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Overview - FDD : Frame Structure Type 1

The highest level view from 36.211 for FDD LTE is as follows. It only shows the structure
of one frame in time domain. It does not show any structure in frequency domain.
Some of high level description you can get from this figure would be
i) Time duration for one frame (One radio frame, One system frame) is 10 ms. This
means that we have 100 radio frame per second.
ii) the number of samples in one frame (10 ms) is 307200 (307.200 K) samples. This
means that the number of samples per second is 307200 x 100 = 30.72 M samples.
iii) Number of subframe in one frame is 10.
iv) Number of slots in one subframe is 2. This means that we have 20 slots within one
frame.

< 36.211 Figure 4.1-1 : Frame Structure type 1 >

So one slot is the smallest structure in time domain ? No, if you magnify this frame
structure one step further, you would get the following figure.
Now you see that one slot is made up of 7 small blocks called 'symbol'. (One symbol is a
certain time span of signal that carry one spot in the I/Q constellation.).
And you see even smaller structures within a symbol. At the beginning of symbol you
see a very small span called 'Cyclic Prefix' and the remaining part is the real symbol
data.
There are two different type of Cyclic Prefix. One is normal Cyclic Prefix and the other is
'Extended Cyclic Prefix' which is longer than the Normal Cyclic Prefix. (Since the length
of one slot is fixed and cannot be changed, if we use 'Extended Cyclic Prefix', the number
of symbols that can be accomodated within a slot should be decreased. So we can have
only 6 symbols if we use 'Extended Cyclic Prefix').

If you magnify a subframe to show the exact timing and samples, it can be illustrated as
below. The length shown in this illustration does not vary with the Sampling Rate, but
the number of samples in each symbol and CP varies with the sampling rate. The
number of samples shown in this illustration is based on the case of 30.72 Mhz sampling
rate.

A couple of things to be noticed about the subframe structure illustrated above is


 the first OFDM symbol within a slot is a little bit longer than the other OFDM
symbols
 the number of samples shown in this illustration is based on the assumption that
the sampling rate is 30.72 M samples/sec and 2048 bins/IFFT(N_ifft). Real
sampling rate and N_ifft may vary depending on system BW, you need to scale
this number according to a specific BW. (or you may implement the hardware
sampling at the same rate regardless of bandwidth (e.g, 30.72 Mhz sampling)
and decimate the samples to the rate corresponding to each bandwidth after
decoding MIBs. Actually this is more practical since you don't know the system
bandwidth until you decode MIB.)
 Typical N_ifft for each system BW is as follows
System BW Number of RBs N IFFT (bins/IFFT)
1.4 6 128
3.0 15 256
5.0 25 512
10.0 50 1024
15.0 75 2048
20.0 100 2048

Following shows the overal subframe structure from "LTE Resource Grid" (I realized that
this site is not available any more. Fortunately, recently another expert put great effort
to create another resource grid application and allowed me to share with everybody.
Here goes Sandesh Dhagle's Resource Grid)

<LTE FDD Frame Structure >


Following is an example of Downlink Frame Structure and RE (Resource
Element) mapping for 4 Antenna case. Actually this is an ideal case of showing all 4
Antenna's signal super-imposed (overlapped). In reality, the signal from each antenna
has a little different symbol data and reference signal position. The constellation shown
on top and at the bottom of the RE mapping is the measurement result from LTE signal
Analyzer measuring the LTE signal coming out of the LTE network simulator. This was
captured at Antenna port 0 while LTE network is transmitting MIB/SIBs and UE is not
connected. If you do the similar thing with different channel power (e.g, PCFICH power,
PDCCH Power, CRS Power etc) you may see a little bit different constellation.

< FDD LTE Frame Structure with Constellation >


Now let's magnify the structure even further, but this time expand in frequency domain,
not in time domain. You will get the following full detail diagram.

< FDD LTE Frame Structure with Focus On Physical Channels >
The first thing you have to be very familiar with as an engineer working on LTE is the
following channel map shown above.

We can represent an LTE signal in a two dimensional map as shown above. The
horizontal axis is time domain and the vertical axis is frequency domain. The minimum
unit on vertical axis is a sub carrier and the minimum unit on horizontal axis is symbol.
For both time domain and frequency domain, there are multiple hiarachies of the units,
meaning a multiple combination of a smaller unit become a larger units.

Let's look at the frequency domain structure first.


LTE (any OFDM/OFDMA) band is made up of multiple small spaced channels and we call
each of these small channels as "Sub Carrier".
Space between the chhanel and the next channel is always same regardless of the
system bandwidth of the LTE band.
So if the system bandwidth of LTE channel changes, number of the channels (sub
carriers) changes but the space between channels does not change.

Q> What is the space between a subcarrier and the next sub carrier ? A> 15 Khz
Q> What is the number of channels(sub carriers) for 20 Mhz LTE band ? A> 1200 sub
carriers.
Q> What is the number of channels(sub carriers) for 10 Mhz LTE band ? A> 600 sub
carriers.
Q> What is the number of channels(sub carriers) for 5 Mhz LTE band ? A> 300 sub
carriers.

Got any feelings about sub carriers and it's relation to system bandwidth ?

Now let's look at the basic units of horizontal axis which is time domain. The minimum
unit of the time domain is a Symbol, which amounts to 66.7 us. Regardless of
bandwidth, the symbol length does not changes.In case of time domain, we have a
couple of other structures as well. The largest unit in time domain is a frame, each of
which is 10 ms in length. Each of the frame consists of 10 sub frames, each of which is 1
ms in length. Each of sub frame consists of 2 slots, each of which is 0.5 ms in
length.Each of slots consists of 7 symbols, each of which is 66.7 us.

With this in mind, let's think about the scale in reverse direction.

Q> How many symbols are there in a slot ? A> 7 symbols.


Q> How many symbols in a sub frame ? A> 14 symbols.
Q> How many slots are there in a frame ? A> 20 slots.

Now let's look at the units which is made up of both time domain (horizontal axis) and
frequency domain (vertical axis). Let's call this type of unit a two-dimensional unit.

The minimum two dimensional unit is resource element which is made up of one symbol
in time domain and one sub carrier in frequency domain. Another two dimensional unit is
resource block(RB) which is made up of one slot in time domain and 12 sub-carrier in
frequency domain. Resource Block(RB) is the most important units in LTE both for
protocol side and RF measurement side.
Now here goes questions.

Q> How many symbols in a resource block ? A> 7 symbols.


Q> How many sub-carriers in a resource block ? A> 12 sub-carriers.
Q> How many resource elements in a resource block ? A> 84 resource elements.

Now it's time to combine all the units we covered. The following questions are very
important to read any of the LTE specification.

Q> How many resource blocks in a 20 Mhz band ? A> 100 resource blocks.
Q> How many resource blocks in a 10 Mhz band ? A> 50 resource blocks.
Q> How many resource blocks in a 5 Mhz band ? A> 25 resource blocks.

I have seen this type of mapping so many times from so many different sources, but do
I really understand all the details of the map ? No not yet. It will take several years to
understand every aspects of the map.

Probably what I do as the first step is to describe each part of the map in a verbal form