Você está na página 1de 0

Optimum Location Area Planning

Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 1/26
Site
Ludwigsburg
Cellular Operations Department
Originator(s)
B. Viviand
T. Quick
Optimum Location Area Planning
Domain : MCD
Division : Operations
Rubric : Radio Network Planning
Type : Guideline
Distribution codes :
Distribution:
To: cc:
Mr. K. Eckert OC/NPL Mr. H. Derrey OC
Dr. R. Collmann OC/NPL Dr. C. Brechtmann OC/NPL
Mr. J.-B. Leprince OC/NOD Mr. P. Godet OC/NOD
Mr. C. Blachier OC/NOD
Abstract:
This document shows approaches how to achieve an optimum location area planning
in order to avoid SDCCH congestion and to optimize the load at MSC and BSC.
Approval
Name C. Brechtmann K. Eckert R. Collmann
Signature
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 2/26
Table of contents
1 History............................................................................................................ 4
2 Referenced Documents................................................................................... 4
3 Abbreviations................................................................................................. 5
4 Scope.............................................................................................................. 6
5 Introduction.................................................................................................... 7
6 System capabilities......................................................................................... 8
6.1 Interfaces ............................................................................................................ 8
6.1.1 Air Interface .................................................................................................... 8
6.1.2 A Interface .................................................................................................... 10
6.2 BSC.................................................................................................................. 11
6.3 MSC................................................................................................................. 12
6.3.1 E10 switch..................................................................................................... 12
6.3.2 S12 switch..................................................................................................... 13
7 Planning of LAs ............................................................................................ 14
7.1 Methodology..................................................................................................... 14
7.2 Topological planning......................................................................................... 15
7.3 Tools for LA planning ........................................................................................ 17
7.3.1 A955 ............................................................................................................ 17
7.3.2 MNDT 1.32 Traffic......................................................................................... 17
7.3.3 "BSS Telecom Traffic Model" Tool .................................................................... 18
7.3.4 MSC dimensioning......................................................................................... 18
7.4 Know problem concerning LAC planning............................................................ 18
7.4.1 Concerned software releases.......................................................................... 18
7.4.2 Description of the problem............................................................................. 18
7.4.3 Work-arround................................................................................................ 18
8 Optimisation of LAs ...................................................................................... 19
8.1 Optimisation Tools ............................................................................................ 19
8.2 Detection of LU problems .................................................................................. 19
8.3 Countermeasures .............................................................................................. 21
9 Summary ...................................................................................................... 23
10 Appendix...................................................................................................... 24
10.1 Calculation of PCH and AGCH capacity ............................................................. 24
10.1.1 PCH capacity................................................................................................. 24
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 3/26
10.1.2 AGCH capacity ............................................................................................. 24
10.2 Calculation of SDCCH capacity.......................................................................... 25
10.3 A Interface Dimensioning................................................................................... 25
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 4/26
1 History
Date Edition Status Author Comments
19 02 1997 01 Draft B.Viviand /
T.Quick
Document Creation
23 01 1998 01 Released B.Viviand /
T.Quick
01 03 1999 02 Released M. Hahn Chapter 7.4 added
2 Referenced Documents
[1] Alcatel 900/1800 BSS System Description
Alcatel document 3BK 02974 AAAA TQZZA Ed. 05
[2] Traffic Mix
Alcatel document 3DC 21203 0001 TQZZA
[3] Engineering Rules for Radio Networks
Alcatel document 3DF 00995 0000 UAZZA
[4] Engineering Rules for Radio Networks: Tables & Figures
Alcatel document 3DF 00995 0001 UAZZA
[5] BSS Telecom Traffic Model Release 4
Alcatel document 3BK 11203 0032 DSZZA
[6] A955 User's guide V4.22
Alcatel document 3DF 00985 0422 PCZZA
[7] Quality of Service and Traffic Load Monitoring
Alcatel document 3DF 00933 0001 TQZZA
[8] POST User Guide
Alcatel document 3BK 20137 AAAA PCZZA
[9] DICO User's Guide
Alcatel document 3DF 00936 0001 TQZZA
[10] AGLAE User's Manual
8BL 00600 0003 HAZZA
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 5/26
3 Abbreviations
AGCH Access Grant Channel
B4 BSS Software Release 4
BCCH Broadcasting control channel (GSM)
BSC Base Station Controller
BSS Base Station System (BSC and BTS)
BTS Base Transceiver Station
CCCH Common Control Channel
CPR Common Processing Unit
FCCH Frequency Correction Channel
DTC Digital Trunk Controller
GoS Grade of Service
HLR Home Location Register
HR Half rate
IMSI International Mobile Subscriber Identity
LA Location Area
LAC Location Area Code
LU Location update
MS Mobile Station
MSC Mobile Switching Center
OML Operation & maintenance link
PCH Paging Channel
QoS Quality of Service
R3 BSS Software Release 3
RACH Random Access Channel
RCP Radio Control Point
RNA Radio Network Administration
RSL Radio signalling link
SACCH Slow Associated Control Channel
SCH Synchronisation Channel
SDCCH Stand-Alone Dedicated Control Channel
SM Submultiplexer
SMS Short message Service
TC Transcoder
TCH Traffic channel
TCU Terminal Control Unit
TDMA Time Division Multiple Access
TMSI Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity
TTCH Terrestrial Traffic Channel
TRX Transceiver
VLR Visitor Location Register
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 6/26
4 Scope
The planning of location areas has a great influence on all network elements in a GSM
system. A high number of location update events involves distinct processor load at
MSC and BSC and can cause SDCCH congestion at the air interface. SDCCH
congestion reduces drastically the capacity of a network as it disables the call setup
procedure (no SDCCH no TCH). Thus, a suitable planning of location areas is
essential for the network quality.
In this document, informations are given
on the network elements involved in the location update procedure and the
possible limitations
how to determine the maximum number of cells in a location area according to a
given call mix and the configuration of the network elements
how to plan the location area borders to avoid the risk of too much location update
events
how to optimize LAs according to quality of service measurements in the network
(in a future version of this document)
It is assumed that the reader has a basic knowledge on logical channels, call setup
and location update procedures and traffic calculations. These subjects are addressed
comprehensively in [1], [2] and [3].
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 7/26
5 Introduction
In order to provide an effective paging within mobile terminated calls, roaming
procedures are implemented in the network which involve the grouping of cells to
location areas (LA). The LA of every mobile station is stored in the HLR and VLR
databases. This allows the network to set up a switching path to the appropriate BSS in
an effective way. Every base station in this LA forwards paging messages if a certain
mobile station is called.
The figure below sketches the network elements which are involved in the location
update (LU) process. A detailed description of this process is provided in [1]. For the
purpose of this document, it is sufficient to identify the possible locations that may
cause problems due to certain limitations. These are
Air interface: limited SDCCH resources
A interface: limited #7 signalling resources
BSC: limited processor capacity
MSC: limited VLR capacity
In the following chapter, the limitations are investigated in more detail, and tables with
typical figures are provided.
BSS
MSC
BSS
VLR A-Itf Air-Itf
VLR
capacity
A-Itf
capacity
SDCCH
capacity
BSC pro-
cessor load
Fig. 5-1: Location Update in the Network (same MSC area)
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 8/26
6 System capabilities
6.1 Interfaces
6.1.1 Air Interface
Before finding load figures at the air interface caused by location update events, it is
necessary to examine which logical channels are involved and how they are occupied.
Details about the usage of the various logical channels during call setups and location
updates are found in [1]. For a location update call, a SDCCH is used. Moreover, for
the link establishment procedure, other resources of the air interface are needed.
These the common control channels (CCCH) on the BCCH timeslot: RACH, PCH and
AGCH.
6.1.1.1 Channel configuration
It is possible to configure four
SDCCH channels on the BCCH
timeslot together with the CCCH
("combined BCCH"). This has an
impact on the total CCCH re-
sources. Table 6-1 shows the
number of available frames for
the different logical channels on
the BCCH timeslot depending
on the configuration mode. The
CCCH dl (downlink) frames are
shared between PCH and
AGCH.
Not only location updates require free CCCHs, but also other transactions like call
setups and short message services (SMS). Thus, LUs have to be considered assuming a
certain call mix per subscriber [2].
The values in Table 6-2 show a
typical call mix situation experienced
in a matured European operational
network. They are used as standard
values in the following calculations
and examples (the LU rate seems
quite high, but this is still a
moderate value. Experiences show
that even values in the region 7..12
occur!).
Channel BCCH
combined not combined
FCCH 5 5
SCH 5 5
BCCH 4 4
SDCCH 16 -
SACCH 8 -
CCCH dl 12 36
DL total 50 50
SDCCH 16 -
SACCH 8 -
RACH 27 51
UL total 51 51
Table 6-1: Nr. of frames according to BCCH configuration
Parameter Value
Busy hour attempts per subscriber
call setups 1.3
Location updates (LU) 3
short message services (SMS) 0.2
inter-BSC handover 0.6
Average SDCCH duration 4 sec
traffic per subscriber 16 mErl
Blocking
TCH 2%
SDCCH 0.5%
Table 6-2: Typical call mix
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 9/26
6.1.1.2 PCH and AGCH capacity
The downlink CCCHs are shared between PCH and AGCH. The different parameters
which influence this are :
CCCH_CONF: definition of the CCCH configuration (combined or not
combined)
BS_AG_BLK_RES: number of blocks reserved for the AGCH. A block is the
information transmitted on four consecutive TDMA frames on
the CCCH. The default parameters are:
BS_AG_BLK_RES = 1 in combined mode
BS_AG_BLK_RES = 3 in not combined mode
From Table 6-1, it is seen that there are 12/4 = 3 blocks available for PCH and
AGCH in combined mode and 36/4 = 9 blocks in the not combined mode. Thus, with
the above settings for BS_AG_BLK_RES, 2 blocks are available for paging channels in
combined mode and 6 blocks in not combined mode, respectively.
The paging load is further dependent on the paging request type which specifies the
number of mobiles which can be paged simultaneously with one paging message:
Paging request type 1: 2 mobiles (IMSI or TMSI)
Paging request type 2: up to 3 mobiles (2 IMSI, 1 TMSI)
Paging request type 3: up to 4 mobiles (4 TMSI)
An average value of 3 mobiles per paging message seems reasonable.
The paging subgrouping has no influence on the load, as shown in [2]. It only affects
the delay between originating the paging messages at the MSC and receiving the
answer, so that the proper timer values must be set accordingly.
With the assumptions from above, it is possible to calculate the capacity of PCH and
AGCH channels for the combined and not combined configuration. The maximum
number of PCH and AGCH messages are presented in Table 6-3. The interested
reader finds the calculation in appendix 10.1.
According to the AGCH
messages, the maximum number
of subscribers was calculated as
well. With the assumed traffic of
16 mErl per subscriber, this
corresponds to the TCH capacity
of a 6 TRX BTS for the combined
mode and a 15 TRX BTS (!) for
the not combined mode, respectively. So it seems that there are enough CCCH
resources available under normal conditions. However, an AGCH is used in response
to every RACH which the system recognizes. This can also be an invalid RACH due to
noise (spurious RACH).
Mode
Messages per
cell and hour Sub /cell
PCH AGCH
combined 58560 15319 2042
not combined 176160 45957 6127
Table 6-3: PCH and AGCH capacity
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 10/26
6.1.1.3 SDCCH capacity
SDCCHs are occupied for call setups, location updates, and short message services. A
typical average value of the SDCCH holding time for all services is 4 seconds. Thus,
the SDCCH traffic can be calculated depending on the call mix and the number of
subscribers in the cell. The formulas are shown in appendix 10.2.
In Table 6-4, maximum LU rates are given for the standard timeslot configurations of
the Alcatel BTSs [4] as well as configurations with additional SDCCHs for a maximum
of 0.5% SDCCH blocking. The values have been calculated using the call mix
according to Table 6-2.
# of TRX # of TCH # of SDCCH TCH capacity Subscribers max. LU rate
[Erl] [LU/call]
1 7 4 2.94 183.5 1.45
1 6 8 2.28 142.2 12.09
2 14 8 8.2 512.5 2.49
2 14 12 8.2 512.5 5.93
3 22 8 14.9 931 0.83
3 21 16 14.04 877.2 5.19
4 29 16 21.04 1315 3.06
5 37 16 28.25 1765.8 1.98
5 36 24 27.34 1708.9 4.55
6 44 24 34.68 2167.6 3.34
7 52 24 42.12 2632.7 2.54
7 51 32 41.19 2574.3 4.36
8 59 32 48.7 3043.8 3.5
Table 6-4: Maximum location update rate for 0.5% SDCCH blocking (the standard timeslot
configurations are shown in bold numbers); other parameters: 2% TCH
blocking, 1.3 call setups per subscriber, 0.2 short message services per call
In order to achieve a LU rate of at least 3, additional SDCCH timeslots have to be
configured for the 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 TRX configuration, respectively. Restrictions
according to the BSC (maximum number of SDCCH per TRX for the TCUs) must be
taken into account [4].
6.1.2 A Interface
One single A trunk (2 Mbit/sec PCM line) carries information on
30 TTCHs (Terrestrial Traffic Channels)
one #7 signalling link
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 11/26
The #7 link handles the signalling associated with calls, location updates, short
message services and inter BSC handovers. With R3 and the G1 BSC, each #7 link
provides 60 SCCP (Signalling Connection Control Part) connections which can be used
for all transactions and additional 4 SCCP connections exclusively for handovers. Each
SCCP connection is established approximately for the duration of one call including its
signalling phase.
Note: with B4 software, 128 SCCP connections are available for the G1 BSC and 256
SCCP connections for the G2 BSC.
Besides the already mentioned transactions (calls, LU, SMS, HO), also paging has an
influence on the #7 link load, but no SCCP connections are used for the handling.
Paging commands can be forwarded according to cell identifier lists or with more
simple commands, e.g. paging for the complete BSS. Typically, each #7 link is able to
handle 20.000 paging messages per hour.
The dimensioning of the A interfaces is done as follows: first, the number of TTCHs
required for the offered traffic is determined (using the Erlang B formula with typically
0.1% blocking), resulting in the required number of A interfaces. Then, a check is
performed whether the available #7 links offer enough resources. If this is not the
case, additional A trunks are required. An dimensioning example is shown in appendix
10.3.
General experience within Alcatel shows that two #7 links are required for three A
interfaces.
6.2 BSC
The BSC capacity is limited
by the processor load of the
interface boards. Each
transaction like a call setup
or a location update etc.
requires a certain processing
time on a related board.
There is an Alcatel tool [5]
which is capable to compute
both the DTC and the TCU
processor loads in the BSCs,
depending on the traffic mix
and the BSC generation.
For paging and location updating, DTC boards are the limiting element. In [2],
formulas and dimensioning examples for the G1 BSC with R3 software are given.
Table 6-5 shows typical processing times for the different transactions. Note that a
location update event requires the same processing time as ca. 30 paging events!
Transaction #7 DTC (ms) normal DTC
(ms)
Originated call 300 35
Terminated call 314 33
Intra-BSC HO 47 10
Inter-BSC HO 90 21
Loc. Update 149 not applicable
Short Message 149 not applicable
Paging
9.63+(4.5+0.0032L)L
L: number of cells in
location area
not applicable
Table 6-5: Processing time of different events at the DTC
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 12/26
For estimations, a good approach is to take the numbers of transmitted bits of the
transactions according to the call mix, and to relate this result to the message flow and
the busy hour. This number is expressed in %. A processor overhead of ca. 11% has to
be added. The total value must not exceed 60%. The total amount of transactions is
shared between the installed DTC boards. Details on this method are described in [2].
In practical work, the BSS dimensioning is best done with the traffic tool described in
[5]. This tool considers both G1 and G2 BSC and the possible configurations.
6.3 MSC
The MSC dimensioning is normally not in the scope of radio network planners.
However, the MSC performance has an influence on the maximum size of a location
area, so it is useful to know something about this subject. This will also avoid
troubleshooting at the wrong side.
Alcatel provides two switching products, the E10 switch and the S12 switch. The
architecture of these switches are very different, thus, the limitations are dependent on
the used switch as well.
6.3.1 E10 switch
The E10 MSC consists of two separate entities:
Switch matrix
RCP (Radio Control Point)
where the RCP handles the radio resources and mobility management. Also, the RCP
includes the visitor location register (VLR). A location area can not be bigger than a
VLR. Thus, the VLR capacity sets an upper limit of the size of the LA.
The actual capacity of one RCP is 50000 subscribers. Higher capacities are achieved
by further RCPs. This number of 50000 subscribers is valid for a location update rate
of 0.5 LU/subscriber/hour. The RCP capacity decreases depending on the call mix.
This leads to the notions of static (maximum) and dynamic RCP capacity.
Table 6-6 shows the
dynamic capacity B
depending on different E10
configurations. Each
configuration is
characterized by the number
of treatment units (UT), i.e.
processors, and a related
static capacity in subscribers.
The capacity was estimated
A8330 A8330 A8360
LU rate 6 UT 14 UT 14 UT
50000 sub 150000 sub 250000 sub
1 32706 85035 212588
3 22701 59022 147555
7 14084 36619 91548
Table 6-6: E10 capacity depending on LU rate
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 13/26
based on the call mix of Table 6-2 and a varying LU rate. Naturally, the figures are
dependent on far more parameters the description of which is out of the scope of this
document.
In an operational network in Paris (with an average LU rate of 3), a value of 23000
subscribers was experienced for the RCP capacity. As can be seen, this is in the order
of the dimensioning results.
6.3.2 S12 switch
S12 standard configurations are offered with a static VLR capacity ranging from
18000 to 180000 subscribers. However, the number of VLR bases may be configured
individually. The actual capacity is dependent on the call mix, as in case of the E10
MSC. No detailed informations are available yet.
A further restriction is the maximum number of cells in one paging message. This
number is limited to 12 cells. If a location area is bigger (what should be the normal
case), an according number of paging messages is sent to the BSS. This is normally
not a restriction, but can cause problems in case of limited software capabilities of the
BSC. An interesting problem occured in another European operational network: due to
the R3 software, the G1 BSC only accepts a maximum of 3 consecutive paging
messages, which lead to a maximum of 36 cells which can be paged simultaneously.
In the network, one LA comprised a complete BSC with 40 cells. Due to the limitation,
4 cells were not sending the paging message!
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 14/26
7 Planning of LAs
With the facts described in the previous sections, some planning guidelines can be
deduced now. This involves a general methodology and some hints for topological
planning.
7.1 Methodology
Basically, to avoid problems with a
high location update rate, the
general goal should be to plan
location areas as big as possible.
But obviously, this increases the
number of cells which have to
forward paging messages
simultaneously, and limits are given
by the maximum number of paging
commands or the maximum
number of subscribers in the LA.
Fig. 7-1 sketches this situation. One
expects an optimum location area
size where the LU rate and the
paging load is balanced. But as there are several mechanisms involved in the
processes, it is not possible to derive a simple formula for this optimum point. A more
suitable procedure is to start with an initial approach for the LAC assignment, then
checking all the system limits, and finally adjusting the assignment until none of the
limits are exceeded. Additionally, there should be some overhead in the figures in
order to be flexible for extensions.
When a network is planned in a first step, a good approach is to define one location
area code for each BSC. This allows effective paging (i.e. a simple paging message
can be sent on the A interface which addresses all cells of the BSC). However, care
must be taken about the borders of the LAs. The LU rate can be minimized if the
borders are not crossing streets or locations which are characterized by a high
subscriber mobility. The "one BSC / one LA" approach makes sense if there are at least
20 cells connected to the BSC. For less cells per BSC, two or even three BSCs should
cover a single LA.
Since no measured values are available when an early network starts operation, it is
reasonable to assume experienced traffic mix values from other networks, such as
shown in Table 6-2, and then check for the planned BSS design whether the limits are
not exceeded. This is especially important for the "one BSC / one LA" approach. The
checklist involves the following points:
LU rate Paging load
Optimum?
Nr. of cells in LA
Fig. 7-1: Influence of the LA size
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 15/26
are there enough channels available at the air interface? chapter 6.1.1
is the BSC sufficiently equipped (the load is shared between the DTC boards)?
chapter 6.2
is the A interface providing enough traffic and SCCP resources? chapter 6.1.2
are the limits at the MSC not exceeded (max. number of subscribers, paging
commands etc.)? chapter 6.3. The number of subscribers is calculated out of the
total traffic of all the cells belonging to the location area and the mean traffic per
subscriber

If any of these questions are answered with "no", appropriate countermeasures must
be applied, that is, more resources must be provided by one or more of the following
actions:
Air-interface: changing the relation between AGCH and PCH blocks
(BS_AG_BLK_RES), using a not combined BCCH and/or adding SDCCH channels
A-interface and BSC: adding more boards at the BSC, i.e. choosing a higher BSC
configuration
MSC: choosing a higher MSC configuration
The last two items show that this countermeasures can be a severe cost factor. So, at
first, the fixed network layout should be checked as well. A re-connection of a single
BTS could be a more feasible and a quite cheaper solution than choosing a BSC
configuration which requires more ground space due to an additional cabinet, and
which is ineffective because of many unused resources. A close interworking of the
responsible technical and operational departments will support this methodology.
If limits of the used MSCs are detected, advice should be taken from the fixed network
planning engineers about re-configuration possibilities and future expansion
strategies. MSC dimensioning is not the task of a radio engineer.
7.2 Topological planning
Besides the capacity problem of the network, a further question for the planner is how
to group the cells in the LAs, that is to say how to draw suitable LA borders. If the
number of mobiles crossing the borders are minimized, the LU rate will be minimized
as well. Some guidelines of this border planning are found in this chapter.
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 16/26
Fig. 7-2 shows the typical shape of a city, with a
high number of cells in the downtown area and a
lower cell density in the environment. Obviously, it
can be expected that a high mobility will occur in
the city center. The mobility of the subscribers can
be described by the traffic flow on the streets
which connects the different cell areas. For the
planner, this means the amount of mobile
stations which move from cell A to cell B within a
certain time, e.g. the main busy hour. The
planning goal is then not to cross streets of high
traffic flow when drawing the LA borders. It is
possible to convert street traffic data, which a
municipality may use for traffic flow planning, into mobile phone traffic flow figures.
However, such a conversion must be done with some simplifying side assumptions
which are not met in reality at any time. Furthermore, the availability of such data is
questionable. Therefore, it is more effective to perform a LA border planning with
qualitative rather than quantitative assumptions. The experience of the staff from the
local operator and own observations from field surveys can assist in identifying the
most populated places and streets.
Fig. 7-3 shows two general ways of dividing the area into location areas: sectors and
circular zones. With the sector solution, many streets are crossed in the dense
downtown area which will cause a high rate of location updates there. The solution
using circular zones optimizes the situation for the inner city, but introduces crossings
at the surrounding streets which have typically a high population at commuting times.
The optimum solution is a mixture of sectors and circular zones, where the LA borders
crosses the streets with the lowest traffic flow.
Since the traffic flow is a dynamic value with high variations in time (rush hours!), it is
clear that a fixed LA assignment can also only be optimum for a certain moment.
Fig. 7-2: Typical city map
Location area
border
Location area
border
Fig. 7-3: Division in LAs: by sectors (left) and circular zones (right)
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 17/26
Thus, the LA planning should not deal with average figures but rather with peak
figures.
If the "one BSC / one LA" solution is used, LA border planning results in a BTS-BSC
assignment list. But in reality, there are often not enough degrees-of-freedom,
depending on the connection possibilities. For example, microwave engineering has a
distinct influence on the site choice for the BSCs and the question which BTSs to
connect to a certain BSC, following the most cost-effective way.
On the other hand, if the LA planning is performed without any consideration of BSC
areas, this may result in more paging messages to be scheduled by the MSC, because
the messages must be forwarded to more than one BSC now. Again, advise may be
required from the MSC planning engineer.
7.3 Tools for LA planning
An effective location area planning can be performed if the planning engineer is
provided with suitable tools. Several programs are available; they are outlined below.
7.3.1 A955
A955, the radio network planning tool of Alcatel, supports the dimensioning of the Air
interface based on a given call mix and provides an automatic assignment of location
area codes.
The call mix is evaluated when the traffic calculation is carried out. This results in the
cell configuration in terms of the number of required carriers and the assignment of
control channels to the different timeslots.
The automatic assignment of location area codes is carried out if the CAE parameters
of the planning projects are exported. It is based on traffic flow values which are
derived out of the offered traffic of the cells [6]. This assignment may serve as a first
solution, however, a visual check of the LAs and a manual adjustment is
recommended.
In the current version, A955 does not provide BSC dimensioning.
7.3.2 MNDT 1.32 Traffic
This tool is part of the tool chain used in the MND department. It provides help for the
Air interface dimensioning, again based on a call mix. The parameters are entered in
flow chart boxes, which provide a good understanding of the influence of the inputs on
certain parameters.
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 18/26
7.3.3 "BSS Telecom Traffic Model" Tool
This tool is capable to calculate the BSC processor load according to a call mix and a
number of cells and considers different hardware and software configurations as well.
The used model is described in detail in [5].
7.3.4 MSC dimensioning
For MSC dimensioning, proper tools are available at the switching departments. Their
usage require a much deeper knowledge of the architecture of the proper MSC. More
easy to operate are "configurators", i.e. tools used for offer work. They can provide
coarse values of the capacity of the used MSC configuration.
Naturally, the LU rate is only one parameter which has an influence on the MSC
performance. Therefore, it is recommended to discuss capacity problems with the
responsible engineers from the related switching departments.
7.4 Know problem concerning LAC planning
7.4.1 Concerned software releases
The afterwards described problem occurs under certain conditions for the software
releases B4 and B5. In B4 the problem is solved with BSCSAD11F/61F included in
BSSSAE02H-2. In B5 the problem is planned to be corrected with the delivery
BSSSAH06A.
7.4.2 Description of the problem
When the BSC receives a paging command from the MSC with 260 or 261 bytes
length, all #7 links get instable. The critical length of 260/261 bytes can be reached
using three different paging scenarios:
1. Paging mode LAC+CI without TMSI and with IMSI of 8 bytes, 55 cells within the LA
2. Paging mode LAC+CI with TMSI but without IMSI, 55 cells within the LA
3. Paging mode LAC+CI with TMSI and with IMSI of 8 bytes, 54 cells within the LA
7.4.3 Work-arround
The best way to avoid the above described problem is not to use 54 or 55 cells within
one LAC.
If you have 54 or 55 cells planned to be included within one LAC, dont use the
LAC+CI paging mode. The paging mode LAC only should be used instead.
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 19/26
8 Optimisation of LAs
The possibilities of LA optimisation are strongly dependent on the capabilities of the
actual BSS software release. Therefore, it is sometimes quite tricky to prove whether
congestion is coming from LU problems or whether it is based on other effects. In the
following, possible clues for LU problems are discussed and what actions are required
to investigate the problem in more detail, respectively, how to overcome it.
8.1 Optimisation Tools
The problem identification is based on OMC-R performance measurements and
supported by a optimization tool chain. The tools applicable for LA optimisation are
the peri-OMC tools OBSTRT and OBSYNT [8]
OBSTRT: traffic analysis and alarm generation
OBSYNT: collection of measured data and formatting in spreadsheet files
DICO: Database of Indicators and Counters from the OMC-R, for problem
identification [9]
AGLAE: A-Interface GLobal Analysis and Elaboration, based on protocol analyzer
measurements (K1103 traces), for further investigation [10]
MAFIA: Macros d'Analyse de Fichiers Interface A: for the display of the AGLAE
results
8.2 Detection of LU problems
In normal operational networks, the typical problems are starting when SDCCH
congestion occurs. This leads to the question of a suitable monitoring procedure.
An appropriate methodology is the QoS monitoring [7]. The application of this
methodology requires the following steps:
Generation of OMC-R performance measurement files
Usage of OBSTRT and OBSYNT
Post processing of OBSYNT files and display of the suitable QoS figures with DICO
(for R3 and B4) or - in future - Alcatel's A985 NPA tool (based on METRICA; for B4
only)

The QoS monitoring procedure supports the quality management of the network. The
SDCCH traffic is provided daily per cell. Hence, problems with SDCCH congestion will
be recognized and localized fastly. The question for the reason, however, is not found
that easy. Especially for the R3 software, the available counters are not allowing to
look for details; they can be used for the evaluation of SDCCH traffic and congestion.
Further counters allowing calculations for PCH, AGCH, and RACH are available in B4.

Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 20/26
Counter Mnemonic Description
C01 NBR_DCCH_TERM_TRANS successful SDCCH seizures for terminating
transactions as seen by the mobile (paging
response)
C02 NBR_DCCH_ORIG_TRANS successful SDCCH seizures for originating
transactions as seen by the mobile (other cases and
emergency calls)
C04 NBR_NO_DCCH_AVAIL The subset of SDCCH seizures attempts which are
unsuccessful because all SDCCH are busy
C05 NBR_SDCCH_FAIL_BSS_PBL Number of SDCCH transactions failures due to BSS
problems
Table 8-1: OMC-R counters for used for SDCCH statistics

Before any further step is taken, the problem has to be examined in more detail. This
can be done by taking a trace on the A interface at the BSC where the congestion
problem occurs, using e.g. the K1103 protocol analyzer. This trace can be analyzed
further by following the procedure described below:
Identify the BSS with SDCCH congestion
Take an A interface trace (K1103)
Perform an analysis with AGLAE
Display the results with MAFIA
BSC 8 Date: 14.9.97 Begin time 13:34:50
Total Trafic 15196 Stop time 15:35:01
Time interval 2:00:11
Procedures % Type Nbr % Messages Nbr %
Assign Request 3836 95.68%
MO 4009 65.19% Alerting+Progress 3219 80.29%
Connect Ack 2308 57.57%
Calls Mean Call setup Time (s)
Mean call Holding time upon no answer (s)
31.37% Mean call Holding time (s)
Assign Request 2021 94.40%
MT 2141 34.81% Alerting+Progress 1986 92.76%
Connect Ack 1565 73.10%
Mean Call setup Time (s)
Mean call Holding time upon no answer (s)
Mean call Holding time (s)
Normal 6333 70.67% Mean Holding Time
Location Update 45.71%
Periodic 2628 29.33% Mean Holding Time
BSS Internal 2158 48.95% HO Performed 2158
Handover 22.49%
BSS External 2251 51.05% HO Request 1428
HO Command 823
Supplementary Service 0.42% 83
Emergency Call 0.01% 2
Table 8-2: Call mix output of MAFIA
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 21/26
Using AGLAE together with MAFIA allows the evaluation of a call mix out of the A
trace. This helps in investigating the reason for SDCCH congestion. A high LU rate can
be directly identified. An example of a measured call mix is shown in Table 8-2.
The figure "Total traffic" is the number of events which require a SDCCH (without
handover events). The percentages in the second column are calculated by relating the
number of counted events to the total number of events. If the transaction times are
known, these values could also been converted to figures per subscriber. The example
shows, anyway, that there are ca. 1.5 times more location updates than calls. The LU
percentage can be used as a direct indicator of LU problems. A "problem threshold" is
in the range of 70..80%.
8.3 Countermeasures
Before one starts looking for a higher-level solution against high LU rates, one can try
to adjust another cell parameter which influence the stability of location update
processes: the CELL_RESELECT_HYSTERESIS.
A practical example is presented in Table 8-3. For five cells with a high LU rate, the
parameter CELL_RESELECT_HYSTERESIS was adjusted from 6dB to 10dB. This has an
impact on both the LU rate and the average SDCCH congestion.
Cell Hysteresis = 6dB Hysteresis = 10dB
LU/call SDCCH cong. LU/call SDCCH cong.
1 3.14 1.06% 2.57 0.6%
2 12.9 6.09% 10.32 4.01%
3 9.55 1.75% 7.83 2.82%
4 6.59 6.13% 6.11 4.57%
5 5.66 4.02% 3.91 3.42%
Table 8-3: Influence of CELL_RESELECT_HYSTERESIS parameter
It is seen that in most of the cases, there is a distinct decrease of the LU rate. Even for
cell 3, which shows an increasing SDCCH congestion rate due to more traffic, an
improvement was achieved. However, the results also show that, though the situation
has become better, this is not the right method to remove the basic problem. It is a
solution for cells with rather low SDCCH congestion.
It is suitable to draw the results in cartographic form, e.g. by plotting a dot in the
center of the cell. A large dot may reflect a high LU rate. This is sketched in Fig. 8-1.
One can see that the LU rate of two cells which are serving a motorway and which are
situated at a location area border is very high. This information is, on one hand,
useful for re-assigning the LACs of the cells, i.e. moving the LA border. On the other
hand, care must be taken in drawing simple conclusions out of such plots. Let us
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 22/26
assume that an engineer decides to include one of the critical cells into the LA of the
other cell - this seems to be a reasonable solution. If the parameters are changed at
the OMC-R and a new measurement is made, the result may look like in Fig. 8-2.
The problem has not been solved, it has only been shifted. This is because the
motorway will cause a high mobility not only between the two considered cells but in
the whole area of all the cells which will serve it. This example shows that it is very
important not to loose the global view when such LU problems are investigated.
Motorway
LA border
Dots identifying
the LU rate
Fig. 8-1: Visualization of the LU rate
Motorway
new LA border
Fig. 8-2: Moving the LA border
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 23/26
9 Summary
This paper showed approaches for a suitable location area planning. It has outlined
that high location update rates will influence the network performance at several
locations, from the air interface resources to the MSC capacity. The contributions of
each of this possible problem locations have been evaluated.
With the achieved results, location area planning guidelines have been defined. Based
on an assumed initial LAC assignment and call mix values experienced from real
networks, it is possible to check the limits of the system. The LAC assignment can be
modified then until the optimum solution is found.
For high location update rates in running networks, the paper showed ways to
examine the problem based on Alcatel's optimization tools and methodologies and
presented proper countermeasures.
With the information of this paper and the referenced documents, the radio network
planner is able to handle location area planning in an effective way. If new
experiences from Alcatel's projects or new hardware or software features will be
available in future, this paper will be updated in order to provide the most actual and
most simplified planning and optimization methods.
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 24/26
10 Appendix
10.1 Calculation of PCH and AGCH capacity
10.1.1 PCH capacity
The capacity is computed by
Paging capacity [
pagings
hour
]
#of paging blocks of mobiles / paging block 3600
duration of 51-multiframe [sec]
=
#
For paging request type 3, one gets for
Combined mode : 2 4 3600 / 0.235 = 122000 pagings / hour
Not combined mode : 6 4 3600 / 0.235 = 367000 pagings / hour
Restricting to a maximum paging load of 60% and taking into account that, besides
TMSI numbers, also IMSI numbers are used for paging (this reduces the available
capacity by further 20%), the following values are yielded:
Capacity of the PCH in combined mode: 58560 pagings/hour
Capacity of the PCH in non combined mode: 176160 pagings/hour
10.1.2 AGCH capacity
One access grant message is carried by one AGCH block. The capacity is therefore :
AGCH capacity [
AG msg
hour
]
#of AGCH blocks 3600
duration of 51-multiframe [sec]
=

For the different modes:
Combined mode : 1 3600 / 0.235 = 15319 AG msg / hour
Non combined mode : 3 3600 / 0.235 = 45957 AG msg / hour
According to the capacity available on the AGCH channel, the maximum number of
subscribers in the cell can be computed. With the typical value of 4.5 access grant
messages per hour and per subscriber and considering a maximum load of 60%, one
yield:
Capacity of the AGCH in combined mode: 2042 subscriber
Capacity of the AGCH in not combined mode: 6127 subscriber
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 25/26
10.2 Calculation of SDCCH capacity
The maximum SDCCH capacity is calculated out of the maximum traffic capacity of
the cell, via the maximum number of subscribers:
# of subscribers
traffic capacity of the cell
traffic per subscriber
=
SDCCH traffic [Erl] =
# of call setups
subscriber

# of subscribers call mix mean SDCCH duration
3600


where call mix = 1+ +
# # LU
call
SMS
call
(the "1" represents the call setup of the call itself)
As an example for the 1 TRX standard configuration [4] (7 TCH, 4 SDCCH on the
combined BCCH timeslot) and given the call mix according to Table 6-2, the number
of subscribers is
294
183
. Erl
16 mErl / sub
subscribers =
and the SDCCH traffic
1.3
call setups
sub

183 sub 4.2 4 sec
= 1.11 Erl

3600 sec
With 4 SDCCH channels, this leads to a blocking rate of 2.1%. One can see that,
considering a typical SDCCH maximum blocking rate of 0.5%, the given call mix
would cause problems at the air interface.
10.3 A Interface Dimensioning
For the TTCH dimensioning, Erlang B statistics with typically 0.1% blocking is used,
with the total number of channels in all connected A trunks (1 A trunk comprises 30
channels, according to one 2 Mbit/sec PCM line). The following examples clarify the
dimensioning.
Case 1: 30 cells, 2 TRX per cell
For 2% TCH blocking, the maximum load of each cell is 8.2 Erlang. So the maximum
capacity for the BSC will be 30 8.2 Erlang = 246 Erlang. With 0.1% blocking, this
requires 287 channels
287 channels
30 channels / trunk
= 957 . 10 A trunks needed.
Optimum Location Area Planning
Edition 02 01.03.99
Alcatel Mobile
Communication
LAC_PLAN.DOC
ACS/SR 3DF 00993 7000 PGZZA 26/26
Case 2: 15 cells, 4 TRX per cell
The maximum load of each cell is 21 Erlang, hence, maximum capacity of the BSC:
15 21 Erlang = 315 Erlang 360 channels required at 0.1% blocking 12
A trunks needed.
It has to be proven now whether the available #7 links (= number of calculated A
trunks) are sufficient for signalling. The signalling load on one SCCP connection is
equal to the traffic load and the SDCCH load according to the typical call mix of Table
6-2. With an assumed mean time of 3 seconds for these transactions and 1.3 call
setups per subscriber and hour with typical 4.6 seconds setup time, the additional
signalling load is
( . . ) . 3 0 2 06 13 + +
+

=
3sec
3600 sec
4.6 sec
3600 sec
4.83
mErl
sub
.
The number of subscribers for case 1 is 246 Erl / 16 mErl/sub = 15375 subscriber
and, for case 2, 315 / 16 = 19687 subscriber, respectively. Thus,
Case 1: 15375 subscriber (16 + 4.83) mErl/sub = 320 Erlang
Case 2: 19687 subscriber (16 + 4.83) mErl/sub = 410 Erlang
Following Erlang B, for 0.1% blocking, 366 SCCP connections are required for case 1
and 460 SCCP connections for case 2, i.e. six to seven #7 links are needed for case 1
and eight #7 links for case 2 (60 SCCP connections per #7 link). Comparing these
results with the TTCH requirements, it is seen that enough #7 capacity is available.
END OF DOCUMENT