RRC states and RRC State transitions

What are various RRC States and why?
How and when to move a UE from one state to another state?
Is it worth putting extra burden of signaling on UE and Network?
What is Paging and Cell update?

RRC States:

UE can be either in connected mode or in idle mode in UMTS network. While
being in connected mode a UE can be putted in one of these 4 RRC states which
are:
 CELL_DCH
 CELL_FACH
 CELL_PCH
 URA_PCH
A UE can only be admitted into CELL_DCH or CELL_FACH state and also can
only be released from CELL_DCH or CELL_FACH state. Network can move a
UE from any of three states to any state however while in CELL_PCH state UE
goes into CELL_FACH state momentarily.
Will only talk about CELL_DCH, CELL_FACH and CELL_PCH states and will
take 3GPP Rel 6 into consideration.




CELL_DCH:
As the name suggests CELL_DCH is the dedicated state where UE gets the access
to the costly dedicated and data intensive resources in the network. The Transport
and Physical channels which can be allocated by the network to the UE in CELL
DCH state are:

Transport Channels:
 DCH (UL/DL)
 HS-DSCH (DL)
 EDCH (UL)
Physical Channels:
 DPDCH/DPCCH
 HS-PDSCH/HS-SCCH/HS-DPCCH
 E-DPDCH/E-DPCCH/E-RGCH/E-HICH/E-AGCH
All above DCH channels are used for high data rate services(CS AMR is a real
time service and can only be in DCH) so consumes more Network and UE
resources like Battery and processing resources in UE and Power, Code,
Processing resources in Network. If we talk specifically about the PS connection
the traffic behavior is bursty in nature like if we access an internet page and go
idle, in this scenario having DCH resource allocated for a long time is not a good
idea. To deal with this scenario network can either have a low resources intensive
state or may put UE in Idle, But putting UE in idle can cause more problem as
network has to bring the UE back to the network as soon as the data requirements
comes for the UE.
And that is why UMTS supports a low data rate state with shared resources called
CELL_FACH


CELL_FACH:
UE having only PS connection can only be moved from DCH to FACH or can be
directly admitted(or Idle to FACH) based on the UE admission cause(eg
Registration). Suppose a UE just wanted to do location update/Routing area
update then allocating and de-allocating DCH resource is pointless, such UEs can
be admitted in FACH, can setup a PS RAB in FACH and also can be moved to
DCH if required to transfer high volume of PS Data or wanted to make CS
Call. The transport and physical channels are as follows in CELL_FACH State.

Transport Channels:
 RACH (UL)
 FACH (DL)
Physical Channels:
 PRACH, AICH
 SCCPCH
The capacity of data transfer of FACH channel is generally 32kbps and can also be
increased of decreased slightly. FACH and RACH are shared channels with very
low capacity. All the UEs in the CELL_FACH state have only these channels
available (till Rel 6, In later releases 3GPP has also added HS-DSCH and EDCH in
CELL-FACH state).
 The UE is known on cell level according to the cell where the UE last made
a cell update.
 Use C-RNTI assigned in the current cell as the UE identity on common
transport channels unless when a new cell is selected
 UE performs cell reselection and upon selecting a new UTRA cell, initiate a
cell update procedure
If an UE is being idle for a longer period of time with PS connection then it's a
point of concern for network because there is a certain limit on the number of UE
supported in this state and also congestion. To deal with this scenario again
network has two option either it can put the UE into IDLE or put it in a
power/resource saving connected mode call CELL_PCH. Putting UE back to idle
is tough task as network has to do fresh setup for the UE if the data requirement
comes and may result into the flooding of signaling messages and high latency, If
supported network will put this UE in CELL-PCH state.

CELL_PCH:
Network does not provide any resource to the UE to do any UL or DL data transfer
in CELL_PCH. In this state UE can only listen to paging requests sent by network
in DL or if it has to send data in UL then it has to come to CELL_FACH rather
transient CELL_FACH state and send CELL_UPDATE_IND to the network with
cause UL_DATA_TRANSFER. We can say that while in CELL_PCH state UE
uses CELL_FACH as stepping state momentarily without the consents of network.
 UE monitors the paging occasions according to the DRX cycle and receive
paging information on the PCH
 The UE is known on cell level according to the cell where the UE last made
a cell update in CELL_FACH state
 UE mobility is performed through cell reselection procedures. The UE
performs cell reselection and upon selecting a new UTRA cell, it moves to
CELL_FACH state and initiates a cell update procedure in the new cell.
 Network uses URNTI to identify a UE is CELL_PCH state wich is SRNTI +
SRNC-ID a unique identifier of RRC Connection in a PLMN.
 Paging Type 1 sent (on PCCH) is used to page a UE in CELL_PCH state.
Transport Channels:
 PCH (DL)
Physical Channels:
 PICH, SCCPCH
Paging a UE in cell PCH_STATE is more efficient than paging a UE is Idle state.
IU-PS Network connection is maintained with CN and network also preserves the
UE context at various back-end nodes but UE does not have any radio resources at
hand .



State Transitions: