Quality of Service in LTE

Executive Summary ................................ 1 Overview ................................................ 2 Networks Covered .................................. 2 HSPA & LTE Interworking ...................... 3 CDMA & LTE Interworking ..................... 3 MVNO Environments ............................ 4 The Fall of Erlang and the Rise of IP ........... 4 Protocol Stacks: LTE is all IP .................. 6 Mechanics of Per-Hop Differentiated Queuing ..................................................... 7 Key functions in 3GPP PCC standards.............. 7 3GPP PCC Theory of Operation .................... 11 TFT................................................... 12 PCC rule parameters .......................... 14 What is the “End” in End-to-End? ................. 14 LTE QoS Use Cases: Fairshare Traffic Management .......................................................... 16 PCRF Signaling ..................................... 17 In-Band Marking (TEID modification) .......... 17 In-Band Marking SGi (DSCP Modification) ..... 18 Comparison of Techniques....................... 18 Automated QoS Control for Mobile Network Congestion Management ......................... 19 Conclusions and Recommendations ............... 21

Executive Summary
As each communications service provider (CSP) transitions various network types to LTE, the efficient handling of subscriber Quality of Service (QoS), both inside and across different networks, is a pressing issue. In this sweeping, in-depth look at various network technologies and available approaches to QoS-handling within and across networks, Sandvine draws out the key issues and presents recommendations for sound Network Policy Control: • • • • • • • Affected network types and architectures Evolution and consequences of the all-IP network architecture Background and explanation of the 3GPP elements used in the delivery of services, and their key functions Explanation of the 3GPP PCC (policy and charging control) theory of operation Issues associated with the boundary interchange between network types for QoS Key questions and decisions CSPs face when defining and managing end-to-end QoS in LTE and between networks Explanation of the three possible mechanisms that exist for per-sector prioritization in networks that have deployed LTE Comparison and pros and cons of each of the possible QoS-handling techniques for LTE

Finally, the paper shows how the inherent flexibility of Sandvine technology allows our Fairshare Traffic Management to support all three QoS-handling methods for LTE networks, including unique support for the most effective and efficient approach.

Quality of Service in LTE

Although this document focuses on LTE (3GPP R9 and later), much of the background for mobile network QoS comes from earlier 3GPP revisions. In particular, much of the baseline framework was defined in 3GPP R7 (shown below in Figure 1), so it is useful to highlight the differences. This document refers to H-PLMN as the home network, the operator to which the subscriber pays a fee, and the V-PLMN as the visited network, the one the subscriber is currently attached to. The normal case is that the H-PLMN and V-PLMN are the same, and the subscriber is not roaming.

Figure 1: Typical infrastructural roaming, 3GPP R7

Not covered are QoS issues that occur inside the handset. Older circuit-switched voice handsets guarantee quality directly in the baseband and real-time operating system. Newer smartphones have moved to non-real-time operating systems (BSD-based for Apple, Linux-based for Android, Windowsbased for Microsoft), and there is the strong probability of ‘jitter’ and ‘lag’ being introduced inside the OS scheduler itself. In addition, roaming between LTE and HSPA networks is possible, as is roaming between 3GPP and 3GPP2 networks, and this has a consequence on QoS and mapping between capabilities. Therefore, the boundary interchange between networks for QoS is thoroughly discussed in this paper.

Networks Covered
The issues and points discussed in this paper are applicable to the following network types and interactions:

Page 2

Figure 3: LTE and CDMA interworking.Quality of Service in LTE HSPA & LTE Interworking A mobile operator current using HSPA technologies.g. and migrating towards LTE.g.. will usually support soft hand-off (e. user-equipment that can start a session on one network and move to another mid-session). Figure 3 shows a network diagram for a mixed CDMA and LTE operator. a dual-mode device which can switch mid-session depending on available coverage). Hard hand-off techniques are not covered here. and are migrating to LTE. single operator Page 3 .. As part of the migration they may support soft hand-off (e. Figure 2: LTE and HSPA interworking CDMA & LTE Interworking Some operators currently use CDMA (3GPP2) technologies. This type of network is shown in Figure 2.

An MVNO with a partial infrastructure has the ability to create differentiated radio access bearers via their GGSN. it is blocked (connection admission control). In comparison to data networks. it has perfect quality. Page 4 . voice networks have some key simplifications that allowed the modeling to occur: • • • • • • Voice is treated as constant bitrate (i. voice networks have been engineered for capacity according to the Erlang model. Figure 4: MVNO environment The Fall of Erlang and the Rise of IP Since the beginning of the 20th century. low rate and used a fixed capacity in a symmetric fashion on a single path. and a partial infrastructural MVNO. It is assumed the quality of a call is Boolean – if it connects.. if there is insufficient capacity. one voice circuit uses constant network bandwidth) Voice is treated as a symmetric path (both directions follow the same links) Voice is treated as a single path (no multi-path networks are used) Voice sessions start at a predictable rate according to human behaviour Voice ‘packets’ are fixed size Sessions go from many-to-one (handsets to voice switch) and do not interact with each other As a consequence. There are two types of MVNO: full virtual (simply a marketing brand. 99. telephony network providers were able to build their network capacity according to simple and fixed design rules (e.. owning an HLR/AAA and a GGSN. no network at all). and care must be taken to prevent an imbalance in end-consumer experience on the shared infrastructure.Quality of Service in LTE MVNO Environments Another case covered is that of an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). The latter is shown by Figure 4.99% of calls would complete at the busiest hour).g. but the overall rules and technologies stayed the same . Early-generation mobile networks introduced some complexity to voice Erlang in that the hand-off between locations had to be handled as the user moved.e.an end-to-end circuit from the user handset to the mobile-switching center (and from there to the call recipient) started at a predictable.

which allow for packet loss). Loss/Latency 120% 100% Loss (%) 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Utilization (%) Loss Latency Figure 6: Ethernet utilization vs. network engineering based on observed trends became problematic. or with complex codecs such as Skype’s SILK. Within a service provider. Applications which use TCP and large packets tend to dominate the throughput. Operators typically provision managed services such as video and voice using traditional circuitswitched models. loss/latency 140 120 80 60 40 20 0 Latency (ms) 100 Page 5 . Ethernet Utilisation vs. non-converged networks. 95% line shown As mobile data emerged. creating latency issues for smaller packet applications. QoS management may be performed using Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP) to modify the probability on a per-hop-basis. QoS switched from deterministic to probabilistic. Applications requiring quality goals typically build them into the application (usually with buffering. Circuit-based QoS was replaced by per-hop behaviour. Network engineering in data was performed based on peak observed load and forward-prediction models such as HoltWinters forecasting. The disparity between ‘busy’ and ‘non-busy’ mobile sectors is now high in terms of volume. and the sectors that are busy vary due to mobility. latency tends to go up exponentially as the link utilisation goes over 75%. Since data applications use variable packet sizes. they tend to interact with each other poorly as the links approach 70-80% utilization. The oversubscription in the fixed networks is normally sufficient for QoS-sensitive applications such as Skype and Netflix to function in a best-effort environment most of the time. IP packet-switched networks became the de-facto standard. Networks are normally treated as nonoversubscribed except for the ‘last-mile’ consumer access. The high rate of adoption of new devices and new applications meant that capacity could not be added quickly enough. or networks converged at the physical layer but partitioned using techniques such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). In particular. QoS management between operators is rare. Capacity-based billing models emerged between carriers based on 95-percentile.Quality of Service in LTE As data needs grew. Figure 5: MRTG utilised capacity chart.

the usual requirement is to use outer-marks (DSCP. This may be difficult to achieve as the S1-U may be significantly over-subscribed. one can use a feature such as Cisco’s “ip user-datagram-tos copy”. Figure 7: LTE major transport encapsulations It is common practice for an operator to use MPLS or other tunneling technique (see Figure 8). and the ‘outer-tunnel’. A best practice is to engineer the network such that there is only one point of congestion (the eNodeB). The various tunneling and encapsulation protocols that are required are shown in Figure 7. QoS must be understood in both the context of the ‘inner-tunnel’. and in practical terms it is impossible to convey the QoS markings from inner-tunnels to outer-tunnels. The “active-charging service” feature can be used to achieve the inverse . If the P-GW is the label-edge router in the downstream direction. which uses traditional IP traffic engineering techniques. Figure 8: Practical LTE deployment Page 6 . which causes the inner-packet encapsulated by GTP-U to also drive the outer DSCP.taking un-encapsulated packets from SGi interface and using their DSCP mark to map to a specific PDPcontext. This can influence the transport network on S5 and S1-U to somewhat match the decisions which will be made by the eNodeB (which are based on the tunnel-ID (TEID) and the PDP context parameters). As a consequence. As a consequence.Quality of Service in LTE Protocol Stacks: LTE is all IP One of the design goals of LTE was to be entirely IP (including carrying voice over IP). which interoperates with the packet core and radio network. MPLS-EX) that are driven in conjunction with the inner marks (TEID).

One of the long-standing complexities of DiffServ has always been its behaviour in tunnels. and ‘assured forwarding’ is used for business differentiation (e. In 3GPP. video and voice). In particular. In a 3GPP environment. Examples of interchange between the two are proprietary per vendor.g.may be dealt with using Gy/CCR AF (Application Function): one per operator-provided service PCRF (Policy Charging Rules Function) PCEF (Policy Charging Enforcement Function) TDF (Traffic Detection Function): may be merged into PCEF Figure 9: 3GPP PCC block diagram Page 7 . RFC 2474. the QoS Class Indicator (QCI) maps directly to DSCP. and Cisco’s “active-charging service” feature. The following core functions are shown in Figure 9: • • • • • • SPR (Subscription Profile Repository) OCS (Online Charging System): optional . Note that. and 3GPP is no different. Key functions in 3GPP PCC standards Before moving on it’s important to thoroughly review the six main functions of the 3GPP PCC standards that manage services and QoS in modern networks. MPLS supports 3-bits (8-levels) in the EXP field. the outer marking is only used by backhaul networks. and in the queuing behaviour (strict vs. The basic classes defined by DiffServ are ‘default’..g. fair). differentiated service is performed on a per-hop basis. but with different marking techniques (RFC 3270). As a consequence. individual equipment types vary in the number of queues supported. which copies the DSCP field from the inner IP packet to the outer GTP header. but include Cisco’s “ip user-datagram-tos copy” feature. which maps un-tunneled packet DSCP fields into specific radio bearers by mapping them to a specific PDP context. and MPLS. expedited forwarding is used for ‘strict’ priority (e. The most common techniques used are Differentiated Services (DiffServ. and ‘assured forwarding’. despite the number of levels supported in signaling.. which also uses the DiffServ architecture.Quality of Service in LTE Mechanics of Per-Hop Differentiated Queuing In IP-based networks. many distinct ‘marks’ map to the same behaviour and it is important to understand the internal queuing support provided by each piece of network equipment along each possible path. RFC 3260). and inner marks are ignored. ‘expedited forwarding’. which uses the 6-bit DSCP field in the IP header. RFC 2475. Of these. weighted-fair priority). DiffServ may be used to manage QoS on external networks and be mapped into 3GPP bearers.

including: • • the Subscribed Guaranteed Bandwidth QoS.e.e. • • • • • • 1 2 Subscriber's charging related information Spending limits profile containing an indication that policy decisions depend on policy counters available at the OCS that has a spending limit associated with it and optionally the list of relevant policy counters Subscriber category Subscriber's usage monitoring related information Subscriber's profile configuration Sponsored data connectivity profiles Session Initiation Protocol. GBR limit. which may be used by the PCRF to guarantee service for an application session of a higher relative priority Emergency indicator Application service provider (i.g. and the charge in aggregate to be dealt with in some other fashion) Flow description (i. list of Service IDs) For each allowed service. IMS Communication Service Identifier). if known by the AF IP address of the UE Media Type. for real-time QoS class identifiers..g. Media Format (e. RFC 3261 Session Description Protocol. based on SIP 1 and SDP 2): • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Subscriber Identifier .e..g. connecting to a specific packet gateway: Subscriber's allowed services (i. may provide the following application session related information (i.e.Quality of Service in LTE The AF.. a list of QoS class identifiers together with the MBR limit and. source and destination IP address. port numbers and the protocol) AF Application Identifier AF Communication Service Identifier (e. a pre-emption priority Information on subscriber's allowed QoS. media format sub-field of the media announcement and all other parameter information (a= lines) associated with the media format) Bandwidth Sponsored data connectivity information (e. allowing the flow to be zero-rated towards the consumer.. UE provided via AF AF Application Event Identifier AF Record Information Flow status (for gating decision) Priority indicator. the diameter realm or business name) AF SPR • • • The SPR may provide the following information for a subscriber.typically the MSISDN (Mobile Subscriber Integrated Services Digital NetworkNumber) of the user.. RFC 4566 Page 8 . if involved...

users with no credit). and this was formalized in R11 in the May 2011 3GPP TSG SA WG2 meeting. and creating/destroying dedicated bearer PDP contexts (and thus radio bearers) in response to a request from an Application Function (AF). for example. it is not a required element of a 3GPP network. The PCEF typically gets subscription information from the AAA or S6a interface towards the HSS & AAA. The PCEF enforces the authorized QoS of a service data flow according to the active PCC rule (e. The original framers of the 3GPP PCC specifications anticipated the PCRF installing dynamic rules (5tuple based) on a per-flow basis. The PCEF converts a QoS class identifier value to IP-session specific QoS attribute values (typically DSCP) and determine the QoS class identifier value from a set of IP-session specific QoS attribute values. to pass through the PCEF if and only if the corresponding gate is open. Figure 10: PCRF system architecture The PCEF is the main component of PCC.. In 3GPP R8 this was deprecated in favour of application detection and control (ADC) rules (giving much greater scale).g. QoS enforcement: • QoS class identifier correspondence with IP session-specific QoS attributes. IP-session bearer QoS enforcement. An operator can (and commonly does) have pre-provisioned PCC rules in the PCEF (other basic rules are also provisioned in the HLR/HSS). The PCEF controls the QoS that is provided to a combined set of service data flows. It is important to note that the use of a PCRF is optional. PCC rule QoS enforcement. which is subject to policy control. The PCEF performs the following primary functions: • Gate enforcement.Quality of Service in LTE • • Multimedia Priority Service (MPS) Priority (user priority) IMS Signaling Priority PCRF A PCRF has two key functions in the 3GPP PCC standards: provisioning charging rules to the PCEF (performed on session initiation). The policy enforcement function ensures that the resources which can be used by an authorized set of service data flows are within the "authorized resources" PCEF • • • • • Page 9 . The PCEF allows a service data flow. to enforce uplink DSCP marking). This provides a means of blocking unknown or unenforced traffic (and may be used to block. Charging Trigger Function where through Diameter Credit Control it feeds information to an Online Charging System in order to track usage. Charging Data Function through offline charging records required for typical post-paid services and charging reconciliation. and its use is non-optional.

0 (2013-09).203 provides the following view of the logical relationship between these elements and their interfaces when online charging and an OCS are also in play: 3 4 TDF 3GPP TS 29. or it may act to perform the gating/redirection/bandwidth limitation without informing the PCRF. 5 Indeed. Introduced in 3GPP release 11. which has embedded ADC rules.2. the charging sections of TS 23. section 4b http://www. 4 3GPP release 12 introduced charging support to the TDF. or actions may be performed by the PCEF/TDF using Application Detection and Control (ADC) rules. The TDF may also provide usage monitoring towards the PCRF (so that the PCRF can provide an additional form of metering when an OCS is not present or capable). actions resulting from application detection may be performed by the PCEF as part of the charging and policy enforcement per service data flow and by the Bearer Binding and Event Reporting Function (BBERF) for bearer binding. section 6. section 4. for example. During IP-CAN bearer QoS enforcement.203 V12. The latter use case is more common as over-the-top applications often operate at much greater scale than the PCRF is capable of handling. 6 Annex Q of TS 23.203 and 29. The key aspect that determines compliance as a 3GPP release 11 or higher TDF is support for the newly introduced Diameter Sd reference point described in TS 29.2. bandwidth limitation and charging for detected applications. the PCEF shall provide packet filters with the same content as that in the service data flow template filters received over the Gx interface.3.0 (2013-09). PCEF. effectively duplicating charging functions also described for the PCEF element. effectively duplicating charging functions also described for the PCEF element. the TDF performs gating.org/ftp/Specs/html-info/29212. if packet filters are provided to the UE. For those cases where service data flow description cannot be provided by the TDF to the PCRF. 3GPP release 12 introduced charging support to the TDF.212 V12. the TDF component is still in the process of being standardized and has not yet been widely adopted. Decisions about which applications to detect can be installed locally to a TDF and/or to what the specifications refer to as a “PCEF enhanced with ADC”. 3 The PCEF uses PCC rules and the Diameter Gx reference point to communicate with the PCRF (in place since release 7 and also described in TS 29. PCRF.3gpp.203 is addressed at the “PCEF/TDF” element having or receiving “PCC/ADC” rules.Quality of Service in LTE specified via the Gx interface by "authorized QoS".org/ftp/Specs/html-info/23203. which do not use SIP and a traditional AF. Its existence demonstrates industry recognition of the rise and predominance of over-the-top applications.3gpp. 3GPP technical specifications 23. For those cases where service data flow description is provided by the TDF to the PCRF.htm 3GPP TS 23. that is. The authorized QoS information is mapped by the PCEF to IP CAN specific QoS attributes.htm 5 Ibid. various Diameter interfaces and other related elements such as an OCS.1. 6 Ibid. Diameter Sd is used for communication between the TDF and PCRF using application detection and control (ADC) rules fully detailed in TS 29.212. the credit management section of TS 23. Both the TDF and PCEF elements must interpret monitoring keys from the PCRF and charging keys from the OCS. The TDF may be deployed in two different ways: it may signal on a per flow basis after detection towards the PCRF.212 version 12 describe the relationship between the TDF.203 often describe the PCEF and TDF elements as one entity. Page 10 .212). The authorized QoS provides an upper bound on the resources that can be reserved (GBR) or allocated (MBR) for the IP session bearer. a PCEF with an embedded TDF. redirection.5 http://www.212.

Theoretically. the standards remain vague regarding how topology/location information will be provided from the PCRF to the TDF. and can make its own evaluation of rules based on credit responses.0. Figure 12: 3GPP block diagram. A common approach is to perform this function via the PCEF directly (as it too communicates with the OCS via Diameter Gy). may provide policy counters status for each relevant policy counter towards the PCRF over the newly–emerging Sy interface. the standards provide an optional mechanism for every location change to be propagated from the RAN all the way to the PCRF. Annex Q) It is anticipated that the TDF will perform other triggers (e. congestion detection) so that the PCRF can become aware of the network. 12.203 v. Some vendors offer location awareness using proprietary features. 7 The OCS is out of the scope of PCC. and therefore the TDF as purely described in the latest standards will face a similar problem. Gyn PCEF/ TDF Figure 11: Usage Monitoring via Online Charging System (3GPP TS 23. the PCEF has a connection via Gy towards the OCS. if involved. However. Sd Sy OCS Gy.2.. see Technology Showcase – Traffic Detection Function. The OCS. In addition. for practical reasons this has not been implemented. 7 Page 11 . expanded. with core PCC components shaded For a complete overview of Sandvine’s approach the 3GPP release 12 and TDF standards. location changes. but does have a recent (and not widely adopted) interface towards the PCRF for purposes of coordinating policy with credit. OCS 3GPP PCC Theory of Operation Figure 12 shows the overall PCC system and its interconnections to non-PCC components.Quality of Service in LTE PCRF Gx.g. As of release 12.

except that it is based on detecting an application. Application-function initiated change: When activated. 3. Examples include quota exceeded. QoS change. a default bearer is created on the P-GW. a trigger can be sent towards the PCRF (using diameter Gx). the same sequence occurs: a dedicated bearer (secondary PDP context) is created. PCRF-initiated change. loss of bearer. Operators can create PDP contexts dynamically using Gx. It can match the following fields: • • • • • • • Source address (with subnet mask) IP protocol number (TCP. rather than the user initiating the application. etc. selecting the QoS and charging parameters. which commences the QoS and charging as specified by the AF. TFT In 3GPP. etc): Based on a rule on the PCEF. entrance to a specific location. TDF-initiated change: Conceptually this is identical to the Application-function initiated change. UDP) Destination port range Source port range IPSec Security Parameter Index (SPI) Type of Service (TOS) (IPv4) Flow-Label (IPv6 only) Whether using the static-TFT model or the dynamic Gx-signaled TFT model. The PCRF provisions this rule into the PCEF with the appropriate TFT & QCI. start use of an application. 2. The PCRF is free to run internal logic on conditions it is aware of. The PCEF initiates a message with Gx to load the rule-set for the user (which is ultimately stored in the SPR). and traffic is forced to match it. Figure 13: TFT mapping to PDP context on 3G (dedicated bearer analogous to secondary) Page 12 . the AF signals the PCRF via Rx to indicate a new service flow (matched using IP header bits). This in turn causes differentiated radio-bearer performance. This can be useful if an upstream device on SGi will mark packets matching certain conditions with DSCP. a TFT (Traffic Flow Template) is a classifier that matches on fields on the inner-IP of a GTP-U tunnel. The following five major signaling flows are important to describe: 1. Subscriber initiates bearer (creates PDP context): When the subscriber registers their device to the network. in which traffic matching the TFT filters into the context based on rules in the PCEF. 5. or having dynamic PDP creation done by the packet gateway itself based on traffic matching with pre-provisioned values. Network-initiated change (RAT change.Quality of Service in LTE The general signaling flow through the 3GPP PCC architecture is initiated by either the user (session initiation) or via the AF/TDF. 4. after authentication by the S-GW and the HSS. and change the provisioning of rules on the PCEF using a Gx RAR.

this QCI could be used for the default bearer of a UE/PDN for "premium subscribers". and the QCI label is a short-hand for the QoS parameters within the context.0 QCI 1 (Note 3) 2 (Note 3) 3 (Note 3) 4 (Note 3) 5 (Note 3) 6 (Note 4) Resource Type Priority 2 Packet Delay Budget 100ms 150ms 50ms 300ms 100ms 300ms Packet Error Loss Rate 10-2 10-3 10-3 10-6 10-6 10-6 Example Service Conversational Voice Conversational Video (live) Real time gaming NonConversational Video (buffered) IMS Signaling Video (Buffered streaming) TCP Voice.7 of 3GPP TS 23. Also. associated with premium content) for any subscriber / subscriber group. Note that AMBR can be used as a "tool" to provide subscriber differentiation between subscriber groups connected to the Page 13 .g. The TFT selects which PDP context is used. Note the QCI is a short-hand label only. the SDF aggregate's uplink / downlink packet filters are known at the point in time when the SDF aggregate is authorized. The average takes into account that roaming is a less typical scenario.3..g.e. Also in this case. The standardized QCI characteristics are given as rough guidelines in Table 6.in particular for GBR traffic . NOTE 2: The rate of non-congestion related packet losses that may occur between a radio base station and a PCEF should be regarded to be negligible. In case of E-UTRAN this is the point in time when a corresponding dedicated EPS bearer is established / modified. note that the PDB defines an upper bound. in case of roaming with home routed traffic (the one-way packet delay between Europe and the US west coast is roughly 50 ms).3.1. It is expected that subtracting this average delay of 20 ms from a given PDB will lead to desired end-to-end performance in most typical cases. most typically TCP-based services/applications) of MPS subscribers.Quality of Service in LTE The LTE version of the standards allows up to nine TFTs to be used per bearer. i. TCP GBR (guaranteed bitrate) 4 3 5 1 6 7 (Note 3) 8 (Note 5) 9 (Note 6) Non-GBR 7 8 9 100ms 300ms 10-3 10-6 NOTE 1: A delay of 20 ms for the delay between a PCEF and a radio base station should be subtracted from a given PDB to derive the packet delay budget that applies to the radio interface. NOTE 4: If the network supports Multimedia Priority Services (MPS) then this QCI could be used for the prioritization of non-real-time data (i.0).7 from 3GPP TS 23. NOTE 6: This QCI is typically used for the default bearer of a UE/PDN for non-privileged subscribers. or LTE and CDMA is needed. Video (Live).should typically be lower than the PDB specified for a QCI as long as the UE has sufficient radio channel quality.e. In prior revisions.203 (v11. Alternatively. which is important to note if QoS handoff between HSPA and LTE. e. This delay is the average between the case where the PCEF is located "close" to the radio base station (roughly 10 ms) and the case where the PCEF is located "far" from the radio base station. Actual packet delays . A PELR value specified for a standardized QCI therefore applies completely to the radio interface between a UE and radio base station. NOTE 5: This QCI could be used for a dedicated "premium bearer" (e. Interactive Gaming Video (buffered streaming). NOTE 3: This QCI is typically associated with an operator controlled service. there is only one TFT allowed.203 V11. a service where the SDF aggregate's uplink / downlink packet filters are known at the point in time when the SDF aggregate is authorized. reproduced here: Table 1: Table 6.1.

Will static PCC rules be used? An upstream marking device with application awareness may be needed.Quality of Service in LTE same PDN with the same QCI on the default bearer. 1-8 are used within the operator domain. whereas traditional telecommunications voice infrastructures were built around circuit-switching. 3. pre-emption capability. As a consequence of these design choices there are tradeoffs as we migrate to LTE. MPLS-EX. GBR. Will dynamic PCC (flow-based) rules be used? This dramatically impacts the scale of the PCRF deployment. The most important set of trade-off comes in defining the ‘ends’ in end-to-end. PCC rule parameters • • QCI – QoS class indicator ARP – Allocation/Retention Priority -. the use of Diameter routing agents.information about the priority level. and the signaling load on the evolved packet core. 1 has highest priority. RSVP-TE. 2. all rules need to apply to both the eNodeB (via the TEID and PDP context) in addition to other network technologies using their own proprietary methods (e.g. 9-15 are used when roaming. DSCP. 4. GBR – guaranteed bitrate MBR – maximum bitrate SDF – service data flow • • • Packets matching the rule (the TFT) will be routed into a bearer that matches the settings (via the QCI) of ARP. ARP priority is 1…15. Key questions include: • • • • • • • • Is upstream QoS important (user-equipment towards Internet) Are carrier-provided applications included? Are over-the-top applications included? Is a guarantee required. Will Application Detection and Control (ADC) rules be used? The richness of capabilities of the PCEF will be the gating factor for services. Is QoS in the radio sufficient? If not. or is increased probability of quality sufficient? Does the QoS have to work in in-network hand-off scenarios between LTE and earlier technologies? Does the QoS have to work in off-network hand-off (roaming) scenarios between LTE and LTE technologies? Does the QoS have to work in off-network hand-off (roaming) scenarios between LTE and non-LTE technologies? If the quality cannot be guaranteed should the application be disallowed? (connection admission control) Page 14 . and pre-emption vulnerability.. …) What is the “End” in End-to-End? Internet architectures are generally built around per-hop-behaviour. Key operator deployment & architecture decisions The following are key questions a network operator needs to answer: 1. and MBR.

In Figure 14. jitter) can be dramatically different in each direction. push-to-talk over cellular)? Is there an ability to control demand on some classes of application (e.g. Networking vendors and even technologies can be different in each direction. Figure 14: Network layers Usually there is multi-path routing (e. bringing together multiple sources.. traffic management) to create additional capacity? Will local breakout be used in the home-network? In the visited-network? If so. we can see a stereotypical LTE network. Oversubscription (and thus latency. loss. The paths that packets flow over may be unstable.. packets may flow a different path. and thus which techniques are needed.g. entirely different transit service providers. video optimization..g. The upstream and downstream paths may go over different links. 5. At each level there are aggregation routers. 2. 3. OSPF ECMP) and as a consequence of packet switching several problems may arise (see Figure 15): 1. Answers to the above questions help narrow the focus onto which and how layers of the network are affected.Quality of Service in LTE • • • • • • If a session is started in a region with sufficient capacity. or in the case of the over-the-top applications. Figure 15: Typical packet path Page 15 . but the user moves to one without. Latencies may be different in each direction. is the session terminated? Is it sufficient to perform the QoS only in the most-congested part of the network and assume the remainder is sufficiently non-oversubscribed to not matter? Is QoS being used as an ‘improvement’ or a ‘degradement’? Is mobile-to-mobile QoS needed (e. 4.

fully-wildcard rule that gives them priority 0. and the routers in the transit would be under different administrative control. all the access routers). etc. while easily adapting to ongoing architectural evolutions. and thus the upstream 8 http://tools. As a consequence. This traffic management mechanism is described in RFC 6057 8. and engineer the ‘core’ to have statistical guarantees only. being based on it (and with an explicit goal to harmonise together in Common-IMS (which brings together ETSI TISPAN. A good example is the Traffic Management product. A more typical approach is to guarantee the 1Mbps solely on link 6 (or sometimes link 5…7). It would be highly wasteful to provide guarantees on all links for a possible service flow. But if there were some way of knowing the packet flow. In the example shown by Figure 15. PCMM is a direct analog of 3GPP PCC. If we bring this use case into 3GPP we run into a problem that the userequipment does not support being signaled in the same fashion as DOCSIS. The user is no longer causing disproportionate congestion The net effect is to shift congestion (and thus latency and loss) more towards the short-term heavy users. the edge routers may support RADIUS CoA or COPS. The naïve approach wastes four times the capacity. and the congestion shifts. These routers almost certainly have different capabilities and interfaces (it is likely the ‘core’ routers support signaling via BGP solely.ietf. the default service flow is given priority 1. Note that the 3GPP PCC standards are written to assume there is ‘negligible’ loss between the PCEF and the radio base station (see Note 2 of Table 1). which includes an advanced feature-set called Fairshare. 3GPP2. the DOCSIS scheduler prefers the priority 1 users over the priority 0. In DOCSIS cable networks this is achieved using the DOCSIS priority field (the equivalent of the ARP field in 3GPP). In practice this is an aggressive assumption for LTE since the backhaul (S1-U) network can be congested. DOCSIS allows 8 levels of priority. all the core routers. Sandvine has widely deployed Fairshare Traffic Management in cable environments using PacketCable MultiMedia (PCMM) prioritization. if we assume the service is 1Mbps of peak bandwidth. Reduce the scheduling priority of those users until either a. we would only need that 1Mbps guarantee on 1…6 in the downstream. The general theory of operation of Fairshare Traffic Management is to do the following: 1. Congestion disappears (with some hold-down time or hysteresis to prevent oscillation) or b.org/html/rfc6057 Page 16 . Identify links experiencing congestion 2. and the ‘heavy users on congested links’ are overridden with a dynamic. and CableLabs). Another downside to using the ‘naïve’ approach is that signaling is required to a large number of routers (all the routers in transit-A. then QoS means some network engineering or active signaling across multiple operators and technologies. and the packet flow never changed. ETSI 3GPP. if ‘end-to-end’ is defined as subscriber-to-subscriber content. Identify the users on those links likely to cause disproportionate congestion in the next time interval 3.Quality of Service in LTE In the case above. the naïve model would be to create a 1Mbps ‘constant bitrate’ guarantee on links 1…25.). transit-B. LTE QoS Use Cases: Fairshare Traffic Management Sandvine has always worked to ensure its QoS-handling capabilities function well for all network types and between networks types.

In 3GPP this is only signaled on bearer creation (enabling the user equipment) and possibly on interim updates (e. Modify the tunnel-ID (TEID) to match one that is statically created on the P-GW that has the requisite QoS parameters. User Location Update). The Fairshare Traffic Management policy measures top users on busy sectors and creates signaling via Rx (acting as an application function). the PTS performs reporting and correlation based on the outer-IP of the GTP-U tunnel. However. IuCS links. shown by Figure 16. but this would mean it would have to understand in some proprietary fashion how to route traffic from one to the other. This may or may not work for generic over the top applications. DSCP marking. Page 17 . In-Band Marking (TEID modification) In this model.. the UE can support multiple primary contexts. all ports. In DOCSIS this is signaled with DHCP/SNMP/IPDR protocols. in which the UE knows how to select the right dedicated bearer. PCRF Signaling In this model. and modifies the TEID of their traffic to match a pre-defined bearer that was statically created on the P-GW.g. Thus the three following possible mechanisms exist for per-sector prioritization in LTE: 1. Deploy a marking mechanism on the SGi and have it hit a statically-provisioned. we can perform prioritization for congestion management in the downstream. for example. 9 In LTE. In LTE. the fix requires deploying complex probes in the IuB. A primary context has a separate IP address. The second problem is recognizing which link (which mobile sector) the user is on. The Rx message contains the following: • • • • MSDISDN Subscriber IP Priority indicator (optionally bandwidth) Flow-identifier (wild carded all-source IP. In versions prior to LTE. as shown by Figure 17. it is possible to deploy the Sandvine Policy Traffic Switch (PTS) in the S1-U and thus become eNodeB-aware in a very simple fashion (the outer-IP of the GTP tunnel is the eNodeB). 2. The intent is to standardise and use this for Voice over LTE.Quality of Service in LTE cannot be prioritized 9. Signal to a PCRF to signal to the P-GW to create a dedicated bearer with a wildcard service flow (TFT). DSCP marking or MPLS-EX marking can be performed on the outer tunnel to cause QoS prioritization in the ratio backhaul itself. dynamic PCC rule using. 3. overriding the default TFT) Figure 16: Radio prioritisation via PCRF Matching traffic will be de-prioritised in the radio by the eNodeB scheduler. the Fairshare Traffic Management policy measures top-users on busy sectors. IuPS. In addition.

All three techniques will be equally effective at over-the-air radio prioritization. will be the most reliable and simplest to manage. requiring the most moving parts and the highest signaling rate. Figure 18: Radio prioritization via SGi Comparison of Techniques Of the three techniques (PCRF dynamic PCC rule. Page 18 . the upstream is best handled via a capacity-control agent such as the Sandvine PTS (as a policer) or using the 3GPP PCC ‘GBR’. As a consequence. or a set of PTS elements are deployed in the S1-U to do the measurement per sector. in-band TEID marking. using Cisco’s NQoS feature). and this effectiveness will be a function of the eNodeB scheduler solely. None of the techniques reliably handle upstream prioritization due to limitations of current user equipment. other than requiring a proprietary configuration per PGW. In-Band Marking SGi (DSCP Modification) In this model.Quality of Service in LTE Figure 17: Radio prioritisation via TEID modification Matching traffic will be de-prioritised in the eNodeB radio scheduler. A PTS on SGi marks traffic with DSCP. The PCRF with dynamic PCC rules model is the most complex. there is either a signaling mechanism in place from the S1-MME/S11 interface (to teach the PTS about the user to sector mapping). but will serve some purpose. Sandvine’s support for this use case is uniquely enabled by the SandScript policy language and the freeform policy creation environment it provides. and a static rule on the P-GW causes these packets to be mapped into a dynamically created dedicated bearer (for example. S1-U prioritization of both inner-and outer tunnel offers the best overall performance as it handles both backhaul and radio congestion. The SGi in-band marking. in-band DSCP marking) there are different strengths and weakness. Providing a maximum rate rather than prioritization is not as efficient or effective.

QualityGuard’s goal is to maintain the optimal goodput for the access resource. or target goodput. but proportional to the increase in bandwidth. or non-real-time applications such as email and bulk downloads.Quality of Service in LTE Automated QoS Control for Mobile Network Congestion Management Sandvine’s Fairshare Traffic Management uses an advanced feature called the QualityGuard congestion response system.Relationship between Throughput and Latency QualityGuard uses access round trip time (aRTT) to measure real-time subscriber QoE. Page 19 . From a technical standpoint. QualityGuard continuously measures subscriber QoE in real time to detect congestion in the access network. The increase is rather marginal. and this is used as the input for a closed-loop control system that continuously and automatically works to maintain the optimum shaped traffic output during times of congestion. Congestive collapse Figure 19 . Figure 19 shows the relationship between throughput and latency on the road to the congestive collapse of an access resource. When an access node is near or at capacity. and then automatically manages QoS to remove congestion by shaping traffic classified as “low-value” (heavy short-term users who are contributing to congestion. or a combination of both). that the access resource can maintain while still providing a good QoE to the 95-99% of subscribers that fall into the high-value traffic category. As the throughput approaches capacity. which in mobile networks is a constantly moving target due to the variable nature of a cell’s maximum capacity. latency increases due to the growing queue delay and the ‘bursty’ nature of TCP. latency begins to increase exponentially until it reaches a final tipping point where the element experiences congestive collapse. subscribers experience the greatest deterioration of QoE. Earlier it was noted that as throughput increases on a node or router. This is the maximum throughput.

Figure 21 shows the net effect of QualityGuard on Layer-7 OTT bandwidth for a resource experiencing massive congestion problems. and driven by Sandvine’s standard reporting interface. the following three graphical reports demonstrate the positive effect of QualityGuard. Page 20 . and Figure 23 shows the effect on the calculated quality score. When web browsing traffic begins to increase and real-time subscriber QoE falls below a configured benchmark. Figure 22 shows QualityGuard’s effect on latency in the form of aRTT measurements. QualityGuard enforces Figure 21 – Trial results – verifying the desired effect of QualityGuard on bandwidth Looking at the same results from a different perspective.Quality of Service in LTE Figure 20 – Maximizing subscriber QoE and infrastructure lifetime Using reports generated by a set of congestion-related business intelligence called QualityWatch. QualityGuard shapes the bulk transfer traffic of subscribers currently contributing to the congestion condition while creating capacity for the other 95-99% of users also attempting to use the resource. Network Demographics.

In particular. 2.Quality of Service in LTE Figure 22 – Trial results – verifying the desired effect of QualityGuard on high-value latency Figure 23 – Trial results – high-value latency expressed as a quality score Conclusions and Recommendations 1. It’s important to understand the limitations of both the backhaul and chosen eNodeB equipment. An operator should define end-to-end to include the radio scheduler (eNodeB) and the backhaul. and whether they are strict-priority (starving lower priority flows) or weighted-fair. 3. Avoid the use of guaranteed bitrate classes (media services are rarely constant bitrate. Concentrate on a single network technology first: hand-off conditions between HSPA & LTE or CDMA and LTE will lead to severe limitations in both the number and richness of service flows. Page 21 . 4. audio is adaptive bitrate. and overprovision the remainder of the network to provide probabilistic guarantees only. video is highly variable based on source content). voice uses silence suppression. avoid the use of signaling service flows for over-the-top services due to their short-lifetime and highspeed. Focus on per-hop behaviour and marking rather than ‘circuit’-based techniques. in particular the number of queues supported. 5.

2013-11-22 . Ontario Canada Phone: +1 519 880 2600 Email: sales@sandvine.com European Offices Sandvine Limited Basingstoke.co. Sandvine and the Sandvine logo are registered trademarks of Sandvine Incorporated ULC.uk Copyright ©2013 Sandvine Incorporated ULC. All rights reserved.Headquarters Sandvine Incorporated ULC Waterloo. UK Phone: +44 0 1256 698021 Email: sales@sandvine.