Radio Datasheet 0207 GPRS Radio Network Dimensioning
This datasheet is compiled and owned by Radio Engineering. Date of last update : 24 December 2008.

SUMMARY: This Datasheet outlines the requirements for dimensioning the radio network to
the required capacity for GPRS. The design criteria are described, along with
minimum configurations for cells and explanations on correct dimensioning for
particular requirements of GPRS throughput. This should be read in
conjunction with Datasheet 0033 [2] which gives the dimensioning rules for the
GSM network and also Datasheet 0254 [6] on Dual Rate Guidelines.

Target Audience Network Performance Managers, Radio Planners, Capacity Planners, Optimisers

General Policy GPRS is designed to utilise a combination of spare (latent), and dedicated timeslot
capacity in order to provide packet data services.

There are three types of timeslot reservation for GPRS: dedicated resource, default
resource and additional resource.

 Dedicated resources are timeslots that are permanently reserved for GPRS traffic
and will not carry voice calls.

 Default resources are timeslots that are initially configured as GPRS but are
converted to voice timeslots when there is demand for them. Voice calls always
have priority over GPRS default timeslots.

 Additional resources can be configured as GPRS capable, but are not dedicated or
default. These voice timeslots are only configured for GPRS when required due to
the level of instantaneous GPRS load and when the CS load allows.

GPRS dimensioning requires special attention, particularly on large capacity cells, because
the relative amount of GPRS capacity on a cell is inversely proportional to its total
capacity. This is because the percentage of latent capacity decreases with increasing
number of TS on a cell, as demonstrated in Figure 1.
As an example, a cell with 2 TRX and 14 TS available for traffic. The blue line in the
chart represents how much traffic can be carried on a cell when assuming 1% GoS. 14
channels can carry 7.4 Erlangs of traffic, leaving 6.6 channels of spare capacity (purple
line) which is 47.5% (yellow line) of the total capacity. However, if we take a cell with 5
carriers and 37 channels then the spare capacity is only at the level of 28.7% of the total
capacity. It means that the data capacity becomes more constrained if having a
proportional traffic increase in both – CS and PS domains.

Issue 5.1 24 December 2008 In Confidence Page 1 of 7

Capacity Cells Capacity cells are cells that do not provide primary access capability.1 24 December 2008 In Confidence Page 2 of 7 . GSM1800 & EGSM Macros associated with a co-aligned coverage Macro. such as large in-building coverage cells. i. Under exceptional conditions.e. Coverage Cells Dedicated GPRS capacity must be provided on cells that provide primary coverage. it is recommended to discuss detailed GPRS requirements with Radio Engineering for specific parameter guidance. or Microcells that have no or little dominant coverage Dedicated Resource Issue 5.O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0207 GPRS Radio Network Dimensioning Figure 1. A cell is classified as Primary coverage (or access layer) if it provides best server coverage to target coverage areas. 2 timeslots otherwise. Channel utilisation based on Erlang B table 1% GoS. such as large in-building coverage cells. this may be increased to 3. For large special events. Under exceptional conditions. this may be increased to 3. but the following are the minimum configurations: Dedicated Resource  Access Layer Microcells and Picocells : Default configuration is 1 timeslot on 1 carrier cells. For large special events. Default Resource  6 timeslots on all cells Additional Resource  All timeslots should be configured as GPRS capable. it is recommended to discuss detailed GPRS requirements with Radio Engineering for specific parameter guidance. The number of timeslots required is dependent on the forecasted or carried GPRS traffic.  Access Layer Macrocells : 1 dedicated timeslot per sector by default.

The key components of the above target are as follows: – Cell DL Throughput in Radio Blocks per hour (traffic measure) This reflects the PS traffic (or volume of data sent) over a cell. Therefore. because a GPRS user establishes a TBF only when transferring data. resulting in a limitation of user throughput. there are either  More than 2.2 DL TBFs/Timeslot and more than 71000 active radio blocks in any one hour. for more than 14 hours per week then this cell is defined as suffering GPRS congestion. In general the value 2 means that GPRS users are on average being assigned about 50% of the bandwidth they have requested. Radio Resource Performance Target The general GPRS/EDGE radio capacity performance target has been determined (based on the results of trials [1] [5] ) as follows: If. a fast response GPRS congestion hot spot criteria of more than 200 UL blocks the CS busy hour for more than 2 days is applied to identify cells suffering sudden sever GPRS traffic loads. GPRS hot spot reports are generated by the regional performance monitoring teams on a weekly basis and these can be used as the trigger for this process. Please refer to [3] for a detailed process description. as shown below. the actual number of transferred data blocks is used as the traffic volume threshold. Microcells and Macrocells : 2 timeslots Additional Resource  All timeslots should be configured as GPRS capable.O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0207 GPRS Radio Network Dimensioning No dedicated GPRS resource is to be defined on capacity cells for GPRS as the majority of traffic will be carried on the coverage cells. for more than 14 hours per week Or  Less than 4 GPRS Available Timeslots and more than 36000 active radio blocks in any one hour. However Default and Additional capacity is required. More TBFs in a TS means more users sharing the same resources. on any particular cell. Default Resource  Capacity Picocells. – Combined GPRS and EDGE TBF/Timeslot (quality measure) This is the average number of Temporary Block Flows per timeslot considering both EDGE and GPRS counters. This measure reflects the customer perception of the service very accurately. and cannot be used as an indication of performance by itself:  GPRS Available TS = Default GPRS territory (ideal situation): Issue 5. The interpretation of this counter might be different depending on the situation. In addition. If these thresholds are exceeded over sufficient consecutive weeks (as defined in the hotspot process [3]) then the Area Capacity Planner/Optimiser/Area Quality Manager needs to start an investigation. – GPRS Available Timeslots (capacity measure) This measure reflects the current GPRS capacity on a cell.1 24 December 2008 In Confidence Page 3 of 7 . a simple kbits/s or Mbytes/hour value no longer reflects a constant level of usage of the cell due to the high differential between the maximum and minimum EDGE and GPRS data rates. Following the deployment of EDGE. The thresholds selected relate to the number of radio data blocks required to transfer 2Mbytes/hour or 1 Mbyte per hour respectively using coding scheme 2.

or as a slave timeslot supporting EDAP resource on the Abis interface. but GPRS traffic is small enough.5) o Whenever a number of GPRS available TS is less than 4 then all devices with 4 TS capability get less resources than required. The number of defined “Dedicated” or “Default” radio timeslot on each cell parented to a PCU. then the performance of the cell is compromised. but CS traffic prevents the usage of additional GPRS territory (TBF/TS >= 1. then careful consideration must be given to the cost benefit of a transmission upgrade to supply additional EDAP PCM timeslots. An EDAP pool is a group of timeslots reserved on the PCM frame. EDAP congestion occurs and some radio timeslots are downgraded in their coding scheme to fit within the available EDAP transmission bandwidth.5). Each PCU has a maximum number of radio timeslots that it can support. the optimiser should investigate whether EDAP expansion is possible or cost effective. and each 16 kb/s of EDAP resource counts as a reserved timeslot within the PCU for capacity purposes. Ideally. and the limitations are shown in the table below. PCU Dimensioning Criteria PCU’s are dimensioned in terms of radio timeslots. When EDAP congestion consistently occurs. If Abis transmission is not available.5) o GPRS traffic in a cell is large.O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0207 GPRS Radio Network Dimensioning o GPRS traffic in a cell is small enough to fit into the default territory and the CS traffic is dimensioned correctly. If this EDAP congestion occurs regularly. The CS traffic in this case is small enough to give out its territory for GPRS. so that limited resources does not necessarily limit the GPRS throughput and thus GPRS is still working satisfactory (TBF/TS <1. If transmission is available but PCU capacity would become limited following EDAP expansion. Issue 5. The EDAP congestion point is defined as 5% “EDAP congestion due to small pool” and this threshold must be exceeded for at least 10 hours a week to constitute the cell being classified as suffering EDAP congestion. If sufficient space for EDAP expansion exists with the existing transmission. In this situation. then DAP expansion should be performed. then if PCU balancing would alleviate this. the value of TBF/TS must be used to determine if performance is being degraded.1 24 December 2008 In Confidence Page 4 of 7 . so that it does not require additional resources from the GPRS territory (TBF/TS < 1. The exact distribution of master and slave timeslots depends on the actual PCU version. If there is insufficient bandwidth within the EDAP pool to support the requested bandwidth on the air interface. PCU balancing followed by EDAP expansion should be performed. Each timeslot can be used as either a “master” radio timeslot supporting an actual air interface timeslot. a cell experiences high GPRS traffic and triggers GPRS territory upgrade (the territory upgrade is triggered when TBF/TS in a cell exceeds 1. Decreased number of available TS also constrains a cell throughput. irrespectively of the TBF/TS value. EDAP Dimensioning Criteria EDAP’s are the entity created on the Abis interface to provide the additional transmission bandwidth required to support the high data rates of EDGE. If PCU balancing would not resolve the PCU capacity issue then FNE teams need to be engaged to supply additional PCU capacity. and PCU capacity on the parent PCU is not close to dimensioning limits. the first course of action would be to remove a TRx from one of the sectors on the same E1 frame as the congested EDAP (replacing with Dual Rate) where possible to free up PCM timeslots for EDAP use.5)  GPRS Available TS < Default GPRS territory (non ideal): o There is high CS traffic which requests additional resources from the GPRS. It becomes an performance impacting condition when a cell throughput is high (>1Mbytes is throughput busy hour)  GPRS Available TS > Default GPRS territory (non ideal): o In this case.

PCU re-balancing or installing additional PCU’s if possible. PCU balancing is the preferred approach to solving PCU load problems. if justified instigate the installation of additional PCU’s or BSC splits/reparenting as appropriate. this applies to master timeslots. If not. PCU Capacity Relief Procedure PCU Capacity dimensioning is primarily the responsibility of the BSC planners. it may also be necessary to enable Dual Rate on co-aligned capacity layer cells of the congested access layer cell in order to achieve the required GPRS timeslot availability. this can only be considered where the capacity layer cell is already achieving near 100% utilisation in order to ensure that sufficient traffic would be off-loaded from the access cell. for more than 20 hours per week Issue 5.2 DL TBFs/Timeslot and more than 71000 active radio blocks in any one hour. . However. A load balancing procedure exists within the FNE/OMC teams to perform PCU balancing when performance issues are identified. If enabling Dual rate removed the cell from the hot spot list. Additionally. If enabling Dual Rate does not remove the cell from the hot spot list or Dual Rate does not free up the required number of GPRS timeslots. There are two options for alleviating PCU loads. In all cases. then it is likely that deploying Dual Rate on the capacity layer will only result in additional half rate usage with no real traffic off-load from the access layer cell. This approach is not generally preferred due to the high volume of half rate traffic that would be triggered due to the high utilisation of capacity layer cells. then the FNE teams will. 900 MHz capacity layer cells should be targeted for Dual rate before 1800 MHz cells due to the higher utilisation generally achieved on these cells. the first approach in the alleviating GPRS hotspots is to enable Dual Rate on the cell experiencing high GPRS usage. for more than 20 hours per week Or  Less than 4 GPRS Available Timeslots and more than 36000 active radio blocks in any one hour. then no additional action is required. . If all PCU’s are equally balanced and re-balancing is not possible. If the number of reserved timeslots or total EDAP sizes on each PCU within the BSC is significantly imbalanced. then this should be flagged to the FNE team for action. then hardware upgrades should be considered providing that the cell must achieve more stringent hotspot thresholds to warrant the additional costs of the hardware upgrades. In general. Dual rate needs to be enabled using GPRS specific threshold values to free sufficient voice timeslots to relieve the GPRS congestion. If neither of these options is viable. then this should be re-balanced by redistributing cells between the PCU’s. For PCU and PCU-S.1 24 December 2008 In Confidence Page 5 of 7 . 256 PCU-B (3i) . 256 Table 1 PCU capacity limits PCU’s should be dimensioned to less than 70% reserved timeslots. then cell reparenting or BSC splits may be necessary. For PCU-T and PCU-B this needs to apply to the total number of reserved timeslots (Radio and EDAP). If the capacity layer cell is not running at near 100% utilisation.O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0207 GPRS Radio Network Dimensioning PCU Type Maximum Maximum Maximum GPRS EDAP Total Timeslots Timeslots Timeslots PCU 128 128 - PCU-S 128 128 - PCU-T . if PCU congestion is observed through high values of the PCU counter “Territory Upgrade rejects due to PCU”. GPRS Cell Level Capacity Relief Procedure The GPRS dimensioning procedure is a reactive process and starts when a cell is found to be GPRS congested according to the criteria specified in performance targets. These thresholds are:  More than 2.

Dual Rate thresholds The purpose of enabling Dual Rate on a cell is to free voice timeslots so that they become available for GPRS usage. it will be required to free up. and the dual rate thresholds would need to be set to trigger half rate usage at very low utilisation levels. This gives the average number of GPRS timeslots required. converting a single carrier’s worth of voice to Dual Rate would only free 4 timeslots for GPRS. Extending this concept further. therefore just freeing up one or two timeslots is not going to provide any significant capacity relief for a cell suffering GPRS congestion. For example. GPRS mobiles tend to require 3 or 4 timeslots at a time. The timeslots resolution of this table is basically the standard 6 default timeslots plus integer steps of 4 Timeslot expansion. To achieve anywhere near this level of free timeslots would require two carriers being converted to Dual Rate. For example. then the Issue 5. then to return this cell to an ideal loading of 1 TBF/TS would require 10 voice timeslots to be freed up. then the 3G upgrade should be fully investigated to understand if that would provided a better data offload capability than upgrading 2G for GPRS. the Dual Rate thresholds can be identified based on the number of TRx’s configured within the cell. Even if a cell achieves these more stringent thresholds. In general. but no action should be taken for these cells until the hardware thresholds are achieved. and the cost of the 2G upgrade is approaching that of installing 3G. if a cell is configured with 4 TRx’s.1 24 December 2008 In Confidence Page 6 of 7 . TS TS HR 0 FR 0 HR TS TS HR FR 1 1 HR TS FR TS HR 2 2 HR TS TS HR FR 3 3 HR TS TS GPRS FR 4 4 TS TS FR 5 5 GPRS TS TS GPRS FR 6 6 TS TS GPRS FR 7 7 Figure 2. as shown in Figure 2 below.O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0207 GPRS Radio Network Dimensioning Hotspot cells that have the maximum level of Dual Rate applied but fail to achieve these hardware upgrade thresholds should be regularly monitored against these hardware upgrade thresholds. as a minimum. When the number of required timeslots is identified. and typical average GPRS available channels are 8 with a TBF/TS value of 2 during hours of indicated congestion. firstly the total number of required GPRS timeslots must be calculated by simply multiplying the average GPRS available channels by the average TBF/TS. if a cell is suffering GPRS congestion and has an average of 2 TBF/TS and on average has 10 GPRS timeslots available. This should then be rounded up to the next highest number of timeslots listed in table 2. or other factors warrant consideration for upgrade such as customer complaints. the cost of the required upgrade may still be prohibitive if expensive rack upgrades are required. a whole carrier’s worth of timeslots to provide significant GPRS capacity relief. If 3G is not present on a site requiring upgrade. In order to determine the required dual rate thresholds.

This would then be rounded up to a requirement of 18 and the correct DR thresholds would be FRL= 55% and [1] Radio Datasheet 0239 .Nokia GPRS Radio KPI’s Reference [2] Radio datasheet 0033 . then it is possible that the level of Dual rate usage is too great and should be reduced. See ref [6] for more information on Dual Rate thresholds. please contact the Radio Engineering helpdesk on 01753 565882 or e-mail radio.Radio Network Dimensioning Documents: [3] GPRS Hot Spot Process Document found in: \\brw2n1\CorpData\TechnologyOps&Programmes\StrategicPlanning\Bobs Folder [4] GPRS Dimensioning Trial Report \\aries\technology\Radio\RDS Reports\2005\UKRE_05_110 GPRS Dimensioning Trial . For any questions or issues.doc [6] Radio Datasheet 0254 .doc [5] GPRS Dimensioning HR Trial Report \\aries\technology\Radio\RDS Reports\2006\UKRE_06_023_GPRS Dimensioning HR Trial.1 24 December 2008 In Confidence Page 7 of 7 . Issue 5.doc END OF DOCUMENT The authors of this document are John Button &Patryk Debicki. Radio 1. Cells should be monitored to ensure that the total number of available channels does not significantly exceed the level of defined thus avoiding excessive use of unnecessary Dual Rate and the associated licence costs. In that case. and if that fails to alleviate the GPRS hotspot then a hardware carrier upgrade must be considered. If the sum of the peak used TCH channels and peak used GPRS channels is consistently below the number of defined channels by more than 8 channels.Nokia Dual Rate Guidelines \\aries\technology\Radio\Datasheets\DS0000\ds0254. Table 2 Dual Rate Threshold Values for GPRS congestion relief On-going Hot Spot Monitoring Following the application of capacity relief due to GPRS congestion as a cell level.O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0207 GPRS Radio Network Dimensioning required GPRS timeslots would be 16. It must be noted that the requirement for18 GPRS TS cannot be satisfied for a 3 TRx cell. it is important that the cell is monitored to ensure the continued use of GPRS congestion relief parameters is still appropriate. the highest defined dual rate thresholds should be used.