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SDCCH Configuration in Half Rate


With the half rate coding it is possible to maximize the spectrum efficiency. Half rate coding almost doubles the amount of radio resources, compared with the use of full rate traffic channels. Full rate speech and data is coded and transferred using 16 kbit/s channels in the BSS. However, with the half rate coding, 8 kbit/s transmission can be used on the BSC-BTS interface. This is possible also on the BSC transcoder interface when the BSS (BTS, BSC, Transcoder) and mobile stations all support half rate. Radio resources can thus be more efficiently used by employing half rate traffic channels for low rate data services. Each radio time slot of the BTS TRX can be configured to be a full rate, half rate or dual rate traffic channel (TCH) resource on the BSC-BTS interface. In the last case the BSC dynamically allocates an idle radio time slot either for half rate or full rate coding on a call basis. It is possible to introduce half rate coding to existing full rate GSM networks gradually. The BSC-MSC interface supports different types of transcoders capable of full rate coding, half rate coding or both. The BSS is able to co-operate simultaneously with both old phase 1 full rate-only mobile stations and with phase 2 mobile stations which support both full and half rate. Thus, half rate can also be installed in the network without replacing the old transcoders with new half rate-supporting ones. Half rate is an optional GSM feature in the BSC and available in both ANSI and ETSI environments.


The SDCCH traffic is much more difficult to estimate as it is used in various processes and features such as periodic location update, location update, IMSI attach/detach, SMS, call setup, etc. Therefore, it is a cell-by-cell analysis. In fact, the SDCCH traffic is a sum of various causes:

Traffic SDCCH =
i =1

i= x

(ni * i ) 3600

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SDCCH Configuration in Half Rate

Causes (I)
Periodic Location Update Normal Location Update Attach (IMSI) Detach (IMSI) Call set up (MTC) (no answer) Call set up (MTC) (answer) Call set up (MOC) (no answer) Call set up (MOC) (answer) SMS (MTC) SMS (MOC) Coverage lost Fax (MTC) Fax (MOC) Others (Call div., Number ID,)

Number per subs per hour (n)

1 0.5 1 1 0.1 0.2 0.6 0.2 0.5 0.5 0.0001 0.001 0.005 0.01

SDCCH hold () [s]

3.6 3.6 3.6 3 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 6.2 6.2 5 2.8 2.8 1

3.6 1.8 3.6 3 0.28 0.56 1.68 0.56 3.1 3.1 0.0005 0.0028 0.014 0.01 21.3073

SDCCH per sub. Per hour [Erl] False Ch. Request per BCCH (cell)

30 6 180

Note: These values are typical assumptions with 50% HR loading.


When TRXs could be configured by FR TCHs only, 16 kbit/s or 64 kbit/s LAPD (link access procedure on the D-channel) links have been used in telecom signalling. The maximum number of radio channels that could be configured in a TRX were 18, consisting of 12 SDCCHs and 6 TCH/Fs. Introduction of HR will enable TRX configurations of more than 18 radio channels which results in an increased load in measurement reporting; therefore a capacity of 16 kbit/s signalling link may not be sufficient in all cases. Therefore it is recommended that also with HR the TRX configurations should be restricted to the maximum of 18 radio channels if 16 kbit/s signalling links are used. A TRX within this limitation can have for example the following channel configurations: 8 SDCCHs, 6 TCH/Hs and 4 TCH/Fs 4 SDCCHs and 14 TCH/Hs 16 HR traffic channels

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SDCCH Configuration in Half Rate

Along with the implementation of HR support a 32 kbit/s LAPD link has been introduced. With TRX configurations of more than 18 radio channels a 32 kbit/s LAPD link is highly recommended for supporting the telecom signalling which half rate requires. If, however, a 16 kbit/s LAPD link is employed with a configuration of more than 18 logical channels, the signalling link can become overloaded. The overload of the signalling link can be monitored by the Telecom LAPD link supervision of the BSC with a possibility to set an alarm in an overload situatio


As mentioned earlier, the channel configuration will vary, depending on the traffic requirements for the site. For example, if a site is located in an area that has a high number of Location Updates, additional SDCCH channels may need to be added. The Half Rate configurations shown below are based on the table in section 2 (assuming 50% loading on HR). These configurations assume a TCH Blocking Probablility of 2% and SDCCH Blocking Probablility of 1%.

Required No. of SDCCH

FR Timeslots excluding GPRS Terr. ( B )

FR Timeslots for GPRS Territory ( A )

No. of TSLs configured as HR

1 2 3 4 5 6

3 3 3 3 3 3

4 11 18 26 34 41

2 6 9 13 17 21

2 5 9 13 17 20

4 10 18 26 34 40

9 19 30 42 54 64

4 8 16 16 16 24

1 (MBCCHC) 1 2 2 2 3

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No. of TSL for SDCCH


Remaining Available Timeslots

Total No. of TCH (=A+B+C)

Number of TRX

Total No. of HR Timeslots ( C )