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BASIC CDMA CONCEPT COURSE

INTRODUCTION
Welcome to the basic CDMA concept course. This course has been designed to provide
you with the foundation of the basic concepts, elements and operation of a CDMA wireless
communication system. The CDMA concept presented in the course are generic, meaning they
are not equipment or implementation specific.

The primary audience for this course includes technicians, cellular field engineers and operators
of CDMA equipment. Other secondary audiences may include network administrators, entry
level engineers and managers.

Lets take a moment to discuss what you can expect to learn and how the course is organized.
In this course, you will examine the basic CDMA concepts that outline the fundamental operation
of CDMA technology including major network elements, voice conversions and flow, channels
and codes, basic call processing, power control and handoffs. You will then discover how these
concepts inter-relate to make CDMA technology work more efficiently than other wireless
technologies.

The content in this course is primarily based on the information contained in the IS-95 standard.
The basic CDMA concepts course is divided into two main lessons, each consisting of several
modules. Lesson one, The Big picture defines CDMA and introduces you to the advantages of
digital wireless technology in general and CDMA in particular. This lesson also presents the
major elements of the CDMA network. Lesson two, Basic concept describes the fundamental
CDMA operations including the voice conversions and flow, channels and codes, basic call
processing, power control and mobile station handoffs. This lesson ends with the summary that
ties all of the basic CDMA concepts together. This course is self paced, which means that you
control how much time you take to complete the course activities. Although you are in control, it
is recommended that you complete the lessons and modules in the order they are provided. This
recommendation is made because later modules assume you that have a solid understanding of
the information presented in the earlier modules. Proceed through the course at your own pace.
When you completed the course, be certain to complete the courses post test. This will help you
evaluate how well you understand the material and will point out any areas that you may need to
review.

LESSON 1: THE BIG PICTURE


Welcome to lesson one, The Big Picture. This lesson consists of two modules. When you
have completed the modules in this lesson, you will be able to:
i) identify the advantages of digital cellular systems and the advantages of CDMA
technology in particular

ii) identify the cellular network elements, their functions and their interaction with other
network elements.

Module 1
Welcome to lesson one, module one (L1M1). In this module, we will explore some of the
differences between analog and digital wireless communication. We will also discuss why CDMA
technology is the best wireless cellular solution. When you have completed this module, you will
be able to:

i) identify the advantages of digital based wireless communications over analog wireless
communications

ii) identify the differences between FDMA, TDMA and CDMA

iii) identify the reasons for using CDMA for digital based wireless communications

iv) identify the role of IS-95 in CDMA

What is a digital communication system? A digital communication system is one way the
voice signal has been digitized prior to wireless transmission. Digitizing is the process when the
voice signal is sampled and discrete numeric representations of the signal are transmitted rather
than the original signal itself. This is much different from analog systems where the original
continuous voice signal is transmitted using a standard form of FM communications.

Why is digital better than analog for wireless communications? First when you compare typical
digital systems to typical analog systems, digital provides a much clearer audio signal after
wireless transmission. In fact, the quality of wireless digital is approaching that of landline or
wired telephone systems. Thats because digital wireless communication systems use advance
techniques to improve voice signal reception and quality. As the term digital implies, the voice is
digitized similar to audio and CD-ROMs for transmission within the cellular network. Once
digitized advanced coding, transmission and error correction techniques are employed. These
additional techniques make it possible to detect and correct transmission errors at the receiving
end. This digital transmission technique also eliminates the static pops, clicks, and crosstalk
sometimes encountered with analog systems. The digital signal is then converted back to analog
voice for the end user to hear.
Another advantage of digital wireless communications is that digital provides more traffic
capacity per given piece of radio frequency or RF spectrum. This is made possible by using the
channel bandwidth more efficiently. In digital systems, multiple users occupy the same frequency
and are separated by time or codes. This is more efficient than assigning each user a separate
frequency which is common in analog systems, so that more users can share the same
bandwidth. Digital systems also use techniques to reduce or compress the amount of
information to be transmitted over the air from each user. These compression techniques can
take advantage of natural speech patterns. Speech is not a continuous sound. It contains many
natural pulses. Speech is also frequency limited which means it occupies a narrow bandwidth
typically from 300 Hz to 3 KHz. Both of these natural characteristics of speech result in less
information needing to be carried. As a result, digital systems take advantage of the probability
that not every user needs maximum bandwidth at exactly the same moment.
Another advantage of digital communication systems is that they have an inherent level of
security. Unauthorized listeners must have complex receivers. They must decode the digital
information and then, they must convert the digital signal into a reasonable analog signal.
Analog systems on the other hand use much simpler transmission techniques which require a
receiver no more complex than any expensive FM radio.
Lastly, digital has better built-in support for non voice services and user data traffic. By
bypassing the voice signal compression process, user data such as faxes and computer data
can be processed directly in their digital format. Your computer modem or fax machine at the
office or at home is simply a digital to analog converter. The data is modulated and passes
through your telephone as an analog signal. With digital systems, there is no need to convert the
signal. The data is simply passed through as digital information. This digital information can
usually be processed through the system at higher speeds.

In this section, we discussed the reasons why digital is better than analog wireless
communications
i) digital provides a clearer audio signal
ii) digital enables more users to simultaneously share the same bandwidth or radio
frequency spectrum
iii) digital provides an inherent level of security for the information that is transmitted
iv) digital provides better built in support for non voice traffic such as computer and fax
data.
Now that you are familiar with general differences between analog and digital systems, lets
take a closer look at the differences between the major cellular technologies in use today.

FDMA, TDMA and CDMA are the three major technologies available along with variations
of each. All three technologies have one goal in common share wireless communication; that
is many users share the same RF spectrum or communications band. The MA in each
technology stands for Multiple Access, meaning, many users share the same resources. The
technologies differ significantly in the manner by which they accomplish the sharing.

Frequency Division Multiple Access or FDMA has each cellular user communicating on a specific
channel frequency. The spectrum is divided into small segments or channel frequencies. The
voice signal of each user is modulated on a separate channel frequency. Variations of FDMA
systems include Advanced Mobile Phone Systems or AMPS which uses 30 KHz wide channels,
Narrowband Advanced Mobile Phone Systems or NAMPS which uses 10 KHz channels, Total
Access Communication Systems or TACS and Japan Total Access Communication Systems or
JTACS which each use 25 KHz channels. All of these FDMA systems are also analog systems.
Although no digital FDMA systems have been deployed commercially, it is technically possible.
All of these systems allow only one user per physical channel or radio frequency. In order to
overcome this inefficiency, digital access technologies were introduced.

Time Division Multiple Access or TDMA is one common digital multiple access technology. In
TDMA, each cellular user is assigned a particular time slot on a given frequency. That is, a user
is assigned a specific channel frequency like in FDMA, but must limit transmission to a small
period or slot of time. Multiple users can then share the same channel frequency by transmitting
at different times. Three types of TDMA in use today are IS-54 based TDMA, PDC and GSM. IS-
54 was an interim standard that defined the operation of the first US application of TDMA
technology in cellular systems. It has evolved into the current NC-136 standard. PDC, Personal
Digital Communications is a derivative of the IS-54 based TDMA used in JAPAN. GSM which
stands for Global Systems for Mobile communications is a TDMA system that originated in
Europe. Another system known as PCS 1900 is the same technology as GSM, but it operates at
a different frequency range. For IS-54 based TDMA, a 30 KHz channel is divided into six (6) time
slots each with 30 KHz band modulated signals. Although there are six time slots, each user
needs two. So, there are total of three users per 30 KHz channels. This is three times more
efficient than AMPS. PDC is a similar system deployed in Japan which uses 25 KHz channels.
GSM operates with a 200 KHz bandwidth divided into eight (8) time slots where each user is
assigned a single time slot, thus allowing 8 users per channels frequency.

The third major multiple access technology which is also digital is IS-95 based Code Division
Multiple Access or CDMA. CDMA is a general category of digital wireless radio technologies that
uses spread spectrum techniques to modulate information across given bandwidth. IS-95 was
an interim standard that defined the operation of the first application of CDMA in cellular
systems. IS-95 is defined in greater detail at the end of this lesson. As matching previously, IS-
95 based CDMA uses spread spectrum modulation technology. Modulation in general is the
process of modifying a radio signal so that information can be transmitted and received
efficiently with minimum errors and distortion. With spread spectrum modulation, the signal or
information is modulated across a relatively wide bandwidth or channel. The spectrum is divided
into wide segments or channel frequencies, but these channel frequencies are not subdivided.
CDMA uses direct sequence spreading or DSS with the channel bandwidth of 1.23 MHz. With
DSS, information signals from all users are simultaneously modulated across the entire channel
bandwidth. Unique digital codes, keep users separated on the 1.23 MHz channel. In contrast,
analog and TDMA use more conventional narrowband transmission where the spectrum is
subdivided into relatively small bandwidths of only 10 to 200 KHz. In CDMA however, the
information is uniformly spread across the entire 1.23 MHz channel bandwidth.
Another comparison between technologies is the way that they are actually deployed. We will
discuss comparisons between channel reuse, system timing and bandwidth utilization. To
different degrees, all technologies take advantage of the fact that radio signals travel only a finite
distance. The resolve is that frequencies or channels can be reused with minimal interference
after a minimal distance of separation. The resulting assignment of frequencies is referred to as
a reuse pattern. Before discussing frequency re-use patterns, we must briefly cover some basic
antenna radiation patterns used in cellular systems. A cellular antenna transmits and receives
radio frequencies that serve a single cell or a portion of a cell. The combined radiation pattern of
the cellular antennas within each cell cover, four 360 degrees radius. Some commonly used
coverage patterns include one transmit antenna covering the four 360 degrees radius which is
referred to as an Omni-directional antenna or an Omni-cell. This configuration is common in rural
areas where cellular traffic density is low. Another coverage pattern includes three transmit
antennas per cell each covering a 120 degrees radius or sector. This configuration is common in
most metropolitan and sub-urban areas to provide increased capacity. Another coverage pattern
includes six transmit antennas per cell each covering a 60 degree radius or sector. This
configuration is being used where dense urban environment require even greater capacity. The
term Omni-cell, 120 degrees sector and 60 degrees sector are used to indicate the configuration
of a cellular antenna and thus, the portion of the cell covered by the antenna. A sector is either
all, one-third or one-sixth of the cell depending upon the antenna configuration. This terminology
is important for our discussion of the frequency re-use patterns. Lets move on. The most
common frequency re-use pattern used in analog and TDMA systems is a 7 cell, 120 degrees
sector pattern. As there are three sectors per cell and 7 cells comprised the grouping, 21 unique
channel assignment groups are required. This 21 sector assignment pattern is then repeated to
cover the entire system. Another common reuse pattern associated with GSM systems uses a 3
cell, 120 degrees sector pattern. For this implementation, 9 unique channel assignment groups
are required. This 9 sector assignment pattern is then repeated to cover the entire system.
Although CDMA is typically deployed in the same 120 degrees sector configuration as analog
and TDMA, it requires no frequency re-use pattern. Recall that in CDMA, users are separated by
unique digital codes rather than frequencies. In CDMA, every code can be used in every sector
of every cell and therefore, frequency re-use planning is eliminated. This is one of the most
significant advantages of CDMA as frequency re-use planning is a very complex and
unpredictable process.

There are differences between each multiple access technology when we examine the need for
system timing or synchronization. Lets use a table to compare the requirements of each
technology. Analog systems require no system timing. Digital systems require generally some
degree of timing or synchronization. TDMA requires timing synchronization so that users only
transmit during their assigned timeslots. In order for this to occur, all users must have a common
relatively accurate time reference. TDMA typically acquires its timing from a clock associated
with the T1/E1 span line which connects the cell to the system. In CDMA, timing is critical and is
usually acquired from the Global positioning System or GPS. GPS is a worldwide network of
satellites used for navigation that provides an extremely accurate timing reference. Extremely
accurate timing or synchronization between cells is critical to the CDMA operation and will be
explained later in lesson two. In terms of timing accuracy required by each technology, analog
requires no timing accuracy, TDMA requires millisecond accuracy and CDMA requires
microsecond accuracy.
If we compare the bandwidth efficiency between these multiple access technologies, we will find
one of the major advantages of CDMA when compared to the other technologies. For
comparison purposes, we will assume each technology is deployed in the same 120 degrees
sector/cell configuration. For CDMA, each physical channel occupies 1.23 MHz of bandwidth.
Theoretically, within each physical channel, there are 64 logical channels or unique codes.
However, because of various implementation factors, only about 20 unique users may occupy
the 1.23 MHz channel for a given sector. Since every channel can be used in every sector, the
bandwidth efficiency of CDMA is not degraded by re-use factors. Therefore, CDMA needs 1.23
MHz per 20 users per sector or effectively, 61, 500 Hz per user per sector. For GSM, each
physical channel occupies 200 KHz of bandwidth. Within each physical channel, 8 users at a
time share basis can occupy a physical channel in a given sector. Calculation would yield 25,000
Hz per user per sector. However, not every channel can be used in every sector. Due to typical
frequency reuse requirements, only one-ninth of all physical channels can be used in a given
sector. So equivalently, GSM has a degradation factor of 9. Therefore, GSM really needs
225,000 per user per sector. For IS-54 based TDMA, each physical channel occupies 30 KHz of
bandwidth. Within each physical channel are 6 timeslots shared by 3 users. Again, calculation
would yield 10,000 Hz per user per sector. Typical re-use requirements restrict the available
channels per sector to only one out of 21 or a degradation factor of 21. Therefore, TDMA
actually needs 210,000 Hz per user per sector. For analog, each physical channel occupies 30
KHz of bandwidth for a single user. This yields 30,000 Hz per user per sector. Since the same
reuse requirement of TDMA typically apply to analog as well, analog also has a degradation
factor of 21. Therefore, analog effectively needs 630,000 Hz per user per sector. In conclusion,
GSM and TDMA are about three times more spectrally efficient than analog. However, CDMA is
over ten times more spectrally efficient than analog. Note that these calculations provide only an
estimate of spectral capacity for comparison purposes. Actual implementation conditions will
affect the spectral capacity. In addition, there are numerous techniques that are being deployed
or investigated that increase the spectral capacity of certain technologies. Likewise, real world
conditions often limit theoretical capabilities. Therefore, the actual spectral capacity will vary
greatly from system to system. Why is spectrum efficiency so important? First of all, spectrum is
typically a scarce and often regulated commodity. Even if it were free and abundant, bandwidth
efficiency directly relates to system capacity. The greater the efficiency, the more users can
share the same spectrum. Not only does this directly affect the cost of operation, but it also can
impact the amount of infrastructure equipment required to support the given number of users.
This indirectly impacts the cost of operation.

CDMA technology is the digital wireless technology of choice for several reasons. First,
CDMA has a higher spectral efficiency. That means that CDMA requires less frequency
spectrum per user per sector than any other technology. Spectral efficiency between the
different technologies was discussed in detail in the previous section. The advantage of
spectrum efficiency is increased system capacity. The second advantage of CDMA is that it
does not require frequency re-use planning. This is because in CDMA, users are separated by
digital codes rather than frequencies. This advantage was also discussed in detail in the
previous section. Third, CDMA provides smoother handoffs than other technologies when users
move from one cell to the next. Cellular users are normally moving to or off the system. Handoffs
allow the user to be connected to different channels as the user moves. CDMA uses soft
handoffs where new connection is established before the existing connection breaks away. So,
the hard audio break during cell to cell handoff often associated with the other systems does not
happen with CDMA. This will be explained later in lesson 2. The fourth advantage of using
CDMA technology is that CDMA typically requires less mobile station transmit power than is
required for analog. Also, due to low transmit power requirement, a longer mobile station battery
life can be expected on a single charge. This advantage is inherent to the technology. More
detailed explanation is beyond the scope of this course. The fifth advantage of CDMA is its
performance on the multipath fading conditions which results in improved voice quality. Radio
signals do not travel only one direct path between the transmitter and the receiver. Signals
commonly bounce of the objects such as buildings. The result is that numerous copies of the
same signal arrive via different paths. These numerous copies often cause problems in other
technologies. This advantage will also be explained later in lesson two. One common symptom
of multipath is something referred to as ghosting which is often seen on TVs. This happens as
an exact copy of the original signal arrives a fraction of a second after the direct signal. A similar
symptom such as this in radio would sound like flutter where a multipath signal arrives with a
slight delay. CDMA not only avoids this problem, it actually uses advanced receiver techniques
to collect these numerous signals and constructively add them together.

In summary, the reasons discussed in this section why CDMA is the best choice for wireless
communications include spectral efficiency, elimination of frequency re-use planning, smoother
handoffs through the use of soft handoffs, conservation of mobile station transmit power and
better performance on the multipath fading conditions.

IS-95 was an interim standard developed by TIA/EIA (Telecommunications Industry


Association/Electronics Industry Association). TIA/EIA is an accredited standards developing
organization through the American National Standard Institute. IS-95 defined Mobile Station and
Base Station compatibility for the first application of CDMA technology in cellular systems. IS-95
defines all of the operational details necessary for system operation including frequency use,
logical channels, codes and modulation. It also contains channel block diagrams and call flow
examples for reference. In addition to defining the physical aspects of the technology, IS-95
defines all of the common messaging necessary for system compatibility. IS-95 has gone
through several revisions and has evolved from an Interim standard into an ANSI standard
through the American National Standard Institute. IS-95 is now referenced as ANSI-95. IS-95
has evolved over time to incorporate additional features and capabilities. It now includes
specifications for the operation of personal communication systems or PCS. This capability was
once contained in a separate standard called J standard 8 but was merged into IS-95 revision B.
In 1997, the CDMA development group or CDG trade marked the term CDMA One. CDMA One
refers to the IS-95 based CDMA technology along with related standards for compatibility,
including IS-95, data fax voice coding and networking. The CDMA One family of standards is
continuously evolving into the next generation of CDMA technology which will provide ongoing
improvement in performance, capacity and capabilities. This course was developed to cover the
basic concepts of IS-95 based CDMA. IS-95 was used extensively in preparing the information
contained in this course. The term CDMA will be used throughout the course to refer to the
version of CDMA defined by the IS-95 based standards.

This concludes lesson 1, module one. In this module, we discussed why CDMA provides a better
solution for wireless communications than analog or TDMA.

Module 2
Welcome to Lesson 1, Module two (L1M2). In this module, we will introduce you to the major
element of cellular network and discuss the function of each. Specifically, when you have
completed this module, you will be able to:

i) identify the major elements of a cellular network

ii) identify the functions of the major network elements

iii) differentiate between functionality unique to CDMA and functionality common with
analog and TDMA cellular systems

iv) using a simple block diagram, trace the interaction of the major network elements
during some basic mobile station operations

In this module, we will describe in general terms, the major elements that make up a
cellular network. Unless noted otherwise, these elements and functions are common to
analogue, TDMA and CDMA systems. Before beginning this module, we must clarify some
important aspects of network design. Functional elements are generally different than physical
elements although they can be the same. For example, functional elements of a computer such
as a keyboard, mouse, monitor and disk drives are distinct. However, actual product
implementations may combine one or more functional elements into a single physical product
such as a Laptop. In this module and throughout the remainder of this course, we will refer to the
functional elements that comprise a cellular network. Typical physical implementations will be
noted wherever possible.

The first major element of a cellular network is the Public Switched Telephone Network
(PSTN). The PSTN is the worldwide telephone network consisting of switching systems and
transmission equipment for voice and data as well as signaling support. The PSTN is also called
the wire line or land line network. The PSTN provides a transmission path or voice connection
between land line and cellular users, interconnection between cellular systems and a signaling
path between systems. For calls leaving the cellular network and entering the land line network,
the PSTN routes the call to the appropriate destination. For land line calls destined for cellular
user, the call is routed through the PSTN to the appropriate cellular system.
The second major element of the cellular network, the Mobile Switching Center (MSC) interfaces
the PSTN to the cellular network. The MSC provides switching and routing for calls within the
cellular network. It provides the transmission path between the PSTN and the mobile station
user or between different mobile station users. It also provides the signaling path necessary for
access to the subscriber or cellular user database. Billing data is typically provided by the MSC.
A Gateway MSC or GMSC is needed to effect the communication between the MSC of a cellular
network and the PSTN switching system in order to connect users from this different network
background. The job of the gateway exchange therefore, is to resolve the signaling protocol
difference between the two systems. For example, suppose the MSC of a cellular (e.g. GSM)
network uses the common channel signaling protocol (SS7) and the PSTN switch uses another
protocol different from this. If a user connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network wants
to call a GSM mobile subscriber, the PSTN exchange will access the GSM network by first
connecting the call to a Gateway MSC (GMSC).

The next element of the cellular network is the Home Location Register (HLR). The HLR
provides a centralized subscriber database typically external from the MSC. This permanent
database is used for:
i) validating users or subscribers which means determining if they are allowed to access
the cellular system,
ii) updating new or changing user information such as feature capabilities like three way
calling,
iii) tracking the current system in which the mobile station is active (this allows calls to be
delivered to the cellular user when roaming in another cellular network),
iv) performing some dialed digits translation functions which identifies services or features
entitled to the user. Speed dialing is one example of this translation function, whereby for
instance, the user dials a number such as 09 and the system must look up the actual
phone number which for example may be 312 555 1234. This translation is similar in
functionality to the memory look up function found in many phones except this look up or
translation is done in the HLR

Another major element of the cellular network is the Visitor Location Register (VLR) which is
typically housed within the MSC. The VLR stores temporally information about cellular users
who are active in the cellular network. Active means the phone is ON. For instance, a cellular
user whose home network is in Town A would be a visitor in Town B network when traveling on
business and needed to send or receive cellular phone calls. However, VLRs today typically go
beyond roaming and contain the temporary records of all active users even those that may be in
their home networks. The information from the VLR is used for handling calls to or from visiting
or active cellular users. It contains a subset of the HLR data necessary for immediate local
access. For example, the preferred long distance provider of a user may be contained in the
VLR record and queried if a long distance call is attempted. The users HLR may be across the
country and it would not make sense to query it every time a call is attempted. The VLR record
expires after some defined period of inactivity. This makes room in the VLR database for another
active user.

The next major element of a cellular network is the Base Station Subsystem or BSS. The BSS is
composed of two distinct parts.
The first part of the BSS is the Base Station Controller (BSC). In some systems, it is also
referred to as the Centralized Base Station Controller (CBSC). The BSC is responsible for:
i) transcoding of the digital voice signal (which is a process that essentially compressing
or uncompressing/decompressing the signal, a function unique to digital systems),
ii) controlling multiple BTSs,

iii) providing the interconnection between the BTS and the MSC,

iv) maintaining the correct RF output power levels for each mobile station,

v) controlling handoffs between cells or sectors,

vi) combining the multiple voice paths during soft handoffs called frame selection (unique
and found only in CDMA systems)

It is common to find systems implemented with standalone BSCs. It is also possible to find
systems with the BSC has been physically combined or integrated with either the MSC or the
BTS.
The Base Transceiver Station (BTS) is the second part of the BSS system. BTS along with the
antenna essentially comprise the cell site equipment. The BTS provides the:
i) radio interface between the Mobile Station (MS) and the network,
ii) coding and decoding of the signals for digital systems,

iii) RF transmission of the signal over the air interface to the mobile station,

iv) RF reception of the signal over the air interface from the mobile station.
The major element of a cellular network with which users are most familiar is the Mobile Station
(MS). The MS could be a fixed or mobile cellular telephone. The MS provides the:
i) mobile digital communications capabilities and the voice interface to the cellular user,
ii) user interface to the system, for example, entering dialed digits and activating call
forwarding
There are two additional network elements which overlay the system and act as interfaces for
network operations. They are the network manager and the element manager. The network
manager (NM) provides centralized monitoring and control of devices in a cellular network.
Some specific functions include configuration management, fault management, security
management, accounting management and performance management. The Element Manager
(EM) stores the database and serves as a central meeting point for the specific network
elements under its control. It also generally provides the user interface for the specific elements.
Some specific functions of the element manager include database management, performance
management and fault management. It is common for the element manager function to be
combined within the element itself. For example, the user interface to the HLR might be
contained within the HLR itself, not as a separate entity. On the other hand, the element
manager for the BSS may be a separate unit due to the complexity of the element. In some
systems, the element manager is called the Operations and Maintenance Center or OMC.

At the high level, the major elements of any cellular network appear very similar. Except for
features unique to a particular access technology, MSCs, VLRs, and HLRs, operate the same
regardless of access technology (FDMA, TDMA or CDMA). The differences are more apparent
when we examine the tasks performed by the two major parts of the BSS. Both the BSC and
the BTS elements of the CDMA network perform additional and more complex tasks when
compared to other systems. Accordingly, the element manager of these elements may be
somewhat more complex. First CDMA has a more complex air interface than analog or TDMA.
Functions such as handoffs and power control operate much differently in a CDMA system. This
increases the complexity of the BSC, the BTS and the mobile station.
Additionally, the spread spectrum RF technology used in CDMA is significantly more complex
than the modulation technology used in analog or TDMA. This increases the complexity of the
BTS and the mobile station.
Lastly, in CDMA, because the voice traffic is digitized and compressed before transmission over
the air, the formatted voice traffic must then be uncompressed and converted back to the
standard format used throughout the remainder of the network. This introduces a new function
into the BSC called transcoding which reduces the amount of information that must be
transmitted over the air. The transcoding function does not occur in analog systems. Although
transcoding does occur within TDMA systems, the functionality is more complex in CDMA
systems. This is largely due to the part the transcoder system plays in soft handoff which
bridges multiple BTSs.

In summary, the major differences between the network elements of CDMA compared to other
technologies include:
i) Support of a more complex air interface which increases complexity of the BSC, the
BTS and the MS
ii) Support of more complex RF technology which increases the complexity of the BTS
and the MS
iii) Additional voice traffic conversions and support of soft handoffs which increase the
functionality and complexity of the BSC.

To briefly summarize, lets trace the interaction of the major elements of a cellular network during
mobile station power up, registration, call origination and termination.
When a mobile station is powered up, several events take place to inform the cellular network
elements that the mobile station is turned ON and where it is located in the system. The mobile
station user begins the chain of events by pressing the power button on the mobile station. The
mobile station listens to signals being transmitted from the nearest BTSs. It then tunes in to the
BTS from which it receives the strongest signal, usually the closest BTS. The MS sends a
registration message to the BTS. Since the registration message is destined for the VLR, the
message is routed to the controlling BSC, then to its MSC until it reaches the VLR. The VLR
looks up the records of the registering mobile station. If the records cannot be found in the VLRs
database such as with the first power of the day, the VLR locates the HLR of the registering MS
and sends a request for the database containing the MSs records. The HLR validates the user
and sends the database containing the mobile stations profile information to the VLR. The HLR
also retains the system id of the request for future reference such as call delivery. This
completes the process of the mobile station registration. The mobile station now has access to
the cellular system and can begin to make calls. Likewise, the VLR and the HLR know to
different degrees, where the mobile station is, within the system, in the event there is a call or
message that needs to reach the mobile station.
Lets now examine the interaction of the major network elements during a call originating from a
mobile station and destined for a land line telephone. When the cellular user dials the
destination phone number into the MS and presses SEND, the signal is sent to the BTS. The
receiving BTS sets up channels to enable communication between itself and the MS. The BTS
exchanges messages with its BSC, the BSC in turn with its MSC and the MSC with its PSTN. In
some cases, the VLR or HLR are queried for inter-roam information. These messages contain
information about the identity of the MS in the dialed digits. The result is a voice path connection
from the BTS to the PSTN. The dialed digits are routed through the PSTN until ultimately, the
destination land line telephone rings. Once both parties are on the line, the channels of
communication are opened to conversation (the result of the connection is relayed back to the
MSC, which then assigns an unused voice channel to the call; the MS automatically adjusts its
tuning to the new channel, and the conversation can begin). The MS in this case, is said to be
transmitting. When the receiving party of a phone call placed in the cellular system is a mobile
station, it is referred to as mobile station termination.
A similar series of interactions take place between the major network elements during a call
originating in a land line telephone that is terminated at the mobile station. The destination
phone number is dialed into the land line phone, and the dialed digits are sent through the
PSTN, then through the MSC and to the VLR. The VLR determines the mobile stations last
known location in the cellular system and routes the call to the controlling BSC. The BSC
exchanges messages with the BTS controlling the MS at its present location. The BTS pages
the mobile station and once found, the BTS sends a feedback message to the MSC through the
BSC. The MSC then transmits a ringing signal which causes the mobile station to ring. Once the
mobile station user answers the phone, the channels of communication are opened for
conversation (MSC assigns a voice channel to the call, allowing voice communication to begin).
In this case, the MS is said to be receiving.
The mobile termination flow just explained assumes that the user is in the home system. When
roaming and even more complex messaging exchange occurs involving multiple VLRs, MSCs
and the HLR, the result is that the call is routed through the PSTN from the home network until
the call is then delivered to the roaming MS. The preceding scenarios are not unique to CDMA
systems. In the next lesson (lesson 2), we will cover the unique aspects of CDMA technology
such as voice signal conversion from analog to compressed digital CDMA format, the use of
CDMA channels and codes and the advance of CDMA call processing in more detail.

This concludes Lesson 1, Module 2. In this module, we discussed the cellular network elements
in general, the unique functions of CDMA network elements and some basic mobile station
operations including power up and registration, origination and termination.

LESSON 2: BASIC CONCEPTS


Welcome to Lesson two, Basic Concepts. In Lesson 1, you learn the differences
between analog and digital communications and why CDMA provides a better solution.
The major elements of a cellular network were also explained. This lesson consists of
six modules which cover topics that include:
i) Voice signal flow
ii) channels and codes
iii) basic call processing
iv) power control
v) mobile station handoffs
When you have completed the modules in this lesson, you will be able to:
i) describe the conversions that a voice signal undergoes as it flows through a
CDMA system,
ii) explain how the physical and logical channels and three CDMA codes work
together to allow multiple users to share the same spectrum,
iii) describe the basic air interface messaging that occurs between the BTS and
the mobile station during the call flow process,
iv) explain how the BTS and MS use three forms of power control to keep power
levels at a minimum level while maintaining call quality,
v) distinguish similarities and differences between handoffs employed in CDMA
systems with particular emphasis on the soft handoff,
vi) integrate major CDMA network elements and basic IS-95 concepts.

Module 1
Welcome to Lesson 2 Module 1 (L2M1). This module focuses on one of the unique
digital cellular aspects by showing how the voice signal is converted as it flows through
the CDMA network in both land to mobile and mobile to land directions. When you have
completed this module, you will be able to:
i) describe the voice signal conversion processes that take place in a digital
network,
ii) identify the steps involved in the basic analogue to digital conversion process,
iii) explain the PCM conversion process common in telephony transmission,
iv) describe the CELP compression technique used in CDMA,
v) identify the purpose of vocoding and transcoding in CDMA as well as the
differences between these two functions,
vi) on a simple block diagram, trace the conversions as voice traffic flows
through the CDMA network.

As mentioned in Lesson 1, voice traffic undergoes several conversions as it flows


through a digital cellular network. This include analogue to digital conversion, and digital
speech compression. In simple terms, we mean speech as analogue. More precisely,
the microphones and speakers inside any land line telephone, or mobile station convert
speech vibrations into analogue signals. When a land line user or wireless user speaks,
the analogue voice must be converted to a digital format before being processed
through the network. The primary reason for this conversion is that once digital, the
voice signal can be duplicated and transmitted over newly infinite distances without the
degradation in quality that would occur if was still analogue. This analogue to digital
conversion reduces human speech to a numeric representation of 1s and 0s.
Once the voice is digitized, a second process called speech compression can be
applied. Speech compression is an effort to reduce the amount of information to be
transmitted or carried through the network. These conversions are accomplished
through PCM or Pulse Code Modulation which is a type of analogue to digital
conversion and CELP or Code Excited Linear Predictor which is a type of digital speech
compression. We will explore these conversions in more detail throughout this module.

Now that you are familiar with the voice conversions that take place in a digital cellular
system, lets take a closer look at the first conversion process. In general, how is an
audio signal converted to a digital format? Three steps make up the basic process of
analogue to digital conversion:
i) sampling
ii) quantizing
iii) encoding or digital representation (quantized values are encoded as streams
of bits)
The initial input is a continuous waveform of the analogue speech. The output is a
series of binary 1s and 0s.
First, the analog signal is sampled. Taking a period of series of measurements of the
constantly changing waveform is called sampling. These measurements will provide a
crude representation of the original waveform. The faster the sampling, (increased
sampling rate or frequency) the more accurate the representation.

Once the waveform has been sampled, the process of quantizing takes place (i.e. the
sampled signal is quantized). The process involves measuring the amplitude of the
audio signal at each sample point; this amplitude of the signals that has been sampled
must be represented by a discrete value. Measurements that end up between these
discrete values must be approximated or quantized as either the next higher or lower
value. This quantization also provides a crude representation of the original waveform.
However, the greater the number of discrete amplitude values possible, the more
accurate the representation. Increasing the speed or number of times the samples are
taken as well as the number of steps or granularity in the quantization scale will produce
a better representation of the original waveform. Lastly, the discrete amplitude value is
typically converted into a binary representation which can then be stored, replicated or
transmitted without further degradation. The series of binary values comprised the
digital representation of the original signal. Furthermore, all copies of the digital format
are just as good as the original signal.

Now lets look at one particular analog to digital conversion process. The PCM
conversion process is not unique to CDMA. This process is common in telephony
transmission in general. Voice traffic is commonly carried within the land line network
through circuits called T1/E1 span lines. The digital format of the voice traffic carried
over these circuits is PCM. The conversion of analog voice to PCM format is a direct
real time conversion from analog signal to digital format. Here is how it works: in order
to reproduce voice signal more accurately, the audio waveform is sampled 8000 times
per second or 0nce every 125s. This corresponds to a sampling rate or frequency of 8
KHz which is twice more than 3.4 KHz, the highest frequency possible in a speech
signal, following the Nyquist theorem which states that, to reproduce the original analog
signal, one necessary condition is that the sampling rate must be at least twice the
highest frequency in the original audio signal. At each sample point, the amplitude of the
audio is measured. The quantization scale involves a vodocal access which serves as
an amplitude reference. The zero reference is in the middle of the expected maximum
peak to peak range of the audio signal. The region above the zero reference is positive
while the region below is negative. The regions above and below the zero reference
are divided into 8 sections called code. A code uses a log or logarithmic scale. This
means that near the zero reference, the distance between each code is close, but as we
move further away from the zero reference in either direction, the distance between
each code becomes greater. For comparison, the distance between each code on a
linear scale will be the same. The discrete amplitude values are then represented as an
8 bit digital format based on the following: the Most Significant Bit (or MSB) is bit 7. This
is the sign bit which indicates whether the code is positive or negative in relation to the
zero reference. Bit 6 through 4 indicate the code using the three bits representation
which results in 8 codes. There are 16 steps or increments within each code which are
used to indicate the range. These are indicated by the remaining four bits, 3 through 0
which results in 16 range steps. The result of the conversion is 8 bit data or 1s and 0s
that represent the original signal as sampled once every 125s. This process by which
each quantized value of the sampled signal is changed or represented into a code word
((usually an 8-bit code represented as 1s and 0s) is known as encoding or digital
representation. For example, a quantized code (discrete value) of 2 is encoded as 010;
5 is encoded as 101; and so on. Now, 8-bit per sample x 8, 000 samples per second
provides a 64Kbit/s analog to digital conversion process commonly known as PCM.

In CDMA, Code Excited Linear Predictor or CELP is the format of compressed


digital voice data between the BSC and the MS. Lets take a look at the CELP
conversion process. CELP is a model used for compression of voice data. CELP
conversion uses a different approach than the PCM conversion of speech discussed
earlier in this module. PCM conversion merely samples the signal at discrete times or in
the time domain. CELP also samples the frequency components of the speech in the
frequency domain. The advantage of using CELP compared to PCM is that CELP uses
much less data to approximate the original signal. CELP conversion uses a complex
algorithm which attempts to describe the speech pattern in terms of a few independent
parameters. The algorithm produces these parameters which become a module or
linear prediction of the speech pattern. The parameters are analyzed against a code
book. This code book is a look-up table that helps produce bits which represent the
excitation or spectrum in pitch of the voice. The parameters become the binary
representation rather than the sample signal itself. The parameter representation
requires even fewer bits than analog to digital sampling such as PCM and therefore, the
information is considered compressed. At the receiving end, the parameters are used to
control the speech synthesizer which uses the inverse algorithm to convert the data
back in the speech. The synthesized speech signal as perceived by the human ear
closely resembles the original speech signal but requires only 8 to 16Kbit/s compared to
the 64Kbit/s PCM output.
Vocoding and transcoding are the functions which perform the CELP conversions
defined for CDMA. Although these functions are common to most digital cellular
systems, the specific algorithms and formats are unique to CDMA. In this module we
will examine these two functions as they apply to CDMA. Lets begin with vocoding.
Vocoding is the application of CELP conversion which occurs within the mobile station.
Vocoding converts the analog signal directly to compressed digital voice data or CELP.
Lets take a closer look at how vocoding works. One goal of CDMA is to use the minimal
amount of data bandwidth to represent the voice signal. The natural characteristics of
speech can be used to optimize the amount of data needed. Speech is not continuous.
First, it contains many natural pulses. Second, it contains many high and low pitches of
emphasis. In CDMA, the vocoder can operate at one of four rates using the optimal
rates for the moment. For example, the rate at which voice is converted to data can be
varied to take advantage of periods when there is little or no speech in the telephone
conversation. Varying the vocoding rate helps to achieve optimal capacity by using
minimal data bandwidth. The vocoder uses one of two rate sets and there are four data
rates within each set. Rate set one, for the 8Kbit/s vocoder includes the following rates:
1200bit/s, 2400bit/s, 4800bit/s and 9600bit/s. Rate set two, for the 13Kbit/s vocoder
uses different rates of 1800bit/s, 3600bit/s, 7200bit/s, and 14,400bit/s. The lowest rate in
each set corresponds to pulses in the speech pattern and the highest rate corresponds
to maximum intensity of the speech pattern. The variable rate vocoder can use a
different output data rate within the selected set every 20ms. In this manner, the optimal
rate can be selected and changed every 20ms based on changes in the speech pattern.
Most CELP-type vocoders produce good land line quality speech at an output rate of
8Kbps verses the 64Kbit/s standard output rate of PCM conversion. Higher rate 13Kbit/s
CELP-type vocoders are available which generally provide even better voice quality.
However, the key thing to remember is that as the vocoding rate increases, system
capacity decreases.
The inverse vocoding process is used by the mobile station when receiving voice data.
The MS receives compressed digital voice data and converts it to an analog signal. In
this direction, vocoding performs compressed digital to analog conversion.

Lets now move on to discuss transcoding. As the PCM formatted voice data flows from
the land line network through the CDMA network, a CELP conversion takes place at the
BSC which reduces or compresses the voice data. This process is called transcoding.
Transcoding transforms the PCM formatted voice data into CELP formatted voice data.
There are several reasons for transcoding the PCM output of the PSTN. First,
transcoding provides signal compression which reduces the amount of voice data to be
transmitted, thus providing more efficient usage of RF-air interface bandwidth. Also,
transcoding enables more voice channels to share the same T1/E1 span line while
reducing the amount of voice data handled within the base station system. This is
achieved using the same Code Exited Linear Predictor (CELP) that is used during
vocoding in the mobile station. Transcoding uses the same rate sets as those used
during vocoding. Recall, these rate sets are important because they ensure that the
amount of data being transmitted is as efficient as possible, taking the advantage of the
natural characteristics of speech as discussed earlier in this course.
The inverse transcoding process at the BSC transforms CELP formatted voice data to
PCM. This inverse process occurs when information is sent in the mobile to land
direction.
Lets summarize this section with the brief examination of the differences between
vocoding and transcoding functions. First, where do these functions occur? Vocoding
occurs at the MS while transcoding occurs at the BSC. What conversions are performed
in each function? Vocoding performs analog to compressed digital conversion in the
mobile to land direction. The inverse vocoding function performs compressed digital to
analog conversion in the land to mobile direction. Transcoding performs PCM to CELP
compression in the land to mobile direction. The inverse transcoding function performs
CELP to PCM decompression. Similarities among these two functions however are that
they both use the CELP conversion process and that the format of data representation
is CELP.

Lets use the CDMA system block diagram to follow a calling progress from a land
line telephone to a CDMA mobile station. As we follow the call, we will review the voice
data conversions that take place in a CDMA system. When the land line user says how
are you, the analog voice travels through the wires. An analog to digital conversion is
the first conversion process that occurs. It can take place before the analog voice
arrives at the PSTN or it may occur at the PSTN itself. Here, the analog voice signal is
converted to PCM or pulse code modulated digital signal. After conversion to PCM, the
PSTN routes the digital voice data to the appropriate MSC which in turn routes the voice
data to the appropriate BSC. The next conversion takes place at the BSC. Here, the
digital voice data is compressed to a code exited linear predictor (or CELP) digital
format. The conversion of PCM formatted voice data to a compressed CELP format is
called transcoding. As mentioned earlier, transcoding from PCM to CELP reduces the
amount of information that must be transmitted over the air. The BSC then sends the
transcoded signal through the appropriate BTS to the mobile station. The final
conversion takes place at the mobile station where the compressed digital voice data is
converted to an analog voice signal. This compressed digital to analog conversion is the
inverse vocoding process which provides the actual voice signal that is heard by the
CDMA user. This voice signal output at the mobile station is nearly an exact replica of
the original voice signal sent by the land line user.
The same basic conversions take place in the reverse direction. When the CDMA user
responds by saying Im fine, the MS converts the analog signal to compressed digital
voice data through the vocoding process. The compressed CELP formatted voice data
is sent through the BTS to the BSC. The BSC decompresses the voice data from CELP
format to PCM through the inverse transcoding process. The voice data is then sent
through the MSC to the PSTN as PCM. The digital voice data is converted back to an
analog voice signal. Finally, the analog signal is sent through the wires to the receiving
land line telephone where the land line user hears the response. Again, the analog
signal heard at the land line telephone, is nearly an exact replica of the original analog
voice signal sent from the CDMA user.
This concludes Lesson 2 Module 1. In this module, we discussed the voice signal
conversions that take place in a CDMA system.
[[[

Module 2
Welcome to Lesson 2, Module 2 (L2M2). In earlier modules, the path between the BTS
and the MS was treated as a single pipe or physical channel. In this module, we will
discuss the purpose and function of each of the logical channels that exist within the
single physical channel. We will also describe the purpose and the function of the three
CDMA codes in the way in which CDMA technology separates users sharing the same
spectrum.
When you have completed this module, you will be able to:
i) identify the purpose and function of the forward and reverse physical
channels
ii) identify the types of forward and reverse logical channels
iii) identify the purpose and function of each of the forward and reverse logical
channels
iv) identify differences between overhead channels and traffic channels
v) identify the three types of codes and the functions of each as they are used
on CDMA channels
vi) identify how CDMA technology separates users sharing the same spectrum
vii) trace the order in which codes are used and channels are accessed by the
mobile station in the call flow scenario

Communication between the BTS and mobile station is accomplished within


physical channels. There are two basic types of physical channels used in a cellular
network, Forward and Reverse.
In CDMA, these physical channel pairs or radio frequencies have a bandwidth of 1.23
MHz. There are many pairs of physical channels within the allocated spectrum.
The Forward Physical channels are used to form the downward link from a BTS to a
mobile station. These forward channels support voice and data traffic, messaging and
synchronization. Many conversation channels and message channels are multiplexed
or combined onto a single forward channel using the digital codes to provide separation.
The Reverse Physical channels form the upward link from a mobile station to a BTS.
These reverse channels support voice and data traffic and messaging. Like the forward
channel, many conversation channels and message channels are multiplexed onto a
single reverse channel.
Both the forward and reverse physical channels are composed of several individual
channels called logical channels, each with a distinct purpose. These can be pictured as
many smaller pipes within the larger physical pipe. Every cell or sector normally has the
same set of physical and logical channels available.
There are four forward logical channel types consisting of the following:
i) pilot Channel,
The Forward Pilot Channel (F-PICH) is a reference channel that the MS uses
for initial measurement. It is also an important reference used for decoding
the other forward logical channels. In addition, the pilot channel allows a
mobile station to distinguish between different cells and sectors. There is only
one pilot channel within each forward physical channel

ii) Sync Channel


The Forward Sync Channel (F-SYNCH) provides the MS with absolute
system timing and system configuration information. There is only one Sync
channel within each forward physical channel

iii) Paging Channel


The Forward Paging Channel (F-PCH) transmits both the system overhead
information to all active MSs and messages destined for a particular MS.
Every BTS continuously broadcasts signals using its paging channel, so that
an MS can detect the pilot signal from the cell and neighboring cells. This
enables the MS to carry out a soft handoff. The paging channel is similar in
functionality to the Forward Control Channel (FO-CC) used in analog cellular
systems. There is typically only one paging channel within each forward
physical channel, although up to 7 can be configured. The pilot, sync and
paging channels are together known as common forward channel.

iv) Traffic Channel


The Forward Traffic Channel (F-TCH) supports voice or user data traffic from
the BTS to the mobile station and also carries some signaling messages.
There are many traffic channels within the forward physical channel. The
maximum number of total logical channels is 64. Since the pilot, sync and
paging channels are each, one logical channel, the number of forward traffic
channels is therefore typically 61 unless more paging channels are required.
So, there are theoretically a maximum of 61 forward traffic channels within
each forward physical channel.

There are two reverse logical channel types:


i) Access Channel
The Reverse Access Channel (R-ACH) is used by the mobile station to initiate
communication with the BTS, respond to paging channel messages or
messages received while in idle state. The MS uses random access protocol
to initiate access procedure. The reverse access channel (also referred to as
the reverse common channel) is similar in functionality to the Reverse Control
Channel (RE-CC) used in analog cellular systems. There is typically one
access channel associated with each paging channel. Therefore, there is
typically only one access channel within each reverse physical channel.

ii) Traffic Channel


The Reverse Traffic Channel (R-TCH) supports voice or data traffic from the
mobile station to the BTS.

Each logical channel either forward or reverse can be distinguished as being an


overhead channel or traffic channel.
Overhead channels carry messaging, identification and timing information. These are
the pilot, sync, paging and access channels.
Traffic channels on the other hand, primarily carry voice and user data traffic as well as
some signaling information used to control the mobile station. Note that there are
overhead logical channels on both the forward and reverse physical channels. Likewise,
there are both forward and reverse traffic channels. As you continue through this
module, we will discuss both the forward and reverse logical channels in more detail.

As mentioned earlier in this course, CDMA technology uses codes to separate


and identify users in the system. Each user is assigned a code which is a sequence of
numbers called chips. Thus, the success of the Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum
(DSSS) used in CDMA depends on the chip rate (or rate of spreading). The spectrum
should be spread at the highest possible chip rate. Before examining the logical
channels in detail, it is necessary to explain the codes that are used and to distinguish
their purpose and function. There are three types of codes used in CDMA. Each plays a
unique role in CDMA technology. The three types of codes are:
i) Walsh codes
ii) Pilot PN code
iii) Long code

Walsh codes keep users separated on the forward logical CDMA channels within the
cell or sector. There are a total of 64 Walsh codes which are used on all forward logical
channels. The unique mathematical property of Walsh codes called Orthogonality is
what makes them so effective in keeping users separate. Orthogonality provides the
nearly perfect isolation between the 64 forward logical channels. The Walsh codes are
used for the direct sequence or orthogonal spreading on the forward physical channel.
There is only one Pilot PN code which is sometimes referred to as the short PN code. It
is a pseudonoise sequence of non repeating length or period 2 15 or 32768 units. A
pseudonoise sequence is one that would appear as a totally random sequence of 1s
and 0s, to someone not knowing the formula used for its generation. This pseudonoise
property also makes it nearly impossible to duplicate the PN sequence when the length
of the data is very long. When modulated, a PN sequence will result in a signal which
has relatively constant amplitude and looks like noise when viewed with test equipment.
The Pilot PN code is sent over the pilot channel. In addition, the pilot PN code is used
for the quarticious spreading on both the forward and reverse physical channels.
Quarticious spreading is a complex technique used in CDMA to spread data over the
allocated bandwidth.
The long code is used to separate users on the reverse logical channels. This unique
code is used on all reverse logical channels. The long code is also a pseudonoise
sequence, but it is 242-1 or approximately 4.4 trillion units in non-repeating length or
period. Recall in comparison that the pilot PN code is only 32768 units in non-repeating
length. This is why the pilot PN code is sometimes referred to as the short PN code.
Although not orthogonal, the long code provides efficient isolation between logical
channels and therefore between users on the reverse physical channel. This isolation is
achieved by direct sequence spreading of the reverse physical channel. Another very
different use of the long code is to scramble the voice data on the forward traffic and
paging channels. This scrambling provides voice privacy and message encryption.
So far, we have discussed the channels and codes used in CDMA systems. Now, we
take a moment to examine the application of these codes in more detail by building the
forward and reverse physical channels. On the forward physical channel, one of the 64
unique Walsh codes is used with every logical channel. Specifically, Walsh code 0 is
reserved for the Pilot channel, Walsh code 32 is reserved for the Synch channel and
Walsh codes 1 through 7 are reserved for the paging channels. The remainders of the
64 Walsh codes are used on the forward traffic channels. Unused paging channels and
the Walsh codes can be assigned as additional traffic channels. The same identical 64
Walsh codes are used in every cell or sector of the system. The information on each
forward logical channel is direct sequence spread by the appropriate Walsh code.
These 64 logical channels are then combined and quarticious spread using the pilot PN
code. In addition, the information on the paging and forward traffic channels is
scrambled by the long code prior to Walsh code spreading. The orthogonal property of
the Walsh codes allows all the 64 channels to be combined on the one physical channel
without coupling or mixing the information from one user or logical channel into another.
Although the Walsh codes allow many users to share one forward physical channel,
another method is required to isolate the forward logical channels of one cell or sector
from another. After all, traffic channel Walsh code 55 for example, may be used in every
cell/sector. As described earlier, all 64 forward logical channels are combined and then
quarticious spread using the pilot PN code. In order to separate the logical channels
between cells/sectors, the pilot PN code is shifted in time or offset from cell to cell and
sector to sector. A separation of 64 units provides sufficient isolation between the offset
sequences such that there are 512 unique time offsets available in the system. In small
systems, this is sufficient quantity such that an offset is never re-used. In larger
systems, the offsets are re-used so far apart in distance that no confusion or
interference results. Although the resulting pilot PN offset sequences are not orthogonal,
they do provide sufficient isolation between the forward logical channels of different
cells/sectors.
In summary, on the forward physical channel, the long code scrambles the information
on the paging and traffic channels, the Walsh codes separate the forward logical
channels within the cell or sector and the offset of the pilot PN code separate the same
forward logical channels between cells or sectors. On the reverse channel, the logical
channels are spread using the long code. As with the pilot PN code, it is not the code
itself, but the offset of the long code sequence that uniquely identifies, the mobile
station, the reverse logical channel that the MS is using and for the access channel the
identity of the BTS intended to receive the information. This process also provides the
voice privacy or data encryption on the reverse channels. Specific parameters such as
the mobile station ESN (Electronic Serial Number) are input to a long code mask
function. The output is a unique offset of the long code sequence. Technically, this mask
or offset is not totally unique, but since the sequence is about 4.4 trillion units long,
there is little chance of offset duplication. The reverse physical channel is then
quarticious spread using the pilot PN code without any offset.
In summary, the direct sequence spreading using the long code mask provides the
privacy, encryption and user separation on the reverse physical channel.

Now that you are familiar with the types of channels and codes used in CDMA
systems, lets cover the forward logical channels in a little more detail. Lets begin by
discussing the pilot channel.
The Pilot logical channel is continuously transmitted by each BTS in the CDMA
network. This allows the mobile station to measure the signal strength of the forward
channel, which is an important measurement for handoffs and access. The pilot channel
also provides what is known as phase a reference that is important for demodulating
other logical channels. The only information on the pilot channel is the continuous offset
pilot PN code sequence. This pilot PN code is repeated 75 times every 2 seconds.
Since 1 of 512 unique offsets is used per sector or omni cell, the pilot channel provides
a unique cell or sector identification. The pilot channel always uses Walsh code 0. The
unique Walsh code and offsets combination allows the mobile station to measure a
particular forward channel or cell. The signal from the pilot channel is continuous and
the offset separates signals from cell to cell. Lets investigate this pilot PN offset in more
detail. Recall that there is only one pilot PN code and that it is common to all cells and
sectors. However, the time shift or offset of the code is unique to each cell or sector.
Recall from earlier in this module that the pilot PN code itself is a sequence of 1s and 0s
in a length of 32,768 units. The length of each 1 or 0 in a PN sequence is called a chip.
Therefore the pilot PN code is 32,768 chips long. System time or the system time
reference is based on a 2 second reference also known as the even second clock. The
pilot PN code is repeated 75 times every 2 seconds on the pilot channel. Therefore, the
fundamental chip rate of CDMA is 32768 chips multiplied by 75 repeats every 2 seconds
or 1, 228, 800 chips per second. This most commonly stated, is 1.2288 Mega chips per
second (1.2288 Mcps). Loosely speaking, in CDMA, the sector identity is determined
not by what is sent, but by when it is sent. Since the pilot PN code does have a
beginning and an end, the sector identity can be determined by when the start of the
sequence is seen. Lets see how this works. All PN offsets are synchronized to the
same 2 second reference. Since there are 512 possible offsets and the PN code
sequence is repeated 75 times every 2 seconds, offsets are roughly 52 microseconds
(52 s) apart. More accurately, each offset is 32,768 chips divided by 512 offsets or 64
chips in duration. Each of the pilot PN code offsets is called an index. Index is therefore,
the cell or sector id. For example, lets assume that index or offset 15 is assigned to a
particular cell, then the start of the pilot PN code will be delayed 15 times 64 chips or
960 chips. This equates to a delay of approximately 780 s passed the system time
reference or even second clock. From that point, the pilot PN code is then repeated
continuously. So, if a mobile station needed to measure the signal strength of this cell, it
would measure the energy coming from a signal that had a pilot PN sequence delayed
by 960 chips. Similarly, if the mobile station had to receive messages or voice data from
this cell, it would synchronize its receiver for a signal that has a pilot PN code delay of
960 chips. This time offset is what separates the same logical channels from cell to cell
and from sector to sector. The only way that the uniqueness of this time offset can be
maintained is for every sector, cell and mobile station in the system to be synchronized
to a common and extremely accurate time reference. The Global Positioning System or
GPS is a convenient reference that meets this stringing accuracy requirement and can
be received independently by every cell.
As its name implies the Sync logical channel provides the mobile station with
system timing and internal data synchronization. The synch channel contains a single
repeated message that the MS uses to synchronize timing to the BTS. The message
itself contains some system parameters. There is one synch channel per cell or sector.
It is always Walsh code 32. The synch channel provides several key pieces of
information. These include:
i) the protocol revision level of the network, which indicates the current IS-95
revision of the network,
ii) the minimum protocol revision level of the mobile station, which dictates the
minimum IS-95 revision requirements for the CDMA mobile station,
iii) system identification, which is a regional carrier identification. Each non
overlapping region of the country is given a unique id called the system id (SID).
This id identifies the region, not the service provider. If the system is sold, the
system id would not change.
iv) network identification (NID), which identifies the service provider. Multiple
regions or system ids may be owned by the same carrier. If the system is sold,
the network id would change to the new service providers id.

v) the Pilot PN offset for the site or sector which is used as a cross check to ensure
that the mobile station is decoding the correct synch channel.
vi) the long code shift register state with reference to the system time - which is
used in the CDMA coding process

vii) system time - which provides the mobile station with the accurate time reference

viii) the paging channel data rate - which tells the mobile station which data rate is
used on the corresponding paging channel.

The next forward logical channel is the Paging channel. The paging logical
channel is used to communicate messages to the mobile station while the mobile
station is idle or setting up to handle call traffic. General information messages for all
mobile stations are sent periodically while specific messages intended for a single
mobile station are sent only as required. There is a minimum of one paging channel. If
needed, there can be up to seven unique paging channels. Paging channels use Walsh
codes 1 through 7. If only one paging channel is assigned, it is always Walsh code 1.
The paging channel operates at a data rate of either 4800 bit/s or 9600 bit/s. Each
CDMA system is configured for one rate or the other but not both. Recall that the
paging channel data rate is communicated to the mobile station on the Synch channel.
Some of the types of messages carried on the paging channel include a:
i) parameters message - that contains information about the system
ii) paging message - which tells the mobile station that there is an incoming call
iii) channel assignment message - which tells the mobile station which traffic
channel to use
iv) data based message - which is a short message that would appear on the
mobile station display such as the call back number or a call office memo
The last type of forward logical channel is the Forward traffic channel. Traffic
channels are established between the BTS and the MS to handle voice or data traffic.
Besides voice or data traffic, the traffic channels contains certain messages and orders.
One such message is an alert with information message which starts ringing at the
mobile station and may contain caller id information. Traffic channels are often
considered as a pair, one forward (BTS to MS) and one reverse (MS to BTS). The
actual number of traffic channels available is dependent on several factors such as
system configuration and capacity. Recall that Walsh codes are needed to keep logical
channels separated and there are 64 unique Walsh codes. Theoretically, there could be
61 traffic channels or users per sector since at least three channels are reserved for the
pilot, the sync and at least one paging channel. For some data services, multiple traffic
channels can be assigned to the same mobile station. For simplicity of explanation, all
future modules assume that only one traffic channel is assigned and that it is used for
voice communications. The traffic channels also provide messaging between the BTS
and the MS. This can be de-emembersed where bits are stolen from voice traffic or
link-embersed where control information takes over voice traffic for an entire data frame
then voice traffic resumes. The data rate on traffic channels is variable due to variable
rate vocoding. The traffic channel is locked into one of the two data rate sets used by
the variable rate vocoder. Rate set one is used for 8 kbit/s vocoders and rate set two is
used for 13 kbit/s vocoders. Recall from lesson 2, module 1, the traffic channel can
then use variable rate vocoding to variate data rate choosing from among the four rates
within the cell. A different rate can be selected every 20 ms to take advantage of
periods of reduced traffic such as pulses in a conversation.

Now that we have covered the forward logical channels, lets take a closer look at
the reverse logical channels. The reverse link consists of two logical channels, the
access channel and the reverse traffic channel. There is typically one access channel
for each paging channel used in a CDMA network. While in an idle state, the mobile
station uses the access channel to reply to a page or to instructions issued by the BTS
over the paging channel. The mobile station also uses the access channel to request
network access when looking to originate a call. Access channels use a shared access
channel long code mask. There is one shared mask for every access channel in every
sector. Types of messages sent on the access channel include:
i) a registration message which is used by the mobile station when in an idle
state. The registration message lets the system know that the MS is active and
is monitoring a specific paging channel. The MS can register on power up at
periodic intervals by geographic boundary or in response to other events as
specified in IS-95
ii) a data based message which is used by the MS to send general data such as
a mobile initiated short message

iii) an origination message which is used by the MS to request resources to place


a call

iv) a page response message which is used by the MS to respond to a page


message and request resources to answer a call

Like the forward traffic channel, the reverse traffic channel carries voice or user
data traffic, messages and others. The reverse traffic channel also operates at variable
data rate. In fact, they are the same rate as used on the forward traffic channel. As
stated earlier, all future modules will assume that only one traffic channel has been
assigned and that it is been used for voice communication. The reverse traffic channel
also uses a long code mask but it is a unique mask based upon the mobile station.
Though similar in function to the forward channels, the reverse channels are modulated
and spread differently.
Let's look at a call flow scenario to see how the codes are used in channels access
by the mobile station. The MS and BTS use what is referred to as selectors to tune in to
the logical channels that it wants on it. The mobile station and BTS use a frequency
selector to tune in to the correct frequency. For the purposes of the scenario in this
section, we will assume that only one CDMA physical channel or frequency is being
used. This way, we can focus our scenario on the use of the codes and logical channels
that we have discussed in this module. Assuming the MS needs to receive some
information sent on the forward channel, the MS sets an offset selector to the pilot PN
offset index of the BTS desired and sets a channel selector to the Walsh code of the
desired forward logical channel. Because of the unique mathematical properties of the
Walsh code, called orthogonality, only the forward logical channel to which the channel
selector is set, will be decoded by the mobile station. Similarly, because of the offset
selector, only signals from the desired BTS will be decoded. Similarly, when the BTS
needs to receive information sent on the reverse channel, the long code mask is used
by the BTS in order to select a specific reverse traffic channel. Let's move on to our
scenario and take a closer look at how the mobile station uses the selectors to access
the system. When the mobile station powers up, it needs a pilot channel. Recall from
earlier in this module, that the pilot channel is Walsh code 0. So, the MS sets each
channel selector to 0. The mobile station listens to all pilot channels in the general
vicinity by scanning all possible pilots PN offset indices. The mobile station sets the
offset selector to each of the time offsets and measures the signal strength or energy of
the signal at each time offset. The mobile station has to listen for at least one full cycle
of possible offset upon its initial power up. After scanning and measuring the signal
strength of the pilot channel at each of the time offsets, the mobile station determines
which cell or sector is the strongest and chooses that cell or sector as the one to which
it will tune. Now, the mobile station needs to listen to the synch channel of the strongest
BTS so it can synchronize its timing to that BTS. The mobile station sets the channel
selector to Walsh code 32 and the offset selector to the index corresponding to the
strongest BTS. Recall that one of the key pieces of information provided by the Sync
channel is the Pilot PN offset index. The mobile station looks for the pilot PN offset
index sent on the Sync channel and verifies it is decoding the correct Sync channel.
Once the mobile station is in sync, it then needs a paging channel. So, the mobile
station tunes to the first paging channel by setting the channel selector to Walsh code 1.
Once tuned to the paging channel, the mobile station now listens for any information
intended for itself or for any general system messages. When the mobile station wants
to access the system either to make or receive a call, the mobile station uses the
access channel to send the message to the BTS by setting the access channel long
code mask. This long code mask contains the id of the BTS with which the mobile
station intends to communicate. For the reverse path, the BTS will need to set the same
long code mask so it can receive this information. If a conversation is to take place, the
mobile station tunes the channel selector to the Walsh code of the traffic channel
assigned by the BTS and the offset selector to the index of the desired BTS. Once the
conversation ends and the MS hands up, the MS goes back to the idle mode, scans for
the strongest BTS and again, listens to the paging channel. During idle mode, the MS
continuously searches for stronger BTSs. When the MS finds a stronger BTS, it
changes its selectors, acquires the new Sync channel and begins monitoring the new
Paging channel. This process is referred to as idle handoff. The process of scanning for
the strongest BTS followed by the idle handoff ensures that the MS is always receiving
the strongest BTS communications while in an idle state. As a result, the mobile station
can receive all intended messages and act accordingly. It also ensures that the
strongest BTS will hear its request on the access channel.
This concludes Lesson 2, Module 2. In this module, we discussed the channels used for
communication between the BTS and the MS in CDMA systems and the codes used to
keep CDMA cellular users separated while sharing the same spectrum.

Module 3
Welcome to Lesson 2, Module 3 (L2M3). In this module, we will discuss the over-the-air
communication details when a call originating in a land bases telephone to a mobile
station is processed. We will discuss the sequence of events, the messages sent
between the mobile station and the BTS and also indicate which logical channels are
used. In addition, we will discuss how a call originating at a mobile station and going to
a land line user is processed. When you have completed this module, you will be able
to:
i) identify the sequence of events, messages and logical channels involved in a
land to mobile call
ii) identify the sequence of events, messages and logical channels involved in a
mobile to land call

We will assume that the land line user has already dialed the phone number of a
mobile station user and the call is being processed through the CDMA network. We will
also assume that the mobile station has already located the strongest pilot channel
using Sync and is monitoring the associated Paging channel. The BTS uses the Paging
channel to send a page message to the MS. This notifies the MS that it has an incoming
call. The MS responds by sending a page response message back to the BTS via the
access channel. Upon receiving the Page response message, the BTS does three
things:
i) it sets up forward and reverse traffic channels to use for the call as directed
by the BSC
ii) it begins sending a series of 0s called null data over the forward traffic
channel which is a predefined sequence of zero data bits that allow the BTS
to synchronize with the MS
iii) it sends a channel assignment message to the MS over the paging channel
which tells the MS which traffic channel to use for the call
In response to the channel assignment message, the MS sets up the traffic channels
and receives a predefined number of data frames from the BTS on the forward traffic
channel. When the MS recognizes the null data sequence, another predefined
sequence called the preamble is sent on the reverse traffic channel. These predefined
sequences allow the MS and the BTS receivers to distinguish between random data or
noise and the start of a valid connection. Preamble also allows the BTS to acquire or
synchronize to the MS on the reverse traffic channel. After the BTS and the MS are in
Sync, the BTS sends a base station acknowledgement message to the MS via the
forward traffic channel. In response, the MS begins transmitting null data over the
reverse traffic channel. At this point in the process, both the forward and the reverse
links have been established and the BTS and MS are in communication with each other.
The BTS now sends an alert with information message to the MS over the forward
traffic channel. This message tells the MS to alert the user. This can be done by ringing,
vibrating, beeping or other methods that the MS uses to indicate that the user has a call.
The caller id name and/or number may also be contained in this message and displayed
at the mobile station. If the user answers the incoming call, the MS sends a connect
message over the reverse traffic channel. The two users are now connected and their
conversation is carried on the forward and reverse traffic channels in frames of digital
information. The exchange of digital data between the BTS and the MS continues until
one of the users (in this case the land line user) ends the call by hanging up. The BTS
detects the call disconnect from the PSTN and sends a release message over the
forward traffic channel. The MS responds by sending a release message over the
reverse traffic channel. In essence, this frees up both the forward and reverse traffic
channels that were used during the conversation. The MS then returns to an idle state
and awaits other incoming call.
Now that the messages involved in land to mobile call processing have been
described, lets continue with the description of the messages involved when a mobile to
land call is processed. The mobile to land call flow example begins as a user enters the
phone number on the mobile station keypad and presses SEND. This causes the MS
to send an origination message on the access channel. The BTS responds to the
origination message by setting up traffic channels and by transmitting null data over the
forward traffic channels. The BTS then sends a channel assignment message to the MS
via the Paging channel. This message tells the MS which traffic channels to use for the
call. Next, the MS sets up the traffic channels as directed in the channel assignment
message. After receiving a predetermined number of frames, the MS begins sending
the preamble information. The BTS then sends a base station acknowledgement
message to the MS via the forward traffic channel. In response, the MS begins
transmitting null data over the reverse traffic channel. At this point, the forward and
reverse links have been established between the MS and the BTS. The mobile station
user will now hear the land users telephone ringing, a basic signal or any recording
messages that might be generated by the network. If the land user answers,
conversation can now take place between the users transmitted over the forward and
reverse links as frames of digital information. Conversation continues until one of the
users (in this case, the mobile station user) hangs up. When the END button is
pressed, the mobile station sends a release message over the reverse traffic channel.
In response, the BTS also sends a release message via the forward traffic channel. This
frees up both the forward and reverse traffic channels for other calls and the MS then
returns to idle state on the Paging channel.
This concludes lesson 2, module 3 basic call processing. In this module, we
discussed the sequence of events, messages and logical channels involved in a land to
mobile call and the sequence of events, messages and logical channels involved in a
mobile to land call.

Module 4
Welcome to lesson 2 module 4 (L2M4). In this module, we will describe why power
control is important to a CDMA system. We will also introduce the importance of the
Frame Error Rate or FER to the power control loops. Finally, we will explain how both
the BTS and the MS control transmit power, keeping it at minimum levels while
maintaining call quality. When you have completed this module, you will be able to:
i) describe the reasons why power control is important to a CDMA system
ii) identify the importance of the FER measurement to the power control loops
iii) describe the CDMA power control process for open and closed loop
operations

The ability to accurately control transmit power within each cell is critical to both
capacity and quality in a CDMA network. Recall with spread spectrum technology, many
users share the same frequency or 1.23 MHz physical channel. All other users appear
as random noise to the intended user. For example, if the transmit power of one MS is
too high, it can dominate the BTS receiver and cause interference. As a result, the
number of users may have to be reduced to improve quality for all users. To balance
this capacity and quality equation, CDMA employs advanced power control on both the
forward and reverse links. Unlike analog systems which must transmit with enough
power to override the occasional signal fading, CDMA uses only the transmit power
required at the moment. Power levels are constantly being monitored and tightly
controlled. Higher power levels are used only when absolutely needed. When it comes
to CDMA and RF transmit power, a less is better philosophy prevails, even more so than
with other technologies.
Before the methods of power control are introduced, it is necessary to identify the
importance that the measurement called Frame Error Rate or FER has to this process.
While on the traffic channel, each mobile station is constantly measuring FER on the
forward link and reporting this measurement to the BTS on the reverse link. FER is a
measurement associated with digital voice that represents call quality goals for the
system. In short, it is the percentage of data frames received by the MS that cannot
correctly be interpreted because the number or type of errors has exceeded the build-in
error correction techniques. The BTS can request that the MS periodically reports FER
statistics. Alternatively, the BTS can request that the MS only report FER statistics when
a threshold has been exceeded. Once exceeded, the BTS may increase transmit power,
then continue to monitor FER. FER measurement data is utilized, so that transmit power
is kept at an acceptable minimum while maintaining the high level of call quality within
the system.
Now that FER has been introduced, lets move on to the methods of power control
used in CDMA systems. As stated previously, the goal is to have each mobile station
and BTS transmitting at the lowest possible power level while maintaining call quality. In
order to accomplish this, CDMA utilizes three distinct methods of power control:
i) Reverse open loop
ii) Reverse closed loop
iii) Forward closed loop
In general terms, open loop power control is the process by which the MS determines
without any feedback, the amount of power to be transmitted. This determination is
based upon a calculation that combines received signal strength data and several
system parameters. This provides a quick but coarse method of transmit power control.
Closed loop power control is used once a traffic channel has been established. In this
type of power control, real measurement data is used to make adjustment to the power
level being used. While it initially takes more time, this type power control provides
better or accurate data that utilizes real time feedback.
Lets begin by discussing in more detail, the first method, Reverse open loop power
control. As the name implies, it is the control of the mobile station power for the reverse
path to the BTS. This type of power control occurs without feedback suitably named
open loop from the BTS. A mobile station uses this method when first trying to access
the system. It does so by measuring the pilot power being sent from the BTS, adjusting
its transmit power accordingly, then attempting access. This method provides a good
power control approximation as the path loss is normally symmetric between the
forward and reverse links. In effect, if the received pilot signal is strong, the MS
assumes it is close to the cell and transmits at a low level. Conversely, if the received
pilot signal is relatively weak, the MS transmits with more power. Since open loop power
control is not based upon feedback from the receiver, the power needed for transmit is
estimated or based upon a calculation. Here is how it works. The mobile station takes
an initial pilot signal strength reading from the BTS. It uses this measurement and
several parameters received from the paging channel in a system parameter message
to perform a calculation. The result of the calculation produces the power level at which
a message called an access probe will be sent on the access channel. The MS sends
an access probe to the BTS via the access channel. This is similar to the MS saying
BTS do you hear me? The MS then waits for an acknowledgement from the BTS on
the paging channel. If there is no response, it increases transmit power by an increment
defined in the system parameter message and tries again. This process continues until
the MS gains access, reaches its maximum power or fails a predefined number of
times. Once acknowledged, a traffic channel is established. The MS comes under
control of the BTS and both the MS and BTS switch to closed loop power control.
In closed loop power control, there is feedbacks send from the receiver to the sender.
Reversed closed loop power control, the second method of power control, occurs after
communication between the BTS and MS has been established on the traffic channels.
As the name implies, it is control of the mobile station power for the reverse path, this
time with feedback from the BTS. More significantly, the BTS actually controls the
process and commands the mobile station accordingly. With this method, the MS uses
the same process as described in reverse open loop power control to determine the
initial transmit power or starting point from which to begin transmitting data on the traffic
channel. After the MS is on the traffic channel, feedback between the MS and BTS
begins. The BTS measures the quality of the MS signal. This measurement is used to
direct an increase or decrease in MS transmit power to keep the quality within the
predetermined limit and to ultimately achieve a favorable Signal to Noise level at its
receiver without sacrificing capacity. Reverse closed loop power control works in the
following manner. Using the calculation mentioned earlier, the MS determines at what
power level it will begin transmitting on the traffic channel. Once on the traffic channel,
the BTS measures the quality of the signal received from the MS. The BTS continually
commands the MS to increase or decrease power in predefined increments. It does so
by providing a predefined value followed by directions to increase or decrease. The
increment used is sent to the MS in a message that indicate a value between 0.25 and
1 dB. The indication whether to increase or decrease by the defined increment is
accomplished by inserting a power control bit into the traffic channel at the rate of 1 bit
every 1.25 milliseconds. A zero power control bit tells the MS to increase power one
step while a 1 bit indicates the MS should decrease power one step. The MS adjusts
transmit power for every power control bit it receives. This level of power control allows
the BTS to effectively respond to power variations that are inherent in the system and
keep call quality at a high level.
Now that the first two methods of power control have been described, lets continue with
the third type of power control used in the CDMA systems.
Forward closed loop power control as the term implies, is the control of forward path
power or BTS power with feedback from the mobile station. This method allows the BTS
to adjust its traffic channel power to the receiving needs of the MS. As stated previously,
the BTS and MS must already be in communication and have forward and reverse
traffic channels established. Recall the power level transmitted from the MS on the
reverse traffic channel is constantly adjusted. In the same manner, the BTS sends and
then continuously adjusts its transmit power on the forward channel based upon the
feedback received from the MS. The amount of BTS transmit power change is larger,
but the rate is slower on the forward traffic channel, occurring only about once every 15
to 20 milliseconds. Here is how it works. The BTS sets its initial transmit power based
upon the measurement of the signal that is received from the MS. Once on the traffic
channel, the BTS monitors the FER statistics sent via messages from the MS. When the
BTS has determined that the MS needs to see a stronger signal, it increases its own
transmit power. Once the BTS has increased transmit power, it repeats the process of
gradual decreases, until an unacceptable FER is reported again. The use of forward
closed loop power control allows the total interference seen by the MS to be minimized
which ultimately affects the call quality that is seen by the user.
Lets review. Reverse open loop power control is not based upon feedback from the
BTS rather, it relies upon a calculation that produces the transmit power which is used
by the MS to access the system. Closed loop power control relies on feedback between
the MS and BTS. This means that the BTS will continuously command the MS to lower
its transmit power through the use of reverse closed loop power control until the reverse
channel quality limit has been exceeded. Conversely, the BTS will continuously lower
its transmit power through the use of forward closed loop power control until an
increase is needed for the MS. CDMA systems employ highly advanced power control
on both the forward and reverse traffic channels in an effort to maintain a high level of
system capacity without sacrificing overall call quality.
At this time, you have completed lesson 2, module 4. In this module, we covered
the importance of FER measurement to the CDMA power control loops. In addition, the
three types of power control used in CDMA systems were introduced.

Module 5
Welcome to Lesson 2, Module 5. This module covers mobile station handoffs. A
description of basic handoff functionality will be presented first, followed by an
explanation of types of handoffs. The role of the rake receiver and the processes of
signal component combining, frame selection and frame replication will be presented
next, followed by a description of the pilot channel sets and forward threshold detection
parameters. The final section of the module will describe the process that is followed
during a handoff unique to CDMA called soft handoff. When you have completed this
module, you will be able to:
i) identify the purpose and characteristics of the handoffs in cellular systems
ii) identify characteristics of the different types of handoffs

iii) identify the function of the CDMA rake receiver as it relates to the soft handoff
process

iv) identify what occurs during the processes of signal component combining,
frame selection and frame replication
v) identify characteristics of the pilot channel sets
vi) distinguish differences between all threshold detection parameters used
during soft handoff
vii) sequence the events that occur during the soft handoff process

Lesson 1, module 1 introduce the omni and sector coverage patterns used in
cellular systems. In this module, we will use the term sector exclusively. Unless
specifically noted, sector will be used to refer to a 60 degree, 120 degree or 360 degree
coverage segment of a cell.
A handoff (HO) is the process by which a mobile station engaged in a call and
travelling throughout a coverage area is automatically switched from traffic channel to
traffic channel during the course of the conversation. The use of a handoff greatly
increases the amount of seamless coverage that a mobile station user has within the
system. Traffic channels are generally associated with sectors. As the MS leaves the
coverage area of one sector, the call must be transferred to a different traffic channel
within the new sector. Both analog and digital systems use handoffs. Although
depending upon the type of handoff used, different steps are followed. A handoff occurs
when it is determined that a user is best served by a different sector or traffic channel
than the current one. Degradation in call quality or even a dropped call will usually result
if the call is not transferred soon enough. As a way of introduction, the high level steps
involved in a handoff occur as follows: one sector is actively supporting a mobile station
call. It is determined that the quality of RF link between the mobile station and the sector
is deteriorating so much so that the MS transmit power will need to be increased to
higher levels to keep the call quality within an acceptable range. Rather than increase
the transmit power required to maintain the connection, a better sector is bound to
support the call. The candidate sector is involved in a series of steps that followed to
transfer the call from one sector to another. The transfer is made and the call continues
supported by the new sector with little or no indication to the user that this has occurred.

As stated previously, handoffs are not unique to CDMA systems. Effective handoff
performance in both analog and digital cellular systems is absolutely essential. A
mobile station being served by a BTS other than the one closest to it ends up
transmitting more power than necessary which raises the system interference level.
This results in a reduction in overall system capacity. Recall form Lesson 2, Module 4
that power levels are constantly being monitored and tightly controlled in a cellular
system. As a result, higher power levels are used only when absolutely needed because
a less is better philosophy prevails. A commitment to keep in power control levels at a
minimum is important for optimum system performance which is why handoffs occur at
a regular basis in all cellular systems.
Now that you have been introduced to what handoffs are, why they are necessary
and that of the high level of understanding of how they work, lets look at the types of
handoffs that exist. Handoffs are divided into two major types. Each occurs on the traffic
channel while a call is actively in progress. The handoff types are:
i) hard handoff
ii) soft handoff
There are several sub-types of each. These we will be described in more detail as we
progress through the module. A hard handoff (HHO) occurs when the connection to the
current channel is broke before the connection to the new channel has been
established. This typically occurs when a call is transferred between two different traffic
channels operating at two different frequencies within a coverage area. Hard handoffs
are used in both analog and digital systems including CDMA. Cells that utilize any type
of hard handoff compete for the signal. When cell B winds out of cell A, the connection
to cell A is broken before the MS can make the connection to cell B. In effect, the old
channel is dropped before the new channel is picked up. As a result, a complete
disconnect occurs which sometimes produces a click or haul in the audio that is heard
during conversation. This is termed as break-before-make connection philosophy. Most
digital systems employ techniques to minimize the duration of the haul so that it is not
even noticeable. However, a major disadvantage of hard handoff is that any type of
failure at the new channel will result in a dropped call because the old channel
connection has already being broken. This is somewhat common in the areas of
significant interference. Hard handoffs are further categorized into three sub-types:
i) analog-to-analog
ii) digital-to-digital
iii) digital-to-analog

Analog-to-analog hard handoffs are unique to analog systems. In this case, the call is
transferred from one traffic channel or frequency to another traffic channel or frequency.
Recall that the terms traffic channel and frequency are equivalent in analog systems.
Analog-to-analog handoffs are performed without the assistance of the MS. As a result,
all measurements and decisions related to handoff occur in the network. In addition,
analog-to-analog handoffs typically suffer from a noticeable audio gap that occurs
during the transfer between channels. With digital-to-digital hard handoffs, the call is
typically transferred between two different frequencies of the same technology. A digital-
to-digital hard handoff is similar to an analog-to analog hard handoff or digital
technologies like TDMA that require more than one cell re-use pattern. This type of
digital-to-digital handoff results from the need to change sectors or traffic channels. In
most non CDMA systems, a different sector implies a different frequency. As the number
of physical channels or frequencies increases in a CDMA system, the likelihood that the
MS will need to change frequencies also increases. Although preferable, a traffic
channel operating on the same frequency in the new sector may not be available. For
this reason, a digital-to-digital hard handoff may be executed in a CDMA system.
Sometimes, a call must be transferred from the control of one BSC to another, although
this is rare. In this case, a digital-to-digital hard handoff may be executed because the
complexity of a soft handoff would be significant. The call control, transcoding and MSC
interconnection may all need to move from the first BSC to the second. Digital-to-digital
handoffs are generally mobile assisting which means that the MS recommends the new
traffic channel or best new sector. In addition, digital systems usually employ techniques
which nearly eliminate any noticeable audio gap during the channel transfer. Handoffs
between different digital technologies would be very complex and impractical.
Therefore, these handoffs are not defined. The digital-to-analog hard handoff involves a
transfer between digital and analog technologies. Digital-to-analog hard handoffs are
often implemented as a database assisted handoffs since they require assistance from
a database at the BSC. In this case, the target or new traffic channel is in inferred from
a database rather than by real time measurement. A digital-to-analog hard handoff may
be necessary when a mobile station user is travelling which is the end of a digital
coverage area and moves into an area supported by an analog system. Digital-to-
analog handoffs are not assisted by the MS. Due to their complexity, only the digital-to-
analog handoff direction is supported. Analog-to-digital handoffs are generally not
practical and rarely even defined. In analog and non CDMA digital systems, hard
handoff is the only type of handoff used. However, in CDMA systems, hard handoffs are
rare. In only current areas of the network will the second type of handoff called soft
handoff is not possible due to the practical limitations of implementation. Unlike the hard
handoff which is used in both analog and digital systems, the soft handoff is unique to
CDMA.
A soft handoff (SHO) or inter-cell handoff occurs when a call is transferred between
traffic channels on the same frequency. It is termed soft because the connection to the
new traffic channel is established before the connection to the old traffic channel is
broken. In addition, this connection or bridging masks any indication to the users that
the call is being transferred. As a result, the clicks or hauls in the audio that are often
the characteristics of the non CDMA are not existent. In this type of handoff, cells team
up to obtain the best signal possible. This make-before-break connection philosophy
provides seamless high quality performance to the user. In fact the soft handoff is not
limited like the hard handoff to two traffic channels. Mobile stations and BTSs are
usually capable of supporting at least three simultaneously connections. Typically, two
or three best connections are used to enhance call quality and also allow the MS to
transmit at the lowest possible power levels. In CDMA, a soft handoff is not only a
method for extending the coverage area by transferring the call between sectors, it is
also the normal mode of operation. That is CDMA calls are normally in soft handoff with
more than one connection established. CDMA soft handoffs are mobile assisted
handoffs because the MS plays an active role in determining when the handoff will take
place. This process will be explained later in this module. There are two sub-types of the
soft handoff:
i) softer handoff
ii) inter BSC soft handoff
Softer handoffs (SSHO) also known as inter-sector handoffs occur between multiple
sectors of the same cell site. Softer handoffs are associated with six sector equipment
or 60 degrees cell site and three sector 120 degrees cell site. Conversely, soft handoffs
occur between sectors of different cell sites. Inter BSC soft handoffs occur when two of
the sectors in the soft handoff process under the control of different BSCs. In this case,
only one BSC controls the call and provides transcoding. The other BSC is effectively
bypassed, only providing the physical path connection to the controlling BSC. The
operation of the softer handoff and Inter BSC soft handoff is similar to the soft handoff
with minor differences that will be described in the next section. From the users point of
view, there is no difference between any of the soft handoff types. For the purposes of
description, the terms soft handoff will be used universally in this module unless
specifically noted otherwise. Lets briefly review. Hard handoffs are used in analog and
digital systems when the mobile station must either change frequency or technology.
Hard handoffs require that the existing connection be broken before new one is
established. Soft handoffs are unique to CDMA systems and occur when the call can be
simultaneously supported by multiple BTSs. They are totally transparent to the user
because they use a make-before-break philosophy. Soft handoffs are not just
momentarily traffic channel changes, but are inherent to the normal operation of CDMA
technology.
Key to the soft handoff is the ability of the MS and BTS to communicate with
multiple sectors using a rake receiver. In addition, a series of processes allow the MS,
BTS and BSC to work together to process soft handoffs. These processes are called
signal component combining, frame selection and frame replication. Lets start with the
description of the Rake receiver. The ability to simultaneously receive multiple logical
channels is performed by the rake receiver. The rake receiver is actually a set of many
receivers called fingers. The rake receiver is central to the operation of both the mobile
station and the BTS. In the MS, one of the rake receiver fingers is called either a
searcher or search processor. It constantly searches for the strongest pilot on the
forward link. The other fingers are then responsible for retrieving or demodulating the
signals that are assigned to them. The minimum number of fingers that a mobile station
rake receiver must have is 4 and at least one of this must a searcher. As we will see
later, this means that all mobile stations are capable of supporting a three-way soft
handoff. If extra fingers are available, or if some have not been assigned to a soft
handoff, they can be used to resolve multipath signal components. As described in an
earlier module, multipath signal components are those that arrived at the receiver via an
indirect path such as when they are bounced off the building. To the receiver, a
multipath signal component appears identical to the direct signal component except that
it has been delayed in time. Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight
line, the indirect component will take longer to travel to the receiver than the direct
component will. Within the rake receiver, the output of each finger is optimally combined
so that the composite signal is stronger than any of the individual components that were
received. Whether the components come from different sectors as in soft handoff or a
multiple copies delayed in time as in multipath components, they contain identical
mobile station messaging or voice traffic. This combining process called signal
component combining is one very powerful advantage of CDMA technology. During
softer handoff, the base station rake receiver also uses signal component combining.
This time, components received from different sectors are optimally combined within
one BTS via the process just described and then routed from the BTS to the BSC for
further processing. The BTS rake receiver operates in a manner similar to the MS rake
receiver with two main differences. First, the searcher functionality of the BTS and MS is
slightly different. Both use the searcher to seek multipath components. However, the
MS also uses the searcher to identify pilot channels from different sectors or cells. Since
a pilot channel is continuously transmitted by the BTS, the process of identifying
different pilot channels is unique to the MS. However, the process of identifying
multipath components is nearly the same as identifying different pilot channels.
Multipath components are seen as signals with pilot PN sequence that has been
delayed or shifted slightly due to the time delay. This time delay exists between the
arrival of the main component and the arrival of the multipath component. A different
pilot channel from a different sector or cell would be seen as a pilot PN sequence with a
large delay or shift of at least 64 chips. This is why there are only 512 possible pilot PN
offsets. The 64 chip delay between offsets is necessary for the MS to distinguish
between multipath signals and signals from other pilot channels. Secondly, the BTS
typically supports receiver diversity by having two different receive antennas pointing
the same direction. Because signals fade in and out, two antennas increase the chance
that one antenna will receive a strong signal from the MS. If the signal is weak at one
antenna, it is likely strong at the other. This means that a 3-sector cell site would have
six receive antennas, two for each sector. For the same call band, the fingers at the
BTS can be assigned one of four different tasks which include:
i) receiving or demodulating the main signal component,
ii) receiving a multipath component of the main signal,
iii) receiving the diversity antenna signal component of the main signal,
iv) receiving the signal component from an adjacent softer handoff sector if the
MS is involved in a softer handoff.
As you can see, it would be desirable to have a number of fingers available for each
call. In fact, eight fingers could easily be used effectively for a single call at one BTS
since 2 diversity components per sector multiplied by 2 sector components for a softer
handoff multiplied by 2 signal components (main & multipath) equals 8. Unfortunately,
the fingers and the processing that goes with them are extremely complex. So typically,
only 4 fingers are dedicated to a single call within the same BTS.
Now that signal component combining has been described, lets continue with the
second process, frame selection. Frame selection occurs in the BSC. Here is how it
works. Recall the input and output of each BTS involved in a call is CELP formatted
voice data. When multiple BTSs are involved in the same call, the multiple streams of
voice data must be combined into a single stream destined for the transcoding function
in the BSC. The combining process in frame selection differs from the combining
process done by signal component combining. Rather than using all inputs received to
make one signal, frame selection is an actual frame by frame selection process
whereby the best data frames are chosen and used for processing. A frame is defined
as a 20 millisecond segment of voice data. As a result, if errors in the data stream from
one BTS exceed the correction capabilities of the CDMA technology, it is very likely that
another frame from a different BTS will be error free and the better frame can be used.
The frame selection process provides a choice to the selector. That is, a choice is made
where the best frame from one BTS may be used first, followed by a frame from another
BTS. This provides a much greater probability that the resulting frames sent to the
transcoding function in the BTS will have no errors at all. The final process fundamental
to CDMA soft handoffs is frame replication. When in soft handoff, the BSC must send a
single voice data stream to more than one BTS. In order to do this, it must make exact
copies or replicate each data frame received and send the copies to each BTS involved
in the call. This occurs only in the forward direction. In the reverse direction, a single
signal is transmitted by the MS, but it is received by multiple sectors. In order to tie the
rake receiver in these processes together, lets follow a round trip path beginning with
the MS rake receiver. While in soft handoff, the MS receives a stream of data frames on
the forward link from each sector it is actively in communication with. Remember that
because of the rake receiver, the MS can communicate with at least three traffic
channels at once. The data streams on these channels also called legs are received in
the rake receiver and are then constructively combined to enhance the overall signal.
The output data is then decoded and converted from compressed digital or CELP to the
audio that is heard by the mobile station user. Going in the other direction, the mobile
station user audio is converted from audio into CELP format, transmitted over the air
interface and received by each of the supporting sectors. In a softer handoff situation,
the data undergoes signal component combining at the BTS, then frame selection at the
BSC. In this case, the shared BTS combines the data frames from the legs under its
control and sends an enhanced stream to the BSC for further frame selection. In a soft
handoff situation, the serving BTSs nearly route the received frames to the BSC. Next
the BSC performs frame selection. The received data frames from all legs supporting
the call are routed into special equipment that serves as a buffer. The BSC then
independently evaluates frame quality from each, selects and sends the best frames to
the transcoding function of the BSC. This output of the BSC or PCM formatted voice
data is then sent to the PSTN through the MSC. Since data is sent on a frame by frame
basis, it is conceivable that the first frame sent could be from leg number one, the
second from leg number three and the third from leg number two and so on. Final
conversions turn the data into the audio that is heard by the land user. Because the
BSC is responsible for maintaining the connection between the land user and the
mobile station during the call, the legs in the soft handoff may change as the mobile
station moves throughout the system. As stated previously, the MS may typically be in
communication with two or three sectors or BTSs at once depending upon the signal
quality and its location within the system. This ensures that the call quality remain high.
In the forward direction, the land line users voice is converted from audio into PCM, and
then converted again into CELP format within the BSC. If there is more than one leg
supporting the call, the single CELP data stream is replicated for each of the soft
handoff legs. The identical output is then sent to the legs which transmitted to the
mobile station over independent forward traffic channels. The MS receives the data via
the rake receiver where it is then combined and used to provide an enhanced signal.
Finally, it is converted into the audio that is heard by the user.
Lets review. Signal component combining occurs in the forward direction in the mobile
station and in the reverse direction in the BTS. This process uses the output of the rake
receiver to constructively combine multiple signal streams that are used to enhance the
overall signal. Frame selection occurs in the reverse direction at the BSC. This time, the
best frames are selected from the data received and they are routed for further
processing to the transcoding function in the BSC. Frame replication occurs at the BSC
when one data stream must be sent over a multiple forward traffic channels. Exact
copies of the data stream are made for each soft handoff path to the mobile station. The
role of the rake receiver, signal component combining, frame selection and frame
replication processes are central to the operation of the soft handoff.
Now that you have been introduced to the mobile station rake receiver and the
concept of signal component combining, frame selection and frame replication, lets look
at the role of the pilot channel sets and fault threshold detection parameters in the soft
handoff process. While on a traffic channel and engaged in a call, the MS measures and
then classifies pilot channels as sets. These sets include:
i) active set
ii) neighbor set
iii) remaining set
iv) candidate set

Recall from L2M2, each sector has a unique distinguishing time offset called pilot PN
offset that distinguishes it from others using the same forward logical channels. Also
recall that there are 512 unique offsets. Pilot channels in the active set are those pilot
channels associated with sectors currently engaged in a soft handoff. They are part of
the active set because they exceeded the signal strength threshold while connected and
are now active in the soft handoff. Pilot channels in this set must be continuously
scanned by the searcher in the MS to ensure that they maintain the best signal strength
or they will be removed. Pilot channels in the neighbor set are likely candidates for soft
handoff because they are associated with sectors in the immediate vicinity of the MS.
They are contained in a neighbor list associated with each sector and provided to the
MS. Pilot channels in the neighbor set are scanned continuously by the mobile station
searcher to determine whether they might become a candidate for the active set. If they
pass a threshold, they become a subset of the neighbor set called the candidate set and
are hopefully connected into the soft handoff as part of the active set. Pilot channels in
the remaining set are not in the active or neighbor sets, but are the remaining pilots
operating on the same physical channel or radio frequency. The pilots in this set are low
priority and will only be scanned for signal strength if the MS has no other tasks to
attend to. A simple equation illustrates the relationship between these sets. Active set +
Neighbor set + Remaining set = All Pilots. The MS monitors all sets for best signal
strength candidates and adds or drops pilot channels involved in soft handoff
accordingly. The active set is scanned the most frequently followed by the neighbor set.
The least frequently scanned set is the remaining set. Here is how pilots are classified.
When the MS detects that the pilot in the neighbor set exceeds one of two thresholds, it
notifies the BTS via a pilot strength measurement message (PSMM).These two
thresholds called T_ADD and T_COMP are pilot detection thresholds. The T_ADD
threshold is an absolute reference or signals strength that is set by the system. The
second threshold, T_COMP is a reference relative to the strongest pilot in the current
active set. Systems react to events triggered by one threshold or the other, but normally
dont process both. When the BTS receives the pilot strength measurement message
from the MS, it routes it to the BSC. The BSC makes a decision whether or not to make
the newly detected strong candidate pilot channel part of the active set. If the decision is
positive, the new traffic channel is connected to the existing call and the pilot channel of
the new sector is moved into the active set. As stated previously, the candidate set is a
subset of the neighbor set. A pilot is recognized as being in this set when the MS has
notified the BTS that either T_ADD or T_COMP has been exceeded, but the sector is
still not actively engaged in soft handoff. In addition, since the active set should contain
the pilot with the best signal strength measurements at the given time, the MS is also
monitoring another two thresholds to determine which pilots should be removed from
the active set. The first threshold T_DROP is a pilot drop threshold. The signal strength
of any pilot in the active set must drop below T_DROP in order for another threshold or
timer called TT_DROP to be activated. When the TT_DROP timer expires, a message
is sent to the serving BTS, routed to the BSC and a decision is made whether to remove
the pilot from the active set and return it to the neighbor set. In other words, if an active
pilot drops below T_DROP for time greater than TT_DROP, the BSC is notified. The
process of keeping the strongest pilot in the active set by adding and dropping pilot
channels as appropriate is the way that high quality voice connections are maintained
for active calls in the CDMA system.
Lets review. The active set contains the pilot channels of the sectors currently engaged
in soft handoff (i.e. all pilots that are associated with the traffic channels currently being
used by the mobile station). The neighbor set contains pilots of neighboring sectors
which are likely to become the strongest pilots if the user moves closer (i.e. pilots that
are not included in the active and candidate sets but are associated with all other base
stations in the serving area thus may be probable candidates for a handoff). The
candidate set is a subset of the neighbor set that contains pilots that are good enough
to become active but not currently engaged in soft handoff (i.e. all pilots that are not in
the active set but which have been determined by the mobile as sufficiently strong that
their associated forward traffic channels can be used by this mobile).The remaining set
are pilots not likely to be the strongest because their sectors are physically distant from
the user (i.e. pilots outside of the previous three sets).
Now that you have a chance to be introduced to the important background
information related to handoffs, lets tie everything together and take a look at the
sequence of events involved in the most prevalent handoff type, the soft handoff. We
will assume that a Land to Mobile voice conversation is already in progress and the MS
is being solely supported by forward and reverse traffic channels by sector A. Within the
MS, the rake receiver searcher continually monitors whether any non active pilot
channels has exceeded the pilot detection thresholds. Finger one is already tuned to the
traffic channel assigned from sector A. The remaining fingers are ready to be tuned to
any signal components that may be appropriate for soft handoff or multipath resolution.
Once the signal strength level of the pilot channel of sector B in this case exceeds either
the T_ADD or T_COMP threshold, the MS ends a pilot strength measurement
message to sector A via the reverse traffic channel. This message is sent to indicate
that it has found a potential soft handoff candidate. Sector A forwards the message to
the BSC which makes a decision whether or not the pilot should be considered as a soft
handoff candidate. During this period of decision, the pilot from sector B is part of the
candidate set. If the decision is yes, a series of events occur. The BSC sends a CDMA
handoff channel assigned message to sector B asking that a forward traffic channel be
set up with the MS. Upon receipt of the message, sector B responds back with a CDMA
forward channel transmission indication message that indicates that a new forward
traffic channel will be set up. It then begins transmitting a series of zeros called null data
on the forward traffic channel that will enable it to be acquired by the MS. Next, an
extended handoff direction message is sent from the BSC through the BTS to the MS
on the forward traffic channel. This message contains information that is unique to the
new traffic channel and will identify it to the MS. The MS responds on the reverse traffic
channel with a handoff completion message and acquires the traffic channel from sector
B. It does so after assigning one of the remaining rake receiver fingers to the sector B
traffic channel. If necessary, the BSC will send a series of parameter messages through
the BTS to the MS on the forward traffic channel that include any additional information
that is needed to operate on the new traffic channel. This information may include the
new neighbor list as well as power control information. At this point, the MS is
communicating with two sectors at the same time on two different traffic channels. Data
received from both traffic channels is being combined through the process of signal
component combining which is used to enhance the overall signal. As the conversation
continues and the mobile station user continues to move within the system, the MS
continues to monitor the signal strength of the active pilot channels. When the pilot
channel from sector A crosses the T_DROP threshold, the timer called TT_DROP is
activated. If the timer expires, the MS sends a pilot strength measurement message
over the reverse traffic channel to both sectors which route the message to the BSC. If
the decision is made to drop sector A from the active set, an extended handoff direction
message is sent to both sectors which transmit it over the forward traffic channel to the
MS. When the MS receives this message, it stops receiving data from sector A and
sends a handoff completion message over the reverse traffic channel to both sectors.
The first finger is now available for another assignment. In response, sector A stops
transmitting and receiving on the forward and reverse traffic channels. These channels
now become available for re-use and the conversation continues solely supported by
the channels established with sector B. Soft handoff has taken place with no interruption
to the user and no indication of call transfer. In the case of softer handoff, the preceding
events would have been identical except the BSC messages to and from sector A and B
would have been received and sent from the same BTS. In the case of inter BSC soft
handoff, the preceding events would have been similar except the messages to and
from sector B would have been routed through a second BSC. A few additional
messages are therefore required. The process described here, search, compare,
combine, then soft handoff happens continually while the call is in process and the user
moves throughout the system. As stated previously, soft handoff is a fundamental
normal operating condition in CDMA systems.
This concludes L2M5. In this module, we discussed the role of the handoff and the
different types of handoffs used in cellular systems. We specifically focused on the
equipment, processes, pilot channel sets and threshold detection parameters that are
necessary for soft handoff operation. Finally, we tied everything together in the
description of the events that occur during the soft handoff process.

Module 6
Welcome to Lesson 2 Module 6 (L2M6). In this module, we will discuss how the basic
CDMA concepts presented in the lessons and modules in this course tie together. When
you have completed this module, you will be able to synthesize the basic concepts of
CDMA.

Lets begin by with the review by module of the major CDMA concepts presented in this
course.
Lesson one contained an overview of cellular technology and systems while lesson 2
contained detailed explanations of various CDMA functions and processes. In L1M1, we
presented an overview of cellular technology and we discussed the reasons why CDMA
provides a better solution for wireless communications than analog or other digital
methods. Reasons include spectral efficiency, elimination of the need for frequency re-
use planning, smoother handoffs, lower mobile station transmit power and improved
performance on the multipath conditions. In L1M2, we moved into the cellular network
and presented the major cellular network elements pointing out the unique functions of
CDMA network elements, the major differences between CDMA systems and other
multiple access systems results from much greater complexity at the BSC and BTS that
is needed to support the more complex air interface, RF technology and handoffs in
CDMA.
In lesson 2, we moved from high level overviews into explanations of five very unique
CDMA functional areas.
In L2M1, we covered an overview of digital voice processes and we discussed the voice
path conversions in a CDMA network. The vocoding and transcoding functions in CDMA
provide the additional CELP conversion that is needed to reduce the amount of
information that must be transmitted over the air. Reducing the amount of information
transmitted enables greater capacity on the frequency bandwidth.
In L2M2, we discussed the CDMA channels and codes which build the wireless link.
This link carries the CELP formatted voice as well as messaging in the CDMA network
and keep users separated on the 1.23MHz wide bandwidth.
In L2M3, we looked within the wireless link at the basic air interface messaging between
the BTS and MS during the call flow process. We provided a preview of call processing
as outlined in the IS-95 standard.
In L2M4, we discussed power control and how it functions to keep the MS and BTS at
minimum transmit power levels during a call within the CDMA network.
And in L2M5, we covered the mobile station handoffs that occur during a call within the
CDMA network, focusing in more detail on the soft handoff that is unique to CDMA.

Lets now take a look at how these concepts tie together. The network elements as
presented in L1M2 provide the physical interconnection and control that enables
communication between the Landline users and the CDMA users. The Mobile Station is
the CDMA network element with which people are most familiar because it is the object
directly acted upon when sending or receiving calls in a CDMA network. The MS in
conjunction with the BTS and BSC provides the path for wireless communications. As
speech flows to and from the MS through the CDMA network, it undergoes conversions
that transform the analog voice to compressed, efficient digital voice data. This was
presented in L2M1. An analog to digital conversion resulting in PCM formatted data
occurs before arrival of the voice signal at the PSTN or at the PSTN itself. This
conversion is not unique to CDMA but its necessary for communication between the
Landline users and CDMA users. Digital speech compression results in CELP formatted
data which is the required format of voice data between the BSC and the MS. Functions
which perform this compression to CELP formatted data are transcoding and vocoding.
Transcoding occurs at the BSC and is the process of converting PCM formatted voice
data to the CELP format or vice versa. Vocoding occurs at the MS and this is the
process of converting analog voice directly to the CELP compressed digital voice data
or vice versa. CDMA channels and codes as presented in L2M2 provide the wireless
link in the CDMA network over which the compressed voice data and messages flow.
The logical channels which reside within physical channels provide communication
between the BTS and the MS. The codes are used to build the logical channels
providing the necessary separation among users sharing the same frequency spectrum.
L2M2 ended with an explanation of how the MS uses these codes or offsets to select
the various logical channels necessary to establish a two way wireless communications
link. This includes locating the strongest sector or pilot channel, synchronizing timing
with the BTS, and acquiring the paging, access and traffic channels. The messaging
discussed in L2M3 begins when the MS is idle. Messaging that occurs during basic call
processing provides over-the-air communication between the BTS and MS using the
link described in L2M2. These messages are delivered on the different logical channels.
For example, a page message is sent by the BTS on the paging channel and the reply
by the MS called a page response message is sent on the access channel. The
messaging sequences vary slightly for calls in the Land to mobile direction verses those
in the mobile to Land direction. Power control as discussed in L2M4 is the process by
which the BTS and the MS constantly monitor and adjust transmit power on both the
forward and reverse links during a call in progress. The goal of power control is to keep
transmit power as low as possible without degrading the quality of the call. This complex
power control contributes to the advantages of CDMA that relate to capacity, frequency
planning and power consumption as discussed in L1M1. The call quality is constantly
measured by the MS and the BTS during a call. Real time feedback is utilized on both
links to ensure the best quality with the least amount of power necessary. There are
three methods used to accomplish the goals of power control, reverse open loop power
control, reverse close loop power control and forward close loop power control. Mobile
station handoffs as discussed in L2M5 occur in most systems when degrading call
quality can be resolved by a change in traffic channels instead of an increase in transmit
power by the serving BTS. As with all systems, when a MS moves throughout the
CDMA network, it eventually moves away from the serving cell or sector, crosses to one
which it can receive stronger signals. As the MS engaged in a call travels throughout
coverage area, the MS will automatically switch from the traffic it is currently on to
another traffic channel from a cell or sector with which it can establish a stronger
connection. This transfer occurs during the course of conversation so the MS can stay
in communication with the cell or sector from which it receives the strongest signal.
CDMA however, employs a unique soft handoff process in which a new voice
connection is established before the old one breaks away. This make before break
connection is made possible through the use of complex rake receivers, signal
component combining, frame selection and frame replication processes. Not only does
the soft handoff provides seamless wireless coverage, it also provides a normal mode
of operation that enhances overall call quality and system performance beyond that of
any other technology.

In summary, all of the processes discussed in this course, serve as the foundation for
the implementation of CDMA technology in cellular systems. CDMA wireless
communications require all of these processes to work together. The result is the most
efficient highest quality wireless communication system available today.
This concludes L2M6. In this module, we discussed how all the concepts and
processes covered in this course tie together to make CDMA cellular technology work.