Cellular Networks Concepts and Fundamentals By

Waheed ur Rehman


Cellular Concept Frequency Reuse Channel Assignment Strategies
Fixed Dynamic 


Handover or Handoff Handover Strategies Prioritizing HO Practical HO consideration Okumura propagation model HO types and considerations

Cellular Concept 

Coverage area is called a cell Breakthrough in solving of spectral congestion and user capacity Single high power transmitter is replaced with many lower power transmitters. Portion of total number of channels are assigned to each cell

Cellular Concept (2) 

Can be reused as many times as needed as long as co-channel interference is kept below acceptable level. If demand for service increase number of BSs increases + decrease of transmission power. 

Cellular Concept (3) 

Coverage area of a cell depends upon
Transmit power of BS Transmit power of the MS Height of the BS antenna The topology of the landscape (terrain) 

Coverage can range from too few yards to tens of kilometers

Cellular Concept (4)    

CDMA cell (³breathe´) don¶t have interference problem Under light load = large cell size, shrinks with load increases ( due to growing noise) If more users are in a cell, the higher the noise, higher the path loss and higher the transmission error will be. Mobile users far away from BS are dropped out.

Cellular : Advantages 

Higher Capacity Less Transmission Power
Receiver away from BS require more power 

Local Interference only Robust

Cellular : Disadvantages 

Infrastructure Needed Handovers Needed Frequency Planning
To Avoid Interference

Question : Why don·t we use Square instead of Hexagon? 



4 cells apart d 4 cells apart ¥2d 



¥(d2 + d2) = ¥2d

2 3


Equidistant ¥3R
R = ¥(a2 + (R/2)2) Equidistance simplifies the decision of when and which antenna to choose in case of HO 

d d d 

Frequency Reuse 

Adjacent cells have different channels The design process is called Frequency Reuse or Frequency Planning Footprint : radio coverage area of the cell Hexagon are better than square of equilateral triangle.

Frequency Reuse (2) 

Center excited cell: BS in the middle. Corner Excited Cell: BS on the vertices Practical consideration usually do no allow BS to be placed exactly as they appear in hexagon. Most system design permit BS to be positioned upto one fourth of the cell radius away from ideal location.

Cellular system

Frequency Reuse (3) 


S = total duplex channels k= channels in each cell k < S N= Total Number of cells S= kN The N cells which collectively use the complete set of channels are called Clusters. If cluster is replicated M times then capacity C can be C = MkN = MS Capacity is directly proportional to cluster number N is the cluster size. 

Cell structure with microcells
Cluster 6 7 1 2 6 7 1 2 3 4 2 3 5 7 1 4 Reuse factor is 7 3 6 5 4 microcells 5

Increasing Cell Capacity 

Adding New Channels Frequency Borrowing Cell Splitting Cell Sectoring Microcells Repeater for range extension

Increasing Cell Capacity (2)
Macrocell Cell Radius 1 to 20 km Transmission Power 1 to 10W Average Delay Spread 0.1 to 10micSec Maximum bit Rate 0.3 Mbps Microcell 0.1 to 1 km 0.1 to 1W 10 to100 ns 1Mbps

Channel Assignment Strategies 

Fixed Dynamic

Channel Assignment Strategies (2) Fixed 

Fix number of channels are assigned to the cell Call can be blocked One variation is channel borrowing strategy. MSC supervises borrowing strategy. Fixed Channel Assignment is used by GSM

Channel Assignment Strategies (3) Dynamic 

Channels are not allocated permanently When a call is made, serving BS request a channel from MSC The channel is allocated following the algorithm that takes into account parameters like likelihood of future blocking, reuse distance of the channel etc.

Channel Assignment Strategies (4) Dynamic  

Require MSC to collect real-time collection of data on channel occupancy, traffic distribution, radio signal strength indication(RSSI) on continuous basis. Increases the load and storage. Dynamic Channel Assignment is used by DECT


Co-Channel Interference
Interference at same frequencies 

Adjacent Channel Interference
Interference with the neighboring frequency 

HOW to Avoid ????


Ability of the subscriber to maintain a call while moving within the network Handoff can be between Two frequencies (interference) Two sectors on the same BS Between BS Between BSC Between MSC belonging to the same operators Even between two different networks (normally not supported because of billing reasons) 

Handoff/Handover (2)

Handoff : Reasons 

Two basic reasons ( more than 40 identified by GSM standard)
Signal Strength or SNR Load Balancing

Handoff Types 

Soft Handover Hard Handover Softer Handover Horizontal HO Vertical HO Upward and Downward HO 


Handoff Approaches 

Four approaches for handoff Network Controlled HO 1G 

Network measure the signal strength In case of weak signal than HO to the near by cell Signal measurements sent by mobile station.

Mobile assisted HO ->2G 

Network Assisted HO Mobile Controlled HO

Handoff Strategies 


There should be some threshold value. Should be carefully selected to minimize the ping pong effect. As infrequent as possible = Pr handoff ± Pr Min usable should not be too big or too small

Handoff Strategies (2) 

In 1G MSC was responsible for HO Locator Receiver were used at BS for measuring signal strength and reporting it to MSC. NCHO

Handoff Strategies (3) 

In 2G MAHO strategy was used. Less burden on MSC and improved HO Intersystem HO: from one MSC to another MSC HO should be given more priority over originating call. HO should be as lossless as possible.  

Prioritizing Handover  


Guard channel capacity: some channels are reserved for HO. Disadv: reducing the total carried traffic Efficient spectrum utilization in case of dynamic channel allocation strategy. Queuing of HO request is another strategy.

Practical HO Considerations 

User mobility considerations High speed vs low speed users Umbrella cell approach Cell dragging problem in microcells
HO thresholds and radio coverage parameters must be adjusted carefully.

Practical HO Considerations (2) 

1G required 10 sec for HO Value of was about 6dB to 12 dB 2G require 1 to 2 sec Value of was about 0 to 6dB Newer cellular system consider more matrices for HO decision making the process complex

Handover types and recent Considerations 

Hard handover

Soft handover

Softer handover


Mobile Radio Propagation Models 

Okumura Model that is refined my Hata. Original details analysis of the Tokyo area For Urban environment, predicted path loss is

LdB = 69.55 + 26.16 log fc ± 13.82 log ht ± A(hr) + (44.9 ± 6.55loght) log d

Mobile Radio Propagation Models (2)
LdB = 69.55 + 26.16 log fc ± 13.82 log ht ± A(hr) + (44.9 ± 6.55loght) log d 

fc = Carrier frequency in MHz from 150 to 1500 MHz ht = Height of transmitting antenna(BS) in m, from 30 t0 300 m hr =Height of receiving antenna(MS) in m, from 1 t0 10 m d = Propagation distance between antennas in km, from 1 to 20 km. A(hr)= correction factor for mobile unit antenna height

Mobile Radio Propagation Models (3)
For a small or medium size city, the correction factor is given by A(hr) = (1.1 log fc ± 0.7) hr ± (1.56 log fc ± 0.8) dB And for a larger city A(hr) = 8.29[log(1.54hr)]2 -1.1 dB A(hr) = 3.2[log(11.75hr)]2 -4.97 dB For suburban area LdB (suburban) = LdB(urban) ± 2[log (fc/28)]2 ± 5.4 And the path loss in open areas is LdB (open) = LdB(urban) ± 4.78(log (fc)]2 ± 18.733(log (fc) ± 40.98 for fc<= 300MHz for fc>= 300MHz


Differentiate between co-channel interference and adjacent channel interference What are the different techniques for improving coverage and capacity in cellular systems. Considering duplex channels, what are the alternatives for implementation in wireless networks? What about typical wired networks? FDD and TDD ?

What have you learnt now? 

Cell and cellular concepts Frequency reuse, cluster, sectorization etc. Channel Assignment Strategies including fixed and dynamic allocation Handover concepts and strategies like Mobile and Network assisted etc. Practical HO considerations


³Wireless Communication´, Theodore S Rappaport, second Edition, chapter 3 ³Mobile Communication´, Jochen H. Schiller, 2001. Chapter 2 ,4 ³3G Wireless Networks´ ,Clint Smith and Daniel Collins, McGraw Hill Telecom 2002 chapter 1,2,3  

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