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GSM Interference Analysis

and Optimization
NPO Refresher Course
July, 1st to 3rd 2010
Vodafone MS RoB

Jignesh Parmar
jignesh.parmar@nsn.com
Nokia Siemens Networks
National NPO, Ahmedabad, India
NSN Internal Document
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GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

What is interference?
Unwanted signal to the receiver
Internal System Interference
 Resulting from tight frequency re-use
 Multipath
 Hardware Fault
 Spurious transmission
 Repeater malfunction
External Interference
 Radar
 Other Communication system
 Jammer

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Classification of Interference Sources


Natural Noise
Atmosphere noise
Galaxy noise
Solar noise (quiet period)
Man-made Noise
Interference of ignition systems of vehicles or other engines
Interference of electronic communication system
Interference of power line
Interference of scientific research, medical and household appliances

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Main Interference Sources Affecting Mobile


Communication
Internal interference
TRX fault: if the performance of TRX is reduced due to manufacture

cause or application, which will cause self-excitation of TRX


amplification circuit resulting in interference.
Spurious emission and inter-modulation: if out-band spurious emission
index of BTS TRX or amplifier exceeds the limit, or isolation between
TX and RX antennas is not enough, all these will form interference on
the receiving channel. Inter-modulation may also occur in passive
equipment such as passive antenna and feeder.
Improper frequency planning
Co-frequency interference
Adjacent frequency interference

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Main Interference Sources Affecting Mobile


Communication
Repeater interference
If the installation of repeater is non standard, causing insufficient
isolation between the donor antenna and the serving antenna, so selfexcitation is caused. This affects normal working of BTS that the
repeater belongs to.
For the repeater adopting wideband non-linear amplifier, the intermodulation index far exceeds the requirement of the protocol. If the
power is comparatively high, the inter-modulation component will be
large, and this will cause interference to the BTS around.
If the repeater is malfunctioning due to some fault it will go in
oscillation mode results in interference.

NSN Internal Document


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Main Interference Sources Affecting Mobile


Communication
External interference
Interference of other communication equipment with high power.
Radar station: From 70s~80s of the 20th century, the frequency used
by the decimeter wave radar was similar to that of GSM, and its
transmitting power was very high, which generally reached tens and
hundreds of kilowatts, so the out-band spurious emission is
comparatively large. Thus, it easily causes interference to the BTS.
Analog BTS: The frequency band used by the analog mobile BTS
overlaps with the GSM frequency band in certain segment.
Communication equipment at same frequency band: As the types of
communication equipment are so many, some manufacturers maybe
adopt the frequency band but doesnt comply with the current
communication standards. As the GSM frequency band is occupied by
the equipments, interference will be caused within the GSM system
coverage area.

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Impact of Interference
When there is interference in the network, the subscribers
usually encounter the following phenomenon:

The subscriber cannot hear the voice , and the background noise is

too loud.
When fixed telephone subscriber calls MS subscriber, or MS subscriber
calls fixed telephone subscriber, call drop occurs after du, du , du is
heard.
The conversation cannot be carried on smoothly, and call drop often
happens.
When interference exists in the network, from the result of traffic
statistic, there are some characteristic as following.
 There are Level 4~Level 5 interference band in TCH measurement function ,






and the measurement value is more than 1.


Congestion rate is comparatively high.
The call drop rate is higher than other cells.
The handover success rate is low.
Through Drive Test, it is found that:
It is difficult to handover .
The Rx level is high, but the quality is bad.
Through tracing the Abis interface signaling with signaling analyzer, it is
found that the bit error rate is higher than other cells.

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Carrier to Interference Ratio


Interference and reuse/reuse distance

Cellular network

partial overlap of cells

4
2

only a few frequencies per cell


frequency re-use distance

3
4

re-use distance

2
1
7

5
6

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Receiver Sensitivity Level impacts Interference &


Noise
Level
[dBm
]

20

0
20

-104 dBm min.


sensitivity
GSM (BTS)

-97 dBm
min.
sensitivity
GSM (BTS)

normal
BTS

-88 dBm min.


sensitivity
GSM (BTS)

micro
BTS

pico
BTS

-40

-60

-80

C/N

-100
C/N

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C/N

GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

The necessary
CNR increases
Bandwidth

Carrier to Interference Ratio Requirements


Following GSM 05.05:

Reference interference ratio for all BTS and MS types:


For co-channel interference:

C/Ic =

9 dB

For (first) adjacent channel interference:

C/Ia1 = - 9 dB

For (second) adjacent channel interference:

C/Ia2 = - 41 dB

For (third) adjacent channel interference:

C/Ia3 = -49 dB

At these values, the so called reference interference performance in terms of


(maximum) frame erasure rate, bit error rate or residual bit error rate must be met
for the different type of channels in different specified propagation conditions (TU3
no FH, TU3 ideal FH, TU50 no FH, TU50 ideal FH, RA250 no FH).

NSN Internal Document


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Carrier to Interference Ratio Requirements


Co-channel interference: 9 dB
Quality (Co Ch related on reuse distance; cs-service)

20

V
LE
Rx

20

Rx
LE
V

Leve
l
[dBm
]

-40

+ 9 dB

CIR
CoCH

-60

-80

Neighbour cell
-100
Distance

Server cell
NSN Internal Document
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Distance

GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

Adjacent Channel Interference


Adjacent channel related quality (CS)

Quality limit
of serving
cell

-20

ur
ed
ea
s

Rx
LE
V

V
LE
Rx

Rx
LE
V

at

f1

Level
[dBm] 20

- 9 dB CIR AdCH

-40

Adjacent channel
Interference BTS and MS

CIR CoCH + 9 dB
60
80
100

Distance

Serving cell
Distance

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Neighbour
cell

Adjacent Channel Interference


Adjacent Ch. Interference; cs -service
PWR
Level
[dBm
]

CIR AdCH

10

+ 9 dB

21 dB
20

-40

-60

-80

-100

200 kHz
F1
NSN Internal Document
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200 kHz
F2

Frequency
range

GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

30 dB

Carrier to Interference Ratio : Exercise


Carrier = - 79 dBm
Interference = - 70 dBm
Carrier to Interference Ratio (C/I) = - 9 dB
Interfering signal is 9 dB higher than Wanted Signal
Carrier = - 80 dBm
Interference = - 104 dBm
Carrier to Interference Ratio (C/I) = 24 dB
Interfering signal is 24 dB lower than Wanted Signal

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Adjacent Channel Interference


200 KHz

9 dB

Surface below black curve


from fC - 100 KHz to fC + 100
KHz -> serving power

30 dB

Surface below red curve


from fC - 100 KHz to fC +
100 KHz -> interfering
adjacent power

fC - 100
KHz

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fC + 100
KHz

GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

Must be at least 9dB


smaller than surface below
black curve

Locating Interference

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Discovering Interference via OMC Traffic


Measurement
Discovering potential interference via traffic statistics result
Check the Average TCH busy time (second) in TCH
measurement function of each cell, the reason is that this
index can show the TCH mean occupied time (s), which is
usually called TCH mean holding time in the BSC of other
manufacturer, within the measurement period. If it is found
that the Average TCH busy time (second) of certain cell is
comparatively short (such as less than 10s), then maybe
there is strong interference in the cell, causing that
handover/call drop happens due to bad quality after TCH
channel occupied to MS.
Certainly, if hardware fault occurs in certain TRX (non-BCCH
or non-SDCCH carrier) of a cell, the case mentioned above
will also appear.
NSN Internal Document
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Quality
Interference analysis DL /UL
Rx Quality x Rx Level

Same level quality distribution


for both UL and DL
HW Problem:
Bad Quality

Good Quality

for all Rx Levels


Coverage Problem:
Bad quality and
Low Rx Level

HW Problem
All samples below 100dBm
CL10  <-100dBm

High Rv Level
Interference Problem:
Bad quality and
High Rx Level
NWD report 204 model

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Discovering potential interference via UL


interference Stats from OMC
BTS area level

BTS level Hit Lists


over given period/area

200

===============================================================================
=
UPLINK INTERFERENCE STATISITICS
===============================================================================
The UL interference is measured based on the levels in idle FTCH.
The measurement reports the average number of idle FTCH in different
bands which are defined by boundaries. Boundaries are set as BTS
parameters.
-----------------band 1
-----------------band 2
-----------------band 3
-----------------band 4
-----------------band 5
------------------

boundary B00 (value fixed: -110dBm)


boundary B01 (value eg.:

-105dBm, critical)

boundary B02 (value e.g.:

-100dBm)

boundary B03 (value e.g.:

190
UL interference, 24-hour/10-day breakdown
BSC2UPS1:SANKUD010:SANKUD2020
boundaries: -110,-105,-100,-95,-90,-47 (dBm)

-95dBm)

boundary B04 (value e.g.: -90dBm)


boundary B05 (value fixed: -47dBm)

The boundaries used in the selected BTS area are reported below:
Hr
-00
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

THRS BOUNDARY1 (BO0) - fixed


BTS COUNT
---------------------------------------- ---------110.0 dBm
333
THRS BOUNDARY1 (BO1)
BTS COUNT
---------------------------------------- ---------105.0 dBm
327
-95.0 dBm
5
-90.0 dBm
1
THRS BOUNDARY2 (BO2)
BTS COUNT
---------------------------------------- ---------100.0 dBm
327
-83.0 dBm
5
-88.0 dBm
1
THRS BOUNDARY3 (BO3)
BTS COUNT
---------------------------------------- ---------95.0 dBm
327
-71.0 dBm
5
-86.0 dBm
1
THRS BOUNDARY4 (BO4)
BTS COUNT
---------------------------------------- ---------90.0 dBm
327
-59.0 dBm
5
-80.0 dBm
1

Breakdowns for each cell


having UL interference

THRS BOUNDARY5 (BO5) - fixed


BTS COUNT
---------------------------------------- ---------47.0 dBm
333

Print out, analyze and pay attention to:


1) What is the typical patterns?Sort pages.
2)Colour on the map the cells of similar pattern with same colour.
3) See if the affected cells form an clear are or point the same
direction.
4) Use available methods to find out what could be the source
(local engineersmay know best the candidates)

The percentual distribution of idle FTCH in the selected area:

Day
--sun
sat
fri
thu
wed
tue
mon
sun
sat

MMDD
---0211
0210
0209
0208
0207
0206
0205
0204
0203

idle FTCH idle FTCH idle FTCH idle FTCH idle FTCH
in band 1 in band 2 in band 3 in band 4 in band 5
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
--------- --------- --------- --------- --------97.4
1.2
0.7
0.3
0.4
97.1
1.4
0.7
0.4
0.5
96.3
1.8
0.9
0.5
0.5
96.3
1.7
1.1
0.3
0.6
96.4
1.7
1.1
0.3
0.5
96.4
1.7
1.0
0.4
0.5
96.5
1.6
1.0
0.4
0.5
97.6
1.1
0.7
0.3
0.4
97.2
1.2
0.8
0.4
0.4

In interference free area all is in band 1.


The more weigh is towards band 5
the stronger the interference
NSN Internal Document
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UL interference, 24-hour/10-day breakdown


thu fri sat sun mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
BSC2UPS1:SANKUD010:SANKUD2020
27
28
29
30
31
01
02
03
04
05
06
boundaries: -110,-105,-100,-95,-90,-47 (dBm)
Hr AUG AUG AUG AUG AUG SEP SEP SEP SEP SEP SEP
-- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---thu fri sat sun mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
00
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
27
28
29
30
31
01
02
03
04
05
06
01
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
AUG AUG AUG AUG AUG SEP SEP SEP SEP SEP SEP
02
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---03
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
04
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
05
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
06
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
07
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
08
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
09
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
10
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
11
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
12
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
13
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
14
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
15
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
16
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
18
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
17
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
18
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
19
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
18
0
0
0
20
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
21
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
22
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
23
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

Boundaries can be set as cell parameters


Note: Mast Head Amplifier for 1800 and 1900 networks brings
constant 12dB gain. MHA for GSM has adjustable gain.

GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

Discovering interference via handover data


When certain cell initiates handover, if the average receiving

quality (uplink) is 4 (this is true when there is no frequency


hopping, if there is, it should be 5), and the mean receiving
level is 25(-85dBm), then it is possibly caused by uplink
interference.
When certain cell initiates handover, if the times of receiving
quality level above 5 is more than that below 4, then there
may be uplink interference as well.
If the times of certain cell attempts to initiate handover
(uplink/downlink quality) is more than 10% of total handover
attempt times, then there may be interference in the cell. The
two indices are all related to quality handover threshold and
interference handover threshold within the cell parameters.

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Discovering potential interference via call drop


index
If the call drop times of certain cell is rather higher the other
with same traffic load, and the main cause of call drop is
owning to connection fault, then it is possibly caused by
interference.
If the average receiving level during call drop is comparatively
high (25), while the average receiving quality level is 6,
then the cell should be listed into the interference source.

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Discovering potential interference via interference


band
BTS will utilize an idle TS in a frame to scan the uplink
frequencies of the frequencies used by TRX, and then make
measurement to the level 5 interference band. The default
setting of interference bands in BSC of Huawei is as follows:
110, 105, 98, 90, 87 and 85 (unit: -dBm)
Compared with other measurement indices, the measurement
index of interference band can reflect the cell interference
situation more directly, but it can only reflect whether there is
interference in the uplink.
If the values of interference band 4 and interference band 5
are comparatively large (1), then, there may be co-frequency
interference in the cell. If the measurement values mainly
distribute in interference band 1 and interference band 2, then
the possibility of interference will be small. However, if there
is comparatively high value in band 3, then attention should
be paid to this.
NSN Internal Document
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OMC Alarm and Subscriber Complaint


Subscriber complaint is also important clew for finding the
potential interference. Information which should be collected
from user complaint includes MS number, MS model, called
number and fault phenomenon of calling side and fault
phenomenon of called side and particular fault location, etc. If
the alarm information is more detailed, it will be more easily to
find out the network problems.
When there is interference in the network, the direct feelings
of the subscriber may be: heavy noise, both parties or either
party cannot hear each other clearly, call drops and call
cannot be put through, etc. Thus, when many subscribers
within the same area complain the same problem, then work
should be done to check whether there is interference in the
area.
NSN Internal Document
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Discovering Interference via Drive Test


There are two Drive Test methods available: idle mode test and
dedicated mode test.
Under the idle mode, the test equipment can measure the
signal level of both serving cell and adjacent cell. In addition,
the equipment can also perform frequency scanning test to
the specified frequency or frequency band.
Under dedicated mode test, the test equipment can measure
the signal levels, receiving qualities, power control
registrations and time advance, etc. of both the serving cell
and adjacent cells. When high level (30) and low quality
(Rx_Qual6) remain in certain section, it can be concluded
that interference exists in the section. Further, part test
equipment can directly display the frame elimination rate
(FER). Generally when the FER 25%, subscribers can feel
the discontinuous voice, that is to say, interference exists in
this section of highway.
NSN Internal Document
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Finding the Source of Interference

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Recommended Procedures for Location and


Clearance of Interference
Determine Interference Cell according to Key Performance

Index (KPI)
Check Alarm of OMC
Frequency Planning Check
Check Parameter Setting of Cell
Drive Test
Interference Clearance

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Brief introduction to Spectrum Analyzer


Spectrum Analyzer is a broadband signal receiver with high performance which can display

the spectrum of the receiving signals.


The receiving signal resolution bandwidth (RBW): namely the minimum signal bandwidth the
Spectrum Analyzer can recognize. The smaller the parameter is, the higher the receiving
sensitivity of instrument.
Input frequency: the frequency range the Spectrum Analyzer can receive.
Sensitivity: generally the minimum receiving level with 1Hz signal bandwidth is defined as
receiving sensitivity of the Spectrum Analyzer. The receiving sensitivity of HP85 series
Spectrum Analyzer can be below -142 dBm.
Video Filter Bandwidth (VBW): it refers to the bandwidth of the intermediate filter after
Frequency mixing of the Spectrum Analyzer. The smaller the bandwidth is, the smoother the
curve is;
Central frequency (F0): it refers to the central frequency of the spectrum that the Spectrum
Analyzer can test;
Bandwidth (SPAN): it refers to the spectrum span the Spectrum Analyzer can test;
Input signal attenuation (ATT): when there is large signal input, it is required to make
attenuation on signal properly. The Spectrum Analyzer itself may produce large number of
inter-modulation components without attenuation. So it will influence the veracity of the
testing result.

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Directional Antenna
Directional antenna is used for searching interference
sources. The stronger the directionality of antenna is, the
higher the antenna gain is. And the ability to search will
become better. So the logarithm-period antenna with broad
frequency band is the best choice. This kind of antenna has
broad frequency band, high antenna gain and strong
directionality.

NSN Internal Document


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The way to Test Internal Interference

Set the Spectrum Analyzer to proper state:

For 900M BTS: f0=902MHz,SPAN=30MHz,ATT=0,RBW=30kHz,VBW=30kHz;


For 1800M BTS: f0=1715MHz,SPAN=10MHz,ATT=0,RBW=30kHz,VBW=30kHz.

Screw out the connector of output port of CDU divider, then connect the output signal of the divider to the
Spectrum Analyzer to carry out a test. If the fractional frequency spectrum level is less than 80dBm, it
shows that there is no internal interference; if more than 80dBm, it shows that CDU or TRX inside Base
Station are under interference or self-excitation.

If internal interference exists, further make sure that it belongs to CDU or TRX. At first confirm TRX carrier
board, cut down the cable via which TRX is connected to divider, and use the Spectrum Analyzer to test
the main or diversity connector of TRX. If the fractional frequency spectrum level is less than 80dBm, it
shows that TRX is normal, otherwise it is required to change carrier board.

The three steps above aim at interference measure for the uplink frequency band. If there is suspect that
interference exists in the downlink frequency band, please follow steps below.

Check interference of transmission band. First, set the Spectrum Analyzer in transmission frequency band
of the BTS. Due to the large ouput power of BTS, attenuation should be made on the input signal.
Generally ATT is set as 40dB, then the tx_test signal of CDU should be imported to the Spectrum Analyzer
to be observed to make sure weather interference signal is generated.

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The way to Test External Interference


When we are sure that interference is caused by the external cause, first we should confirm the
location of interference source and the spectrum distribution state.

First, set the Spectrum Analyzer to proper state.


Choose output port of divider of cell under interference.
Screw out the selected connector, then use Coaxial Cable to import the output signal of
divider to the Spectrum Analyzer;

View the spectrum distribution state of the Spectrum Analyzer, and find out the
abnormal interference signal. The way to calculate the level of interference signal is as
follows:

Antenna port interference level = interference level tested by the Spectrum Analyzer
15dB Tower Top Amplifier Gain + 3dB cable loss 7dB divider gain.

The maximum interference level at antenna port without influence on system = 108dBm sensitivity 9dB co-channel interference protection= -117dBm

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The way to Search External Interference Sources


In the cell under interference, select a test point without building

obstruction.
Set the Spectrum Analyzer, and connect the directional antenna.
If there is rotatable platform, the antenna can be placed on it, and make
the wave beam of the antenna point to the front, and the antenna with
vertical polarization should be placed vertically; if there is no interferent
signal, one can raise the antenna over head with hands. Rotate the
antenna slowly, and at the same time view the change of signal of the
Spectrum Analyzer. Once there exists abnormal signal, fix the orientation
of the antenna immediately and change uptilt of the antenna to make the
receiving signal to the strongest.
Analyze the signal spectrum distribution carefully, and confirm that it is
interference signal, record the signal strength and record the azimuth and
downtilt of antenna wave beam.
Find new test point along with the direction of antenna wave beam, then
return to step 2 to carry out a test till interference source is found.

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Antenna Performance Degradation


Fault description: There are 5 BTSs for a certain network in a
county configured as S4/4/4 and 6/6/6, the BTS type includes
BTS20 and BTS30. The interference band 5 in TCH
measurement function of some cells is over 15, and there is no
alarm information in OMC

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Antenna Performance Degradation


Fault location process

Register the statistics task of interference band of 24 hours for the cell

with problems, it is found that interference band 5 mainly occurs in


daylight, and in the small hours near middle night, the interference band
value is almost 0.
After opening the idle BURST of all BTSs and transmitting it in the early
morning, it is found that the interference band occurs. It disappears after
transmitting is stopped. It can be judged from this phenomenon that the
interference comes from internal network and has nothing to do with other
equipment.
No frequency in the network and data are modified before the interference
occurs, accordingly, the interference is irrelevant with the frequency
planning.
It can be seen from the above second and third points that the problem is
relevant with the BTS equipment.
Observe the RXM test interface of CDU with the spectrum analyzer in
peak hour in the daylight, it can be seen that unstable strong broadband
interference and rise of back noise occur.

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Antenna Performance Degradation


Fault location process

First replace all boards (TRX, CDU, FPU, HPA, and power board) of this
BTS (BTS20, with Tower Top Amplifier) one by one, at the same time
observe the spectrum signal of RXM test interface, it can be seen that
interference exists all the time. This indicates that the interference is
relevant with the antenna feeder (including divider, combiner, feeder,
antenna, lightning arrester, Tower Top Amplifier, jumper and connector)
instead of the board.
Since the above BTS under test has the Tower Mount Amplifier, the
antenna and feeder check is inconvenient, replace another BTS30(S4/4/4)
(dual-CDU, and dual-polarization antenna) with interference and check the
antenna feeder.
Since no interference exists in one of the cells while strong interference
exists in another two cells in the BTS, interchange the antenna and feeder
(changing the jumper at the top of the cabinet) of the cells which are with
and without interference in the BTS in the evening. Then send idle BURST,
it is found that the interference follows the antenna and feeder. This step
helps further locate the fault which should exist in antenna and feeder
system.
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Antenna Performance Degradation


Fault location process

The situation remains the same even after replacing lightning arrester of
antenna feeder and checking all jumper connectors. Then it can be sure
that fault exists in the feeder or antenna.
Replace the jumper (i.e., antenna) at the top of the tower, it is found that
the interference follows the antenna, so the feeder fault can be excluded
while the antenna fault is quite possible. (It should be noted that the
external interference at this step cannot be excluded because the actual
installation place of the antenna does not change, but the external
interference has already been excluded in the above step. )
Finally check the antenna. The strong interference disappears
immediately after the antenna is replaced on the tower by using the dualpolarization antenna. For further verification, replace the antenna of one
cell with strong interference in another BTS20 with a new one, and then
the interference disappears, thus the problem is solved here.

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Antenna Connected Inversely


Fault description: the interference bands 4 and 5 often occur
in the traffic measurement after certain BTS is on service, the
inter-cell handover success rate is very low and the congestion
rate is up to 5%. There is no alarm in OMC.

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Antenna Connected Inversely


Fault location process

Since the interference bands 4 and 5 occur along with low handover success rate
and congestion, it is doubted that the interference causes the above phenomena.

Check the frequency planning first, no problem is found. The external interference
becomes the chief consideration after the frequency planning problem is excluded.
Change the original used frequency 9 into the far-away frequency 94 to avoid
external interference, but situation si the same. Confirmation made with the
operators branch office indicates that the BTS is remote and without any high-power
radio equipment nearby. It looks as if the frequency planning or external interference
should be excluded.

Since handover failure is involved at the same time, it is found that handover failure
occurs between cells 1 and 3 according to the registration of outgoing/incoming cell
handover performance measurement.

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Page 37

Antenna Connected Inversely


Fault location process

The congestion analysis indicates that TCH assignment failure is usually


caused by uplink. After registering the traffic measurement of
uplink/downlink balance, it is found that the measurement item of
uplink/downlink balance for cell 1 and cell 3 focus on level 1 and 11. This
indicates that severe imbalance occurs between uplink and downlink.
The imbalance between uplink and downlink, in combination with much
handover failure in cell 1 and 3 turn the doubt to the antenna and feeder
which may be connected inversely.
On-site examination indicates that the antennas of cell 1/2/3 become
crossed pair which causes the transmitter antennas of cell 1 and 3 to stay
in the same cell, while the receiver antennas of them connect to another
cell. The interference band and congestion disappear and the handover is
all right after it is corrected.

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Co-channel Interference
Fault phenomenon: The co-channel interference of Huawei early 2.0 BTS (O2) in
certain area leads to high call drop rate and poor voice quality. Serious
interruption with occasional strong noise (whizz in general) occurs. It is after the
BTSs normal running for a certain time that the call drop occurs. Located in a
little town (Du city) on the border of the city, the BTS is surrounded by the BTSs
of the other manufacturer.

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Page 39

Co-channel Interference
Fault location process

The frequencies assigned for the BTS are 64, and 92 (64 is of
BCCH frequency).
In the optimizing test, the receiving quality (quality level is
less than 3) is continuously good as the downlink signal level
is -95dBm in the direction away from Huanggang and Du City.
In the direction from Du City to Huanggang, the receiving
quality is also good when the receiving level is more than 70dBm. Then move forward until to the place where TA=5,
the receiving quality is sometimes good, and sometimes more
than 5 in about 1 minute when the receiving level is about 75dBm. And network-drop occurs frequently when Idle-mode
test is made at this place. It is suspected that downlink
interference may exist on BCCH frequency.
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Co-channel Interference
Fault location process

Carry out continuous conversation test with one test MS and


scan test for 64# frequency with another MS. The test carried
out again in the section from Du City to Huanggang reveals
that the signal strength of 64# frequency is already less than 100dBm near the Huanggang, and call drop already had
occured. But the signal strength of 64# frequency rises up to 65dBm and disappears after a duration of 100 seconds when
entering the downtown area of Huanggang. So it can be
judged that the co-channel interference may be from the TCH
frequency of cell nearby.

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Co-channel Interference
Fault location process

Carry out continuous conversation test with one test MS and scan test for
64# frequency with another MS. The test carried out again in the section
from Du City to Huanggang reveals that the signal strength of 64#
frequency is already less than -100dBm near the Huanggang, and call
drop already had occured. But the signal strength of 64# frequency rises
up to -65dBm and disappears after a duration of 100 seconds when
entering the downtown area of Huanggang. So it can be judged that the
co-channel interference may be from the TCH frequency of cell nearby.
Carry out scan test for this frequency after arriving at the hotel, the signal
level still remains high, but the conversation is not implemented on this
frequency. The next day, carry out designated scan test at the place with
the strongest signal of this frequency in the street of Huanggang, and test
in Idle mode with another test MS. From the system message, it can be
confirmed that 64# frequency is assigned to the TCH in HG08 cell with
BCCH frequency 45, and the conversation is actually established once on
64# frequency in multiple times of conversation tests.
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Co-channel Interference
Fault location process

The interference disappears after the application is made to


the customer to modify the frequency. At the same time, the
customer should adjust the adjacent cell relation of peer
equipment.
Carry out test again at the place where the original cochannel interference exists after the frequency is modified,
the call drop and network drop disappear, and conversation
quality Rx_Qual<3. It indicates that the problem of co-channel
interference (downlink) is solved.

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Adjacent-channel Interference
Fault phenomenon:
The call drop ratio is universally high and even up to about 15%
in busy hour after several BTSs are cut over. And it is difficult
for the call to be set up during on-site test. There is no alarm
message in OMC system

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Adjacent-channel Interference
Fault location process

All BTSs are connected to the same BSC, and call drop
occurs after cutover of new BTSs.
The transmission quality is good, and TRX test is carried out
for the above BTS with call drop and this indicates that each
TRX is all right. No fault is found by checking the data and
carrying out the test for 32BIE port corresponding to the BTSs.
From the above analysis, the TRX fault, BSC hardware fault,
A interface circuit fault and transmission fault can be excluded.
Analysis of traffic measurement result reveals that serious
interference occurs in each cell of the above several BTS.
Most cells have measurement values in interference band 4
and 5, and the number of channels falling into interference
band 5 in several cells is up to 7. So it is sure that the
interference in the above several cells is quite serious.
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Adjacent-channel Interference
Fault location process

It is found that there are many adjacent channels and the


frequency planning is irrational after checking the frequency
configuration of above BTSs and the adjacent cells.
Especially, the area where the above BTSs are located, is
newly added, and interference exists among them. And they
also have interference in between them and the surrounding
running BTSs.
Call drop disappears after adjusting and loading the
frequency configuration of this area.

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Interference Caused by Over-coverage


Fault phenomenon: The hand over success rate of a certain
GSM network is low, the call drop rate is high and conversation
quality is poor. The hand over success rate is less than 80%,
and the call drop rate is more than 2%. It is found that there are
many times of downlink/uplink strength hand overs through
view and analysis of traffic measurement data. while there are
many times of bad downlink quality, and uplink strength among
the times of unsuccessful handover. The analysis of cause of
call drop indicates that the times of bad downlink quality are
more than those of bad uplink quality . There is no alarm
message in OMC system

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Interference Caused by Over-coverage


Fault location process

From the result of traffic measurement, it can be judged that downlink interference may exist in the
system or the coverage is not very good.

The actual result of Drive Test shows that the strength of outdoor signal can be up to -80dBm
above in the downtown area, that is to say, the coverage is all right. But serious over-coverage
exists. For example, the service cell used in the building where BTS A is located is cell B with the
same BCCH frequency as cell A1, while cell B is 6 kilometers away from BTS A in the suburb. In
this way, the problem exists in two aspects:

1. The signal of cell B forms co-channel interference which leads to poor downlink link quality in
coverage area of cell 1 of BTS A. It is found that **** is displayed in the test MS when this cell
is locked during the test.

2. When cell B is selected as the service cell, its adjacent cell is only geographically adjacent to
it, while the cell near the BTS A does not function as its adjacent cell. So when its signal is
unavailable, the effect of isolated island will occur because the signal of its adjacent cell is
poor, too. Then hand over fault and even call drop will easily occur. The on-site survey shows
that the antenna of cell B is hung 50m above. The data provided by the customer reveals that
the tilt angle is 5, which is actually far less than 5.

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Interference Caused by Over-coverage


Fault location process

The cause for bad network indices lies in over-coverage, so


the basic way is adopted to lower the antenna and adjust
downtilt of it to make actual coverage area consistent with
planned coverage area. Temporarily this problem can only be
solved by adjusting the network parameter. The following
operations can be adopted: lower the power level of cell B
and add the adjacent cell of cell B, at the same time increase
the level threshold of candidate cell from 10 to 15. The
network indices exhibit obvious improvement after the above
check and modification are performed for all cells in the
downtown area, moreover, the hand over success ratio rises
up to 85%, while call drop ratio drops to 1.3%.

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Repeater Interference
Fault phenomenon: subscribers of a certain network complain that they
cannot occupy channel in some area for conversation since some day, or
noise is heavy after occupancy of channel though the signal of MS is strong
at this time. There are two directional BTSs in this area and both of them are
BTS30 with the version 05.0529. The azimuth of the first cell directs at north.
The BTS in this area works normally and the network indices conform to
requirement before the complaint. Both BSC and MSC are devices of
Huawei and two BTSs are connected in star mode. The traffic measurement
indices show that traffic of both BTSs decreases obviously after occurrence
of this problem, especially in the first and third cells. Although the signal of
channel is very strong, the quality of voice is poor. Then it can be seen from
traffic measurement that the interference band of these four cells is in class
three, four, and five, and 95% of channels are under interference. In addition,
interference of different classes also exists in other cells. So subscribers
complained strongly. And there is no alarm message in OMC system

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Repeater Interference
Fault location process

The feedback of subscribers shows the possible causes as follows: 1.


Problem occurs in transmission and leads to error code; 2. Problem
occurs in antenna feeder; 3. Fault exists in TMU; 4. Internal or external
interference may exist.
The traffic measurement console shows the possible reasons as follows: 1.
There may exist strong uplink interference signal in the north lean to west
in this area. This leads to interference of different levels in the first, second
and third cells, especially in the first and third cells;
It is found that it is difficult to put through the call in the first and third cells
through on-site dial test. Although the call is put through, the quality of
voice is very poor, and the voice is intermittent seriously with strong
interference. If MS subscriber calls fixed telephone subscriber in this area,
it is hard for fixed telephone subscriber to hear the voice clearly, instead,
MS subscriber can hear fixed telephone subscriber clearly. This also
proves the above analysis that the interference may be external (It can be
judged from this point that interference only exists in uplink.)

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Repeater Interference
Fault location process

Carry out test on site with antenna feeder analyzer. No problem of BTS
itself is found, and the situation remains the same after TMU is replaced.
Therefore, we ask customers whether there are such newly constructed
equipment as microwave station, repeater, etc. surrounding the BTS. They
told that they didnt set up them.
It is said that China Mobile sets up a repeater in the area, which is located
about two kilometers away in the north lean to the west of both BTSs of
Huawei, and when it is activated, the problem will occur in Huawei BTS.
Then customers negotiated with China Mobile several times. Finally China
Mobile carried out on-site test with Huawei engineers together, and found
that only if the repeater is switched off, the interference band and call
become normal along with the recovery of Huawei BTS, if the repeater is
activated, problem will occur soon in Huawei BTS, i.e. call cannot be put
through, or interference is strong even after call is put through. The traffic
measurement relevant with interference band in two different cases was
handed on to China Mobile, and they approved our viewpoint.
Finally the problem is solved with the coordination of China Mobile.
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Microwave Interference
Fault phenomenon: it is found that call drop rate in the second
and third cell of a certain BTS (S2/2/2) in traffic measurement
increases abruptly. Call drop rate is up to about 20% at some
time.

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Microwave Interference
Fault location process

View of BSC traffic measurement shows that idle TCH number in


interference band in this BTS begins to increase in interference
band 3-5 at about 8:30, in interference band 4, 5 at 10:00, and in
interference band 1 at about 22:00. It can be judged from the above
phenomenon that interference exists.
Since this BTS operates well before, the problem of frequency
planning can be excluded.
Perform power-off restart and replace board for BTS. But
interference still exists, so the possibility of TRX self-excitation can
be excluded.
TRX management information reveals that interference exists in
four boards of the second and third cell in this BTS, and the
possibility of damage of the four boards at the same time is little, so
the problem of TRX can be excluded. TRX board is replaced for
caution, but interference remains
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Microwave Interference
Fault location process

View of all BSC traffic measurement data shows that interference


of different levels exists in the cells of all BTSs nearby, which is
facing the same direction as the second and third cells in this BTS.
And sometimes SDCCH channels in the cells with serious
interference are all occupied at the same time, while the occupancy
ratio of SDCCH at the same time is very little according to the
amount of subscriber. So it can be sure that external interference
exists in uplink, but the interference may be relevant with direction
instead of frequency.
To further locate, jumpers of the first and third cell are interchanged
on the rack top. As a result, it is found that interference occurs in
the first cell, but interference disappears in the third cell, so this has
proved the above judgement.
Since interference is not relevant with frequency, BTS interference
may be caused by high-power signal sent into BTS system.

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Microwave Interference
Fault location process

Measurement on BTS divider output port with spectrum


analyzer shows that high-power signal exists on 904MHz
frequency (5M away from the used frequency), and this signal
level come up to about 25dbm in BTS with serious
interference, while in other BTS it is about 50dbm. So it can
be judged that this signal has impact on BTS.
After frequency scanning around BTS with spectrum analyzer,
it is found that a microwave antenna outputting high-power
signal is at a frequency of 904.
When the microwave equipment is switched off and TRX
management information is traced, the interference
disappeared.
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False Interference
Fault phenomenon: the reconstruction of some office found that
the interference band of an S6/6/6 BTS20 in a county is very
high. Theinterference band of two cells in it changed from 5 to 7.

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False Interference
Fault location process

During the past interference test ofthis office, some cells with
high interference band were located. This is because antenna
intermodulation resulted in the interference of normal signal in
case of large traffic and it made the interference band very
high. So change the antenna, but the interference band did
not fall down obviously after that.
During the prior period, the frequency planning has been
checked several times, and the ad-frequency interference has
been avoided basically. At the same time the frequency that
may cause third order intermodulation in the cell has been
adjusted. The problem of frequency planning has been
basically excluded. It is unknown whether there is something
wrong with Tower Top Amplifier, feeder or connector. But no
problem was found after checking the antenna feeder system
of the BTS several times.
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False Interference
Fault location process

Trace the state of interference band of each channel via


Maintenance Console and find that high interference band mainly
focuses on the four TRXs of the cell.
First set the frequency with less interference to the TRX with more
interference, and find that the interference band does not change. It
shows there is no relation to the frequency. Whether there is
something wrong with TRX board or not is unknown. However, the
situation is unchanged after the TRXs were interchanged.
Then confirm the TRX numbers, and find that the four carriers
come from the same divider. From the above process, the problem
may be the divider. But it is found that the interference band
becomes high when the BTS is expanded from S4/4/4 to S6/6/6.
While the combiner/divider used to be normal. Maybe the devices
break down after some time. So we decided to change the
combiber/divider to have a try.

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False Interference
Fault location process

The idea that four carriers with high interference band are
connected to the same second level divider before the divider
is changed. The 7-dB gain of the divider has been considered
during interference judgement. However, if the DIP switch is
not moved to the right place while cascaded, the interference
signal will be amplified by 7dB. Simultaneously, higher
interference band will exist because the calculating error of
2.0 station itself is up to 5dB. Check the DIP switch of the
divider. It was really not moved to Off. After it is corrected,
view the traffic measurement of interference band 4 and 5.
They fall down to 0. And there is a little value on the
interference band three.

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Content: Interference Analysis


Statistics
DL C/I and interference matrix
UL receive level of unused time slots

Drive Tests

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DL - C/I and Interference Matrix (BCCH)


BTS-11
BTS-5
BTS-7

51 multiframe of BTS-5
51 multiframe of BTS-7
51 multiframe of BTS-11

T51,BTS-7

by drive tests

T51,BTS-11

interferers

T51,BTS-5

Search for
T51 start time

235400

BTS operating with the same frequencies can be distinguished from each other nevertheless, as the multi
frames are not synchronized with each other. So e.g. the strong BCCH signals of nearby BTSs usually are
well separated in time.
51 multi frame -> Measurements of the BCCH
26 multi frame -> Measurements of the SACCH
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DL - C/I and Interference Matrix (BCCH)


Detection of interferers:
The RX level and RX quality measurements can be performed on per TRX basis.
Non hopping network -> with affected TRX single affected frequency recognized
Hopping network
-> affected MA list recognized only
Often there are several nearby cells using the affected frequency or one of the
frequencies of the affected MA list
Manual search for interferers:
The potentially interfering base stations have to be switched off temporarily - Very
time consuming. Especially in hopping networks hardly possible to find out the
interferers
Search for interferers on basis of traffic:
If the interference level increases with the traffic in a potentially interfering cell, than
very probably this is indeed an interfering source

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UL Receive Level of Unused Time Slots


Measurement of uplink receive level on idle channels = uplink interference

Averaging over interferenceAveragingProcess (AP) = 1..32 SACCH


periods
Classification into interference bands based on
interferenceAveragingProcess (BO1..BO4) = -110..-47 dBm

BSC tries to allocate TCH from best interference band (can be requested by
MSC)
If not available, BSC tries to take TCH from next band

BO5 47 (fixed)
rxLevUL = -75 dBm
BO4 -90
BO3 -95
BO2 -100
BO1 -105
BO0 110 (fixed)
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Interference
Detection of interference:
UL and DL RX level and RX quality statistics for busy TCH:
For a RX level guaranteeing a stable connection (for outdoor higher than about -90
dBm) most of the RX quality measurements should indicate either quality 0 or 1
It is an indicator for interference if speech quality is bad and level high.
UL RX level of un-used TCH:
The BTS can measure the RX level of unused time slots. Any signal detected there
indicates interference directly.

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Drive Tests

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Example drive test

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Drive Tests
Example drive test

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Drive Test - Exercises


Case study
Cell 11 is...

Cell 11

showing high drop rate in NMS


statistics. Customer complaints
point to a possible problem
area around a particular road
crossing.

(high call
drop rate)

Cell 11
Cell 11 is ...
covering part of a suburban city
area including a road crossing.
There are other cells in the
area (see sketch), but Cell 11 is
dominant in and around the
road crossing.

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(dominant in
road crossing)

Drive Test - Exercises


Information
High traffic ?

No frequency assignment problems on neighboring


cells
Drive tests confirm that the road crossing is causing
drops on very many calls
Cell 11 has signal level around 85dBm at the road
crossing
Downlink RXQUAL values are showing worse quality
than other cells in the area
Uplink RXQUAL is showing same characteristic as
other cells in the area (no problem)

- 85 dBm

High interference
(fading) ?

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Cell 11
(dominant in
road crossing)

GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

Call drops

Drive Test - Exercises

Cause of the problem


Problem is caused by a
competitor site at the building in
the upper right side of the road
crossing. The competitor cell
provides around 35 dBm at the
road crossing, which creates
signal differences in "our"
network
of
around
50dB
between the serving level and
the interfering level.

Competitor
Cell
- 35 dBm

Cell 11
(dominant in
road crossing)
- 85 dBm

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Drive Test - Exercises

Solution
The only solution is to provide a
higher signal level at the road
crossing, so that the signal
difference gets lower than the
current 50 dB.

Adding
New Site
- 40 dBm

- 35 dBm

The probable solution is to add a


new site close to the road
crossing.
Plus frequency reallocations

Cell 11
(dominant in
road crossing)
- 85 dBm

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Competitor
Cell

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Drive Test - Exercises


10

GSM specs requires that a


mobile must overcome this kind
of interference when the signal
difference is around 40dB even if
the serving level is close to the
sensitivity level of the mobile.
There is generally no exact
specifications for this kind of
interference, but it is commonly
known, that this phenomenon is
happening.
Note: The competitor channel
is not adjacent to the serving
channel, it might be separated
by several MHz!

Rx
Level
[dBm]

20
-35 dBm
-40

-60

-80

-100

CIR (competitor server) max. 40


dB
allowed

-85 dBm

Cell 11
(dominant in
road crossing)
200
kHz
F1

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Competitor
channel

GSM Interference Analysis/JP/NNPO/ 1st to 3rd July 2010 @ VF RoB

200
kHz
Fn

Frequency
range

Drive Test - Exercises

New BTS

A new BTS with a 3+2+3 configuration has been implemented in the network during night-time.
The implementation engineer standing next to the BTS has made successful test calls on all
timeslots of all TRX's.Using a test mobile a short drive test has been done at approx. 500m
from the site and the following verifications have been done :

The directions of all 3 sectors by looking at the BCCH frequencies


The functionality of the handover relations between the sectors
The uplink cabling of each TRX by making one outdoor test call on each TRX

The implementation engineer parks his car to make some phone calls to arrange the rest of his
work. The first call is successful. Another call is also successful. The 3rd call he has to make
fails during the setup. Again he makes some phone calls to check the new site and get's the
following results :
1.
OK
2.
OK
3.
NOK
4.
OK
5.
OK
6.
NOK
7.
OK
All the time he is standing in the area between sector 1 and 2 and making phone calls on
sector 1.
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Drive Test - Exercises


Description of the actions
The BSS Technician went on site for checking the hardware, and the operator's OMC
controller checked the alarms. Nothing was found. The frequency plan was checked, it was
clear that too many frequencies were involved here and that interference can't easily be
avoided. Different parameter fine tuning trials were implemented, but they didn't improve
anything. Base band hopping was deactivated for some hours to have statistics per TRX.
But nothing came out of this test.
Some frequencies were swapped and changed, but no real improvement was seen. The
problem should come from an external source or from a problem with the hardware itself
(intermodulation problem was proposed as it was seen on other cells already).
The operator went back on site to measure the UL interference, and concluded that UL
interference is coming from MS of other cells. It was reported that the MS were coming from
the back.

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Drive Test - Exercises


Cause of problem
It turned out that the side and back lobes from
the antenna were picking-up UL signals from
MSs on cells behind

Solution
Change the antenna

Replace the antenna with one which has


less back and side lobes
Move the antenna on the roof, so that the
building is a screen for the MS on the cells
behind and the back/side lobes. The MSs
operating on the cells behind (co-channels)
are not seen by the antenna's back/side
lobes anymore

Solution 1

Move the sector


Solution 2
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Thank You

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