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Paging is the process in which the network locate a MS in order to deliver service when needed.


All active cells have their Location Area Information stored in the HLR, and for each Mobile Station
controlled by the cells of a given location area, the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) is also
stored in the HLR. Once its receive a request, the network send paging information to the whole Location
Area concerned as stored in the HLR, and the concerned MSC/VLR just forward the information up to the
concerned cell and then to the concerned subscriber (IMSI/TMSI).
The BTSs have to broadcast all the incoming pages. The Paging Request messages are sent on the
Paging Channel (PCH) on the Common Control Channel (CCCH). Too large LAs may then lead to a too high
paging load in the BTS resulting in congestion and lost pages due to capacity limitation on the air interface.
Smaller LAs reduce the paging load in the BTSs as well as in the BSCs. However, smaller LAs also mean a
larger number of LA border cells in the network. Each time an MS crosses the boarder between two LAs, a
Location Updating is performed. The Location Updating affects the load on the signaling sub-channels,
SDCCH, in the LA border cells. The SDCCH signaling capacity depends on the SDCCH configuration.


When the paging message is sent from a MSC to a LAC, all the cells in that LAC receive the paging
message through the A interface and then through the Abis interface. Further each cell of that LAC should
send the message to all the MS that it covers through the Paging Channel (PCH). Now what happen is all
the MS covered by the cell are divided into paging groups, meaning the paging channel is divided into
paging Subchannel, each delivering the paging information to one paging group. This decrease the
signaling load at the cell level, as the MS only receive the content in the paging Subchannel it belongs to.

Paging Chanel (PCH) is the common control channel used to broadcast paging information to the MS

Since the paging information is broadcasted to all the cells in the same LA The PCH capacities of
all the cells in the same LA should be the same.
The paging capacity: The paging is done on timeslot zero on the Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH)
frequency. Timeslot 0 is logically divided into multi-frames, where each multi-frame is 235.4 ms.
one multi-frame equals to 51 frames. The multi-frames have different contents for the different
channel configurations, and therefore the paging capacity varies: Non-combined BCCH/SDCCH can
fit 9 paging blocks per multi-frame. One multi-frame can fit 9 CCCH blocks. While combined
BCCH/SDCCH can fit 3 paging blocks per multi-frame which means that the maximum BTS paging
capacity is reduced to one third. In the combined mapping of BCHs, CCCHs and SDCCHs on timeslot
0, downlink. One multi-frame can fit 3 CCCH blocks.
Its capacity can be increased by adding one extended BCCH channel.

Paging block structure : Each multi-frame contains 3 (combined BCCH/SDCCH) or 9 (non-combined

BCCH/SDCCH) paging blocks. Each paging block can fit up to four Paging Requests. A paging block can fit

two IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) pages or four TMSI (Temporary Mobile Subscriber
Identity) pages or a combination of one IMSI and two TMSI pages

Paging Groups: After an MS tunes to the BCCH carrier and decodes the System Information, it performs
an evaluation to which paging group it belongs, and hence, which particular paging block of the available
blocks on the paging channel that is to be monitored.
A high number of paging groups means that the MSs have to wait for a longer time than the low number
case before the right paging block arrives. This increases the time for paging.
A low number of paging groups shortens the call setup time due to that the MS listens to the paging
block more frequently. The drawback is that the MS power consumption is higher.

Paging Queue: Incoming Paging Commands are buffered in a queue (one for each paging group). The
queue for each paging group in the BTS can fit between 6 and 14 pages, depending on the number of
paging groups. The BTS distributes the Paging Commands as Paging Request messages on the radio path
when paging blocks are available. A too high rate of incoming Paging Commands to the BTS increases the
queuing time, something that leads to an increase of the average time for the paging response. If the
queue is full, the incoming pages are "thrown away". There are two reasons why the paging discarded in
the BTS: Paging queue is full and the new paging message from BSC will be discarded. Paging messages
will be discarded if waited too long in the BTS, paging queue. Default is 5 sec. There is one paging queue
available for each of the paging group. The length of the paging queue is calculated based on the following
formula: Qlength = 14 (PQmax / 10) Where PQmax is the number of paging groups in the cell. So, we will
have a larger paging queue / buffer in the cell if we reduce the number of paging group. Also, MS will listen
to its paging group more often. The same paging group will be paged more frequent or shorter multi-frame
period. The possibility of paging messages discarded in the queue will become minimal. When there are
no paging messages to be transmitted to MSs in a certain paging group, dummy pages are sent instead.

Random Access: When the paged MS receives a Paging Request message it responds by sending a
Channel Request message, thereby requesting a signaling channel for call set-up. The Channel Request
message is sent on the Random Access Channel (RACH) and consists of 8 information bits: a random
number (5 bits) and an establish cause (3 bits). The establish cause can be: Answer to page Originating
call Location updating Emergency call Others (for example IMSI detach, SMS, supplementary services
management )


At the Cell level (ZTE case):
CCCH_CONF: The CCCH can be one or more physical channels. The CCCH and SDCCH can share the
same physical channel. The combination mode of the common control channel in a cell is determined by

AGBLK: Since the CCCH consists of the access grant channel (AGCH) and paging channel (PCH), it is
necessary to set how many blocks of the CCCH information blocks are reserved and dedicated to the AGCH,
the access grant reserve blocks (AGBLK).
AGBLK is represented in decimal numerals, and its value range is:
CCCH is not combined with SDCCH: 07.
CCCH is combined with SDCCH: 02.
The AGCH shares the same resources as the PCH. The CCCH can be set up to have either dedicated
blocks for Access Grant, or Access Grant can work in stealing mode, which means replacing paging blocks
with Access Grant blocks, if required. If dedicated blocks are used, each multi-frame contains two paging
blocks (for combined) or eight paging blocks (for non-combined).


According to the GSM specifications, every mobile subscriber belongs to a paging group. the
MS calculates the paging group to which it belongs by its own IMSI (International Mobile
Subscriber Identity).
In an actual network, the MS only receives the contents in the paging subchannel to which it
belongs but ignores the contents in other paging subchannels. (i.e. DRX source).
The BS-PA-MFRMS refers to how many multi-frames are used as a cycle of a paging
subchannel. This parameter in fact determines how many paging sub-channels are to be
divided from the paging channels of a cell.
The formula to calculate the number of paging group is as below: for Combined BCCH/SDCCH
cells: Number of paging groups = (3 - AGBLK) * MFRMS and for None combined
BCCH/SDCCH cells: Number of paging groups = (9 - AGBLK) * MFRMS
The risk of having an excessive delay in the BTS increases if the time between the
transmission of each paging group (set by the parameter MFRMS) is long.
In the network with paging discard problem at the cell level, its recommended to reduce the
number of paging groups via reducing the MFRMS value which will also reduce call setup time.


The frequency of periodic location update is controlled via the network and the period length is
determined by the parameter T3212.
The T3212 is a decimal number, within the range of 0~255, in the unit of six minutes (1/10 hours).
If the T3212 is set to 0, it means that the cell needs no periodical location update.
This value should be smaller Than the period by which the network queries the IMSI attached
The T3212 is set smaller than 1/3 of the MSCs check time

Max retrans: When starting the immediate assignment process (e.g, when MS needs location updating,
originating calls or responding to paging calls), the MS will transmit the "channel request" message over the
RACH to the network. in order to enhance the MS access success rate, the network allows the MS to
transmit multiple channel request messages before receiving the immediate assignment message. The
numbers of maximum retransmission (MAX RETRANS) are determined by the network.

CRH: is the hysteresis value used when the MS in idle mode crosses an LA border. As default
this parameter is set to 4. A higher setting might be advantageous in areas with many LA borders
and thus problems with many Location Updating.

At the BSC level (ZTE case):

ATT: Attached-detach allowed: this is to inform the MS whether IMSI attach-detach is allowed in the cell

If it is yes, the network will not process the connection to the called mobile subscriber when MS is
power-off saving then radio resources and network processing time.
IMSI Detach process refers to the process that MS informs the network that it is shifting from
working state to non-working state, while the IMSI attach is the opposite process.
ATT should be the same in one LA

T3212: just as for the Cell

PAGLIMIT: defines the max number of paging orders allowed to be sent to the TRH
(Transceiver Handler) per second. Set per BSC as a BSC Exchange Property. Since there are also
other mechanisms in the BSC that prevents overload due paging, there should normally not be
any need to change the parameter value. The only case when reducing it can be useful is o
prevent congestion on the paging channel PCH.

At the MSC level (Ericsson case):

The paging strategy in the MSC is determined by some AXE parameters (MSCs here are
via A-interface, the paging strategy implemented in the network depend on the setting of the
MSC exchange property settings; while the cell level parameter settings will determine the
paging capacity in the Air Interface. The following MSC parameters and exchange properties are
relevant for paging and Location Updating:

1. BTDM implicit detach supervision should be equal (or longer) than T3212 in the BSC.
If T3212 is increased, BTDM must also be increased. Note that BTDM is set in minutes
and T3212 is set in deci-hours.
2. GTDM is an extra guard time in minutes before the subscriber is set to detached.
3. TDD sets the time (in days) that an inactive IMSI is stored in the VLR before it is

4. Global Page or Local page: When a Mobile Station (MS) is paged, a Paging message is

sent from the MSC to each Base Station Controller (BSC) belonging to that MSC's
service area (global page), or to those BSCs serving at least one cell belonging to the LA
where the MS is registered (local page). For each Paging message received by the BSC,
Paging Command messages have to be sent to all cells belonging to the LA where the
target MS is registered. The number of cells in an LA ranges from a few tens up to
perhaps one hundred cells, sometimes even more. This means that one incoming Paging
message to the BSC leads to a considerably larger number of outgoing Paging Commands
from the BSC.
RESPONSE message the network stops timer PAGTIMERFRST1LA
(PAGTIMEFRSTGLOB). PAGTIMEFRST1LA is the time supervision for the page
response of the first page. The MS is paged in the LA with the first page if the Location
Area Identity (LAI) information exists in the VLR. PAGETIMEFRSTGLOB is the time
supervision for the first global page. It is used instead of PAGTIMEFRST1LA if the LAI
information does not exist in the VLR.
(PAGTIMEFRSTGLOB) expires and a PAGING RESPONSE message have not been
received, the network may repeat the paging request message and start timer





PAGREP1LA (PAGREPGLOB). PAGEREP1LA decides how the second page is sent: 0

Paging in LA is not repeated 1 Paging is repeated in LA with either TMSI or IMSI 2
Paging is repeated in LA with IMSI 3 Paging is repeated as global paging with IMSI
PAGEREPGLOB defines how global paging is repeated according to: 0 Global paging
is not repeated 1 Global paging is repeated with IMSI
supervision for the second page to LA. This is the timer used for the second page when
PAGEREP1LA is set to 1 or 2. PAGTIMEREPGLOB, the time supervision for the
second page, if it is global. If a page is queued for a too long time in the BTS, the page
may also be lost due to the fact that the MSC does not receive the paging response before
the timer (PAGTIMERREP1LA or PAGTIMEREPGLOB) has expired Upon receipt of a
paging request message and if access to the network is allowed, the addressed MS shall
initiate within 0.5 s the immediate assignment procedure. The establishment of the main
signaling link is then initiated by use of an SABM with information field containing the
TMSIPAR indicates if TMSI should be used or not: 0 TMSI is not allocated. Note that
this setting this means that TMSI is not used. The paging capacity will be decreased if
TMSI is not used. 1 TMSI is allocated only on encrypted connection 2 TMSI is
TMSILAIMSC states if a new TMSI shall be allocated at a change of LAI within the
MSC/VLR. Only applicable if TMSIPAR is not equal to 0. 0 Allocation only once 1
Allocation on every change of LAI
TIMNREAM determines the time supervision period between the sending of the
PAGING message and successful assignment of traffic channel which mean at least
TIMNREAM must include total paging time = First paging time (PAGTIMEFRST1LA) +
Second paging time (PAGTIMEREPGLOB).

If TMSI is used it will be used (at least) in the first page. Then, depending on how
PAGEREP1LA is set the page is repeated with either TMSI or IMSI. However, there will
always be some pages that are sent out globally in the first page. The reason for this is that
information about the MS did not exist in the VLR. Normally, this is due to that the MS was
removed from the VLR, due to being inactive for too long (see parameter TDD above). At an
incoming call, the HLR has information about the most recent location, i.e. VLR, where the
MS was registered. Then, when the call is connected to the VLR a global page will be sent
out due to that no information exists in the VLR about this particular MS. If the MS would
have been registered in the VLR but not active, no page would have been sent out.
It is the period by which the network queries the IMSI attached subscriber