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Effect of Relaying on Coverage in 3GPP LTE-Advanced

Effect of Relaying on Coverage in 3GPP LTE-Advanced

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Effect of Relaying on Coverage in 3GPP LTE-Advanced

Tommaso Beniero*1, Simone Redana*, Jyri Hämäläinen+, Bernhard Raaf*

Nokia Siemens Networks, St. Martin Strasse 76, 81541, Munich, Germany simone.redana@nsn.com; bernhard.raaf@nsn.com


Helsinki University of Technology, P.O. Box 3000, FIN-02015 HUT, Finland jyri.hamalainen@tkk.fi system deployment while the benefit from their usage in presence of heavy interference is limited. On the other hand, Decode and Forward (DF) relays detect the desired signal and then encode and forward it. Therefore DF relays are applicable also in interference limited environments and thus, they can be used to improve system capacity. This paper considers DF relaying only and thus, while using the term RN we refer to a DF relay node. We propose a novel evaluation methodology that can be used to find the relation of RN transmission power, ratio between number of Base Stations (BSs) and RNs, and performance of the system. We have adopted 3G LTE framework because discussion of the role of DF relays in evolution of 3G LTE (LTE-Advanced) has just started. Due to this selection we refer to a base station by the 3GPP term enhanced Node B (eNB). The rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section II presents the rationale behind the relay node deployment, the benefits and the scenarios that seem to be most promising. In Section III details of the adopted evaluation methodology are introduced and results of the simulations are provided in Section IV. Conclusions are drawn in Section V. II. RELAY BASED DEPLOYMENT We consider a simple scenario where at most two hops are allowed. Such a scenario is most attractive from a practical perspective because system complexity is strongly related to the number of hops. This approach allows three different types of links: by direct link we refer to the connection between eNB and UE, the relay link is carried out between eNB and RN, and term access link is used for the link between RN and UE. One of the expected main benefits of the relay based deployment is the more fair spread of the capacity over the cell. In a traditional cellular network UEs near the eNB usually experience a capacity that is higher than the one faced on the cell edge. By use of relays fairness is improved in the cell although UEs near the eNB will achieve lower peak rates than in single hop networks. This decrease is due to the fact that some resources must be assigned to the relay link and the interference is increased by the RN transmissions. On the

Abstract— Current broadband wireless networks are characterized by large cell sizes. Yet, even in advanced networks that will be built using 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE), also referred to as 3GPP LTE-Advanced, or mobile WiMAX radio interface, users on the cell edge will face relatively low Signal-toInterference-plus-Noise-Ratio (SINR). An attractive solution for this problem is provided by multihop technologies. In this paper we consider the feasibility of Decode and Forward (DF) Relay Nodes (RNs) from 3GPP LTE-Advanced perspective. We propose a novel evaluation methodology that can be used to find a relation of RN transmission power, ratio between number of Base Stations (BSs) and RNs, and performance of the system. Evaluation of DF relays in 3GPP LTE-Advanced framework indicates a good performance gain. Index Terms— LTE, LTE-Advanced, Decode and Forward relay, cost modeling, evaluation methodology.

I. INTRODUCTION The Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a new air interface designed by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The underlying radio technology is based on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and it applies sophisticated scheduling and multi-antenna methods. 3GPP LTE will also admit higher peak data rates and more users per cell as well as lower control plane latency than currently employed 3G Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) [1]. Yet, enhancements in radio link technology will not solve the basic problem related to propagation loss: coverage and capacity at the cell border remain relatively small due to low Signal-toInterference-plus-Noise-Ratio (SINR) [2]. A very promising solution to overtake the above mentioned problem is represented by Relay Nodes (RNs). Deploying RNs near the cell edge will help to increase the capacity [3] or, alternatively, to extend the cell coverage area [4]. While conventional Amplify and Forward (AF) relays can be used to increase the coverage, the basic problem is that they amplify not only desired signal but also both interference and noise. Therefore AF relays provide best benefit in noise limited


Ph.D. Student at Helsinki University of Technology

978-1-4244-2517-4/09/$20.00 ©2009 IEEE

other hand, UEs near the cell edge that are connected to a RN experience better throughput than in traditional networks. Relays are seen as a mean to enhance system capacity and to extend coverage but also as a cost efficient solution in coverage limited scenario. The impact on the operators business model is presented in [5] in terms of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over 5 years. The TCO comprises one time costs, like CAPEX (Capital Expense, i.e. equipment cost) and IMPEX (Implementing Expense, i.e. one time services for planning and implementation as well as site related costs like site acquisition and construction, etc.), and recurring OPEX (Operating Expense, i.e. O&M, site rent etc.). In [5] it is shown that mid and high power RNs can yield operators saving of 30% and more. DF relays introduce some challenges to the 3GPP LTE future evolution (3GPP LTE-Advanced) as well. In some proposed layer 2 relay approaches the optimization of layer 2 procedures requires a heavy design effort and system complexity easily becomes intolerable when the number of hops exceeds two. On the other hand, the proposed layer 3 approach provides an attractive option where RNs are more like eNBs with wireless backhauling and design effort focus only on relay link. Yet, such a design is not optimized from e.g. delay perspective and it may happen that the tolerable delay limits the number of hops to two. Fortunately the control plane delay in 3GPP LTE design is extremely small enabling relay considerations in later releases. Finally, we note that the network planning in case of relay based deployment is another crucial issue but since this is not in the focus of this paper we only refer to [6] and [7] for a more comprehensive discussion. There a scenario is represented where RNs are located on lampposts. This kind of deployment presents some benefits, such as the possibility to provide power supply at low costs and the opportunity to exploit the well distributed network of lampposts. Yet, we note that lamppost deployment is more suitable for low power relays with small coverage. If noticeable enhancement in cell coverage is aimed, then RN transmission power and size needs to be increased and e.g. building wall deployment is a better solution. III. EVALUATION METHODOLOGY OF RELAY USE FOR COVERAGE EXTENSION The proposed evaluation methodology aims to identify scenarios where relay extension presents a remarkable throughput increase with respect to eNB only deployment and trades this gain in a decrease of the number of eNBs necessary to provide the same coverage as without relays. We note that the impact of relays can be investigated either from network capacity or coverage perspective. In former case the inter-site distance (ISD) is fixed and increase in cell throughput defines the gain of relaying. In latter case we fix a certain throughput criterion and positive impact of relaying is used to increase the ISD with respect to the reference scenario. In this paper we have adopted the coverage perspective and we explore scenarios with different combinations of ISD and RNs that provide the same performance in terms of coverage.

In the following, we refer to them as iso-performance scenarios. The 10%-tile of the throughput CDF is assumed as a performance comparison criterion. This value has been chosen as coverage indication because it represents the group of UEs with worst channel conditions and located near the cell edge. In Section III.B the combinations of ISD and RNs are obtained by means of an iterative algorithm. In Section III.A we analytically derive the end-to-end throughput for UEs connected to the RNs. From obtained formula we see how resources consumed by the relay link reduce the achievable throughput on the access link. A. End-to-end throughput In this section we analytically derive the end-to-end (e2e) throughput when the UE is not directly served by the eNB but through K-hop relaying composed of K links. Proposition 1. Assume optimal resource division between links which compose the K-hop connection. Then the e2e throughput is of the form:

⎛ K 1 TeOpt = ⎜ ∑ 2e ⎜ T ⎝ k =1 k

⎞ ⎟ , ⎟ ⎠



where Tk is the maximum achievable throughput on kth link. Proof. Consider a K-hop connection where each link uses a fraction Rk of the total available resources R:

R = ∑ Rk .
k =1



Then the e2e throughput is given by:

Te 2 e = min{R1 ⋅ T1 , R2 ⋅ T2 ,… , RK ⋅ TK } R .


This throughput is maximized when equal amount of information is transferred over each link. Hence, in optimal case we have

R ⋅ TeOpt = Rn ⋅ Tn , n = 1,2, 2e



and the e2e throughput admits the expression:

TeOpt = 2e

Rn ⋅ Tn . R


Combining equations (5) and (2) we finally have:

TeOpt = 2e

Rn ⋅ Tn

k =1




⎛ K 1 Tn T = K n = ⎜∑ K ⎜ T R T ∑ Rk ∑ Tn ⎝ k =1 k k =1 k =1 k n

⎞ ⎟ ⎟ ⎠


and the proof of (1) is complete. We emphasize that (1) is valid when all links admit the same throughput. If rates on different links vary, then e2e throughput is obtained as a minimum over the throughputs on all sub-links.

B. Iso-performance scenarios

step 0

RN = 0; ISD = 500 m

where the exchange ratio is obtained by plotting the dashed straight line. From this example we can derive that NeNB can be substituted with NRN, or equivalently one eNB can be substituted with a number RNs equals to NRN/NeNB. IV. PERFORMANCE EVALUATION RESULTS

step 1

RN ++

ISD = 500 m

step 2

same 10%-tile thr. CDF?


The methodology illustrated in the previous section has been implemented in Matlab and evaluated in 3GPP LTEAdvanced system. In Section IV.A we shortly introduce the applied simulation model, while in Section IV.B simulation results are given. A. Simulation model
TABLE I. Parameter Carrier frequency Channel bandwidth Number of cells Spatial channel model Penetration loss Total margin Traffic model eNB location/height eNB number of sectors eNB antennas per sector eNB max tx power per sector eNB elevation + antenna gain eNB noise figure RN location/height RN antennas RN max tx power per sector RN elevation + antenna gain RN noise figure RNmax SIMULATION PARAMETERS Value 2 GHz 20 MHz 19 (cellular hexagonal layout) WINNER II channel models 20 dB (not on the relay link) 30 dB Full buffer - Downlink eNB parameters 25m (above rooftop) 3 4 (horizontal array) 46 dBm 14 dBi 5 dB RN parameters 5m (below rooftop) 1 (omnidirectional) 24, 38 dBm 9 dBi 7 dB 12 UE parameters UE location/height UE antennas UE elevation + antenna gain UE noise figure Number UEs 1.5m 2 (cross-polarized) 0 dBi 7 dB Single user

Change ISD

step 3


Figure 1. Algorithm used to explore iso-performance scenarios.

We use the term iso-performance scenario to refer RN and ISD combinations that provide the same performance in terms of the 10%-tile throughput CDF. In Figure 1 we have illustrated the algorithm that is used to explore isoperformance scenarios. The reference scenario of ISD 500m without relays is first assumed (step 0). Then one relay per sector is deployed (step 1) and the ISD is increased until the 10%-tile CDF throughput is the same as in the reference scenario (step 2). As an output the algorithm provides the RN, ISD combination (step 3). Then the algorithm can be continued by placing another relay in each sector (step 1). Algorithm iteratively obtains iso-performance scenarios adding one relay per sector at each iteration until the maximum number of relays per sector (denoted by RNmax) is reached. See Section IV.A for more details on RN deployment, in particular Figure 3.

4 eNBs per Km

3 2 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 RNs per Km2 25 30

35 NRN 40

Figure 2. Example of a iso-performance curve.

An iso-performance curve (also known as indifference map, see [7]) is defined as a set of points, each corresponding in a certain area to different combinations of RNs per sector and eNBs with equal performance. Main benefit from isoperformance curves is that they can be used to obtain the exchange ratio between eNBs and RNs while keeping the same performance in terms of 10%-tile CDF throughput. An example iso-performance curve is depicted in Figure 2,

Iso-performance scenarios are simulated in a network that is represented by a regular hexagonal cellular layout with 19 cells, variable number of RNs per sector (up to RNmax) and variable ISD. Simulation setup follows assumptions in EU project WINNER II [8] and Table 1 illustrates parameters used in the simulations2. Parameters for RNs follow recommendations from EU project WINNER II [10][11]. We consider single antenna RNs

Simulation assumptions agreed in 3GPP are available in [9]. They were not available when this work was published.

that are placed below building rooftop level on 5 meters height. They are deployed on the regular grid in order to provide good coverage for UEs close to cell border, see Figure 3. Comparison between RNs with low (24 dBm) and high (38 dBm) transmission power is made in Section IV.B. Since we are interested in the coverage limited scenario we have investigated a case where a single randomly located user per cell is active. Within this setup interference from neighboring cells is so small that it can be ignored.

Figure 3. Relay nodes deployment grid

The applied channel models have been originally proposed in the EU project WINNER II [12]. There the path-loss formula for eNB to UE link, assuming an urban macro-cell model (C2) with non line-of-sight (NLOS) is:
PL eNB- UE = [44.9 - 6.55log10(h eNB )]log 10 (d) + + 34.46 + 5.83log 10 (h eNB ) + 20log10(f/5.0)


where heNB is the eNB antenna height in meters, f the carrier frequency in GHz and d the transmitter-receiver separation in meters. UE height is 1.5m (hUE). The link between eNB and RN is expected to be 3dB better than the link between eNB and UE due to the RN height that is assumed to be 5m (hRN). We have adopted the suburban macro-cell model (C1) of [12] with non line-of-sight (NLOS), i.e.
PL eNB- RN = PL eNB- UE - 3dB.

the crossing of the UE. In the base coverage urban test case it shall be assumed d1 = d 2 = d 2 , see [11]. Since indoor users are considered, a penetration loss of 20 dB has been applied to the direct and access link but not to the relay link because relays are expected to be deployed outdoor. The eNB/RN selection is performed by UEs on the basis of highest received signal power. In order to evaluate the performance of relays in a coverage limited scenario we have to consider a worst case scenario where UEs at the cell border suffer for low SINR and improving coverage is necessary. In order to introduce this condition in our simulator we have assumed a total margin applied to all links equal to 30dB. This value contains shadow fading (i.e. correlated shadow fading has been not explicitly implemented), fast fading and losses due to implementation imperfections in both transmitter and receiver. Since the main scope of the paper is in the evaluation methodology for relay based deployment and its applicability in poor coverage propagation conditions, we omit the more detailed discussion on factors that are taken into account in the applied total margin. Yet, we note that the value of the total margin will have an impact to the results. This impact can be investigated more carefully assuming LTE-Advanced link budget parameters agreed in 3GPP [9]. An alternative to the total margin would be to deploy RNs in locations where strong shadowing is experienced. Yet, this approach would require generation of spatially correlated shadowing maps which makes the simulation impractically heavy, in particular if several iterations have to be done to determine iso performance scenarios. By applying the total margin the shadowing impact can be approximated with the simple uniform relay grid of Figure 3.


The path-loss for the RN to UE link is based on an urban micro cell model (B1) in non line-of-sight (NLOS) situations:
PLLOS-UE = max(22.7 log10 (d1 ) + 41.0 RN + 20 log10 (f/5.0), PL Free )

Figure 4. Throughput distribution in the sector assuming 5 RNs per sector, 24 dBm RN transmission power and ISD 611m. The value of the 10%-tile throughput CDF is the same as for the reference scenario (ISD 500m without RNs).

, for d1 < d BP with d BP ≤ 4 ⋅ (hRN − 1.0) ⋅ (hUE − 1.0) f ; while for c d1 ≥ d BP :
PL RN-UE = PLLOS-UE (d1 ) + 20 – 12.5·n j + 10n j ·log10 (d 2 ) RN


In above equations notation dBP refers to the break point distance between LOS and NLOS propagations and d12 + d 22 = d 2 . We have assumed a geometry where RN is located in one street and the UE is in the perpendicular street. The distance d1 is from the RN to the middle point of the crossing and d2 is the distance apart from the middle point of

B. Simulation results In this section we illustrate results obtained when applying the methodology presented in Section III.B to the coverage limited scenario described in Section IV.A. Figure 4 shows the throughput distribution for a certain RN, ISD combination (5 RNs, ISD is 611m), which presents the same value at the 10%-tile of the throughput CDF as the reference scenario (0 RN, ISD 500m). In this case the RN

transmission power is set to 24 dBm. We observe that the e2e throughput for UEs connected to RNs cannot reach the maximum achievable throughput on the access link due to the resources consumed by the relay link.

V. CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK The performance evaluation methodology proposed in this paper can be used to identify the most attractive relay based deployments in 3GPP LTE-Advanced. Through the analysis of the relative iso-performance curves, it is possible to obtain indications about the economic impact of relays. Performance evaluation results show a remarkable gain from the relay node deployment, especially in case of RNs with transmission power of 38 dBm. For 24dBm RNs the ratio between eNB and RN is small and RNs should be very cheap in order to provide a competitive solution. Yet, we emphasize that results depend on the selected simulation parameters like different margins. Future work on this topic includes a more detailed study of the impact of different fading margins and designs of suitable interference control mechanisms as well as a study of their impact to iso-performance curves of the system. Moreover, simulation parameters agreed in 3GPP will be used. REFERENCES
[1] [2] http://www.3gpp.org/Highlights/LTE/LTE.htm R. Schoenen, B.H. Walke, “On PHY and MAC Performance of 3GLTE in a Multi-Hop Cellular Environment”, WiCom 2007, 21-25 Sept. 2007, pp. 926 – 929 [3] A. So, B. Liang, “Effect of Relaying on Capacity Improvement in Wireless Local Area Networks”, WCNC 2005, 13-17 March 2005, Vol. 3, pp. 1539-1544 [4] R. Schoenen, R. Halfmann, B. H. Walke, “An FDD Multihop Cellular Network for 3GPP-LTE”, VTC 2008, 11-14 May 2008, pp. 1990-1994 [5] E. Lang, S. Redana, B. Raaf, “Business Impact of Relay Deployment for Coverage Extension in 3GPP LTE-Advanced”, LTE Evolution Workshop @ ICC 2009, 14-18 June 2009. [6] W. Hung-yu, S. Ganguly, R. Izmailov, “Ad hoc relay network planning for improving cellular data coverage”, PIMRC 2004. Volume 2, 5-8 Sept. 2004, pp. 769 - 773 [7] Y. Yang, S. Murphy, L. Murphy, “Planning Base Station and Relay Station Locations in IEEE 802.16j Multi-Hop Relay Networks”, CCNC 2008, 10-12 Jan. 2008, pp. 922 – 926 [8] http://www.ist-winner.org/ [9] 3GPP TR 36.814 V0.2.2, Further Advancements for E-UTRAN Physical Layer Aspects. [10] IST-4-027756 WINNER II, Deliverable D3.5.1, Relaying concepts and supporting actions in the context of CGs, October 2006. [11] IST-4-027756 WINNER II, Deliverable D6.13.7, Test Scenarios and Calibration Cases Issue 2, December 2006. [12] IST-4-027756 WINNER II, Deliverable D1.1.1, WINNER II interim channel models, November 2006.

Figure 5. Throughput CDF for three iso-performance scenarios: the reference scenario, 5 and 10 RNs per sector assuming 24dBm RN transmission power.

Figure 5 shows the throughput CDF for three isoperformance scenarios: the reference scenario and for the case where RN transmission power is 24 dBm and there are 5 and 10 RNs per sector. The CDFs for 5 and 10 RNs per sector present that almost 90% of the UEs experience a better throughput with respect to the reference scenario while the remaining 10% suffer for a small decrease. These are UEs connected to the eNB that receive a lower throughput due to the increase in the ISD with respect to the reference scenario.
5 4 3 2 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 RNs per squared Km RN TX PW 24 dBm RN TX PW 38 dBm

Figure 6. Iso-performance curves for 24dBm and 38dBm relay transmission power.

Figure 6 shows the iso-performance curves for 24 dBm and 38dBm RN transmission powers. In the former case the exchange ratio is 4.6 eNB for 133 RNs and in the latter case the exchange ratio is 4.6 eNBs for 39 RNs. Thus, in latter case relays can save costs if the TCO of the eNB is more than 8.5 times higher than the TCO of a RN. Low power RNs need to be quite cheap in order to be competitive against high power RNs. Yet, the relatively high transmission power in former case may have an impact to e.g. size of the relay and make it less attractive from a practical deployment perspective. On the other hand, site costs can be extremely high, therefore a lower number RNs needed in case of high transmission power leads to higher cost savings [5].

eNBs per squared Km

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