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Location Area Definition and CCCH Parameters

PCH <NED?
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3634> signalling (paging) will be sent over the whole location area (LA). This means that
one paging message over the A interface is 'copied' to all Abis links going to the CCCH
<NED?
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4450> TRX of cells in the same location area. Optimal LA size is a balance between PCH
load and Location Updates (LU). If the LA size is too large, paging channels and capacity
will be saturated due to limited LAPD <NED?
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3977> Abis or radio interface CCCH paging capacity. On the other hand, with large
location areas there will be a smaller number of location updates (LU) performed and
vice versa.
The same applies to paging coming via the Gs- and Gb-interfaces: the MSC sends the
paging message to the SGSN with the LA info and the SGSN defines it to a more
accurate area: cell, routing area (RA), LA or BSS. If within the SGSN area there are cells
that do not support GPRS services, the SGSN will group these cells under a 'null RA'.
The SGSN will perform the paging procedure described above within both the RA(s)
derived from the location information and the 'null RA'.
The number of CCCHs depends on channel structure as follows:
COMBINED: for a small cell, 2 TRXs/cell, 3 CCCHs in every signalling multiframe
(51 TDMA, 235 ms)
NONCOMBINED: for a large cell, 3 TRXs/cell, 9 CCCHs in every signalling
multiframe (51 TDMA, 235 ms), used if GPRS is enabled in the cell.
Note
This is a kind of 'rule of thumb' of today, assuming not very heavy SMS traffic.
The parameters which affect CCCH capacity on a cell basis are the following:
Number of blocks reserved to AGCH (BS_AG_BLKS_RES); once this parameter is
specified, PCH is calculated; the parameter range is 0 to 7 and value zero is not
recommended.
Number of multiframes between paging (BS_PA_MFRMS); this specifies how many
multiframes will go until the given paging group is re-paged; the parameter range is 2 to
9 and the recommended value is 5.
The paging method is also set in MSC TMSI <NED?
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4513> or IMSI <NED?

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=en&coverage=global&encoding=xhtml_1_0&component=data&item=data&pointer=id0
4476> . TMSI is more commonly used, due to bigger capacity (4/page group). Here we
assume that all the radio interface capacity is used, thus all extra paging will be ignored.
Below there are two extreme cases in terms of how high or low the paging capacity is
over the radio interface. These examples are theoretical ones and the intention is to show
the range of variation caused by different CCCH parameterisations.
Table: Extreme case 1: theoretical maximum (maximum paging capacity in radio
interface, TMSI4 in use, for example 4 TMSIs in each paging)
COMBINED
( 2TRXs/cell)
3
2
1

MAX
total CCCH
PCH
AGCH <NED?
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1_260104&identifier=gene
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Pages per hour
122.553

NONCOMBINED
( 3 TRXs/cell)
9
8
1

490.212

Table: Extreme case 2: theoretical minimum (minimum paging capacity in radio


interface, IMSI1 in use only, for example 1 IMSI in each paging)
MIN
total CCCH
PCH
AGCH
Pages per hour

COMBINED
(2 TRXs/cell)
3
1
2
15.319

NONCOMBINED
( 3 TRXs/cell)
9
2
7
30.638

In the following there are some recommended parameters and LA sizes which match the
BSC nominal call model as specified in DX 200 BSC Nominal Capacity and
Dimensioning <NED?
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s2ebxxsxx.nsa2-p249-9405> . The paging capacity is presented for four different cell
configurations: 2+2+2, 4+4+4, 6+6+6 and 12+12+12.

1) LA size for small cells (2+2+2 configuration)


In this example it is assumed that we have a configuration with 2 TRXs per cell. If we use
2 % blocking in the radio interface, we can see from the Erlang B-table that some 9
Erlangs will be served on cell basis. This can be converted to some 360 subscribers per
cell (0,025 Erlang per subscriber). If one site consists of 2+2+2 as a configuration, some
56 sites together will serve some 1.500 Erlang or 60.480 subscribers.
Note
The LA size for small cells (2+2+2 configuration) could then be 336 TRXs.
Table: Parameter values for the given LA
Total number of subscribers
TRXs in LA
Cell configuration
CCCH channel structure
total CCCH
typical PCH
typical AGCH
NumberOfMultiframesBetweenPaging
Max. Pages per hour (in Air)
theoretically
Pages per hour with BSC nominal call
mix

60.480 (in 168 cells, each 360 subs.)


336 (in 168 cells, each 2 TRX)
2+2+2
COMBINED (for example small cell)
3
2
1
5 (does not affect PCH capacity, but MS battery
lifetime)
110.297 (TMSI4 80%, IMSI2 20%)
29 829

Note
Here we assume the BSC nominal call model with only 0.1 SMS call rate per
subs/hour.
The parameter NumberOfMultiframesBetweenPaging value is 5 here. It means that the
same paging group will be re-paged after 5*235 ms=1,175 sec. This will ensure longer
MS battery lifetime, because the MS has to listen quite seldom to a CCCH channel in a
serving cell. One must ensure that the paging load does not exceed the physical limits in
radio/Abis interfaces. These could be practical values provided that the SMS paging
amount in the BSC call model would be less - for example 0.1 SMS call rate subscribers
per hour, which would reduce the paging load.

2) LA size for medium size cells (4+4+4 configuration)


In this example it is assumed that we have a configuration with 4 TRXs per cell. If we use
2 % blocking in the radio interface, we can see from the Erlang B-table that some 21,9
Erlangs will be served on cell basis. This can be converted to some 876 subscribers per
cell (0,025 Erlang per subscriber). If one site consists of 4+4+4 as a configuration, some
23 sites together will serve some 1.500 Erlang or 60.444 subscribers.
Note

The LA size for medium size cells (4+4+4) configuration could then be 276 TRXs.
Table: Parameter values for the given LA size
Total number of subscribers
TRXs in LA
Cell configuration
CCCH channel structure
total CCCH
typical PCH
typical AGCH
NumberOfMultiframesBetweenPaging
Max. Pages per hour (in Air)
Pages per hour with BSC nominal call
mix

60.444 (in 69 cells, each 876 subs.)


276 (in 69 cells, each 4 TRX)
4+4+4
NONCOMBINED (for example large cell)
9
6
3
5 (does not affect PCH capacity, but MS battery
lifetime)
147.063 (TMSI2 60%, IMSI1 40%)
29 829

Note
Here we assume the BSC nominal call model with only 0.1 SMS call rate per
subs/hour.

3) LA size for large cells (6+6+6 configuration)


In this example it is assumed that we have a configuration with 6 TRXs per cell. If we use
2 % blocking in the radio interface, we can see from the Erlang B-table that some 34,6
Erlangs will be served on cell basis. This can be converted to 1384 subscribers per cell
(0,025 Erlang per subscriber). If one site consists of 6+6+6 as a configuration, some 43
cells together will serve some 1487 Erlang or 59.512 subscribers.
Note
The LA size for large cells (6+6+6 configuration) could then be 258 TRXs.
Table: Parameter values for the given LA
Total number of subscribers
TRXs in LA
Cell configuration
CCCH channel structure
total CCCH
typical PCH
typical AGCH
NumberOfMultiframesBetweenPaging
Max. Pages per hour (in Air)
theoretically

59.512 (43 cells, each 1384 subs.)


258 (43 cells, each 6 TRX)
6+6+6
NONCOMBINED (for example large cell)
9
8
1
5 (does not affect PCH capacity, but MS battery
lifetime)
490.212 (TMSI4)

Pages per hour with BSC nominal call


mix

29 586

4) LA size for extra large cells (12+12+12 configuration)


In this example it is assumed that we have a configuration with 12 TRXs per cell. If we
use 2 % blocking in the radio interface, we can see from the Erlang B-table that some
77,3 Erlangs will be served on cell basis. This can be converted to some 3092 subscribers
per cell (0,025 Erlang per subscriber). If one site consists of 12+12+12 as a configuration,
some 19 cells together will serve some 1469 Erlang or 58.748 subscribers.
Note
The LA size for extra large cells (12+12+12 configuration) could then be 228 TRXs.
Table: Parameter values for the given LA
Total number of subscribers
TRXs in LA
Cell configuration
CCCH channel structure
total CCCH
typical PCH
typical AGCH
NumberOfMultiframesBetweenPaging
Max. Pages per hour (in Air)
theoretically
Pages per hour with BSC nominal call
mix

58.748 (in 19 cells, each 3092 subs.)


228 (in 19 cells, each 12 TRX)
12+12+12
NONCOMBINED (for example large cell)
9
8
1
5 (does not effect PCH capacity, but MS battery
lifetime)
490.212 (TMSI4)
29 207

The parameter NumberOfMultiframesBetweenPaging value is 5 here. It means that the


same paging group will be re-paged after 5*235 ms=1,175 sec. This will ensure longer
MS battery lifetime, because the MS has to listen quite seldom to a CCCH channel in a
serving cell. In this case one must also ensure from the estimated call mix or from live
network statistics and measurement values that one operates in the nominal BSC load
area and that the Abis paging load does not exceed the limits of LAPD (16kbit/s or 64
kbit/s) link capacity nor the radio interface paging capacity.
The recommendation concerning MSC paging parameters (see The LAPD counters used
to check the LAPD load statistics ) is to use the 'LA' paging method, which prevents the
unnecessary cell level CI information from being sent and spreading to all cells in the
BSS A/Abis interfaces. Paging must, in any case, be performed on an LA level in the
GSM system.
In the MSC there are also parameters related to CCCH (actually PCH) capacity, which
are on LA basis. To ensure that the paging message reaches the MS, the paging message
is sent several times. The repetition procedure is defined in the MSC. These MSC

parameters are Repaging_Interval (time between paging attempts) and


Number_of_Repaging_Attempts , which can be modified in the (Nokia) MSC.
The recommended values are: REPAGING ATTEMPTS = 0, REPAGING_INTERVAL=
3,5s. This works better if TMSI is in use. This means that the first paging goes with
TMSI, and then after 3,5 seconds with IMSI, if the subscriber does not respond to TMSI.
The conclusion is that paging load is highly dependent on parameters. In the same LA,
the paging load should be monitored. Note that if there is only one small cell in a given
LA, where combined channel structure is in use, this will be the bottleneck if paging
blocking criteria are strictly followed. In other words: the smallest cell in the LA will set
the PCH limit. Also, it should be noticed that some maximum configurations would not
be possible due to other limiting factors like the 16kbit/s Abis or radio interface, which
would start to limit the message traffic, so it would be useless to define such parameter
settings (for example too large location area size).
If there are only one or two cells with combined channel structure in an LA, the operator
can choose to live with a high paging blocking rate in this cell because the probability of
MS location in this cell is very low. So the Paging blocking rate as seen from the MSC is
not modified much by too few PCHs on this cell.
Table: LA with 2 cells Combined and 8 cells Noncombined
Cell 1
Cell 2
Cell 3
Cell 4
Cell 5
Cell 6
Cell 7
Cell 8
Cell 9
Cell 10

Blocking rate
30%
30%
1%
1%
1%
1%
1%
1%
1%
1%

MS location probability
2%
2%
6%
10%
10%
10%
10%
10%
10%
10%

The final Blocking rate is 30*4/100 + (1*96/100) = 2.16%.


Moreover, if the MSC repeats the Paging messages, the end user blocking rate can be
considerably reduced if the PCH is not overloaded too much: 10% * 10% 1%.
Abis LAPD link and CCS7 link dimensioning <NED?
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Abis LAPD link and CCS7 link dimensioning


Abis LAPD
The following factors should also be taken into account when estimating the capacity of
the Abis LAPD <NED?
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3977> signalling and especially the 16 kbit/s link:

there can be a maximum of 2 signalling messages unacknowledged at any time,


all the subsequent messages must wait for the acknowledgement of at least one of
these messages; all the messages are stored in an AS7 buffer until responded to by
the opposite end. The LAPD window size 2 is recommended by the GSM
standard 08.56

the acknowledgement delay varies from a few milliseconds to tens of


milliseconds due to characteristics of the LAPD protocol, especially if there is a
lot of signalling traffic coming in from the opposite direction (measurement
reports etc.); all this lowers the maximum capacity much below 16 kbit/s

disturbances on the physical 2 Mbit/s line may cause more delays which lowers
the capacity

The average AS7 transmit buffer occupancy should be close to 0 or at most, for
optimal use of the link capacity, just a few messages (so that there is always one
message waiting for transmission), i.e. the buffer is used mainly for temporary
storage of the transmitted messages waiting for acknowledgement and for
occasional bursts of messages. If, instead of this, we assumed a high average
buffer occupancy, it would also mean that signalling messages would generally
experience long delays while they wait for transmission in the buffer. Generally,
the transmit buffer size of the AS7 and its occupancy level need not be considered
in dimensioning, as the capacity of the buffer is sufficient to handle any burst of
messages that is still within the capacity of the Abis signalling link and maximum
delays considered

Based on these previous factors and measurements made on the Abis link, the
maximum average signalling traffic load should not exceed 8 kbit/s (1000
bytes/sec). There is a risk of AS7 overflow if the load is more than 1200 bytes/sec

One of the most common messages sent on the highest loaded Abis link (i.e. BCCH
<NED?
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4445> TRX link) is the paging message.
The length of the paging message (including FCS <NED?
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3570> and flags) is about 21 bytes. According to the BSC nominal load and call mix,
about 60% of all capacity can be given to the paging messages; the average paging
message count/sec/link is thus 0,6*1000/21 = 29, which roughly equals 100 000 pages
per hour (16 kbit/s), which is sufficient, for example, for the nominal BSC call model.
For a 64 kbit/s link the same general principles apply. The maximum recommended
average signalling traffic is 4000 bytes/sec and the paging message count as calculated
above is maximum 60/sec/link, which equals to 410 000 pages per hour (64 kbit/s).
The number of paging messages is different depending on call mix and configuration. If
the reference call mix is not suitable then the limits to be considered are the earlier
mentioned 1000 bytes/s (16 kbit/s LAPD) and 4000 bytes/s (64 kbit/s LAPD) per Abis
link.
Note
These values are for individual links only and they should not be used to estimate the
total or even the BCSU capacity without taking other dimensioning rules into
account.

CCS7
When estimating the need of signalling links, it is recommended that one signalling link
load should not overrun 0,2 Erl (erlang, the unit of measure of carried traffic intensity). In
satellite links the signalling link load should be under 0,06 Erl.
Location Area Definition and CCCH Parameters <NED?
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BSC nominal capacity and dimensioning


Described here are the traffic handling capacities of the Nokia GSM/EDGE Base Station
Controllers, BSC2i and BSC3i, with certain average call mixes. Additionally, the whole
BSS (BSC) overload protection is described. The overload protection has been
implemented to protect the equipment and the system in exceptionally high traffic cases.
In the given network the BSC Erlang (traffic handling) capacity must be checked so that
the following nominal Erlang capacity is not exceeded. This is the simplest case (that is,
to check only Erlang figures) in which the reference call mix can be used. In many cases
the call mix in real networks differs from the nominal one. By separate agreement Nokia
could provide a separate statement of the BSC capacity for that call mix in question. The
BSC traffic handling capacity in the case of GPRS <NED?

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8914> should be noted separately.
The BSC2i traffic handling capacity is stated in High Capacity Base Station Controller,
BSC2i, BSCi <NED?
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=en&coverage=global&encoding=xhtml_1_0&component=data&item=data&pointer=epr
6ebxxsxx.nsca-apr1721455212> with the following circuit switched reference call mix. A
similar traffic handling capacity for GSM/EDGE BSC3i is stated in High Capacity Base
Station Controller, BSC3i (ETSI/ANSI) <NED?
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=en&coverage=global&encoding=xhtml_1_0&component=data&item=data&pointer=epr
6ebxxsxx.nsva-dec1211635362> . In the example below we assume that the BSC is
defined to one location area.

BSC2i Traffic Handling Capacity:


BSC2i configured with 512 full rate TRXs, circuit switched:

3040 Erlangs total traffic handling capacity

25 mErl per subscriber, 120 000 subscribers

91 000 busy hour call attempts (BHCA)

120 seconds mean hold time

70 % mobile originated calls (MO)

30 % mobile terminated calls (MT)

1.5 handovers (HO) per call

2 location updates (LU) per call

0.1 IMSI detach per call

63% no paging response

1 SMS call rate subs/hour

(80 % terminated SMS)

In the CS case, for example, the nominal BSC paging load for BSC2i would be (note that
both MT calls and MT SMSs create pages):
91 000 * 0.3 (MT) + 120 000 * 0.8 (SMS MT) = 123 300 + re-paging 0.63 * 123 300 =
200 979 pagings per hour provided that all cells are paged in that BSC and there is only
one LA defined per BSC. Here the load is on each Abis link of a BCCH TRX on the same
LA.
The nominal BSC2i RACH load (MO, MT, SMS, LUs) would be for example:

91 000 (MO, MT) + 2 * 91 000 (LU) + 0.1 * 91 000 (IMSI detach) + 123 300 (SMS) =
405 400 RACHs per hour. This is the total load per BSC which can be divided by the
number of cells when calculating the number of RACHs per BCCH-TRX Abis.

BSC3i Traffic Handling Capacity:


BSC3i is configured with 660 full rate TRXs, circuit switched:

3920 Erlangs total traffic handling capacity

25 mErl per subscriber, 157 000 subscribers

117 000 busy hour call attempts (BHCA)

120 seconds mean hold time

70 % mobile originated calls (MO)

30 % mobile terminated calls (MT)

1.5 handovers (HO) per call

2 location updates (LU) per call

0.1 IMSI detach per call

63% no paging response

1 SMS call rate subs/hour

(80 % terminated SMS)

In the CS case, for example, the nominal BSC paging load for BSC3i would be (note that
both MT calls and MT SMSs create pages):
117 000 * 0.3 (MT) + 157 000 * 0.8 (SMS MT) = 160 700 + re-paging 0.63 * 160 700 =
261 941 pagings per hour.
The nominal BSC3i RACH load (MO, MT, SMS, LUs) would be for example:
117 000 (MO, MT) + 2 * 117 000 (LU) + 0.1 * 117 000 (IMSI detach) + 160 700 (SMS)
= 523 400 RACHs per hour.
With this reference call mix the BSC processor load still remains in the safe area. The
maximum 60 % CPU load is the target for dimensioning. This gives enough margin for
peak load situations as well as for new software releases.
Some call mix is needed in order to get the main performance figures (Erlangs, BHCAs)
with maximum allowed processor load. With a different call mix the BHCA value, for
example, varies a lot due to the fact that in this kind of complex system like GSM there
are many other transactions, in addition to calls, which load the system.
Roughly it can be said that the Erlangs per air channel are the largest contribution to the
BSC processor load; the next largest are the number of call procedures (call set-up,
clearing), SMSs and location updates (LUR, IMSI Attach are similar), and lastly all
different types of handovers. By saying that Erlangs as such are significant we mean that

there is a load in the system even though there is one call with indefinite length on each
channel without having any HOs, LURs, etc.
More information on BSS (BSC) Traffic Handling Capacity, Network Planning and
Overload Protection: