LTE Signaling - Ralf Kreher - ebook

LTE Signaling ebook

Ralf Kreher

359,99 zł


This extensively updated second edition of LTE Signaling, Troubleshooting and Performance Measurement describes the LTE Signaling protocols and procedures for the third generation of mobile communications and beyond. It is one of the few books available that explain the LTE Signaling messages, procedures and measurements down to the bit & byte level, and all trace examples are taken for a real lab and field trial traces. This book covers the crucial key performance indicators (KPI) to be measured during field trials and deployment phase of new LTE networks. It describes how statistic values can be aggregated and evaluated, and how the network can be optimized during the first stages of deployment, using dedicated examples to enhance understanding. Written by experts in the field of mobile communications, this book systematically describes the most recent LTE Signaling procedures, explaining how to identify and troubleshoot abnormal network behavior and common failure causes, as well as describing the normal signaling procedures. This is a unique feature of the book, allowing readers to understand the root cause analysis of problems related to signaling procedures. This book will be especially useful for network operators and equipment manufacturers; engineers; technicians; network planners; developers; researchers; designers; testing personnel and project managers; consulting and training companies; standardization bodies.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi

Liczba stron: 614

Table of Contents


Title Page



Author Biography

Karsten Gaenger

Ralf Kreher



Chapter 1: Standards, Protocols, and Functions

1.1 LTE Standards and Standard Roadmap

1.2 LTE Radio Access Network Architecture

1.3 Network Elements and Functions

1.4 Area and Subscriber Identities

1.5 User Equipment

1.6 QoS Architecture

1.7 LTE Security 5

1.8 Radio Interface Basics

1.9 Hybrid ARQ

1.10 LTE Advanced



Network Protocol Architecture

1.12 Protocol Functions, Encoding, Basic Messages, and Information Elements

Chapter 2: E-UTRAN/EPC Signaling

2.1 S1 Setup

2.2 Initial Attach

2.3 UE Context Release Requested by eNodeB

2.4 UE Service Request

2.5 Dedicated Bearer Setup

2.6 Inter-eNodeB Handover over X2

2.7 S1 Handover

2.8 Dedicated Bearer Release

2.9 Detach

2.10 Failure Cases in E-UTRAN andEPC

2.11 Voice over LTE (SIP) Call – Complete Scenario

2.12 Inter-RAT Cell Reselection 4G-3G-4G

2.13 Normal/Periodical Tracking Area Update

2.14 CS Fallback End-to-End S1/IuCS/IuPS

2.15 Paging

2.16 Multi-E-RAB Call Scenarios

Chapter 3: Radio Interface Signaling Procedures

3.1 RRC Connection Setup, Attach, and Default Bearer Setup

3.2 LTE Mobility

3.3 Failure Cases

Chapter 4: Key Performance Indicators and Measurements for LTE Radio Network Optimization

4.1 Monitoring Solutions for LTE Interfaces

4.2 Monitoring the Scheduler Efficiency

4.3 Radio Quality Measurements

4.4 Control Plane Performance Counters and Delay Measurements

4.5 User Plane KPIs

4.6 KPI Visualization using Geographical Maps (Geolocation)




End User License Agreement


































































































































































































































































































































































Table of Contents


Begin Reading

List of Illustrations

Chapter 1: Standards, Protocols, and Functions

Figure 1.1 EPC and LTE under the umbrella of EPS

Figure 1.2 Packet data transfer in 2.5G GPRS across Radio and Abis interfaces

Figure 1.3 Packet data transfer in 2.5G GPRS

Figure 1.4 GSM/GPRS versus EGPRS modulation

Figure 1.5 Modulation/coding scheme and maximum bit rate in GSM/GPRS versus EGPRS

Figure 1.6 Cell footprint of maximum bit rate as function of MCS in (E)GPRS

Figure 1.7 IP payload transmission using Release 99 bearers with UE in CELL_DCH state

Figure 1.8 IP data transfer using HSDPA

Figure 1.9 Packet data transfer in E-UTRAN/EPC

Figure 1.10 E-UTRAN network architecture (according to 3GPP 36.300).

Figure 1.11 Connection via E-UTRAN non-roaming architecture

Figure 1.13 Connection via E-UTRAN with roaming in EPC

Figure 1.12 Connection after inter-RAT handover from E-UTRAN to UTRAN/GERAN

Figure 1.14 Domains and strati in E-UTRAN and EPC

Figure 1.15 Structure of IMSI (according to 3GPP 23.303).

Figure 1.16 Format of GUTI and S-TMSI

Figure 1.17 Structure of IMEISV (according to 3GPP 23.303).

Figure 1.18 Structure of location area identification (according to 3GPP 23.303).

Figure 1.19 Structure of routing area identification (according to 3GPP 23.303).

Figure 1.20 Areas in UTRAN/GERAN and E-UTRAN

Figure 1.21 Structure of cell global identification (according to 3GPP 23.303).

Figure 1.22 Structure of BSIC (according to 3GPP 23.303).

Figure 1.23 Modular architecture of a UE

Figure 1.24 LTE QoS architecture (according to 3GPP 23.401).

Figure 1.25 LTE security key hierarchy (according to 3GPP 33.401).

Figure 1.26 Subscriber authentication

Figure 1.27 NAS security initiation and RRC security initiation

Figure 1.28 RRC security completion

Figure 1.29 Time-variant frequency-selective wireless channel.

Figure 1.30 FDD system

Figure 1.31 TDD system with example duplex slot structure

Figure 1.32 Illustration of the hidden terminal effect

Figure 1.33 Schematic example of a Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) system

Figure 1.34 Schematic of Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA)

Figure 1.35 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)

Figure 1.36 Block diagram of OFDM signal generation

Figure 1.37 OFDM signal of orthogonal Si functions (subcarriers); subcarriers do not interfere because at each subcarrier, the signals from other subcarriers are zero

Figure 1.38 Overview of physical channel processing.

Figure 1.39 OFDM shared channel-based multiple user communication.

Figure 1.39 Localized versus distributed shared channel scheduling

Figure 1.40 Localized versus distributed shared channel scheduling

Figure 1.41 Downlink resource grid.

Figure 1.42 Frame structure type 1 used with FDD TS36.211.

Figure 1.43 Downlink FDD radio frame (normal cyclic prefix) with PDCCH, PDSCH, PBCH, reference signals, and synchronization signals.

Figure 1.44 Mapping of downlink reference signals (normal cyclic prefix) (TS36.211).

Figure 1.45 Frame structure type 2 used with TDD (for 5 ms switch-point periodicity) (TS36.211).

Figure 1.46 Scheduling and cell resource allocation analysis

Figure 1.47 Example PDCCH message of DCI format 1 (downlink scheduling assignment)

Figure 1.48 DRX cycle.

Figure 1.49 Block diagram of SC-FDMA transmitter with localized mapping to frequency resources

Figure 1.50 Example PDCCH message of DCI format 0 (uplink scheduling grant)

Figure 1.51 Example MAC Buffer Status Report (BSR) message

Figure 1.52 Uplink radio frame and subframe with two slots including PUSCH, PUCCH, PRACH, DMRS, and SRS.

Figure 1.53 Uplink resource grid showing on UL RB.

Figure 1.54 Different QAM schemes used with LTE and the number of bits mapped to each scheme

Figure 1.55 Near–far effect occurring in uplink direction, compared to equal signal strength reception in downlink

Figure 1.56 CQI illustration with sub-bands and best M reporting.

Figure 1.57 Master information block encoding and mapping to four DL radio frames

Figure 1.58 Example of a MIB (PBCH) broadcast channel message

Figure 1.59 Mapping examples of PCFICH into resource element groups (always within the first OFDM symbol of a subframe) within the PDCCH area.

Figure 1.60 Detailed illustration of one DL radio frame for a 1.4 MHz bandwidth example with mappings of all DL physical channels and signals.

Figure 1.61 Illustration of the location of the physical broadcast channel and the primary and secondary synchronization signals within the first subframe of each radio frame.

Figure 1.62 Vector IQ analysis of a primary and secondary synchronization signal on two transmit antennas

Figure 1.63 Random access preamble format (TS36.211).

Figure 1.64 Downlink channel mapping and multiplexing from logical channels via transport channels to physical channels

Figure 1.65 Uplink channel mapping and multiplexing from logical channels via transport channels to physical channels

Figure 1.66 Initial cell access with level of retrieved information

Figure 1.67 Contention-based random access procedure (TS36.300).

Figure 1.68 Example RAR message

Figure 1.69 A 6-byte MAC RAR (TS36.321).

Figure 1.70 Non-contention-based random access procedure.

Figure 1.71 HARQ principle with reception error, NACK feedback, retransmission with successful combined decoding, and ACK feedback

Figure 1.72 Synchronous HARQ with fixed time slots allocation to HARQ processes

Figure 1.73 Synchronous HARQ transmission scheme with multiple parallel HARQ processes

Figure 1.74 Asynchronous HARQ process with variable retransmission or next transmission slots

Figure 1.75 HARQ round-trip timing with NACK and retransmission

Figure 1.76 HARQ Example with IQ diagram on a noisy reception with failed decoding, NACK, and retransmission

Figure 1.77 HARQ example with an eNodeB having issues with decoding received transmissions

Figure 1.78 LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation bundles multiple 20 MHz LTE carriers in order to use an increased bandwidth of up to 100 MHz for a single user

Figure 1.79 Heterogeneous Network with privately deployed Home eNBs, pico cells in hot spot areas, and Relay eNBs as range extension and to increase cell coverage

Figure 1.80 Pico cells interfere with surrounding macro cells. ICIC enables to enhance the SINR of cell-edge users of the pico cell by decreasing interference of the underlying macro cell. ICIC increases the performance of the cell-edge users of the pico cell and expands the pico cell's range

Figure 1.81 ICIC coordinates the interference from the macro cell to the pico cell

Figure 1.82 Protocol stack LTE Uu interface

Figure 1.83 Protocol stack S1 control/user plane

Figure 1.84 Protocol stack X2 control/user plane

Figure 1.85 Protocol stack S6a

Figure 1.86 Protocol stack S3S4/S5/S8/S10/S11

Figure 1.87 Ethernet header example

Figure 1.88 Ethernet address resolution

Figure 1.89 IP datagram structure

Figure 1.90 IP fragmentation

Figure 1.91 Example of IPv4 address format

Figure 1.92 IPv6 header format

Figure 1.93 SCTP example

Figure 1.94 Failure in SCTP signaling transport

Figure 1.95 Layer 2 structure for DL (TS36.300).

Figure 1.96 Layer 2 structure for UL (TS36.300).

Figure 1.97 Example of MAC PDU consisting of MAC header, MAC control elements, MAC SDUs, and padding (TS36.321).

Figure 1.98 RLC layer overview with TM, UM, and AM RLC entities.

Figure 1.99 Model of two Transparent Mode peer entities.

Figure 1.100 Example of RLC segmentation of PDCP SDUs into MAC PDUs. The MAC Payload is equivalent to RLC PDUs

Figure 1.101 Example of RLC concatenation of several PDCP SDUs into one MAC PDU

Figure 1.102 Model of two Unacknowledged Mode peer entities.

Figure 1.103 Model of an Acknowledged Mode entity.

Figure 1.104 Functional overview of the PDCP layer (TS36.323).

Figure 1.105 Format of PDCP data PDU for transport of signaling radio bearer information.

Figure 1.106 Format of PDCP data PDU for transport of user plane information.

Figure 1.107 RRC state transitions in case of inter-RAT mobility.

Figure 1.108 Hysteresis parameter for RRC measurements

Figure 1.109 Offset parameter for RRC measurements

Figure 1.110 Time-to-trigger parameter for RRC measurements

Figure 1.111 UDP datagram

Figure 1.112 GTP path management

Figure 1.113 GTP tunnel management

Figure 1.114 TCP header format

Figure 1.115 TCP startup for an FTP service

Figure 1.116 TCP retransmission scenarios

Figure 1.117 SIP session initiation

Figure 1.118 MME startup and activity check on S6a reference point

Chapter 2: E-UTRAN/EPC Signaling

Figure 2.1 Combined S1 setup/reset for two eNodeBs connected to the same MME.

Figure 2.2 S1 Setup for two different eNodeBs.

Figure 2.3 S1 Setup failure.

Figure 2.4 E-UTRAN attach procedure.

Figure 2.5 Signaling and user plane connection after successful attach.

Figure 2.6 UE context release due to user inactivity.

Figure 2.7 Service request after UE context release.

Figure 2.8 Dedicated bearer setup.

Figure 2.9 Inter-eNodeB handover over X2 – overview.

Figure 2.10 Inter-eNodeB handover over X2 – message flow.

Figure 2.11 Overview of S1 handover.

Figure 2.12 S1 handover message flow.

Figure 2.13 Dedicated bearer release.

Figure 2.14 Detach (network initiated).

Figure 2.15 Successful SIP call setup including attach of UE

Figure 2.16 SIP call release including detach of UE

Figure 2.17 Inter-RAT redirection 4G-3G and cell reselection back to 4G

Figure 2.18 Normal/Periodical tracking area update on S1

Figure 2.19 CS Fallback S1-IuCS-IuPS

Figure 2.20 Paging in E-UTRAN

Figure 2.21 Initial Context Setup with simultaneous establishment of three E-RABs for IMS signaling, VoLTE and default internet traffic

Figure 2.22 Bearer for VoLTE speech information is established using dedicated E-RAB Setup procedure

Figure 2.23 IMS signaling bearer, default internet traffic bearer and VoLTE bearer are established one by one

Figure 2.24 3 VoLTE bearers (“calls”) established and released during same radio connection

Figure 2.25 Normal release of a VoLTE call after two failed attempts of handover preparation

Figure 2.26 Successful incoming and outgoing S1 handover of a radio connection with active VoLTE bearer

Figure 2.27 Successful outgoing inter-RAT handover of a radio connection with active VoLTE bearer

Figure 2.28 Initial Context Setup with simultaneous establishment of three E-RABs for IMS signaling, VoLTE and default internet traffic

Figure 2.29 Drop of the radio connection after normal release of an previously active VoLTE bearer

Chapter Radio Interface Signaling Procedures: Radio Interface Signaling Procedures

Figure 3.1 Random access preamble format (according to 3GPP 36.211)

Figure 3.2 RRC connection setup procedure 1/3.

Figure 3.3 RRC connection setup 2/3.

Figure 3.4 Transmission bandwidth (3GPP 36.104)

Figure 3.5 RRC connection setup 3/3 and RRC connection release.

Figure 3.6 LTE neighbor cell measurements

Figure 3.7 Intra-frequency intra-eNodeB handover

Figure 3.8 Intra-frequency intra-eNodeB handover call flow

Figure 3.9 Intra-LTE inter-frequency handover

Figure 3.10 Intra-eNodeB inter-frequency handover, variant 1

Figure 3.11 Intra-eNodeB inter-frequency handover, variant 2 (1/2)

Figure 3.12 Intra-eNodeB inter-frequency handover, variant 2 (2/2)

Figure 3.13 Inter-eNodeB intra-frequency handover overview

Figure 3.14 Inter-eNodeB intra-frequency handover (1/3)

Figure 3.15 Inter-eNodeB intra-frequency handover (2/3)

Figure 3.16 Inter-eNodeB intra-frequency handover (3/3)

Figure 3.17 Inter-RAT handover to 3G

Figure 3.18 Direct and indirect tunneling

Figure 3.19 Inter-RAT handover to 2G

Figure 3.20 Inter-RAT blind redirection to 3G overview

Figure 3.21 Inter-RAT blind redirection to 3G message flow

Figure 3.22 Inter-RAT blind redirection to 2G overview

Figure 3.23 Inter-RAT blind redirection to 2G message flow

Figure 3.24 CS fallback

Figure 3.25 Errors during RRC connection setup and default radio bearer setup.

Figure 3.26 Successful/unsuccessful RRC connection re-establishment.

Figure 3.27 RLC AM retransmission errors

Chapter 4: Key Performance Indicators and Measurements for LTE Radio Network Optimization

Figure 4.1 Monitoring architecture of an LTE network with fixed line interfaces (subset) and air interface

Figure 4.2 Strategies to monitor the air interface

Figure 4.3 Antenna-based monitoring

Figure 4.4 Coax-based monitoring of the air interface

Figure 4.5 CPRI-based monitoring

Figure 4.6 Regular two-fiber CPRI architecture

Figure 4.7 WDM CPRI architecture with one fiber for uplink and downlink. LC = Lucent or Local Connector; SFP = Small Form-Factor Pluggable (fiber optic module)

Figure 4.8 Split workflow and measurement architecture for network benchmarking and analysis/ optimization

Figure 4.9 eNodeB trace port architecture and backhaul concept

Figure 4.10 Control Plane stacks of the X2, S1, and Uu interface. Highlighted protocols are provided with the eNB trace port. Vendor specific information may provide additional information of other protocol layers

Figure 4.11 eNB trace port concept in file mode (pull mode). The eNB trace content is written into files at a mediation server and read-out (pulled) by the network monitoring analysis entities

Figure 4.12 eNB trace port concept in streaming mode (push mode). The eNB trace content is directly streamed (pushed) to the network monitoring analysis entities

Figure 4.13 Scheduling of radio resources avoiding interference

Figure 4.14 Resource scheduling for three different subscribers in same cell for downlink and uplink

Figure 4.15 CPICH measurement in 3G FDD UMTS

Figure 4.16 Partial frequency reuse to provide better signal quality for users at the cell edge on the downlink

Figure 4.17 Statistical outliers in a histogram for received total wideband power

Figure 4.18 Visualized downlink scheduling for four individual subscribers

Figure 4.19 Number of active UEs (“users”) over time

Figure 4.20 Uplink radio quality measurements and layer 2 measurements

Figure 4.21 Downlink radio quality measurements

Figure 4.22 LTE coverage and interference problems

Figure 4.23 UL scheduling for four different UEs in same cell

Figure 4.24 Short buffer status MAC control element.

Figure 4.25 Long buffer status MAC control element. Reproduced with permission from © 3GPP™

Figure 4.26 Impact of external interference in UMTS and LTE cells

Figure 4.27 Timing advance principle

Figure 4.28 Channel baseband power measurement graph

Figure 4.29 Two-dimensional I/Q constellation diagram

Figure 4.30 Three-dimensional I/Q constellation diagram

Figure 4.31 Measurements to compute EVM/MER

Figure 4.32 Modulation error ratio for LTE spectrum

Figure 4.33 RRC connection setup procedure

Figure 4.34 RRC setup timeout on UE side

Figure 4.35 Attach failure due to failures in EPC

Figure 4.36 Failed attach due to failed update location in HSS

Figure 4.37 Network failure in attach procedure due to EPC latency

Figure 4.38 Initial context setup failure during initial attach

Figure 4.39 Activate default EPS bearer failure

Figure 4.40 Dedicated bearer setup failure

Figure 4.41 Call drop due to transmission failures on the radio interface

Figure 4.42 Possible root causes for an E-UTRAN call drop

Figure 4.43 Throughput measurement graph of a single connection correlated with occurrence of handover events

Figure 4.44 IP frame header

Figure 4.45 TCP and FTP data frame

Figure 4.46 UDP datagram with length indicator

Figure 4.47 UDP throughput of a connection between two terminal endpoints as measured on S1-U interface

Figure 4.48 FTP (IP) service setup time

Figure 4.49 TCP round-trip time measurement principle

Figure 4.50 HARQ retransmissions cause TCP round-trip time peaks

Figure 4.51 Packet delay and lost packet caused by eNodeB

Figure 4.52 Triangulation of an UE position

Figure 4.53 Path loss of the cell's radio signal as a function of distance between UE and cell's antenna

Figure 4.54 Distance by timing advance versus true distance in direct line of sight

Figure 4.55 RSRP Best Server Coverage Map based on RRC measurement reports of all UEs in the network

Figure 4.56 Geographical map showing hot spots of accessibility problems (blocked calls = call setup failures)

List of Tables

Chapter 1: Standards, Protocols, and Functions

Table 1.1 IMSI group mapping Table from Tektronix Communications NSA software

Table 1.2 Example of handset name mapping table

Table 1.3 RNTI values (according to 3GPP 36.321)

Table 1.4 UE categories and DL capabilities (according to 3GPP 36.306)

Table 1.5 UE categories and UL capabilities (according to 3GPP 36.306)

Table 1.6 Standardized QCI, QoS parameter thresholds, and example services (according to 3GPP 23.203)

Table 1.7 Uplink–downlink configurations for TDD

Table 1.8 Bits to be carried by the modulation schemes used with LTE

Table 1.9 Configuration of cyclic prefix

Table 1.10 Commonly used number of resource blocks

Table 1.11 Resource allocation types and the applying DCI formats TS36.213

Table 1.12 Type 0 resource allocation RBG size versus DL system bandwidth

Table 1.13 Mapping of TPC command field in DCI format 1A/1B/1D/1/2A/2/3 to




Table 1.14 Mapping of TPC command field in DCI format 3A to




Table 1.15 Supported PDCCH formats with different FEC protection

Table 1.16 Physical downlink channels and their modulation schemes

Table 1.17 Supported PUCCH formats

Table 1.18 Physical uplink channels with their modulation schemes

Table 1.19 TPC command



in RAR for scheduled PUSCH UL grant

Table 1.20 Values of LCID for DL-SCH

Table 1.21 Values of LCID for UL-SCH

Table 1.22 Supported header compression protocols and profiles

Table 1.23 RRC measurement event IDs and description

Table 1.24 S1AP UE IDs in UE-related messages

Table 1.25 S1AP Class 1 elementary procedures

Table 1.26 S1AP Class 2 elementary procedures

Table 1.27 GTP messages

Chapter 2: E-UTRAN/EPC Signaling

Table 2.1 S1AP failure messages

Table 2.2 X2AP failure messages

Table 2.3 NAS EMM failure messages

Table 2.4 NAS ESM failure messages

Chapter 3: Radio Interface Signaling Procedures

Table 3.1 Preamble formats (according to 3GPP 36.211)

Table 3.2 Random access preamble timing for preamble formats 0–3 (according to 3GPP 36.211)

Table 3.3 E-UTRA channel numbers for downlink (according to 3GPP 36.101)

Chapter 4: Key Performance Indicators and Measurements for LTE Radio Network Optimization

Table 4.1 RSRP measurement report mapping

Table 4.2 RSRQ measurement report mapping

Table 4.3 Power headroom bin mapping table

Table 4.4 BSR bin mapping table

Table 4.5 Received interference power – reporting range and bin mapping table

Table 4.6 TCP port numbers for common layer 7 applications






Ralf Kreher and Karsten Gaenger

NETSCOUT - Mobile Access, Germany





This edition first published 2016

© 2016, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

First Edition published in 2011

Registered office

John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom

For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services and for information about how to apply for permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at

The right of the author to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books.

Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. It is sold on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services and neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Kreher, Ralf, author.

LTE signaling, troubleshooting and performance measurement / Ralf Kreher and Karsten Gaenger, NETSCOUT – Mobile Access, Germany. – Second edition.

pages cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-1-118-72510-8 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. Long-Term Evolution (Telecommunications) I.

Gaenger, Karsten, author. II. Title.

TK5103.48325.K74 2016



A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Ralf Kreher

I dedicate this book to my grandmother Emilie (*1914, †2014). She managed to raise four children in the aftermath of World War II after losing her husband, home and all her valuables.

Karsten Gaenger

To my lovely lady for her care and patience. To my parents and my sister for being with me and for their continuous support.

As a global standard, LTE might connect more people than ever before. It is my hope that as we increase our ability to communicate we increase our ability to live peaceably together.

Author Biography

Karsten Gaenger

Karsten Gaenger received a Dipl.-Ing. degree in electrical engineering from the Berlin University of Technology. He worked for the Fraunhofer HHI research institute from 2004 to 2006. During this time, he has published several IEEE papers on the development of a reliable real-time streaming system and protocol for mobile ad-hoc networks. His research interests are mobile communications, geolocation, and robust real-time media streaming.

From 2006 to 2015, he worked for Tektronix Communications as a Solution Architect and Product Line Manager with focus on RAN testing, monitoring, and optimization. One of his major projects was the development of a passive real-time LTE air interface monitoring probe.

Currently, he works for NETSCOUT Mobile Access product line in the field of 3G and LTE radio access networks (RANs). He is a Product Line Manager with focus on RAN and geolocation in today's and next generation mobile networks. His current projects include the network wide passive geolocation of all devices (UEs).

He currently resides in Germany.

Ralf Kreher

Ralf Kreher works as a Principal Engineer/Senior Solution Architect for NETSCOUT Mobile Access product line where he specializes in Performance Measurement and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) implementation. Previously, he was head of the Tektronix Communications Test and Optimization Customer Training Department for almost 4 years and was responsible for a world-class seminar portfolio for mobile technologies and measurement products.

Tektronix Communications and NETSCOUT have combined and merged their businesses in July 2015. Before joining Tektronix, Kreher held a trainer assignment for switching equipment at Teles AG, Berlin. Kreher holds a Communication Engineering Degree from the University of Applied Science, Deutsche Telekom Leipzig. He is internationally recognized as an author of the following books: UMTS Signaling (Wiley) and UMTS Performance Measurement: A Practical Guide to KPIs for the UTRAN Environment (Wiley). He currently resides in Germany.


Over the past 30 years, society has undergone a profound and fundamental change. This change has been driven by radical advancements in communications technology. At the heart of this change has been cellular or mobile communications. It is the ability to instantly connect to anyone, anywhere, from the palm of your hand.

Today, there are more connected devices than there are people on the planet. It is forecasted that by 2019 over 50% of the mobile phones on the planet will be smartphones – devices that provide far more than just the ability for voice communications, but devices that allow internet browsing, video streaming, and unified communications. They are the platform for innovation and economic growth, and it is a platform that governments around the globe view as vitally important to economic success – regionally, nationally, and internationally.

As mobile communications have developed, the networks have become increasingly more complex. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the radio access network (RAN). Today, RAN provides voice, data, and video services to a countless array of devices with varying capabilities moving through different terrains at different speeds. All the while, the user is expecting a seamless, uninterrupted user experience.

That is why it is vitally important for engineers, planners, managers, and regulators to understand the complexity of the modern RAN, and the importance of having monitoring capabilities in the network. From understanding capacity utilization to user experience, the mobile network is the platform for tomorrow's innovation. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that this platform is ready and available to fuel the breakthroughs of tomorrow.

Richard Kenedi, President NETSCOUT Service Provider Business Unit


We would like to take the chance to acknowledge the effort of all who participated directly or indirectly in creating and publishing this book.

First of all a special “thank you” goes to Ralf Kreher's sister Brit who created and formatted all figures you will find in this book. Another one goes to our family members and all who supported and encouraged us to get this work done.

Eiko Seidel and his team at Nomor Research have not just created some excellent primers about LTE radio interface procedures and set up the 3GPP LTE Standards Group at, but also gave us deep insight into their scheduling simulator, a tool used to design scheduling algorithms for eNodeB vendors.

Antonio Bovo who used to work as a System Architect for Tektronix Communications Padova contributed a very detailed research on E-UTRAN protocols and functions. From his work, we have derived the major part of the S1AP chapter of this book.

Karsten Gienskey and Marcus Garin working for Tektronix Berlin shared with us their earliest prototypes and design specifications for RLC reassembly and radio interface tracing. Without their great job, we would have been “blind” on the radio interface.

Ulrich Jeczawitz, freelancer and ex-colleague of Tektronix Berlin, and the former development team of the Tektronix G35 protocol simulator led by Dirk-Holger Lenz generated traces of E-UTRAN and Enhance Packet Core signaling procedures long before they would occur in any live network field trial.

Lars Chudzinsky, working on LTE call trace and call analysis modules for Tektronix Berlin, contributed design specifications of protocol failure events that became the raw material for chapter 2.10.

This book would not exist without the ideas, questions, and requirements contributed by customers, colleagues, and subcontractors. Besides all others that cannot be personally named, we would like to express thanks especially to the following people listed in an alphabetical order:

Jürgen Forsbach

Andre Huge

Steffen Hülpüsch

Armin Klopfer

In addition, thanks goes to the Management of the Tektronix Communications Mobile Access product line, in particular the Human Resources Department represented by Nadine Eckert and R&D Berlin Director Jens Dittrich who supported the idea to write this book and approved usage of Tektronix material in the contents.

Maïssa Bahsoun, Jeanne Lancry-Gulino, and Stéphanie Langlois have been our prime contacts in 3GPP/ETSI to get copyright permissions and, last but not least, we also would like to express our thanks to the team at Wiley, especially Mark Hammond, Sarah Tilley, Sophia Travis, Liz Wingett, and Teresa Netzler for their strong support.

Berlin, 1 July, 2015Ralf Kreher and Karsten Gaenger

Chapter 1Standards, Protocols, and Functions

Long-Term Evolution (LTE) of Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) is one of the latest steps in an advancing series of mobile telecommunication systems. The standards body behind the paperwork is the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

Along with the term LTE, the acronyms EPS (Evolved Packet System), EPC (Evolved Packet Core), and SAE (System Architecture Evolution) are often heard. Figure 1.1 shows how these terms are related to each other: EPS is the umbrella that covers both the LTE of the Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN) and the SAE of the EPC network.

Figure 1.1 EPC and LTE under the umbrella of EPS

LTE was and is standardized in parallel to other radio access network technologies like EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) and HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access). This means that LTE is not a simple replacement of existing technologies. Rather it is expected that different kinds of radio access will coexist in operator networks.

From this background, it emerges that understanding LTE also requires understanding alternative and coexisting technologies. Indeed, one of the major challenges of LTE signaling analysis will concern the analysis of handover procedures. Especially, the options for possible inter-RAT (Radio Access Technology) handovers have multiplied compared to what was possible in UMTS Release 99. However, also intra-system handover and dynamic allocation of radio resources to particular subscribers will play an important role.

The main drivers for LTE development are:

reduced delay for connection establishment;

reduced transmission latency for user plane data;

increased bandwidth and bit rate per cell, also at the cell edge;

reduced costs per bit for radio transmission;

greater flexibility of spectrum usage;

simplified network architecture;

seamless mobility, including between different radio access technologies;

reasonable power consumption for the mobile terminal.

It must be said that LTE as a RAT is flanked by a couple of significant improvements in the core network known as the EPS. Simplifying things a little, it is not wrong to state that EPS is an all-IP (Internet Protocol) transport network for mobile operators. IP will also become the physical transport layer on the wired interfaces of the E-UTRAN. This all-IP architecture is also one of the facts behind the bullet point on simplified network architecture. However, to assume that to be familiar with the TCP/IP world is enough to understand and measure LTE would be a fatal error. While the network architecture and even the basic signaling procedures (except the handovers) become simpler, the understanding and tracking of radio parameters require more knowledge and deeper investigation than they did before. Conditions on the radio interface will change rapidly and with a time granularity of 1 ms, the radio resources assigned to a particular connection can be adjusted accordingly.

For instance, the radio quality that is impacted by the distance between the User Equipment (UE) and base station can determine the modulation scheme and, hence, the maximum bandwidth of a particular connection. Simultaneously, the cell load and neighbor cell interference – mostly depending on the number of active subscribers in that cell – will trigger fast handover procedures due to changing the best serving cell in city center areas, while in rural areas, macro cells will ensure the best possible coverage.

The typical footprint of an LTE cell is expected by 3GPP experts to be in the range from approximately 700 m up to 100 km. Surely, due to the wave propagation laws, such macro cells cannot cover all services over their entire footprint. Rather, the service coverage within a single cell will vary, for example, from the inner to the outer areas and the maximum possible bit rates will decline. Thus, service optimization will be another challenge too.

1.1 LTE Standards and Standard Roadmap

To understand LTE, it is necessary to look back at its predecessors and follow its path of evolution for packet switched services in mobile networks.

The first stage of the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), which is often referred to as the 2.5G network, was deployed in live networks starting after the year 2000. It was basically a system that offered a model of how radio resources (in this case, GSM time slots) that had not been used by Circuit Switched (CS) voice calls could be used for data transmission and, hence, profitability of the network could be enhanced. At the beginning, there was no pre-emption for PS (Packet Switched) services, which meant that the packet data needed to wait to be transmitted until CS calls had been finished.

In contrast to the GSM CS calls that had a Dedicated Traffic Channel (DTCH) assigned on the radio interface, the PS data had no access to dedicated radio resources and PS signaling, and the payload was transmitted in unidirectional Temporary Block Flows (TBFs) as shown in Figure 1.2.

Figure 1.2 Packet data transfer in 2.5G GPRS across Radio and Abis interfaces

These TBFs were short and the size of data blocks was small due to the fact that the blocks must fit the transported data into the frame structure of a 52-multiframe, which is the GSM radio transmission format on the physical layer. Larger Logical Link Control (LLC) frames that contain already segmented IP packets needed to be segmented into smaller Radio Link Control (RLC) blocks.

The following tasks are handled by the RLC protocol in 2.5G:

Segmentation and reassembly of LLC packets → segmentation results in RLC blocks.

Provision of reliable links on the air interface → control information is added to each RLC block to allow Backward Error Correction (BEC).

Performing sub-multiplexing to support more than one MS (Mobile Station) by one physical channel.

The Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol is responsible for:

point-to-point transfer of signaling and user data within a cell;

channel combining to provide up to eight physical channels to one MS;

mapping RLC blocks onto physical channels (time slots).

As several subscribers can be multiplexed on one physical channel, each connection has to be (temporarily) uniquely identified. Each TBF is identified by a Temporary Flow Identifier (TFI). The TBF is unidirectional (uplink (UL) and downlink (DL)) and is maintained only for the duration of the data transfer.

Toward the core network in 2.5G GPRS, the Gb interface is used to transport the IP payload as well as GPRS Mobility Management/Session Management (GMM/SM) signaling messages and short messages (Short Message Service, SMS) between SGSN and the PCU (Packet Control Unit) – see Figure 1.3. The LLC protocol is used for peer-to-peer communication between SGSN and the MS and provides acknowledged and unacknowledged transport services. Due to different transmission conditions on physical layers (E1/T1 on the Gb and Abis interfaces, 52-multiframe on the Air interface), the size of IP packets needs to be adapted. The maximum size of the LLC payload field is 1540 octets (bytes) while IP packets can have up to 65 535 octets (bytes). So the IP frame is segmented on SGSN before transmission via LLC and reassembled on the receiver side. All in all, the multiple segmentation/reassembly of IP payload frames generates a fair overhead of transport header information that limits the chargeable data throughput. In addition, the availability of radio resources for PS data transport has not been guaranteed. So this system was only designed for non-real-time services like web browsing or e-mail.

Figure 1.3 Packet data transfer in 2.5G GPRS

To overcome these limitations, the standards organizations proposed a set of enhancements that led to the parallel development of UMTS and EGPRS (Enhanced GPRS) standards. The most successful EGPRS standard that is found today in operators' networks is the EDGE standard. From the American Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology family, another branch of evolution led to the CDMA2000 standards (defined by the 3GGP2 standards organization), but since the authors have not seen any interworking between CDMA2000 and Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN) or GSM/EDGE Radio Access Network (GERAN) so far, this technology will not be discussed further in this book.

The most significant enhancements of EGPRS compared to GSM/GPRS are shown in Figures 1.4 and 1.5. On the one hand, a new modulation technique, 8-Phase Shift Keying (8PSK), was introduced to allow transmission of 8 bits per symbol across the air interface and, thus, an increase in the maximum possible bit rate from 20 to 60 kbps. On the other hand, to use the advantages of the new 8PSK modulation technique, it was necessary to adapt the data format on the RLC/MAC layer, especially regarding the size of the transport blocks and the time transmission interval of the transport blocks. Different transport block formats require a different CS. Thus, the so-called Modulation and Coding Scheme (MCS) and CS for GPRS and EGPRS as shown in Figure 1.4 have been defined. These MCSs stand for defined radio transmission capabilities on the UE and BTS (Base Transceiver Station) side. It is important to mention this, because in a similar way capability definition with UE physical layer categories instead of MCS was introduced for HSPA and will be found in LTE again.

Figure 1.4 GSM/GPRS versus EGPRS modulation

Figure 1.5 Modulation/coding scheme and maximum bit rate in GSM/GPRS versus EGPRS

In comparison to GSM/GPRS, the EGPRS technology also offered a more efficient retransmission of erroneous data blocks, mostly with a lower MCS than the one used previously. The retransmitted data also does not need to be sent in separate data blocks, but can be appended piece by piece to present regular data frames. This highly sophisticated error correction method, which is unique for EGPRS, is called Incremental Redundancy or Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) II and is another reason why higher data transmission rates can be reached using EGPRS.

As a matter of fact, as shown in Figure 1.6, the risk of interference and transmission errors becomes much higher when the distance between a base station and a UE is large. Consequently, the MCS that allows the highest maximum bit rate cannot be used in the overall cell coverage area, but only in a smaller area close to the base station's antenna. Also, for this specific behavior, an adequate expression will be found in LTE radio access.

Figure 1.6 Cell footprint of maximum bit rate as function of MCS in (E)GPRS

Recently, two key parameters have driven the evolution of packet services further toward LTE: higher data rates and shorter latency. EGPRS (or EDGE) focused mostly on higher bit rates, but did not include any latency requirements or algorithms to guarantee a defined Quality of Service (QoS) in early standardization releases. Meanwhile, in parallel to the development of UMTS standards, important enhancements to EDGE have been defined, which allow pre-emption of radio resources for packet services and control of QoS. Due to its easy integration in existing GSM networks, EDGE is widely deployed today in cellular networks and is expected to coexist with LTE on the long haul.

Nevertheless, the first standard that promised complete control of QoS was UMTS Release 99. In contrast to the TBFs of (E)GPRS, the user is assigned dedicated radio resources for PS data that are permanently available through a radio connection. These resources are called bearers.

In Release 99, when a PDP (Packet Data Protocol) context is activated, the UE is ordered by the RNC (Radio Network Controller) to enter the Radio Resource Control (RRC) CELL_DCH state. Dedicated resources are assigned by the Serving Radio Network Controller (SRNC): these are the dedicated physical channels established on the radio interface. Those channels are used for transmission of both IP payload and RRC signaling – see Figure 1.7. RRC signaling includes the exchange of Non-Access Stratum (NAS) messages between the UE and SGSN.

Figure 1.7 IP payload transmission using Release 99 bearers with UE in CELL_DCH state

The spreading factor of the radio bearer (as the combination of several physical transport resources on the Air and Iub interfaces is called) depends on the expected UL/DL IP throughput. The expected data transfer rate can be found in the RANAP (Radio Access Network Application Part) part of the Radio Access Bearer (RAB) assignment request message that is used to establish the Iu bearer, a GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) tunnel for transmission of an IP payload on the IuPS interface between SRNC and SGSN. While the spreading factor controls the bandwidth of the radio connection, a sophisticated power control algorithm guarantees the necessary quality of the radio transmission. For instance, this power control ensures that the number of retransmitted frames does not exceed a certain critical threshold.

Activation of PDP context results also in the establishment of another GTP tunnel on the Gn interface between SGSN and GGSN. In contrast to IuPS, where tunnel management is a task of RANAP, on the Gn interface – as in (E)GPRS – the GPRS Tunneling Protocol-Control (GTP-C) is responsible for context (or tunnel) activation, modification, and deletion.

However, in Release 99, the maximum possible bit rate is still limited to 384 kbps for a single connection and, more dramatically, the number of users per cell that can be served by this highest possible bit rate is very limited (only four simultaneous 384 kbps connections per cell are possible on the DL due to the shortness of DL spreading codes).

To increase the maximum possible bit rate per cell as well as for the individual user, HSPA was defined in Releases 5 and 6 of 3GPP.

In High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), the High-Speed Downlink Shared Channel (HSDSCH), which bundles several High-Speed Physical Downlink Shared Channels (HS-PDSCHs), is used by several UEs simultaneously – that is why it is called a shared channel.

A single UE using HSDPA works in the RRC CELL_DCH state. For DL payload transport, the HSDSCH is used, that is, mapped onto the HS-PDSCH. The UL IP payload is still transferred using a dedicated physical data channel (and appropriate Iub transport bearer); in addition, the RRC signaling is exchanged between the UE and RNC using the dedicated channels – see Figure 1.8.

Figure 1.8 IP data transfer using HSDPA

All these channels have to be set up and (re)configured during the call. In all these cases, both parties of the radio connection, cell and UE, have to be informed about the required changes. While communication between NodeB (cell) and CRNC (Controlling Radio Network Controller) uses NBAP (Node B Application Part), the connection between the UE and SRNC (physically the same RNC unit, but different protocol entity) uses the RRC protocol.

The big advantage of using a shared channel is higher efficiency in the usage of available radio resources. There is no limitation due to the availability of codes and the individual data rate assigned to a UE can be adjusted quickly to the real needs. The only limitation is the availability of processing resources (represented by channel card elements) and buffer memory in the base station. In 3G networks, the benefits of an Uplink Shared Channel (UL-SCH) have not yet been introduced due to the need for UL power control, that is, a basic constraint of Wideband CDMA (WCDMA) networks. Hence, the UL channel used for High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) is an Enhanced Dedicated Channel (E-DCH). The UL transmission data volume that can be transmitted by the UE on the UL is controlled by the network using the so-called grants to prevent buffer overflow in the base station and RNC. The same “grant” mechanism will be found in LTE.

All in all, with HSPA in the UTRAN, the data rates on the UL and DL have been significantly increased, but packet latency is still a critical factor. It takes quite a long time until the RRC connection in the first step and the radio bearer in the second step are established. Then, due to limited buffer memory and channel card resources in NodeB, often quite progressive settings of user inactivity timers lead to transport channel-type switching and RRC state change procedures that can be summarized as intra-cell hard handovers. Hard handovers are characterized by the fact that the active radio connection including the radio bearer is interrupted for a few hundred milliseconds. Similar interruptions of the data transmission stream are observed during serving HSDPA cell change procedures (often triggered by a previous soft handover) due to flushing of buffered data in NodeB and rescheduling of data to be transmitted by the RNC. That such interruptions (occurring in dense city center areas with a periodicity of 10–20 seconds) are a major threat for delay-sensitive services is self-explanatory.

Hence, from the user plane QoS perspective, the two major targets of LTE are:

a further increase in the available bandwidth and maximum data rate per cell as well as for the individual subscriber;

reducing the delays and interruptions in user data transfer to a minimum.

These are the reasons why LTE has an always-on concept in which the radio bearer is set up immediately when a subscriber is attached to the network. All radio resources provided to subscribers by the E-UTRAN are shared resources, as shown in Figure 1.9. Here, it is illustrated that the IP payload and RRC and NAS signaling are transmitted on the radio interfaces using unidirectional shared channels, the UL-SCH and the Downlink Shared Channel (DL-SCH). The payload part of this radio connection is called the radio bearer. The radio bearer is the bidirectional point-to-point connection for the user plane between the UE and eNodeB (eNB). The RAB is the user plane connection between the UE and the Serving Gateway (S-GW), and the S5 bearer is the user plane connection between the S-GW and public data network gateway (PDN-GW).

Figure 1.9 Packet data transfer in E-UTRAN/EPC

Note that a more detailed explanation of the LTE/EPC bearer concept is given in Section 1.6.

The end-to-end connection between the UE and PDN-GW, that is, the gateway to the IP world outside the operator's network, is called a PDN connection in the E-UTRAN standard documents and a session in the core network standards. Regardless, the main characteristic of this PDN connection is that the IP payload is transparently tunneled through the core and the radio access network.

To control the tunnels and radio resources, a set of control plane connections runs in parallel with the payload transport. On the radio interface, RRC and NAS signaling messages are transmitted using the same shared channels and the same RLC transport layer that is used to transport the IP payload.

RRC signaling terminates in the eNB (different from 3G UTRAN where RRC was transparently routed by NodeB to the RNC). The NAS signaling information is – as in 3G UTRAN – simply forwarded to the Mobility Management Entity (MME) and/or UE by the eNB.

For registration and authentication, the MME exchanges signaling messages with the central main subscriber databases of the network, the Home Subscriber Server (HSS).

To open, close, and modify the GTP/IP tunnel between the eNB and S-GW, the MME exchanges GTP signaling messages with the S-GW and the S-GW has the same kind of signaling connection with the PDN-GW to establish, release, and maintain the GTP/IP tunnel called the S5 bearer.

Between the MME and eNB, together with the E-RAB, a UE context is established to store connection-relevant parameters like the context information for ciphering and integrity protection. This UE context can be stored in multiple eNBs, all of them belonging to the list of registered tracking areas for a single subscriber. Using this tracking area list and UE contexts, the inter-eNB handover delay can be reduced to a minimum.

The two most basic LTE standard documents are 3GPP 23.401 “GPRS Enhancements for E-UTRAN Access” and 3GPP 36.300 “Overall Description Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA) and E-UTRAN.” These two specs explain in a comprehensive way the major improvements in LTE that are pushed by an increasing demand for higher bandwidth and shorter latency of PS user plane services. The basic network functions and signaling procedures, as well as the network architecture, interfaces, and protocol stacks, are explained.

Although this book will not become simply a copy of what is already described in the standard documents, it is necessary to give a summary of the facts and parameters that are required to understand the signaling procedures and key performance indicators of the network and services. Additional explanations will be given to highlight facts that cannot be found in the specs.

1.2 LTE Radio Access Network Architecture

The E-UTRAN comes with a simple architecture that is illustrated in Figure 1.10. The base stations of the network are called eNodeB, and each eNB is connected to one or multiple MMEs. These MMEs in turn are connected to an S-GW that may also be co-located (comprising the same physical hardware) with the MME. The interface between the eNB and MME is the called the S1 interface. In case the MME and S-GW are not found in the same physical entity, the S1 control plane interface (S1-MME) will connect the eNB and MME while the S1 user plane interface (here S1-U) will connect the eNB with the S-GW.

Figure 1.10 E-UTRAN network architecture (according to 3GPP 36.300).

(Source: Reproduced with permission from © 2008 3GPP™.)

In case one eNB is connected to multiple MMEs, these MMEs form a so-called MME pool and the appropriate network functionality is called S1 flex. The initial signaling procedure used to connect an eNB with an MME is the S1 setup procedure of the S1 Application Part (S1AP).

The X2 interface is used to connect eNBs with each other. The main purpose of this connectivity is intra-E-UTRAN handover. In the real world, it will not be possible for all eNBs of the network to be connected via X2 due to limited transport resources on the wired interfaces. It also must be expected that, physically, the X2 links will lead from one eNB to the MME and then back to a second eNB. In other words, the hubs will be located at the physical location of the MME.

It is important to understand that only the base stations and their physical connections (wires or fibers) are defined by 3GPP as the E-UTRAN, while MME and S-GW are seen as elements of the EPC network.

1.3 Network Elements and Functions

The explanation given in the previous section indicates that, compared to base stations in GSM and UMTS UTRAN, the eNB will cover a set of new functions that are crucial to understand how the E-UTRAN is working.

In addition, the functionality of the MME and S-GW is different from that of their 2G/3G relatives, the RNC and the SGSN.

The following list of logical meta-functions performed within the overall network/system was defined by 3GPP:

Network access control functions

Packet routing and transfer functions

Mobility management functions

Security functions

Radio resource management functions

Network management functions.

These meta-functions are found in the different network elements with a more specific functionality definition.

1.3.1 The eNodeB (eNB)

The eNB is the network entity that is responsible for radio interface transmission and reception. This includes radio channel modulation/demodulation as well as channel coding/decoding and multiplexing/demultiplexing.

System information is broadcast in each cell on the radio interface DL to provide basic information to UEs as a prerequisite to access the network.

The LTE base station hosts all RRC functions such as broadcast of system information and RRC connection control including:

Paging of subscribers.

Establishment, modification, and release of RRC connection including the allocation of temporary UE identities (Radio Network Temporary Identifier, RNTI).

Initial security activation, which means the initial configuration of the Access Stratum (AS) integrity protection for the control plane and AS ciphering for both control plane and user plane traffic.

RRC connection mobility that includes all types of intra-LTE handover (intra-frequency and inter-frequency). In the case of handover, the source eNB will take care of the associated security handling and provide the necessary key and algorithm information to the handover target cell by sending specific RRC context information embedded in a transparent container to the handover target eNB.

Establishment, modification, and release of DRBs (Dedicated Radio Bearers) carrying user data.

Radio configuration control, especially the assignment and modification of ARQ and Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request (HARQ) parameters as well as Discontinuous Reception (DRX) configuration parameters.

QoS control to ensure that, for example, user plane packets of different connections are scheduled with the required priority for DL transmission and that mobiles receive the scheduling grants for UL data transmission according to the QoS parameters of the radio bearers.

Recovery functions that allow re-establishment of radio connections after physical channel failure or Radio Link Control Acknowledged Mode (RLC AM) retransmission errors.

The most crucial part for measuring the eNB performance is the UL/DL resource management and packet scheduling performed by the eNB. This is probably the most difficult function, which requires the eNB to cope with many different constraints like radio link quality, user priority, requested QoS, and UE capabilities. It is the task of the eNB to make use of the available resources in the most efficient way.

Furthermore, the RRC entity of the eNB covers all types of intra-LTE and inter-RAT measurements, in particular:

Setup, modification, and release of measurements for intra-LTE intra-frequency, intra-LTE inter-frequency, inter-RAT mobility, transport channel quality, UE internal measurement reports to indicate, for example, current power consumption and GPS positioning reports sent by the handset.

For compressed mode measurements, it is necessary to configure, activate, and deactivate the required measurement gaps.

The evaluation of reported measurement results and start of necessary handover procedures are also eNB functions (while in 3G UMTS, all measurement evaluation and handover control functions have been embedded in the RNC). The many different parameters used in RRC measurement control functions like hysteresis values, time to trigger timer values, and event level threshold of RSRP and RSRQ (Received Signal Reference Power and Received Signal Reference Quality) are the focus of radio network optimization activities.

Other functions of the eNB comprise the transfer of dedicated NAS information and non-3GPP dedicated information, the transfer of UE radio access capability information, support for E-UTRAN sharing (multiple Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN) identities), and management of multicast/broadcast services.

The support of self-configuration and self-optimization is seen as one of the key features of the E-UTRAN. Among these functions we find, for example, intelligent learning functions for automatic updates of neighbor cell lists (handover candidates) as they are used for RRC measurement tasks and handover decisions.

The eNB is a critical part of the user plane connections. Here, the data is routed, multiplexed, ciphered/deciphered, segmented, and reassembled. It is correct to say that on the E-UTRAN transport layer level, the eNB acts as an IP router and switch. The eNB is also responsible for optional IP header compression. On the control plane level, the eNB selects the MME to which NAS signaling messages are routed.

1.3.2 Mobility Management Entity (MME)

The MME is responsible for the NAS connection with the UE. All NAS signaling messages are exchanged between the UE and MME to trigger further procedures in the core network if necessary.

A new function of the E-UTRAN is NAS signaling security. The purpose of this feature is to protect the signaling messages that could reveal the true subscriber's identity and location from unauthorized eavesdropping.