3G LTE Tutorial - 3GPP Long Term Evolution

- information, overview, or tutorial about the basics of the 3GPP / 3G LTE, the long term evolution plans for the next
generation of cellular telecommunications services
3G LTE technology tutorial includes:
• Tutorial Introduction
• TDD and FDD duplex schemes
• Frame and subframe structure
• Physical logical & transport channels
• Frequency bands and spectrum
• UE category definitions
• SAE system architecture evolution
• Voice over LTE, VoLTE
• Security
See also: 4G LTE Advanced
3G LTE is now being deployed and is the way forwards for high speed cellular services.
There has been a rapid increase in the use of data carried by cellular services, and this increase will only become larger in what
has been termed the "data explosion". To cater for this and the increased demands for increased data transmission speeds and
lower latency, further development of cellular technology have been required.
The UMTS cellular technology upgrade has been dubbed LTE - Long Term Evolution. The idea is that 3G LTE will enable much
higher speeds to be achieved along with much lower packet latency (a growing requirement for many services these days), and
that 3GPP LTE will enable cellular communications services to move forward to meet the needs for cellular technology to 2017
and well beyond.
Many operators have not yet upgraded their basic 3G networks, and 3GPP LTE is seen as the next logical step for many operators,
who will leapfrog straight from basic 3G straight to LTE as this will avoid providing several stages of upgrade. The use of LTE
will also provide the data capabilities that will be required for many years and until the full launch of the full 4G standards known
as LTE Advanced.
3G LTE evolution
Although there are major step changes between LTE and its 3G predecessors, it is nevertheless looked upon as an evolution of the
UMTS / 3GPP 3G standards. Although it uses a different form of radio interface, using OFDMA / SC-FDMA instead of CDMA,
there are many similarities with the earlier forms of 3G architecture and there is scope for much re-use.
LTE can be seen for provide a further evolution of functionality, increased speeds and general improved performance.

Max downlink speed
Max uplink speed
round trip time
3GPP releases
Approx years of initial roll out
Access methodology

384 k

14 M

28 M


128 k

5.7 M

11 M

50 M

150 ms

100 ms

50ms (max)

~10 ms

Rel 99/4
2003 / 4

Rel 5 / 6
2005 / 6 HSDPA
2007 / 8 HSUPA

Rel 7
2008 / 9

Rel 8
2009 / 10






In addition to this, LTE is an all IP based network, supporting both IPv4 and IPv6. There is also no basic provision for voice,
although this can be carried as VoIP.

3GPP LTE technologies
LTE has introduced a number of new technologies when compared to the previous cellular systems. They enable LTE to be able
to operate more efficiently with respect to the use of spectrum, and also to provide the much higher data rates that are being

OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex): OFDM technology has been incorporated into LTE because it
enables high data bandwidths to be transmitted efficiently while still providing a high degree of resilience to reflections
and interference. The access schemes differ between the uplink and downlink: OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division
Multiple Access is used in the downlink; while SC-FDMA(Single Carrier - Frequency Division Multiple Access) is used
in the uplink. SC-FDMA is used in view of the fact that its peak to average power ratio is small and the more constant
power enables high RF power amplifier efficiency in the mobile handsets - an important factor for battery power
equipment. Read more about LTE OFDM / OFDMA / SCFMDA
MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output): One of the main problems that previous telecommunications systems has
encountered is that of multiple signals arising from the many reflections that are encountered. By using MIMO, these
additional signal paths can be used to advantage and are able to be used to increase the throughput.
When using MIMO, it is necessary to use multiple antennas to enable the different paths to be distinguished. Accordingly
schemes using 2 x 2, 4 x 2, or 4 x 4 antenna matrices can be used. While it is relatively easy to add further antennas to a
base station, the same is not true of mobile handsets, where the dimensions of the user equipment limit the number of
antennas which should be place at least a half wavelength apart. Read more about LTE MIMO
SAE (System Architecture Evolution): With the very high data rate and low latency requirements for 3G LTE, it is
necessary to evolve the system architecture to enable the improved performance to be achieved. One change is that a
number of the functions previously handled by the core network have been transferred out to the periphery. Essentially
this provides a much "flatter" form of network architecture. In this way latency times can be reduced and data can be
routed more directly to its destination. Read more about LTE SAE

These technologies are addressed in much greater detail in the following pages of this tutorial.
3G LTE specification overview
It is worth summarizing the key parameters of the 3G LTE specification. In view of the fact that there are a number of differences
between the operation of the uplink and downlink, these naturally differ in the performance they can offer.
Peak downlink speed
Peak uplink speeds
Data type
Channel bandwidths
Duplex schemes
Spectral efficiency
Access schemes
Modulation types supported

100 (SISO), 172 (2x2 MIMO), 326 (4x4 MIMO)

50 (QPSK), 57 (16QAM), 86 (64QAM)
All packet switched data (voice and data). No circuit switched.
1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20
0 - 15 km/h (optimised),
15 - 120 km/h (high performance)
Idle to active less than 100ms
Small packets ~10 ms
Downlink: 3 - 4 times Rel 6 HSDPA
Uplink: 2 -3 x Rel 6 HSUPA
OFDMA (Downlink)
SC-FDMA (Uplink)
QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM (Uplink and downlink)

These highlight specifications give an overall view of the performance that LTE will offer. It meets the requirements of industry
for high data download speeds as well as reduced latency - a factor important for many applications from VoIP to gaming and
interactive use of data. It also provides significant improvements in the use of the available spectrum.

One of the key elements of LTE is the use of OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex) as the signal bearer and the
associated access schemes, OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex) and SC-FDMA (Single Frequency Division
Multiple Access).
OFDM is used in a number of other of systems from WLAN, WiMAX to broadcast technologies including DVB and DAB.
OFDM has many advantages including its robustness to multipath fading and interference. In addition to this, even though, it may
appear to be a particularly complicated form of modulation, it lends itself to digital signal processing techniques.
In view of its advantages, the use of ODFM and the associated access technologies, OFDMA and SC-FDMA are natural choices
for the new LTE cellular standard.
OFDM basics
The use of OFDM is a natural choice for LTE. While the basic concepts of OFDM are used, it has naturally been tailored to meet
the exact requirements for LTE. However its use of multiple carrier each carrying a low data rate remains the same.
Note on OFDM:
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (OFDM) is a form of transmission that uses a large number of close spaced carriers that
are modulated with low rate data. Normally these signals would be expected to interfere with each other, but by making the
signals orthogonal to each another there is no mutual interference. This is achieved by having the carrier spacing equal to the
reciprocal of the symbol period. This means that when the signals are demodulated they will have a whole number of cycles in the
symbol period and their contribution will sum to zero - in other words there is no interference contribution. The data to be
transmitted is split across all the carriers and this means that by using error correction techniques, if some of the carriers are lost
due to multi-path effects, then the data can be reconstructed. Additionally having data carried at a low rate across all the carriers
means that the effects of reflections and inter-symbol interference can be overcome. It also means that single frequency networks,
where all transmitters can transmit on the same channel can be implemented.
The actual implementation of the technology will be different between the downlink (i.e. from base station to mobile) and the
uplink (i.e. mobile to the base station) as a result of the different requirements between the two directions and the equipment at
either end. However OFDM was chosen as the signal bearer format because it is very resilient to interference. Also in recent years
a considerable level of experience has been gained in its use from the various forms of broadcasting that use it along with Wi-Fi
and WiMAX. OFDM is also a modulation format that is very suitable for carrying high data rates - one of the key requirements
for LTE.
In addition to this, OFDM can be used in both FDD and TDD formats. This becomes an additional advantage.
LTE channel bandwidths and characteristics
One of the key parameters associated with the use of OFDM within LTE is the choice of bandwidth. The available bandwidth
influences a variety of decisions including the number of carriers that can be accommodated in the OFDM signal and in turn this
influences elements including the symbol length and so forth.
LTE defines a number of channel bandwidths. Obviously the greater the bandwidth, the greater the channel capacity.
The channel bandwidths that have been chosen for LTE are:

1.4 MHz
3 MHz
5 MHz
10 MHz
15 MHz
20 MHz

In addition to this the subcarriers are spaced 15 kHz apart from each other. To maintain orthogonality, this gives a symbol rate of
1 / 15 kHz = of 66.7 µs.
Each subcarrier is able to carry data at a maximum rate of 15 ksps (kilosymbols per second). This gives a 20 MHz bandwidth
system a raw symbol rate of 18 Msps. In turn this is able to provide a raw data rate of 108 Mbps as each symbol using 64QAM is
able to represent six bits.

It may appear that these rates do not align with the headline figures given in the LTE specifications. The reason for this is that
actual peak data rates are derived by first subtracting the coding and control overheads. Then there are gains arising from elements
such as the spatial multiplexing, etc.
LTE OFDM cyclic prefix, CP
One of the primary reasons for using OFDM as a modulation format within LTE (and many other wireless systems for that matter)
is its resilience to multipath delays and spread. However it is still necessary to implement methods of adding resilience to the
system. This helps overcome the inter-symbol interference (ISI) that results from this.
In areas where inter-symbol interference is expected, it can be avoided by inserting a guard period into the timing at the beginning
of each data symbol. It is then possible to copy a section from the end of the symbol to the beginning. This is known as the cyclic
prefix, CP. The receiver can then sample the waveform at the optimum time and avoid any inter-symbol interference caused by
reflections that are delayed by times up to the length of the cyclic prefix, CP.
The length of the cyclic prefix, CP is important. If it is not long enough then it will not counteract the multipath reflection delay
spread. If it is too long, then it will reduce the data throughput capacity. For LTE, the standard length of the cyclic prefix has been
chosen to be 4.69 µs. This enables the system to accommodate path variations of up to 1.4 km. With the symbol length in LTE set
to 66.7 µs.
The symbol length is defined by the fact that for OFDM systems the symbol length is equal to the reciprocal of the carrier spacing
so that orthogonality is achieved. With a carrier spacing of 15 kHz, this gives the symbol length of 66.7 µs.
LTE OFDMA in the downlink
The OFDM signal used in LTE comprises a maximum of 2048 different sub-carriers having a spacing of 15 kHz. Although it is
mandatory for the mobiles to have capability to be able to receive all 2048 sub-carriers, not all need to be transmitted by the base
station which only needs to be able to support the transmission of 72 sub-carriers. In this way all mobiles will be able to talk to
any base station.
Within the OFDM signal it is possible to choose between three types of modulation:

QPSK (= 4QAM) 2 bits per symbol
16QAM 4 bits per symbol
64QAM 6 bits per symbol

The exact format is chosen depending upon the prevailing conditions. The lower forms of modulation, (QPSK) do not require
such a large signal to noise ratio but are not able to send the data as fast. Only when there is a sufficient signal to noise ratio can
the higher order modulation format be used.
Downlink carriers and resource blocks
In the downlink, the subcarriers are split into resource blocks. This enables the system to be able to compartmentalise the data
across standard numbers of subcarriers.
Resource blocks comprise 12 subcarriers, regardless of the overall LTE signal bandwidth. They also cover one slot in the time
frame. This means that different LTE signal bandwidths will have different numbers of resource blocks.

Channel bandwidth (MHz)
Number of resource blocks
Number of subcarriers







LTE SC-FDMA in the uplink
For the LTE uplink, a different concept is used for the access technique. Although still using a form of OFDMA technology, the
implementation is called Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA).
One of the key parameters that affects all mobiles is that of battery life. Even though battery performance is improving all the
time, it is still necessary to ensure that the mobiles use as little battery power as possible. With the RF power amplifier that
transmits the radio frequency signal via the antenna to the base station being the highest power item within the mobile, it is
necessary that it operates in as efficient mode as possible. This can be significantly affected by the form of radio frequency
modulation and signal format. Signals that have a high peak to average ratio and require linear amplification do not lend
themselves to the use of efficient RF power amplifiers. As a result it is necessary to employ a mode of transmission that has as
near a constant power level when operating. Unfortunately OFDM has a high peak to average ratio. While this is not a problem for
the base station where power is not a particular problem, it is unacceptable for the mobile. As a result, LTE uses a modulation
scheme known as SC-FDMA - Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiplex which is a hybrid format. This combines the low
peak to average ratio offered by single-carrier systems with the multipath interference resilience and flexible subcarrier frequency
allocation that OFDM provides.

MIMO, Multiple Input Multiple Output is another of the LTE major technology innovations used to improve the performance of
the system. This technology provides LTE with the ability to further improve its data throughput and spectral efficiency above that
obtained by the use of OFDM.
Although MIMO adds complexity to the system in terms of processing and the number of antennas required, it enables far high
data rates to be achieved along with much improved spectral efficiency. As a result, MIMO has been included as an integral part
of LTE.

LTE MIMO basics
The basic concept of MIMO utilises the multipath signal propagation that is present in all terrestrial communications. Rather than
providing interference, these paths can be used to advantage.

Note on MIMO:
Two major limitations in communications channels can be multipath interference, and the data throughput limitations as a result
of Shannon's Law. MIMO provides a way of utilising the multiple signal paths that exist between a transmitter and receiver to
significantly improve the data throughput available on a given channel with its defined bandwidth. By using multiple antennas at
the transmitter and receiver along with some complex digital signal processing, MIMO technology enables the system to set up
multiple data streams on the same channel, thereby increasing the data capacity of a channel.

MIMO is being used increasingly in many high data rate technologies including Wi-Fi and other wireless and cellular
technologies to provide improved levels of efficiency. Essentially MIMO employs multiple antennas on the receiver and
transmitter to utilise the multi-path effects that always exist to transmit additional data, rather than causing interference.
The schemes employed in LTE again vary slightly between the uplink and downlink. The reason for this is to keep the terminal
cost low as there are far more terminals than base stations and as a result terminal works cost price is far more sensitive.
For the downlink, a configuration of two transmit antennas at the base station and two receive antennas on the mobile terminal is
used as baseline, although configurations with four antennas are also being considered.
For the uplink from the mobile terminal to the base station, a scheme called MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO) is to be employed.
Using this, even though the base station requires multiple antennas, the mobiles only have one transmit antenna and this
considerably reduces the cost of the mobile. In operation, multiple mobile terminals may transmit simultaneously on the same
channel or channels, but they do not cause interference to each other because mutually orthogonal pilot patterns are used. This
techniques is also referred to as spatial domain multiple access (SDMA).

LTE has been defined to accommodate both paired spectrum for Frequency Division Duplex, FDD and unpaired spectrum for
Time Division Duplex, TDD operation. It is anticipated that both LTE TDD and LTE FDD will be widely deployed as each form
of the LTE standard has its own advantages and disadvantages and decisions can be made about which format to adopt dependent
upon the particular application.
LTE FDD using the paired spectrum is anticipated to form the migration path for the current 3G services being used around the
globe, most of which use FDD paired spectrum. However there has been an additional emphasis on including TDD LTE using
unpaired spectrum. TDD LTE which is also known as TD-LTE is seen as providing the evolution or upgrade path for TDSCDMA.
In view of the increased level of importance being placed upon LTE TDD or TD-LTE, it is planned that user equipments will be
designed to accommodate both FDD and TDD modes. With TDD having an increased level of importance placed upon it, it means
that TDD operations will be able to benefit from the economies of scale that were previously only open to FDD operations.

Duplex schemes
It is essential that any cellular communications system must be able to transmit in both directions simultaneously. This enables
conversations to be made, with either end being able to talk and listen as required. Additionally when exchanging data it is
necessary to be able to undertake virtually simultaneous or completely simultaneous communications in both directions.
It is necessary to be able to specify the different direction of transmission so that it is possible to easily identify in which direction
the transmission is being made. There are a variety of differences between the two links ranging from the amount of data carried
to the transmission format, and the channels implemented. The two links are defined:

Uplink: the transmission from the UE or user equipment to the eNodeB or base station.
Downlink the transmission from the eNodeB or base station to the UE or user equipment.

Uplink and downlink transmission directions
In order to be able to be able to transmit in both directions, a user equipment or base station must have a duplex scheme. There are
two forms of duplex that are commonly used, namely FDD, frequency division duplex and TDD time division duplex..

Note on TDD and FDD duplex schemes:
In order for radio communications systems to be able to communicate in both directions it is necessary to have what is termed a
duplex scheme. A duplex scheme provides a way of organizing the transmitter and receiver so that they can transmit and receive.
There are several methods that can be adopted. For applications including wireless and cellular telecommunications, where it is
required that the transmitter and receiver are able to operate simultaneously, two schemes are in use. One known as FDD or
frequency division duplex uses two channels, one for transmit and the other for receiver. Another scheme known as TDD, time
division duplex uses one frequency, but allocates different time slots for transmission and reception.

Both FDD and TDD have their own advantages and disadvantages. Accordingly they may be used for different applications, or
where the bias of the communications is different.

Advantages / disadvantages of LTE TDD and LTE FDD for cellular communications
There are a number of the advantages and disadvantages of TDD and FDD that are of particular interest to mobile or cellular
telecommunications operators. These are naturally reflected into LTE.
Hardware cost


Guard period /
guard band


Cross slot

Does not require paired spectrum as both
transmit and receive occur on the same
Lower cost as no diplexer is needed to
isolate the transmitter and receiver. As
cost of the UEs is of major importance
because of the vast numbers that are
produced, this is a key aspect.
Channel propagation is the same in both
directions which enables transmit and
receive to use on set of parameters
It is possible to dynamically change the
UL and DL capacity ratio to match

Guard period required to ensure uplink
and downlink transmissions do not clash.
Large guard period will limit capacity.
Larger guard period normally required if
distances are increased to accommodate
larger propagation times.
Discontinuous transmission is required to
allow both uplink and downlink
transmissions. This can degrade the
performance of the RF power amplifier in
the transmitter.
Base stations need to be synchronised
with respect to the uplink and downlink
transmission times. If neighbouring base
stations use different uplink and
downlink assignments and share the same
channel, then interference may occur
between cells.

Requires paired spectrum with sufficient
frequency separation to allow simultaneous
transmission and reception
Diplexer is needed and cost is higher.

Channel characteristics different in both
directions as a result of the use of different
UL / DL capacity determined by frequency
allocation set out by the regulatory
authorities. It is therefore not possible to make
dynamic changes to match capacity.
Regulatory changes would normally be
required and capacity is normally allocated so
that it is the same in either direction.
Guard band required to provide sufficient
isolation between uplink and downlink. Large
guard band does not impact capacity.

Continuous transmission is required.

Not applicable

Apart from the technical reasons and advantages for using LTE TDD / TD-LTE, there are market drivers as well. With TDSCDMA now well established in China, there needs to be a 3.9G and later a 4G successor to the technology. With unpaired
spectrum allocated for TD-SCDMA as well as UMTS TDD, it is natural to see many operators wanting an upgrade path for their
technologies to benefit from the vastly increased speeds and improved facilities of LTE. Accordingly there is a considerable
interest in the development of LTE TDD, which is also known in China as TD-LTE.
With the considerable interest from the supporters of TD-SCDMA, a number of features to make the mode of operation of TDLTE more of an upgrade path for TD-SCDMA have been incorporated. One example of this is the subframe structure that has
been adopted within LTE TDD / TD-LTE.
While both LTE TDD (TD-LTE) and LTE FDD will be widely used, it is anticipated that LTE FDD will be the more widespread,
although LTE TDD has a number of significant advantages, especially in terms of higher spectrum efficiency that can be used by
many operators. It is also anticipated that phones will be able to operate using either the LTE FDD or LTE-TDD (TD-LTE)
modes. In this way the LTE UEs or user equipments will be dual standard phones, and able to operate in countries regardless of
the flavour of LTE that is used - the main problem will then be the frequency bands that the phone can cover.

In order that the 3G LTE system can maintain synchronisation and the system is able to manage the different types of information
that need to be carried between the base-station or eNodeB and the User Equipment, UE, 3G LTE system has a defined LTE
frame and subframe structure for the E-UTRA or Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access, i.e. the air interface for 3G LTE.
The frame structures for LTE differ between the Time Division Duplex, TDD and the Frequency Division Duplex, FDD modes as
there are different requirements on segregating the transmitted data.
There are two types of LTE frame structure:

Type 1: used for the LTE FDD mode systems.
Type 2: used for the LTE TDD systems.

Type 1 LTE Frame Structure
The basic type 1 LTE frame has an overall length of 10 ms. This is then divided into a total of 20 individual slots. LTE Subframes
then consist of two slots - in other words there are ten LTE subframes within a frame.

Type 1 LTE Frame Structure
Type 2 LTE Frame Structure
The frame structure for the type 2 frames used on LTE TDD is somewhat different. The 10 ms frame comprises two half frames,
each 5 ms long. The LTE half-frames are further split into five subframes, each 1ms long.

Type 2 LTE Frame Structure
(shown for 5ms switch point periodicity).

The subframes may be divided into standard subframes of special subframes. The special subframes consist of three fields;

DwPTS - Downlink Pilot Time Slot
GP - Guard Period
UpPTS - Uplink Pilot Time Stot.

These three fields are also used within TD-SCDMA and they have been carried over into LTE TDD (TD-LTE) and thereby help
the upgrade path. The fields are individually configurable in terms of length, although the total length of all three together must be

LTE TDD / TD-LTE subframe allocations
One of the advantages of using LTE TDD is that it is possible to dynamically change the up and downlink balance and
characteristics to meet the load conditions. In order that this can be achieved in an ordered fashion, a number of standard
configurations have been set within the LTE standards.
A total of seven up / downlink configurations have been set, and these use either 5 ms or 10 ms switch periodicities. In the case of
the 5ms switch point periodicity, a special subframe exists in both half frames. In the case of the 10 ms periodicity, the special
subframe exists in the first half frame only. It can be seen from the table below that the subframes 0 and 5 as well as DwPTS are
always reserved for the downlink. It can also be seen that UpPTS and the subframe immediately following the special subframe
are always reserved for the uplink transmission.

Downlink to uplink
switch periodicity


5 ms
5 ms
5 ms
10 ms
10 ms
10 ms
5 ms

Subframe number










D is a subframe for downlink transmission
S is a "special" subframe used for a guard time
U is a subframe for uplink transmission
Uplink / Downlink subframe configurations for LTE TDD (TD-LTE)

In order that data can be transported across the LTE radio interface, various "channels" are used. These are used to segregate the
different types of data and allow them to be transported across the radio access network in an orderly fashion.
Effectively the different channels provide interfaces to the higher layers within the LTE protocol structure and enable an orderly
and defined segregation of the data.
3G LTE channel types
There are three categories into which the various data channels may be grouped.

Physical channels: These are transmission channels that carry user data and control messages.
Transport channels: The physical layer transport channels offer information transfer to Medium Access Control
(MAC) and higher layers.
Logical channels: Provide services for the Medium Access Control (MAC) layer within the LTE protocol structure.

3G LTE physical channels
The LTE physical channels vary between the uplink and the downlink as each has different requirements and operates in a
different manner.

o Physical Broadcast Channel (PBCH): This physical channel carries system information for UEs requiring to
access the network.
o Physical Control Format Indicator Channel (PCFICH) :
o Physical Downlink Control Channel (PDCCH) : The main purpose of this physical channel is to carry mainly
scheduling information.
o Physical Hybrid ARQ Indicator Channel (PHICH) : As the name implies, this channel is used to report the
Hybrid ARQ status.
o Physical Downlink Shared Channel (PDSCH) : This channel is used for unicast and paging functions.
o Physical Multicast Channel (PMCH) : This physical channel carries system information for multicast purposes.
o Physical Control Format Indicator Channel (PCFICH) : This provides information to enable the UEs to decode
the PDSCH.
o Physical Uplink Control Channel (PUCCH) : Sends Hybrid ARQ acknowledgement
o Physical Uplink Shared Channel (PUSCH) : This physical channel found on the LTE uplink is the Uplink
counterpart of PDSCH
o Physical Random Access Channel (PRACH) : This uplink physical channel is used for random access

LTE transport channels
The LTE transport channels vary between the uplink and the downlink as each has different requirements and operates in a
different manner. Physical layer transport channels offer information transfer to medium access control (MAC) and higher layers.

o Broadcast Channel (BCH) : The LTE transport channel maps to Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH)
o Downlink Shared Channel (DL-SCH) : This transport channel is the main channel for downlink data transfer. It
is used by many logical channels.
o Paging Channel (PCH) : To convey the PCCH
o Multicast Channel (MCH) : This transport channel is used to transmit MCCH information to set up multicast

o Uplink Shared Channel (UL-SCH) : This transport channel is the main channel for uplink data transfer. It is
used by many logical channels.
o Random Access Channel (RACH) : This is used for random access requirements.

LTE logical channels

Control channels:
o Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH) : This control channel provides system information to all mobile terminals
connected to the eNodeB.
o Paging Control Channel (PCCH) : This control channel is used for paging information when searching a unit
on a network.
o Common Control Channel (CCCH) : This channel is used for random access information, e.g. for actions
including setting up a connection.
o Multicast Control Channel (MCCH) : This control channel is used for Information needed for multicast
o Dedicated Control Channel (DCCH) : This control channel is used for carrying user-specific control
information, e.g. for controlling actions including power control, handover, etc..

Traffic channels:
o Dedicated Traffic Channel (DTCH) : This traffic channel is used for the transmission of user data.
o Multicast Traffic Channel (MTCH) : This channel is used for the transmission of multicast data.

There is a growing number of LTE frequency bands that are being designated as possibilities for use with LTE. Many of the LTE
frequency bands are already in use for other cellular systems, whereas other LTE bands are new and being introduced as other
users are re-allocated spectrum elsewhere.

FDD and TDD LTE frequency bands
FDD spectrum requires pair bands, one of the uplink and one for the downlink, and TDD requires a single band as uplink and
downlink are on the same frequency but time separated. As a result, there are different LTE band allocations for TDD and FDD.
In some cases these bands may overlap, and it is therefore feasible, although unlikely that both TDD and FDD transmissions could
be present on a particular LTE frequency band.
The greater likelihood is that a single UE or mobile will need to detect whether a TDD or FDD transmission should be made on a
given band. UEs that roam may encounter both types on the same band. They will therefore need to detect what type of
transmission is being made on that particular LTE band in its current location.
The different LTE frequency allocations or LTE frequency bands are allocated numbers. Currently the LTE bands between 1 & 22
are for paired spectrum, i.e. FDD, and LTE bands between 33 & 41 are for unpaired spectrum, i.e. TDD.

LTE frequency band definitions

FDD LTE frequency band allocations
There is a large number of allocations or radio spectrum that has been reserved for FDD, frequency division duplex, LTE use.
The FDDLTE frequency bands are paired to allow simultaneous transmission on two frequencies. The bands also have a sufficient
separation to enable the transmitted signals not to unduly impair the receiver performance. If the signals are too close then the
receiver may be "blocked" and the sensitivity impaired. The separation must be sufficient to enable the roll-off of the antenna
filtering to give sufficient attenuation of the transmitted signal within the receive band.


1920 - 1980
1850 - 1910
1710 - 1785
1710 - 1755
824 - 849
830 - 840
2500 - 2570
880 - 915
1749.9 - 1784.9
1710 - 1770
1427.9 - 1452.9
698 - 716
777 - 787
788 - 798
1900 - 1920
2010 - 2025
704 - 716

2110 - 2170
1930 - 1990
1805 -1880
2110 - 2155
869 - 894
875 - 885
2620 - 2690
925 - 960
1844.9 - 1879.9
2110 - 2170
1475.9 - 1500.9
728 - 746
746 - 756
758 - 768
2600 - 2620
2585 - 2600
734 - 746

of Band




815 - 830
830 - 845
832 - 862
1447.9 - 1462.9
3410 - 3500
2000 - 2020
1625.5 - 1660.5
1850 - 1915

860 - 875
875 - 890
791 - 821
1495.5 - 1510.9
3510 - 3600
2180 - 2200
1525 - 1559
1930 - 1995




TDD LTE frequency band allocations
With the interest in TDD LTE, there are several unpaired frequency allocations that are being prepared for LTR TDD use. The
TDD LTE allocations are unpaired because the uplink and downlink share the same frequency, being time multiplexed.

LTE Band

Allocation (MHz)
1900 - 1920
2010 - 2025
1850 - 1910
1930 - 1990
1910 - 1930
2570 - 2620
1880 - 1920
2300 - 2400
2496 - 2690
3400 - 3600
3600 - 3800

Width of Band (MHz)

There are regular additions to the LTE frequency bands / LTE spectrum allocations as a result of negotiations at the ITU
regulatory meetings. These LTE allocations are resulting in part from the digital dividend, and also from the pressure caused by
the ever growing need for mobile communications. Many of the new LTE spectrum allocations are relatively small, often 10 20MHz in bandwidth, and this is a cause for concern. With LTE-Advanced needing bandwidths of 100 MHz, channel aggregation
over a wide set of frequencies many be needed, and this has been recognised as a significant technological problem. . . . . . . . .

In the same way that a variety of other systems adopted different categories for the handsets or user equipments, so too there are
3G LTE UE categories. These LTE categories define the standards to which a particular handset, dongle or other equipment will

LTE UE category rationale
The LTE UE categories or UE classes are needed to ensure that the base station, or eNodeB, eNB can communicate correctly with
the user equipment. By relaying the LTE UE category information to the base station, it is able to determine the performance of
the UE and communicate with it accordingly.
As the LTE category defines the overall performance and the capabilities of the UE, it is possible for the eNB to communicate
using capabilities that it knows the UE possesses. Accordingly the eNB will not communicate beyond the performance of the UE.

LTE UE category definitions
there are five different LTE UE categories that are defined. As can be seen in the table below, the different LTE UE categories
have a wide range in the supported parameters and performance. LTE category 1, for example does not support MIMO, but LTE
UE category five supports 4x4 MIMO.
It is also worth noting that UE class 1 does not offer the performance offered by that of the highest performance HSPA category.
Additionally all LTE UE categories are capable of receiving transmissions from up to four antenna ports.
A summary of the different LTE UE category parameters provided by the 3GPP Rel 8 standard is given in the tables below.




2 Rx diversity
2 x 2 MIMO
4 x 4 MIMO



LTE UE category data rates



LTE UE category modulation formats supported

Assumed in performance requirements across all LTE UE categories
Not supported
LTE UE category MIMO antenna configurations

Note: Bandwidth for all categories is 20 MHz.

LTE UE category summary
In the same way that category information is used for virtually all cellular systems from GPRS onwards, so the LTE UE category
information is of great importance. While users may not be particularly aware of the category of their UE, it will match the
performance an allow the eNB to communicate effectively with all the UEs that are connected to it.

Along with 3G LTE - Long Term Evolution that applies more to the radio access technology of the cellular telecommunications
system, there is also an evolution of the core network. Known as SAE - System Architecture Evolution. This new architecture has
been developed to provide a considerably higher level of performance that is in line with the requirements of LTE.
As a result it is anticipated that operators will commence introducing hardware conforming to the new System Architecture
Evolution standards so that the anticipated data levels can be handled when 3G LTE is introduced.
The new SAE, System Architecture Evolution has also been developed so that it is fully compatible with LTE Advanced, the new
4G technology. Therefore when LTE Advanced is introduced, the network will be able to handle the further data increases with
little change.
Reason for SAE System Architecture Evolution
The SAE System Architecture Evolution offers many advantages over previous topologies and systems used for cellular core
networks. As a result it is anticipated that it will be wide adopted by the cellular operators.
SAE System Architecture Evolution will offer a number of key advantages:




Improved data capacity: With 3G LTE offering data download rates of 100 Mbps, and the focus of the system being on
mobile broadband, it will be necessary for the network to be able to handle much greater levels of data. To achieve this it
is necessary to adopt a system architecture that lends itself to much grater levels of data transfer.
All IP architecture: When 3G was first developed, voice was still carried as circuit switched data. Since then there has
been a relentless move to IP data. Accordingly the new SAE, System Architecture Evolution schemes have adopted an all
IP network configuration.
Reduced latency: With increased levels of interaction being required and much faster responses, the new SAE concepts
have been evolved to ensure that the levels of latency have been reduced to around 10 ms. This will ensure that
applications using 3G LTE will be sufficiently responsive.
Reduced OPEX and CAPEX: A key element for any operator is to reduce costs. It is therefore essential that any new
design reduces both the capital expenditure (CAPEX)and the operational expenditure (OPEX). The new flat architecture
used for SAE System Architecture Evolution means that only two node types are used. In addition to this a high level of
automatic configuration is introduced and this reduces the set-up and commissioning time.

SAE System Architecture Evolution basics
The new SAE network is based upon the GSM / WCDMA core networks to enable simplified operations and easy deployment.
Despite this, the SAE network brings in some major changes, and allows far more efficient and effect transfer of data.
There are several common principles used in the development of the LTE SAE network:

a common gateway node and anchor point for all technologies.
an optimised architecture for the user plane with only two node types.
an all IP based system with IP based protocols used on all interfaces.
a split in the control / user plane between the MME, mobility management entity and the gateway.
a radio access network / core network functional split similar to that used on WCDMA / HSPA.
integration of non-3GPP access technologies (e.g. cdma2000, WiMAX, etc) using client as well as network based

The main element of the LTE SAE network is what is termed the Evolved Packet Core or EPC. This connects to the eNodeBs as
shown in the diagram below.

LTE SAE Evolved Packet Core

As seen within the diagram, the LTE SAE Evolved Packet Core, EPC consists of four main elements as listed below:

Mobility Management Entity, MME: The MME is the main control node for the LTE SAE access network, handling a
number of features:
o Idle mode UE tracking
o Bearer activation / de-activation
o Choice of SGW for a UE
o Intra-LTE handover involving core network node location
o Interacting with HSS to authenticate user on attachment and implements roaming restrictions
o It acts as a termination for the Non-Access Stratum (NAS)
o Provides temporary identities for UEs
o The SAE MME acts the termination point for ciphering protection for NAS signaling. As part of this it also
handles the security key management. Accordingly the MME is the point at which lawful interception of
signalling may be made.
o Paging procedure
o The S3 interface terminates in the MME thereby providing the control plane function for mobility between LTE
and 2G/3G access networks.
o The SAE MME also terminates the S6a interface for the home HSS for roaming UEs.
It can therefore be seen that the SAE MME provides a considerable level of overall control functionality.

Serving Gateway, SGW: The Serving Gateway, SGW, is a data plane element within the LTE SAE. Its main purpose is
to manage the user plane mobility and it also acts as the main border between the Radio Access Network, RAN and the
core network. The SGW also maintains the data paths between the eNodeBs and the PDN Gateways. In this way the
SGW forms a interface for the data packet network at the E-UTRAN.
Also when UEs move across areas served by different eNodeBs, the SGW serves as a mobility anchor ensuring that the
data path is maintained.
PDN Gateway, PGW: The LTE SAE PDN gateway provides connectivity for the UE to external packet data networks,
fulfilling the function of entry and exit point for UE data. The UE may have connectivity with more than one PGW for
accessing multiple PDNs.
Policy and Charging Rules Function, PCRF: This is the generic name for the entity within the LTE SAE EPC which
detects the service flow, enforces charging policy. For applications that require dynamic policy or charging control, a
network element entitled the Applications Function, AF is used.

LTE SAE PCRF Interfaces

LTE SAE Distributed intelligence
In order that requirements for increased data capacity and reduced latency can be met, along with the move to an all-IP network, it
is necessary to adopt a new approach to the network structure.
For 3G UMTS / WCDMA the UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network, comprising the Node B's or basestations and
Radio Network Controllers) employed low levels of autonomy. The Node Bs were connected in a star formation to the Radio
Network Controllers (RNCs) which carried out the majority of the management of the radio resource. In turn the RNCs connected
to the core network and connect in turn to the Core Network.
To provide the required functionality within LTE SAE, the basic system architecture sees the removal of a layer of management.
The RNC is removed and the radio resource management is devolved to the base-stations. The new style base-stations are called
eNodeBs or eNBs.
The eNBs are connected directly to the core network gateway via a newly defined "S1 interface". In addition to this the new eNBs
also connect to adjacent eNBs in a mesh via an "X2 interface". This provides a much greater level of direct interconnectivity. It
also enables many calls to be routed very directly as a large number of calls and connections are to other mobiles in the same or
adjacent cells. The new structure allows many calls to be routed far more directly and with only minimum interaction with the
core network.
In addition to the new Layer 1 and Layer 2 functionality, eNBs handle several other functions. This includes the radio resource
control including admission control, load balancing and radio mobility control including handover decisions for the mobile or user
equipment (UE).
The additional levels of flexibility and functionality given to the new eNBs mean that they are more complex than the UMTS and
previous generations of base-station. However the new 3G LTE SAE network structure enables far higher levels of performance.
In addition to this their flexibility enables them to be updated to handle new upgrades to the system including the transition from
�G LTE to 4G LTE Advanced.
The new System Architecture Evolution, SAE for LTE provides a new approach for the core network, enabling far higher levels
of data to be transported to enable it to support the much higher data rates that will be possible with LTE. In addition to this, other
features that enable the CAPEX and OPEX to be reduced when compared to existing systems, thereby enabling higher levels of
efficiency to be achieved.

The Voice over LTE, VoLTE scheme was devised as a result of operators seeking a standardised system for transferring voice
traffic over LTE. Originally LTE was seen as a completely IP cellular system just for carrying data, and operators would be able
to carry voice either by reverting to 2G / 3G systems or by using VoIP.
Operators, however saw the fact that a voice format was not defined as a major omission for the system. It was seen that the lack
of standardisation may provide problems with scenarios including roaming. In addition to this, SMS is a key requirement. It is not
often realised, that SMS is used to set-up many mobile broadband connections, and a lack of SMS is seen as a show-stopper by
As mobile operators receive over 80% of their revenues from voice and SMS traffic, it is necessary to have a viable and
standardized scheme to provide these services and protect this revenue.

Options for Voice over LTE
When looking at the options for ways of carrying voice over LTE, a number of possible solutions were investigated. A number of
alliances were set up to promote different ways of providing the service. A number of systems were prosed as outlined below:

CSFB, Circuit Switched Fall Back: The circuit switched fallback, CSFB option for providing voice over LTE has been
standardised under 3GPP specification 23.272. Essentially LTE CSFB uses a variety of processes and network elements
to enable the circuit to fall back to the 2G or 3G connection (GSM, UMTS, CDMA2000 1x) before a circuit switched
call is initiated.
The specification also allows for SMS to be carried as this is essential for very many set-up procedures for cellular
telecommunications. To achieve this the handset uses an interface known as SGs which allows messages to be sent over
an LTE channel.

In addition to this CSFB requires modification to elements within the network, in particular the MSCs as well as support,
obviously on new devices. MSC modifications are also required for the SMS over SGs facilities. For CSFB, this is
required from the initial launch of CSFB in view of the criticality of SMS for many procedures.
SV-LTE - simultaneous voice LTE: SV-LTE allows to run packet switched LTE services simultaneously with a circuit
switched voice service. SV-LTE facility provides the facilities of CSFB at the same time as running a packet switched
data service. This is an option that many operators will opt for. However it has the disadvantage that it requires two
radios to run at the same time within the handset. This has a serious impact on battery life.
VoLGA, Voice over LTE via GAN: The VoLGA standard was based on the existing 3GPP Generic Access Network
(GAN) standard, and the aim was to enable LTE users to receive a consistent set of voice, SMS (and other circuitswitched) services as they transition between GSM, UMTS and LTE access networks.
For mobile operators, the aim of VoLGA was to provide a low-cost and low-risk approach for bringing their primary
revenue generating services (voice and SMS) onto the new LTE network deployments.
One Voice / later called Voice over LTE, VoLTE: The Voice over LTE, VoLTE schem for providing voice over an
LTE system utilises IMS enabling it to become part of a rich media solution.

Issues for Voice services over LTE
Unlike previous cellular telecommunications standards including GSM, LTE does not have dedicated channels for circuit
switched telephony. Instead LTE is an all-IP system providing an end-to-end IP connection from the mobile equipment to the core
network and out again.
In order to provide some form of voice connection over a standard LTE bearer, some form of Voice over IP, VoIP must be used.
The aim for any voice service is to utilise the low latency and QoS features available within LTE to ensure that any voice service
offers an improvement over the standards available on the 2G and 3G networks.
However to achieve a full VoIP offering on LTE poses some significant problems which will take time to resolve. With the first
deployments having taken place in 2010, it is necessary that a solution for voice is available within a short timescale.

Voice over LTE, VoLTE basics
The One Voice profile for Voice over LTE was developed by a collaboration between over forty operators including: AT&T,
Verizon Wireless, Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent.
At the 2010 GSMA Mobile World Congress, GSMA announced that they were supporting the One Voice solution to provide
Voice over LTE.
VoLTE, Voice over LTE is an IMS-based specification. Adopting this approach, it enables the system to be integrated with the
suite of applications that will become available on LTE.

Note on IMS:
The IP Multimedia Subsystem or IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem, IMS is an architectural framework for delivering
Internet Protocol, IP multimedia services. It enables a variety of services to be run seemlessly rather than having several disparate
applications operating concurrently.

To provide the VoLTE service, three interfaces are being defined:

User Network interface, UNI: This interface is located between the user's equipment and the operators network.
Roaming Network Network Interface, R-NNI: The R-NNI is an interface located between the Home and Visited
Network. This is used for a user that is not attached to their Home network, i.e. roaming.
Interconnect Network Network Interface, I-NNI: The I-NNI is the interface located between the networks of the two
parties making a call.

Work on the definition of VoLTE, Voice over LTE is ongoing. It will include a variety of elements including some of the

It will be necessary to ensure the continuity of Voice calls when a user moves from an LTE coverage area to another
where a fallback to another technology is required. This form of handover will be achieved using Single Radio Voice
Call Continuity, or SR-VCC).
It will be important to provide the optimal routing of bearers for voice calls when customers are roaming.
Another area of importance will be to establish commercial frameworks for roaming and interconnect for services
implemented using VoLTE definitions. This will enable roaming agreements to be set up.
Provision of capabilities associated with the model of roaming hubbing.
For any services, including LTE, it is necessary to undertake a thorough security and fraud threat audit to prevent
hacking and un-authorised entry into any area within the network..

In many ways the implementation of VoLTE at a high level is straightforward. The handset or phone needs to have software
loaded to provide the VoLTE functionality. This can be in the form of an App.
The network then requires to be IMS compatible.
While this may appear straightforward, there are many issues for this to be made operational, especially via the vagaries of the
radio access network where time delays and propagation anomalies add considerably to the complexity.

LTE security is an issue that is of paramount importance. It is necessary to ensure that LTE security measures provide the level of
security required without impacting the user as this could drive users away.
Nevertheless with the level of sophistication of security attacks growing, it is necessary to ensure that LTE security allows users to
operate freely and without fear of attack from hackers. Additionally the network must also be organised in such a way that it is
secure against a variety of attacks.

LTE security basics
When developing the LTE security elements there were several main requirements that were borne in mind:

LTE security had to provide at least the same level of security that was provided by 3G services.
The LTE security measures should not affect user convenience.
The LTE security measures taken should provide defence from attacks from the Internet.
The security functions provided by LTE should not affect the transition from existing 3G services to LTE.
The USIM currently used for 3G services should still be used.

To ensure these requirements for LTE security are met, it has been necessary to add further measures into all areas of the system
from the UE through to the core network.
The main changes that have been required to implement the required level of LTE security are summarised below:

A new hierarchical key system has been introduced in which keys can be changed for different purposes.
The LTE security functions for the Non-Access Stratum, NAS, and Access Stratum, AS have been separated. The NAS
functions are those functions for which the processing is accomplished between the core network and the mobile terminal
or UE. The AS functions encompass the communications between the network edge, i.e. the Evolved Node B, eNB and
the UE.
The concept of forward security has been introduced for LTE security.
LTE security functions have been introduced between the existing 3G network and the LTE network.

One of the key elements within the security of GSM, UMTS and now LTE was the concept of the subscriber identity module,
SIM. This card carried the identity of the subscriber in an encrypted fashion and this could allow the subscriber to keep their
identity while transferring or upgrading phones.
With the transition form 2G - GSM to 3G - UMTS, the idea of the SIM was upgraded and a USIM - UMTS Subscriber Identity
Module, was used. This gave more functionality, had a larger memory, etc.
For LTE, only the USIM may be used - the older SIM cards are not compatible and may not be used.