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Stefan Engstrom, Thomas Johansson, Fredric Kronestedt,
Magnus Larsson, Stefan Lidbrink, H&an Olofsson
Ericsson Radio Systems AB
S-164 80 Stockholm

Abstract Providing high capacity in GSM networks at low regarding 1/3 frequency reuse [4-51, a similar solution, are
costs using existing macrocells is of increasing importance in the included.
near future due to the competition between operators. This
paper shows that by applying frequency hopping in combination 11. FREQUENCY HOPPING
with an advanced frequency planning method, Multiple Reuse
Patterns (MRP), very high traffic levels in the existing macro- Increasing network capacity by tightening the frequency
cells can be supported. Field experience from live networks reuse results in a heavily interfered radio environment. This
shows that an average frequencyreuse factor as low as 7.5 is pos- makes it more difficult to produce a frequency plan of good
sible without negatively affecting the network quality. Thus, the quality. In the end, interference managing techniques such as
network capacity can be doubled compared to a non hopping frequency hopping, power control and DTX are required in
network with reuse 4/12 using 10 MHz frequency spectrum. In a order to secure the quality in the network. This paper considers
macrocell, it is possible to carry as much as 43 Erlang at 2% only the use of frequency hopping.
blocking. With frequency hopping, frequency diversity will occur,
which balances the quality between slow and fast moving
I. INTRODUCTION users. This implies that a cell planning margin for fast fading
The cellular market has experienced an enormous subscriber (Rayleigh fading) is not needed. Thus, an approximate
growth in the recent years. Today, GSM networks in more coverage gain equal to the fast fading margin can be achieved
than 100 countries serve approximately 65 million from the frequency diversity effect. Today, cell planners
subscribers. It is of significant importance for the network typically use 3 dB as the fast fading margin.
operators to support high capacity in their networks at Furthermore, frequency hopping also introduces interference
minimum costs due to the increasing competition [ 11. diversity [4]. Two aspects of interference diversity combine to
There are several ways to increase capacity from a cell improve performance. Strong interferers are shared between
planning point of view. Methods in use today include cell different users, which is often referred to as intetfierence
split, overlaidunderlaid cells and hierarchical cell structures. averaging. In addition, the time varying interference as such
In general, these methods can be divided into two groups, increases the interleaving efficiency and thus improves
where one requires addition of new cell sites, while the other receiver performance.
only implies installation of new transceivers in already exist- Altogether, a frequency plan with tighter reuse can be
ing base stations. Deployment of new cell sites is often a implemented in a frequency hopping network, resulting in
fairly slow process, due to site acquisition problems. This, improved capacity compared to a non hopping network.
together with the cost of new site equipment makes this
option less efficient from a cost and implementation perspec- 111. MAXIMIZING
tive. The alternative method, to reuse existing cells and only Interference diversity due to frequency hopping can be seen
adding transceivers, is thus an attractive option. as a reduced correlation of the interference signals
Addition of transceivers to existing cells can be facilitated by experienced for consecutive bursts. Figure 1 illustrates this
applying radio network features such as e.g. overlaid signal correlation decrease for three simplified scenarios, in
underlaid cells, frequency hopping, power control and which the uplink of a connection in cell A is interfered by
Discontinuous Transmission (DTX). These features reduce mobile stations in co-channel cells. Cell A is assigned
andor change the characteristics of the network interference frequencies 1 and 10 in all scenarios.
so that a tighter frequency plan can be applied and hence more In the leftmost scenario without frequency hopping, the
transceivers can be added. connection in cell A continuously uses frequency 1, and
In this paper, a solution for providing high capacity in GSM therefore the interference I arises from the same user in cell B
using existing macrocells is highlighted. The solution, known all the time. The correlation of the interference signal on
as Multiple Reuse Patterns (MRP) [ 1-31, uses tight frequency consecutive bursts is thus high. If the connection has bad
reuse in combination with frequency hopping. The paper also quality, an improvement can only be made if the co-channel
provides results from MRP field trials. Finally, discussions cell stops transmitting on this frequency or if the connection in

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No frequency hopping Frequency hopping Frequency bopping without of tightness and use frequency hopping to combine them into
with traditional planning fixed frequency groups
I. 6
an average reuse. The goal is to deploy as many transceivers
I , IO
as possible in existing cells to minimize the number of costly

new sites. In this paper, only MRP using baseband frequency
hopping is considered.

A. Band split
I , IO The first step with MRP is to split the available frequency
1, IO
spectrum into different bands. One band is the BCCH band
MS on frequency MS on frequency MS on frequency which means that a frequency used as a BCCH frequency in
1 in cell A. 1 and 10 in cell A. 1 and IO in cell A one cell will not be used as a TCH frequency in another cell
Figure 1. Example of the interference diversity effects of different fre- and vice versa. The reasons for reserving unique BCCH fre-
quency hopping strategies. quencies are:
Trafic independent BSZC decoding pelformance:
cell A is handovered (by an inter-cell or intra-cell handover).
When the mobiles are trying to decode the BSIC
The middle scenario shows the traditional frequency hop-
(Base Station Identity Code) on the SCH (Synchroni-
ping case, in which regular frequency groups are used. The
sation Channel), the performance will not be affected
connection in cell A hops on two frequencies (1 and lo),
of the traffic load in the network. The reason is that
which are both used in cell B as well. Consequently, the inter-
the traffic assigned to the TCH frequencies will never
ference origin will alter between two users in cell B, causing
disturb any BCCH frequency on which the SCH is
the two interference signals lI and Z2. Since the strength of ll
mapped. BSIC decoding is very important for the
and Z2 may be rather different, the interference signal correla-
handover performance. Poor handover performance
tion may be fairly low for consecutive bursts. In other words,
could lead to increased number of dropped calls.
the interference diversity has increased compared to the non-
hopping case. Simplified neighbor cell list planning: The number of
Finally, in the rightmost scenario, an irregular frequency possible neighbor cell frequencies decreases with a
plan is applied together with frequency hopping. Typical for separate BCCH band. A simple strategy where all fre-
this case is that there are no fixed sets of frequencies used in a quencies except the own BCCH frequency are
cell and its co-channel cells. Thus, cell B is only a partial co- included in the neighbor cell list can be used. Using
channel cell of cell A, since they have only one frequency in all available frequencies as BCCH frequencies may
common. On the other hand, this arrangement creates an result in longer neighbor cell lists, which has negative
increased number of (partial) co-channel cells, in this exam- impact on handover performance [6].
ple represented by cell C. In this case, different bursts of a Full gain from power control and DTX:Only TCH
connection in cell A will be interfered by users in different
frequencies can use DTX and power control in the
cells. Thus, consecutive bursts will experience the interfer-
downlink. With a dedicated BCCH frequency band,
ence signals Zl and Z2, which generally are totally uncorre-
full gain from power control and DTX is achieved in
lated. Hence, this scenario is superior to traditional planning
the downlink [7]. This is not the case if the BCCH fre-
with regular frequency groups in terms of maximizing inter-
quencies interfere with the TCH frequencies. Thus, a
ference diversity.
more aggressive power control approach can be
The example above indicates that to obtain maximal inter-
ference diversity, a frequency plan without frequency groups
is preferable. However, such frequency plan has apparent Replanning of TCH frequencies will not affect the
drawbacks, including the extensive re-planning necessary in a BCCH frequency plan: If additional transceivers are
continuously evolving network. to be added to already existing cells, the BCCH fre-
By applying the MRP technique, it is possible to provide quency plan is not affected (assuming that the com-
maximal interference diversity and still maintain a structured biner spacing requirements are neglected). The only
frequency plan, as will be described in the next section. restriction to consider is the adjacent frequency inter-
ference. Thus, it is possible to keep the same BCCH
Iv. MULTIPLEREUSE PATERNS plan even if additional transceivers are added to the
Multiple Reuse Patterns (MRP) is a generic method for network. The network operator then knows that if the
achieving high capacity using tight frequency reuse in combi- BCCH frequency plan is good it will remain good,
nation with frequency hopping [l-31. The MRP technique independent of the TCH frequencies.
exploits the advantages from frequency hopping in order to As a next step, the MRP method implies that the remaining
increase the capacity. The fundamental idea with MRP is to (TCH) frequencies are divided into different bands. Thus, one
apply different separate reuse patterns with different degrees BCCH and several TCH bands will exist. The main idea with

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several TCH bands is to apply different reuse patterns on
different TCH transceivers. The first TCH transceiver in all
cells will use frequencies from the first TCH band and so on.
The reasons for splitting the TCH frequencies into different
bands are:
Dimension the average frequency reuse according to

8 ’e3
the transceiver distribution of the network: The trans-
ceiver distribution determines the average frequency Slow baseband hopping Slow baseband hopping
reuse that can be applied in the network. The average over 2 frequencies over 4 frequencies
( l e L6) (1 e 2 3 , 6 2 6 . 3 5 )
frequency reuse is adjusted according to the maxi-
mum number of transceivers needed per cell and the v
Cell A
Cell B
number of cells requiring this number. In this way, the
quality can be controlled in an effective manner in the Figure 2. An example of frequency planning with MRP.
frequency planning process.
Small impact on existing frequency plan when adding to solve this problem by changing a frequency in that cell with
an “illegal” frequency which initially is used in another
more transceivers: The TCH band split will limit the
transceiver group. However, it is recommended that the MRP
required amount of frequency planning work when
structure is followed as much as possible.
more transceivers are added. Only the cells with the
same number of transceivers or more will be affected C. Tailoring the frequency plan
if more transceivers are added. For example, adding a
fourth transceiver to a cell with three transceivers will The MRP scheme has been developed to handle the typical
only have an influence on the cells with four and more case when networks have uneven transceiver distributions.
transceivers. This is important since every cellular network differs in char-
acteristics regarding e.g. cell sizes, number of available fre-
A structured way of frequency planning: It is possible, quencies and topography. This means that some cells have
for instance, to make a frequency plan for the first many transceivers while other cells have only a few.
TCH transceiver without modifying the BCCH plan To understand how the different cells with different number
or the plans for the other TCH transceivers. This of transceivers experience different frequency reuse situa-
structure will aid the frequency planner in hisher tions, an example is shown in Table I. A 12/8/6/4 MRP con-
work by making it easier to produce a new frequency figuration which totally requires 30 frequency carriers is
plan and to detect a bad frequency plan. selected. There are 12 BCCH frequencies and 3 TCH groups
each containing 8, 6 and 4 frequencies. In the example, it is
B. Frequency Assignmenl
further assumed that different fractions of the cells (20%,
The MRP frequency assignment can be exemplified by 30% and 50%)have 2, 3 and 4 transceivers respectively.
means of Figure 2, which shows a schematic picture of how The average frequency reuse factor experienced by a cell is
the different frequencies can be allocated to an MFW defined as the total number of frequencies in the groups
configuration with maximum four transceivers per cell. The assigned to the cell divided by the number of transceivers in
example is referred to as a 12/10/8/6 plan. This means that the cell. The different cells will thus encounter different
there are 12 BCCH frequencies (frequencies 1,3,...,23), 10 average frequency reuse factors: 10 for the two transceiver
TCH frequencies in group 1 (frequencies 2,4,...,20), 8 TCH cells, 8.7 for the three transceiver cells and 7.5 for the four
frequencies in group 2 (frequencies 22,24,...,36) and 6 TCH
frequencies in group 3 (frequencies 25,27, ...,35). Figure 2 TABLE I An MRP example with 6 MHz of spectrum,
where cells have an uneven distribution of transceivers.
shows only the frequency allocations for two cells A and B
which have two and four transceivers respectively. Cell A is
assigned the BCCH frequency 1 and the TCH frequency 6.
I( 2 1 3 0
I1 I I
Thus, cell A uses baseband frequency hopping over two
frequencies. Further, cell B is allocated the BCCH frequency Fraction of cells 20% I 30% I 50%
23 and the TCH frequencies 6, 26 and 35. Consequently, cell MRPgroups (1 12/8 I 12/8/6 I 12/8/6/4 I
B uses baseband frequency hopping over four frequencies.
Note that the frequencies defined as BCCH frequencies do not Average
frequency reuse
1 (12+8)/2
=10 I (12+8+6)/3
have to be defined as shown in Figure 2. Hence, any frequency
,I I I
from the available spectrum can selected as a BCCH as long
as the BCCHRCH separation is fulfilled.
Actual reuse
(upper bound)
)I 10 92 8.9

There is no need to strictly adhere to the MRF’ technique all Diversity gam small larger largest
the time. If a cell with quality problems exists, it is acceptable

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transceiver cells.
TCH Drop [%I 40cells, 4 transceiverslcell
The “actual” average frequency reuse experienced by a cell Reference = I5 I 15 I 15 I 15
may however be sparser, since not all cells are fully equipped. MRPl=13/12/10/10
MRP 2 = 13 I 8 / 8 / 8
For example, since the third transceiver is only used in 80% of MRP 3 = 13 I 8 I 8 I 6
3.0 MRP 4 = 13 I 8 I 6 I 6
the cells, the actual reuse on that transceiver may be as sparse I I I
as 6/0.8=7.5, depending of the geographical distribution of the I I I I
cells with the third transceiver. The upper bound for the actual
average frequency reuse for cells with three transceivers is
therefore (12+8+7.5)/3=9.2 (Table I). I Reuse 15 lReuse -11.21 Reuse-9.2 I Reuse -8.7 I Reuse-8.2
The gain from frequency hopping increases with the number 11 I I I I
of frequencies included in the hopping sequence [4]. Cells NoMReference ‘ MRPl ’ MRP2 ’ MRP3 ’ MRP 4
with a lot of transceivers may experience a tight reuse (which
Figure 3. Results from a MRP trial where the average reuse was decreased
lead to an increased interference level) but this will be from 15 to 8.2. The test area dense urban environment with 40 cells, all
balanced with a larger interference diversity gain. equipped with four transceivers.
The above example illustrates how MRP can be adjusted to
the transceiver distribution in the network. That is, the fre- performance was more or less the same when going from a
quency plan is adjusted to the network. It should be further frequency reuse of 12 down to 7.5. A different call drop
noticed that MRP do not need to be implemented over the measure is used in this plot, Erlang*Min/Drop, which reflects
entire network. MRP can just be applied in the area where how many accumulated minutes a call can be maintained
high capacity is needed. It is also possible to use different before it is dropped. Furthermore, all other performance
MRP configurations in different locations of the network. indicators, such as e.g. handover, paging and call setup
performance, showed no degradation when the frequency plan
The MRP method is currently being used in more than a In this case, the potential capacity gain was 100% if
dozen networks. This section presents MRP experience from additional transceivers would be installed as the frequency
two typical live networks. reuse was tightened. In the implementation phase, instead of
Figure 3 shows results from a network where MRP were using 7 transceivedcell which is possible with a 7.5
tested and later implemented. The traffic in the area caused frequency reuse, 6 transceiverdcell were used. The saved
high blocking, around 10-15%, before the trial started. The frequencies were used for implementing microcells in the
test area was a dense urban area and included 40 cells, all area. Thus, unique BCCH frequencies could be used in the
equipped with four transceiverskell. The site-to-site distance microcells, as recommended for MRP networks including
was around 500 meters. microcells [ 11.
The major result is that the dropped call performance (TCH 7.5 reuse is not a lower limit for the reuse. Additional trials
drop) was unchanged when the average frequency reuse was have shown that by applying power control and DTX in the
decreased from 15 to 8.2. A low TCH drop value reflects a downlink, the average reuse can be decreased below 7. Note
good network performance and a rate of 2% is normally that the two previously shown examples were not using
acceptable. The handover performance was the same for all downlink power control or DTX. Additional capacity can
the different MRP plans. In addition, call setup, location most likely be extracted from the macrocells in these trial
updating and paging performance were not changed either areas by tightening the reuse even further.
over the course of the test. An average reuse of 8.2 was thus
possible. Erlang*Min/Drop 36 cells, 4 transceiverslcell
Reference = 12 I 12 I 12 I 12

The capacity increase that the combination of frequency MRP 1 = 1 2 1 9 1 9 1 9
hopping and MRP provide is different from network to net- MRP 2 = 12 1 8 1 8 I 6
MRP3= 1 2 / 8 / 6 / 6
work. The operator in this case had access to 60 frequencies. MRP4= 1 2 1 8 1 6 1 4

With a average reuse of 15, four transceivers per cell was pos-
sible. This means that around 21 Erlang per cell was feasible
according to the Erlang B table with 2% blocking. With an


2 o t R e u s e 12 Reuse-9.7 Reuse8.5 Reuse8 Reuse7.5

8.2 reuse, it was possible to have 7 transceivers per cell. This
figure results in 43 Erlang per cell, i.e. the capacity was dou-
bled compared to the 15 reuse configuration. Reference MRP 1 MRPZ MRP 3 MRP 4
Figure 4 includes result from MRP tests in another dense
urban area. In this case, the trial area consisted of 36 cells, all
Figure 4. Results from a second MRP trial where the average reuse was
with four transceivers. This area had a site-to-site distance of changed from 15 to 7.5.In this case, test area located in dense urban environ-
400-500 meters. Again, the results showed that the call drop ment consisted of 36 cells, each with four transceivers.

0 1998 IEEE
0-7803-4320-4/98/$5.00 2007 VTC ‘98
The experience from live networks has revealed that the be loaded with traffic up to 100%. Full traffic load would
frequency reuse limit mainly depends on three factors: result in insufficient user quality. Hence, fractional loading is
required, i.e. the traffic load must be limited in order to
the number of available frequencies (with a large amount
maintain the quality. The number of frequencies that are used
of frequency spectrum, a tighter reuse can be applied
in a cell is larger than the number of simultaneously available
since more frequencies can be included in the hopping
traffic resources. Fractional loading can be achieved either by
sequence which increases the diversity gain);
using hardware or software control [8-91.
the coverage performance (it is easier to perform the fre- MRP with slightly sparser reuse than 1/3 allow the cells to be
quency planning when the coverage is good); and fully loaded, and therefore sparser reuse factors are common
in current MRP networks.
the site-to-site distance (it is more difficult to create a
good frequency plan when the cells are located close to VII. CONCLUSIONS
each other since each cell has many potential neigh-
bours). Implementing tight frequency reuse by using Multiple Reuse
Patterns (MRP) with frequency hopping in GSM has been
In the example in Figure 3, MRP was used for boosting the proven to be an efficient way to increase the radio network
macrocell capacity only. Instead of using all frequencies in the capacity with minimal costs for a network operator. Field tests
macrocells, some frequencies could be reserved for other cells, from live networks show that it is possible to implement an
e.g. microcells or indoor cells, as was the case in the second average frequency reuse of 7.5 without jeopardizing the
example (Figure 4). The traffic capacity of the existing network quality. Features like power control and DTX were
macrocells is in this scenario not doubled, but the new cells not used in the trials. For comparison reasons, a non-hopping
(microcellshndoor cells) improve the capacity even more. GSM network can at its best cope with approximately a 12
Using reserved frequencies will also result in easier reuse in average.
implementation of the new cells, since no co-channel With MRP, it is possible to adjust the tightness of the
interference will exist between the macrocells and the new frequency plan according to the transceiver distribution. At the
microcellshndoor cells. same time, MRP provides a robust frequency plan which is
very insensitive to changes, e.g. addition of transceivers.
Another way of increasing the network capacity by applying REFERENCES
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