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SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE

CME 20 R6
Contents
1 Introduction ..................................................................... 3
2 Events that require an SDCCH......................................... 3
2.1 Location Updating............................................................................. 3
2.2 IMSI attach/detach ........................................................................... 4
2.3 Periodic registration.......................................................................... 4
2.4 Call set-up ....................................................................................... 4
2.5 Short Message Service point to point (SMS p-p)................................. 5
2.6 Facsimile group 3 set-up................................................................... 5
2.7 Supplementary services .................................................................... 5
2.8 False Accesses................................................................................ 6

3 SDCCH dimensioning ...................................................... 7


3.1 SDCCH configurations ...................................................................... 7
3.2 SDCCH Grade Of Service................................................................. 8
3.3 Immediate assignment on TCH .......................................................... 8
3.4 SDCCH / TCH ratio......................................................................... 10

4 Traffic estimations ......................................................... 11


4.1 Location Updating........................................................................... 11
4.2 IMSI attach/detach ......................................................................... 12
4.3 Periodic registration........................................................................ 12
4.4 Call set-up ..................................................................................... 13
4.5 SMS p-p ........................................................................................ 13
4.6 Facsimile group 3 set-up................................................................. 13
4.7 Supplementary services .................................................................. 13
4.8 False Access ................................................................................. 14
4.9 Safety margin................................................................................. 14

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4.10 Total SDCCH load ........................................................................ 14


4.11 SDCCH / TCH ratio....................................................................... 15

5 Recommended configurations .......................................15


6 Dimensioning based on STS-data..................................15
6.1 Cells with no congestion.................................................................. 16
6.2 Cells with congestion ...................................................................... 16
6.3 Cells using Immediate assignment on TCH........................................ 16

7 References ......................................................................16

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Introduction
On the Stand alone Dedicated Control CHannel (SDCCH), different signalling
and transmission activities take place. This document is a guideline how to
select a suitable SDCCH configuration. The different events that requires an
SDCCH are briefly described. The SDCCH holding times for each event are
also included. When having estimated the SDCCH load, there are tables how
to, depending on the number of TRXs in the cell, choose a suitable SDCCH
configuration.
The SDCCH traffic estimations in this document are based on a CME 20
traffic model used by Ericsson. The SDCCH needs vary substantially between
networks due to subscriber behavior and parameter settings. The best way to
use these estimations is to understand the calculations involved in the
dimensioning of the SDCCH and re-make them for every particular network
with its unique input parameters.
An optimum SDCCH configuration, for every cell, can only be achieved by
looking at cell statistics, i.e. STS counters. Therefore, this document also
describes how to select an SDCCH configuration based on STS data. An
SDCCH dimensioning based on STS data follows the same principles as
SDCCH dimensioning based on traffic estimations.

Events that require an SDCCH


The following procedures have an effect on the SDCCH load:
Mobility Management procedures, i.e. Location Updating and Periodic
Registration.
Radio Resources management procedures, i.e. IMSI attach/detach and Call
set-up.
Subscriber Services, i.e. SMS p-p, Fax set-up and Supplementary Services.
The values for the Holding time of the SDCCH come from time measurements
performed by Ericsson, although some assumptions have been made.

2.1

Location Updating
Every time an MS passes a Location Area border, a Location Updating is
performed. The approximate time that an SDCCH is occupied during a
Location Updating is
Holding time:

3.5 seconds

which is the average measured time (3.0 seconds) plus a margin that accounts
for the time between the arrival of the Channel Release Acknowledge message
at the BSC and the time before the channel is available again.

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2.2

IMSI attach/detach
The IMSI detach procedure enables the MS to indicate to the network that it is
about to become inactive. The IMSI attach is performed when the MS is turned
on in the same Location Area as it was when it sent the IMSI detach message.
If the Location Area has changed, a normal Location Updating is performed.
IMSI attach uses the same location updating procedure as Location Updating,
i.e.
IMSI attach Holding time:

3.5 seconds

The IMSI detach procedure consist of the IMSI Detach Indication message sent
from the MS to the network. No authentication is performed and no
acknowledge message is sent to the MS. We have assumed
IMSI detach Holding time:

2.9 seconds

which is the average time for Location Updating minus the average measured
time for authentication (0.6 seconds).

2.3

Periodic registration
To avoid unnecessary paging of an MS in case the MSC never got the IMSI
detach message and to update the registers holding information about whether
the MS is attached/detached, there is an other type of location updating called
Periodic registration.
Periodic registration uses the same procedure as Location Updating, i.e.
Holding time:

2.4

3.5 seconds.

Call set-up
When a connection is to be established, a channel for signalling has to be
allocated. The authentication, ciphering mode initiation and set-up signalling
are performed on the SDCCH.
The estimated time that the SDCCH is occupied with the performance of a call
set-up differs slightly between MS originated and MS terminated calls.
MS originated call Holding time: 2.7 seconds
MS terminated call Holding time:
2.9 seconds
The figures are average measured times (2.2 and 2.4 seconds respectively)
plus a margin that mainly accounts for the time between the arrival of the
Channel Release Acknowledge message at the BSC and the time before the
channel is available again.

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2.5

Short Message Service point to point (SMS p-p)


The SMS p-p is a text message service supported by CME 20 R5. This service
provides the transmission of an SMS between a message handling system
(service centre) and a mobile station.
The transmission of an SMS p-p normally takes place on the SDCCH. If a
TCH already is allocated, when assigning a channel for the SMS p-p, the SMS
transmission takes place on the allocated TCH, using the SACCH.
The time that the transmission of an SMS p-p holds the SDCCH is the sum of
the set-up time for the SMS transmission and the time it takes to transfer the
message itself. The holding time for the set-up is slightly shorter than the time
for a normal call set-up since less signalling is involved.
The holding time of the SDCCH is based on measurements, and accounts for
the time between the Channel Activation message and the Channel Release
message.
Holding time:

6.2 seconds

The measurements were performed for MS terminated SMS p-p, but is


considered to be valid also for MS originated SMS.

2.6

Facsimile group 3 set-up


The Facsimile group 3 service allows the connection (send and/or receive) of
CCITT group 3 fax apparatus to the MSs in a GSM PLMN.
The set-up for a fax transmission takes place on the SDCCH. It can be
assumed that the set-up of a fax transmission holds the SDCCH as long as the
set-up for a regular call.
MS originated call Holding time:
MS terminated call Holding time:

2.7

2.7 seconds
2.9 seconds

Supplementary services
The use of supplementary services is optional for the operator. Some of the
services could be basic while others could be available to the subscriber by
express subscription. Examples of supplementary services are Line
Identification Presentation, Call forwarding, Barring of calls and Multi-Party
Service.
The estimated SDCCH holding time for the activities related to control of the
Supplementary Services is given by measurements:
Holding time:

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2.8

False Accesses
When a Channel Request message is received by the system, an SDCCH is
allocated by sending an Immediate Assignment message. If it happens that the
channel request was caused by radio disturbances, no more messages are
received from the non-existing MS and the system waits a certain amount of
time before performing a disconnection.
The time that a False Access holds the SDCCH is estimated to
Holding time:

5.8 seconds

which is the average measured time (5.3 seconds) plus a margin that mainly
accounts for the time between the arrival of the Channel Release Acknowledge
message at the BSC and the time before the channel is available again.

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SDCCH dimensioning
An SDCCH dimensioning means selecting the number of time slots in a cell
that are going to be used for signalling. The generated SDCCH and TCH traffic
in a cell are the inputs for the SDCCH dimensioning. For a given number of
TRXs, and an estimated SDCCH / TCH ratio, a suitable SDCCH configuration
for that cell can be chosen.

3.1

SDCCH configurations

3.1.1

SDCCH/8
8 subchannels for signalling is mapped on one time slot. Each assigned
SDCCH/8 results in one less TCH for that cell.

3.1.2

SDCCH/4 (Combined SDCCH and BCCH)


There is a possibility to map 4 subchannels for signalling on the time slot used
for the BCCH. As a result of combining the SDCCH with the BCCH, the
paging capacity on the BCCH is reduced.

3.1.3

Cell Broadcast
The Cell Broadcast service provides the transmission of an SMS from a
message handling centre to all MSs in the serving area of the BTS. When the
Cell Broadcast service is active in a cell, one signalling subchannel is replaced
by one Cell Broadcast Channel, CBCH.

3.1.4

Possible configurations
The optional Cell Broadcast service and the possibility to have combined
SDCCH and BCCH result in four possible SDCCH-configurations. Each TRX
can have one out of these SDCCH configurations defined:
SDCCH/4: The SDCCH is combined with the BCCH in time slot 0 on the
BCCH carrier. This SDCCH configuration provides 4 subchannels for
signalling. Only one SDCCH/4 can be defined for each cell.
SDCCH/8: This SDCCH configuration provides 8 subchannels for
signalling. Up to 16 SDCCH/8 can be defined for each cell.
SDCCH/4 including CBCH: If one subchannel is replaced by a CBCH, the
SDCCH/4 configuration provides 3 subchannels for signalling.
SDCCH/8 including CBCH: If one subchannel is replaced by a CBCH, the
SDCCH/8 configuration provides 7 subchannels for signalling.
An SDCCH/4 is automatically allocated at time slot 0 on the BCCH carrier.
For SDCCH/8, the time slot number can be specified, but the system
automatically chooses which carrier to use. In case there are several SDCCH/8
defined, they are assigned different frequencies but with the same time slot
number.

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3.2

SDCCH Grade Of Service


The SDCCH dimensioning is a compromise between SDCCH blocking rate and
TCH capacity. A connection for speech or data requires an SDCCH for the
call set-up signalling and a TCH for the remainder of the call. In order to have
a successful call set-up, there has to be an available SDCCH as well as an
available TCH. The SDCCH and the TCH are equally important for the
completion of a call, but since the SDCCHs use the physical channels more
efficiently, the SDCCHs should be dimensioned for a better grade of service
compared to the TCHs.
A rule of thumb is that the SDCCH GOS should be dimensioned for no more
than 1/4 of the TCH GOS, i.e. if the SDCCH exceeds 1/4 of the TCH GOS, a
configuration with more SDCCHs should be used. However, when using the
configuration with only four signalling channels, i.e. the SDCCH/4
configuration, an SDCCH GOS of TCH GOS/2 should be allowed.
The rule of thumb stated above is illustrated by an example:
Assume that a cell is dimensioned for a GOS of 2 % on the TCH.
If a configuration with 4 subchannels for signalling is used (only one
SDCCH/4), the SDCCH should not be dimensioned for a GOS in excess
of :
Max. SDCCH GOS = 1/2 * 2 % = 1 %.
For all other SDCCH configurations, the SDCCH should not be
dimensioned for a GOS in excess of :
Max. SDCCH GOS = 1/4 * 2 % = 0.5 %.

3.3

Immediate assignment on TCH


In CME 20 R6, it is possible to perform the initial signalling (Immediate
assignment) on a TCH. In case of Immediate assignment on TCH, the Channel
Administration processing (see Ref. 1) assigns a TCH for signalling instead of
an SDCCH.
The Channel Administration allows seven different channel allocation
strategies (CHAPs).
The TCH first strategy decreases the signalling load on SDCCH significantly,
thus enabling the possibility to use a combined SDCCH in most situations.
However, the traffic load on TCH will in this case increase substantially.
The SDCCH first strategy means that an SDCCH always is allocated if there is
an idle SDCCH and in case there is congestion on SDCCH, the signalling is
performed on a TCH instead. This possibility will simplify the dimensioning of
SDCCH substantially, since the resources are used more efficiently and the
trunking loss is reduced to a minimum.

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3.3.1

SDCCH dimensioning
When all SDCCHs are occupied, the excessive call set-ups, Location
Updatings etc. are performed on TCH instead. This means that the traffic load
on TCH increases, but in this case it is possible to use a configuration with
more available TCHs. Thus, there is a trade-off between the overflow traffic
load on TCH, originating from Immediate assignment on TCH, compared to the
extra capacity that can be added on TCH by reducing the number of time slots
reserved for SDCCH. The trunking gain for configurations with a small number
of SDCCHs is substantial.
In this paper, the breakpoint when it is beneficial to add one SDCCH/8 is used.
It is assumed that SDCCH/4 either is always used or not used at all in a
Location Area (paging load considerations). This means that when extra
capacity on SDCCH is required, one SDCCH/8 is added. The breakpoint is
defined when 0.5 Erlang1 of the signalling traffic is carried by TCH. If the
traffic load exceeds the breakpoint, one extra SDCCH/8 have to be added.
When the overflow traffic on TCH is equal or less than 0.5 Erlang, it is
beneficial to use a TCH extra instead of adding an SDCCH/8, since the total
TCH capacity increases with almost one Erlang.
Recommendations for initial dimensioning of the SDCCH configuration when
using Immediate assignment on TCH is presented in Appendix B & C.
The GOS, or percentage of the time that all SDCCH channels are occupied at
the breakpoint, is presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Percentage of time when all SDCCHs are occupied at the breakpoint for
different configurations of SDCCH.
SDCCH/4
18 %.
SDCCH/8
9 %.
SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8
6 %.
2 * SDCCH/8
4,5 %.
SDCCH/4 + 2 * SDCCH/8
3,5 %.
The SDCCH should not be dimensioned for an SDCCH occupancy percentage
in excess of these figures. If the GOS on SDCCH becomes higher, it is
beneficial to add an SDCCH/8.
Example:
Suppose that the traffic on SDCCH is 4 Erlang in a cell, that combined
SDCCH should not be used and that Immediate assignment on TCH is not
used. In this case it is necessary to use two SDCCH/8 in order to meet the
demand for a GOS less than 0,5 %. The capacity on TCH is 14 Erlang if
there are three TRXs in the cell.

1 The breakpoint is defined at 0.5 Erlang since the overflow traffic on TCH is more bursty and have higher variance than Erlang distributed traffic. This
means that the overflow traffic on TCH decreases the total capacity on TCH with slightly more than 0.5 Erlang.

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If Immediate assignment on TCH, SDCCH first, is used, it is possible to


use only one SDCCH/8. The GOS on SDCCH is in this case 3 % which
yields that the overflow traffic on TCH is 3 % * 4 Erlang = 0.12 Erlang.
The capacity of the TCHs in the cell is now 14.9 - 0.12 14.7 Erlang,
which means that the capacity in the cell is increased with 0.7 Erlang.
Note that in the case when Immediate assignment on TCH is used, there is no
congestion at Immediate assignment at all. There could of course be
congestion both on SDCCH and TCH, but in this case, 100 % of the resources
are used in the cell.

3.4

SDCCH / TCH ratio


When dimensioning the SDCCH, the main factor is the SDCCH traffic and
TCH traffic ratio, i.e. SDCCH-load / TCH-load. For every combination of
SDCCH configuration and number of TRXs, there is a breakpoint in terms of
the SDCCH / TCH ratio where the SDCCH GOS exceeds the rule of thumb
stated in chapter 3.2.
A complete list of tables, including every (reasonable) combination of SDCCH
configuration, number of TRXs and their "breakpoint values" (given in
percentage) is included in appendix A.
The selection of which SDCCH configuration to use is illustrated by an
example:
Assume a situation with the following data:
Number of TRXs in cell:
Cell Broadcast used:
Estimated SDCCH load:
Estimated TCH load

3
No
5 mE/subscriber
20 mE/subscriber.

The SDCCH / TCH ratio = 5 / 20 = 25%


After having calculated the SDCCH / TCH ratio, find the correct table in
appendix A or B based on the number of TRXs in the cell (in this case table
A3).
3 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

0.87 (0.46)

23

15.8

5.5% (2.9%)

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

2.7 (2.2)

22

14.9

18% (15%)

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

12 (11)

5.3 (4.6)

22

14.9

36% (31%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

8.1 (7.4)

21

14.0

58% (53%)

Table 1. Table A3 from appendix A


The configuration SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8 has a maximum SDCCH / TCH
ratio of 36 %, which is sufficient. Note that this configuration has a

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combined SDCCH / BCCH. If a combined BCCH can not be used (e.g. due
to excessive paging load), the 2 * SDCCH/8 configuration must be used.
The tables are calculated with the following GOS.
TCH:
SDCCH/4:
all other SDCCH configurations:

2%
1% (1/2 of the TCH GOS)
0.5 % (1/4 of the TCH GOS)

Other values of the GOS will affect the capacity. However, the TCH GOS only
has a marginal effect on the maximum SDCCH / TCH ratio as long as the
relation between the SDCCH GOS and TCH GOS are kept the same. This
means that these tables also can be used for dimensioning cells with other
congestion levels than 2%.
The values given in parentheses are for Cell broadcast. The configurations
shaded grey are the recommended configurations for an average cell, Cell
broadcast not used, according to the traffic estimations in chapter 4.

Traffic estimations
Most of the traffic estimations in this chapter comes a from a CME 20 traffic
model used by Ericsson. The figures differ substantially between different
networks. Therefore, the figures should be substituted with the values given by
the operator, if available. The figures also vary between cells. If possible, the
SDCCH dimensioning should be followed up by looking at STS-data (see
chapter 5).
Knowing the SDCCH holding times, with a given number of performances
during busy hour for every procedure, the generated SDCCH traffic per
subscriber can be calculated as follows:
For each type of procedure, multiply the number of performances per busy
hour and subscriber and the holding time of the channel. By dividing the result
with 3.6, the procedures contribution to the SDCCH load in mErlang /
subscriber is achieved.
For some of the events, the number of performances per busy hour, is given per
active subscriber. An active subscriber is a subscriber whose MS is attached
to the network, i.e. in idle or busy mode.

4.1

Location Updating
The Location Updating contribution to SDCCH load very much differ between
an inner cell, and a cell at the border of a Location Area. Furthermore, if the
cell is at the border of a location area, the number of Location Updatings in the
cell depends on the traffic situation. For example, a highway crossing a
Location Area border results in a larger number of Location updatings in those
Location Area border cells.
The figures given in the CME 20 Traffic model for Location Updating are

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Number of Location Updatings:


Fraction of active subscribers:

1 per hour and active subscriber


40%

In these estimations, three types of cells have been considered:


Average cell: This type of cell has the average number of Location
updatings given in the CME 20 Traffic model.
Inner cell: This type of cell is considered to have no Location Updatings at
all.
Border cell: This type of cell is considered to have three times the average
number of Location Updatings.
The number of Location Updatings in the border cell comes from the
assumption that there are twice as many inner cells as border cells, were
virtually all the Location Updatings are performed.
3.54 seconds holding time =>

4.2

Average:

1 * 40% * 3.5 / 3.6 = 0.4 mE per subscriber

Inner:

0 mE per subscriber

Border:

3 * 0.4 = 1.2 mE per subscriber

IMSI attach/detach
The attach and detach procedures are optional to the operator. If used, the
number of performances is highly dependent on the subscriber behaviour.
The figures given in the CME 20 Traffic model for IMSI attach/detach are
Number of IMSI attach: 1 per hour and subscriber
Number of IMSI detach: 1 per hour and subscriber
3.5 and 2.9 seconds Holding time respectively =>
(1 * 3.5 + 1 * 2.9) / 3.6 = 1.8 mE per subscriber

4.3

Periodic registration
The implementation of the Periodic Registration is optional. If used, the time
between registrations is a choice of the operator as well as. Consequently, the
SDCCH load due to Periodic registration vary substantially between operators.
If the cell parameter T3212 (see Ref. 2) is set to half an hour, the number of
Busy Hour Call attempts, BHCA, for Periodic registration are
Number of periodic registrations:
Fraction of active subscribers:

2 per hour and active subscriber


40%

3.5 seconds Holding time =>


2 * 40% * 3.5 / 3.6 = 0.8 mE per subscriber

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The rate of periodic updatings is actually over-estimated since no Periodic


registration is performed half an hour after a Location Updating or Mobile
Terminated call.

4.4

Call set-up
Obviously, the number of call set-ups depend on the subscriber behaviour and
differs considerably from one network to another.
The figures given in the CME 20 Traffic model for call set-up are
MS Originated traffic (including no B-answer): 0.8 BHCA
MS Terminated traffic (including no B-answer): 0.3 BHCA.
2.7 seconds and 2.9 seconds holding time for MS originated and MS terminated
calls respectively =>
(0.8 * 2.7 + 0.3 * 2.9) / 3.6 = 0.9 mE/subscriber

4.5

SMS p-p
The number of SMS p-p transmissions is highly dependent on the subscriber
behavior, but also how the operator uses this service. As an example, SMS can
be used for delivering internal network notices, e.g. voice-mail.
In these estimations, it is assumed that all SMS p-p traffic is sent on the
SDCCH. The figures used for the SMS p-p traffic estimations are:
MS Terminated traffic:

0.5 BHCA

MS Originated traffic:

0.1 BHCA.

For MS terminated traffic, the figure comes from the CME 20 Traffic model.
For the MS originated traffic, the figure is an assumption based on data from
existing networks.
6.2 seconds Holding time =>
6.2 * (0.1 + 0.5) / 3.6 = 1.0 mE/subscriber

4.6

Facsimile group 3 set-up


In the Ericsson traffic model, the number of fax transmissions is small and will
only have a marginal effect on the total SDCCH load. Therefore, Facsimile
group 3 set-up will not be taken in considerations in the SDCCH traffic
estimations in this document.

4.7

Supplementary services
In the CME 20 Traffic model, the number of activities related to control of the
Supplementary Services is

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Number of activation's, deactivation's, etc.:


0.3 per hour and active
subscriber
Fraction of active subscribers:
40%.
0.9 seconds Holding time =>
2 * 40% * 0.9 / 3.6 = 0.2 mE per subscriber

4.8

False Access
The number of False Accesses is related to the number of SDCCHs in the cell
rather than being traffic dependent. The additional SDCCH load due to false
accesses is probably in most cases marginal, and will not be taken into
consideration in the SDCCH traffic estimations in this document.

4.9

Safety margin
When selecting an SDCCH configuration, especially if the data is based on
theoretical estimations, there should always be a "safety margin". A successful
call-setup requires an available SDCCH as well as an available TCH. A
configuration with one TCH less than an optimised configuration will have a
smaller impact on the total GOS compared to a shortage of SDCCHs. This is,
however, not the case when using Immediate assignment on TCH (See chapter
3.3).
In this document, a safety margin of 20 % is added to the estimated SDCCH
load. Since the SDCCH dimensioning is based on the SDCCH / TCH ratio, the
unreliability of the TCH load must be included in this margin.

4.10

Total SDCCH load


For the three different types of cells stated in chapter 4.1 (i.e. Average-, Innerand Border cells), the total SDCCH load per subscriber can be achieved by
adding the contributions from each event.

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Event

Average

Inner

Border

Location updating:
IMSI attach/detach:
Periodic registration:
Call set-up:
SMS p-p:
Supplementary
services:

0.4
1.8
0.8
0.9
1.0

0
1.8
0.8
0.9
1.0

1.2
1.8
0.8
0.9
1.0

mE/subscriber
mE/subscriber
mE/subscriber
mE/subscriber
mE/subscriber

0.2

0.2

0.2

mE/subscriber

Total:

5.1

4.7

5.9

mE/subscriber

20 % safetymargin added:

6.1

5.6

7.0

mE/subscriber

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4.11

SDCCH / TCH ratio


The SDCCH / TCH ratio is the ratio between the estimated SDCCH load,
calculated in chapter 4.10, and the estimated TCH load, which is given in the
CME 20 Traffic model.
TCH load:

25 mE / subscriber

SDCCH / TCH ratio =


Average:
Inner:
Border:

6.1 / 25 = 24 %
5.6 / 25 = 23 %
7.0 / 25 = 28 %

Experience from live GSM networks shows that the SDCCH / TCH ratio
differs quite a lot between different networks and different time intervals in a
network. This depends, amongst others, on the parameter setting, the subscriber
behaviour, the size of the Location Areas and the services provided by the
network operator. The SDCCH / TCH ratio has shown to be, in most cases,
between 10 % and 40 %.

Recommended configurations
In Appendix C, Table C1 and C2 contain the recommended SDCCH
configurations, based on the SDCCH / TCH ratio calculated in chapter 4.11.
Six different types of cells have been considered; Average, Inner and Border
cells, with and without Cell broadcast.
Note that in large Location Areas with high paging load, the use of combined
SDCCH should not be used. In this case the SDCCH/4 must be replaced by an
SDCCH/8. For further information regarding paging load and Location Area
dimensioning, see Ref. 3.

Dimensioning based on STS-data


An estimation of the SDCCH load, as described in chapter 4, is based on
assumptions regarding the subscriber behaviour. Furthermore, the SDCCH
need can differ considerably between different cells. Example of factors which
might differ between cells are generated traffic per subscriber, Location Area
borders and subscriber mobility.
A more accurate dimensioning is achieved by using cell statistics, i.e. STS
counters. The STS counters provide statistics regarding SDCCH load, SDCCH
congestion, TCH load and TCH congestion. When there is congestion on
SDCCH or TCH, the availability of the channels should also be checked. It is
common that there are blocked channels or hardware problems not discovered
until there is congestion in the cell, since in this case, this cell is more
thoroughly evaluated.
Statistics of the traffic load and congestion should be collected during busy
hour when the traffic reach the peak levels.

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SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE, CME 20 R6

6.1

Cells with no congestion


As long as there is no congestion in either the TCH nor the SDCCH, the
SDCCH configuration is not critical. However, the cell should still be
dimensioned for a future increase in traffic. With no statistics of the congestion
levels, the dimensioning has to be based on statistics regarding the SDCCH
load and TCH load.
It is reasonable to assume that the SDCCH / TCH ratio is not going to differ
that much when the overall traffic in the cell increase. The SDCCH / TCH ratio
can be calculated using the statistics from the STS counters. A suitable
SDCCH configuration can be selected using the tables in appendix A, as
described in chapter 3.4.

6.2

Cells with congestion


The most accurate SDCCH dimensioning is achieved by looking at the
congestion level for the TCHs and the SDCCHs for the specific cell. The
optimum configuration is achieved by selecting a configuration with as many
TCHs as possible, without letting the SDCCH GOS exceed 1/4 of the TCH
GOS (with only one SDCCH/4: 1/2 of the TCH GOS). This procedure can be
applied regardless of the TCH congestion level in the cell.

6.3

Cells using Immediate assignment on TCH


When using Immediate assignment on TCH, the SDCCHs could be
dimensioned for a much higher utilisation compared to the case without using
Immediate assignment on TCH. The trunking gain is in most cases substantial
and yields a higher capacity on TCH.
There are STS counters that provide the percentage of the time when all
channels are occupied. These counters should be monitored for SDCCH and
TCH and the SDCCH dimensioning should be performed according to the
figures for GOS in section 3.3.1.

16(23)

References
1.

User Description, Channel Administration, 4/1551-FCU 101 201 Uen

2.

Radio Network Parameters and Cell Design Data, 3/100 56-FCU 101
201 Uen

3.

Location Area Dimensioning Guideline, 5/100 56-FCU 101 206 Uen


Rev A

4/100 56-FCU 101 206 Uen Rev A 1997-01-15

SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE

Appendix A
Table A1 - A7 are tables for selecting SDCCH configurations as described in
chapter 3. The tables are calculated with the following GOS.
TCH:
SDCCH/4:
all other SDCCH configurations:

2%
1 % (1/2 of the TCH GOS)
0.5 % (1/4 of the TCH GOS)

Note that SDCCH/4 should not be used in case of high paging load in the
Location Area.
The figures in parenthesis are for configurations where Cell broadcast is used.
Table A1
1 TRX

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

0.87 (0.46)

2.9

30% (16%)

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

2.7 (2.2)

2.3

120% (94%)

Table A2
2 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

0.87 (0.46)

15

9.0

9.7% (5.1%)

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

2.7 (2.2)

14

8.2

33% (27%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

5.3 (4.6)

14

8.2

65% (56%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

8.1 (7.4)

13

7.4

109% (100%)

Table A3
3 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

0.87 (0.46)

23

15.8

5.5% (2.9%)

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

2.7 (2.2)

22

14.9

18% (15%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

5.3 (4.6)

22

14.9

36% (31%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

8.1 (7.4)

21

14.0

58% (53%)

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SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE, CME 20 R6

Table A4
4 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

2.7 (2.2)

30

21.9

12% (10%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

5.3 (4.6)

30

21.9

24% (21%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

8.1 (7.4)

29

21.0

39% (35%)

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20 (19)

11.1 (10.3)

29

21.0

53% (49%)

Table A5
5 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

5.3 (4.6)

38

29.1

18% (16%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

8.1 (7.4)

37

28.3

29% (26%)

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20 (19)

11.1 (10.3)

37

28.3

39% (36%)

3 * SDCCH/8

24 (23)

14.2 (13.4)

36

27.3

52% (49%)

Table A6
6 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

5.3 (4.6)

46

36.5

15% (13%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

8.1 (7.4)

45

35.6

23% (21%)

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20 (19)

11.1 (10.3)

45

35.6

31% (29%)

3 * SDCCH/8

24 (23)

14.2 (13.4)

44

34.7

41% (39%)

Table A7
7 TRXs

18(23)

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
SDCCHs

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

5.3 (4.6)

54

44.0

12% (10%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

8.1 (7.4)

53

43.1

19% (17%)

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20 (19)

11.1 (10.3)

53

43.1

26% (24%)

3 * SDCCH/8

24 (23)

14.2 (13.4)

52

42.1

34% (32%)

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SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE

3 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

28 (27)

17.4 (16.6)

52

42.1

41% (39%)

Appendix B
The dimensioning in this section is based on the case when Immediate
Assignment on TCH, SDCCH first, is used.
Table B1 - B7 are tables for selecting SDCCH configurations as described in
chapter 3. The tables are calculated with the assumption that the limit for the
capacity is reached on SDCCH when 0.5 Erlang of the signalling traffic is
served by TCH.
Max. SDCCH/TCH - ratio is calculated as:
(signalling on SDCCH + TCH) / (Capacity on TCH - 0.5 Erlang)
Note that SDCCH/4 should not be used in case of high paging load in the
Location Area.
The figures in parenthesis are for configurations where Cell broadcast is used.
Table B1
1 TRX

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
Signalling
SDCCH +
TCH

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

2.8 (2.2)

2.9

117% (92%)

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

5.5 (4.8)

2.3

306% (267%)

Table B2
2 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
Signalling
SDCCH +
TCH

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

2.8 (2.2)

15

9.0

33% (26%)

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

5.5 (4.8)

14

8.2

71% (62%)

Table B3
3 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
Signalling
SDCCH +
TCH

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

2.8 (2.2)

23

15.8

18% (14%)

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SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE, CME 20 R6

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

5.5 (4.8)

22

14.9

38% (33%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

8.3 (7.8)

22

14.9

58% (54%)

Table B4
4 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
Signalling
SDCCH +
TCH

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/4

4 (3)

2.8 (2.2)

31

22.8

13% (10%)

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

5.5 (4.8)

30

21.9

26% (22%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

8.3 (7.8)

30

21.9

39% (36%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

11.3 (10.5)

29

21.0

55% (51%)

Table B5
5 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
Signalling
SDCCH +
TCH

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

5.5 (4.8)

38

29.1

19% (17%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

8.3 (7.8)

38

29.1

29% (27%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

11.3 (10.5)

37

28.3

41% (38%)

Table B6
6 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

Number of
SDCCH
subchannels

Capacity,
Signalling
SDCCH +
TCH

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCHratio

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

5.5 (4.8)

46

36.5

15% (13%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

8.3 (7.8)

46

36.5

23% (22%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

11.3 (10.5)

45

35.6

32% (30%)

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20 (19)

14.3 (13.6)

45

35.6

41% (39%)

Number of
TCHs

Capacity,
TCH

Max.
SDCCH/TCH-

Table B7
7 TRXs

SDCCH configuration

20(23)

Number of
SDCCH

Capacity,
Signalling
SDCCH +

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SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE

subchannels

TCH

ratio

SDCCH/8

8 (7)

5.5 (4.8)

54

44

13% (11%)

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

12 (11)

8.3 (7.8)

54

44

19% (18%)

2 * SDCCH/8

16 (15)

11.3 (10.5)

53

43.1

27% (25%)

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20 (19)

14.3 (13.6)

53

43.1

34% (32%)

Appendix C
Table C1 and Table C2 are lists of the recommended SDCCH configurations
according to the traffic estimations in chapter 4.
Note that SDCCH/4 should not be used in case of high paging load in the
Location Area.
Table C1
No Cell Broadcast
Number of TRXs

SDCCH configuration,
Average Cell

SDCCH configuration, Inner


Cell

SDCCH configuration,
Border Cell

SDCCH configuration,
Average cell,
Immediate ass. on TCH

SDCCH/4

SDCCH/4

SDCCH/4

SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

2 * SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

3 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

3 * SDCCH/8

3 * SDCCH/8

3 * SDCCH/8

SDCCH/4 + 2 * SDCCH/8

Table C2
Cell Broadcast used
Number of TRXs

SDCCH configuration,
Average Cell

SDCCH configuration,
Inner Cell

SDCCH configuration,
Border Cell

SDCCH configuration,
Average Cell,
Immediate ass. on TCH

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/4 + SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

2 * SDCCH/8

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22(23)

3 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

3 * SDCCH/8

2 * SDCCH/8

3 * SDCCH/8

3 * SDCCH/8

3 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

SDCCH/4 + 2 * SDCCH/8

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SDCCH DIMENSIONING GUIDELINE

Table C3 is a quick reference for estimating the capacity in a cell for different
number of TRXs. The table can be used for approximate estimations regarding
capacity when data to do a more accurate SDCCH dimensioning is not
provided. The capacity estimations can be used at an early stage in the cell
planning process, e.g. for estimating the capacity using a nominal cell plan.
The SDCCH configurations are based on the traffic estimations in chapter 4,
and corresponds the "average cell" in table C1 (no cell broadcast).
Table C3
No Cell Broadcast
Number of
TRXs

SDCCH configuration,

Number of
signalling
subchannels

Number of
TCHs

TCH capacity
(Erlang at
2% GOS)

SDCCH/4

2.9

SDCCH/8

14

8.2

SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

12

22

14.9

2 * SDCCH/8

16

29

21.0

2 * SDCCH/8

16

37

28.3

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20

45

35.6

2 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

20

53

43.1

3 * SDCCH/8

24

60

49.6

3 * SDCCH/8

24

68

57.2

10

3 * SDCCH/8 + SDCCH/4

28

76

64.9

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