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Optimization of Soft Handover Parameters for UMTS Network in Indoor Environment

J. L cki, J. Niemel, J. Lempiinen Institute of Communications Engineering Tampere University of Technolo gy P.O. Box 533 FI-33101 Tampere, Finland

that optimum static parameters, i.e., the thresholds for add

AbstractThe aim of this paper is to present t he impact of

and drop events and dynamic parameters, i.e., time to

different SHO parameters on UMTS network performance in indoor environment. The measurement results of the

trigger values of add and drop events can improve the

impact of the most important SHO parameters, i.e., the

downlink performance, and therefore also the overall

thresholds for add and drop events and their time to trigger

network performance, quality o f service (QoS) and

values are presented on UMTS indoor network

cap acity. However, during the current evolution of the 3G

perf ormance in terms of ave rage downlink SIR target,

radio networks, indoor UMTS networks are beco ming

downlink tr ansmit power, SHO probability, and observed

more and more important and also more popular.

BER values. Due to indoor propagation channel, which

Moreover, the indoor environment introduces different

causes smaller delay spread and hence less multipath

radio propagation characteristics than outdoor

diversity, a UMTS signal becomes inherently narrowband. Therefore, the gain of SHO against f ast and

environment. Due to small delay spread in a typ ical

slow fading would be crucial. Moreover, the characteristics

indoor propagation channel, the resulting amount of

of indoor radio channel enforce to apply different SHO

multipath diversity is inherently small. Moreo ver, due to

parameter settings than for outdoor network. In the frame

frequency non-selective channel, the fading of the signal

of this paper, the analysis is base d on the downlink as it is

is mostly characterized by large amplitude variatio ns. In

seen more crucial from SHO point of view due to additional

terms of SHO functio n and parameters, small delay spread

link require d for SHOs. The measurement results indicate

values and lack of multipath diversity should be taken into

that relatively large thresholds for add and drop e vents

account when setting the different parameters for SHO

simultaneously with a long time to trigger for drop event are

function. Due to the fact that diversity reception is

the most suitable for UMTS indoor environment due to the

typically not used in passive indoor antenna systems due

lack of multipath diversity, and to combat fast and deep fluctuations of the indoor radio channel.

to cost constrains, the possibility of using the diversity component of SHO against fast and slow fading indoor Key words: indo or, optimization, soft handover, UMTS. radio channel should be studied. In this paper, the measurement results of thresholds for add and drop events to gether with their time to trigger values are shown for the 1 . Introduction indoor UMTS network in the do wnlink direction. WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) 2 . UTRA FDD so ft handover technology introduces other kind of handovers, namely SHO (soft hando ver) and SfHO (softer handover). A soft handover occurs, when two or more BSs serve a MS 2.1. Soft handover procedure and algorithm simultaneously. During a soft handover, MS is in the The soft handover procedure is divided into three phases: coverage area of two or more sectors belonging to measurements, decision, and execution. In the different BSs. On the o ther hand, in softer handover, the measurement phase, energy per chip over interference MS is in the coverage of two or more sectors, which
spectral density ratio (Ec /N0) is evaluated based on the

belong to the same base station. SHO and SfHO are measurements on the downlink primary common pilot supported in UTRA FDD (UMTS Terrestrial Radio channel (P-CPICH) and received signal strength indicator Access Frequency Division Duplex) mode only. (RSSI) as shown in (1): The performance and functionality of SHO and SfHO is E /N = RSSI c o RSCP controlled through dedicated functionalities and their parameters (see Section II). So far, most of the research RSCP (received signal code power) is the power of concerning SHO (herein SHO is understood as SHO and decoded pilot channel. The performed measurements SfHO as SHO function does not separate these two) results are sent by the MS to the BS. All measurements parameter optimization has been co ncentrated on outdoor parameters are contained in measurement report, and then UMTS networks (e.g., [1] and [2]). Moreover, other passed to RNC (radio network controller), where the already accomplished simulations of SHO in [3] shows decision phase takes place. In this phase, the performed (1)

Figure 2: Antenna positions and orientations during the Figure 1: The meaning of SHO parameters. measurements.

measurements are compared with predefined soft in neighbor cells. This ping-pong effect is strongly handover criteria. This process is carried out by RNC. decreased by soft handovers. After the decision phase, the executio n of soft handover is accomplished, if the soft handover criteria are fulfilled. The other feature of soft handovers is smoother data The effect of the execution phase is that the MS either transmission. During a soft handover, there is no break in enters or leaves SHO area. data transmission like during hard handovers. Moreover, SHOs eliminate possible data loss and decrease drop call The SHO algo rithm currently used in WCDMA systems rate. This feature is very essential, because high and in measurements presented in this paper is adopted transmission data rates are utilized in UMTS networks, from [1]. In explanation of soft handover algorithm, the where even a short brake in the transmission can cause a following terms are crucial, and have to be defined: lo ss of high amount of data. The SHOs have also negative Active set contains the list of cells, having the effects. There is more complexity in implementation of connection with MS, in other words, the cells, SHOs than with, e.g., hard handovers (HHO), as well as which are in so ft handover co nnection. additional consump tion of downlink resources (transmit Monitored set contains the list of cells, which power and spreading codes) is caused b y the mobile being in SHO. SHO advantages and disadvantages give the pilot channels power is not high enough to be added to the active set, or active set is already reason to consider its p arameters, algorithms, etc. The soft handover function should b e planned carefully and have full. to be compromise between power gain and possible lo sses. The RNC decides, which SHO event is triggered based on continuous measurements performed by MS on P-CPICH 3 . Measurement environment and setup channel. These events are radio link addition (event 1A), ra dio link removal (event 1B), and radio link replacement (event 1 C). These events are executed d epending on 3.1. General description UMTS indoor test nework relative strengths the pilot signal from different cells as The measurements were conducted in indoor UMTS test well as on the time to trigger value ( T). A cell is added network implemented in a university building. In the or dropped from active set depending on the difference measurements, two cells belonging to different BSs were
between its P-CPICH Ec /N0 level and the power level of

used. Base stations were connected through Iub interface the best pilot signal in active set. SHO algorithm is to RNC/Iub simulator. RNC/Iub was supporting soft illustrated in Figure 1 and more details can be found from handovers between BSs [8]-[9]. Coaxial cable (i.e., a [7]. passive distributed antenna system, DAS) was emplo yed to connect transmitting antennas and radiating cables to 2.2. Soft handover performances BSs. Antennas used in measurements were two standard Soft handovers provide many advantages to the WCDMA discrete UMTS antennas [1 0]. Used antennas are network. One of them is smaller amount of ping-p ong highlighted in Figure 2. Antennas gain was 7 dBi and the event, which occurs, when a mobile moves closer and horizontal beam width was 90. The effective isotropic further fro m a cell boundary causing frequent handovers. radiated power (EIRP) values for antennas were close to Non-optimal SHO parameters may cause unnecessary 20 dBm. high power rise peaks, which result in high interference and reduce network capacity. This negative effect can be 3.2. Measurement equipment mitigated by providing a larger hysteresis margin for The equipment used to provide the result was two base execution o f SHO. However, in turn, this solution may stations, two discrete antennas, MS, RNC/Iub simulator introduce longer handover delays and higher interference [8] and WCDMA rad io interface analyzer [11] RNC/Iub

simulator was used in this measurement campaign for control. In practice, the lower the average SIR target is, setting SHO p arameters, and capturing the transmit the smaller is also the amount of required resources, i.e., powers of two BSs. The radio interface analyzer was used downlink transmit power. If power control is able to to measure and store the radio interface parameters during compensate the changes in the radio channel, the average the measurements. The mobile equipment connected to a SIR (adjusted by closed-loop power control) should laptop was placed on small trolley. The height of the correspond to average SIR target. As indicated by the trolley was approximately 1 m. During the measurements results, increasing the threshold for add event decreases the trolley was moved along a pre-defined route (see the slightly the req uired SIR target. However, increasing the black solid line in Figure 2), on which the measurements time-to-trigger for add event increases the required SIR were performed. The speed of the tro lley was target. Hence, the results indicate that in indo or approximately 2-3 km/h. environment in order to achieve lower SIR target values, the threshold for add event should be high but the time-to3.3. Measurement ca mpaign trigger value short. In other words, a cell is easily and quickly included in the active set in order to provide as Two antennas belonging to different BSs were much diversity gain as possible. On the contrary, if the symmetrically placed and their beams were partly threshold for drop event is increased, the required SIR overlapping in this area on each other. Measurements target decreases as well. However, this phenomenon is the were partly conducted in corridors, where a clear SHO most efficient with higher time-to-trigger values for drop area was o btained (Corridor C in Figure 2). Measurements event. Hence, the results indicate that also high threshold were mostly conducted during weekends in order to for drop event should be used but also with longer timeminimize the impact of external interferences on the to -trigger values. In other words, a cell is not easily measurement results. During the measurements, the dropped from the active set, and if it is about to drop, the trolley with laptop and mobile was moved from corridor level of the signal should maintain for a longer time below G to the corridor F, through the C corridor of the first the threshold for drop event. Nevertheless, the results floor (Figure 2). While the trolley was moved, the clearly point out that in indoor environment, the used transmit po wers from both base stations were recorded. thresholds should be high with short time-to-trigger for add event and long for drop event. Radio interface analyzer recorded the time, when the MS was in SHO area, and when MS was connected to only Table 2 presents the average downlink transmit po wer for one cell. Moreover, the radio interface analyzer stored different sets of SHO parameters. The average downlink also other parameters like BER (bit error rate) and transmit powers are mostly inline with the required SIR downlink SIR (signal to interference) target values. The target values. However, in some cases, the downlink measurements were conducted for the combination of transmit power is lower although the required SIR target various SHO static and dynamic parameters. During each has been higher. The reason for this might have b een the measurement, the transmit powers of both base stations different distribution of SHO area and certain level of were recorded. Power levels were later averaged in such measurement inaccuracy. Nevertheless, the measured manner that first the power outside SHO area was results show that the used thresholds should be high with averaged and added to the sum of average power sho rt time-to-trigger for add event and long for drop transmitted during SHO from both base stations. Finally, event. Figure 3a shows the comparison of transmission the sum o f these two values was averaged again. Hence, it powers between different time-to-trigger values for all impact of additional radio link and additional transmit measured combinations of the thresholds for add and drop power was taken into account in final transmit power events. With low thresholds, the difference between values. In this paper, SHO probability is the ratio of the [160ms 1280ms] scenario and [100ms 640 ms] is minimal. time, when the mobile is in SHO area to the total time of However, with higher thresholds the gain of longer timethe connection. Only one mobile was used for making a to -trigger values is obvious. In addition, the trend of all call (12.2 kbps sp eech bearer), and this call was reflected time-to-trigger curves indicates that even higher from the RNC/Iub simulator. Reflection of the call means thresholds than [6dB 9dB] should be used for indoor that the call was initiated and terminated by the same MS. networks. For example, with [0dB 1dB] thresholds for add and drop events and with [100ms 240ms] time-to-trigger 4 . Measurement results values, the resulting downlink transmit power was around Tables 1-4 presents the measurement results with all 31 dBm where as with the highest measured add and drop measured sets of considered SHO parameters. The rows thresholds [6dB 9dB] and with the longest time-to-trigger contain the list o f thresholds for add and drop events (in values [160ms 1280ms], the resulting average downlink dB) in such a manner that add threshold s are in the left transmit power was only 22.7 dBm. Hence, over the side of the brackets and the drop thresholds in the right measurement route, the gain of more correct SHO side. The columns contain the time-to-trigger values for parameters is 8.3 dB in the downlink transmit po wer. add and drop events expressed (in ms), respectively. However, as a consequence of this, the resulting SHO probability increases o ver the measurement route from

Table 1 shows the required SIR target values for used 16% up to 51% (see Table 3). Meaning that instead of radio bearer (12.2 kbps speech). SIR target is set per having 1 /6 of the users in SHO, there are half o f the users bearer basis in RNC, and corrected in outer loop power

Table 1. Required SIR target values for 12.2. kbps Table 3. Resulting SHO probabilities [%]. speech link [dB]. SHO SHO Time to trigger value [add drop] ms Time to trigger value [add drop] ms Threshold threshold
[add drop] dB [40 640] [100 640] [160 640] [160 1280] [100 240] [add drop] dB [40 640] [100 640] [160 640] [160 1280] [100 240] [0 1] 21 20 19 23 16 [0 1] 18.54 20.50 22.45 16.40 23.41 [1 2] 21 20 20 24 17 [1 2] 17.21 19.32 23.32 16.20 24.46 [1 4] 22 21 20 25 17 [1 4] 16.43 19.12 21.23 17.54 23.85 [2 4] 23 22 21 26 18 [2 4] 16.42 18.93 18.16 15.80 25.42 [1 5] 25 25 23 27 20 [1 5] 15.12 17.56 16.92 14.12 22.69 [2 5] 27 26 24 27 21 [2 5] 14.87 16.74 16.86 15.55 21.74 [3 4] 29 26 25 30 22 [3 4] 13.61 15.58 14.63 13.36 18.61 [3 5] 30 28 27 32 24 [3 5] 13.34 15.31 15.39 12.83 17.30 [3 6] 31 30 28 33 25 [3 6] 12.81 14.27 15.65 11.68 15.57 [3 8] 35 33 32 36 28 [3 8] 13.13 16.93 14.34 10.28 15.81 [4 7] 38 36 35 39 31 [4 7] 11.79 12.25 14.82 9.36 12.95 [6 9] 48 48 47 51 43 [6 9] 9.54 9.18 11.57 9.48 11.20

Table 4. BER values of P-CPICH [%]. Table 2. Required DL transmit powers in [dBm]. SHO SHO Time to trigger value [add drop] ms Time to trigger value [add drop] ms Threshold Threshold
[add drop] dB [40 640] [100 640] [160 640] [160 1280] [100 240] [add drop] dB [40 640] [100 640] [160 640] [160 1280] [100 240] [0 1] 4.30 6.85 6.51 4.54 8.24 [0 1] 28.54 29.11 30.92 28.42 31.09 [1 2] 3.78 6.70 6.51 4.17 6.39 [1 2] 28.31 28.67 30.15 27.32 30.87 [1 4] 5.91 8.82 8.19 3.75 7.36 [1 4] 27.31 27.65 29.17 27.53 30.32 [2 4] 4.47 5.73 6.65 3.02 6.75 [2 4] 27.12 27.52 28.32 26.42 30.87 [1 5] 3.38 5.28 6.28 3.44 4.58 [1 5] 26.43 26.53 28.23 26.23 30.11 [2 5] 3.95 2.94 4.84 3.82 5.28 [2 5] 25.87 25.34 27.32 25.83 29.44 [3 4] 4.49 3.18 5.39 5.63 4.25 [3 4] 28.43 29.55 30.32 25.21 30.31 [3 5] 3.27 2.94 3.84 2.73 4.72 [3 5] 27.65 29.21 29.32 24.79 29.73 [3 6] 3.48 3.57 2.94 2.59 3.25 [3 6] 27.54 28.56 28.64 24.22 29.60 [3 8] 2.94 3.47 3.06 1.22 2.70 [3 8] 26.43 27.93 28.20 23.58 28.99 [4 7] 1.17 2.81 2.43 0.98 2.25 [4 7] 24.65 25.93 26.21 23.32 27.40 [6 9] 1.40 2.18 1.35 0.97 1.98 [6 9] 23.22 24.94 25.18 22.69 26.56

continuously in SHO. Note that the impact of add itional function (CDF) of the downlink transmit power with radio links required for SHO is already taken into account [160ms 1280ms] time-to-trigger values for [6dB 9dB] when calculating the average transmit powers of the base (solid) and for [0 dB 1dB] (dashed) parameter setups. As stations for a single user. However, in multi-user scenario, clearly indicated by the figure, the fast fading dips with the gain in the downlink transmit power is not as huge as small thresholds for add and drop events requires larger indicated by the results, but since the downlink power dynamics for the downlink transmit power as the required requirement for users in SHO is consid erably smaller than power varies between 16 dBm and 36 dBm, whereas with for mobiles no t in SHO, the overall gain of having large higher thresholds, the required range is between 16 dBm thresholds for add and drop events is expected to be and 22 dBm. The fundamental d ifference in the downlink significant. Hence, the only implication is the increased transmit power co mes directly from the possible SHO SHO probability that causes a higher requirement of Iub area (i.e., from Corridor C in Figure 2) since in the noncapacity from the indoor base station. Table 3 gathers the SHO areas (i.e., Corridors F and G) the required transmit BER values calculated at the mobile station on the P- power is the same (see Figure 3). CPICH. These results further verify the previous discussion about SHO parameter settings for indoor Figure 4 shows the drop call rates for all measured timeenvironment. to -trigger values with [3dB 4dB] thresholds for add and drop events. As indicated by the curve, the resulting drop Figure 3a shows the comparison of transmission powers call rate decreases tremendously from 30% down to 4 % between different time-to-trigger values for all measured when time-to-trigger values are changed from [100ms combinations of the thresholds for add and drop events. 240ms] to [160ms 1280ms]. However, since the With low thresholds, the difference between [160ms acceptable drop call rate is typically 1-2%, the results 1280ms] scenario and [100ms 640ms] is minimal. clearly indicate that in addition to long drop timer, higher However, with higher thresholds the gain of longer time- thresholds for add and drop event are needed for indoor to-trigger values is obvious. In addition, the trend of all UMTS networks. The impact of different SHO parameter time-to-trigger curves indicates that even higher values on the required downlink SIR target, downlink thresholds than [6dB 9dB] should b e used for indoor transmit power, SHO probability and P-CPICH BER was networks. Figure 3b shows the cumulative distribution analyzed in this paper. The analyzed SHO parameters

32 100 90 30 80 28 70 60 26 50 24 40 30 22 20 20 B es t c as e [160 1280] 10 B es t cas e [ 6dB 9dB ] Ty pic al c as e [ 100 640] W or s t c as e W ors t c as e [ 100 240] 18 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 15 20 25 30 35 40 M easur em ent point Trans m it pow er [ dB m ] [0dB 1dB]

(a) (b) Figure 3: (a) An example of downlink transmit powers for three different sets of time-to-trigger values. Measurement points correspond to all measuremed combinations of the thresholds for add and drop event in order of appearance in the tables. (b) Cumulative distribution function of the transmit power with high [6 dB 9 dB] and low [0 dB 1dB] add and drop window sizes.

were the threshold values for add and drop events together with their time-to-trigger values. Due to smaller delay

sp read values in indoor environment, UMTS signal is


behaving inherently as a narrowband signal. Moreover, due to resulting lack of multipath diversity, the required

SIR target for a radio bearer increases if SHO is not


utilized. Hence, the diversity gain pro vided by SHO clearly reduces the required SIR target, and hence results

in also smaller required TX power. This fundamentally increases the capacity of an indoor network.
10 5

5 . Conclusions
0 12345 Me a su r eme n t po in t

The smallest SIR target values and correspondingly the smallest downlink TX powers were o bserved with [6dB
Figure 4: Drop call rates as a function of add and drop

9dB] thresholds for add and drop events and with [160ms
window sizes.

1280ms] time-to-trigger values, correspondingly.

Proc. IEEE 57th Semiannual Vehicular Technology Conference,

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However, the measurement results and analysis indicate

[2] M. Schinnenburg1, I. Forkel1, B. Haverkamp, Realization and

that even higher thresholds or longer time-to-trigger for

Optimization of Soft and Softer Handover in UMTS Networks,

drop event should be utilized. The required dynamic range

in Proc. IEEE 5th Personal Mobile Communications Conference,

for downlink TX po wer is considerably smaller with

pp. 22-25, April 2003.

higher threshold for add and drop events. The future

[3] D. Wong, T.J. Lim, Soft Handoffs in CDMA mobile systems, IEEE Transition on Personal Communications, vol. 4, issue 6, pp.

studies concentrate on providing the impact of SHO

6-17, December 1997.

diversity gain on the capacity of indoor network.

[4] N. Binucci, K. Hiltunen, M. Caselli, Soft Handover gain in

Moreover, the impact of larger thresholds for add and

WCDMA, in Proc. IEEE 52t h Semiannual Vehicular Technology

drop events with longer time-to-trigger values is analyzed

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in uplink direction.
[5] X. Yang, S. Ghaheri-Niri, R. Tafazolli, UTRA Soft Handover
optimization, in Proc. IEE 3r d International Conference on 3G

Mobile Communication Technologies, pp. 37-41, May 2002.

[6] 3GPP, TS 25.331, Radio resource control, Version 5.2.0, Release 5.

Authors would like to thank European Communications

[7] 3GPP, TR 25.922, Radio resource management strategies,

Engineering (ECE) Ltd for helpful comments, Elisa

Version 3.8.0, Release 6.

Mobile Finland for allocating the frequency for UMTS

[8] Web site,, NetHawk Oyj, NetHawk

test network, Nemo Technologies for providing radio

RNC/Iub Simulator.

interface analyzer, and the National Techno logy Agency

[9] 3GPP, TS 25.433, UTRAN Iub interface NBAP signaling,

of Finland for funding the work.

Version 4.5.0, Release 4. [10] Web site,, Indoor Directional Antenna 824-2170 MHz. REFERENCES [11] Web site,, Nemo [1] I. Forkel1, M. Schinnenburg1, B. Wouters, Performance Technologies, Nemo outdoor, Radio Interface Analyzer. evaluation of soft handover in a realistic UMTS network, in