285 23-3107 Uen Rev B | September 2009
The evolution of EDGE
EDGE Evolution will introduce higher data rates and improved coverage, further strengthening GSM/EDGE as an attractive mobile broadband solution and complement to 3G/LTE.
3 3 3.Contents
1 2 2.1 4.2 2.2 5 6 Executive summary The GSM/EDGE advantage Mobile internet for everyone EDGE complementing 3G Mobile broadband using EDGE EDGE performance today and tomorrow Network performance of today Enhanced applications performance over EDGE EDGE Evolution performance boost Implementing EDGE Evolution The evolution of EDGE technology Introducing EDGE EDGE Evolution enhancements Conclusion Glossary 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 11 11 12 15 16
2 The evolution of EDGE Contents
.4 4 4.2 3.1 3.1 2.3 3.
This performance is sufﬁcient to make any data service available today attractive to users. and to meet increasing demand for mobile internet services through optimal use of available radio spectrum. providing nationwide coverage for voice and data for many years to come. EDGE provides both a fast way to achieve good indoor and outdoor coverage.1 Executive summary
Since its standardization was ﬁnalized by the 3GPP in 2000. which further improves performance and capacity. What is more. The performance of EDGE has improved steadily since its introduction: today it offers user bit rates up to 250kbps. EDGE – Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution – has achieved market maturity in terms of networks. EDGE Evolution more than doubles end-user bit rates and reduces latency signiﬁcantly. The common view from GSM/WCDMA operators is that GSM will be used beyond 2020. EDGE is a viable alternative for providing fast internet access in markets where ﬁxed network infrastructure is yet to be established. Upgrading to EDGE has become a natural step for operators who want to offer high-performance mobile data services over GSM. protecting current GSM and EDGE investments for many years to come. To build on the global success of EDGE. EDGE gives them a costeffective way to reach the mass market and boost the uptake of mobile data services. Three-quarters of all GSM and UMTS terminals sold now support EDGE. from low to high-end. EDGE combines efﬁcient technology. terminals and business models. all this can be done using existing infrastructure. with end-to-end latency of less than 150ms. a simple upgrade path and support for many GSM and WCDMA terminals to create a compelling business case. EDGE is an important complement to mobile broadband services presently delivered over WCDMA/HSPA and in future LTE networks. the GSM community has standardized EDGE Evolution.
The evolution of EDGE Executive summary 3
4 The evolution of EDGE The GSM/EDGE advantage
.4 11. delivering higher bit rates per radio channel. EDGE is not launched as a service. GSM operators can extend their service offering to include high-performance mobile data. Bit rates stated are per time slot.4 29. EDGE is a simple and costeffective upgrade that provides a more than three-fold increase in both the capacity and performance of GSM/GPRS networks.6
Figure 1: EDGE is four times as efﬁcient as GPRS. as illustrated in Figure 1. It does not require any new sites or new spectrum. It does this by introducing sophisticated
User data rate in the air Kbps 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
methods of coding and transmitting data. and has no impact on existing cell or frequency plans. today’s terminals receive data on up to ﬁve time slots.4 59. More than 80 percent of all mobile users in the world are served by GSM.2 The GSM/EDGE advantage
In the mid-1990s.0
12.8 54. They can rapidly target all potential data users thanks to EDGE’s ability to achieve high geographic and population coverage in a short period of time. The common view from the GSM/WCDMA operators is that GSM will be used beyond 2020.8 17. it is an enabler of new services and faster internet access – an almost mandatory upgrade. simplicity and maturity.2
22. and every month approximately 40 million new users join the GSM community. and these are all beneﬁts that EDGE shares too.2 14.4
8. Introducing EDGE normally only requires a software upgrade of the existing GSM/GPRS network. GPRS uses four coding schemes (CS-1 to 4) while EDGE uses nine Modulation and Coding Schemes (MCS -1 to 9).0
GPRS CS2 Normal 10kbps per TS Max 12kbps per TS
20. With EDGE. Standardized in 3GPP as part of the GSM/ WCDMA family. As a mobile technology. and this growth continues today.6
MCS1 MCS2 MCS3 MCS4 MCS5 MCS6 MCS7 MCS8 MCS9
EDGE Normal 40–50kbps per TS Max 59kbps per TS
44. This is one of the main reasons that several hundred GSM networks have already upgraded to EDGE.0 14. meaning that GSM and EDGE will provide the fundamental coverage for voice and data for many years to come. with a clear and compelling business case. economies of scale. GSM has unmatched coverage. GSM deployment gathered pace around the world.
resulting in higher Average Margin Per User (AMPU) contribution. 2009)
The evolution of EDGE The GSM/EDGE advantage 5
. In many networks EDGE has been deployed nationwide to complement 3G/HSPA. prices are low. Now. or where licensing regulations have not even been settled.
Mobile phones and the internet are an important part of many people’s day-to-day lives. Therefore EDGE helps operators to adopt a more ﬂexible approach to the 3G/HSPA roll out. And the signs are that users like it. HSPA) LTE Million units TD–SCDMA
Figure 2: New sales by technology (Source: Strategy Analytics. The number of users with a bucket-plan data subscription has increased signiﬁcantly since the introduction of HSPA in the 3G networks. and services and content have been adapted to mobile consumers.1
Mobile internet for everyone
GPRS users. The mobile broadband service contributes positively to the operators’ revenue and enables new business segments. and the trend is that WCDMA/
Global handset sales
1 600 1 400 1 200 1 000 800 600 400 200 0 2006 2007 2008 Other GSM/GPRS CDMA 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 EDGE WCDMA WCDMA/EDGE (incl. There are still many markets where 3G networks have not been deployed. these two invaluable technologies have merged. Mobile data rates have improved in recent years. In these markets. The combination of mobile broadband capability and low-priced EDGE-capable GSM phones has made EDGE a viable option for markets where ﬁxed network infrastructure has not yet been established. thanks to the advances being made in mobile networks and terminals. EDGE has been deployed offering sufﬁcient bandwidth to deliver fast internet access over the existing GSM infrastructure. as shown in Figure 2. Almost all HSPA-enabled terminals have EDGE capability.2
EDGE complementing 3G
HSPA/EDGE handsets will dominate the market. enabling operators to focus the investments on most needed in 3G from a revenue perspective. Figures from many markets show that users with EDGE-enabled services consume up to three times more data than standard
Mobile broadband is very successful in most 3G markets.2. EDGE-delivered data services create a broadband internet-like experience on a mobile phone.
it is possible to deploy such mobile broadband services with limited investment. and analysis shows that the investment can be recouped within two years. at 90 percent geographical GSM coverage. extending 3G coverage to 90 percent implies a huge investment due to the large number of RBS sites needed. contributing to growth in ARPU. it still typically lags the geographical coverage of GSM/EDGE. With EDGE and EDGE Evolution.
Population coverage WCDMA/HSPA Geographical coverage WCDMA/HSPA
0% 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Figure 3: Example of population and geographical coverage for GSM and WCDMA in a country
2. EDGE and EDGE Evolution enable operators to provide a proﬁtable mobile broadband service. Naturally. irrespective of whether the operator has a 3G license. One main reason for the coverage difference is that GSM is typically
Population coverage GSM/EDGE Geographical coverage GSM/EDGE 100%
deployed on the 900MHz frequency band while 3G is deployed on 2100MHz. While many 3G networks today have good population coverage. end-user performance is good
6 The evolution of EDGE The GSM/EDGE advantage
.With combined HSPA and EDGE deployment.
Where 3G networks have yet not been deployed. The service is then in place and once 3G/LTE is deployed the operator can concentrate on improving mobile broadband performance and capacity where it is needed. the operator can truly offer a fullcoverage mobile broadband service to end users and still keep investments at a reasonable level. it is possible to grab the 3G/LTE market now. As an example. therefore.3
Mobile broadband using EDGE
enough to allow competitive offerings for most markets. illustrated in Figure 3. With EDGE Evolution. Given that most GSM networks are already well established and that voice and data typically do not peak at the same time. the same number of RBS sites provides approximately 30-40 percent geographical 3G coverage.
Network efﬁciency also impacts end-user performance. Features like advanced link quality control and persistent scheduling have improved performance signiﬁcantly over standard GPRS and the ﬁrst implementations of EDGE. the time it takes to download a web page is about one-quarter of that taken with standard GPRS. mobile broadband and messaging services – more attractive. The increased user bit-rates and reduced latency offered by EDGE enhance existing applications and make new services – like music downloads. the time it takes to download a page depends on the end-to-end round-trip time and user bit-rates in the system – which are the main performance indicators for any packet data system. Compared with basic implementations. with end-to-end round-trip time (latency) of 150ms
700 600 200 500 400 300 200 50 100 0 0 150 250
30 100 20 10 0
System round trip time (ms)
User bit rate (kbps)
Web download time (sec)
EDGE first release
Figure 4: Typical live network performance indicators and application performance
The evolution of EDGE EDGE performance today and tomorrow 7
. as experienced by the end-user. the latest EDGE systems have greatly improved resource utilization. a web download consists of multiple requests and downloads of objects and. For example. is dependent on a variety of system characteristics. For example.1
Network performance of today
(as shown in Figure 4).3 EDGE performance today and tomorrow
Today’s EDGE technology offers greatly improved performance compared with standard GPRS and the ﬁrst implementations of EDGE. multiplexing capabilities for several users and other capabilities that maximize network efﬁciency. consequently. Performance is normally evaluated across a common set of subscriber applications. Today’s state-of-the-art EDGE networks typically offer user speeds of 200kbps.
60 50 40
The performance of EDGE.
a number of enhancements to EDGE have been standardized by the 3GPP. and facilitate conversational multimedia services. end users will be able to experience mobile internet connections corresponding to a 500kbps ADSL service.3
EDGE Evolution performance boost
perceived performance across all services by: ✒ Reducing latency to improve the user experience of interactive services and also to enhance support for conversational services such as multimedia telephony. EDGE Evolution will improve service performance and enable more efﬁcient radio bearers.
EDGE enhances services provided by GSM systems with higher user bit rates and multimedia capabilities.
To improve service performance in general.
Application Web browsing Messaging E-mail Push-to-Talk Gaming Mobile TV Music download Mobile broadband Beneﬁt with EDGE
Signiﬁcantly faster browsing for all data users Much faster interaction – good for chat environment Synchronization of mail accounts signiﬁcantly faster Improved end-user quality and higher capacity Real-time gaming is enabled Good TV quality is enabled Good experience with EDGE and progressive download Possibility to deploy mobile broadband services in the GSM network
Table 1: Services enhanced over GSM/EDGE
3. ✒ Increasing peak and mean bit rates. ✒ Improving spectrum efﬁciency. Different services may have varying performance requirements in different areas. web browsing. taking advantage of the installed base. Known collectively as EDGE Evolution. Round-trip times will be less than 80ms and spectrum efﬁciency will be more than twice as good as today.3. for example by reducing interference or allowing more robust services. Peak bit rates of up to 1Mbps and typical bit rates of 400kbps can be expected. Increased terminal sensitivity improves coverage in the noiselimited scenario. but EDGE Evolution is expected to improve the
8 The evolution of EDGE EDGE performance today and tomorrow
. EDGE Evolution can be gradually introduced as software upgrades. This includes e-mail. which will particularly beneﬁt operators in urban areas where existing frequency spectrum is used to its maximum extent – trafﬁc volume can be increased without compromising service performance or degrading perceived user quality. these were included in Release 7 of the 3GPP standard. to improve best-effort services such as web browsing or music downloads. ✒ Boosting service coverage. With EDGE Evolution. EDGE is also an evolutionary path towards providing thirdgeneration services.2
Enhanced application performance over EDGE
The perceived end-user performance enabled by EDGE is good enough to make any service available today more attractive (Table 1). music downloads and mobile TV.
3. 4TS. 32QAM
Figure 5: Peak bit rates in downlink for GPRS. dual carrier.
The installed base of GSM/EDGE equipment is very large. CS2 EDGE. 5TS EDGE Evolution. turbo codes
Figure 6: Relative spectrum efﬁciency for GPRS. 10TS. dual carrier EDGE Evolution. 32QAM. Handsets will require more extensive
1000 900 800 Peak bit-rates (kbps) 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 GPRS. A large number of handset vendors are foreseen to adhere to EDGE Evolution. 10TS. dual antenna terminals EDGE Evolution. EDGE and different stages of EDGE Evolution 7 6 Relative spectrum efficiency 5 4 3 2 1 0 GPRS EDGE EDGE Evolution. The different enhancements may be gradually – and to some extent independently – introduced in the network. most of them as software upgrades. Current network architecture remains unchanged. so great care has been taken to ensure that the impact of EDGE Evolution on base station hardware is minimized.4
Implementing EDGE Evolution
modiﬁcations. Figures 5 and 6 show examples of the increased peak bit rates and spectrum efﬁciency provided by GPRS. and handsets with increasing levels of EDGE Evolution functionality are expected to be available from 2010. EDGE and different stages of EDGE Evolution
The evolution of EDGE EDGE performance today and tomorrow 9
. dual antenna terminals. but are replaced at a much higher rate. EDGE and different stages of EDGE Evolution implementation.
Figure 7 shows the cumulative distribution of the time slot bit rate in an urban cell with medium quality.Performance in a live network has been measured in order to ensure that EDGE Evolution provides beneﬁts in real situations. Quality measurements have been collected in a number of typical cells in operators’ networks and the results show that EDGE Evolution will
signiﬁcantly improve bit rates in the whole cell. EDGE Evolution increases the average bit rate by 86 percent (from 42 to 78kbps) compared with EDGE.
Predicted radio link bit rate: cumulative distribution
50% EGDE Evolution 25%
0% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Radio link bit rate (kbps/TS) 70 80 90 100
Figure 7: Bit rate distribution per time slot in a rural cell for EDGE and EDGE Evolution
10 The evolution of EDGE EDGE performance today and tomorrow
The higher bit rates place extra demands on parts of the GPRS network (as shown in Figure 8). These beneﬁts make upgrades more cost efﬁcient for operators with existing GSM infrastructure. fading and interference. GMSK modulation. base station transceivers need to be EDGE-capable. is also part of EDGE. Both steps of the technology substantially improve performance and efﬁciency in the GSM network while protecting the architecture and keeping as much existing equipment as possible in use. The core GPRS nodes. and base station and BSC/PCU software needs to be updated. In the radio network. as deﬁned in GSM/GPRS.1
different channel quality. as a result of differences in the distance to the serving base station.
GMSC MSC/ VLR BSC HLR GPRS register SGSN PSTN
EDGE is an improvement to the GPRS air interface that enables higher user bit rates and greater system capacity by enhancing the physical layer. EDGE improves the situation by employing a new modulation method and link quality control. are more or less independent of user bit rates and no new hardware is required. but also means that many users have “excessive” channel quality. Radio network planning ensures that only a fraction of users ever experience poor channel quality.4 The evolution of EDGE technology
EDGE and EDGE Evolution are designed with both backwards compatibility and efﬁciency in mind.
4. 8-PSK is a high-level linear modulation method that carries three times more information through an extended signal constellation. SGSN and GGSN. One fundamental characteristic of cellular systems is that different users experience
Backbone IP network
External IP network
Affected by EDGE introduction
Figure 8: GSM/GPRS network architecture
The evolution of EDGE The evolution of EDGE technology 11
EDGE Evolution enhancements
EDGE.2. Reducing the TTI to 10ms improves latency substantially. As illustrated in Figure 9.Nine modulation and coding schemes are deﬁned in EDGE. Radio blocks are currently transmitted over four consecutive bursts on one time slot using a TTI of 20ms. EDGE Link Adaptation and EDGE Incremental Redundancy
4. to below 80ms. LA 60 Throughput (kbps) 50 40 30 20 10 0 5 10 15 C/I (dB) 20
quality control in EDGE uses both link adaptation and incremental redundancy where the initial coding is selected based on measurement of radio quality and additional redundancy is sent if decoding fails. whereas EDGE user bit rates increase with better channel quality.
10ms BSC BTS
10 m s
Core network and internet
Figure 10: Lower latency with reduced TTI
12 The evolution of EDGE The evolution of EDGE technology
. incremental redundancy gives a higher bit rate and higher robustness compared to link adaptation. The four bursts are then transmitted on more than one time slot (parallel time slots on two carriers or dual time slots on one carrier).
EDGE.1 Latency reduction
EDGE Evolution makes substantial improvements in latency and perceived delay through reduced Transmission Time Interval (TTI) and additional protocol enhancements. A standard GPRS bit rate saturates at relatively low channel quality. The protection of the data is adapted to the channel quality to ensure optimal bit rate. IR
Figure 9: Bit rate per time slot as a function of radio quality for GPRS. Link quality control dynamically selects the modulation and coding scheme for transmission of data over the air interface.
In this case. The higher symbol rate enables higher bit rates in the uplink.2 EDGE
Higher-order modulation and turbo codes
1 – 5dB
Figure 11: Examples of bit rate improvements in different parts of a cell
The evolution of EDGE The evolution of EDGE technology 13
.2. with no other changes to EDGE. EDGE terminals already use multiple time slots for transmission and reception.” which handle error correction more efﬁciently than current convolutional codes.5Mbps 0. By combining signals from the two antennas. similar to those used in base station receivers. Using 16QAM instead of 8-PSK modulation for some of the current modulation and coding schemes (MCS) improves robustness against interference and. as a result. while higher-order modulation. turbo codes and increased symbol rate Higher average and peak bit-rates and improved spectrum efﬁciency are achieved through more advanced modulation. the higher number of bits per symbol.6 0. The introduction of dual carriers doubles the available bandwidth (to 400kHz) as well as the practical peak bit rate. Today’s terminals receive on up to ﬁve time slots. since dual carriers are only standardized for the downlink. signiﬁcantly improving average bit rates and spectrum efﬁciency. It shows how higher-order modulation and dual carriers improve peak bit rates.2 Increased bit rates and improved efﬁciency
Dual carriers The most obvious improvement to peak bit rates is through the introduction of dual carriers in the downlink. With 12 MCSs – three more than with regular EDGE – enabled by higher-order modulations (16QAM and 32QAM in addition to GMSK and 8-PSK). as different features are introduced.4 EDGE Evolution 0.
Higher-order modulation. equating to user bitrates of almost 1Mbps if dual carriers are used. increasing the carrier bandwidth). Using dual carriers and ﬁve timeslots on each carrier provides bitrates of almost 600kbps. is used to increase the channel coding.4.0
Dual-carrier downlink 2 x TS
Figure 11 shows an example of different bit rates in a cell. Using “turbo codes. improves average bit rates even further. increasing the carrier bandwidth available above 200kHz. a large proportion of the interference can be cancelled out.
Mbps 1. more efﬁcient channel coding and an increased symbol rate (in practice. turbo codes and interference cancellation with dual antennas increase bit rates at the cell border.4kbps per time slot.
0. the peak bit rate is boosted to 98.8
3 – 8dB
Dual-antenna terminals Dual-antenna terminals enable efﬁcient interference rejection techniques. increases the average bit rates.
3 Service coverage
Dual antenna terminals can also improve service coverage. With two antennas and efﬁcient combination methods. enabling larger cells or lower output power.4. Around 3dB less (roughly 50 percent) signal power is needed to provide service.2.
14 The evolution of EDGE The evolution of EDGE technology
. weaker signal transmissions can be captured.
this makes the business case for EDGE even stronger than it is today – regardless of whether they have access to 3G spectrum. enhancing customer satisfaction and boosting data revenues. In effect. EDGE Evolution.5 Conclusion
EDGE is delivering high bit rates and spectrum efﬁciency for GSM operators around the world.
The evolution of EDGE Conclusion 15
. and provides seamless services with 3G. increasing the usability of mobile data services. This means it can handle four times as much trafﬁc as standard GPRS. and is a standard capability for GSM and WCDMA phones. For GSM operators around the world. EDGE enables user bit rates up to 250kbps and a latency of 150ms. EDGE enables 3G applications such as mobile broadband over current GSM networks. Today. standardized in 3GPP. improves performance and coverage even further. with bit rates of up to 1Mbps and latency of less than 80ms.
3G 3GPP 8-PSK 16QAM 32QAM BSC CDMA EDGE GGSN GMSC GMSK GPRS GSM HLR HSPA LTE MCS MSC PCU PSTN SGSN TD-SCDMA TTI VLR VoIP third generation radio technology for mobile networks. Narrowband digital radio is the second generation of technology (2G). Third Generation Partnership Project Octonary-Phase-Shift Keying 16-point quadrature amplitude modulation 32-point quadrature amplitude modulation base station controller code division multiple access Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution Gateway GPRS Support Node Gateway Mobile Switching Center Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying General Packet Radio Service Global System for Mobile communications Home Location Register High Speed Packet Access Long Term Evolution modulation and coding scheme mobile switching center packet control unit public switched telephone network serving GPRS support node Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access transmission time interval visitor location register Voice over Internet Protocol technology enables users to transmit voice calls via the internet using packet-linked routes. VoIP is also called IP telephony. WCDMA Wideband Code Division Multiple Access
16 The evolution of EDGE Glossary