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Node Synchronization

Precision timing is vital in a UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN) and both RNC and RBS require a clock source with a precision of at least 0.05ppm9 for wide area base station deployment . Data communication between RNC and UE through an RBS uses frame transport. A frame corresponds to a certain amount of time, usually 10ms. In the downlink scenario it is the RNC which decides when a frame should leave the radio interface in the RBS and thus be transmitted to the UE, i.e. the frame receiver needs a reference to determine when to forward the frame. This is addressed by the use of frame counters in RNC and RBS. The RNC Frame Number (RFN) is used by the RNC and the Node B Frame Number (BFN) is used by the RBS. Node Synchronisation is used to handle the phase difference between the RFN and BFN frame counters. The Node Synchronisation mechanism determines the offset between the RFN and BFN counters as well as measuring the latency of the interface between RNC and RBS (Iub)

Notice the values of for example T1 and T2 in figure 1.2. The RFN has incremented to 4094 just before the downlink Node Synchronisation is initiated and the value of T1 is 40941.250 ms. The node synchronization control frame is sent by the RNC and received by the Node B (RBS) just after the BFN changed to 149 and likewise T2 has a value of 1492.500 ms, i.e. a frame corresponds to 10ms.

Transport Channel Synchronization


Transport Channel Synchronisation is the concept of synchronizing frame transport between RNC and RBS. This section describes the transport channel synchronization mechanism valid for all downlink transport channels, such as the Forward Access Channel (FACH), Dedicated Channels (DCHs), etc.

In addition to the RFN and BFN the transport channel synchronisation uses two additional frame counters, the Cell System Frame Number (SFN) and the Connection Frame Number (CFN). The SFN is equal to BFN adjusted with T cell. The T cell offset is used within the same Node B to skew different cells10 in order to avoid colliding Synchronisation Channel bursts. The CFN is the frame counter used for transport channel synchronisation between UE and UTRAN and relates to the SFN by means of the Frame Offset.

Figure 1.3 illustrates the scenario of a downlink data frame sent from RNC through RBS to UE with subsequent response [3]. Sending data over a network interface always results in some sort of delay before the information is received at the other end. In order to handle latency variations on the Iub the RBS has a Receiving Window which allows for buffering of received frames scheduled for transmission on the radio interface. The RBS will respond to the RNC with a timing adjustment control frame for each data frame received out of the configured Receiving Window.

Figure 1.4 illustrates the receive window handling for a downlink data frame. A frame can be received with the following status: Too Early The data frame is received too early to be buffered in the RBS. The boundary between Early and Too Early depends on the available buffer space in a particular Node B. Early The data frame is received before the desired receive window but can be buffered until the scheduled transmission time. OK The data frame is received within the Receiving Window. Late The data frame is received after the desired receive window but still early enough to be processed and sent through the radio interface in time. Too Late The data frame is received too late to be transferred. This might be before the scheduled transmission time but always after the Latest Time Of Arrival (LTOA).

Upon receiving a Timing Adjustment control frame, see figure 1.5, the RNC will adjust its transmission time according to the supplied Time of Arrival (TOA) value in order to minimize the buffering required in the RBS. The Receiving Window boundaries are specified through the TOA Window Startpoint (TOAWS) and the TOA Window Endpoint (TOAWE). These parameters are initially configured in Node B at Transport bearer Setup but can also be reconfigured from the RNC. The Receiving Window boundaries are specified through the TOA Window Startpoint (TOAWS) and the TOA Window Endpoint (TOAWE). These parameters are initially configured in Node B at Transport bearer Setup but can also be reconfigured from the RNC. NED References :-

Tcell (Frame timing offset of a cell) :- Each cell in a BTS uses a System Frame
Number (SFN) counter, which is the BTS Frame Number (BFN) counter delayed by a number of chips defined by the value of Tcell. Tcell is used for defining the start of SCH, CPICH, Primary CCPCH and DL Scrambling Code(s) in a cell relative to BFN. The main purpose is to avoid having overlapping SCHs in different cells belonging to the same BTS. An SCH burst is 256 chips long. The values can be chosen as follows: 0 chips for the 1st cell of the BTS, 256 chips for the 2nd cell of the BTS, 512 chips for the 3rd cell of the BTS, etc.