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Integrating SDH and ATM in UMTS (3G) Access Networks

A WHITE PAPER

Integrating SDH and ATM in UMTS (3G) Access Networks February 2003

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..............................10 ATM Concentration Devices in the Access Network..21 Canonical Concentration of Node B Traffic into VC-4s..........................25 ATM Multiplexing of 2G and 3G Traffic ...........................................5 Introduction of ATM Switching into the Access Network...........9 Deployment over Pure TDM Transmission ...........14 The ASM (ATM Switching Module) Concept.....................................................................26 CONCLUSION ..............................................................27 ECI TELECOM LTD........................................ a Standalone ATM Switch.........CONTENTS Contents INTRODUCTION.......... PROPRIETARY 3 ...........................................................................................................5 THE ROLE OF ATM IN 3G ACCESS NETWORKS............................21 INTEGRATION OF 2G AND 3G TRAFFIC ................................13 The XDM Architecture........17 THE XDM ASM CARD AS A NODE B CONCENTRATOR..6 Lower Bandwidth Consumption ..........................................................13 LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS ..8 DEPLOYING A 3G ACCESS NETWORK...........11 The Dilemma...................................................................................................................................9 Co-location of ATM Switches and RNCs ............................................................25 TDM Multiplexing of 2G and 3G Traffic ..............................10 The Cost of Using ATM Switches in the Access ......16 Advantages of the ASM vs................................................7 Higher Savings.....................................................................................................14 Transporting TDM Traffic over ATM.

..................................................9 Figure 2: ATM switch co-located with the RNCs............................11 Figure 5: Schematic view of the XDM architecture .26 Figure 15: ATM multiplexing of 2G and 3G traffic ................27 4 ECI TELECOM LTD.....CONTENTS Table of Figures Figure 1: TDM-based access network.......................................................25 Figure 14: TDM multiplexing of 2G and 3G data..16 Figure 8: CES concept........................................14 Figure 6: ASM card architecture..10 Figure 4: ATM concentration with an external ATM switch ........17 Figure 9: Concentration of E1s into VC-4s ................23 Figure 11: Configuration for increased bandwidth demand..24 Figure 13: Combination of VC-4 and IMA concentration............................21 Figure 10: Configuration for a low number of Node Bs.....15 Figure 7: Concentration of 72 E1s into a single VC-4...23 Figure 12: Concentration of Node B traffic into IMA groups .............................................. PROPRIETARY ..................10 Figure 3: ATM switches in the access network .............................

these networks must provide for fast growth and cost-effective bandwidth increase. etc. networks should be as cost-effective as possible in their initial. to make 3G services economical while still providing for network upgrades on demand. ATM in turn can be transported over various TDM links. fully optimized for 3G access networks. Yet. Although network design is simple. Administration and Maintenance) over ATM. low-level usage phase. The Role of ATM in 3G Access Networks A cellular access network connects Node Bs to RNCs (Radio Network Controllers) via the Iub interface. better known as 3G) is one of the most difficult challenges facing today’s service providers network planning experts. Cost structures should therefore be flexible. and provides for future expansions in network coverage and capacity. Lightscape’s solution is not only much more economical than any other solution on the market today. as well as expenditure on leased bandwidth and radio frequencies. Given the uncertainties as to the services to be offered. PROPRIETARY 5 . Equipment costs. actual bandwidth demand. limited financial resources and uncertainties about future market demand. Furthermore. They need to juggle with immature technologies. ECI TELECOM LTD. should be kept to a minimum. Conventional 3G access infrastructures implement these technologies over two separate network layers. 3G access networks are based on two distinct technologies: transmission and ATM. signaling and OAM (Operation. as actual demand for 3G services is still unknown and network design should provide a costeffective solution for both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. including media. they are required to reduce capital and operational expenses and keep network costs to a minimum.. applications. ECI Telecom’s Lightscape Optical Networks Division offers an innovative concept: integration of SDH and ATM in the same hardware.INTRODUCTION Introduction The deployment of cellular UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems. it is expensive and inflexible. The Iub interface is a complex set of protocols that handle all aspects of Node B to RNC communications. it is also flexible and scalable. In line with its tradition of responding to customer needs.

This results in savings in the bandwidth required by the network. ATM switching in the access network provides two major advantages: ♦ ♦ The ability to configure RNCs with STM-1 interfaces instead of E1s. Node Bs and RNCs were connected via a direct ATM link. RNC connections are usually either E1s or STM-1s. which provides finer granularity and statistical multiplexing benefits. even when considering the cost of intermediate ATM switching. and how to provide the QoS guarantees required for the successful operation of 3G applications. Early releases of the 3G standard defined the connection between the Node B and the RNC as a pure TDM connection. 6 ECI TELECOM LTD.THE ROLE OF ATM IN 3G ACCESS NETWORKS In practice. thus reducing drastically the cost of the RNC Savings in bandwidth consumption. Savings in Bandwidth ATM switching in the access can support ATM concentration. most Node B connections range from a fractional E1 to several E1s bundled as an ATM IMA (Inverse Multiplexing over ATM) group. Introduction of ATM Switching into the Access Network Release 4 of the 3G standards formally stipulated how to perform ATM switching in the access network. In the ATM layer. The definition provides the following functions: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Independence of the underlying transmission layer Definition of groups of several TDM links as one logical link using the ATM IMA mechanism Ability to carry voice and data over the same link Implementation of statistical multiplexing between different applications on the same Node B while maintaining QoS (Quality of Service). has proved to be a much less expensive solution. on the other hand. STM-1 Interfaces in the RNC Current deployments have demonstrated that it is not economical to deploy E1 links in the RNC. PROPRIETARY . without intermediate ATM switching. STM-1.

For example. then two E1 interfaces (4 Mbps) must be allocated to the Node B at the TDM level. or only 15 E1s). The peak rate controls the maximum cell rate allowed. PROPRIETARY 7 . Statistical Multiplexing Based on Peak vs. if the peak traffic to/from a Node B is estimated to be 3 Mbps. ATM concentration in the access network can improve bandwidth utilization. As a result. whereas the sustained rate is the average connection rate. an ATM switch concentrating traffic from 10 such Node Bs can concentrate from 40 Mbps (10 x 2 x E1) to 30 Mbps (10 x 3 Mbps. whereas the majority transmits at the sustained rate. In the real world. only a few Node Bs transmit at the peak rate. each with its own parameters. As the number of Node Bs transmitting concurrently at the peak rate can be statistically bounded. Although fractional E1 connections are feasible. bandwidth consumption is significantly lower. ATM concentration in the access layer allows maintaining the peak rate of the connection at a high level. The main ones are peak cell rate and sustained cell rate. However.THE ROLE OF ATM IN 3G ACCESS NETWORKS Lower Bandwidth Consumption ATM switching reduces bandwidth consumption. A Node B may transmit at the peak rate only for a short period of time (controlled by the maximum burst size). thus ensuring short delays. traffic must be controlled by the sustained cell rate. Obviously. This bandwidth allocation is part of the basic design of the Node B. with the peak rate allocated to only some. On the other hand. Over longer intervals. these are usually reserved for sub-E1 rates. this can be easily computed based on the ATM policing and shaping ECI TELECOM LTD. the link between the Node B and the RNC has a granularity of E1. However. which is typically much lower. The following sections describe how these savings can be accomplished. Sustained Rate An ATM link can contain many ATM virtual circuits. bandwidth should be allocated for the sustained rate for all Node Bs. which leads to savings in operating costs. a probability exists (albeit extremely low) that all Node Bs send a burst of traffic at the same time with the resulting loss of ATM cells. which is typically lower than 50 milliseconds. without violating the basic bandwidth allocation rule of 3 Mbps per Node B. Granularity of Bandwidth Allocation In a TDM-based network.

PROPRIETARY . less equipment cards and less manpower. In effect. also known as 2G) voice-based deployments. network design assumes that not all subscribers will attempt to make a call at the same time. 8 ECI TELECOM LTD. However. When bandwidth consumption is reduced. network planning must rely on the statistical nature of usage patterns. lower bandwidth consumption obviously translates into direct savings in operational expenses. this is economically impossible. If they do. some of them will be rejected.THE ROLE OF ATM IN 3G ACCESS NETWORKS mechanisms. While it is desirable to provide full service to all users in any scenario. for example. the rationale behind this reduction varies from service provider to service provider. Unlike ATM statistical multiplexing (which allows users to send high rate traffic over short periods of time and then forces them to reduce the rate). Consequently. usage statistical multiplexing is based on the assumption that not all subscribers use the network concurrently. depending on network structure and design. due to the bursty nature of data. Multiplexing Based on Usage Statistics Bandwidth allocation per Node B is based on the maximum concurrent bandwidth demanded by users served by the specific Node B. As it is the nature of data to adapt the application to the available bandwidth. thus guaranteeing cell rate in compliance with the requirements of 3G standards. statistical assumptions about overall usage can be safely made. as network capacity planning takes into consideration the distribution of user demands. this multiplexing method may vary with changes in usage patterns. usage-based multiplexing can be implemented even if the service level is sometimes degraded. When using leased-lines or licensing radio frequencies to build a network. Higher Savings Reducing bandwidth consumption is always a good approach. Service providers can therefore manage a smaller transmission network with less expensive interfaces. However. however. this reduction involves more than the mere monthly costs of leasing the lines and radio frequencies. In GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication. the entire access network becomes smaller. 3G services are subject to the same design considerations. As with any mass service.

which results in savings in bandwidth and network costs. RNCs with STM-1 ports and Node Bs with E1 ports. ATM switches deployed along the connection convert E1s originated in the Node Bs to STM-1s. This following sections describe the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. This can be achieved by: − Co-locating ATM concentration devices with the RNC. PROPRIETARY 9 . Figure 1: TDM-based access network ECI TELECOM LTD. In this configuration. lacks the advantage of using STM-1 ports in the RNC and ATM concentration in the network. Deployment over Pure TDM Transmission Although ATM switching in the access network is recommended. it is not technically mandatory.DEPLOYING A 3G ACCESS NETWORK Deploying a 3G Access Network A 3G cellular access network can be deployed in any of the two following configurations: ♦ ♦ RNCs with E1 ports that are connected to the Node Bs via a pure-TDM transmission network. − Placing ATM concentration devices inside the access network. however. This approach. It is possible to build a network connecting an E1 port from a Node B directly to an E1 port from the RNC.

The switches concentrate traffic from Node Bs into VC-4 containers.DEPLOYING A 3G ACCESS NETWORK Co-location of ATM Switches and RNCs A second alternative is to deploy an ATM switch co-located with the RNC. Figure 2: ATM switch co-located with the RNCs ATM Concentration Devices in the Access Network The deployment of ATM switches in the access network is therefore the most efficient and cost-effective implementation of 3G in these networks. RNCs can thus be configured with STM-1 ports. Figure 3: ATM switches in the access network 10 ECI TELECOM LTD. However. In this scenario. allowing a much more economical network structure. enabling an economical RNC configuration. without ATM concentration. bandwidth consumption in the access network is still based on the peak demand of every Node B. the access network carries TDM connections from the Node Bs to the ATM switch. the switch concentrates E1s into a single STM-1. which in turn is connected to the RNC. PROPRIETARY .

because ATM is an expensive technology. but also support of a significant number of PDH and SDH interfaces. the site concentrates traffic from a channelized STM-1 with 52 active channels. In this example.DEPLOYING A 3G ACCESS NETWORK The Cost of Using ATM Switches in the Access ATM access networks are a necessity. an ATM switch can easily compress traffic originally carried on 72 E1s into one VC-4. as shown in Figure 4. Figure 4: ATM concentration with an external ATM switch The total number of E1s is 72 and therefore a channelized STM-1 is no longer sufficient. As already described. but they are expensive. Concentration must be performed at the ATM level. PROPRIETARY 11 . to enable ATM concentration. the installation of a simple ATM switch for traffic concentration involves not only the addition of ATM hardware. Figure 4 depicts a typical scenario in which STM-1 links concentrate traffic from Node Bs. However. Moreover. Therefore. ECI TELECOM LTD. together with 20 E1s from local Node Bs. the following components must also be added: ♦ ♦ ♦ An ATM switch with 72 E1 interfaces and one STM-1 interface An additional STM-1 interface in the transmission network Additional 72 E1 interfaces in the transmission network. the ATM switch must connect to 72 E1 ports and one STM-1 port. as TDM concentration would only result in the need for an additional STM-1s – clearly a waste of bandwidth for only 9 E1s (the number of E1s in the second STM-1).

When upgrading the network connection of the Node Bs from two E1 links to four E1 links. Continuing with the example in Figure 4. however. and therefore all links in the same IMA group must reside on the same interface card. PROPRIETARY . the ATM interface cards will be fully utilized and a new ATM interface card would be needed. The above configuration is extremely expensive.DEPLOYING A 3G ACCESS NETWORK Note: In theory. In this case. the new links must all be allocated to the same interface card. In the first approach. leaving room for future IMA expansion. let us assume that the 72 E1 ports originate in 36 Node Bs. Let us also assume that there are plans to upgrade the Node B links to an IMA group of 4 E1s. or Deploy an ATM switch with 144 interfaces. In many cases. as from the management viewpoint these 20 links cannot be controlled by the transmission network’s management system. a much more economical solution is required. This is not desired. It configures multiple physical links as a single ATM link. Clearly. At a certain point in time. there are limitations to the assignment of IMA groups to a single interface card. but it carries a price tag. where each Node B is connected via an IMA group of two E1s. The Extra Costs of Maintaining IMA Groups IMA is a low level protocol that transports ATM over multiple E1 links. The 12 ECI TELECOM LTD. the operator has two choices: ♦ ♦ Deploy an ATM switch with 72 E1 interfaces and upgrade them when traffic volume increases. the operator faces an extremely complicated upgrade scheme. These limitations make the network-planning scenario virtually impossible. From that point on. and adds and drops physical links without affecting traffic. The capability to add and drop TDM capacity from the IMA link without affecting ATM traffic is extremely powerful. however. as all E1s belonging to the same IMA group must be processed by the same ASIC. physical cables will need to be rerouted. and casts a shadow on the cost-effectiveness of ATM concentration in the access network. IMA is implemented at the hardware level. it is possible to add only 52 new E1 interfaces and connect the 20 local interfaces directly to the ATM switch.

The solution is based on the integration of SDH and ATM into a single platform – the XDM®. it appears that assigning E1 links to IMA groups places the cellular operator in an impossible situation when planning future upgrades. In conclusion. thus facilitating a reasonable cost structure for 3G services. ATM concentration in the access in essential for maintaining affordable operational costs. if at all. The alternatives are expensive and require initial rollouts for unpredictable future scenarios. The deployment of ATM interfaces based on future upgrade plans is not economically justifiable as changes in traffic volume are. at the very least.LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS resulting upgrade is traffic affecting and involves a complicated cable management procedure. upgrade procedures are extremely complex and demand traffic-affecting cable changes. On the other hand. and hence capital expenses may rule this option out. but requires investment in equipment that will not be used until needed. This integration provides an incredibly cost-effective flexibility and future-readiness. PROPRIETARY 13 . Lightscape’s Solution for 3G Access Networks The cellular communications industry has always been one of Lightscape’s most important target markets. the cost of deploying a future-proof ATM network is high. The second approach of reserving ports for future use is of course simpler. operators are faced with a dilemma: they cannot afford not to do it. uncertain. ECI TELECOM LTD. This is a unique ATM solution configured for the needs of 3G access networks. The Dilemma When having to decide on the deployment of ATM in the access network. In addition. and optimized both in terms of cost and features. but they cannot afford to do it either. It is tailored specifically for the needs of the cellular industry and has a reasonable cost structure. With this in mind. the company developed an innovative and unrivaled solution for deploying 3G access networks.

PROPRIETARY . the company’s flagship MSPP (MultiService Provisioning Platform). it is necessary to first understand the XDM. The key feature that enables ATM implementation is the full VC-12 granularity of the XDM matrix. 14 ECI TELECOM LTD. the XDM can cross-connect any E1 to any other E1 without limitations. Figure 5: Schematic view of the XDM architecture The ASM (ATM Switching Module) Concept Lightscape’s implementation of its ATM solution – the ASM – is an interface card that connects to the system’s matrix rather than to the physical interface ports. Over these interfaces. it features SDH/PDH connections that are transported by the matrix from any physical interface. The ASM is in fact an ATM switch. However. The XDM supports a myriad of TDM and optical capabilities. which supports a full range of PDH and SDH interfaces from E1 to STM-64. rather than being equipped with physical ports. especially designed for cellular and metro networks.LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS The XDM Architecture To better understand Lightscape’s ATM solution.

together with 20 E1s connected as tributaries. and the 20 PDH E1 interfaces to the ASM card. 72 new E1 interfaces and an STM-1 interface must be added to the SDH equipment. The ASM card serves as an ATM switch. In the non-integrated ATM solution. aggregating the total 72 E1 ports into one VC-4. In addition. as well as 72 E1 interfaces and one STM-1 interface. an ATM switch is required. ECI TELECOM LTD. The matrix then routes the resulting VC-4 to the STM-1 port. Traffic Concentration from Several Node Bs into One Unchannelized VC-4 Let us continue with the example of concentration of ATM traffic over 52 E1s that are part of an aggregate STM-1 port. With the integrated XDM ASM solution (Figure 7). ATM switching has no limitations and traffic can be switched at the ATM level from any one port to any other port. PROPRIETARY 15 .LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS Figure 6: ASM card architecture The ASM supports three types of ATM ports: ♦ ♦ ♦ VC-4 ports from STM-1 interfaces or VC-4s on any higher order virtual container E1 ports from any physical E1 interface or any E1 channel from any other interface IMA groups of multiple E1s. the matrix routes 52 E1 interfaces to the incoming STM-1.

but the integration of the two functions in one box is less expensive and more flexible.LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS 20 E1s from the PDH interface card are transported to the ASM card via the matrix VC-4 carried via the matrix to an STM-1 port on an SDH interface 52 E1s from channels in the SDH interface card are transported to the ASM card via the matrix ASM card concentrates ATM traffic from 72 E1s into one VC-4 Figure 7: Concentration of 72 E1s into a single VC-4 A single device therefore accomplishes two tasks: managing the SDH transport layer and concentrating ATM traffic. a standard for transporting TDM over ATM. this is equivalent to an SDH node connected to an ATM switch. 16 ECI TELECOM LTD. Technically. Transporting TDM Traffic over ATM The ASM card supports CES (Circuit Emulation Service). which terminates the ATM virtual circuit and converts the ATM traffic back to TDM. Figure 8 illustrates how CES facilitates the transmission of TDM traffic over the ATM network. The ATM cells are then switched over the ATM network to another ASM card (or any other ATM switch that supports CES). The CES functionality allows the ASM to terminate a TDM E1 for 2G traffic. and encapsulate its content over ATM cells using a dedicated virtual circuit. PROPRIETARY .

a matrix and interface cards. In ECI TELECOM LTD.LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS Figure 8: CES concept CES can therefore be used to carry 2G traffic over ATM. vis a vis the equipment required with the XDM ASM solution. cost-effective and easier to manage. The following sections describe these benefits in more detail. including: 20 x E1 tributary ports 72 x E1 ports connected to the ATM switch 2 x STM-1 aggregate ports 1 x STM-1 port connected to the ATM switch One ATM switch. a Standalone ATM Switch The XDM integrated SDH/ATM solution is more compact (requires less boxes). PROPRIETARY 17 . power supplies. including: 20 x E1 tributary ports 2 x STM-1 aggregate ports 1 x ASM card The integrated approach arrives at the same solution with only a fraction of the equipment: a single card in the integrated SDH ATM solution replaces an ATM switch containing an enclosure. flexible. Advantages of the ASM vs. thus supporting a more flexible and simple network design. Table 1: Two-layer implementation versus integrated implementation Separate SDH and ATM Layers One SDH ADM. Savings in Equipment Table 1 shows the BOM (Bill of Materials) required to concentrate 52 aggregated E1s and 20 tributary E1s into one unchannelized VC-4 over two layers. including 72 x E1 ports 1 x STM-1 port Integrated SDH/ATM Solution One XDM MSPP with ATM capabilities. a backplane.

PROPRIETARY .LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS addition. the SDH system is smaller as it is not necessary to add interfaces for connection to the ATM switch. Since the ASM does not have physical ports. No other ATM system on the market reaches this density. connectors and cables. This drastic reduction in equipment is due to the integration of ATM and SDH into the same hardware. means that future expansions will required cabling changes. the operational costs of the integrated solution are much lower than the operational cost of maintaining two separate layers. When implementing each technology with a different box. as not all Layer 1 connections are managed via the transmission system. this constitutes a huge burden on management and administration. Operational Savings Obviously. IMA Flexibility As explained in the section entitled The Extra Costs of Maintaining IMA Groups. as management-based provisioning replaces physical connections. it is possible to sometimes connect the ATM switch directly to the network and not through SDH equipment. On the other hand. A minimalist design that accounts for the deployment of the number of ATM E1 ports presently needed. When the two technologies are integrated in the same box. planning access network IMA groups can be a discouraging task. the connection between them is a standard telecom connection that requires its own hardware. However. future-proof designs must leave 18 ECI TELECOM LTD. In this particular example. thus reducing overhead costs Only one type of equipment is deployed. This is inconceivable as far as the network planner is concerned. 20 tributaries from the Node Bs can be connected directly to the ATM switch. it can support 126 E1 interfaces (configured in up to 84 IMA groups) in a single card. This results in higher port density and lower costs. Note: Technically. different layers are supported by different interface cards in the same equipment Smaller footprint Reduced power consumption Less physical cabling. The following factors play a major role in this cost reduction: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ A single management system manages both network layers. the interface between the SDH and ATM components is via internal hardware buses.

it may be required to upgrade the existing IMA groups to three E1s. even if they were connected to different PDH interfaces. the optimum design should be attained at minimum cost. the ASM can combine any set of E1 ports. Ideally. where they are combined into a single IMA group (regardless of their origin). four E1s. A network design should therefore account for a variety of scenarios. In other words.In our example. PROPRIETARY 19 . usually referred to as “cost flexibility”: 1. With the integrated XDM ASM solution. into one IMA group. however. but rather as a means to generate revenues. upgrade the network to accommodate for additional demand. Initially. With the conventional approach. the 20 tributary E1 ports can be arranged into 10 IMA groups (each containing traffic from one Node B) with two E1s each. low-cost network that facilitates rollout and handles sparse usage. But unlike other network planning scenarios where demand may be known in advance. it would be necessary to reserve empty ATM E1 ports for future use. should not be seen as an expenditure.LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS margin for the provisioning of empty ports for future IMA expansion. and justifiable so. The XDM matrix would then route all E1s from the same Node B to the same destination. generating maximum revenue. Different E1 ports from different PDH interface cards are routed to the ASM card. it has as yet been impossible to foresee the rate of growth in the demand for 3G services. including ports residing in different PDH interface cards. it should follow these guidelines. This is achieved thanks to the VC-12 granularity of the XDM matrix. Unlike conventional ATM switches. design and build a small. Ideally. The ASM card integrated in the XDM is the ideal solution. cost is a primary factor. 2. Revenues should never be jeopardized by insufficient capacity. Considering that predictions of possible future expansions are always risky. As demands increase. Network planning. Cost Flexibility When designing a network. In the future. ECI TELECOM LTD. new E1s arriving from each Node B may be connected to a new PDH interface card. the network design should accommodate for the demands of all users. financial expenses at the present time based on assumptions of future demands is usually ruled out. or even more.

assumptions are made about network current usage. cost flexibility – that is. At the outset. PROPRIETARY . the cost of the network must be offset by the revenues obtained from the services it provides. there should be no loss of revenue due to insufficient capacity. For example: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Buying bigger enclosures that provide for the addition of more cards in the future Installing high capacity interfaces even if they are not required in the first phase Leaving empty ports for future IMA expansion Using high-density interface cards instead of low-density cards that would need to be replaced. Consequently. as well as about possible scenarios for network upgrades. Even after making the correct assumptions. When measuring the cost of a specific network solution. When opting for a particular network design. There are no concerns as to what size of ATM switch should be installed. therefore. but also future upgrades are simpler. the cost of adding more ATM capacity to the network is substantially lower. To maintain a feasible economical model. Unfortunately. not only that a specific network design is more economical. easier and more cost-effective. The XDM is a build-as-you-grow™ and pay-as-you-grow platform. a capacity upgrade strategy must be predicted. Since the ASM is another interface card (not a standalone box). and the ASM card was designed with these premises in mind.LIGHTSCAPE’S SOLUTION FOR 3G ACCESS NETWORKS Unfortunately. trying to cater for both needs – small initial investment and easy. cost-effective upgrade when demand increases – is not always feasible. In the latter case. 20 ECI TELECOM LTD. the ability to adjust the cost of the network to actual demand – is an extremely important factor. or build a future-ready network incurring costs that may prove to be a waste of money in the future. This results in the all-familiar dilemma: deploy a network today with the minimum configuration required and pay a high price for future upgrades. It then emerges that network capacity should be calculated such that it guarantees no loss of revenue. service demand may lag behind or exceed initial expectations. The major consideration. is not the correlation between capacity and demand but that between the cost of the network and the revenues it produces. upgrades for a futureready network always come at a price.

the compactness and flexibility of the ASM solution allows to build an optimal network solution. even those that reside in a mixture of PDH/SDH interfaces. or a channel in the XDM SDH interfaces IMA groups may contain any type of E1s. either as E1 ATM or as groups of IMA E1s. Canonical Concentration of Node B Traffic into VC-4s A typical ASM application consists of the concentration of E1s from Node Bs into VC-4s carried to the RNC. PROPRIETARY 21 . It is important to note the features that make this application incredibly flexible: ♦ ♦ ♦ The E1s from the Node Bs can be treated as ATM UNI E1s or be combined into IMA groups The E1s may be either physical ports connected to the XDM PDH interface cards. Each ASM card then functions as a concentrator ATM switch. Figure 9 shows a schematic view of this implementation. Node Bs send traffic via E1s. The XDM ASM Card as a Node B Concentrator This section reviews several network scenarios in which the XDM platform is used for implementing 3G access networks. In each application. and adding local traffic from Node Bs. The ASM cards terminate these E1s at the ATM level and concentrate them into a single unchannelized VC-4 carrying ATM traffic from all Node Bs. Figure 9: Concentration of E1s into VC-4s In this application. ECI TELECOM LTD. carrying all VCs from the incoming VC-4 to the outgoing VC-4.THE XDM ASM CARD AS A NODE B CONCENTRATOR but rather how many ASM switching cards are required if and when demands change.

as each ASM card can support a certain number of E1 ports and IMA groups from the Node Bs. If it calls for carrying traffic through a specific pipe. When translating this scalability into concrete terms. relates directly to the quantity of ASM cards required. each network solution should scale from the initial phase of sparse deployment and low number of users.THE XDM ASM CARD AS A NODE B CONCENTRATOR Application Scalability As explained. Sparse Deployment of Node Bs It is reasonable to assume that the initial network deployment will consist of a few Node Bs. there are three factors that define network demands: ♦ ♦ ♦ Number of users and resulting capacity requirements Number of Node Bs in the network Bandwidth availability. if the number of users is low. installation of an extra ASM card at every intermediate point would be an unnecessary and superfluous expense. 22 ECI TELECOM LTD. In our example. Thus. The next sections describe how this canonical design can be easily adapted to actual scenarios based on changing network needs. the network should provide the services required while maintaining a reasonable ratio between expenses and revenues. The second factor (number of Node Bs in the network). Even with huge Node B deployment. The third factor (bandwidth availability) determines the requirement for intermediate concentration. up to the full network coverage for mass usage. additional ASM cards will be required to concentrate the traffic at the ATM level and meet this demand. PROPRIETARY . the actual bandwidth required is minimal. In each phase. this means that a single VC-4 can concentrate traffic from a very large number of Node Bs since the number of end users that actually generate traffic is low. The first is directly related to the bandwidth of the links carrying concentrated traffic. The solution would then be to deploy ASM cards only in some locations and carry and connect Node Bs traffic in intermediate points via the SDH concentration links.

As the actual number of users increases. It is not necessary to reconnect or reroute cables or physical devices. ECI TELECOM LTD.THE XDM ASM CARD AS A NODE B CONCENTRATOR Figure 10: Configuration for a low number of Node Bs In this scenario. This is another example of the future-readiness of the ASM versus an external ATM switch. traffic concentration from Node Bs into a VC-4 is accomplished over a single VC-4 trail. that when a new ASM card is added at an intermediate port. as more Node Bs are deployed. A simple reconfiguration of the network (as shown in Figure 11) caters for the required increase in capacity. more and more bandwidth is required. Increase Bandwidth Demand In Figure 9. the same number of Node Bs with the same number of ASM cards serves additional bandwidth towards the RNC. PROPRIETARY 23 . Later on. only the management-based provisioning needs to be modified. Figure 11: Configuration for increased bandwidth demand Thus. additional ASM cards can be installed at intermediate points. Note also. which is sufficient when there are only a few Node Bs connected to each site. the ASM card can use both E1s from local PDH interfaces and E1s carried from remote E1 ports over SDH channels. which makes the upgrade a tedious task that entails the installation of new equipment and rerouting of physical cables. A typical network deployment can start with this scheme.

however. Upgrade from an IMA-based solution to a VC-4-based solution is management-controlled. cost paradigm. Figure 12: Concentration of Node B traffic into IMA groups In this configuration. PROPRIETARY . thus accounting for the capacity vs. Savings on Intermediate Bandwidth A capacity of one VC-4 may be excessive for the demands in the first phases of network deployment. that the increase in network capacity is achieved without adding a single new card or interface. The ASM. which requires new E1 ports). IMA groups of two to eight E1s are sufficient. Modification of the size of the IMA groups is a simple management provisioning operation (unlike the external ATM switch solution. IMA groups are usually used to carry traffic from Node Bs.THE XDM ASM CARD AS A NODE B CONCENTRATOR Note again. can support larger IMA groups of up to 32 E1s. With external ATM switches. These large IMA groups may be used for traffic concentration. consuming only the needed bandwidth instead of occupying an entire VC-4. A simple management operation routes traffic from the Node Bs over two VC-4s instead of one. The ASM can accommodate actual demand using large IMA groups. In this example. Combining VC-4 and IMA Aggregation VC-4s and IMA groups can also be combined into a single network design. the benefits of the ASM flexibility are enormous: ♦ ♦ ♦ 3G traffic consumption is controlled by the E1 granularity of the XDM matrix. the upgrade would involve changes to the hardware configuration of the switches. Figure 13 shows how IMA group concentration can be added when the existing VC-4 has been fully utilized. 24 ECI TELECOM LTD. Figure 12 illustrates this concept.

while 3G traffic can be concentrated into IMA groups populating the remaining links 3G traffic can be multiplexed at the ATM level with 2G traffic via CES. TDM Multiplexing of 2G and 3G Traffic Figure 14 shows how 2G TDM traffic is carried over standard TDM links. 3G networks must share resources with existing 2G deployments. This paper has thus far dealt with 3G access networks only. as it provides a flexible and convenient way of building 2G access networks. when traffic increases. ECI TELECOM LTD. no network is an island. the initial deployment can consists of a single IMA group. PROPRIETARY 25 . Integration of 2G and 3G Traffic John Donne (1572-1631) said. “No man is an island”. Both alternatives are easily supported with the XDM in a single platform that converges both SDH and ATM. this is not a technical issue but an economical one: to reduce costs. it can be concentrated into a VC-4. the following important question arises: How do 3G and 2G networks share resources? Once again. and later.INTEGRATION OF 2G AND 3G TRAFFIC Figure 13: Combination of VC-4 and IMA concentration Similarly. However. This takes advantage of the platform’s full nonblocking 4/3/1 cross-connectivity as well as ATM switching features. By the same token. The E1 granularity of the XDM matrix is therefore ideal for cellular applications. The XDM ASM solution provides two alternatives for using the same infrastructure for both 2G and 3G traffic: ♦ ♦ 2G traffic can populate only parts of the STM-1 links.

26 ECI TELECOM LTD. The 3G IMA group and 2G traffic can therefore share the same channelized STM-1. Furthermore. 2G E1s from PDH interface cards are transported to SDH channels 3G E1s originated in Node Bs are carried from PDH interface cards to the ASM card Large IMA group carries concentrated traffic from multiple Node Bs Channelized STM-1 (some channels carry 2G TDM traffic and some large IMA groups concentrating ATM traffic from multiple Node Bs) Figure 14: TDM multiplexing of 2G and 3G data ATM Multiplexing of 2G and 3G Traffic Figure 15 shows how 2G traffic is transported over ATM via CES. CES in the ASM terminates 2G TDM E1s and encapsulates them over ATM cells. In this approach. unlike external ATM switches which require changes in physical cabling. which converts ATM traffic back to TDM. the ATM layer serves as a common layer. The cells are then switched over the ATM network to another ASM card (or any other CES-supporting ATM switch).INTEGRATION OF 2G AND 3G TRAFFIC At the same time. any change in bandwidth allocation between the two networks is effected via management. carrying both 2G and 3G traffic. PROPRIETARY . the ASM card concentrates ATM traffic from multiple Node Bs into one IMA group.

This technological integration is the key to drastic cost reductions when compared to any other solution for separate ATM and SDH layers. number of users and increases in capacity. The XDM ASM is a revolutionary design that integrates two technologies into a single layer. ECI TELECOM LTD. it can be flexibly configured to suit many scenarios. VC-4 carried via the matrix to an STM-1 interface Figure 15: ATM multiplexing of 2G and 3G traffic Conclusion The deployment of 3G cellular networks is one of the most difficult challenges facing the telecommunications industry today. Furthermore.CONCLUSION 2G E1s originated in Node Bs carried from PDH interface cards to the ASM 3G E1s originated in Node Bs carried from PDH interface cards to the ASM ASM card concentrates traffic from Node Bs and VCCs that carry CES onto one VC-4 ASM card terminates 2G E1s and converts them into ATM VCCs . While the technological foundations have been laid. adapting the network to changes in deployment. This is due to the fact that several factors come into play: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Network infrastructure and operational costs Types of services offered Treatment of the different network layers Changes in the number of users and the bandwidth demand from each user. implementation continues to be elusive. PROPRIETARY 27 . providing a powerful and cost-effective solution for the implementation of 3G access networks.

and are no longer limited by network upgrades when the need arises. but also provides a scalable solution from initial deployment to full mass usage. Cellular operators no longer need to invest money at present based on vague future predictions.CONCLUSION The XDM ASM approach not only supports the deployment of cost-effective networks. PROPRIETARY . 28 ECI TELECOM LTD.