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UK

Radio Datasheet 0239 Nokia GPRS Radio KPIs


This datasheet is compiled and owned by Radio Engineering. Date of last update : 23 June 2004.

SUMMARY: This datasheet shows how to use the Nokia GPRS Radio Key
Performance Indicators (KPIs). Each KPI is defined, the target or
optimum range of values is shown, and the corrective action to be taken if
the values are outside the desired range. The datasheet provides the
recommended action for optimum performance of the GPRS radio
network and the ability to support video streaming.

Target Audience Regional Planners, Capacity Planners, Optimisers

Introduction There are 9 main key performance indicators presented in this document. For a full
explanation of these and the associated Metrica counter names, please refer to [1].
All of these statistics can be found in the Performance Engineering Groups Weekly
performance reports.

KPI 1 - Available Timeslots


There are three types of GPRS timeslots : dedicated, default and additional.
Dedicated timeslots are reserved exclusively for GPRS and cannot be used for
voice. Default timeslots are pre-switched for GPRS use but can be used for voice
when timeslots are required. Additional timeslots are pre-switched to voice but
converted to GPRS if the voice load is low enough and GPRS demand is high
enough. Note that for default and additional timeslots, voice traffic has priority
over GPRS if there is contention for timeslots.
Target : The most important measure for the performance of GPRS is how many
timeslots (a sum of dedicated, default and additional) are available for GPRS. The
target for this depends of the site configuration : for a 1 carrier site an average of at
least 4.5 timeslots must be maintained during the circuit switched busy hour, while
all other configurations of site must maintain an average of at least 5.4 timeslots.
Action to be taken : The optimum solution is to add an extra carrier to a cell to
increase the average number of timeslots available. The timeslots on this extra
carrier do not need to be dedicated to GPRS.

KPI 2 - TBFs Per Timeslot


GPRS differs from circuit switched operation by virtue of multiple users being able
to share timeslots. A timeslot can be simultaneously shared by up to nine users on
the downlink and seven on the uplink and so an important measure of both cell and
user performance is how much sharing is taking place. The more users that share
the same resource, the slower each users throughput will be. The Average TBFs per
Timeslot KPI measures the amount of resource sharing taking place; i.e. the
average number of users
It is important to note that this KPI is in the range 0-9 on the downlink and 0-7 on
the uplink. It is normal for values of this KPI to be less than 1. For example, if
there is a single user is on a cell using three timeslots to transfer data, then the cell
will report the KPI as 3/6=0.5 as there are 6 timeslots pre-switched to GPRS.
Target : The target for this KPI is less than or equal to 0.7 during the circuit
switched busy hour. Values greater than 1 imply significant sharing of resource and
a poor user throughput experience. This statistic can be found in the Performance
Engineering Groups Weekly Report titled GPRS Performance Summary
Action to be taken: The optimum solution is to add an extra carrier to a cell to
increase the average timeslots available.

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O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0239 Nokia GPRS Radio KPIs

KPI 3 - Cell Traffic


A measure of GPRS activity on a cell is the Cell Traffic intensity, averaged over a
one hour period, measured in kilobits per second. It must be borne in mind that the
GPRS traffic carried may be limited by the amount of voice traffic: a cell may
appear to carry low traffic volumes but this may be due to high voice traffic and
blocking.
There is no specific target for this KPI as it is highly sensitive on the traffic mix of
the site. This statistic can be found in the Performance Engineering Groups Weekly
Report titled GPRS Traffic and Blocks by Cell.

KPI 4 - Territory Utilisation


The Territory Utilisation KPI shows the occupancy of the GPRS timeslots by GPRS
traffic.
Target : Normal operation of a site will operate with a territory utilisation between
0% and 20%; greater than 50% occupancy indicates that the users will be
experiencing low throughput and requires action.
Action to be taken : An extra carrier is required in order to reduce the territory
utilisation. In circumstances where there is circuit switched blocking of more than
1%, dedication of timeslots to GPRS may help to alleviate customer performance
issues, but at the expense of increased voice blocking. This statistic can be found in
the Performance Engineering Groups Weekly Report titled GPRS Performance
Summary

KPI 5 - GPRS Blocking


The most fundamental requirement for a GPRS subscriber is to be able to access the
resource, either for uplink or downlink data transfer. If this is not possible then the
resultant effect is called blocking.
Blocking levels of less than 5% offer an acceptable quality of service to the users.
However blocking levels in excess of this indicate that the customer experience is
being degraded.

Target : A cell is typically likely to require attention when the level of blocking
exceeds 5% in either the uplink or the downlink. This statistic can be found in the
Performance Engineering Groups Weekly Report titled GPRS Traffic and Blocks
by Cell

Action to be taken : As it is not currently possible for the network to force the
handset to hand GPRS sessions from cell to cell, (in the same manner as handover
in Circuit Switched operation) the only solution to increasing GPRS availability is
to increase the GPRS timeslots on the blocking cell.
As such, packet switched blocking can be alleviated by two methods:

1. Addition of an extra carrier


This will increase the availability of the network and user throughput. The
extra carrier need not be dedicated to GPRS as voice traffic will not need to use
much of the additional timeslots essentially these timeslots are acting as
dedicated resource. The carrier will also allow alleviation of voice blocking.

2. Dedication of timeslots to GPRS on cells with high voice blocking


The addition of dedicated timeslots will reduce blocking on the GPRS network,
but at the expense of voice revenue and voice blocking. Cells with low voice
blocking will not benefit from dedication of GPRS timeslots option 1 is
recommended in this case.

KPI 6 - Multislot Allocation Percentage


Each GPRS handset has a capability to transmit and receive using a specified
maximum number of timeslots; this is determined by the handsets Multislot Class.
Most handsets allow a maximum of either 3 or 4 timeslots to be used in the

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O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0239 Nokia GPRS Radio KPIs

downlink, and either 1 or 2 timeslots in the uplink. The network will try to supply
the maximum amount of resource that the device can handle when required.
However, the network may not be able to fulfil the resource request completely and
is capable of providing the handset with as many timeslots as possible. There are
counters available to peg allocations of timeslots for both the uplink and downlink,
and these are used to produce the Multislot Allocation Percentage KPI.

This key performance indicator is a measure of the networks success in fulfilling


the resource that is requested. A value of 100% means that all resource requests
were fully honoured. For example, if 4 timeslots are requested and 4 are granted
then the KPI calculation is (4*1)/(4*1)=100%. If only two are granted then the
calculation is (2*1)/(4*1)=50%. So it can be seen that a low value means that
devices were allocated a lot less resource than was requested, and as such the user
experience will be poor.
This statistic can be found in the Performance Engineering Groups Weekly Report
titled GPRS Performance Summary

Target : The multislot allocation percentage should be greater than 90%..

Action to be taken : A value less than 90% suggests a stress on the existing
resources and indicates that an additional carrier, or an increase in dedicated
timeslots if carrier expansion is not possible, is required to allow acceptable
performance for the users.

KPI 7 - TBF Drop Rate


A temporary block flow is the name given to the resource used to transfer data
across the air interface. It is held only for as long as is required, and is then
released to allow other users access to the resources. It is also possible that the
resource can be released abnormally before all the data has been transferred;
however this action causes a poor user experience of the service.

The TBF may be released abnormally (i.e. dropped) for two reasons:
1. The network may lose radio contact with the handset (e.g. coverage issues,
interference, etc)
2. The network may need to use the GPRS timeslot for a voice call.

This statistic can be found in the Performance Engineering Groups Weekly Report
titled GPRS Performance Summary

Threshold : Acceptable performance is indicated by a drop rate of less than 1%. If


the cell is known to carry high mobility users (e.g. close to a motorway or railway),
then up to 2% dropped TBFs is acceptable. Values higher than this should be dealt
with on a cell-by-cell basis.

Action to be taken : If the TBF drops are taking place due to capacity shortages,
then the site should be considered for a capacity upgrade. An increase of dedicated
timeslots will also help to alleviate the condition. A combination of a TBF drop rate
greater than 1% with blocking greater than 5% will indicate this. If the drops are
due to radio coverage, then re-alignment of the sectors may help.
KPI 8 - Block Error Rate
The O2 GPRS network operates by transferring data across the air interface using
one of two transmission encoding types known as Coding Schemes. Coding
Scheme 1 offers slow but robust transmission. Coding Scheme 2 is faster but is less
resilient to errors. Both the handset and network are able to alter which coding
schemes are in use according to the number of errors incurred during data
transmission. This limits the requirement to repeat lengthy streams of data to that
which cannot be corrected by error correction.
In order to maintain a high user throughput experience on both the uplink and the
downlink, Coding Scheme 2 will be used whenever possible.

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O2 UK Radio Datasheet 0239 Nokia GPRS Radio KPIs

This statistic can be found in the Performance Engineering Groups Weekly Report
titled GPRS Performance Summary

Target : The block error rate should be less than 10% for both the uplink and
downlink and coding schemes 1 and 2.

Action to be taken : A block error rate of greater than 10% tends to indicate a
poor radio environment, either through limited coverage of adjacent or co-channel
interference. This can be confirmed by looking at the Minute per Drop
characteristic of the voice traffic ; if the radio conditions are poor then the call
drops due to radio coverage will be high. A re-orientation of the sector or
increasing the transmit power of the carrier may improve this KPI.

KPI 9 - Coding Scheme Utilisation


As described in KPI 8, there are two coding schemes used to transfer data across
the GPRS air interface. In order to achieve maximum user throughput, coding
scheme 2 should be used 100% of the time for data transfer. The measure of coding
scheme 2 utilisation is given in this key performance indicator.
This statistic can be found in the Performance Engineering Groups Weekly Report
titled GPRS Performance Summary

Threshold : The utilisation of coding scheme 2 should be greater than 90% for
both the uplink and downlink.

Action to be taken : A coding scheme 2 utilisation of less than 90% tends to


indicate a poor radio environment, either through limited coverage of adjacent or
co-channel interference. This can be confirmed by looking at the Minute per Drop
characteristic of the voice traffic ; if the radio conditions are poor then the call
drops due to radio coverage will be high. A re-orientation of the sector or
increasing the transmit power of the carrier may improve this KPI.

References
[1] UKRE_04_005 GPRS Radio Network Key Performance Indicators

END OF DOCUMENT
The author of this document is Neil McDonald, Radio Engineering. For any questions or issues, please contact the
Radio Engineering helpdesk on 01753 565882 or e-mail radio.engineering.uk@O2.com.

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