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Measurement GSM terminal

Measurement mobile terminals are used for measurements in mobile networks (GSM,
UMTS). Besides main telecommunication functions it provides additional functions like
showing detailed connection parameters, informations about available BTS and it has
calibrated radio receiver (guaranteed measurement accuracy of input signal level). Systems
for professional purposes (operational measurement, or drive tests) generally have Sagem or
Ericsson measuring terminals.
During the lesson you will learn about Sagem measuring terminal OT96MW.
Terminal is operated via serial link by means of AT command. For communications with
terminal we will use simple PC program .

1. Start each measurement after reading the whole text to THE VERY END!
2. Do not use any functions of the program that are not described in instructions because
it can caused terminal blocking and devaluation of your results (in the best case).
3. Do not operate the device from its keyboard!
4. Do not panic during measurement, stay calm! Serial communications with loaded
terminal processor is not always easy, work with patience.
5. If the unaceptable situations occurs (“freezing” communication), do not try to fix it
yourself, call the teacher for help!

Lessons instructions:

1. Run OT Drive PC program (C\Program Files\OT DRIVE PC). Go through the functions
in menu. Activate connection of measuring terminal via menu Connection (leave
parameters: COM1, 57600 b/s) and OK. Left down corner of screen shows terminal
2. Find at least 5 BCCH channels (Broadcast Channel) on each available bandwidth
(GSM-P, DCS, GSM-E). Use scanner BCCH (Control Messages – Trace Mode:
BCCH Scanning- put that channel number where the device starts bandwidth
searching (example 1)- Send). Bandwidth searching take about 10 minutes. To stop
change Trace Mode to Normal and confirm by pressing Send button (it could require
more tries, do not panic!). For identifying BCCH channel from channels list, the NCC
and BCC parameters have non zero values.
3. Using of MM Information (MNC – Mobile Network Code) a RR Information (BCCH)
icons identify what operator contains those BCCH channels. Use table below:

MNC: operator
01F T-Mobile CZ
02F Telefónica O2 CZ
03F Vodafone CZ

To force the terminal to lock on a given channel, use „Forcing Functions“ (Cell
Selection Target Frequency). The success of this forcing can be observed in RR
Information Window. Write down the received signal level for each channel (RxLev)
in dBm. Assess the usaje of each GSM band by different operators.
4. Study the text attached below. It describes meaning of C1 and C2 parameters for
decision of making handover to more suitable BTS. Why plain RxLev – as measured
in point 3. – can not be used for cell selection?


Cell selection and its change

Each mobile station (that is switched on) work in one of two modes: IDLE or DEDICATED.
In IDLE mode, BCCH (Broadcast Channel) is monitored to receive potential incoming call.
Also BCCH of other BTSs are monitored and make decision about possible cell reselection. If
such a reselection happens during the call (=in DEDICATED mode), it is called handover.

Cell selection
Cell selection is performed after the mobile terminal is switched on. If the terminal can reach
the same cell as before being switched of (stored at SIM), the same BCCH is used and the
process is fast. Otherwise, the process of new cell selection is activated (part of GSM

Cell change

MS Phase 1
The cell change in IDLE mode is performed mostly when mobile terminal moves away from
currently selected BTS range. The terminal periodically updates list of 6 most powerful
BCCH (of the given network). The most suitable cell is identified by means of C1 parameter
for terminals of (older) Phase 1, or by C2 for terminal of Phase 2. The following definitions
are adopted from GSM rec.:

C1= (A− max(B,0))

where A = AV_RXLEV – RX_ACCESS_MIN (dBm)


Average received signal level (AV_RXLEV) is calculated by averaging of RXLEV over 3-5 s.
RX_ACCESS_MIN is defined for each cell by hard and means minimal allowed RXLEV (on
terminal side) for connection. MS_TXPWR_MAX_CCH is maximum transmitting power
available for the given terminal. P is maximum radio power of the given terminal, typically
33 dB for GSM-P (900 MHz) bands and 30 dBm for others (DCS, GSM-E). Frequently the
second element of C1 expression above is considered to be zero and then follows

For example, if the minimum allowed level is -100dBm and average received signal level is -
80dBm, the terminal evaluates C1 for the given BCCH as +20. the terminal always selects for
attach the cell with highest C1. The only expection is situation when the terminal moves to
different Location Area (LA). Then CELL_RESELECT_HYSTERESIS parameter is subtracted
from C1 to save network signaling capacity as LA change requires Location Update (LU)
which is demanding from signaling point of view. Value of
CELL_RESELECT_HYSTERESIS depends on given cell and is transmitted on BCCH.

MS Phase 2
The new criteria C2 for terminals of Phase 2 is defined as:


If the timer T < PENALTY_TIME, otherwise


The timer T is inicialized for each cell after entering it to the list of nearest cells (as described
above), see the next picture. The terminal accesses the BTS with the highest C2 value.

Figure: Example of C2 calculation

The motivation for this approach is the effort to prevent quickly moving terminals to access
small or micro cells, again to safe signaling load of the network. Input parameters for C2
calculation are transmitted at BCCH. Parameter CELL_RESELECT_PARAM_IND informs the
terminal which of C1 or C2 criteria is supported by the given cell.