14 Handover

About This Chapter
Handover is one of the basic functions of the GSM. It enables calls to be set up in better cells
and reduces call drops. Handover also lowers cross interference. The handover procedure
consists of handover triggering, handover preparation, handover decision, and handover
execution.
14.1 Handover Procedure
The handover procedure is categorized into the intra-BSC handover procedure, inter-BSC
handover procedure, inter-MSC handover procedure, and inter-system handover procedure.
14.2 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of Handover
The internal BSC signaling procedure of handover is categorized by intra-BSC handover, inter-
BSC handover, inter-MSC handover, and inter-system handover.
14.3 Abnormal Handover Cases
This topic describes the abnormal handover cases.
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14.1 Handover Procedure
The handover procedure is categorized into the intra-BSC handover procedure, inter-BSC
handover procedure, inter-MSC handover procedure, and inter-system handover procedure.
14.1.1 Intra-BSC Handover Procedure
This topic describes the intra-BSC handover procedure.
14.1.2 Inter-BSC Handover Procedure
This topic describes the inter-BSC handover procedure.
14.1.3 Inter-MSC Handover Procedure
This topic describes the inter-MSC handover procedure.
14.1.4 Inter-System Handover Procedure
This topic describes the inter-system handover procedure.
14.1.1 Intra-BSC Handover Procedure
This topic describes the intra-BSC handover procedure.
Figure 14-1 shows the intra-BSC handover procedure.
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Figure 14-1 Intra-BSC handover procedure
MS BTS2 BTS1 BSC
Channel
Activation(3)
Establish
Indication(10)
SACCH
MS MSC
Measurement
Report(1) Measurement
Result(2)
Handover
Command(5)
Channel Activation
Acknowledge(4)
FACCH
Start T3103
Handover
Access(6)
FACCH
Start T3124
Handover
Access
FACCH
Handover Detect(7)
PHY INFO(8)
FACCH
Stop T3124
SABM(9)
FACCH
UA(11)
FACCH
Handover
Complete(12)
FACCH
Stop T3103
Handover
Perfomed(13)
1. The MS sends BTS1 a measurement report on an SACCH on the Um interface.
2. BTS 1 forwards the measurement report to the BSC.
3. Based on the measurement report, the BSC determines whether to hand over the MS to
another cell. If a handover is required, the BSC sends BTS 2 a Channel Activation message.
4. Upon receiving the Channel Activation message, if the channel type is correct, BTS 2 turns
on the power amplifier on the specified channel to receive information on the uplink, and
sends a Channel Activation Acknowledge message to the BSC.
5. Upon receiving the Channel Activation Acknowledge message, the BSC sends BTS 1 a
Handover Command message. Then BTS 1 forwards the command to the MS. The message
is sent on an FACCH on the Um interface. BTS 1 starts timer T3103. The Handover
Command message has all the information to be transferred on the new channel and the
data required for accessing the MS. It also indicates whether the handover is synchronous
or asynchronous.
6. Upon receiving the Handover Command message, the MS attempts the access and sends
BTS 2 a Handover Access message on the FACCH.
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7. Upon receiving the Handover Access message, BTS 2 sends the BSC a Handover Detect
message.
8. Whether a PHY INFO message is sent or not depends on the handover type.
l Asynchronous handover
After the channels of BTS 2 are activated, BTS 2 waits for the access of the MS on a
dedicated channel until timer T3103 expires. Upon detecting the Handover Access
message from the MS, BTS 2 sends the BSC a Handover Detect message and at the
same time to the MS a PHY INFO message on an FACCH. The PHY INFO message
carries the new TA calculated by BTS 2. Upon receiving the PHY INFO message, the
MS sends BTS 2 an SABM frame.
l Synchronous handover
BTS2 does not send the PHY INFO message. Upon sending the Handover Access
message, the MS sends BTS 2 the SABM frame.
9. When the PHY INFO message is sent depends on the handover type.
l Asynchronous handover
The MS starts timer T3124 upon sending the Handover Access message for the first
time. It stops timer T3124 upon receiving the PHY INFO message, and sends BTS 2
an SABM frame on an FACCH.
l Synchronous handover
Upon sending the Handover Access message, the MS sends BTS 2 an SABM frame.
10. Upon receiving the first SABM frame, BTS 2 sends an Establishment Indication message
to notify the BSC of radio link establishment.
11. At the same time, BTS2 sends a UA frame on an FACCH to notify the MS of radio link
establishment.
12. The MS sends BTS 2 a Handover Complete message on the FACCH. BTS 2 forwards the
message to notify the BSC of the handover success. The Handover Complete message
carries only the handover complete indication. The MS does not return to the old channel
after sending this message. If the MS does not receive the PHY INFO message or the UA
frame from the target cell, it sends a Handover Failure message on the old channel.
13. Upon receiving the Handover Complete message, the BSC stops timer T3103 and sends a
Handover Performed message to notify the MSC of the handover completion. The
Handover Performed message carries the handover type. At the same time, the BSC sends
an RF Channel Release message to notify BTS 1 of channel release. The target cell forwards
to the BSC the Handover Complete message it receives from the MS. Upon receiving the
Handover Complete message, the BSC sends an RF Channel Release message to notify
BTS 1 of channel release. Upon receiving the RF Channel Release message, BTS 1 sends
an RF Channel Release Acknowledge message. The message indicates that the radio
channel is released and ready for reallocation.
14.1.2 Inter-BSC Handover Procedure
This topic describes the inter-BSC handover procedure.
Figure 14-2 shows the inter-BSC handover procedure.
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Figure 14-2 Inter-BSC handover procedure
MS BTS1 MSC BSC1 BSC2 BTS2
Measurement
Report from MS(1)
Handover
Required(2)
SACCH
FACCH
MS
Handover
Request(3)
Channel
Activation(4)
Start T7
Channel Activation
Acknowledge(5)
Handover Request
Acknowledge(6) Handover
Command(7)
Stop T7
Handover
Command(8)
Start T8
Handover
Command(9)
Handover
Access(9)
Start
T3124
Handover
Access(10)
FACCH
Handover
Detect(11) Handover
Detect(12)
PHY
INFO(13)
FACCH
SABM(14)
FACCH
Stop
T3124
Establish
Indication(15)
UA(16)
FACCH
FACCH
Handover
Complete(17)
Handover
Complete(18)
Handover
Complete(19)
Clear
Command(20)
Stop T8
Clear
Complete(21)
The inter-BSC handover procedure involves more A-interface signaling procedures than the
intra-BSC handover procedure. These signaling procedures are described subsequently. For
details about other signaling messages, refer to 14.1.2 Inter-BSC Handover Procedure.
1. When an MS needs to be handed over to a cell controlled by BSC 2, BSC 1 sends the MSC
a Handover Required message and starts timer T7. This message carries the CELL IDs of
the target cell group and the serving cell, and the handover cause.
2. Upon receiving the Handover Required message, if the MSC finds that the location area of
the target cell is under itself, it sends BSC 2 a Handover Request message. The Handover
Request message carries the information, transmission mode, MS classmark, and required
channel classmark of the serving and the target cells. Upon receiving the Handover Request
message, BSC 2 sends the MSC an SCCP Connection Confirm message, indicating that its
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connection to the MSC is established. The A interface messages are sent through this SCCP
connection.
3. BSC 2 activates a new channel and sends a Handover Request Acknowledge message to
notify the MSC that the channel is now available. The Handover Request Acknowledge
message carries the information of the allocated handover resources and the handover
command indicating that the BSC is ready.
4. Upon receiving the Handover Request Acknowledge message, the MSC sends BSC 1 a
Handover Command message. Then BSC 1 stops timer T7. BSC 1 sends the MS a Handover
Command message and starts timer T8, requesting the MS to access the new channel. The
Handover Command message carries the cell ID, channel type, and handover reference.
5. Upon receiving the Handover Complete message from BSC 2, the MSC sends BSC 1 a
Clear Command message. The Clear Command message carries the clearance causes. BSC
1 stops timer T8, initiates a channel release procedure, and sends the MSC a Clear Complete
message.
NOTE
If the serving cell and the target cell are in different location areas, the MS initiates a location update
procedure after a call is complete.
14.1.3 Inter-MSC Handover Procedure
This topic describes the inter-MSC handover procedure.
Figure 14-3 shows the inter-MSC handover procedure.
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Figure 14-3 Inter-MSC handover procedure
MS BTS1 MSC1 BSC1 MSC2 BSC2
Measurement
Report
from MS(1)
Handover
Required(2)
SACCH
FACCH
BTS2
Perform
Handover(3)
Channel
Activation(5)
Channel Activation
Acknowledge(6)
Handover Request
Acknowledge(7)
Handover
Command(12)
Handover
Access(13)
FACCH
Handover
Detect(14) Handover
Detect(15)
PHY
INFO(16)
FACCH
SABM(18)
FACCH
Establish
Indication(19)
UA(20)
FACCH
FACCH
Handover
Complete(21)
Handover
Complete(22)
Handover
Complete(23) Send
End Signal(24)
Clear
Complete(26)
MS
Handover
Request(4)
Radio
Channel Ack(8)
IAM(9)
ACM(10)
Handover
Command(11)
PHY
INFO(17)
FACCH
Clear
Command(25)
For the inter-MSC handover procedure, refer to 14.1.1 Intra-BSC Handover Procedure and
14.1.2 Inter-BSC Handover Procedure.
The messages on the E interface are as follows:
1. Perform Handover: MAP layer message. It contains the CGI of the serving cell and the
target cell and the required channel type. It informs MSC2 that a handover will be initiated.
2. Radio Channel Acknowledge: MAP layer message. It carries the information of the new
channel in the target cell and the handover number.
3. IAM: initial address message. It is a TUP/ISUP message.
4. ACM: address complete message. It is a TUP/ISUP message.
5. Send End Signal: MAP layer message.
14.1.4 Inter-System Handover Procedure
This topic describes the inter-system handover procedure.
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Figure 14-4 shows the inter-system handover procedure.
Figure 14-4 GSM-to-UMTS handover procedure
MS BSS RNC MSC
Handover Required(1)
FACCH
MS
Inter System to UTRAN
Handover Command(2)
Start T3121
Handover to
UTRAN Complete(4)
Handover
Command(3)
Handover
Complete(5)
Stop T3121
Clear Command(6)
Clear Complete(7)
FACCH
Figure 14-5 UMTS-to-GSM handover procedure
MS BSS RNC MSC MS
Handover
Command(4)
FACCH
Handover
Request(1)
FACCH
Handover
Access(7)
FACCH
Handover Detect(6)
Handover Request
Acknowledge(2)
Handover Request
Acbowledge(3)
Handover
Access(5)
Handover
Complete(8) Handover
Complete(9)
The GSM-to-UMTS handover procedure is as follows:
1. The BSS sends a Handover Required message to the MSC.
2. Upon receiving the Handover Required message, the MSC sends the BSS an Inter System
To UTRAN Handover Command message and starts timer T3121.
3. Upon receiving the Inter System To UTRAN Handover Command message, the BSS sends
the MS a Handover Command message on an FACCH.
4. After the connection is successfully established, the MS sends the RNC a Handover to
UTRAN Complete message on a UTRAN channel.
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5. The RNC forwards the Handover Complete message to the MSC.
6. Upon receiving the Handover Complete message, the MSC stops timer T3121 and initiates
a channel release procedure.
NOTE
For the UMTS-to-GSM handover procedure, refer to the GSM-to-UMTS handover procedure mentioned
earlier.
14.2 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of Handover
The internal BSC signaling procedure of handover is categorized by intra-BSC handover, inter-
BSC handover, inter-MSC handover, and inter-system handover.
14.2.1 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Intra-BSC Handover
This topic describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the intra-BSC handover.
14.2.2 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-BSC Handover
This topic describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-BSC handover.
14.2.3 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-MSC Handover
This topic describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-MSC handover.
14.2.4 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-System Handover
This describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-system handover.
14.2.1 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Intra-BSC Handover
This topic describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the intra-BSC handover.
1. If the BSC considers that the call meets the handover conditions, it selects a candidate cell
from the candidate cell list based on the priority in a descending order. If the candidate cell
is internal BSC, the BSC notifies the candidate cell of initiating an intra-BSC handover
procedure, and the candidate cell will be the target cell.
2. The target cell allocates a channel and notifies BTS 2 of channel activation.
3. After BTS 2 activates the channel, BTS 1 sends the MS a Handover Command message.
Then BSC 2 starts timer T3103 to wait for the Handover Detect message.
4. After receiving the Handover Detect message, BTS 2 continues to wait for the
Establishment Indication message and the Handover Complete message.
5. After BTS 2 receives the Handover Complete message, BSC 2 stops timer T3103 and
considers that the call is set up in the target cell.
6. BSC 1 notifies BTS 1 of initiating a local release procedure. At the same time, it sends a
Handover Performed message to notify the MSC of the handover completion.
14.2.2 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-BSC Handover
This topic describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-BSC handover.
1. If the BSC considers that the call meets the handover conditions, it selects a candidate cell
from the candidate cell list based on the priority in a descending order. If the candidate cell
is an external cell, the inter-BSC handover procedure is directly triggered. For the serving
cell, the external cell is the target cell, and the BSC where the target cell is located is the
target BSC, namely BSC 2.
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2. Upon handover initiation, BTS 1 sends the MSC a Handover Required message and starts
timer T17 to wait for a Handover Command message.
3. Upon receiving the Handover Ruest message from the MSC, BSC 2 allocates and activates
channels according to the target cell ID in the message. After channel activation, BTS 2
sends the MSC a Handover Request Acknowledge message that carries the Handover
Command message.
4. BTS 1 forwards to the MS the Handover Command message that BSC 1 receives and at
the same time starts timer T8 to wait for the handover completion. If the Clear Command
message with the cause value Handover Success is received before T8 expires, BSC 1
considers that the handover is successful. If the MS returns to the old channel before timer
T8 expiry, BSC 1 stops timer T8 and sends the MSC a Handover Failure message. If timer
T8 expires, BSC 1 considers that the call drops and sends the MSC a Clear Request message.
5. BTS 2 forwards the Handover Detect message to the MSC and continues to wait for the
Establishment Indication message and the Handover Complete message.
6. Upon receiving the Handover Complete message, BTS 2 sends a Handover Complete
message to notify the MSC of handover completion.
7. Upon receiving the Clear Command message, BTS 1 releases the radio resources the call
occupies and returns the MSC a Clear Complete message.
14.2.3 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-MSC
Handover
This topic describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-MSC handover.
The internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-MSC handover is the same as that described
in 14.2.2 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-BSC Handover.
14.2.4 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-System
Handover
This describes the internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-system handover.
Compared with the internal system handover, the BSC in the inter-system handover procedure
performs more actions as described subsequently:
l Obtaining the UTRAN neighbor cell information and the UTRAN system parameters from
the Idle Mode, Handover Data, and Other Attributes in the Cell Attributes window.
l Recording the capability of the MS
The internal BSC signaling procedure of the inter-system handover is the same as that described
in 14.2.2 Internal BSC Signaling Procedure of the Inter-BSC Handover.
14.3 Abnormal Handover Cases
This topic describes the abnormal handover cases.
14.3.1 No Available Channels in the Target Cell
This describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
14.3.2 Old BSS Not Receiving a Specified Message upon T8 Expiry
This describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
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14.3.3 Inter-Cell Handover Failure (MS Returning to the Old Channel)
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
14.3.4 BSC Receiving a Connection Failure Indication Message
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
14.3.5 Forced Handover Failure
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
14.3.6 Handover Failure Caused by CIC Malfunction
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
14.3.7 Handover Failure Caused by MS Access Failure
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
14.3.1 No Available Channels in the Target Cell
This describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
Description
No channels are available in the target cell.
Analysis
The probable causes are as follows:
l During an inter-cell handover, no TCHs are available in the target cell.
l During a cross-cell handover, no SDCCHs are available in the target cell.
l During an intra-cell handover due to bad quality, no TCHs are available in the cell.
Handling Suggestions
The handling suggestions are as follows:
l Check whether the target cell is congested. If yes, add TRXs to the target cell.
l On the Cell Attributes tab page, click Channel Management. In the displayed dialog box,
click Advanced. On the Huawei Channel Allocation Algorithm II and Radio Channel
Management and Control tab page, check whether TCH Traffic Busy Threshold (%)
is set properly.
l On the Cell Attributes tab page, click Channel Management. In the displayed dialog box,
check whether Enhanced TCH Adjust Allowed is set properly.
14.3.2 Old BSS Not Receiving a Specified Message upon T8 Expiry
This describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
Description
The old BSS does not receive a Clear Command message from the MSC or a Handover Failure
message from the MS upon T8 expiry.
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Analysis
If the old BSS does not receive a Clear Command message from the MSC or a Handover Failure
message from the MS upon T8 expiry, it will release the dedicated channels and send the MSC
a Clear Request message with the cause value Radio Interface Message Failure. Before a Clear
Command message is received, the terrestrial resources on the old BSS side remain allocated.
On receiving the Clear Command message, the old BSS changes the state of the terrestrial
resources to idle and sends a Clear Complete message to the MSC. Then the MSC releases the
SCCP connection to the old BSS and thus terminates the connection with the BSS.
Handling Suggestions
On the Cell Attributes tab page, click Other Attributes. Then click Advanced. On the Cell
Timer tab page, check whether T8 is set properly.
14.3.3 Inter-Cell Handover Failure (MS Returning to the Old
Channel)
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
Fault
The MS returns to the old channel after inter-cell handover failure.
Probable Causes
The probable causes are that the MS cannot access the old channel due to bad transmission
quality on the Um interface, low level, or incorrect data configuration of the external cells.
Handling Suggestions
Check the transmission quality on the Um interface.
14.3.4 BSC Receiving a Connection Failure Indication Message
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
Fault
Calls drop.
Probable Causes
The probable causes are as follows:
l Radio link failure
l Hardware faults
Handling Suggestions
l Check the resources on the Um interface.
l Check the antenna system and the power amplifier.
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14.3.5 Forced Handover Failure
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
Fault
Forced handover fails.
Probable Causes
l No neighbor cell
l Incorrect configuration of the neighbor cell
l No resources in the neighbor cell
l Bad radio conditions in the neighbor cell
Handling Suggestions
Check the data configuration and the radio conditions of the neighbor cell, for example, the level.
14.3.6 Handover Failure Caused by CIC Malfunction
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
Fault
Handover fails. The cause value of the Handover Failure message is Requested Terrestrial
Resource Unavailable.
Probable Causes
If the CIC allocated in the Handover Request message received by the target BSC is marked as
BLOCK, the target BSC will respond to the MSC with a Handover Failure message with the
cause value Requested Terrestrial Resource Unavailable.
Handling Suggestions
Check the state of the CIC.
14.3.7 Handover Failure Caused by MS Access Failure
This topic describes the fault, probable causes, and handling suggestions.
Fault
The MS cannot be handed over.
Probable Causes
Refer to the handling suggestions.
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Handling Suggestions
l Check whether the handover trigger conditions are met.
l Check whether there is a neighbor cell list in the measurement report.
l Check whether the neighbor cell has available channels.
l Check whether the data of the neighbor cell is incorrect, for example, whether there is
inconsistency in CGI.
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