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GSM HR/FR Optimization

Course Overview

HR/FR Overview Channel Type Configuration Case Analysis

HR/FR Overview

One TCH/F TS on Um interfaced can be divided into two TCH/H half-rate TSs, provided to MSs that support the half-rate access to perform the half-rate wireless access. The half-rate channel combination function refers to combining the TCH/H TSs of two different TCH/F TSs into one TCH/F TS by the internal cell handoff. As a result, one TCH/F TS can be reserved to be provided to MS to perform the full-rate service, or be dynamically converted into the PDCH channel to perform the GPRS/Edge data service.

Frame Structure

The TDMA multi-frame of one voice channel TCH includes 26 frames, with the duration of 120ms. In the multi-frame, the 13th frame is SACCH (Slow Associated Control Channel), and the 26th frame is an idle frame. Compared with the full-rate encoding, after the system adopts the halfrate, the frame structure is not changed. Instead, the system only assigns the odd frames in the multi-frame to one user and assigns the even frames to another user, so the 26th idle frame becomes the SACCH of the second user. As a result, one TCH/F service as carried previously is increased into two TCH/H services, so the channel capacity is doubled. The negative impact is that the encoding rate of one users channel is decreased, the voice quality is reduced and it requires the terminal to support the HR function.

Frame Structure

Half-rate Speech Coding

According to the GSM protocol, the half-rate speech coding is divided into HR (GSM half rate speech version 1) and AMR HR (GSM half rate speech version 3).

Between them, the HR speech coding rate is 5.6kbps, while the AMR HR has 6 coding modes: 7.95kbps, 7.4kbps, 6.7kbps, 5.9kbps, 5.15kbps, 4.75kbps. However, the Active Codec Set can includes 4 modes at most.

Half-rate Speech Coding

Compared with the full-rate and enhanced full-rate speech coding, the half-rate speech coding adopts the coding mode with higher compression ratio, which reduces the coding ratio to adapt to the narrower bandwidth of half-rate channel.
Channel Type

Coding Algorithm Coding Bit Rate

Compressi on Ratio
8 8.5 18.4

Quality Score
3.8 4.1 3.7


13kbps 12.2kbps 5.6kbps

Half-rate Speech Coding

The half-rate speech adopts the VSELP coding mode. To adapt to the half-rate bandwidth, its coding rate is reduced to 5.6kbps. Compared with the 13kbps of full-rate speech coding, it is reflected as the decrease of voice quality. According to MOS (Mean Opinion Score) evaluated from the 3 speech coding modes, the MOS of half-rate speech is 0.1 lower than that of the full-rate and 0.4 lower than the enhanced full-rate, so the introduction of half-rate will lead to certain decrease of voice quality, but this decrease is acceptable.

Half-rate Speech Coding

Except for the change of speech coding, to adapt to the half-rate wireless channel, the channel coding is also changed correspondingly, including the check bit number, convolution code rate and interleaving depth. These changes will affect the error-tolerance capability of the channel.

Check bit number 3Bit, is the same as full-rate, but 15Bit less than the enhanced full-rate. Convolution code rate 104/211, is a little higher than half of full-rate or enhanced full-rate. Interleaving depth 4, is apparently decreased from the value 8 of full-rate and enhanced full-rate.

The change of channel coding is comprehensively reflected as the decrease of the error-tolerance capability of the channel. In the cell border where the signal is weak and the interference is great, the channel quality will be decreased and the call drop ratio will be increased.

Course Overview

HR/FR Overview Channel Type Configuration Case Analysis

Channel Type Configuration

Parameter Name

Value Range & Unit Yes/No



Dynamic TS


Combination types of TS channel


Related Parameters for Dynamic HR Conversion

Level Parameter Name Abbreviation Value Range & Unit
Yes/No 1~100, % 1~100, % 1~100, % Yes/No Yes/No 0~100, % 0~100, % 0~100, %



Support dynamic HR or not Threshold of applying for half rate Threshold of AMR dynamic HR conversion Threshold of HR TS percentage

DynaHREnable HRThs AmrHRThs HRTsPercentage HR UseCellDynHRPara DynaHREnable HRThs AMRHRThs HRTsPercentage

No 50 50 50 No No 50 50 50


Support cell dynamic Hr parameter or not Support dynamic HR or not Threshold of applying for half rate Threshold of AMR dynamic HR conversion Threshold of HR TS percentage

Channel Assignment

When MS applies for resources to BSS in the wireless network, the BSS network refers from the following three aspects, to decide the wireless channel type for this access.

The capability of support channels on the MS The restriction of MSC upon the channel rate and type of the users access channel The consideration of BSS about the resource assignment in this cell

MS Capability of Supporting Channels

GSM MS can support the following types of speech versions:

GSM full rate speech version 1FR GSM full rate speech version 2 EFR GSM full rate speech version 3 AMR FR GSM half rate speech version 1HR GSM half rate speech version 3 AMRHR

The MS capability of supporting the speech version is based on the Bearer Capability of Setup (calling party) or Call Confirmed (called party).

Restrictions for MS Distribution

When MS is applying for network resources, MSC restricts the channel rate and type according to the MS access capability and users access level, to provide BSC with the available channel range that this MS can choose from. For TCH channel, there are the following two situations:

The channel of one rate is specified, so BSC must assign channels according to this requirement. Choose form full rate or half rate. It can be one rate preferable or no preferable relationship between the two rates. In this situation, BSC adjusts the sequence of assigning the channels according to its own setting.

BSC Parameter Setting

When the cell has enabled the dynamic half0-rate, if the occupancy ratio of the cell channel exceeds the set threshold, BSC starts to assign the half-rate channel. On V6.20.100e or later versions, the option of forced fullrate preferable is enhanced. Besides, considering that although AMR-HR adopts the half-rate channel, it can still provide better voice quality and anti-interference capability. Therefore, when deciding the policy of assigning channels, we also need to consider whether MS supports AMR-HR.

BSC Parameter Setting

BSC Parameter Setting
Do not change the channel selection mode Only one rate is allowed. Two rates are allowed, and one rate is preferable.

Use the channel rate specified by MSC

If the rate allowed by BSC is the same of MSC, this rate is chosen. Otherwise, the assignment fails. Use the rate specified by MSC

BSC Parameter Setting

If there is no change, BSC chooses the channel strictly according to the channel range assigned by MSC. When the cell has configured the preferable or allowed rate, if it conflicts with the preferable channel range distributed by MSC, it takes the set cell-level parameter preferably. For example, if the channel ranged specified by MSC is half-rate channel preferable, but the cell parameter set within BSC is to assign the full-rate channel only, BSC assigns the channel according to the rule of assigning the full-rate channel only. If there is no intersection area between the channel preferable range distributed by MSC and the cell parameter specified by BSC, this channel application fails.

Impact of Half-rate Function Upon GSM Network

Impact of HR upon the coverage range:

There is no impact upon the network wireless coverage by enabling the half-rate function. HR impacts the network indexes. Call drop ratio: The half-rate function basically does not affect the call drop ratio. Blocking ratio: After the half-rate function is enabled, the blocking ratio is greatly decreased within a short period. On the long term, the increase of traffic and attempted calls cause the blocking ratio to increase. In this situation, we need to consider expanding the whole core network resources. Uplink/Downlink quality: The half-rate function basically does not affect the uplink/downlink quality. Call completion ratio: When the half-rate function is first enabled, the call completion ration will apparently increase, and the core network resources will become the bottleneck of call completion ratio.

Impact of Half-rate Function Upon GSM Network

Impacts of HR upon GSM network resources:

The half-rate function in fact greatly increases the number of TCH. According to the number of half-rate channels in dynamic half-rate setting and the threshold in dynamic half-rate setting, the theoretic number of TCH will increase by 0% ~ 100%. In fact, as certain MS does not support HR, TCH can be increased by about 60%. Therefore, to enable the half-rate function, we need to consider expanding the BSC capacity. The bottleneck of BSC capacity is the Erl number that can be supported, because the half-rate function causes the increase of TCH and thus increases the Erl number. As a result, BSC needs to make expansion accordingly. Besides, the half-rate function allows more users to be accessed at the wireless side, leading to the result that the resources on the MSS side might be insufficient, so the corresponding expansion is necessary.

Impact of Half-rate Function Upon GSM Network

User experiences:

Though according to MOS, the MOS of half-rate speech is a little lower than the full-rate and especially enhanced full-rate speech, this decrease basically does not affect the understandability of speech. According to the testing in the existing network, in places with better wireless coverage, during a normal call, the user basically cannot feel the decrease of voice quality caused by half-rate. In places with week wireless coverage where the voice quality itself is poor, the user can experience the apparent decrease of voice quality. Besides, the half-rate coding is a coding mode with higher compression rate, which is proposed for the speech in particular. It has relatively great impacts upon the sounds that has richer spectrums such as music, so when transmitting this type of sound, its voice quality is apparently decreased according to the enhanced full-rate.

Applicable Range for Enabling the Half-rate Function

Application of HR in areas with burst traffic

The most effective application of half-rate function is to deal with the rapidly-increasing service requirements, such as emergency communication in the stadium, campus and large-scale assembly. These areas have the outstanding features that the traffic is busy periodically or suddenly, such as the traffic increase during a competition in the stadium or during the break time on campus. They cause impacts upon the network. Under these situations, it is most appropriate to use the dynamic half-rate function. Under the normal situation with low traffic, the channel is in the full-rate status; when the burst services suddenly increase, it is automatically converted into half-rate, which both relieves the congestion and reduces the waste caused by the expansion that the carrier usually adopts.

Applicable Range for Enabling the Half-rate Function

Application of HR in areas with concentrated traffic

In the dense urban area such as downtown, airport, station and plaza, the traffic is highly concentrated. With the rapid development of the city and the network users, there will be frequently expansion requirements in these areas. To avoid the frequent network adjustment, we can adopt the halfrate mode to temporarily relieve the pressure of pressure. Before the next expansion, we can enable the dynamic or static half-rate function at proper time to deal with the urgent capacity increase, which, together with the long-term planning and expansion, can provide the carrier with a flexible option of expansion. At the same time, the half-rate function is also one network expansion plan in the dense urban areas where the frequency resources are restricted and the site type cannot be expanded.

Applicable Range for Enabling the Half-rate Function

Application of HR in areas with low-end users:

In the areas with low-end users, such as distant suburban areas, usually the carrier also provides the coverage because of network integrity and brand competitiveness. However, the population in these areas is not dense, so the input/output ratio of the carrier is very low. Because the low-end users in these areas usually do not have very high requirements, and they only need to make calls, we can adopt the half-rate mode. By combining some wide-coverage technology, the static or dynamic half-rate function can satisfy the requirements of making calls in an open area, so it provides a low-cost coverage mode. Besides, the low-end traffic area also has many unexpected traffic burst, such as the capacity change caused by convenes or population shift. In this case, the half-rate function can serve as a solution.

Course Overview

HR/FR Overview Channel Type Configuration Case Analysis

Case: The traffic congestion increased after HR was enabled.

Problem symptom:

After xx carrier enabled HR, when certain congestion cell configured the HR channel, the congestion was not relieved.

Problem Analysis:

After analyzing the performance report, we found that:

There were normal occupations on the TCH/H channel. The maximum occupation number of TCH/F = the maximum number configured. It indicates that the TCH/F channel was occupied.

Signaling analysis:
The proportion of supported HR on MS is much less than normal cells. This problem existed because it is a BSC on the border network.

Problem processing:

We modified the channel assignment policy into HR preferable, so that the speech services used the HR channel first.