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12 LTE interview questions and answers

LTE and LTE advanced technology is fast evolving in cellular arena and demand in the
industries have been increased for LTE skilled engineers. These top 12 LTE interview questions
and answers help engineers seeking LTE technology job to crack the interview with ease. One
can refer page links mentioned on left side panel to learn more about LTE. These questions are
very useful as viva questions also.

Question-1: What is the difference between LTE FDD and LTE TDD?
Answer-1:The difference lies in the LTE frame structure in both the FDD and TDD versions of
the LTE. In FDD there will be pair of frequencies assigned in the downlink and uplink directions
and hence transmissions from multiple subscribes can happen at the same time but on different
frequencies as mentioned. In TDD, one single frequency will be used at different time instants by
multiple subscriber terminals (UEs). Both frame versions of LTE will have 1 ms sub-frame
duration and 0.5 ms slot duration. Read more.

Question-2: What is resource block in LTE?


Answer-2:LTE frame is divided based on time slots on time axis and frequency subcarrier on
frequency axis. Resource block is the smallest unit of resource allocation in LTE system. It is of
about 0.5ms duration and composed of 12 subcarriers in 1 OFDM symbol. One time slot is equal
to 7 OFDM symbols in normal cyclic prefix and 6 OFDM symbols in extended cyclic prefix.
One full resource block is equal to 12 subcarriers by 7 symbols in normal CP. Hence it consists
of total 84 time/frequency elements referred as resource elements in LTE network. Refer LTE
Terminology
.

Question-3: What are the LTE logical, transport and physical channels? Answer-3:All these
channels help LTE UE establish the connection with the eNodeB, maintain the connection and
terminate the same. Logical channels are characterized by the information that is transferred.
Transport channels are characterized by how the data are transferred over the radio interface.
Physical channel corresponds to a set of resource elements used by the physical layer. Channels
are further divided into control channel and traffic channel at logical channel stage. Read more.

Question-4: Explain the difference between Reference signal (RS) and synchronization signal
(SS) in the LTE? Also mention types of RS and SS.
Answer-4:Reference signal (RS) is used as pilot subcarrier in LTE similar to other broadband
wireless technologies such as WLAN, WIMAX etc. Synchronization signal is used as preamble
sequence in LTE for synchronization purpose. RS is used for channel estimation and tracking. SS
are of two types viz. P-SS and S-SS. P-SS is used for initial synchronization. S-SS is used for
frame boundary determination. RS are of two types viz. Demodulation RS (DRS) and Sounding
RS (SRS). DRS is used for sync and channel estimation purpose. SRS is used for channel quality
estimation purpose. DRS is used in both the uplink and downlink, while SRS is used only in the
uplink. Refer LTE PSS SSS
and LTE RS DMRS SRS
pages to know insight concepts of synchronization signal and reference signal.
Question-5: Explain LTE cell search procedure followed by UE.
Answer-5:LTE cell search procedure is used by UE to camp onto the LTE cell i.e. eNodeB.
Refer LTE UE cell search procedure and network entry procedure.

Question-6: What is the function of LTE physical broadcast channel i.e. PBCH?
Answer-6:After initial cell synchronization is completed, UE reads MIB (Master information
block) on PBCH (Physical channel). Broadcast channel is referred as BCH at transport level and
BCCH at logical level. MIB composed of downlink channel bandwidth in units of RBs, PHICH
duration, PHICH resource and system frame number. Read more.

Question-7: What is the advantage of using SC-FDMA in the LTE uplink?


Answer-7:The main advantage of SC-FDMA is low PAPR compare to OFDMA used in LTE
downlink. This increases the efficiency of power amplifier and hence increases the battery life.
Read more.

Question-8: What is RSSI?


Answer-8:RSSI stands for Received Signal Strength Indication. It is used almost in all the RATs
to identify power received from the cell in idle as well as connected/dedicated modes. This helps
UE always camped on to the best cell all the time. In case of drop in power measured using
RSSI, either UE or network initiates the handover or cell re-selection is carried out. Read more.

Question-9: Explain Circuit Switch Fall Back i.e. CSFB with respect to LTE and GSM.
Answer-9:Framework allowing the provisioning of voice services by reuse of legacy GSM
served CS infrastructure when the UE is served by E-UTRAN (LTE).To provide voice call
support, Circuit Switch Fall Back is carried out to GSM RAT from LTE RAT to facilitate the
voice over LTE (VoLTE) feature. Read more.

Question-10: Explain LTE network architecture and various interfaces.


Answer-10:There are various entities forming the LTE network architecture, the main interfaces
are Uu between UE and eNB, X2 interface between eNBs and S1 interface between eNB and
EPC(Evolved Packet Core). Read more.

Question-11: What is SRVCC?


Answer-11:SRVCC is the short form of Single-Radio Voice Call Continuity. SRVCC handover
is supported from E-UTRAN (i.e. LTE) to UTRAN/GERAN (WCDMA/GSM). SRVCC
procedure is used for transferring an on-going PS voice call (IMS) in LTE to a CS voice call via
Handover from LTE to GERAN/UTRAN. Read more.

Question-12:What is the difference between LTE and LTE Advanced?


Answer-12:LTE is specified in 3GPP release 8 and release 9. LTE advanced is specified in 3GPP
release 10. The main difference between them is carrier aggregation is introduced in LTE
advanced. Number of antennas supported by MIMO has been increased to 8 in LTE
advanced,Read more.
LTE Tutorial-Page1
This tutorial section on LTE basics covers following sub topics:
Main page features terminologies Frame TDD FDD Channel
types PHY stack throughput VoLTE CA cell search network entry Timers PSS vs
SSS Security LTE Bands EARFCN Hotspot router

This LTE tutorial covers LTE system overview, LTE air interface,LTE SAE and provide link
for LTE Frame structure, LTE physical layer,LTE protocol stack,LTE terminologies,LTE
advanced,LTE vendors etc. This tutorial is ideal for begineer to learn basic knowledge on LTE
and LTE advanced technologies.

LTE Overview

LTE standard has been published by 3GPP as an extension of UMTS(based on 3GPP standard)
and 1xEV-DO(base on 3GPP2 standard) technologies. LTE is mainly designed for high speed
data applications both in the uplink and downlink. LTE network offers about 300Mbps data rate
in the downlink and about 75 Mbps in the uplink. There is possibility of supporting voice over
LTE(VoLTE) in the future. There are various methods under progress to support VoLTE some
of them includes VOIP, legacy fallback to previous existing wireless networks.

This tutorial on LTE covers following in addition to LTE air interface and LTE system
architecture:

LTE Air interface

The Air interface between LTE network and UE supports high data rate owing to OFDM and
Multiple antenna techniques employed. OFDMA is used from network to UE air interface and
SC-FDMA is used from UE to network air interface. Refer following links to know OFDMA
basics.
OFDMA Types OFDM versus OFDMA OFDMA Physical layer

LTE System Architecture Evolution


As shown in the figure LTE SAE(System Architecture Evolution) consists UE,eNodeB and
EPC(evolved packet core). Various interfaces are designed between these entities which include
Uu between UE and eNodeB, X2 between two eNodeB, S1 between EPC and eNodeB. eNodeB
has functionalities of both RNC and NodeB as per previous UMTS architecture.LTE is
completely IP based network.

The basic architecture contains the following network elements.


1. LTE EUTRAN (Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio)
2. LTE Evolved Packet Core.

LTE EUTRAN

It is a radio access network standard meant to be a replacement of the UMTS, HSDPA and
HSUPA . Unlike HSPA, LTE's E-UTRA is an entirely new air interface system. It provides
higher data rates, lower latency and is optimized for packet data. EUTRAN (Evolved Universal
Terrestrial Radio) consists of eNB (Base station). EUTRAN is responsible for complete radio
management in LTE. When UE powered is on, eNB is responsible for Radio Resource
Management, i.e. it shall do the radio bearer control, radio admission control, allocation of
uplink and downlink to UE etc. When a packet from UE arrives to eNB, eNB shall compress the
IP header and encrypt the data stream. It is also responsible for adding a GTP-U header to the
payload and sending it to the SGW. Before the data is actually transmitted the control plane has
to be established. eNB is responsible for choosing a MME using MME selection function. The
QoS is taken care by eNB as the eNB is only entity on radio. Other functionalities include
scheduling and transmission of paging messages, broadcast messages, and bearer level rate
enforcements also done by eNB.

LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC)

The LTE EPC consists of MME, SGW, PGW, HSS and PCRF.
Mobility Management Entity (MME):

The MME is a control entity. It is responsible for all the control plane operations. All the NAS
signaling originates at UE and terminates in MME. MME is also responsible for tracking area list
management, selection of PGW/SGW and also selection of other MME during handovers. MME
is also responsible for SGSN (Serving GPRS Support Node) selection during LTE to 2G/3G
handovers. The UE is also authenticated by MME.MME is also responsible for bearer
management functions including establishment of dedicated bearers for all signaling traffic flow.

Serving Gateway (SGW):

Serving gateway terminates the interface towards EUTRAN. For each UE there is a single
Serving GW associated with EPS at a given point of time. SGW acts as a local mobility entity
for inter eNB handovers. It also acts a mobility anchor for inter 3GPP mobility. SGW is
responsible for packet routing and forwarding, buffering the downlink packets. As eNB is
responsible for uplink packet marking, SGW is responsible for downlink packet marking.

PDN Gateway (PGW):

PGW terminates SGi interface towards the PDN. PGW is responsible for all the IP packet based
operations such as deep packet inspection, UE IP address allocation, Transport level packet
marking in uplink and downlink, accounting etc. PGW contacts PCRF to determine the QoS for
bearers. It is also responsible for UL and DL rate enforcement.

Home Subscriber Server (HSS):

The HSS is a central database that contains user-related and subscription-related information.
The functions of the HSS include functionalities such as mobility management, call and session
establishment support, user authentication and access authorization. It also holds information
about the PDNs to which the user can connect. In addition the HSS holds dynamic information
such as the identity of the MME to which the user is currently attached or registered. The HSS
may also integrate the authentication center (AUC), which generates the vectors for
authentication and security keys.

Policy Control and Charging Rules Function (PCRF):

The PCRF is responsible for policy control decision-making as well as for controlling the flow-
based charging functionalities in the Policy Control Enforcement Function (PCEF), which
resides in the P-GW. The PCRF provides the QoS authorization (QoS class identifier [QCI] and
bit rates) that decides how a certain data flow will be treated in the PCEF and ensures that this is
in accordance with the user's subscription profile.
Refer LTE PCRF vs PCEF.

LTE Advanced Architecture


LTE Advanced architecture for E-UTRAN consists of P-GW, S-GW, MME, S1-MME, eNB,
HeNB, HeNB-GW, Relay Node etc. LTE Advanced protocol stack consists of user plane and
control plane for AS and NAS.
Refer LTE Advanced Architecture and Stack.

LTE tutorial-Page2

This tutorial on LTE covers following topics.

Introduction:

LTE is the next generation of technology which is backword compatible with cellular
technologies such as HSPA,GSM,CDMA etc. LTE means Long Term Evolution.LTE which is
known as 4G technology is being specified in Release 8 and 9 of the 3GPP standard. Release 10
is referred as LTE-Advanced. The LTE radio transmission and reception specifications are
documented in TS 36.101 for the UE ( User Equipment) and TS 36.104 for the eNB (Evolved
Node B). Downlink and uplink transmission in LTE are based on the use of multiple access
technologies: specifically, orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) for the
downlink, and single-carrier frequency division multiple access (SC-FDMA) for the uplink. The
work on the specifications is ongoing, and many of the technical documents are updated
quarterly. The latest versions of the 36-series documents can be found at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/specs/archive/36_series/ LTE Physical layer is described in TS36.211
and TS36.212 releases. 36.211 mentions physical channels and modulation while 36.212
mentions multiplexing and channel coding.
LTE system basic parameters and LTE Frame structure:

Frame Size=10ms
No. of slots=20.
No of Slots per Sub frame =2.
Slot duration=0.5 ms
Sub frame duration=1 ms
Basic time unit Ts for BW of 20MHz, (1/15000)*2048 seconds equal to 32.55ns.

There are two types of frames in LTE;FDD and TDD. Type 1, applicable to FDD- Here there are
total 20 slots, each is 0.5ms. 2 slots constitute 1 sub frame. Total Frame duration is 10ms.

Type 2, applicable to TDD- Here there are 10 sub frames, each is 1 ms,sub frame 0 and 5 are
dedicated for downlink always while sub frames 1 and 6 are dedicated for control frame.Sub
frames 2, 3, 4 and 7, 8, 9 depend on UL/DL configuration table defined in the standard.Frame
has switch point periodicity of 5 ms.

LTE Features

The key features of LTE physical layer are mentioned below.


Channel Bandwidth: 1.4/3/5/10/15/20 MHz
FFT size : 128/256/512/1024/1536/2048
Cyclic Prefix : Normal, Extended
DL multiple access: OFDMA
UL multiple access: SC-FDMA
Duplexing :FDD & TDD
Subcarrier mapping: Localized
Subcarrier hopping: Yes
Data Modulation : QPSK/16QAM/64QAM
Subcarrier spacing: 15KHz
Channel Coding : convolutional coding and turbo coding
MIMO :2 or 4 at transmit and 2 or 4 at receive side
HARQ :incremental redundancy

3GPP released documents of LTE and LTE-advanced are available at 3GPP web site-
http://www.3gpp.org

REFERENCES

1. TS 36.201- Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); LTE physical layer;
General description
2. TS 36.211- Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Physical channels and
modulation
3. TS 36.212- Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Multiplexing and channel
coding
4. LTE Terminology

LTE tutorial-Page3

This page on LTE terminology covers LTE and LTE advanced technology related terms. It
include terms eNB,eNodeB,UE,OFDMA,SC-FDMA,LTE frame,Resource block(RB), Resource
Element(RE),Slot,sub frame,reference signal, synchronization signal,S-GW,MME,X2 interface,
S1 interface, Uu interface, Control channel, data channel,LTE channel types,logical channel,
transport channel, physical channel, P-SS,S-
SS,PBCH,PDSCH,PDCCH,PCFICH,PCH,RS,SRS,DMRS,PRACH, PUSCH,PUCCH, carrier
aggregation,voice over LTE etc.

eNB or eNodeB It is similar to Base station which is used in GSM networks. Also called as
eNodeB.

UE: It is similar to mobile subscriber.

OFDMA: Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access, used in physical layer of LTE
Downlink.

SC-FDMA: Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access, used in physical layer of LTE
Uplink.

LTE Frame: LTE frame are of 2 types TDD and FDD. In both the cases, frame is composed of
10 sub frames and each sub frame is made of 2 slots. Frame size is 10ms.

Resource Block (RB): It is the smallest block of resource that can be allocated to UE by eNB; it
is 12 subcarriers for 7 symbols.

Resource Element (RE): The smallest unit of radio resources, one subcarrier for one symbol.

Slot: 7 consecutive symbols for short Cyclic Prefix, 6 symbols for long cyclic prefix.

Sub frame: 2 consecutive timeslots.

Reference Signal: Similar to pilot carrier and is used for channel estimation at the receiver.

Synchronization signal: There are two synchronization signals, Primary and secondary. Both
are transmitted in slot 0 and slot 10 in all the frames. It is same as preamble used in earlier
systems and used for time, frequency synchronization purpose.

S-GW: Serving Gateway

MME: Mobility Management Entity


X2 interface: Interface used between eNodeB and eNodeB.

S1 interface: Interface used between eNodeB and core network interface (MME/S-GW).

Uu interface: This is the air interface used between eNodeB and UE.

Control channel: This channel carry control information used to make, maintain and terminate
the connection. Used for the transfer of control plane information in LTE.

Data channel: This channel carry traffic information. Used for the transfer of user plane
information.

Channel structure in LTE:


LTE adopts a hierarchical channel structure. LTE defined three channel types i.e.
logical,transport and physical channels. Each associats with a service access point (SAP). (SAP)
between different layers. These channels are used by lower layers to provide services to the
upper layers.

Logical Channels: What to Transmit.


They are used by MAC layer to provide services to RLC layer. Each logical channel is defined as
per type of information it carries. In LTE, there are two categories of logical channels depending
on the service they provide: control channels and traffic channels.

Transport Channels: How to Transmit.


PHY uses transport channel to offer services to the MAC layer. It is characterized by how and
with what characteristics data is transferred over the air.

Physical Channels: Actual Transmission


Each physical channel maps to a set of resource elements in the time frequency grid that carry
information from upper layers. The basic entities that make a physical channel are REs and RBs.
A resource element is one subcarrier by one OFDM symbol and typically this could carry one (or
two with spatial multiplexing) modulated symbol(s). A resource block is a collection of resource
elements and in the frequency domain this represents the smallest quanta of resources that can be
allocated.

P-SS: Primary synchronization signal


S-SS: secondary synchronization signal
PBCH: Physical Broadcast Channel
PDSCH: Physical Downlink Shared Channel
PDCCH: Physical Downlink Control Channel
PCFICH: Physical Control Format Indicator Channel
PHICH: Physical Hybrid ARQ Indication Channel
PCH: Paging channel
RS: Reference Signal, used both in uplink and downlink
SRS: Sounding reference signal, used in uplink
DMRS: Demodulation Reference Signal
PRACH: Physical Random Access Channel used in uplink
PUSCH: Physical Uplink Shared Channel
PUCCH: Physical Uplink Control Channel

What is LTE | What does LTE mean

This tutorial section on LTE basics covers following sub topics:


Main page features terminologies Frame TDD FDD Channel
types PHY stack throughput VoLTE CA cell search network entry Timers PSS vs
SSS Security LTE Bands EARFCN Hotspot router

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. The technology designed and developed by 3GPP as air
interface for cellular mobile communication systems. It is used to increase the capacity and data
transfer speed of mobile telephone networks used mainly for data communication.LTE is
marketed as 4G technology. For current release of LTE specifications, one can visit 3GPP site.
One can refer list of 3GPP reference documents. LTE Advanced is the latest enhancement to
LTE technology to further increase the data rate and coverage limit. Refer LTE vs LTE
Advanced to know features of both the technologies.

Though LTE was designed for high speed broadband data communication, voice also can be
supported using VOIP(Voice over IP) protocols or using other legacy system fall-back.
source of figure: wikimedia commons

As mentioned in the diagram above LTE system composed of two main parts. User device is
referred as UE i.e. User Equipment and Base station is known as eNB. eNB is connected to
internet back bone via SGW(serving gateway) or MME(Mobility Management Entity). Refer
LTE tutorial which explains system architecture mentioning connectivity between LTE system
components.

Following are the silent parameters of the LTE system:


LTE uses OFDMA in the downlink and SC-FDMA in the uplink, refer SC-FDMA vs OFDMA.
It supports two types of frame structures as per FDD and TDD topologies, refer FDD LTE vs
TDD LTE.
The resource allocation in LTE is as based on resource block concept defined. Refer LTE
Terminology.
LTE supports various frequency bands in both TDD(Band 33 to 43) and FDD(Band 1 to 25).

Similarities and difference of LTE with other wireless standards

LTE is somewhat similar to HSPA and its downlink access technique is similar to mobile wimax
i.e. OFDMA. Refer following links LTE vs WiMAX, LTE vs GSM and LTE vs UMTS which
compares LTE with WiMAX, GSM and UMTS technologies respectively.

This page just covers what does lte stand for or what is LTE technology is all about. For further
and detailed study one can refer lte related links provided on this page.
LTE UE categories-LTE ue cat.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

This tutorial section on LTE basics covers following sub topics:


Main page features terminologies Frame TDD FDD Channel types PHY cell search network
entry EARFCN Hotspot router

This page covers LTE UE category features such as downlink and uplink PHY layer
parameters, buffer sizes, max.MCH bits etc. It covers LTE ue category-1, cat.2, cat.3, cat.4,
category-5.

LTE ue
Feature LTE ue Cat.1 LTE ue Cat.2 LTE ue Cat.3 LTE ue Cat.4
Cat.5

Downlink(DL)
DL 50, DL 100, DL 150, DL 300,
Data Rate(Mbps) 10,
UL 25 UL 50 UL 50 UL 75
Uplink(UL) 5

DL:
DL: DL: DL: DL:
QPSK,
QPSK, QPSK, QPSK, QPSK,
16QAM,
Modulation type 16QAM, 16QAM, 16QAM, 16QAM,
64QAM,
supported 64QAM, 64QAM, 64QAM, 64QAM,
UL: QPSK,
UL: QPSK, UL: QPSK, UL: QPSK, UL: QPSK,
16QAM,
16QAM 16QAM 16QAM 16QAM
64QAM

2x2 MIMO Not supported Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory

Not Not Not


4x4 MIMO Not supported Mandatory
supported supported supported

Total Layer-2
150 000 700 000 1 400 000 1 900 000 3 500 000
Buffer Size(Bytes)

Max. no. of bits of a


MCH transport block 10296 51024 75376 75376 75376
received within a TTI

Max. no. of bits of a


DL-SCH transport block 10296 51024 75376 75376 149776
received within a TTI
Max. no. of supported
layers for spatial 1 2 2 2 4
multiplexing in DL

Max. no. of bits


of an UL-SCH transport
5160 25456 51024 51024 75376
block transmitted
within a TTI

LTE Tutorial-Page6

This tutorial section on LTE basics covers following sub topics:


Main page features terminologies Frame TDD FDD Channel
types PHY stack throughput VoLTE CA cell search network entry Timers PSS vs
SSS Security LTE Bands EARFCN Hotspot router

This tutorial on LTE covers various LTE frequency bands.

LTE,E-UTRA Frequency Bands

Uplink(UL)opearating band BS Downlink(DL)opearating band BS


LTE,E-Utra receive UE transmit transmit UE receive Duplex
frequency band (FUL(low) -FUL(High)) (FDL(low) -FDL(High)) mode
,MHz ,MHz

1 1920 MHz-1980 MHz 2110 MHz-2170 MHz FDD

2 1850-1910 1930 -1990 FDD

3 1710-1785 1805 -1880 FDD

4 1710 -1755 2110 -2155 FDD

5 824-849 869-894 FDD


6 830-840 875-885 FDD

7 2500-2570 2620-2690 FDD

8 880-915 925-960 FDD

9 1749.9-1784.9 1844.9-1879.9 FDD

10 1710-1770 2110-2170 FDD

11 1427.9-1447.9 1475.9-1495.9 FDD

12 699-716 729-746 FDD

13 777-787 746-756 FDD

14 788-798 758-768 FDD

15 Reserved Reserved FDD

16 Reserved Reserved FDD

17 704-716 734-746 FDD

18 815-830 860-875 FDD

19 830-845 875-890 FDD

20 832-862 791-821 FDD

21 1447.9-1462.9 1495.9-1510.9 FDD

...

23 2000-2020 2180-2200 FDD

24 1626.5-1660.5 1525-1559 FDD

25 1850-1915 1930-1995 FDD

....

33 1900-1920 1900-1920 TDD

34 2010-2025 2010-2025 TDD

35 1850-1910 1850-1910 TDD


36 1930-1990 1930-1990 TDD

37 1910-1930 1910-1930 TDD

38 2570-2620 2570-2620 TDD

39 1880-1920 1880-1920 TDD

40 2300-2400 2300-2400 TDD

41 2496-2690 2496-2690 TDD

42 3400-3600 3400-3600 TDD

43 3600-3800 3600-3800 TDD

Carrier Aggregation Intra frequency bands

Uplink(UL)opearating band BS Downlink(DL)opearating band BS


E-UTRA E-UTRA Receive/UE Transmit Transmit/UE Receive Duplex
CA Band Band (FUL(low) -FUL(High)) (FDL(low) -FDL(High)) Mode
,MHz ,MHz

CA_1 1 1920 MHz-1980 MHz 2110 MHz-2170 MHz FDD

CA_40 40 2300-2400 MHz 2300-2400 MHz TDD

Carrier Aggregation Inter frequency bands

Uplink(UL)opearating band BS Downlink(DL)opearating band BS


E-UTRA E-UTRA Receive/UE Transmit Transmit/UE Receive Duplex
CA Band Band (FUL(low) -FUL(High)) (FDL(low) -FDL(High)) Mode
,MHz ,MHz

CA_1-5 1 1920 MHz-1980 MHz 2110 MHz-2170 MHz FDD

CA_1-5 5 824-849 MHz 869-894 MHz FDD


LTE Frame Structure of LTE Tutorial-Page7
This page of LTE tutorial covers LTE Frame structure. It includes TDD and FDD frame structure
as per LTE standard.

This tutorial section on LTE basics covers following sub topics:


Main page features terminologies Frame TDD FDD Channel
types PHY stack throughput VoLTE CA cell search network entry Timers PSS vs
SSS Security LTE Bands EARFCN Hotspot router

LTE Frame structure

The LTE frame structure are of two types based on topology either FDD or TDD. Total Frame
duration is about 10ms. There are total 10 subframes in a frame. Each subframe composed of 2
time slots.

Type 1, LTE frame structure is applicable to FDD system. As shown in the figure below, an LTE
TDD frame is made of total 20 slots, each of 0.5ms. Two consecutive time slots will form one
subframe. 10 such subframes form one radio frame. One subframe duration is about 1 ms. Hence
LTE radio frame will have duration of about 10ms. Each radio frame will have 307200 Ts.
Where in one Ts equals 1/(15000 x 2048) seconds.

Type 2, LTE frame structure is application to TDD system. As shown in the figure, here radio
frame composed of two half frames, each of 5ms duration resulting in total frame duration of
about 10ms. Each radio frame will have total 10 subframes,each subframe will have 2 time slots.
subframe configuration is based on Uplink downlink configuration(0 to 6). Usually in all the
cases, subframe #0 and subframe#5 is always used by downlink. The Special subframe carry
DwPTS(Downlink Pilot Time Slot),GP(Guard Period) and UpPTS(Uplink Pilot Time Slot). For
the 5ms DL to UL switch point periodicity case, SS(Special subframe ) exists in both the half
frames. For the 10ms DL to UL switch point periodicity case, SS exists only in first half frame.
DL to UL configuration which determines what goes in all the subframes is mentioned below in
the table.

LTE Physical Layer of LTE Tutorial-Page8


This tutorial section on LTE basics covers following sub topics:
Main page features terminologies Frame TDD FDD Channel
types PHY stack throughput VoLTE CA cell search network entry Timers PSS vs
SSS Security LTE Bands EARFCN Hotspot router

This tutorial on LTE physical layer for both UE and eNodeB.

LTE Physical Layer

Block schematic of PHY layer eNodeB Transmitter:

Following diagram depicts LTE eNodeB physical layer modules. LTE eNodeB is similar to
Base station of other technologies such as Wimax, GSM etc. eNodeB Physical layer consists of
Channel coding,rate matching, scrambler, mapper, layer mapping, pre-coding, resource element
mapper, ofdm module. CRC is appended to the data from MAC layer before being passed
through the PHY layer.

Let us understand LTE physical layer with example of downlink shared channel(DL-SCH). As
shown in the figure for eNodeB Transmitter upper layer data in the form of transport block is the
input to the physical layer.

At first the transport block is passed through a CRC encoder, we will use 24 bit CRC method. If
the number of bits is more than 6144 bits then it is broken into smaller blocks. It is then turbo
coded. Turbo coding is a form of concatenated coding, consisting of two convolutional encoders
with certain interleaving between them. Rate matching acts as rate coordinator between
preceding and succeeding blocks, it uses a buffer. Modulation used is QAM. It is then passed
through a OFDM modulator. The same is shown below in the DL-SCH channel processing
figure.

CRC

A cyclic redundancy check (CRC) is used for error detection in transport blocks. The entire
transport block is used to calculate the CRC parity bits. The transport block is divided by a cyclic
generator polynomial to generate 24 parity bits. These parity bits are then appended to the end of
transport block. The polynomial is as follows:
G(x)= x24 + x23 + x18 + x17 + x14 + x11 + x10 + x7 + x6 + x5 + x4 + x3 + x + 1

Segmentation and 2nd CRC: If the input block size is greater than 6144 bits, it is split in to
smaller blocks. Again CRC is performed and redundant parity bits are appended to each resulting
smaller block. Also, filler bits are added so the code block sizes match a set of valid block sizes
input to turbo code.

Turbo coding

The constituent encoders used are convolutional encoders. The input to the first constituent
encoder is the input bit stream to the turbo coding block. The input to the second constituent
encoder is the output of the QPP interleaver, a permutated version of the input sequence.
Rate Matching and modulation

The rate matching block creates an output bit stream with a desired code rate. The rate matching
algorithm is capable of producing any arbitrary rate. The bit streams from the turbo encoder are
interleaved followed by bit collection to create a circular buffer. Bits are selected and punctured
from the buffer to create an output bit stream with the desired code rate.

Physical Channels: Actual Transmission

Each physical channel corresponds to a set of resource elements in the time-frequency grid that
carry information from higher layers. The basic entities that make a physical channel are
resource elements and resource blocks. A resource element is a single subcarrier over one
OFDM symbol, and typically this could carry one (or two with spatial multiplexing) modulated
symbol(s). A resource block is a collection of resource elements and in the frequency domain
this represents the smallest quanta of resources that can be allocated. The transport channels need
to be mapped in to actual physical channels.

PDSCH channel carries user data originating from the higher layer. It is associated to DL-SCH.
It has various steps involved in it, such as scrambling, modulation mapper, layer mapper,
precoding, resource mapping, and OFDM modulation.
As shown in figure, Scrambling Produces a block of scrambled bits from the input bits according
to the relation given by the equation.

b^=b+c mod 2

Where b^ denotes the scrambled bits, b denotes the input bits, c denotes the scrambling
sequence.

Modulation Maps the bit values of input to complex modulation symbols with the modulation
scheme specified. There are three modulation schemes for the PDSCH: QPSK (Quadrature phase
shift keying), 16QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) and 64QAM (Quadrature Amplitude
Modulation). Layer mapper splits the data sequence in to a number of layers. Precoding is used
for transmission in multi-antenna wireless communications. In conventional single-stream beam
forming, the same signal is emitted from each of the transmit antennas with appropriate
weighting (phase and gain) such that the signal power is maximized at the receiver output. The
resource-mapping block maps the actual data symbols, reference signal symbols and control
information symbols into a certain resource element in the resource grid.

Block schematic of PHY layer User Equipment (UE):

Following diagram depicts LTE User Equipment(UE) physical layer modules. LTE UE is similar
to subscriber station of other technologies such as Wimax,GSM etc. It consists of channel
coding,rate matching,scrambler,mapper,transform precoder, resource element mapper and SC-
FDMA. CRC is appended to the data before passed to the PHY.
LTE Tutorial-Page9

This tutorial section on LTE basics covers following sub topics:


Main page features terminologies Frame TDD FDD Channel
types PHY stack throughput VoLTE CA cell search network entry Timers PSS vs
SSS Security LTE Bands EARFCN Hotspot router

This LTE tutorial page covers LTE protocol stack.

LTE UE internal Protocol Stack modules

Following figure depicts LTE protocol stack with main functions of each layer. NAS is not
shown in the figure,it sits above RRC in the control plane(on left side) and above PDCP in the
user plane(on right side). Above NAS upper layers exist.

LTE UE user plane

User plane in LTE UE consists of upper layers,NAS,PDCP,RLC,MAC,PHY and RF. The


functions of each are outlined below: The modules are depicted in the figure on right side.

NAS: In the uplink it does packet filtering.


PDCP: In the uplink it performs sequence number addition, handover data handling,integrity
protection, ciphering and header compression. In the downlink it does in sequence
delivery,duplicate packet detection,integrity validation, deciphering,header decompression.

RLC: In the uplink it provides buffer status report,segmentation and concatenation,ARQ(for AM


mode). In the downlink it does re-ordering,assembly and ARQ(for AM mode).

MAC: In the uplink it does channel mapping,multiplexing,handling control elements, random


access procedure, logical channel priority,HARQ and sending BSRs. In the downlink it does
channel mapping, de-multiplexing,DRX,Handling control elements,HARQ.

PHY:
CRC attachment
Coding block
scrambling/descrambling
modulation/de-modulation
measurement
Resource element mapping/demapping
HARQ
MIMO

RF:
Radio Transmission and Reception

LTE UE control plane

Control plane in LTE UE consists of upper layers,NAS,RRC,PHY and RF. The functions of
each are outlined below: The same is depicted in the figure on left hand side.
Upper layer: provide interfacing between upper layer information with lower layers(NAS).

NAS:
Mobility Management
Session Management
Bearer Management
Paging Control
Security Management

RRC:
Configuration Management
Connection Management
Paging control
Security Management
Broadcast
Measurement configuration
Measurement Reporting
Cell selection and reselection
Mobility Management

PHY and RF: functions are same as mentioned above.

LTE RRC states-IDLE/Connected

There are two radio resource control (RRC) states are defined viz. RRC IDLE and RRC
CONNECTED.

RRC IDLE state, UE is known in EPC and has IP address but not known in E-UTRAN/eNB
UE can receive broadcast/multicast data, monitors a paging channel to detect incoming calls,
performs neighbor cell measurements and cell selection/reselection and acquires system
information
In the RRC IDLE state, a UE specific DRX (discontinuous reception) cycle may be configured
by upper layers to enable UE power savings

In the RRC CONNECTED state, UE known in EPC and E-UTRAN/eNB


UE location is known at the cell level
Mobility is UE-assisted, network-controlled
UE also monitors control channels associated with the shared data channel to determine if data
is scheduled for it, provides channel quality feedback information, performs neighbor cell
measurements and measurement reporting and acquires system information