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RAN Capacity Optimization Through IPoTDM Microwave Transport

RAN Capacity Optimization Through IPoTDM Microwave Transport

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Published by Aviat Networks
This brief paper summarizes how an IP-over-TDM (IPoTDM) approach can facilitate network evolution to all-IP, consolidate the transport and management of circuit-and packet-based services in a single physical RAN infrastructure, and allow operators to address CAPEX and OPEX cost challenges by leveraging existing TDM transport resources to the maximum extent possible.
This brief paper summarizes how an IP-over-TDM (IPoTDM) approach can facilitate network evolution to all-IP, consolidate the transport and management of circuit-and packet-based services in a single physical RAN infrastructure, and allow operators to address CAPEX and OPEX cost challenges by leveraging existing TDM transport resources to the maximum extent possible.

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Published by: Aviat Networks on Apr 10, 2011
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1 AVIAT NETWORKS FEBRUARY 2011
WHITE PAPER
RAN CAPACITY OPTIMIZATION THROUGH IPoTDM MICROWAVETRANSPORT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mobile operators are facing the daunting challenge of preserving legacy TDM assets andexisting revenue streams while simultaneously accommodating the divergent demands ofexisting 2G networks and those of emerging 3G/4G technologies. As these operators rollout new IP services as part of their offerings, selecting and deploying the right Radio AccessNetwork (RAN) and backhaul migration approach is becoming an increasingly pivotal part oftheir overall strategy. Gradual migration towards an all-packet network necessitates cost-effective interim steps that avoid forklift infrastructure upgrades and network disruptions.This brief paper summarizes how an IP-over-TDM (IPoTDM) approach can facilitate thisevolution, consolidate the transport and management of circuit- and packet-based servicesin a single physical RAN infrastructure, and allow operators to address CAPEX and OPEXcost challenges by leveraging existing TDM transport resources to the maximum extentpossible.
THE CASE FOR IPoTDM
Generally, the mobile backhaul network can be divided into two segments: from the NodeBor Base Transceiver Station (BTS) to a hub site or aggregation point; and from theaggregation point to the Radio Network Controller (RNC) or Base Station Controller (BSC).The benefits of employing an IP/Ethernet-based approach between the aggregation pointand the RNC/BSC are many and well understood, ranging from the inherent efficiencies ofstatistical multiplexing and the reduction of cost per bit to the scalability and future-proofingof the infrastructure. However, sound business reasons for a different approach in the lastRAN segment to the NodeB/BTS may persist. TDM infrastructure is still ubiquitous in ruralareas, and the complexity and added CAPEX pressure of replacing all of the RAN equipmentmay neither be economically viable nor necessary.Fortunately, there are practicable technical solutions for reaching and augmenting theseremote locations with IPoTDM. To support the co-location of a 3G NodeB with a 2G BTS,both IPoTDM and Ethernet-over-TDM (EoTDM) techniques are available today. Bothtechniques offer the ability to share existing transmission resources with 3G, to utilize sparetransmission resources where available, and to flexibly add new circuits as more bandwidthis needed. Leveraging these existing TDM based RAN resources affords a high degree ofinvestment protection for operators, utilizes available TDM capacity, and results in acomparably simpler architecture than one based on IP as the foundation in the RAN andcombined with pseudowires to support TDM traffic.Whereas EoTDM enables the transport of native Ethernet frames over E1/DS-1, IPoTDMavoids the additional overhead induced by Ethernet frame headers, thus making moreefficient use of the available bandwidth. Both concepts are usually based on the well-established Multilink Point-to-Point Protocol (ML-PPP) for link layer encapsulation, addingonly 6 to 15 Bytes of overhead in case of IPoTDM versus up to 37 Bytes for EoTDM. As aresult, IPoTDM provides significant efficiency gains and reduction in overhead tax, especiallyfor applications that entail short Protocol Data Unit (PDU) sizes.
 
 
2 AVIAT NETWORKS FEBRUARY 2011
WHITE PAPER
RAN CAPACITY OPTIMIZATION THROUGH IPoTDM MICROWAVETRANSPORT
 
ENTER ML-PPP
ML-PPP is defined in RFC 1990, and constructed as a PPP extension to allow for thecombining of multiple individual PPP links (dubbed “bonding”) into a single logical bundle.Each individual physical link is controlled by the PPP protocol, with ML-PPP residingbetween the data link and the network protocol layer and serving as the aggregation entity.As a result, multiple physical circuits or channels can be bonded to form one higher capacityvirtual circuit, and bandwidth can be flexibly scaled in E1/DS-1 increments.ML-PPP bundle membership negotiation offers an important tactical tool in that it can beused to change the aggregate capacity via addition or removal of individual PPP links and forpurposes of designing resilience into the network. Additionally, operators can manageconverged transport of legacy and adjunct IP traffic in a way that allows the allocated ML-PPP capacity to be adjusted as IP bandwidth demands rise. Lastly, ML-PPP can beemployed in conjunction with RFC 2686 multi-class extensions, providing the ability toprioritize traffic. Packets waiting to be transmitted over the ML-PPP tunnel are sortedbased on priority, with suspension of transmission of low-priority fragments until all high-priority fragments have been first serviced.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OVER MICROWAVE
Once a multilink session has been successfully negotiated by the Link Control Protocol(LCP), ML-PPP can fragment incoming PDUs according to the available capacity andtransport these fragments in parallel across the physical links or circuits. On the receivingend, the fragments are properly sequenced based on their PPP headers, and reconstructedto the original PDU format. The latency is thus reduced to the amount of time required forthe last PDU fragment to reach the far side of the link, resulting in substantially decreasedlatency relative to the sequential transmission of PDUs over any of the individual links.The use of fragmentation, Ethernet framing overhead removal, and IPv4/v6 headercompression techniques as defined in RFC 2507 and RFC 2509 are crucial considerations formicrowave transport, both from the perspective of latency and capacity optimization. Asmall unfragmented PDU is encapsulated with a PPP header and a ML-PPP header,whereas when fragmentation is enabled, all but the first fragment require only the PPPheader for transmission. When properly optimized, operators can realize dramaticimprovements in effective microwave capacity of up to 40%.
As an example, a GSM codec may generate 33 Bytes of payload, encapsulated in 64 Byte Ethernetframes at the data link layer, and with the IPv4 header consuming 20 Bytes. As a result of theoverhead reduction achieved through the IPoTDM approach, a TDM microwave with an actualtransport capacity of 64 Mbps (32 x E1) can now carry the equivalent of approximately 90 Mbps ofuncompressed voice traffic load.
At the same time, the latency reduction achieved through fragmentation of longer PDUs willbenefit delay-sensitive voice and synchronization packets.If packet-based synchronization (Precision Time Protocol/IEEE 1588v2) is neither desirednor required by the NodeB, operators can continue to utilize the traditional E1/DS-1 linesynchronization method, as timing is maintained underneath the PPP/ML-PPP layers. As aresult, the IPoTDM architecture is not subject to synchronization discontinuities, and itsintroduction can be decoupled from the challenges in migrating to new synchronizationtechnologies.

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