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Frequency Planning

Frequency Planning
(1.0) Introduction:
The Cellular concept is a system with many low power transmitters, each providing coverage to only a small portion of the service area. Each base station is allocated a portion of the total number of channels available to the entire system, and nearby base station are assigned different group of channels so that the interference between base stations is minimised. The channels assignment in case of GSM900, E-GSM900 and DCS1800 (or GSM1800) is as shown in Figure-(1.1) below,

(2.0) Frequency Re-use:

One important characteristic of GSM networks is frequency planning wherein given the limited frequency spectrum available, the re-use of frequencies in different cells is to be planned such that high capacity can be achieved keeping the interference under a specific level. A cell in a GSM system may be omni-directional or sectored represented by hexagons. In GSM system a tri-sectored cell is assumed and the frequency plan is made accordingly. To understand the frequency re-use planning, consider a GSM system having S channels (ARFCNs) allocated, wherein each cell (sector) is allocated k channels, assuming that all three sectors have same number of k channels. If the S channels are divided among N base stations each having three sectored cell, then the total number of available radio channels can be expressed as,

(3.0) Co-channel Interference and System capacity:

Frequency re-use implies that in a given coverage area there are several cells that uses the same set of frequencies. These cells are called co-channel cells and the interference between signals from these cells is called co-channel interference. Unlike thermal noise which, can be overcome by increasing the S/N ratio, co-channel interference cannot be combated by simple increase in carrier power. This is because an increase in carrier power increases the interference to neighbouring co-channel cells. To reduce co-channel interference, co-channel cells must be physically separated by a minimum distance in order to provide sufficient isolation due to propagation.

(4.0) Design Criterion:

An optimal frequency plan requires minimal interference between co-channel and adjacent channel cells, GSM Rec. 05.05 has defined the interference ratios for co-channel and adjacent channel cells. The actual interference ratio shall be less than a

(5.0) Frequency Channel Allocation:

In GSM systems we divide the total allocated spectrum into two sub-groups one for Control information with traffic referred to as BCCH frequency and other only for traffic referred to as TCH (or non-BCCH) frequency. In case where the network has Microcells then the total band allotted is divided for BCCH and TCH, wherein each band is further sub-divided for Macrocellular & Microcellular applications. Figure (1.3) explains the concept,

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Frequency Planning




Macro Cell

Micro Cell

Fig.- (1.3) Frequency band allocation.

The re-use may differ for both the groups, as little or no compromise is made for BCCH frequency interference whereas certain compromise could be made for TCH frequency interference. Typically a cluster size of 4 or 7 is considered for BCCH re-use whereas a cluster size of 3 or 4 is used for TCH re-use. The number of channels in each group depends on the spectrum allocated and C/I criteria for re-use in each case.

(6.0) BSIC Planning:

In addition to the assignment of frequency group to a cell, a Base Station Identity Code (BSIC) must be assigned in association with the frequency group. This will eliminate the possibility of incorrect cell identification and will allow the evolution to future cell architecture. The BSIC is a two-digit code wherein the first digit is indicates NCC (Network Colour Code) and the second digit indicates BCC (Base Station Colour Code). The NCC and BCC have values ranging from 0 to 7, where the NCC is fixed for an operator, signifying at any given point there can be maximum of 8 operators in an area. The BCC defines the cluster number which means a group of 8 clusters carry unique identity which are re-used for another group of 8 clusters and so on. The principal for allocation of the BSIC is the same as for the RF carriers but at cluster level rather than cell level. The concept can be understood in the following example,

(8.0) Frequency Hopping

The principle of Frequency Hopping used within GSM is that successive TDMA bursts of a connection are transmitted via different frequencies-the frequencies belonging to the respective cell according to network planning. This method is called Slow Frequency Hopping (SFH) since the transmission frequency remains constant during one burst. In contrast to Fast Frequency Hopping (FFH) where the transmission frequency changes within one burst. The effect of frequency hopping is that link quality may change from burst to burst, ie a burst of high BER may be followed by a burst of low BER, since Short term fading is different on different frequencies, The interference level is different on different frequencies. The results of frequency hopping are improvement in the received quality in fading situation and interference averaging. (8.1) Frequency Hopping Techniques: The hopping techniques can be broadly classified into two main categories. They are, Base band Hopping Synthesised Hopping

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Frequency Planning

As Frequency Hopping is a subject in it self, a separate document will be written concentrating on Frequency Hopping Techniques in near future.

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