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GPRS and GSM Throughput Performance

GPRS and GSM Throughput Performance

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Published by Dr. Hatem MOKHTARI

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Published by: Dr. Hatem MOKHTARI on May 27, 2010
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Capacity Planning of GSM Data Service
Timo VirtanenDepartment of Computer Science, University of HelsinkiFebruary 26, 1999
New mobile data services are being introduced to GSM system. High Speed Circuit SwitchedData (HSCSD) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) are the first steps towards higherdata speeds over GSM. Standardisation of HSCSD began during 1994, and first networkssupporting HSCSD were commercially available at the end of 1998. HSCSD enables circuitswitched data transfer over GSM system. The standardisation work on the GPRS Phase1 wasofficially finalised in the first quarter of 1998 at ETSI and the standardisation work on theGPRS Phase2 is still going. GPRS enables packet switched data transfer over GSM system.This paper presents first generally a preliminary network planning process for GSM speech.After that the characteristics of HSCSD and GPRS services are presented and the things relatedto their capacity calculation are discussed.
Dimensioning GSM speech
The network dimensioning is a process of analysis and comparison of different alternatives forbuilding a cellular network in order to satisfy given requirements for coverage, quality and
2capacity. There are several parameters that are used as input for dimensioning and that shouldbe known or estimated, such as network area size, distribution of the subscribers, expectedtraffic load, available frequency band, etc. The output of the process is an estimate of theequipment needed for the network development.In dimensioning the whole geographical area is divided into the regions based on radio wavepropagation and traffic distribution. Traffic distribution should be flat in each region andpropagation environment should not vary too much. If these two assumptions are not valid in aregion, the region should be divided into smaller regions to fulfil the assumptions.The three main concepts that are used to describe the composition of the cellular network aresite, cell, sector and transceiver-receiver (TRX). Usually a network consists of more than onesites. One site can be divided into several sectors. Each sector can contain one or several TRXsand each TRX operates on a specific frequency. A cell is more like a logical concept that isused to divide the total geographical area into location areas. If mentioned in this document, acell equals to a sector. A site with three sectors (cells), one with three TRXs and two with twoTRXs is depicted in Figure 1.
Figure 1. A site with three sectorsIn order to be able to estimate the transmission capacity need of a network, the number of sitesand the transmission capacity of one individual site (i.e. the number of TRXs per site) shouldbe known. This is done by coverage and capacity calculations. Coverage calculation calculatesthe number of sites that are needed to cover the geographical area. Capacity calculationcalculates the number of sites that are needed for the estimated traffic load in the area. The totalnumber of sites required is then the number that is bigger, either the number of sites forcapacity (capacity limited network) or the number of sites for coverage (coverage limited
3network). A new network is usually capacity limited in urban areas and coverage limitedoutside of urban areas.
Capacity calculation
Network traffic is not evenly spread. There are traffic peaks, "busy hours", usually around 10a.m. and 3 p.m. but as the number of non-business subscribers increase, traffic gets more andmore evenly spread over time. A network has to be dimensioned according to the "busy hour"traffic.In order to simplify the capacity calculation some assumptions should be made. Firstly, trafficis evenly distributed over the target area. Secondly, all the subscribers in the target area sharethe same quality targets. This means that the base stations have some common parameters (e.g.location probability, blocking probability, bandwidth, frequency reuse number). In addition tothat there are some parameters that should be defined individually for different type of basestations (e.g. propagation model, output power and antenna height).The purpose of the capacity calculation is to define the number of TRXs needed to handlecertain traffic load with given blocking probability. The number of carriers, and hence thenumber of channels, that are available depends on the available bandwidth. In GSM systemeach channel is allowed to use 200 kHz. For example if the bandwidth is 5 MHz, the number of channels is 25. The number of carriers that can be used per sector depends on the frequencyreuse number. Each TRX operates on certain carrier. Again, if the bandwidth is 5 MHz andreuse is 12, the number of TRXs per sector is 2.08 according to the equation below.50212208
 MHz MHz
The number of TRXs per sector and blocking probability define the amount of traffic that onesector can handle. The number of the timeslots per TRX that are allocated for traffic dependson the planning solution and should be noticed. Traffic per one sector with given blockingprobability can be calculated by using Erlang B formula, see Table 1 below for some examplevalues.

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