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Adaptive Quality-based Handover Control Algorithm in UMTS

Hung Hui Juan and ChingYao Huang


Department of Electronics Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, 1001 Ta Hsueh Rd., Hsinchu, 30010, Taiwan Tex: 886-3-5712121 ext 54175 Fax: 886-35724361 Emails: vetange.ee89@nctu.edu.tw and cyhuang@mail.nctu.edu.tw

Abstract
Handover control algorithms have been designed initially to ensure a seamless migration in cellular systems. With a better understating of wireless systems and communication channels, instead of focusing only on a seamless migration process in wireless systems, the handover control designs have shifted to the optimization of the required resources. In this paper, we will first describe the UMTS handover control algorithms for existing 3G wireless systems. A new adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm will be proposed to further optimize the required resources to meet the design challenges in mobility environment.

1. Introduction
UMTS the third generation wireless systems has been deployed first in Japan and will continue the deployment in other areas of the world. Among new control concepts implemented in UMTS system, the handover control algorithm is one of the differences as compared to other cdma-type cellular systems, like cdmaOne (IS-95A) and cdma2000. In this paper, besides of providing the comparison of 3G handover algorithms, we will propose an adaptive handover control algorithm based on 3GPP UMTS systems. Handover/Handoff problems have been studied for a long time. There are also numerous approaches proposed in the literatures. Starting with SIR (Signal-to-Interference Ratio) based handoff algorithms and then the pilot Ec/Io based CDMA soft/softer handoff controls [1-2], those algorithms are designed to ensure a seamless migration from cell-to-cell. Lately, quality-based handoff control algorithms, which take the actual connection quality, i.e., aggregate Ec/Io into consideration [3-5], are proposed to reduce the connections that do not significantly contribute to the connection quality. Owing to the saving in both the forward-link power budget and network resources, quality-based handoff algorithms are implemented in IS-95B/cdma2000 [6-7]. In UMTS system, instead of using the aggregate Ec/Io, the handover trigger is based

on the relative strength to the best connection of the instance by assuming that the best connection has the most dominate effect on the connection quality [8]. In this paper, we first briefly describe the original handover control algorithm in the UMTS system. Then a new handover control algorithm, called Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm, will be proposed. In this algorithm, we take the influence of downlink interference into consideration. Because the increase of downlink interference will reduce the strength of individual aggregate Ec/Io and degrade the connection quality, the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm will adopt different values of handover control parameters during different connection quality. The proposal is to avoid excessive handover and to decrease downlink interference for obtaining better connection quality with less required radio resource. This paper is organized as follows: In Section II, the details of UMTS is discussed. In Section III, an adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm is proposed. The simulation and the comparison between the proposed adaptive handover control algorithm and the UMTS baseline handover algorithm are provided in Section IV. Finally, the conclusions and the recommendations are included in Section V.

2. UMTS Handover Control Algorithms


2.1 UMTS soft handover control algorithm In the UMTS system, the pilot strength of the CPICH (Common Pilot Channel) is used to decide whether a connection can contribute to the connection quality. In soft handover, the User Equipment (UE) measures the strength of each pilot to see if any of the following three handover events take place. If there is a useful neighbor pilot worthy of being added to the active set and the active set is not full, the handover event 1a (Radio Link Addition) shown in Fig.1 will take place. After that, the useful neighbor pilot will be added into the active set. If there is a weak active pilot that does

not significantly contribute to the connection quality for a period of time, the handover event 1b (Radio Link Removal) shown in Fig.2 will take place. Then the weak active pilot will be dropped from the active set. If the active set is full and there is a neighbor pilot that becomes better than the worst active pilot, the handover event 1c (Combined Radio Link Addition and Removal) shown in Fig.3 will take place. After that, the better neighbor pilot will be added to the active set and the worst active pilot will be dropped from the active set [8]. Before discussing the detail of various handover trigger, following notations will be used: AS_Th: Reporting range (relative to the best pilot) AS_Th_Hyst: Hysteresis for the above thresholds AS_Rep_Hyst: Replacement Hysteresis T: Time to trigger (TtT) AS_Max_Size: Maximum size of Active set The first three handover parameters, AS_Th, AS_Th_Hyst and AS_Rep_Hyst help to determine if a pilot is strong enough or not. The hysteresis mechanism can provide a buffer zone between the add threshold and the removal threshold. This can prevent a pilot from being removed from the active set soon after being added to the active set because of short fading or signal fluctuation. The time-to-trigger mechanism can avoid adding a pilot which temporarily becomes good to the active set then dropping it presently, and vice versa. 2.2 Event 1a (Radio Link Addition) As shown in Fig.1, the event is triggered when the active set is not full, and there is a relative strong monitored pilot and the monitored pilot keeps the strength within a range to the best active pilot for a period of T seconds. The handover event occurs when Meas_Sign > Tr_add for a period of T and the active set is not full Where Tr_add=Best_Ss - AS_Th + AS_Th_Hyst (add threshold) Best_Ss: the strength of the best pilot in the active set Meas_Sign: the strength of the measured pilot

the best active pilot (Best_Ss) and the red curve represents the strength of the monitored pilot, Meas_Sign. When Meas_Sign exceeds Tr_add, the event timer is started. After that, if Meas_Sign drops below Tr_add, then the event timer is stopped and reset. If the event timer has lasted for a period of T, we consider that the pilot is stably strong, and is worth being added to the active set. In this figure, at time instant (1), the timer is started because Meas_Sign exceeds Tr_add. At time instant (2), the timer is stopped and reset when Meas_Sign drops below Tr_add, and at time instant (3), Meas_Sign exceeds Tr_add again, so timer is started again. Finally, at time instant (4), the timer has lasted for a period of T, so the strong monitored pilot is added to the active set. 2.3 Event 1b (Radio Link Removal) Fig.2 shows that how handover event 1b is triggered. The handover event is triggered when there is a weak active pilot and the weak active pilot keeps the strength below a range to the best active pilot for a period of T seconds. The handover event occurs when Meas_Sign < Tr_drop for a period of T Where Tr_drop=Best_Ss As_Th As_Th_Hyst (removal threshold)

Fig.2. Handover event 1b (Radio Link Removal) In Fig.2, the black curve represents the strength of the best active pilot, Best_Ss, and the red curve represents the strength of the worst active pilot, Worst_Old_Ss. When Worst_Old_Ss drops below Tr_drop, the event timer is started. After that, if Worst_Old_Ss rises again and exceeds Tr_drop, then the timer is stopped and reset. If the timer has lasted for a period of T, then the system will remove the weak active pilot from the active set. In the figure, at time instant (1), the timer is started because the strength of the weak active pilot, Worst_Old_Ss, drops below Tr_drop. At time instant (2), the timer is stopped and reset because Worst_Old_Ss exceeds Tr_drop, and at time instant (3), the timer is started again because Worst_Old_Ss drops below Tr_drop again. Finally, at time instant (4), because the timer has lasted for a period of T, we consider it really bad. Then the system removes the worst active pilot from the active set.

Fig.1. Handover event 1a (Radio Link Addition) In Fig.1, the black curve represents the strength of

2.4 Event 1c (Combined Radio Link Addition and Removal) The reporting event 1c takes place when the active set is full. When the active set is full, the system exchanges the weakest active pilot with the stronger monitored pilot when the new pilot satisfies the following condition: Best_Cand_Ss > Tr_swap for a period of T and the active set is full Where Tr_swap = Worst_Old_Ss + AS_Rep_Hyst (swap threshold) Worst_Old_Ss: the strength of the worst pilot in the active set Best_Cand_Ss: the strength of the best measured pilot

like the reporting range, hysteresis and time-to-trigger are static. If we can use different parameter setting for different connection quality, the performance may be better. Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm considers the influence of downlink interference. The increase of downlink interference will reduce the strength of individual aggregate Ec/Io and degrade the connection quality. So the algorithm will change the values of handover parameters like reporting range, hysteresis, and replacement hysteresis to set stricter handover add threshold and drop threshold under proper situation to avoid excessive handover. The stricter add/drop thresholds can decrease downlink interference by avoiding unnecessary handover and provide better connection quality. The mathematic formula of pilot strength Ec/Io is in the following equation: [4]

Ec I = FN o

Pi / W
th

all j i

Pj / W

Fig.3. Handover event 1c (Combined Radio Link Addition and Removal) In Fig.3, the black curve represents the strength of the weakest active pilot, Worst_Old_Ss, and the red curve represents the strength of the best monitored pilot, Best_Cand_Ss. When Best_Cand_Ss exceeds Tr_swap, the event timer is started. After that if Best_Cand_Ss drops below Tr_swap, the event timer is stopped and reset. If the timer has lasted for a period of T, the system will remove the worst active pilot from the active set and add the better monitored pilot to the active set. In the figure, at time instant (1), the strength of the best monitored pilot, Best_Cand_Ss, exceeds Tr_swap, so the timer is started. At time instant (2), the timer is stopped and reset because Best_Cand_Ss drops below Tr_swap. At time instant (3), the timer is started again because Best_Cand_Ss exceeds Tr_swap again. Finally at time instant (4), because the timer has lasted for a period of T, the system removes the worst active pilot from the active set and adds the best monitored pilot to the active set. The worst active pilot is replaced by the best monitored pilot.

3. Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm


In the UMTS specification, the handover parameters

In this equation: Ec = chip energy received from the i-th sector Io = spectral density of total received interference = fraction of sector power allocated to pilot signal Pi = received power from the i-th sector W = system bandwidth F = base station noise figure Nth = thermal noise power spectral density From the formula we can know that the pilot strength is influenced by the received total power (downlink total interference). When the downlink interference is stronger, the pilot strength is weaker. On the contrary, when the downlink interference is weaker, the pilot strength is stronger. To improve the connection quality of user equipments, the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm increase the aggregate Ec/Io by decreasing the downlink interference. Fig.5 shows the basic concept and the general idea of the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm. Because the increase of downlink interference will reduce the strength of individual aggregate pilot strength (aggregate Ec/Io) and degrade the connection quality, the algorithm will set stricter handover add/drop thresholds to avoid excessive handover when the best pilot strength is getting worse. The stricter add/drop thresholds can decrease downlink interference by avoiding unnecessary handover and provide better connection quality. Besides, when the connection quality is bad, we may want to add a useful pilot to the active set to save the connection as soon as possible. So the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm will add a useful pilot as soon as possible and more quickly than original UMTS handover control algorithm by setting time-to-trigger smaller when the best pilot strength is

worse.
Tr add/Tr drop

Best Pilot strength T_quality2 T_quality1 Always Slope = 1

Adaptive UMTS Tr_add

Tr_drop

Standard UMTS

Fig.4. The relationship between handover add/drop thresholds and the best pilot strength Following is the flow chart and illustration of adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm:

Where (Ec/Io)com=combined active pilot strength (Ec/Io)best=best active pilot strength (Best_Ss) CS: number of active pilot Delta =10*log {[(Ec/Io) com]/[(Ec/Io)best]} The value of implies the ratio of aggregate pilot strength to the best pilot strength. If is large, the best active pilot does not play the dominant role on the connection quality and other active pilot is not much weaker than the best one. If is small, the best active pilot plays the dominant role on the connection quality and other active pilot is much weaker than the best one. In this flow chart of the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm, the handover parameters are set to different values according to different strength of Best_Ss. Then the algorithm will check if there are other weak active pilots and the value of delta is smaller than two. If the answer is yes, it indicates that these weak active pilots may be dropped from the active set and the drop events may result in call drop or bad connection quality. So at this time, the algorithm will keep the add threshold (Tr_add) but lower the drop threshold (Tr_drop) in order to avoid the drop event. Moreover, the algorithm will also decrease the value of AS_Rep_Hyst in order to lower the swap threshold. Finally, after these parameters are set up, the add threshold, the drop threshold, and the swap threshold are calculated.

4. Simulation results for adaptive UMTS Handover control algorithms


4.1 Simulation Model and parameters setting 6 user equipments in 19 cells, per cell has 3 sectors Active set full size = 3 Propagation model: Cellular Band: Hata Model is used Lognormal fading with the correlation distance of 400 meters and the variance of 8 dB are used Two-tier19 3-sector cells are considered. Center cell is used to studied the performance statistics Traffic loads: 4-8 user cases are used

UMTS parameters setting:


AS_Th 5 dB

ASmax is the maximum size of the active set. 4.2 Simulation results: Pilot Ec/Io

AS_Th_Hyst 1 dB

AS_Rep_Hyst 3 dB

TtT 0.8 s

ASmax 3

Fig.5. Average aggregate Ec/Io between two systems (dB) User 1 User2

remain in the active set or be added to the active set and down link total interference becomes larger. Consequently the aggregate pilot strengths of other users become weaker due to the larger down link total interference. Since the aggregate pilot strength of the user that adds the useless pilot becomes a little stronger but the aggregate pilot strengths of other users become weaker, the average aggregate pilot strength of all users becomes weaker. Because Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm sets higher handover add/drop thresholds when the best active pilot is becoming worse, it is harder to add a useless pilot to the active set in the Adaptive UMTS system when the connection quality is bad. So it might prevent the interference from becoming larger by adding a minor-contributed pilot to the active set. To add a useless pilot would only improve one selfs performance but cause the large burden to other users. As a result, the average aggregate pilot strength of Adaptive UMTS system is usually stronger than that of UMTS system. For individual case, when the average aggregate pilot strength of Adaptive UMTS system is stronger than that of UMTS system, the aggregate pilot strength of each user of Adaptive UMTS system is stronger than the aggregate pilot strength of UMTS system except the user that adds a pilot to the active set in UMTS system. 4.3 Base Station transmitting power difference

Fig.6. Individual aggregate Ec/Io between two systems, take user1 and user2 for example

Fig.8. The difference of Base Station transmit power between two algorithms By adopting Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm, it is harder to add a monitored pilot to the active set because Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm sets higher handover add/drop thresholds when the best active pilot is becoming worse. So at the same time the base stations of Adaptive UMTS system communicate with fewer user equipments than those of UMTS system. For the reason, the base station transmit power of Adaptive UMTS system is usually smaller than that of UMTS system. Hence, the difference of base station transmit power, PowerAdaptive_UMTS minus PowerUMTS, is usually negative. That is, the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm can decrease the

Fig.7. Mean and standard deviation of aggregate Ec/Io between two systems When the best active pilot is weaker, the handover add/drop thresholds are lower. So a useless pilot may

down link interference. 4.4 Number of Channel Element

algorithm takes the influence of downlink interference into consideration. Results show that the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm can decrease the downlink interference and then provide better connection quality. Besides, the Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm can also significantly save downlink transmitted power and network resources.

6. REFERENCES
[1] TIA/EIA IS-95-A, Mobile Station-Base Station Compatibility Standard for Wideband Spread Spectrum Cellular Systems, Feb. 1996. [2] Ning Zhang and Jack M. Holtzman Analysis of a CDMA soft-handoff algorithm, Vehicular Technology, IEEE Transactions on , Volume: 47 Issue: 2 , May 1998. Page(s): 710 -714 [3] The Members of Technical Staff, Bell Labs Edited by Kyoung I1 Kim, HANDBOOK of CDMA System Design, Engineering, and Optimization, Prentice-Hall, Inc. 2000. [4] Terry Si-Fong Cheng and Ching Yao Huang, Base Stations Of Cellular Wireless Communication Systems, granted on 05/29/2001, U.S. patent number: 6240287 [5] Sung Jin Hong and I-Tai Lu, Effect of various threshold settings on soft handoff performance in various propagation environments, Vehicular Technology Conference, 2000. IEEE VTS-Fall VTC 2000. 52nd , Volume: 6 , 2000. Page(s): 2945 -2949 [6] TIA/EIA IS-95-B, Mobile Station-Base Station Compatibility Standard for Wideband Spread Spectrum Cellular Systems, Feb. 1999. [7] Physical Layer Standard for cdma2000 Spread Spectrum Systems, 3GPP2 C.S0002-0 Version 1.0, Version Date: July 1999 [8] 3GPP, TR25.922 v5.0.0 (2002~2003), 3rd Generation Partnership Project; Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network; Radio resource management strategies (Release 5) [9] Ching Yao Huang and Ming Yuan Tsai, Multi-slope Quality based Handoff Controls in Third Generation CDMA Wireless Systems, IEEE VTC2004-Fall, Los Angle, USA, September, 2004

Fig.9. Number of channel element used per sector Because Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm sets higher handover add/drop thresholds when the best active pilot is becoming worse, it can avoid excessive and unnecessary handover. User equipments of Adaptive UMTS system connect fewer base stations than those of UMTS system. So users of Adaptive UMTS system will use more channel elements than those of UMTS system. 4.5 Handover Events

Fig.10. Average handoff/handover events per call When the connection condition becomes worse, Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm would avoid excessive handover. Generally speaking, the average handover events per call of Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm are fewer than those of original UMTS handover control algorithm.

5. Conclusions
In this paper, we propose a new Adaptive UMTS handover control algorithm and discuss the performance comparison between it and original UMTS handover control algorithm. Because the increase of downlink interference will reduce the strength of individual aggregate E/Io and hence degrade the connection quality, Adaptive UMTS handover control