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The LTE access network is a single node RAN. The LTE base station, eNodeB, is completely
responsible for all the access functionalities. There is no controller node analogous to the 2G
Base Station Controller or the 3G Radio Network Controller. This minimizes the number of
interfaces required. In earlier generations, a failure in a centralized controller for multiple
base stations could potentially degrade service for the entire area. LTE reduces such single-
point failures.
The LTE network is completely packet-based end to end. No traffic is circuit switched. LTE
supports real-time conversational traffic by ensuring appropriate QoS treatment for it. Every
node in the LTE traffic path is QoS aware, making QoS an end-to-end feature. Different QoS
treatment is given to control, user and administrative traffic.

The LTE core is a single logical node, though the control and user plane nodes are separate.
Since IP is used end-to-end, it is often referred to as a flat architecture.
EPC supports interworking with a wide range of other networks – GSM / GPRS, WCDMA /
HSPA, CDMA and WiFi – with appropriate interfaces defined for each scenario. Since LTE is
the technology of choice for both 3GPP and 3GPP2 operators, interworking with both legacy
cellular systems is a must. Initial LTE deployments are usually in urban pockets. So most
users will require handover to a legacy network when they travel out of LTE coverage.

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Being the single node in the E-UTRAN, the eNB performs all the Radio Resource
Management (RRM) functions. Thus it sets up radio bearers and admits or disallows
services based on the radio resource availability. An important function of the eNB is
to control mobility within the radio network. During handovers or cell reselection, it
coordinates with other eNB’s using the X2 interface to control user mobility. The eNB
is also responsible for dynamic radio resource allocation on the LTE time-frequency
resource grid. It handles scheduling of resources as well as paging and broadcast
functions. Encryption and header compression were carried out by controller nodes
in earlier generations, but they are done by the eNB in LTE.

An eNB is connected to one or more MME’s via the S1-MME interface. When a user
attaches to the network, the eNB must select an MME from an MME-pool. It sends
signaling information such as measurements and messages to the MME.

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The MME is the key control-node for the LTE access-network. It is responsible for idle
mode UE (User Equipment) paging and tagging procedure including retransmissions.
It is involved in the bearer activation/deactivation process and is also responsible for
choosing the SGW for a UE at the initial attach and at time of intra-LTE handover
involving Core Network (CN) node relocation. It is responsible for authenticating the
user (by interacting with the HSS). The Non Access Stratum (NAS) signaling
terminates at the MME and it is also responsible for generation and allocation of
temporary identities to UEs. It checks the authorization of the UE to camp on the
service provider’s Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN) and enforces UE roaming
restrictions. The MME is the termination point in the network for ciphering/integrity
protection for NAS signaling and handles the security key management. Lawful
interception of signaling is also supported by the MME. The MME also provides the
control plane function for mobility between LTE and 2G/3G access networks with the
S3 interface terminating at the MME from the SGSN. The MME also terminates the
S6a interface towards the home HSS for roaming use.

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The S-GW is the local mobility anchor. It is analogous to the 2G SGSN. It ‘anchors’ the UE
data connection during inter-eNB handovers. Packets may arrive for the UE when it is idle.
The S-GW then buffers them until the UE is active and ready to receive data. It also initiates
a network triggered service request in such cases. Besides, the S-GW can also handle
handovers to other 3GPP networks via the S4 interface. It facilitates re-ordering of packets
by sending an “end marker” to the eNB or source SGSN / RNC after handover.

The S-GW helps in inter-operator charging via the S5/S8 interface to the P-GW. It supports
transport level QoS functions such as IP Differentiated by storing UE contexts, e.g.
parameters of the IP bearer service, network internal routing information. It also performs
replication of the user traffic in case of lawful interception.

A UE has one and only one S-GW at a time.

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The P-GW is the EPC entry and exit point for packets to travel in and out of the LTE
network. It is analogous to the GGSN. Thus, the P-GW is connected to the external
Packet Data Network (PDN), for example the Internet, and to all other external
networks such as 3GPP, 3GPP2.

The P-GW allocates IP addresses to UE’s and performs all the policy control and
charging related functions. Naturally, it also performs DHCP functions. It plays an
important role in QoS and also supports IP Differentiated Services. The S-GW and P-
GW can be and often are combined into one physical node, called the SAE Gateway.

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The HSS (Home Subscriber Server) is the concatenation of the HLR (Home Location Register) and the AuC (Authentication Center) – two
functions being already present in pre-IMS 2G/GSM and 3G/UMTS netwo rks. The HLR p art of the HSS is in charge of storing and updat ing when
necessary the database containing all the user subscription information, including (list is non exhaustive):
· User identification and addressing – this corresponds to the IMSI (Internation al Mobile Subscriber Identity) and MSISDN (Mobile Subscriber
ISDN Number) or mobile telephone number.
· User profile information – this includes service subscription states and user-subscribed Quality of Service information (such as maximum
allowed bit rate or allowed traffic class).

The AuC part of the HSS is in charge of generating security information from user identity keys. This security information is p rovided to the HLR
and further communicated to other entities in the network. Security information is mainly used for:
· Mutual network-terminal authentication.
· Radio path ciphering and integrity protection, to ensure dat a and signalling transmitted between the net work and the termin al is neither
eavesdropped nor altered.


The PCRF server man ages the service policy and sends QoS setting information for each user session and accounting rule information. The PCRF
Server combines functionalities for the following two UMTS nodes:
· The Policy Decision Function (PDF)
· The Charging Rules Function (CRF)
The PDF is the network entity where the policy decisions are made. As the IMS session is being set up, SIP signallin g containin g media
requirements are exchan ged between the terminal and the P-CSC F. At some t ime in the session establishment process, the PDF receives those
requirements from the P-CSCF and makes decisions based on network operator rules, such as:
· Allowing or rejecting the media request.
· Using new or existing PDP context for an incoming media request.
· Checking the allocation of new resources against the maximum authorized

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Channel-dependent scheduling is an important aspect of an LTE eNB. Radio
conditions within the cell vary with time and location. The eNB scheduling
mechanism exploits this by preferentially scheduling UE’s in better radio conditions
while keeping a fair amount of resources for UE’s in bad radio conditions, thereby
improving throughput and quality.

Since LTE radio resources are basically frequencies, one of the key challenges in LTE
networks is managing inter-cell interference. Neighboring NB’s can operate on the
same bandwidths. Some co-ordination is therefore required to reduce interference
in the network. The Samsung Smart Scheduler Server addresses this problem by
providing UL & DL co-ordination among the eNB’s it controls. It constantly keeps
eNB’s informed of neighbor resource allocations, so that their own allocations can
minimize inter-cell interference. This results in increased cell-edge throughput.
Additionally, the Smart Scheduler also provides O&M functionalities.

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X2 interface is used to communication of eNBs. Technical Specifiaction ETSI TS 136
420 describe X2 Interface. X2 has two plane: Control Plane and User Plane. User
plane is based in GPT-U (GPRS Protocol Tunnel), UDP and IP. Control Plane use SCTP
and IP. X2 is a point to point interface and even if two eNBs may not be connected
physically it works in that way.

S1 is a standardized interface between eNB and the Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

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Rx Interface
The Rx reference point resides between the AF and the PCRF in the TS 23.203

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Shown here is a schematic of the RJIL 4G network deployment. Different levels of
Aggregation routers (AG’s) are deployed. Each eNodeB is connected via backhaul to
an Aggregator node, AG1. An AG1 pair (for redundancy) consists of 4 rings with 5
eNodeB’s per ring, i.e., a total of 20 eNB’s per AG1 pair. 10 AG1 rings (up to 4 AG1’s
per ring) connect to the AG2 level. The centralized scheduler is located at the AG2
level. Finally, an AG3 node supports 16 AG2 pairs. The EPC and IMS nodes are
deployed at the AG3 level.

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The RJIL plan consists of 18 EPC’s for 22 circles. These 18 EPC’s are managed by one
of 4 regions – north, south, east and west. While each circle will have a Media
Gateway (MGW), most of the core IMS nodes will be deployed at the regional level.
At the highest level are 2 zones – Mumbai for the West and South zones, and Delhi
for the North and East zones. High level functionalities such as IMS applications, OSS
and billing will reside at the zones.

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A Cyclic Prefix (CP) is attached to each symbol to guard against inter-symbol
interference (ISI). A standard solution to the ISI problem is to have a guard interval
after a pulse. LTE transmits CP during this guard interval.

The CP consists of the last part of the symbol attached to the beginning of the
symbol (hence cyclic). OFDM symbol duration including CP is approximately 71.4 µs
(*). This is a much longer duration when compared with 3.69µs for GSM and 0.26µs
for WCDMA, making LTE much more robust in overcoming multipath. The symbol
length without CP is 66.67µs which is just the reciprocal of sub-carrier spacing

Cyclic Prefix consists in copying the last part of a symbol shape for a duration of
guard-time and attaching it in front of the symbol as shown. The CP naturally needs
to be longer than the channel multipath delay spread.
A receiver typically uses the high correlation between the Cyclic Prefix (CP) and the
last part of the following symbol to locate the start of the symbol and then begins

Two CP options are defined in LTE:

1) Normal CP: For small cells or with short multipath delay spread
2) Extended CP: Designed for use with large cells or those with long delay profiles.
This is used for Multicast Broadcast Multimedia Services (MBMS)

Having a CP reduces the bandwidth efficiency since it reduces useful symbol time.
But it is the price LTE pays for robustness to multipath.

LTE uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). The total carrier
bandwidth is divided into mutually orthogonal sub-carriers of fixed width – 15 KHz.
The small sub-carrier spacing implies large bit periods, making OFDMA robust
against multipath. This multiple access technique allows for allocation of different
bandwidths to different services.

The sub-carriers are orthogonal because the LTE pulse is designed so that, in
frequency domain, the peak power of one sub-carrier coincides with zeroes of all the
other sub-carriers as shown above. One can imagine a large number of finely tuned
radio stations transmitting simultaneously without interfering with each other. A
single OFDM symbol is constructed by parallel transmission of multiple sub-carriers
during a symbol time interval. A single sub-carrier during one OFDM symbol is called
a Resource Element (RE). This is the smallest physical resource in LTE.

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OFDMA is an extension of the OFDM technique that allows multiple users to
transmit (and receive) in parallel. Apart from LTE, OFDM is also used in other systems
like Wi-Fi, DVB and WiMAX.

Data in OFDMA is sent in parallel across the set of subcarriers. As shown above, a
serial-to-parallel converter creates an OFDM symbol by mapping the incoming data
to some sub-carriers. Each subcarrier only transports a part of the whole
transmission. The throughput is the sum of the data rates of each of the used sub-
carriers while the power is distributed among all sub-carriers.
An LTE OFDMA Symbol is the time period occupied by a modulation symbol on all
subcarriers. It represents all the data being transferred in parallel at one point in

Along with OFDMA, LTE also uses fast (of the order of 1ms), dynamic time-domain
scheduling done at the LTE base station, called the eNodeB. This allows for a highly
flexible allocation of radio resources on a time-frequency grid as shown above. The
basic unit of allocation is a Resource Block (RB) consisting of 12 sub-carriers (12 x 15
= 180 KHz) and a single time slot, 0.5 ms.

The fact that radio resources are managed completely by the eNodeB makes LTE a
single-node access network, reducing latencies and improving throughputs.

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A signal can be represented in:
1) Time domain: Represents how long the symbol lasts on air
2) Frequency domain: Represents the spectrum needed in terms of bandwidth

A Fourier Transform is essentially a way to transform a time-domain representation

to frequency and the Inverse Fourier Transform does the reverse. Fast Fourier
Transform (FFT) and the Inverse Fast Fourier Transform (IFFT) are fast algorithms that
compute Fourier transforms in digital hardware.

While they are not the only way to Implement OFDMA, FFT and IFFT have become
fundamental blocks in an OFDMA system. OFDM signals are generated using the IFFT
since one modulation symbol (e.g. QPSK) needs to be transmitted (i.e. represented)
on multiple sub-carriers frequencies.

Shown above is a schematic view of the LTE OFDMA transmitter and receiver. At the
transmitter, the OFDMA goal is to transmit a serial stream of modulation symbols
(e.g. QPSK symbols) in parallel on to some sub-carriers. A serial-to-parallel convertor
takes in a stream of modulation symbols and gives them in parallel to an IFFT circuit,
which, as discussed earlier, produces an OFDM symbol. A CP is added and the
symbol is transmitted.

At the receiver, the CP is removed. The symbol is then converted into its constituent
sub-carriers using a parallel-to-serial converter and an FFT. Because the sub-carriers
are orthogonal, the receiver is able to isolate its sub-carriers from the others.

A problem with OFDMA systems is the high Peak-to-Average Power Ratio (PAPR).
The transmitted power in OFDM is the sum of the powers of all the subcarriers. Due
to large number of subcarriers, the peak to average power ratio (PAPR) tends to have
a large range. The higher the peaks, the greater the range of power levels over which
the power amplifier is required to work. This is a problem for use with mobile
(battery-powered) devices.

A new, OFDMA-based scheme called single carrier frequency division multiple access
(SC-FDMA) was developed for the LTE uplink. By restricting uplink transmissions to
smaller, contiguous parts of the carrier, SC-FDMA enables a lower UE peak-to-
average power ratio (PAPR) which eases amplifier design in the mobile devices.

SC-FDMA is a variant of OFDMA that reduces the PAPR. It combines the PAR of
single-carrier system with the multipath resistance and flexible subcarrier frequency
allocation offered by OFDM. The high PAPR in OFDMA results from the fact that each
modulation (e.g. QPSK) symbol is sent on one sub-carrier. SC-FDMA uses all the
allocated sub-carriers to send every modulation symbol.

Unlike OFDMA, SC-FDMA transmits each modulation symbol over the entire
Resource Block. So, as shown above, in the frequency domain the changes are not
on a per sub-carrier basis. Rather, the modulation symbol is sent in a shortened time
interval. The SC-FDMA symbol time is therefore shorter than the OFDMA symbol
time. Thus, consecutive symbols don’t differ too often in the frequency domain ,
lowering the PAPR.
OFDMA transmits data in parallel across multiple subcarriers. SC-FDMA transmits
data in series employing multiple subcarriers. In the example above:
• OFDMA: 4 modulation symbols (01,10,11,01) are transmitted per OFDMA symbol,

one on each subcarrier
• SC-FDMA: 4 modulation symbols are transmitted per SC-FDMA symbol using all
subcarriers per modulation symbol. The duration of each modulation symbol is 1/4th
of the modulation symbol in OFDMA

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Shown above is a time-frequency view of the two schemes. As can be seen, OFDMA
sends one modulation symbol on one sub-carrier in one symbol duration. SC-FDMA
sends one modulation symbol on M sub-carriers (4 in the above example) in 1/Mth
symbol duration. The number of sub-carriers depends on the bandwidth allocated
to the UE.

With full coverage in the 3GPP Release 8 specifications of both Time Division Duplex (TDD)
and Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) modes of operation, LTE can effectively be deployed in
both the paired and unpaired spectrum. LTE TDD and FDD modes have been greatly
harmonized in the sense that both modes share the same underlying framework, including
radio access schemes OFDMA in downlink and SC-FDMA in uplink, basic subframe formats,
configuration protocols, etc. As clear indication of the harmonization, the TDD mode is
included together with the FDD mode in the same set of specifications, including the
physical layer where there are just a few differences due to the uplink/downlink switching
operation. In terms of architecture there are no differences between FDD and TDD and the
very few differences in the MAC and higher layer protocols relate to TDD specific physical
layer parameters. Procedures are kept the same. Thus there will be high implementation
synergies between the two modes allowing for efficient support of both TDD and FDD in the
same network or user device. Coexistence would of course still
require careful analysis.
Another key feature of the LTE TDD mode (known also as TD-LTE) is the commonality with
TD-SCDMA. This is an advantage as in, e.g. China, where the Release 4 based TD-SCDMA
(including enhancements from later releases) has opened up a large-scale TDD system
deployment, paving the way for further deployment of 3GPP based LTE TDD using
the available unpaired spectrum.
The basic principle of TDD is to use the same frequency band for transmission and
reception but to alternate the transmission direction in time. As shown in Figure,
this is a fundamental difference compared to FDD, where different frequencies are
used for continuous UE reception and transmission. Like FDD, LTE TDD supports
bandwidths from 1.4 MHz up to 20 MHz but depending on the frequency band, the
number of supported bandwidths may be less than the full range. For example, for
the 2.5 GHz band, it is not likely that the smallest bandwidths will
be supported. Since the bandwidth is shared between uplink and downlink and the
maximum bandwidth is specified to be 20 MHz in Release 8, the maximum
achievable data rates are lower than in LTE FDD. This way the same receiver and
transmitter processing capability can be used
with both TDD and FDD modes enabling faster deployment of LTE. The TDD system
can be implemented on an unpaired band (or in two paired bands separately) while
the FDD system always requires a pair of bands with a reasonable separation
between uplink and downlink directions, known as the duplex separation. In a FDD
UE implementation this normally requires a duplex filter when simultaneous
transmission and reception is facilitated. In a TDD system the UE does not need such
a duplex filter. The complexity of the duplex filter increases when the uplink and
downlink frequency bands are placed in closer proximity. In some of the future
spectrum allocations it is foreseen that it will be easier to find new unpaired
allocations than paired allocations with sensible duplex separation thereby
increasing further the scope of applicability for TDD.
However, since uplink and downlink share the same frequency band, the signals in
these two transmission directions can interfere with each other.
with the use of TDD on the same frequency without coordination and
synchronization between sites in the same coverage area. For uncoordinated
deployment (unsynchronized) on the same frequency band, the devices connected
to the cells with different timing and/or different uplink/downlink allocation may

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cause blocking for other users. In LTE TDD the base stations need to be synchronized
to each other at frame level in the same coverage area to avoid this interference.
This can be typically done by using, for example, satellite based solutions like GPS or
Galileo or by having another external timing reference shared by the LTE TDD base
stations within the same coverage area. LTE FDD does not need the base station
synchronization. There is no interference between uplink and downlink in FDD due
to the duplex separation of the carriers.
Two adjacent LTE TDD operators (on adjacent carriers) should preferably synchronize
the base stations and allocate the same asymmetry between uplink and downlink to
avoid potentially detrimental interference to the system reliability. If the two
operators do not coordinate the deployments, there is instead a need for guard
bands and additional filtering.

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Two frame structure types are defined for E-UTRA: frame structure type 1 for FDD mode,
and frame structure type 2 for TDD mode. The E-UTRA frame structures are defined. For the
frame structure type 1, the 10 ms radio frame is divided into 20 equally sized slots of 0.5 ms.
A subframe consists of two consecutive slots, so one radio frame contains ten subframes.
This is illustrated in Figure (Ts is expressing the basic time unit corresponding to 30.72 MHz).
Shown above is a 10ms LTE frame. It consists of ten sub-frames of 1ms each. Each
sub-frame is made up of two slots (0.5ms each). And each slot carries 7 OFDM
symbols for a normal CP.

LTE TDD Frame Structure
As the single frequency block is shared in the time domain between uplink and downlink (and also between
users), the transmission in LTE TDD is not continuous. While often also bei ng the case for data transmissions
towards a certain user in LTE FDD mode, the level of discontinuity then depends entirely on the scheduling
function (except for half-duplex FDD terminals). For control channels, e.g. the PDCCH and the PHICH, the
transmission for FDD is continuous. For LTE TDD all uplink transmissions need to be on hold while any downlink
resource is used and, conversely, the downlink needs to be totally silent when any of the UE is transmitting in
the uplink direction. Switching between transmission directions has a small hardware delay (for both UE and
eNodeB) and must be compensated. To control the resulting switching transients a Guard Period (GP) is
allocated which compensates for the maximum propagation delay of interfering components (e.g. depends on
cell size and level of available
cell isolation).
To explain the exact implementation of the mechanism for switching between downlink and uplink and vice
versa, The subframe denoted by either uplink (UL) or downlink (DL) has a design in common with LTE FDD with
some minor but significant differences related to common control channels.
In LTE TDD there is maximally one DL→UL and one UL→DL transition per 5 ms period (half-frame). The UL→DL
transition is carried out for all intra-cell UE by the process of time alignment. The eNodeB instructs each UE to
use a specific time offset so that all UE signals are aligned when they arrive at the eNodeB. Hence, uplink is
synchronous as is the case for FDD. To ensure that the UE has sufficient time to shut down its transmission and
switch to listening mode, the UE does not transmit a signal during the last 10–20 ms of subframe. This procedure
ensures that there is no UE transmission power from the own cell that spills over into the downlink transmission.
Although eNodeBs in different cells are fully
synchronized, this method does not prevent UE from other cells spilling their interference into the downlink
transmission of the current sector. However, in practice this is less of a problem since any individual UE has
limited transmission power. While the UL→DL switching is merely an intra-cell
method, the DL→UL switching method ensures that the high-power downlink
transmissions from eNodeBs from other neighbor cells
do not interfere when the eNodeB UL reception is ongoing in the current cell.
Adopting the methodology of TD-SCDMA, LTE TDD introduces a special (S) subframe
that is divided into three parts; the Downlink Pilot Time Slot (DwPTS), the GP, and
the Uplink Pilot Time Slot (UpPTS). The special subframe replaces what would have
been a normal subframe #1. The individual time duration in OFDM symbols of the
special subframe parts are to some extent adjustable and the exact configuration of
the special time slot will impact the performance. The GP implements the DL→UL
transition and the GP has to be sufficiently long to cover the propagation delay of all
critical downlink interferers on the same or adjacent carriers as well as the hardware
switch-off time. Hence, the correct setting of the GP depends on network topology,
antenna configurations, etc. To fi t into the general LTE frame numerology, the total
duration of DwPTS, GP, and UpPTS is always 1 ms. DwPTS is considered as a ‘normal’
downlink subframe and carries control information as well as data for those cases
when sufficient duration is configured. High commonality is
achieved by rescaling the transport block size according to its length. In this way the
effective coding rate for a certain selection of payload and transmission bandwidth
will stay the same. UpPTS is primarily intended for sounding reference signal (SRS)
transmissions from the UE,
but LTE TDD also introduces the short RACH concept so that this space may be used
for access purposes as well.

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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

In the above:
D is a subframe for downlink transmission
S is a "special" subframe used for a guard time
U is a subframe for uplink transmission
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