GSM Frequency Planning with Band Segregation for the Broadcast Channel Carriers

F. Galliano(1), N.P. Magnani(1), G. Minerva(1), A. Rolando(2), P. Zanini(3)
(1) CSELT - Via G. Reiss Romoli, 274 - 10148 Torino (Italy) (2) formerly with CSELT, now with Mercury One2One (3) formerly with CSELT, now with Alcatel Abstract In this paper we investigate the performance of fixed frequency planning of the GSM system considering dedicated bands for TCH and BCCH carriers respectively (the BCCH carriers are the ones which host the BCCH channel). This analysis aims at assessing whether this frequency planning strategy (which in the following will be indicated as ‘frequency planning with band segregation’) brings to better system performance with respect to the usual frequency planning strategies, i.e. common band for TCH and BCCH carriers. A number of representative deployment scenarios are investigated.

1. Introduction
Optimizing the use of the available frequency resources is fundamental in order to increase the overall capacity of a GSM system. To achieve this, a number of solutions may be adopted, like improved radio resource management policies, deployment of advanced radio features, introduction of advanced resource planning strategies such as Dynamic Channel Allocation or Fractional Loading. This paper addresses a fixed frequency planning strategy, based on the use of dedicated bands for TCH and BCCH carriers respectively. References to this technique can be found in [1] and [2]. In the following, frequency planning with band segregation is compared to conventional fixed frequency planning with common TCH/BCCH band. Three cases have been considered: 1] system performance analysis considering an ideal scenario; 2] development of frequency plans with and without band segregation with reference to a realistic cell layout; 3] system performance analysis of a realistic scenario taking into account in field cell dimensioning and parameters. The simulation results reported in case 2 were obtained with the frequency planning tool FREQUENT (FREQUency assignmENT) developed in CSELT which takes into account the mutual average interference between cells evaluated on a ‘priori basis’ (e.g., without considering system functionalities nor users’ behavior); these results are therefore relevant for the planning process. On the contrary, results presented in case 1 and 3 were obtained by means of a software tool developed in CSELT (TOTO - TDMA Oriented sofTware tOol [3]), which models the main functionalities of the GSM system and takes into account both propagation data, system functionalities (e.g. power control, DTX), and users' behavior; these results are therefore relevant for the validation of the frequency plan. The two sets of results, although referring to two different steps of system deployment and therefore being obtained with different methodologies, show the same trend.

2. System performance analysis considering an ideal scenario
2.1 Simulation scenario and considered functionalities Simulations were carried out considering an ideal scenario (i.e., regular layout of hexagonal cells, signal level distribution according to Hata propagation model), with the same number of transceivers for each cell. Frequency planning is performed according to a fixed assignment criterion, where frequencies are distributed according to a regular cluster basis. A pool of 48 carriers was assumed. A few cases were considered, where the number of carriers per cell (N) was ranging from 4 to 7, depending on the cluster size. For the frequency planning with common band for all carriers (i.e. with TCH and BCCH sharing the same band), frequencies were assigned to cells according to cluster size 48/N; the BCCH carriers were assigned to the cells assuming all 48 carries available, in such a way that co-channel cells belonging to geographically adjacent clusters have different BCCH carriers. In the case of frequency planning with band segregation, 12 carriers were reserved for exclusive BCCH use throughout the network (i.e., BCCH carriers use a cluster size 12), and TCH carriers used the remaining frequencies (36) with cluster size (36)/(N-1). Table 1 summarizes the considered simulation scenarios. The simulated network was considered to be synchronous, with low mobility user terminals, and a traffic load corresponding to an average 2% blocking probability. Discontinuous transmission (DTX),

If we referred to the 20% values of the C/I cumulative distributions (rather than 10%). with the common band approach. since the BCCH carriers in uplink do not behave differently than normal TCH carriers (i. regardless of the number of carriers per cell.Global 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 3 4 5 TRX/cell C/I 10% dif C/I 10% com C/I 10% com DTX C/I 10% dif DTX 6 7 8 Figure 1: Downlink C/I@10% (BCCH and TCH carriers) . TCH carriers suffers from the interference coming from BCCH carriers. In figure 1 it can be noted that the results with 4 TRX/cell are not aligned with other cases.e.86 # carriers 48 47 48 48 Band Segregation BCCH reuse 12 12 12 12 TCH reuse 12 9 7 6 (*) Results obtaind by interpolation of cases with 45 and 50 carriers (**) Results obtained by interpolation of cases with 42 and 49 carriers Table 1: TRX assignment scheme 18 17 16 C/I DL 10% . adjacent channel interference and frequency hopping were not taken into account. which shows the values at 10% of the C/I cumulative distribution versus the number of transceivers per cell. if the number of transceivers per cell increases. The introduction of DTX further improves TCH performance. this is the result of two opposite effects. are always transmitting with the maximum allowed power). This is due to the fact that with 4 TRX/cell the quality of the BCCH carriers is substantially lower than the quality of TCH carriers (see figure 2 and 3). TCH carriers are not affected by the interference coming from the BCCH carriers (which. Actually. Simulation results do not show any advantage of the frequency planning with band segregation for the uplink. this phenomena disappears. TRX/cell 4 5 6 7 Common Band # carriers Overall reuse 48 12 48(*) 9. which is basically constant. whose relative weight is therefore definitely higher than in other cases. in fact. this implies that almost all values in the lower part of the cumulative distribution (from which the 10% value is extracted) belong to the BCCH carriers. In this case. only quality based case was considered) were taken into account.2 Simulation results Results obtained for the downlink are summarized in figure 1. the performance improvement gradually disappears. The frequency plan with band segregation provides better overall performance for cell carrier equipment up to 6 transceivers per cell (corresponding to a reuse 7 for TCH) when both PC and DTX are active. thus making shorter the reuse distance of the TCH carriers. in fact the performance improvement achievable with dedicated bands is slightly worse than the one achievable with 5 TRX/cell. On the contrary. due to the shorter reuse distance (with band segregation.6 48 8 48(**) 6. only 12 carriers are dedicated to BCCH whereas without band segregation all 48 carriers are available for BCCH planning). In fact. 2. This also allows to maximize the benefits of system functions such as power control. corresponding to active PC or PC and DTX. Two cases are considered. As figure 2 shows. Power Control (PC. Figure 3 highlights that the TCH quality decreases more rapidly with band segregation when the reuse distance decreases. figure 3 reveals that TCH performance improve substantially with band segregation. in the uplink.handover. PC and DTX can be applied to BCCH carriers as well as to TCH carriers). the increased interference due to a smaller reuse distance of both TCH and BCCH carriers is not balanced by any positive effect. the performance of the BCCH carriers worsen when moving from the case without band segregation to the case with band segregation. according to the GSM Specifications. based on GSM Specification. However.

27.4.6.26. The description of the interference between the cells of the plan is given by the interference matrix indicating for each couple of cells (i. the interference due to the adjacent channels is estimated evaluating the division between the co-channel C/I and the parameter NFD (Net Filter Discriminator).15.13.19. The first one is defined using a common band to plan the BCCH and TCH carriers of the cells.23.12.11.9. 30 50 o o o . The total band available for the frequency allocation was considered as constituted by 50 frequencies shared as follows: Frequency plan 1 2 3 BCCH band 1 50 1 15 1.25.28.10.5.21 20 19 18 17 C/I DL 10% .24.BCCH 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 3 4 5 TRX/cell C/I 10% bcch dif C/I 10% bcch com C/I 10% bcch com DTX C/I 10% bcch dif DTX 6 7 8 Figure 2: Downlink C/I@10% (BCCH carriers) 21 20 19 18 C/I DL 10% . while the second and the last one using two different configurations of band segregation. 17.j) the C/I induced by the cell j on the cell i when both cells use the same frequency (co-channel interference).3.14.21.18. The reuse constraints set is constituted by: o o TCH band 1 50 16 50 2. Development of frequency plans with reference to a realistic cell layout In case 2 we have built three different frequency plans on a realistic set of cells using the software tool FREQUENT developed by CSELT to solve frequency allocation problems.29 Table 2: band configurations The frequency plans accomplished by means of FREQUENT use a set of realistic inputs both in terms of interferential description and in terms of reuse constraints set.7.TCH 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 3 4 5 TRX/cell C/I 10% tch dif C/I 10% tch com C/I 10% tch com DTX C/I 10% tch dif DTX 6 7 8 Figure 3: Downlink C/I@10% (TCH carriers) 3.16.8.20. 22.

implicating a minimum distance equal to 1 between frequencies assigned to 200 kHz adjacent cells.2% Table 4: BCCH quality distribution within the cells (maximum cell equipment is equal to 6 TRX) 700 600 BCCH carriers 500 400 300 200 100 0 1° 2° 3° Quality 4° 5° 6° 0 plan 1 302 235 plan 2 206 173 93 109 0 0 40 55 0 11 16 0 3 1 plan 3 622 Figure 4: BCCH quality distribution < 9 dB Plan 1 Plan 2 Plan 3 0.4% Table 5: C/I distribution of BCCH carriers . • the distribution of the C/I associated to the BCCH carriers.41 dB 7.6% 6° 0. site constraint.5% 0. • the distribution of the C/I associated to the TCH carriers.3% 20-25 dB 32.5% 7. The area on which the three frequency plans are accomplished is constituted by 622 cells and 2435 carriers.4% 8.1% 3° 15% 17.cell constraint.9% 3.62 dB 7.8% 33.5% 37. The different plans are compared as a function of: • the minimum C/I ratio associated to the BCCH carriers set. • the number of carriers under the threshold of 9 dB.9% > 35 dB 3.08 dB 9.2% 9-15 dB 10. implicating a minimum distance equal to 2 between frequencies assigned to 400 kHz adjacent cells. • 200 kHz adjacencies constraint.8% 2° 27.8% 5° 1.8% 2.1% 1.5% 25-30 dB 15% 10.07 dB 0 Plan 2 7. the elaboration time (CPU time) used for the definition of each plan is equal to 10 hours on a Sun Spark Ultra Workstation.5% 4° 6.3% 0.4% 17% 20.3% 37. • 400 kHz adjacencies constraint. • the C/I quality distribution of the BCCH carriers within the cells.1% 3.54 dB 20 • • Table 3: C/I results 1° Plan 1 Plan 2 Plan 3 100% 48. • the minimum C/I ratio associated to the TCH carriers set.13 dB 27 Plan 3 8. The results are shown in the following tables and diagrams: Plan 1 Minimum C/I of the BCCH carriers Minimum C/I of the TCH carriers Number of under threshold carriers 9.6% 25.4% 2. implicating a minimum distance equal to 3 between frequencies assigned to the same cell.8% 28.1% 30-35 dB 5.6% 41.6% 15-20 dB 33. implicating a minimum distance equal to 2 between frequencies assigned to different cells belonging to the same site.

in case of segregation the first configuration guarantees the better results for the broadcast channels.8% 1. The simulated network was considered synchronous. 4.3% 20-25 dB 20. Propagation data were evaluated with a model validated by means of field measurements [4]. Real measured data traffic per cell were used for the system simulation.1 Simulation scenario and considered functionalities In order to evaluate the performance of frequency planning with band segregation under realistic conditions. system simulations were carried out considering the realistic layout of the central area of an Italian city. in case of frequency planning with dedicated bands.4% > 35 dB 1.7% 2% 2.6% 38.4% 1% 9-15 dB 29. 12 frequencies were reserved for BCCH.7% 7% 30-35 dB 1. Relevant frequency plans were obtained taking into account all adjacent constraints (see section 3) due to technology by means of the tool FREQUENT.7% 30.6% 15-20 dB 41% 37. This procedure cannot be performed in case of band segregation because only one frequency assigned to a generic cell is compatible with the BCCH planning.9% 20.8% 19% 25-30 dB 5. with low . 41 available frequencies were considered. owing to the most intensive effects of the interferential condition and cell/site/adjacency constraints.4% 1. the results are similar in case of common and segregated band but in the second and third case these results can become worse if the average number of carriers per cell increases. Real cell dimensioning was taken into account (ranging from 2 to 7 carriers per cell. System performance analysis of a realistic scenario 4.300 250 BCCH carriers 200 150 100 50 0 2 1 0 <9 9-15 128 106 65 257 234 207 204 178 159 93 65 44 32 24 24 21 13 9 plan 1 plan 2 plan 3 15-20 20-25 dB 25-30 30-35 > 35 Figure 5: C/I distribution of BCCH carriers < 9 dB Plan 1 Plan 2 Plan 3 1.7% Table 6: C/I distribution of TCH carriers 800 700 600 TCH carriers 500 400 300 200 100 0 <9 9-15 15-20 20-25 dB 25-30 30-35 > 35 0 25 19 104 102 127 31 36 43 26 32 30 556 532 555 379 378 345 plan 1 plan 2 plan 3 743 694 682 Figure 6: C/I distribution of TCH carriers As shown in the set of tables and figures the frequency plan with common band seems to guarantee the best results.4% 30. As far as the TCH channels are concerned. in particular for the BCCH carriers that are chosen after the planning assigning the BCCH channel to the carrier with the best C/I in the cell. 5 on average).6% 5.

Anyway. Aug 1997 [2] F.2 Simulation Results Simulations have shown an high load in the network characterized by an overall blocking probability higher than the 2% considered in the ideal case. Delli Priscoli. Discontinuous transmission (DTX). This is confirmed by the analysis carried out with reference to the development of frequency plans with and without band segregation considering a realistic cell layout. Nov 1991 . high reuse factor) per cell and under low traffic load. only quality based case was considered) were considered. we conclude that. Sant’Agostino. 100 90 80 70 Prob( C/I < x value ) 60 50 COM SEG 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 -1 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 C/I 33 Figure 7: cumulative C/I distribution (BCCH and TCH carriers) 5. F. Proc. May 4-7 1997. the frequency planning considered for this realistic scenario was evaluated taking into account all adjacent constraints due to technology. “Frequency planning strategies for frequency hopping GSM”. Palestini. thanks to an increased efficiency of network functionalities such as power control. Therefore. under the hypothesis and assumptions considered herein. simulation results do not show any advantage of the frequency planning with band segregation. F. in line with results previously obtained in the ideal case. vol 15.mobility user terminals. Mobile Radio Conference. Oct 1997 [4] E. M. M. the interference contributions from BCCH and TCH carriers tend to become more balanced.P. in the scenario considered here. as in the dedicated bands case) with obvious impact on the final frequency plan. Under these conditions. Power Control (PC. since different conditions apply. Madfors et al. Sestini. Moreover.g. as a consequence. 4. In this case the overall downlink performance in terms of C/I cumulative distribution do not improve by adopting the frequency planning with band segregation (see figure 7). the number of transceivers per cell is quite high (up to 7. in the considered realistic case. The system performance analysis carried out in section 4 considering a realistic scenario under heavy traffic load has shown that the advantages of the frequency planning with dedicated bands disappear. the network load is higher and non-uniformly distributed. N. the frequency planning with band segregation can be a viable solution only in case of a small number of transceivers (e. References [1] M. In the realistic scenario studied here. handover. 5 on average) and therefore the reuse factor is quite low. Based on the analysis carried out in this paper. Arizone. which were not considered in the ideal case (where the cluster approach was used) and which effectively reduce the degrees of freedom available for the planning algorithm (in particular. USA. Kronestedt. Conclusion The system performance analysis carried out considering an ideal scenario (section 2) has shown that the frequency planning with band segregation can lead to a better performance in the downlink. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. the use of dedicated bands do not lead to a more efficient use of functionalities such as power control and DTX. In the uplink. Finally.. vol III. Proc. when the number of available carriers is low. this result is not in contradiction with the one obtained by the analysis of the ideal scenario considered in section 2 above. adjacent channel interference was taken into account. Phoenix. reducing the quality of BCCH carriers and increasing the carrier to interference ration of TCH carriers. “Application of Dynamic Channel Allocation Strategies to the GSM Cellular Network”. Grimaldi. “High capacity with limited spectrum in cellular systems”. IEEE Communications Magazine. pp 1862-1866 [3] F. Frodigh. Magnani. VTC’97. “Network Planning Tools and Activities in Italy”. based on GSM Specifications. V. Damosso. No 8. the TCH performance in the band segregation case are not capable of balancing the degradation of the BCCH performance.

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