Huawei Technologies

Can Abis optimization really pay off?
The rapid development of mobile services has increased pressure on mobile backhaul bandwidth, especially in terms of 3G service provision. Abis optimization can to some extent ameliorate this situation by enhancing transport efficiency, but how great is the value generated?
By Chen Ni

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Abis optimization in 2G and 3G networks

ncluding some well known European operators, many in the industry have already adopted leased lines or microwave technology to construct mobile backhaul networks, which incurs very high per unit bandwidth costs. As 3G traffic grows, operators are faced with greater demands on bandwidth resources, and this has resulted in huge network capacity expansion investment. Therefore, various bandwidth optimization technologies have been developed and applied in orientation to mobile backhaul, amongst which Abis optimization is an option. Voice services remain a dominant commercial interest for mobile operators. Since GSM systems differ from 3G UMTS systems in terms of voice service processing, Abis optimization technology presents different functions for them. GSM systems utilize full-rate codes to process voice services, and transmission bandwidth is occupied even in the mute period of the communication process. The Abis interface, which is located between the base transceiver station (BTS) and the base station controller (BSC), has to support two major bandwidth requirements for both voice service and mute frames. According to the general traffic model, mute frames in a GSM

system normally occupy 50% to 60% of all BTS uplink bandwidths. Ab i s o p t i m i z a t i o n t e c h n o l o g y i s developed to delete mute frames through the BTS’s Abis interface and to multiplex the unused timeslots. The mute frames are then recovered before reaching the BSC. It can enhance 2G service transport efficiency by an average of 60%, and even 80% in best case scenarios. 3G systems employ adaptive multirate (AMR) technology to process voice services. As voice activation factors are introduced in coding, no mute frames exist in service bandwidth and thus 3G service transport efficiency cannot be improved by their deletions.

Limited bandwidth savings
Although Abis optimization technology creates little value for 3G systems, it seems to be an effective solution to mobile backhaul bandwidth optimization, given its 60% bandwidth optimization efficiency in GSM systems. However, the actual situation is not so simple. Operators are challenged by bandwidth pressures not just from GSM, but also from the whole mobile backhaul system that supports both GSM and 3G. As such, an evaluation of Abis optimization technology should consider the value
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2 Traffic 0. considerably less than 20%. which is 3.000.43 Mbps 0. The remaining 80% of 3G Node Bs require 3×E1 uplink bandwidth for each.3 times the uplink bandwidth required by an S3/3/3 BTS. but the maturity of iMode services based on 3G broadband applications has to date stimulated an increase in the quantity of Node Bs to around 50. S2/2/2 and S3/3/3. GSM services demand 7. Each 3G network can be configured by referring to the typical 3G traffic model and the service planning requirements of 3GPP. voice service-based Node Bs/BTSs are incapable of covering data service subscribers.HOW TO OPERATE Can Abis optimization really pay off Table 1 Transmission bandwidth requirements of Abis interfaces BTS type  S1/1/1 S2/2/2 S3/3/3 TRX 3 6 9 OML 1 1 1 RSL 3 6 9 64K Time Slots 9.7%×60%) bandwidth at most. which is consistent with initial phase specifications. network by 3 to 5 times. an operator can save only 4.41 Mbps 0. as it is assumed that Abis optimization technology can save 60% bandwidth. The calculations listed in Table 2 show that each 3G BTS calls for an uplink bandwidth of 5.00 Mbps (0. for example. In mobile networks. began constructing its 3G network with approximately 15. Table 1 lists the transmission bandwidths required by BTS Abis interfaces.37 Mbps 0. and new added bandwidth for 3G services can drive mobile backhaul capacity expansion. The selection of mobile backhaul optimization or reconstruction At mature phase of 3G services: less than 5% When data services. GSM services occupy 20% of the total bandwidth in mobile backhaul and.62% (7.61M in the early phase.33 Mbps 0.06 Mbps 0. At early phase of 3G services: at most 20% When 3G services are initially provided.60 Mbps 1.7% of all bandwidth requirements (1×20%/(3×80%+1×20%)).92 Mbps) 0. which in turn determine the application of Abis optimization technology. When Abis optimization technology is employed to optimize these services across an entire mature 3G network. and 9. with the number of Node Bs in a 3G network exceeding the number of BTSs in a 2G Table 2 Bandwidth requirements of various 3G services Traffic model Voice (mErl) CS 64 data (mErl) UDI PS 64/64 (bps) PS 384 Traffic HSDPA (bps) HSDPA minimum throughput per cell Voice activity factor Voice penetration Voice data penetration PS data penetration HSDPA penetration Subscriber per Node B 25 18 100 150 1024 1 Mbps 50% 100% 20% 40% 50% 1000 Bandwidth dimension Voice traffic CS data traffic PS 64K traffic PS 384K traffic HSDPA minimum throughput per cell (HSDPA traffic) CCH traffic Signaling & OM Engineering margin Traffic 0. This is insignificant in terms of reducing overall transmission capacity expansion costs. This analysis demonstrates that most bandwidth pressures encountered by operators derive from 3G services. In e a c h G S M s y s t e m t h e u p l i n k transmission resources of individual BTSs should be configured according to the maximum bandwidth needed by the BTS type.8 26.94 Mbps 5. rather than in GSM systems only. with 95% of all Node Bs sharing the same sites as GSM BTSs. ISSUE 39 .000 Node Bs in place. the major ones being S1/1/1. In this instance. Node B coverage is similar to that provided by a BTS.25% of the base stations are 2G. become mainstream. operators’ existing transmission networks are able to support the requirements of 2G services.68 Mbps generated from bandwidth optimization across the entire mobile backhaul. Consideration should also be given to bandwidth provision ability and mobile backhaul costs. in which Abis optimization technology is able to optimize all Abis interfaces in the GSM system. and each requires 1×E1 uplink bandwidth.14 Mbps 1. How great is the application value? An assessment of Abis optimization technology’s application in a network should not be confined to profits gained by decreased bandwidth in base stations.61Mbps 33 MAR 2008 . 12% can be saved across the whole network. especially those based on high-speed data packet access (HSDPA).08 Mbps 3.4 times the amount needed by an S1/1/1 BTS. only 20% . NTT DoCoMo in Japan.4 17. Uplink bandwidth comprises both Abis and Iub services.

As 3G services develop. The unit bit transmission cost of an optical transmission network is far less than the cost of deploying Abis optimization technology. doing so is increasingly popular with numerous related projects currently underway. Conclusion Abis optimization plays an important role in GSM systems and under general conditions leads to 60% bandwidth o p t i m i z a t i o n e f f i c i e n c y. the optical cable price per kilometer is falling. Firstly. the SDH microwave. such as microwave with soft modulation technology or optical fiber backhaul. As 3G services require greater bandwidth. and Abis optimization no longer forms an expedient option for operators. For example. 1 Comparison of capacity expansion costs among various networking modes 34 . For optical fiber backhaul: a temporary means also Optical fiber mobile backhaul construction can effectively improve network quality for mobile operators.com MAR 2008 . In s p e c i a l circumstances. the value of Abis optimization is rather limited in terms of microwave bandwidth cost savings. the SDH microwave is progressively extended to base stations until it accounts for 40% (or more) in the network. and is replaced by a microwave that supports 8 . For leased line backhaul: just a supplementary Fig. such as in remote mountainous areas. maintenance and labor form the major portion of expenditure. as opposed to equipment. ISSUE 39 Times LL w/o optimization LL after optimization MW w/o optimization Fiber Base Line 2×E1 4×E1 6×E1 8×E1 10×E1 12×E1 14×E1 16×E1 STM-1 STM-4 STM-16 Fig. Optical fiber backhaul represents the most effective means for operators to drastically release bandwidth pressure. of between EUR150 and EUR200. the 4. Thus. which is close to the RNC/BSC. the PDH microwave that supports 2 . up from the existing 20%. microwave backhaul follows three major trends. Editor: Liu Zhonglin liuzhonglin@huawei. while PDH is utilized at the Node Bs/BTS and for tributary links.4 E1 channels gradually disappears at the network end. Although much time is required to extend optical fibers to all Node Bs/ BTSs. While Abis optimization equipment can garner an extra 4. in order to upgrade a microwave system that supports 4×E1 to a system that supports 16×E1. During microwave network reconstruction or expansion. for example.Huawei Technologies requires an analysis based on actual network conditions in terms of 3G network construction. For microwave backhaul: only restricted functions Microwave mobile backhaul generally adopts a tree networking mode in which the SDH microwave is adopted at the RNC/BSC.16 E1 channels. and provide almost limitless bandwidth. necessar y measures to remove the pressure from bandwidth capacity expansion involve transmission network construction and the reduction of leased line use. the value of Abis optimization has grew insignificant. w h i c h i n c u r s h i g h expenditure levels. the primary means of solving backhaul network bandwidth pressures lies in the construction of self-built transpor t networks. Thirdly. demonstrating that in this case Abis optimization possesses negligible value. Since the acquisition of optical fibers becomes easier. present developments allow the microwave network to be upgraded by software at almost no cost. In this case. It is insufficient to fully mitigate transmission bandwidth pressures. In typical environments or remote areas where transmission networks cannot be constructed. legacy expansion methods require USUSD9. Secondly. Due to improvements in microwave technology and efficient network cost control measures. uplink bandwidth capacity has become unrestricted by transmission media. Abis optimization can remarkably improve the transport efficiency of 2G voice services. At present.000 for equipment migration and engineering. this remains inadequate when compared with leased lines’ longterm OPEX. with a unit cost in France. 1 illustrates that the booming demand for bandwidth increases leased circuit costs by tens or even h u n d re d s o f t i m e s i n t e r m s o f n e w network construction costs. Abis optimization technology can be adopted to supplement a decrease in bandwidth lease costs. Current microwave soft modulation technology supports software upgrades from 1×E1 to STM-1. thus effectively controlling equipment hardware and maintenance upgrade costs.6% profits from bandwidth optimization. However. and can only be applied as a supplementary or temporary measure.6% extra bandwidth profits derived from Abis optimization does not obviate the necessity for microwave network re c o n s t r u c t i o n . is gradually transformed to optical fiber networking with a capacity exceeding 2×STM-1. As FTTx projects are carried out throughout the world.