is a complex subject.2. Inconsistent site heights (mixture of high and low sites) reduce re-use efficiency.4 BCCH Plan The number of channels required to make a good BCCH plan will vary according to a number of factors: • • • Site Design (high sites etc. resulting in turn in an inability to produce a good frequency plan.3 External Interference Sometimes the performance of radio channels is affected by external interference (ie. The quality of a frequency plan (re-use efficiency.) Terrain and topography Subscriber distribution Page 49 .2. This is allowed in the USA but causes problems to mobile networks in other countries where these channels are licensed and allocated to GSM operation. interference originating from outside of the network).2.

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization

Regularity of cell plan

In a well optimised network, it is generally possible to produce a high quality BCCH plan within 14-15 channels.
5.2.3.5 Non-BCCH Plan

The same issues with the BCCH plan also affect frequency planning of the non-BCCH (TCH) carriers. However there are additional techniques available for the TCH layer to improve re-use efficiency and increase capacity, such as: • • • • Synthesizer Frequency Hopping Baseband Frequency Hopping MRP (Multiple Reuse Pattern) Concentric Cell

These are described in detail in the ‘Optimising for Growth’ section. The network design review will include a study of the frequency plan, and will suggest optimisation steps required in order to produce a more efficient plan and hence a better quality and higher capacity network.

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Guideline for Network Design and Optimization

5.3 Optimising for Growth
The need for optimisation generally arises out of a need for growth and expansion of a network to serve a growing number of subscribers, and to support an increasing range of services. This section attempts to describe the optimisation techniques available for maximising network capacity while maintaining high network quality. The availability and effectiveness of these features and optimisation techniques varies between infrastructure suppliers. The network optimisation process can be represented in a diagram, as shown below:

Drive Test Data

A-Interface Data

Call Trace Data

OMC Stats Data

QOS Metrics

Performance Reporting

OMC Management

Field Operations

Database Parameters Quality-Driven Network Design Review, Expansion and Optimisation Process RF Design Parameters

Network Operations - Rollout - Change Control Expansion Plans

Core Network Design Parameters Marketing Strategy Optimisation Plans

Performance Requirements

Network Planning and Optimisation

The effectiveness of all of these features also largely depends on the network design, and how the feature parameters are optimised. A careful examination of all design factors affecting the use of these features should be undertaken, and recommendations made as to the suitability of the features and/or improvements in performance through optimisation.

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Guideline for Network Design and Optimization

5.3.1

Synthesizer Frequency Hopping (SFH)

SFH is a widely accepted technique in GSM for providing capacity and quality improvements. These benefits are as a consequence of the following features of SFH: • • • Increased immunity to fading due to frequency diversity. Better frame erasure rate through interference averaging Greatly simplified frequency planning allowing faster rollout and better quality.

The effectiveness of SFH in achieving capacity and/or quality gains is dependent on a number of optimisation-related factors:
5.3.1.1 Hopping spectrum allocation

Since the benefits of SFH arise as a consequence of the nature of spread-spectrum operation, the amount of benefit is related to the degree of spreading. In SFH this is determined by the spread of channels allocated in the MA list (hopping sequence). Simulations show that up to around 2MHz spread (10 channels) there is an appreciable increase in hopping gain, but above 2MHz spread the additional gain reduces.
5.3.1.2 Choice of SFH Design

SFH can be deployed in a number of ways according to the network design. For example: 1x3 SFH: In this scheme, the hopping band is divided into 3 equal groups and planned according to a regular re-use pattern. This is suited to networks with regular cell plan and 3-sector sites In this scheme, the whole hopping band is allocated to a single hopping group, which is re-used in every cell and every site. This technique is better suited to irregular networks.

1x1 SFH:

1x1 Split SFH: This is similar to the 1x1 SFH scheme, except that it allows for operation with different cell layers (for example high sites and low sites). The hopping band is divided into two groups, and each group is applied according to the 1x1 scheme on a per-layer basis. Other variations are also possible, depending on the particular implementation of the technique in the supplier’s BSS software.
5.3.1.3 Hopping System Parameters

A full review of the use of hopping system parameters is required, to ensure compliance with recommended SFH planning rules. MA List: HSN: MAIO: Frequencies allocated to the hopping sequence Hopping Sequence Number (0 = cyclic, 1-63 = pseudo-random) Mobile Allocation Index Offset. Sometimes set automatically, however manual definition of MAIO is essential for the correct implementation of certain hopping techniques (eg. 1x1 SFH).

These parameters also apply to a baseband hopping system, although their use is somewhat different.
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notably Ericsson. TCH1 with 4x3. thus reducing average downlink power and interference. the BCCH carrier would be planned with a 5x3 pattern.3 Downlink Power Control and DTX Downlink power control is important in frequency hopping systems as a means of reducing downlink interference. Page 53 . and then to transmit idle frames during breaks in speech. 5. Since microcell laters are usually designed to carry high capacity in small coverage areas. The use of these algorithms must be reviewed to ensure optimum traffic distribution and correct handover operation. One feature of MRP is that since interference increases on the ‘higher’ carriers due to the increasingly aggressive re-use patterns. although SFH is a more commonly used technique.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 5. Typically this is applied between macrocell and microcell layers. to prevent unnecessary handovers and potential call drops due to handover failure. Encourage mobiles to remain camped onto to micro cells despite lower signal level through use of modified cell selection algorithm (C2). MRP is a variation of baseband hopping in which frequencies are allocated to carriers hierarchically with an increasingly aggressive re-use pattern. TCH channels are then allocated in priority order. This feature allows the BTS to use voice activity detection. This requires careful optimisation to maximise traffic capacity. starting with the BCCH. the principles behind these algorithms are generally as follows: • • • • Prevent handover from micro layer to macro layer unless the handover cause is imperative (Qual or Lev). and so on. Prevent handover from macro layer to micro layer for fast-moving mobiles. DTX (Discontinuous Transmission) is also sometimes used. 5. Downlink PC parameters should be reviewed and.3. In other words. TCH2 with 3x3.3. Encourage handover from micro-to-micro and avoid handing back into the macro layer.2 Baseband Frequency Hopping and Multiple Re-use Patterns (MRP) This is a technique preferred by a few suppliers. the area in which an acceptable C/I can be achieved those carriers is correspondingly smaller. recommendations made if necessary.3.4 Microcell Traffic Management Algorithms Some BSS suppliers provide advanced traffic management alkgorithms designed to control the distribution of traffic between different cell layers of the network.

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 5.3.Rollout . and recommendations made if necessary. as shown below: Marketing Strategy RF Design Constraints Performance Reports Capacity Requirements Network Design Review.4 The Network Growth Planning Process Network growth planning requires a number of inputs. Network growth and expansion planning is covered in greater detail in separate documents. 5. These include: • • • Prioritisation of 900 or 1800 layer Rules for assigning TCH in 900 or 1800 layers according to traffic loading Single-BCCH operation allowing 1800 TCH allocation from 900 BCCH. most suppliers provide traffic management algorithms to prioritise traffic channel allocation between 900 and 1800 layers. however the inputs into the process can be represented in a diagram.5 Dual Band Traffic Management Algorithms In the case of dual band system operation. Expansion and Optimisation Process Coverage Requirements Site Acquisition Constraints Quality Requirements Available Spectrum Network Planning and Optimisation Capacity and Performance enhancing features Network Operations . A full review of the use and effectiveness of these features is required.Change Control A typical network expansion process will include all of these inputs as a minimum. Page 54 .

Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 5. at intervals of T200 (235ms on SDCCH. Page 55 . The results obtained from the network performance review will tend to suggest which aspects of the BSS database may be able to be optimised. The following timers are by no means an exhaustive list. Its purpose is to maintain the dedicated channel in an active state long enough for the MS to repeat the L2 DISC message if required. If the IMSI detach feature is enabled this timer should be set to a value less than the MSC implicit detach timer. and thus ensure maximum utilisation and minimum wastage of resources. and up to 5 repetitions of the DISC are allowed. Generally speaking. This section attempts to suggest which specific areas within the BSS database should be reviewed. so it is not possible to derive a single set of default values valid for all equipment vendors. Even those which are ETSI-defined may be optimised slightly differently according to the vendor-specific implementation of software algorithms.2 rr_t3212 (Periodic Location Update Timer) => Align With MSC Implicit Detach Timer rr_t3212 is transmitted by the BSS in the BCCH System Information and is used by the mobile as the periodic location update timer. If the timer ever expires then the mobile makes a periodic location update.1 rr_t3111 (layer 2 channel release guard timer) =>1200ms This timer is used during the normal layer 2 channel release procedure.5. If rr_t3212 is set higher than the MSC implicit detach timer then mobiles which are camped on the network will not be paged if they do not location update before expiry of the MSC implicit detach timer. A lower setting could result in two mobile stations being active on the same channel.5.5 BSS Database Review Many BSS database parameters are specific to equipment vendors. 166ms on FACCH). This means that the maximum time that the dedicated channel needs to be held is 1175ms (5 x 235ms). 5. rr_t3111 commences when the first DISC is received by the BSS. A higher setting of rr_t3111 will hold SDCCH or TCH resources longer than necessary. their main purpose is to ensure de-allocation of radio resources after the failure of some resource allocation process. possibly introducing SDCCH or TCH congestion.1 Radio Resource Timers Many radio resource timers exist in GSM. 5. but are commonly optimised to maximise resource utilisation. it is recommended that rr_t3111 be set to 1200ms across all cells.1. The mobile restarts the timer each time it successfully location updates. To avoid the possibility of 2 mobile stations active on the same channel and to safely minimise channel usage. 5. while some are defined by ETSI in the GSM specification.1.5.

The effect of this timer change will be to improve the mobile terminated call set up success rate measured by the MSC and perceived by anybody trying to call a mobile station from either the fixed network or another mobile station. following the detection of an uplink radio link loss.1. while still allowing sufficient time for the link to recover before the subscriber gives up and terminates the call.7 seconds (16 SACCH) for all cells. to guard against allocation of resources to a handover after it has failed.5.1. increasing channel availability. 5. This represents a time period of 7.5. 5. try and fail to Page 56 .6 rr_t3103 (Intra-BSS Handover Guard Timer) => 15000ms This BSC call processing timer is used during an intra BSS inter cell handover.5 rr_t3109 (TCH Reallocation Timer) => 8000ms This timer prevents the reallocation of a channel. it is likely that the subscriber will have terminated the call after 16 SACCH multiframes have passed.4 radio_link_timeout => 16 SACCH Radio_link_timeout governs the number of missing downlink SACCH messages which should occur before a radio-link-loss is determined by the mobile.3 link_fail => 16 SACCH The link_fail timer governs the number of missing uplink SACCH messages that should occur before a radio-link-loss is determined by the BSS. avoiding any unnecessary SDCCH or TCH congestion.7 seconds. Based on a radio_link_timeout of 16 SACCH as recommended above. in line with the link_fail recommendation above. It is a very small percentage of calls which would recover from a losing SACCH for longer than 7. As the loss of uplink SACCH indicates that uplink audio is also lost.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization It is recommended to set this timer to a lower value than the MSC implicit detach timer.5. The MS may still be transmitting on the channel until radio_link_timeout expires.7 seconds and the user is likely to have released the call anyway due to loss of audio. To maximise the intra BSS handover success rate this timer should be long enough to allow the MS to receive the handover command over the air interface. but without losing calls which might otherwise recover. 5.1.5.1. then it is recommended that rr_t3109 should be reduced to 8000ms for all cells. This will ensure that channels will be released as soon as is safely possible following a radio link loss. 5. This will help to maximise the use of TCH resources by returning them to the radio resource pool as soon as possible. It is recommended to set this timeout to 7. The benefit of minimising this timer value is that the holding time of the channel following any radio link loss is minimised. rr_t3109 should therefore be set to a value greater than radio_link_timeout.

Therefore the timer setting 14000 ms is recommended. It starts when the Handover Command is transmitted. On expiry of this timer. If it expires. To maximise the intra BSS handover success rate it is recommended that this timer should be set to 15000ms. It is recommended to set this timer less than rr_t3103 (15000 ms). 5. but not too quickly such that excessive handovers take place along with a higher risk of call drop The RxQual handover should only take place if the BTS/MS are at full power and a target cell is available at an equivalent or stronger downlink RxLev as the server. 5. 5. but it also needs to be set slightly smaller than rr_t3103. together with at least one RxQual value of 5 and two RxQual values of 6 (or some setting similar to this).5. The timer should not be so long that resources are held up unnecessarily introducing channel congestion. resources at the source BTS are released. However there are some general guidelines and recommendation that can be applied independently of vendor-specific implementations. then bssmap_t8 should be set to 14000 ms. 5.8 bssmap_t8 ( Handover Guard Timer) => 14000 This timer runs at the source BTS during an intra-BSC or inter-BSC handover.5. RxQual handovers should take place relatively quickly to avoid potential loss of speech quality.5. including LAPDm layer 2 repeats at each stage. Therefore if rr_t3103 is set to 15000 ms. the radio channels will be released and a Clear Request message sent to the MSC This timer must be sufficiently long to maximise the probability of a successful assignment. and is stopped when the BSC clears the source cell resources following a successful handover or when a Handover Failure message is received. If Page 57 .Guideline for Network Design and Optimization access the target channel and to return to the source channel. Again. In worst case conditions the MS will take about 13s to fail an assignment and recover to the source channel. guarding the non-receipt of the assignment complete or assignment failure message from the MS.2 Handover and Power Control Parameters Handover and power control parameters are set according to the implementation of handover and power control algorithms on a vendor-specific basis. this timer needs to be long enough to allow the MS a reasonable chance to recover in poor radio conditions.5.1 RxQual Handovers: It is recommended to configure settings such that a handover will be triggered when 4 consecutive measurement reports contain at least one RxQual value of 7.2.1.7 bssmap_t10 (Assignment Guard Timer) => 14000 This timer runs at the BTS during the assignment procedure. as recommended.1.

different RxQual thresholds should be set for hopping and non hopping channels. 5.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization possible. and power down through normal power control thereafter. and it should be checked that a handover to a weaker cell is not possible.5. and the RxLev handover cause should be generated only when the RxLev reaches a very low value.5. dB) 5. In case they are used.2. provided the RxLev is above a defined threshold.2. dB) (power decrease step size.4 MS Fast Power Down: Some equipment vendors provide a feature allowing the mobile to be quickly powered down immediately following call setup by a large step. Page 58 . This process can be slow and results in mobiles transmitting higher than required power for a significant time. the MS should power up again. and the recommendation in most cases would be to keep them disabled. Typical power control thresholds are as follows: l_rxqual_ul_p = u_rxqual_ul_p = l_rxlev_ul_p = u_rxlev_ul_p = pow_inc_step_size pow_red_step_size 56 0 20 30 4 2 (lower RxQual threshold) (upper RxQual threshold) (lower RxLev threshold) (upper RxLev threshold) (power increase step size. Power-up needs to be fast in order to quickly overcome quality problems by increasing power. until the RxQual improves. RxLev handovers should be considered only as a ‘last resort’. A ‘feature’ of GSM is that mobiles transmit full power at call setup. a handover can be performed based on RxQual. So there are very few situations in which an RxLev handover is useful. 5. Occasionally powerup commands will given based on low level. while power-up commands are given based on poor quality. Similarly if the RxLev is low and the quality is poor.3 Uplink Power Control: The basic philosophy of uplink power control is that the MS should be powered down while the received signal level at the BTS is of good quality (RxQual =0). Generally speaking. power-down commands are given based on good level.5. Fast power down algorithms should be used wherever available as this reduces average uplink interference in the network. If a call is in progress and the quality is acceptable. since hopping channels can tolerate a worse BER for the same FER as compared to non-hopping channels. there is no need to perform a handover purely based on a low RxLev.2. If bad RxQual should occur (RXQual >0).2 RxLev Handovers: RxLev handovers are generally not too useful.

7 Adaptive Power Control: Some equipment vendors provide an adaptive power control algorithm. 5. occupying a SDCCH.5. which allows the step size of power control commands to be changed according to how far above or below the thresholds the measurements are. allowing the operator to control the conditions under which neighbours can qualify for Page 59 . and is recommended to be used wherever available. if not all.5. The handover cause generated is ‘congestion’. The TCH thus freed is allocated to the call in the queue. 5. and is handled in a similar way to a normal power budget handover. if there is a sudden large reduction in RxQual the handover will be triggered more rapidly compared to a slow and gradual reduction. In other words. freeing a TCH. vendors offer the Directed Retry feature.5. This should also be used wherever available.5. The handover has a margin associated with it. Parameter settings could be similar to those used for Uplink Power Control. and the call setup is completed.2. but based on the principle of ‘Handover on Congestion’ The Handover on Congestion feature works as follows: • • • • Call setup attempt is blocked due to lack of TCH resources Blocked call setup attempt is queued.8 Directed Retry and Intelligent Directed Retry (Handover on Congestion): Most. This represents an improvement over the standard voting mechanism (n out of p etc.2.5 Downlink Power Control: Downlink power control is useful as a means of reducing levels of downlink interference.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization Some vendors also offer a feature to set the mobile power at the required level on handover based on path loss measurements. 5. and should be particularly applied to cells known to be interferers (such as high or prominent cell sites possibly over-shooting lower cell sites).2. This enables a faster power control within the defined power thresholds and minimizes uplink and downlink interference. 5.2.6 Adaptive Handover: The principle of adaptive handover is to replace the usual fixed voting algorithm used for handover decision making with an algorithm based on ‘rate of change’ of a condition.). One of the existing calls in the congested cell is handed over to a neighbour cell. rather than reverting the mobile to full power automatically. and some offer an enhanced version known by various names.

Directed Retry has no equivalent measurement history.6 Location Area Planning and Paging Performance Good location area planning should minimise the number of location areas in the network and minimise the amount of location update traffic. Improved Call Setup Success Rate: The mobile is more likely to be established on the best serving cell when away from a location area border. Handover on Congestion is recommended as an effective method of limited redistribution of traffic in a congested network through improved trunking efficiency. The main benefits of this are: • Reduction in SDCCH resource usage through minimised location update traffic. as well as the number of location areas. and allows the network operator some enhancement in capacity during periods of rapid network growth. • Page 60 . since cell_reselect_hysteresis applies only at location area borders (on location update) but not between cells of the same location area. 5. Handover on Congestion is generally more effective than normal Directed Retry for the following reasons: • • Directed Retry allows call setup to cells outside the intended coverage area. The location of location area borders is also critical for this. increasing the probability of poor quality.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization congestion handover. Handover on congestion chooses the best candidate in the cell for handover based on a measurement history.

The PCH capacity is fixed on a per cell basis by the CCCH configuration and access grant block reservation set in the BSS database by the parameters ccch_conf and bs_ag_blk_res respectively. A paging load too close to the Page 61 . A well-planned network should have similar paging loads in each location area with the maximum paging load within reasonable range of the theoretical maximum paging capacity. The theoretical maximum paging capacity for each possible CCCH configuration is shown in the following table: Paging capacity is the primary consideration for calculating location area size. A very small paging load would suggest that the location area is too small and could be combined with neighbouring location areas. Additional Location Area planning issues are as follows: • • Location Areas must be contained within an MSC. and so on. such as planning to minimise movement of mobiles across location area borders. avoiding borders following rivers through large cities (RF propagation is difficult to control over water. so MSC borders place a restriction on Location Area border planning Geographical and topographical considerations impact location area planning.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization The maximum size of a location area is limited by the available Paging Channel (PCH) capacity. minimising location update activity and reducing use of SDCCH resources. so results in many unplanned location updates).

Look for ‘islands’ (cells accidentally hosted in the wrong location area causing unnecessary location updates) and coverage ‘splashes’ (especially near rivers. estuaries etc. 5.8 MTL Performance The MTL C7 signalling links between BSC and MSC (A-Interface) are key system components to ensure high system performance. Paging load OK but location update activity too high: Consider re-planning location update borders to minimise cross-border mobile movement and thus minimise location update activity.7 System Processor Performance The loading of system processors should be checked in accordance with the planning and dimensioning guidelines provided by the equipment vendor. and action recommended as necessary. Therefore these links should be designed with high availability and dimensioned appropriately to avoid any overload or congestion conditions. and processor expansion/upgrade recommended as necessary. 5. and making recommendations as required: Paging load too low: Combine small location area with other adjacent location area(s) to reduce SDCCH usage and reduce unnecessary location update activity.). Any observed overload conditions or outages should be reported. The following processors should be checked: • • BSC processors BTS processors Any overload conditions should be reported. Location area planning should be reviewed by investigating the paging load per location area.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization theoretical maximum paging load would suggest that the location area is too large and should be split up into multiple location areas to avoid paging overload. including call setup success. Page 62 . Paging load too high: Consider splitting location area into smaller ones.

Lack of diversity can result in link balance problems. 5. This should also be studied in relation to the RF design strategy.2 Transmit Combining Options The choice of transmit combining method has a significant impact on coverage (due to insertion loss of the combiners). and recommendations made if necessary.9. as diversity provides little gain in microcells where line-of-sight RF paths are Page 63 . Transmit combining should be considered as part of the BSS design review. as well as BSS supplied from several vendors.3 Antenna Selection Antenna specifications have a significant impact on network performance. 5. 5.4 Diversity Choice The use of diversity should be reviewed. and recommendations made as necessary.9. In the case of microcells this is normal. in turn resulting in poor call setup performance and poor quality.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 5. and the possibility to use certain capacity features (SFH.9 Additional BSS Design Issues The following additional BSS design issues should also be reviewed: 5. The suitability of antennas should be reviewed according to the observed performance problems in the network.9.1 Hardware configurations Networks often tend to consist of multiple generations of GSM hardware. eg: • • • • • Vertical and Horizontal Beamwidth Gain Front-to-Back Ratio Null Fill Downtilt (electrical/mechanical) Antenna positioning is also improtant with resopect to minimising interference and unwanted radiation. etc). Different types of diversity are possible: • • • Horizontal space diversity Vertical space diversity Polarisation diversity Sometimes diversity is not used at all.9. It is important to check hardware configurations to ensure they support the required quality and capacity features (such as synthesiser frequency hopping). MRP.

and so on. intruder access. air conditioning failure.5 Maintenance Schedules It is advisable to check that regular maintenance is carried out according to manufacturers recommendations.10.10.4 External Alarms External alarms are not always provided. The lack of proper regular maintenance results in poor equipment performance and a high rate of failure. This can include the following: • • • • • • Radio Calibration Clock Calibration Antenna VSWR Checks Equipment filter cleaning Earth testing …and so on. lack of diversity can result in significant performance problems. 5.1 Frequently Occurring Alarms A high frequency of occurrence of a particular alarm of group of alarms suggests a specific software or hardware problem in the network (usually vendor-specific). frame slip alarms indicating poor calibration of BTS clocks). to ensure the proper calculation of handover and power control algorithms. all of which contributes to poor network quality. 5. due to loss of coverage. They warn about environmental failures such as power failure. and so on. alongside network performance statistics.3 Transmit Power Calibration It is important that all BTS radios are properly calibrated within the defined range. 5. 5. but are strongly recommended.2 Frequency of Outages Frequent BTS or BSC outages cause a significant impact on network quality.10 BSS Operations Review The following aspects of BSS operations should be reviewed: 5. interference. 5.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization predominant. Sometimes it indicates a deficiency in a routine maintenance procedure (eg. dropped calls. This should be taken into account when considering network quality.10. However in large macrocells.10. Page 64 .10.

for improving network quality and preparing for growth. both immediate and long-term. as well as design and parameter changes. Page 65 . This could include suggested process changes to manage growth. as described in this document.Guideline for Network Design and Optimization 6 RECOMMENDATIONS The recommendations made from the network performance audit and design review findings will be in the form of a series of recommended actions. changes to operational procedures. The structure of recommendations will approximately follow the logical flow of the Network Performance Audit and Design Review Process.

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