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How many simultaneous voice users can be supported in a HSDPA network?

Posted on February 15, 2012 by admin

Few years back, I was often asked this question about the maximum voice capacity in a WCDMA/HSPA network. Recently, I received several requests to clarify this topic. Strictly speaking, there is no one number to answer this question. It depends on various factors-such as the target quality of service, cell plan, coverage, radio morphology etc. Unlike 2G technologies like GSM, the capacity in a WCDMA network is more soft. There are numerous publications and literature available to calculate the Mpole capacity of a WCDMA cell. Without going into the complicated equations, let me explain you the practical cell capacity in terms of voice calls in a 3G system. Let us consider two scenarios: Scenario 1: All 16 OVSF codes available for R99 services As you know, in WCDMA systems, the codes, power and the channel elements are the key resources which can limit a cell capacity. Codes and power are the two key soft capacity resources in the downlink. (Assuming, no channel elements blocking in the network) Lets do a simple Math:

Available Code resources in a cell= 16 SF 16 Codes Code Used for Common channels = 1 SF 16 Code Code Reserved for HSDPA= 0 Codes Available for R99 Traffic= 16-1-0=15 SF16 Codes

1SF 16 code= 8 SF 128 codes A voice call in a WCDMA system uses a SF128 code in the Downlink. So, in the scenario 1 above, 120 codes are available. Practically this can support 120 voice users in AMR full rate (12.2 Kbps). Can we really support 120 calls in a single sector? It really depends upon the user distribution in the sector. If there is power available, we can support 120 voice users in a single sector. Scenario 2: 16 OVSF codes are shared between HSDPA and R99 services

Code is a valuable capacity resource. Often, these are shared between R99 and HSPA services.Depending upon the availability of features like dynamic code allocation, one can limit the code usage in HSDPA to 5 or 10 codes. Lets consider a common scenario where 5 codes are reserved for HSDPA. In this case we are assuming that 2 SF codes will be used for the common channels.

Available Code resources in a cell= 16 SF 16 Code Code Used for Common channels = 2 SF 16 Code Code Reserved for HSDPA= 5 SF 16 Codes Codes Available for R99 Traffic= 16-2-5=9 SF16 Codes

Thus we have 72 codes available for voice services in this case. Again, depending upon the user distribution and power availability we can have a maximum of 72 voice users in AMR full rate (12.2kbps) deployment. Also we have to keep in mind that the total number of available OVSF codes is a function of the soft handover performance. During soft handover, a single call consumes multiple OVSF codes, one from each cell in the active set. This reduces the total number of available OVSF codes in each cell. The available OVSF codes in each cell decreases as the percentage of calls in soft handover increases.