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WCDMA RAN

UMTS Signaling Storm Solution


Guide
Issue

01

Date

2014-10-15

HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD.

Copyright Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. 2014. All rights reserved.


No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written
consent of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

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and other Huawei trademarks are trademarks of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
All other trademarks and trade names mentioned in this document are the property of their respective holders.

Notice
The purchased products, services and features are stipulated by the contract made between Huawei and the
customer. All or part of the products, services and features described in this document may not be within the
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WCDMA RAN
UMTS Signaling Storm Solution Guide

Contents

Contents
1 About This Document..................................................................................................................1
1.1 Scope..............................................................................................................................................................................1
1.2 Intended Audience..........................................................................................................................................................1
1.3 Change History...............................................................................................................................................................1

2 Solution Overview........................................................................................................................2
2.1 Background.....................................................................................................................................................................2
2.2 Application Scenarios.....................................................................................................................................................2
2.3 Overall Solution..............................................................................................................................................................3

3 Solution Application Guidelines...............................................................................................4


3.1 Scenario 1: Access Signaling Storm...............................................................................................................................4
3.1.1 Scenario Description....................................................................................................................................................4
3.1.2 Solution Purpose..........................................................................................................................................................4
3.1.3 Solution Description....................................................................................................................................................4
3.1.4 Implementation............................................................................................................................................................9
3.2 Scenario 2: Paging Signaling Storm...............................................................................................................................9
3.2.1 Scenario Description....................................................................................................................................................9
3.2.2 Solution Purpose..........................................................................................................................................................9
3.2.3 Solution Description....................................................................................................................................................9
3.2.4 Implementation..........................................................................................................................................................11

4 List of Features Involved in the Solution...............................................................................12


5 Acronyms and Abbreviations...................................................................................................13
6 Reference Documents.................................................................................................................14

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WCDMA RAN
UMTS Signaling Storm Solution Guide

1 About This Document

About This Document

1.1 Scope
This document describes signaling storm solutions for different application scenarios in UMTS
networks.
The purpose of this document is to help customers choose the appropriate feature or feature
combination based on different network deployment scenarios. The technical principles,
deployment, and activation of each feature will not be described in this document and will be
included in the corresponding feature parameter description.

1.2 Intended Audience


This document is intended for personnel who:
l

Need to understand the signaling storm solution

Work with Huawei products

1.3 Change History


This section provides information on the changes in different document versions.

RAN16.0 01 (2014-10-15)
Compared with Issue 01(2014-04-22) of RAN15.0, Issue 01(2014-10-15) of RAN16.0 optimizes
some descriptions.

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UMTS Signaling Storm Solution Guide

2 Solution Overview

Solution Overview

2.1 Background
Some packet switched (PS) applications (such as instant message and e-Mail) in smartphones
frequently communicate with the Internet server in a short period of time. As the penetration
rate of smartphones in UMTS networks rises continuously, a large number of PS calls occur and
each single PS call generates only a small amount of data. In order to save the battery power,
some smartphones send a Signaling Connection Release Indication (SCRI) message to the RNC
after PS data transmission is complete. Therefore, such smartphones go through the whole
procedure of RRC connection setup, PS data transmission, and RRC connection release each
time they have data to transmit. Frequent RRC connection setups and releases generate a large
number of signaling messages and may lead to signaling storms.
Signaling storms consume more central processing unit (CPU) resources of the baseband
processing boards in the NodeB and SPU and PIU boards in the RNC without bringing any
revenues for operators. What's more, if signaling storms are not handled properly, the CPU of
the NodeB or RNC may be overloaded, affecting the network capacity and stability.
In addition, the Uu-interface paging load increases significantly because smartphones frequently
communicate with the Internet server and each communication lasts for a very short period of
time with only a small amount of data to transmit. Statistics of typical networks show that the
PS paging load over the Uu interface doubles every several months when traffic volume remains
unchanged, and the total Uu-interface paging load will exceed the capacity threshold of the RNC
soon.
As a response to the preceding situations, Huawei introduces the signaling storm solution.

2.2 Application Scenarios


The signaling storm solution applies to scenarios where signaling storms are caused by a large
amount of access or paging messages.

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UMTS Signaling Storm Solution Guide

2 Solution Overview

Access Signaling Storm


l

RRC connections are frequently established and released due to battery-power saving and
always-on-line service requirements. As a result, a large number of PS RAB setup messages
are received on the RAN side.

When many UEs in the network are in the CELL_PCH state, a large number of cell
reselection messages are generated if these UEs move frequently.

Paging Signaling Storm


Due to battery-power saving and always-on-line service requirements, some UEs frequently
enters the idle or URA_PCH state. Paging these UEs brings a large number of signaling
messages.

2.3 Overall Solution


The signaling storm solution uses the following strategies:
l

Hardware capability improvement: Improves the signaling processing capability of the


NodeB and RNC by introducing new boards or improving the signaling processing
capability of existing boards.

Signaling suppression
After the R8 fast dormancy (FD) or enhanced fast dormancy (EFD) function is enabled,
the RNC does not release the RRC connection when receiving an SCRI message from
a UE. Instead, the RNC transits this UE to the CELL_FACH, CELL_PCH, or
URA_PCH state to reduce the number of access messages.
Layered paging is used to reduce the number of paging messages.

Flow control: When the RNC or NodeB hardware is heavily loaded, some types of access
signaling messages are refused to avoid RNC or NodeB overload.

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UMTS Signaling Storm Solution Guide

3 Solution Application Guidelines

Solution Application Guidelines

3.1 Scenario 1: Access Signaling Storm


3.1.1 Scenario Description
As the penetration rate of smartphones rises in UMTS networks, more UEs in idle mode attempt
to set up PS RABs and more UEs in the CELL_PCH state attempt to perform cell reselection.
This increases the number of signaling messages and therefore increases the SPU load, NodeB
signaling load, and NodeB CE resource usage.
The solution for access signaling storm applies to the following scenarios:
l

The PS traffic model changes due to the high smartphone penetration rate and service bursts
occur (which are characterized by small data size during one RRC connection, short RRC
connection period, and frequent RRC connection requests). This solution is recommended
when the number of signaling messages for PS RAB setups increases.

When UEs in the CELL_PCH state move frequently between cells, the number of cell
reselection requests increases, which increases the SPU load. For example, this solution is
recommended when the number of signaling messages for cell reselection exceeds 50,000
per hour for top cells.

3.1.2 Solution Purpose


This solution increases the signaling processing capability of RNC and NodeB hardware, and
reduces the SPU load, NodeB signaling load, and NodeB CE resource usage caused by increased
number of signaling messages for PS RAB setups and cell reselection when the penetration rate
of smartphones is high.

3.1.3 Solution Description


This solution provides the following functions:
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Increases hardware capability


This solution constantly increases the signaling processing capability of RNC and NodeB
hardware in order to meet the future requirements for signaling capacity.

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UMTS Signaling Storm Solution Guide

3 Solution Application Guidelines

In RAN13.0 and RAN14.0, the maximum signaling processing capability of the RNC
depends on the SPUb board in the BSC6900. In RAN15.0, the maximum signaling
processing capability of the RNC depends on SPUb board in the BSC6900 and GPU board
in the BSC6910.
In RAN14.0 and RAN15.0, the maximum signaling processing capability of the NodeB
depends on the UTRPc, UMPT, UBBPd, or WBBPf board.
Figure 3-1 shows increased RNC signaling processing capability.
Figure 3-1 Increased RNC signaling processing capability

Figure 3-2 shows increased NodeB signaling processing capability.


Figure 3-2 Increased NodeB signaling processing capability

For details about RNC and NodeB hardware capacity, see UMTS product documentation and
NodeB product documentation.
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Suppresses access signaling


To save battery power, some UEs send an SCRI message to the RNC after completing PS
data transmission, instructing the RNC to transmit them to a power-saving mode. After the
FD or EFD feature is enabled for UEs complying with 3GPP Release 8, the RNC does not
release the RRC connections of these UEs but transmits them to the CELL_FACH or
CELL_PCH state upon reception of the SCRI message. This significantly reduces the
number of signaling messages for PS RAB setups.
After the UE inactivity timer expires, the RNC transmits the UE to the CELL_PCH state
instead of the idle mode. If the UE then has data to transmit, data transmission is completed
through a P2F2D2F2P or P2F2P procedure. This reduces signaling overheads and saves
system resources.
When URA_PCH is used, multiple cells are grouped into one URA (the URA can be the
same as the LA) so that the UTRAN can learn the current URA of the UE and page the UE
within this URA. When the UE moves between cells in the URA, the UE does not need to
send cell reselection requests to the RNC. When the UE moves to another URA, it sends a
URA UPDATE message to request for a URA change. This significantly reduces the
number of signaling messages for cell reselection. URA is short for UTRAN registration
area and LA is short for location area. After this solution is used, the paging signaling
increases and therefore this solution must be used together with the solution for paging
signaling storm.

Performs flow control: Flow control is classified into RNC flow control and E2E flow
control based on NodeB CPU load.
RNC flow control: When the CPU usage of an RNC board exceeds the CPU flow control
threshold, this function prevents this RNC board from becoming overloaded by performing
the following signaling access control: access control, paging control, RRC flow control,
Iur flow control, CBS flow control, cell/URA update flow control, Iur-g flow control,
DCCC flow control, and MR flow control. CBS is short for cell broadcast service. DCCC
is short for dynamic channel configuration control. MR is short for measurement report.
For details, see Flow Control Feature Parameter Description.
E2E flow control based on NodeB CPU load protects NEs in a RAN from being overloaded.
The NEs that participate in flow control are the RNC and NodeB. E2E flow control based
on NodeB CPU load is divided into two phases. In E2E Flow Control Phase 1, RADIO
LINK SETUP REQUEST messages sent by the RNC to the NodeB are categorized
according to service priority. The NodeB performs flow control based on service priorities
to reduce the NodeB CPU load and ensures preferential access of high-priority services. In
E2E Flow Control Phase 2, the RNC performs flow control on RRC CONNECTION
REQUEST messages for new services (excluding emergency calls) based on the CPU
congestion level reported by the NodeB and service priorities. The RRC CONNECTION
REQUEST messages of low-priority services are preferentially rejected. Phase 2 serves as
a supplement to Phase 1 and aims to reduce the NBAP signaling flow over the Iub interface
and saves more RAN resources.

List of Features Involved in the Solution


Table 3-1 lists features and functions involved in the solution for access signaling storm.

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UMTS Signaling Storm Solution Guide

3 Solution Application Guidelines

Table 3-1 List of features and functions involved in the solution for access signaling storm
Function
Category

Feature ID

Feature Name

Introduc
ed in

Reference Document

Suppression
of access
signaling

WRFD-02050
0

Enhanced Fast
Dormancy

RAN12.0

Enhanced Fast Dormancy


Feature Parameter
Description

WRFD-01020
2

UE State in
Connected Mode
(CELL-DCH,
CELL-PCH,
URA-PCH,
CELL-FACH)

RAN12.0

State Transition Feature


Parameter Description

WRFD-01061
111

HSDPA State
Transition

RAN5.0

State Transition Feature


Parameter Description

NA

E2E Flow
Control Phase 1

RAN12.0

E2E Flow Control


Feature Parameter
Description

NA

E2E Flow
Control Phase 2

RAN13.0

E2E Flow Control


Feature Parameter
Description

WRFD-04010
0

Flow Control

RAN12.0

Flow Control Feature


Parameter Description

Flow control

Description of Features Involved in the Solution


Table 3-2 describes features and functions involved in the solution for access signaling storm.
Table 3-2 Description of features and functions involved in the solution for access signaling
storm

Issue 01 (2014-10-15)

Feature ID

Feature Name

Feature Description in This Solution

WRFD-020500

Enhanced Fast Dormancy

This feature reduces the resource


consumption of signaling processing in the
Fast Dormancy procedure. After receiving
an SCRI message from a UE or the UE
inactivity timer expires, the RNC transmits
the UE to the CELL_FACH state or to the
CELL_PCH/URA_PCH state through the
CELL_FACH state instead of transmitting
the UE to the idle mode.

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3 Solution Application Guidelines

Feature ID

Feature Name

Feature Description in This Solution

WRFD-010202

UE State in Connected
Mode (CELL-DCH, CELLPCH, URA-PCH, CELLFACH)

This feature enhances UE's support for the


Fast Dormancy procedure. Conventionally,
the process for UEs to enter the power
saving mode is controlled by the inactive
timer delivered by the network side, which
takes a lot of time. Currently, some UEs
complying with 3GPP Release 8 support the
Fast Dormancy function defined in 3GPP
TS 25.331 CR3483. When a UE performing
only PS services completes PS data
transmission, the UE immediately sends the
RNC an SCRI message with the cause value
of "UE Requested PS Data session end".
Upon reception of this message, the RNC
immediately releases the RRC connection
of the UE and enables the UE to rapidly
enter the power saving mode.

WRFD-010611
11

HSDPA State Transition

This feature enables channel switches


between DCH and HS-DSCH. When a UE
establishes BE services or streaming
services on the HS-DSCH and no data has
been transmitted for a long period of time,
the RNC transmits the UE to the
CELL_FACH state to save system
resources.

N/A

E2E Flow Control Phase 1

In E2E Flow Control Phase 1, RADIO


LINK SETUP REQUEST messages sent by
the RNC to the NodeB are categorized
according to service priority. The NodeB
performs flow control based on service
priorities to reduce the NodeB CPU load and
ensures preferential access of high-priority
services.

N/A

E2E Flow Control Phase 2

In E2E Flow Control Phase 2, the RNC


performs flow control on RRC
CONNECTION REQUEST messages for
new services (excluding emergency calls)
based on the CPU congestion level reported
by the NodeB and service priorities. The
RRC CONNECTION REQUEST messages
of low-priority services are preferentially
rejected. This reduces NodeB CPU load and
ensures that high-priority services are
preferentially admitted.

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Feature ID

Feature Name

Feature Description in This Solution

WRFD-040100

Flow Control

This feature prevents RNC boards from


becoming overloaded by performing the
following access signaling control: access
control, paging control, RRC flow control,
Iur flow control, CBS flow control, cell/
URA update flow control, Iur-g flow
control, DCCC flow control, and MR flow
control.

3.1.4 Implementation
To support the increasing number of signaling messages, new hardware and a new version can
be used in the live network to improve the signaling processing capacity of the hardware.
Features under the suppression of access signaling function do not depend on or are not mutually
exclusive to features under the flow control function. Therefore, features under these two
functions can be simultaneously deployed in a network where the penetration rate of smartphones
is high.
For details about the deployment and activation of each feature, see the corresponding feature
parameter description. Features under the suppression of access signaling function can be
deployed at the same time and features under the flow control function can also be deployed at
the same time.

3.2 Scenario 2: Paging Signaling Storm


3.2.1 Scenario Description
The increasing penetration rate of smartphones brings more services and more services result in
more paging messages, especially more PS paging messages. This solution is recommended
when the Uu-interface paging load is heavy (for example, the PCH usage is greater than 60%).
NOTE

PCH usage = VS.UTRAN.AttPaging1/(SP x 100 x 5). In this formula, SP is the measurement period of
the VS.UTRAN.AttPaging1 counter and is in units of seconds.

3.2.2 Solution Purpose


This solution significantly reduces the Uu-interface paging load for UEs in idle mode or in the
URA_PCH state and improves system paging capacity.
For details, see Layered Paging in URA_PCH Feature Parameter Description and Layered
Paging in Idle Mode Feature Parameter Description.

3.2.3 Solution Description


The solution for paging signaling storm provides the following functions:
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Reduces the Uu-interface paging load using layered paging: Conventionally, paging
messages are sent to the entire LA, RA, or URA. Due to the large paging area, the
conventional paging mechanism causes high Uu-interface paging load. To reduce the
number of unnecessary paging messages and relieve the PCH congestion caused by
excessive paging messages, the RNC perform layered paging on a UE in idle mode as
follows: The RNC first pages the UE in the last camped-on cell and the cell's neighboring
cells under the same RNC. If no response is received, the RNC pages the UE in the entire
LA or RA. In this way, paging load in the entire system is significantly reduced. This
prevents PCH congestion. For details about layered paging, see Layered Paging in
URA_PCH Feature Parameter Description and Layered Paging in Idle Mode Feature
Parameter Description.

Reduces Uu-interface paging load by splitting the LA, RA, or URA: When the Uu-interface
paging load is high, one LA, RA, or URA is split into N LAs, RAs, or URAs. In this case,
the area of one LA, RA, or URA is decreased and therefore the paging area is decreased.
This reduces the paging load in the whole system and avoids PCH congestion.

List of Features Involved in the Solution


Table 3-3 lists the features involved in the solution for paging signaling storm.
Table 3-3 List of features involved in the solution for paging signaling storm
Function
Category

Feature ID

Feature Name

Introduce
d in

Reference
Document

Reducing the Uuinterface paging


load using layered
paging

WRFD-140206

Layered Paging in
URA_PCH

RAN14.0

Layered
Paging in
URA_PCH
Feature
Parameter
Description

WRFD-150205

Layered Paging in
Idle Mode

RAN15.0

Layered
Paging in
Idle Mode
Feature
Parameter
Description

Descriptions of Features Involved in the Solution


Table 3-4 describes the features involved in the solution for paging signaling storm.

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3 Solution Application Guidelines

Table 3-4 Description of features involved in the solution for paging signaling storm
Feature ID

Feature Name

Feature Description

WRFD-140206

Layered Paging in
URA_PCH

Due to the rapid rise of smartphone use in


recent years, PS paging messages have
accounted for an increasingly large proportion
of paging messages. Conventionally, PS
paging messages are sent to the entire URA.
With this feature, the RNC performs layered
paging on UEs in the URA_PCH state. This
significantly reduces the paging load in the
entire system and avoids PCH congestion.

WRFD-150205

Layered Paging in
Idle Mode

Due to the rapid rise of smartphone use in


recent years, PS paging messages have
accounted for an increasingly large proportion
of paging messages. Conventionally, PS
paging messages are sent to the entire LA or
RA. With this feature, the RNC performs
layered paging on UEs in idle mode. This
significantly reduces the paging load in the
entire system and avoids PCH congestion.

3.2.4 Implementation
For details about the engineering guidelines of the layered paging function, see the corresponding
feature parameter description. Layered Paging in URA_PCH and Layered Paging in Idle Mode
can be deployed at the same time.
For details about how to split an LA, RA, or URA, contact Huawei technical engineers.

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4 List of Features Involved in the Solution

List of Features Involved in the Solution

Issue 01 (2014-10-15)

Feature ID

Feature Name

Introduce
d in

Reference Document

WRFD-020500

Enhanced Fast
Dormancy

RAN12.0

Enhanced Fast Dormancy Feature


Parameter Description

WRFD-010202

UE State in
Connected Mode
(CELL-DCH,
CELL-PCH, URAPCH, CELLFACH)

RAN12.0

State Transition Feature Parameter


Description

WRFD-010611
11

HSDPA State
Transition

RAN5.0

State Transition Feature Parameter


Description

NA

E2E Flow Control


Phase 1

RAN12.0

E2E Flow Control Feature


Parameter Description

NA

E2E Flow Control


Phase 2

RAN13.0

E2E Flow Control Feature


Parameter Description

WRFD-040100

Flow Control

RAN12.0

Flow Control Feature Parameter


Description

WRFD-140206

Layered Paging in
URA_PCH

RAN14.0

Layered Paging in URA_PCH


Feature Parameter Description

WRFD-150205

Layered Paging in
Idle Mode

RAN15.0

Layered Paging in Idle Mode


Feature Parameter Description

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5 Acronyms and Abbreviations

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Acronym and Abbreviation

Full Name

URA

UTRAN Registration Area

LA

Location Area

RA

Routing Area

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6 Reference Documents

Reference Documents

1.

State Transition Feature Parameter Description

2.

Enhanced Fast Dormancy Feature Parameter Description

3.

Layered Paging in Idle Mode Feature Parameter Description

4.

Layered Paging in URA_PCH Feature Parameter Description

5.

E2E Flow Control Feature Parameter Description

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