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CHAPTER - 2

CELLULAR NETWORK PLANNING

2.1 INTRODUCTION

In traditional mobile radio systems, one powerful transmitter was located at the highest
spot to provide coverage in that region. The mobile communication was limited between
one pair of users on single channel pair. With the increase in the number of users,
accommodating them within the limited available frequency spectrum became a major
problem. As a result, the cellular concept was introduced that structured the mobile
telephone network by placing many low-power transmitters throughout a coverage
region. The cellular principle allows for the efficient use of the scarce radio resources and
helps to support large subscriber populations. This chapter will examine several
parameters related with the cellular networks and their planning.

2.2 CELLULAR NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE

The cellular network contains a number of different components with each component
designed to communicate over an interface specified by the network standards. This
provides flexibility and enables a system operator to utilize system components from
different manufacturers. For example, Motorola Base Station System (BSS) equipment
may be coupled with a Siemens Network Switching System (NSS). The major
component groups of GSM cellular network are:

• Mobile Station (MS)


• Base Station Subsystem (BSS)

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• Network Switching Subsystem (NSS)
• Operations and Maintenance Subsystem (OMS)

(i) MOBILE STATION (MS)

Mobile station consists of the mobile telephone, fax machine etc. This is the part of the
network that the subscriber actually perceives. The mobile station consists of two parts:
Mobile Equipment (ME) is the hardware used by the subscriber to access the
network. The hardware has an identity number associated with it which is unique for that
particular device and permanently stored in it. This identity number is called an
International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI).
The SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is an electronic smart card which plugs into
the ME. It provides personal mobility, so that the user can have access to subscribed
services irrespective of a specific terminal. This card identifies the mobile subscriber and
also provides other information regarding the service that subscriber should receive. The
subscriber is identified by an identity number called the International Mobile Subscriber
Identity (IMSI).

(ii) BASE STATION SUBSYSTEM (BSS)

The BSS is the physical equipment that provides radio coverage to prescribed
geographical areas, known as the cells. As depicted in Fig. 2.1, GSM BSS is the
equipment found at a cell site which comprises of a combination of digital and RF
equipment. It contains equipment required to communicate with the MS. The BSS
consists of three major hardware components:

• Base Station Controller (BSC)


• Base Transceiver Station (BTS)

The BSS provides the link between the mobile equipment and mobile switching centre.
Functionally, a BSS consists of a control function carried out by the BSC and a
transmitting function performed by the BTS.

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Fig. 2.1 Base station subsystem architecture

BSC provides the control for the BSS and communicates directly with the MSC. The
BSC may control single or multiple BTSs. Any information required by the BTS for
operation will be received via the BSC. The BTS houses the radio transceivers that define
a cell and handles the radio-link protocols. The BTS reduces the amount of traffic which
needs to pass between the BTS and the BSC so as to make it faster. In a large urban area,
there will potentially be a large number of BTSs deployed, thus the requirements for a
BTS are ruggedness, reliability, portability and minimum cost.

Fig. 2.2 Base transceiver station in GSM networks


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As shown in Fig. 2.2, the BTS consists of a number of different elements:
• The first element is the electronics element normally located in a container at the base
of the antenna tower.
• The second part of the BTS is the antenna and the feeder to connect the antenna to the
base transceiver station itself.
• Finally there is the interface between the base station and its controller which consists
of control logic and software as well as the cable link to the controller.
BTSs are set up in a variety of places. In towns and cities the characteristic antennas are
often seen on the top of buildings, whereas in the country separate masts are used. It is
important that the location, height, and orientation are all correct to ensure that the
required coverage is achieved.

(iii) NETWORK SWITCHING SUBSYSTEM (NSS)

Network Switching Subsystem (NSS) consists of the Mobile Services Switching Centre
(MSC), its associated system control databases and processors together with the required
interfaces as depicted in Fig. 2.3. This is the part which provides for inter-connection
between the GSM network and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Fig. 2.3 Major components of network switching subsystem

It also contains the databases required for subscriber data and mobility management. Its
main function is to manage communications between the present network (GSM) and
other telecommunications networks. The components of the NSS are listed below:

• Mobile Services Switching Centre (MSC)

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• Home Location Register (HLR)
• Visitor Location Register (VLR)
• Authentication Centre (AuC)
• Equipment Identity Register (EIR)

(iv) WORKING OF CELLULAR NETWORK

(i) When a mobile user makes a call, it is connected to the base station to which it appears
to have the best path (often the closest base station).
(ii) The base stations in a given area are then connected to a mobile telephone switching
office MTSO, also called as mobile switching center MSC, by high speed wire
connections or microwave links.
(iii) The MTSO is connected to the public wired telephone network. Thus an incoming
call from a mobile user is first connected to a base station and from there to the MTSO
and then to the wired network.
(iv) From there the call goes to its destination, which might be an ordinary wire line
telephone, or might be another mobile subscriber. Thus, a cellular network is not an
independent network, but rather an appendage to the wired network.

2.3 CELL PLANNING

Every cellular network deployment requires a site inspection and the development of a
site specific implementation plan. The area of service coverage from a single antenna at a
base station constitutes a cell, which is a region where the radiated signal power from the
serving antenna is of sufficient strength to be received by subscribers. As the power of
transmitted signals must be restricted, multiple cells are required to provide wide area
coverage. As described by Lin H. et al. (2004) and Rawnsley R.K. et al. (2000) the
collection of cells across the service area constitutes a cell plan or network.

2.3.1 NETWORK DIMENSIONING

Network dimensioning is applied to provide the first estimate of the network's


capabilities in terms of coverage, capacity and the quality of service provided to the

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mobile subscribers. The main objective of dimensioning is to simplify the complex task
of network planning by making the necessary estimations and assumptions concerning
the hardware or resources required to provide a satisfactory service. Network
dimensioning gives an overall picture of the network and is used as a base for all further
planning activities. Some essential dimensioning figures for network design include:
• Number of base stations needed for coverage reasons
• Number of base stations needed for traffic reasons
• Acceptable outage probabilities
• Balance of interference level and acceptable frequency re-use rate
• Bandwidth available
Main input data for network dimensioning are
• Number of subscribers per area unit
• Generated traffic volumes per subscriber / per user type (market segments)
• Geographical area to be covered
Network Dimensioning (ND) is usually the first task to start the planning of a given
cellular network. The main result is an estimation of the equipment necessary to meet the
three fundamental requirements: capacity, coverage and quality.

2.3.2 SITE SPECIFIC MODEL

Raisanen et al. (2004) have detailed that accurate air interface traffic forecasting and
dimensioning is of importance in any cellular network for achieving cost and quality
requirements. A site specific model is a computer representation of the physical
environment. The software then applies some form of radio wave propagation prediction
algorithm that takes into account the physical environment and the specifications of the
wireless communication system being designed. The results of the prediction are
displayed in some manner that a human observer can interpret. Radio propagation
characteristics are fundamentally site specific since radio propagation mechanisms are
directly related to the locations, sizes and electrical properties of physical objects in the
surroundings. Site specific channel prediction algorithms use a building layout or a
satellite map and compute path losses between any two locations in indoor or outdoor
environments. The complexity of these prediction tools has been reduced and computing

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power has increased so that they can be implemented for real-time network management
applications. The predicted path losses can help formulate a global optimization problem
thereby maximizing throughputs and saving power. Previous studies of traffic modeling
in cellular networks were inclined to derive distributions to fit the measured data for the
arrival rate and call holding processes or derive expressions for call blocking on the air
interface for different handover and channel assignment procedures.

2.3.3 PROPAGATION PROBLEMS

According to Sayrac et al. (2012), radio propagation is one of the fundamental problems
in mobile communication engineering which is related to moving vehicles and is equally
applicable to portable telephone users. By the nature of the continuously varying
environment of the mobile subscriber, there is a very complicated relationship between
the mobile telephone received signal strength and time. The situation is not so bad if the
mobile unit remains stationary for the duration of the call. If a particularly poor reception
point is encountered, a short move may significantly improve the reception. For a moving
subscriber, as in the typical call placed from a moving car, the signal strength variation is
a formidable problem which can be approached only on a statistical level. For land based
mobile communication, received signal variation is primarily the result of multipath
fading, caused by obstacles such as buildings or terrain irregularities. The obstacles or
clutter can be classified in three areas, as follows:
(a) Rural area: An area in which there are wide-open spaces with perhaps a few scattered
trees but no buildings in the propagation path.
(b) Suburban area: An area including villages where houses and scattered trees obstruct
the propagation path.
(c) Urban area: An area which are heavily built up with large buildings or multistory
houses or apartment and greater numbers of trees.
The terrain conditions can be categorized as follows:
(a) Rolling hills which comprises of irregular folds or ripples but are not mountainous in
nature.
(b) Isolated mountains where a single mountain or ridge is within the propagation path
and nothing else interferes with the received signal.

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(c) Slopes where the up-or down slopes are at least 5 km long.

2.4 APPROACHES FOR CELL PLANNING

There are two general approaches to the cell planning problem. The first approach we
term base station placement, which is used to describe that the algorithms are free to
place base stations anywhere in a given geographical area. The second, we term as base
station selection, which is used to describe that the algorithms are restricted to choose
from a set of pre-determined base station site locations. The later one is more realistic for
outdoor cellular networks, as it is more likely that there is a limited set of possible base
station locations, rather than limitless selection possibilities. In either case, automatic cell
planning is desirable, which optimizes a cellular network configuration and expedites the
engineering process by eliminating manual interventions, decision making and
judgments. Thus, our goal is to select a subset of base station sites to commission from a
predefined set of possible locations, while configuring the transmission power settings to
maximize service coverage, minimize financial cost, and control cell overlap
automatically. Cell planning is employed not only when a new network is built or when a
modification to a current network is made, but also when there are changes in the traffic
demand, even within a small local area (e.g., building a new mall in the neighborhood or
opening new highways).

2.4.1 PRELIMINARY CELL PLAN

The activities involved in this stage includes locating dummy sites in the planning tool,
defining their parameters to the best knowledge of cell planner, choosing appropriate
model and predicting the coverage. The planner fine tunes his predictions and generates a
preliminary prediction report as per the final roll out plan and results predicted for each
phase of the network. This report is taken for internal review upon corrections of which is
handed over to the customer for his approval. The customer reviews the report and gives
his feedbacks that are to be studied and implemented. The changes that are suggested
involve reviewing the site locations, re-predicting coverage results and re-defining site
configuration. On final approval from the customer the details are handed over to field

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survey team who go about identifying candidates, carrying out propagation test, the
details of which are discussed in the final cell planning.

The activities involved in the Preliminary cell plan stage are explained below. Fig. 2.4
shows preliminary cell planning process.

Step - 1: Site Location and Parameters Definition: On the basis of the inputs gathered
the planner locates dummy sites on the digital terrain map ensuring proper site location
and distribution on the basis of clutter map and vector data incorporated over the digital
terrain map. After completion of site location, the parameters for each site are defined
that may include: number of sectors, azimuth per sector, antenna type per sector,
transmitted power per sector,
sector, antenna height per sector, model selection.

Fig. 2.4.. Preliminary Cell Planning Process

Step - 2: Model Selection: The selection of appropriate propagation model entirely


depends on which clutter class the sites are located. RF environment differs for different
clutters hence proper model selection is a must for getting accurate and reliable results.
As an illustrationn following clutter types is considered that describes the site objective,
their parameters and models in these area types as discussed below:

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(i) Large cell in Low-Urban: Under this environment, the visibility of surrounding area
is high i.e. RF signals can propagate to long distances and consequently large cells can be
planned in this area. The general site objective is to cover wider areas where capacity is
not a constraint and the sites are located at far away distances. Antennas are planned
above the maximum height of the surrounding clutter and the cell radius normally
exceeds 3 Kms. Hata model with an extension up to 2 GHz (COST 231– Hata Model)
can be used to calculate path loss in such cells.

(ii) Small cell in Sub-Urban or Urban: Under this environment, expected area to be
covered is limited to couple of kilometers. In these areas, the capacity requirements are
high besides allowing wider coverage area. Small cell can be planned in this area, where
the antenna is placed above the median but below the maximum height of the
surrounding clutter and path loss can be determined as for large cells. When the size of
the cell is less than 1 Km the Hata model cannot be used whereas since the cell is in
urban area and with cell size less than 5 Kms COST 231 Walfisch - Ikegami model is
used.

(iii) Micro cell in Dense-Urban: Under this environment, the expected area to be covered
is small. As high traffic density is required along with low level of interference, antennas
are located below the average terrain height ensuring the target areas to be visible from
the lower heights. Here the focus is more on the building coverage plus few roads and by-
lanes. Normally areas of these types include small microcellular sites, targeting specific
pockets and potential buildings. Here interference plays a crucial role since a compromise
is required between high traffic demand per square kilometer and interference due to
extensive frequency re-use. Microcell model can be used for calculating path loss but for
the cells other than microcells the Walfisch – Ikegami model can be used (for radius less
than 5 Km).

(iv) Special Coverage: Many a times, customer has special coverage requirements (roads,
highways, buildings, underground roadway tunnels, etc.) and wants to focus on them
individually. The solutions could be either using repeater or using an independent base

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station. In these cases the coverage area is very confined hence their coverage prediction
can differ as discussed in the subsequent points.

(v) Highways: A highway could be located within a dense vegetation area or in an open
area. The subscriber could be either using car kit mobile with high power transmission
antenna mounted on the vehicle or normal handheld unit. The objective of these sites is to
provide coverage to wider length of the highway but confined width wise. It is to be
noted that in such cases capacity is not the criteria for site location but coverage and
connectivity are vital. It should have sufficient overlapping with neighboring cells so that
proper hand-over is justified. The highways can be in open areas or in dense vegetation;
in the former case antenna height limited to the visibility of the section of the road where
hand-over is to be initiated, whereas in the latter case, the antenna height needs such a
height so as to clear the vegetation and also ensure visibility to the section of the road
where hand-over is to be initiated.

(vi) Roadway Tunnel Areas: Coverage planning for tunnel roadways depends on the
traffic density and length of the tunnel. We have various ways to cover the section of the
tunnel such as using independent base station or repeaters. Using an independent base
station is applicable in the case where both coverage and capacity needs to be provided
whereas in case of repeaters, which is an extension of coverage of an existing site caters
to coverage requirements.

(vii) Indoor Coverage: The indoor coverage encompasses all location where radiating
elements are located inside a construction or a closed area. Providing indoor coverage to
important buildings (commercial buildings, suburban houses, shopping malls, university
campuses, airport terminals, etc), is a common requirement demanded by the customer.
All the floors should be covered the same way, which imply planning on a very large
vertical scale for some of the commercial buildings or housing buildings. The solution in
such either case lies in covering the building with high gain directional antennas
externally or using indoor panel antennas. The penetration loss suffered by signals from
external antennas is between 15 to 20 dB. Further as signal travels down to lower floors it
suffers an additional loss of 2 to 3 dB. That means at higher floor levels the signal is

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strong compared to lower floors but at higher floors signal from multiple servers can
reach at better LOS condition and hence higher interference occurs. Indoor propagation is
specific to each building and therefore difficult to model. Indoor capacity requirements
will vary from floor to floor and from day time to evening time, so services need to be
planned accurately. Due to such limitations the planner goes for better options wherein he
plans to cover the indoor of the building using specially designed indoor antennas.
Typically indoor plans are made for buildings where coverage needs to be provided
across 2 to 3 walls. Either repeater or microcells can be used in such cases, wherein the
choice between the two depends on whether the requirement is only coverage or capacity
cum coverage. Appropriate antenna location is to be chosen such that the coverage
objective is met and hand-over between incoming and outgoing traffic is well maintained.
The next task of the cell planner is to run prediction for each site and analyze its results
under preliminary coverage analysis as described below.

Step - 3: Preliminary Coverage Analysis: Here the planner runs the prediction and
analyses the coverage results. Analysis of the results is to ensure that all the sites are
contributing to cover their respective objective areas thereby ensuring proper capacity
distribution between sites. He measures his result on basis of best server display and
overlapping coverage display. In case he finds the coverage objective of the site not
accomplished or that the site is overlapping with its neighbor cell more than planned for
then he re-tunes the site parameters in terms of location, height, antenna changes, etc.
With these re-tuning and running coverage predictions in parallel he approaches to best
coverage results. Being satisfied with the result he carries out similar prediction for all
individual phases and comes out with preliminary cell plan report which is taken for an
internal review.

2.4.2 FINAL CELL PLAN

It involves carrying out the field survey of candidate sites, propagation test for candidates
as listed by the planner, model tuning, re-calculating link budget and re-predicting
coverage with actual coordinates, height, tuned model and more realistic link
calculations. A final report is prepared which after internal review is handed over to the

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customer with final site list. Customer arranges for site acquisition upon which is handed
over to operation for base station implementation and commissioning after which the
initial network optimization follows. Having finally accepted the report the planner goes
about making final cell plan report which includes task that are described in detail in next
section.

2.4.2.1 STEPS INVOLVED IN FINAL CELL PLAN

The activities involved in the final cell plan stage are explained below. Fig. 2.5 shows
final cell planning process.

Step – 1: Candidate Survey: The planner hands over the list of site locations with
coordinates to the field survey team responsible for site surveys. He clearly defines the
search area with maximum 100 mts spatial deviation from the reference location. He
prepares report for each site indicating their location over the GUI map like Mapinfo, its
coordinates and the objective of the site. Site selection document gives details about the
points to be considered while doing site survey such that it meets the RF objective
without much of spatial diversion from the given coordinates. From this site survey report
the planner choose to carry out other measurement for few sites most probably the best
candidates located in different clutter types. This is the most effective way of getting
accurate results from field and tuning the predictions so as to get more realistic coverage.
The final outcome is that the planner has a list of actual coordinates for the sites, their
physical parameters and results for few candidates. He uses this data to tune his
prediction model, re-calculate the link budget and re-predict the results so as to make
field results near to predicted results.

Step – 2: Model Tuning: The measurement data is imported in the planning tool and the
propagation model of the site for which the measurement was made is tuned to get the
least standard deviation typically between 6 to 9 dB. Having completed the process of
tuning the model, the planner makes a final analysis of the coverage results, prepares a
frequency plan, analysis the C/I results thereby arrives to optimum frequency plan.

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Fig. 2.5. Final Cell Planning Process

Step – 3: Final Analysis and Frequency Plan: Having tuned the model the planner
analyses his new coverage results by comparing it with initial preliminary coverage
coverag
results. He prepares a frequency plan for the network and test’s his plan by carrying out
C/I analysis for Co-channel
channel and Adjacent
Adjacent-channel
channel interference. This is an iterative
process wherein he has to set a balance between desired coverage, allowed interf
interference,
capacity requirements
equirements and spectrum limitations thus arriving to the most optimum
coverage result and the frequency plan. Having completed the task of assigning the
frequencies the planner next needs to define the database parameters for appropriate
functioning of the network in terms of hand-over,
hand over, cell selection and re-selection,
re traffic
and control channel configuration, et
etc.
c. Finally on reaching to the best optimum coverage
plan and defining the site database parameters, the planner prepares a final cell plan
report to the effect for internal review. On the basis of the feedback, he makes the
required changes and the report is handed over to the customer for his approval. The

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report include best server coverage plot for the network, cell boundaries coverage plot,
frequency plan and assignment details, site configuration, site coordinates, candidate
survey report, neighbor cell definition etc. On acceptance of this report the planner
prepares individual site report for implementation team defining the physical parameters
of the site that include number of sectors, antenna location, antenna structure, antenna
height, base station power, etc. With the implementation of base stations and making it
operational, a thorough drive test for the network is made to cross verify the field results
and locate problems.

2.5 OVERALL CELLULAR NETWORK PLANNING PROCESS

In general the planning process starts with the inputs from the customer. The customer
inputs include customer requirements, business plans, system characteristics and any
other constraints. Inputs from operator’s marketing and business planning departments
are also considered for the initial network design and then follow the iterative process of
coverage planning and site selection as shown in Fig. 2.6. The target of frequency and
interference planning is to minimize the interference at an acceptable capacity level,
which has been agreed with the customer. After the planned system is implemented the
assumptions made during the planning process need to be validated and corrected
wherever necessary through an optimization process. Frequency planning should not take
place before the candidate sites have been finalized for a complete area.
In 2G (GSM) networks cell sites are placed and configured manually cell by cell
in a coverage first, capacity later manner but the results are not optimal. In 3G
(WCDMA, IS-95) networks, a jointly used frequency band and coverage depends on the
location and density of mobile users (uplink) as well as on interference of adjacent cell
sites (downlink). Thus, the deployment of a site and its equipment configuration highly
affects the service quality of adjacent cells. The overall planning process can be divided
into four parts:
• Frequency Planning
• Capacity Planning
• Coverage Planning
• Optimization

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Fig. 2.6. Planning Process Description

The general cell planning problem or base station location problem is to design a near-
optimal communications network. This involves commissioning base stations in a given
geographical area and configuring them to optimize certain objectives such as service
coverage and financial cost while controlling for areas of cell overlap that would increase
interference and thus the ability to more easily resolve the frequency assignment
problem. In a typical cellular network the area of coverage is geographically divided into
cells and the network topology is hierarchically organized in order to reduce costs. Each
cell is equipped with a base transceiver station (BTS) that contains the radio transceivers
providing the radio interface with mobile stations. One or more BTSs are connected to a
base station controller (BSC) that provides a number of functions related to resource and
mobility management as well as operation and maintenance for the overall radio network.
One or more BSCs are connected to a mobile switching center (MSC) or switch that
control call setup, call routing, while performing many other functions provided by a

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conventional communications switch. An MSC can be connected to other networks such
as the public switched telephone network (PSTN), in order to provide a larger coverage.
Cellular network operators dedicate an important proportion of their budget to acquire,
install and maintain the facilities (BTS, BSC, MSC, etc.) that carry traffic from cell sites
to switches and other facilities. These facilities are often leased from local exchange
carriers. The pressure to reduce costs adds new urgency to the search for optimized
networks which can minimize the cost of required facilities while satisfying a set of
predetermined constraints.

2.6 CELLULAR NETWORK FREQUENCY PLANNING

The design process of selecting and allocating channel groups for all cellular base
stations within a system is called frequency reuse or frequency planning. It is an
important area to increase the efficiency and quality of the service by optimally using the
frequency band. The main goal of the frequency-planning task is to increase the
efficiency of the spectrum usage, keeping the interference in the network below some
predefined level. Therefore it is always related to interference predictions. The frequency
allocation is based on cell-to-cell interference probability estimation according to the
network topology, field strength distribution and traffic load. This results in customized
frequency performance of the selected radio network elements. With the usage of
propagation model based on digital maps, we are able to obtain the interference
predictions very near to reality.

2.6.1 FREQUENCY REUSE

The core concept of cellular systems is that of frequency reuse. It was developed to
provide services to a very large number of subscribers while utilizing a limited spectrum.
Castelino et al. (1996) presented that it is necessary to reuse the available frequencies
many times over without mutual interference of one cell phone to another. In a
conventional radio system, groups are allocated the dedicated radio frequencies. In order
to ensure that those channels are not affected by transmissions from other users operating
at the same frequency, sufficient separation between the transmitters must be allowed

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when allocating the frequencies. In a cellular system, frequency re-use is achieved by
assigning a subset of the total number of channels available to each base station and
controlling the power output of the transmitters. All the available frequencies are divided
into different frequency groups so that a certain frequency always belongs to a certain
frequency group. Cells are assigned group of channels that are completely different from
those of neighboring cells. As shown in Fig. 2.7:
(i) The cells with the same number have the same set of frequencies.
(ii) The number of available frequency is 7.
(iii) The frequency reuse factor is 1/7, which implies that each cell is using 1/7 of
available frequencies.

Fig. 2.7. Frequency reuse pattern with reuse factor = 1/7

(iv) To avoid interference, the neighboring cells are not permitted to function at the same
frequency, i.e. no two adjacent cells have same frequency.

2.6.2 FREQUENCY REUSE DISTANCE

A particular radio channel F1, used in one geographic zone as named it a cell C1, with a
coverage radius R can be used in another cell with the same coverage radius at a distance
D away, as shown in Fig. 2.8.

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D

Fig. 2.8. Frequency Reuse Distance (D)

The
he frequency reuse distance (D), which permits the same radio channel to be reused in
co-channel
channel cells, depends on following factors:
(i) number of co-channel
channel cells in the locality of the central cell
(ii) type of geographical terrain
(iii) antenna height
(iv) transmitted
ransmitted signal strength by each cell-site
cell
As shown in Fig. 2.8,, the
t frequency reuse distance
tance D can be determined from:
D = √(3K) R
where K defines the frequency reuse pattern and R is the cell radius.
radius

D = 3.46R, for K= 4
= 4.6R, for K= 7
= 6R, for K= 12
= 7.55R, for K= 19
If all the cell sites transmit
ansmit the same power, then K increases and the frequency reuse
distance D increases. This increased D reduces the chance that co-channel
co interference
may occur.

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2.6.3 FREQUENCY REUSE SCHEME

A cellular network can easily be drawn as a combination of hexagons or circles with the
help of regular grids. One of the advantages is the possibility to try different frequency
reuse patterns (clusters) and calculate the expected co-channel interference. This is
required to assign a frequency reuse number (cluster size) to any of the network regions
area types. The reuse pattern is defined by the expression:

Nc x Ns x Nf,

where Nc is the number of cells in the network cluster, Ns represents the number of
sectors in a cell and Nf demonstrates intra-cellular frequency reuse.

2.6.4 FREQUENCY ALLOCATION PROBLEM (FAP)

A high performance of a network can only be achieved by carefully planning the


assignment of frequencies to transmitters. The selection of the frequencies in such a way
that interference is avoided or minimized is called the Frequency Assignment Problem
(FAP). A poorly designed reuse pattern can result in a serious increase in co-channel and
adjacent interference resulting in a significant degradation in system capacity.

2.6.5 SOLUTION TO FREQUENCY ALLOCATION PROBLEM (FAP)

There are two basic approaches to solve the frequency assignment problem: frequency
reuse patterns and automatic frequency allocation. Some software’s are used with
automatic frequency allocation algorithms for finding the optimum solutions. The
frequency allocation is generally guided by the following information:
(i) Channel requirement on cell basis according to the capacity planning.
(ii) Channel spacing limitations according to BTS specification.
(iii) Quality of service requirement which is conserved to acceptable interference
probability.
(iv) Traffic density distribution over the service area.
(v) Performance of advanced system features.

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2.6.6 CLUSTER AND CAPACITY

A cluster is an area in which all frequency groups are used once, but not reused.
Frequencies used in one cell cluster can be reused in another cluster of cells. A large
number of cells per cluster arrangement reduces the interference between adjacent
channels by allocating different frequency bands or channels to adjacent cells, so that
their coverage can overlap slightly without causing interference. Often these clusters
contain seven cells, but other configurations are also possible. The larger the number of
cells in the cluster, the greater the distance between cells sharing the same frequencies.
Consequently, Turgut et al. (2002) suggested that a balance is required to be made
between the number of cells in a cluster, the interference levels and the capacity. Fig. 2.9
shows the grouping of 7 cells together to form a cluster, where each cell is assigned a
different frequency.

Fig. 2.9. A cluster of seven cells

The number of cells in a cluster must be determined so that the cluster can be repeated
continuously within the covering area of an operator. Considering a cellular system that
has a total of S duplex radio channels. If each cell is allocated a group of k channels (k <
S) and if the S channels are divided among N cells into unique and disjoint channel
groups of same number of channels, then:

S=kN

32
The N cells that collectively use the complete set of available frequencies is called a
cluster. If a cluster is replicated M times within the system, the total number of duplex
channels or capacity is given by:
C = M k N = MS

If the cluster size N = 7 then the frequency reuse factor is 1/7, since each cell contains
one-seventh of the total number of available channels. The capacity is directly
proportional to M. The factor N is called the cluster size and is typically 4, 7 or 12. If the
cluster size N is reduced while the cell size is kept constant, then more clusters are
required to cover a given area and hence from the design viewpoint, more capacity is
achieved. The smallest possible value of N is desirable to maximize capacity over a given
coverage area. The frequency reuse factor of a cellular system is 1/N, since each cell
within a cluster is assigned 1/N of the total available channels in the system.
Typical clusters contain 4, 7, 12 or 21 cells. The smaller the number of cells per
cluster is, the bigger the number of channels per cell. Thus the capacity of each cell will
increase. The most common reuse patterns in GSM is 4/12 and 3/9, where 4/12 means
that the available frequencies are divided into 12 frequency groups, which in turn are
located at 4 base stations sites. This assumes that the base station has three cells
connected to it. The frequency groups are often assigned a number or name such as A1,
B1, C1, D1, A2 till D3. On the other hand, 3/9 means that the available frequencies are
divided into 9 frequency groups located at 3 sites.

2.6.7 LOCATING CO - CHANNEL CELLS

A larger cluster size causes the ratio between the cell radius and the distance between co-
channel cells to decrease and thus reducing the co-channel interference. The value of N is
a function of how much interference a mobile or base station can tolerate while
maintaining a sufficient quality of communications. Since each hexagonal cell has six
equidistant neighbors and the line joining the centers of any cell and each of its neighbors
are separated by multiples of 60 degrees, so only certain cluster sizes and cell layouts are
possible, as shown in Fig. 2.10.

33
Fig. 2.10.Technique of locating co-channel cells in a cellular system (N=19, i=3,j=2)

In order to connect between adjacent cells (without gaps), the geometry of the hexagon is
designed in such a manner that the number of cells per cluster N can have values which
satisfy:

N = i2 + i j + j2

where, i and j are non-negative integers. Table 2.1 shows the frequency reuse pattern and
cluster size. To find the nearest co-channel neighbors of a particular cell, one must
achieve the following:
(a) move i-cells along any chain of hexagons and
(b) turn 60 degrees counter-clockwise and move j-cells.

34
Table 2.1. Frequency reuse pattern and cluster size

Frequency Reuse Pattern (i, j) Cluster Size (N = i2 + i j + j2 )

i j
1 1 3
2 0 4
2 1 7
3 0 9
3 1 13
4 1 21
5 0 25

2.7 CELLULAR NETWORK CAPACITY PLANNING

In wireless cellular communication, cell planning problem with capacity expansion is


usually examined. The problem decides the location and capacity of each new base
station to cover expanded and increased traffic demand. The objective is to minimize the
cost of new base stations. The coverage by the new and existing base stations is
constrained to satisfy a proper portion of traffic demands. Capacity planning to estimate
how many mobile users each cell can serve can be calculated through the use of pole
capacity equations or cell loading equations.

2.7.1 CAPACITY CALCULATION

The capacity of a given network is measured in terms of the subscribers or the traffic load
that it can handle. The steps for calculating the network capacity are to:
(i) find the maximum number of carriers per cell that can be reached for the different
regions based on the frequency reuse patterns and the available spectrum,
(ii) calculate the capacity of the given cell using blocking probability and the number of
carriers, and
(iii) summation of all the cell capacities finally delivers the network capacity.

35
If there are N users in a cell and the signal is denoted by S then the interference. i.e.
signal to interference ratio can be calculated as:

I = (N - 1) S + η,

where η is the thermal noise. Hence the SIR is given by:


 
SIR = ==
  η   η/S

2.7.2 ERLANG B TABLE

Traffic is measured in Erlang units, which is defined as the average number of


simultaneous calls or the total usage during a time interval divided by the length of that
interval. Most network management systems measure the usage during one hour interval.
To calculate the capacity of the given cell using blocking probability and the number of
carriers, we need the well-known Erlang B table or formulas and the number of traffic
channels for different number of carriers. The result we get is the traffic capacity in
Erlangs, which can easily be transferred into the number of subscribers. We get
formulation as:

Erlangs = n * t / 3600

where, n = number of calls attempted and t = total duration in seconds

2.7.3 FREQUENCY REUSE AND INTERFERENCE

The frequency reuse patterns are designed in such a way that the system capacity is
maximized without showing any noticeable degradation in performance because of
resulting interference. A poorly designed reuse pattern can result in a serious increase in
co-channel and adjacent interference which may further cause a significant degradation in
the system capacity. According to Tutschku (1998) the system is limited by interference
from other users of the cellular system. This interference comes from users of the same
channel in co-cells (known as Co-Channel Interference or CCI) as well as Adjacent-

36
Channel Interference (ACI) from users of nearby frequencies. The cellular system is
designed so that both the CCI and ACI are reduced to acceptable levels. Due to the power
levels used in the cellular system, these levels exceed that of the noise from other
sources. These two types of interferences are described in the following sub-sections.

2.7.3.1 ADJACENT-CHANNEL INTERFERNECE (ACI)

ACI is the interference between signals having frequencies close together. Interference
that is caused by extraneous power from nearby transmitters on distinct frequency
channels flowing over to another channel is called adjacent channel interference. Due to
the large dynamic range of mobile radio signals, the adjacent-channel interference can be
significant. It is the result of a transmission at the desired frequency channel producing
unwanted energy in other channels.

2.7.3.2 CO-CHANNEL INTERFERNECE (CCI)

CCI is the interference between signals having the same frequency. It is the crosstalk
from two different radio transmitters using the same frequency. This type of interference
is not the resultant of mobile phones or cellular towers in different co‐channel cells
transmitting signals at the same frequency, but it occurs because of mobile phones in the
same cell transmitting signals at different (yet close or adjacent) frequencies that the
cellular tower has difficulty in filtering out the different channels from each other. It
creates similar conditions as in-band interference except that co-channel interference
comes from another radio operating in the same wireless system. In this case, two or
more signals are competing for the same frequency spectrum. CCI is one of the most
common types of radio interference as system designers attempt to support a large
number of wireless users within a small number of available frequency channels. The
easiest way to observe co-channel interference is to turn off the transmitter of the desired
radio and use the spectrum analyzer tuned to the channel frequency to look for other
signals from the desired system.

37
2.7.3.3 REDUCING CO-CHANNEL INTERFERNECE

In cellular telephone system, co-channel interference can be decreased by replacing a


single omni-directional antenna with several directional antennas, each radiating within a
smaller area. A larger reuse factor results in closer co-channel cells and hence a higher
signal to interference ratio, S/I. To maintain an acceptable S/I it is required to use a
relatively low reuse factor. One approach to overcome this limitation is cell sectoring
where directional antennas divide a hexagonal cell into pie-shaped pieces and each piece
visualizes fewer interferers than the original omni-directional antenna. Capacity can be
further be enhanced by cell sectorization. As cell size decreases, the distance between the
base stations of identical frequency also decreases. This can be offset by careful control
of the power radiated from either the base station or the mobile station. Another way to
reduce the co-channel interference coming from the six surrounding cells of a seven cell
structure is to use several directional antennas at each base station as shown in Fig. 2.11.
Here six 60-degree beam antennas are used in the whole wireless cellular structure.

Fig. 2.11. A cell is divided into six 60-degree sectors

2.7.4 CELL SPLITTING AND CAPACITY EXPANSION

Huang et al. (2000) suggested that cell-splitting is a technique that subdivides one cell in
smaller cells with an objective of increasing the capacity within the region of the original
cell site. This is done by adjusting the transmission power and reducing the antenna

38
height, which allows for an increase in the number of times channels are reused. When
the traffic load in an area increases, a cell can be split into smaller cells in order to
improve the utilization of spectrum efficiency. As the number of service subscribers
increases, more cell sites need to be added that provides service to smaller areas. This
process of cell-splitting or subdividing the coverage area of the original cell site by
adding additional smaller cell sites to provide service to a subset of the original coverage
area, is a well-known technique for increasing the capacity of a wireless communication
network.
A congested macro-cell is subdivided into smaller cells, each with its own base
station and a corresponding reduction in antenna height and transmitted power. Cell
splitting increases the capacity of a cellular system since it increases the number of times
that channels are reused. Reducing cell size increases handoffs, the number of base
stations needed, and may result in a difficulty in finding a proper site for the base station.
To minimize the interference, a certain distance must be maintained between the cells
using the same frequencies. However, this distance can be reduced without disturbing the
cell reuse pattern. As the size of cells is reduced, the same frequencies can be utilized in
more cells, which in turn mean more subscribers can be accommodated on the system.

2.8 CELLULAR NETWORK COVERAGE PLANNING

Radio coverage is frequently perceived to be the most important measurement for


network quality. Radio coverage planning plays a major role in GSM network planning,
because it decides extent of coverage area, speech quality, mobility and customer
satisfaction. Various forms of inputs and limitations from the customer in terms of
spectrum availability, network dimensions, frequency planning, network growth, local
wireless regulations and finally the RF environment itself plays an important role in
coverage planning. The approach for the coverage plan needs to be well defined, since it
requires to accommodate, various phases of network growth across time without any
compromise on service quality goal. The objective of coverage planning phase in
coverage limited network areas is to find a minimum amount of cell sites with optimum
locations for producing the required coverage for the target area. Coverage planning is
normally performed with prediction modules on digital map database. The basic input

39
information for coverage planning includes coverage regions, coverage threshold values
on each region (outdoor, in-car, indoor), antenna (tower height limitations), preferred
antenna line system specifications and preferred BTS specification. Activities such as
propagation modeling, field strength predictions and measurements are usually referred
to as coverage planning.

2.8.1 SITE SELECTION

According to Raisanen Larry et al. (2004) the coverage planning and site selection are
performed on parallel with the site acquisition in interactive mode. Both network
planning team and site acquisition team should have well defined responsibilities and
means to communicate. In many jurisdictions towers are only allowed on commercially,
industrially or agriculturally zoned sites and most do not allow towers on residential,
forest land or restricted areas. Sites must not have conditions that would make
constructing a tower unduly expensive. These conditions can include wetlands, poor or
rocky soil conditions, significant distance to the cell tower site from the main road, lots of
trees, possible hazardous waste on the property and high voltage power lines. In practice,
cell sites are grouped in areas of high population density with the most potential users.
The following information is required on all wireless telephone transmitting site plans
submitted for approval. It should be prepared by one or more persons in the professions
of architecture, land planning, or civil engineering.
(i) Locality map (location of proposed site).
(ii) Site Plan (scale, boundary lines, land use category, buildings).
(iii) Map (depicting locations of the antennae, existing and proposed towers and the area
of coverage).
(iv) Proposed Plan (locate and label proposed wireless tower, label proposed and existing
buildings and structures, label all lakes, ponds, wetlands and common areas).
(v) Co-Location (a proposed communication tower designed to accommodate additional
antennae and wireless transmission and relay equipment depicting present and future
requirements or the needs of other telecommunications providers and make space
available on the proposed tower when technically feasible).

40
(vi) Height (of the tower or pole) and distance (between the property line and any
residential area).
(viii) Street (dimension and label the existing and proposed streets, label the existing and
proposed surface type, show all frontage roads, intersections and egress/ingress ramps,
pavement width; indicate the center line of the adjoining streets and right of way, label
existing and proposed traffic signals and traffic control devices).
The marketing departments of the wireless carriers are constantly reviewing potential and
uncovered areas to determine where to place new towers. Both the marketing
departments and RF engineering departments work together to prioritize those sites that
they believe will provide the most benefit to the company as well as quality of service.
Site should be:
• large enough for a cell tower - normally (but not always) this is a parcel double the
size of the height of the tower.
• have easy and cheap access from a public road.
• suitable from a zoning perspective.
Wireless carriers prefer to locate on existing structures before building a new tower.
Many zoning jurisdictions require this due diligence because it reduces development
costs and time to market. If there are suitable structures, then the carrier just leases the
space on the tower and no new tower is built. Further, the service providers want to create
new revenue streams and simplify the existing infrastructure with a world-class ready-
made infrastructure to provide highest level of standards to their agents to deal with
customers and reduce costs.

2.8.2 PROPAGATION MODELS

For wireless communication system, the system should have the ability to predict the
accurateness of the radio propagation behavior. All the computed coverage, interference
and capacity results in a cellular network planning tool, which is based on the path losses
between the base stations and points on the digital map that are computed from a
propagation prediction model. Propagation models are essentially the curve fitting
exercises. A propagation model is an empirical formulation that is derived to efficiently
calculate and predict the radio propagation. The propagation tests are conducted at

41
different frequencies, antenna heights and locations over different periods and distances.
The receive signal data is analyzed using mathematical tools and are fitted to an
appropriate curve. Formula to match these curve are then generated and used as models.
Propagation in open areas is calculated by using terrain models, whereas metropolitan
areas are calculated by using a model which has been developed in a similar scenario.
Some of the major propagation models include long-distance propagation model,
Okumara, Hata, Cost 231-Hata (similar to Hata: for 1500-2000 MHz band), Wolfish-
Ikegami Cost 231, Wolfish-Xia JTC, diffracting screens model etc. Propagation models
are used for calculation of electromagnetic field strength for the purpose of wireless
network planning during preliminary deployment. Most propagation models have not
been developed specifically for application to the mobile radio channel, but rather in a
more general perspective. As a result there is no absolutely complete model and each one
requires the insertion of one or more parameters in order to be fully applicable to the
mobile radio channel.

2.8.3 COVERAGE PREDICTIONS

As discussed by Sayrac B. et al. (2012) the cellular operators routinely use sophisticated
planning tools to estimate the coverage of the network based on building and terrain data
combined with detailed propagation modeling. The possibilities for rough coverage
calculations are based on propagation curves formulas. These average values are not
enough for the detailed network planning. Therefore, many computer-aided tools based
on digital maps usage have been developed to improve the quality of the predictions.
There are different types of information (like topography, terrain heights, area types and
traffic density) that can be digitized and used for coverage predictions. Coverage
validation is the measurement and verification of the desired signal strength throughout
an area of interest. Information and heighten resolution maps should be used for the
micro cell modeling, which is required in a dense urban environment. Using a given
digital map it is easy to obtain the path profile between any two points, say BS and MS.
The field strength measurements are needed for the determination of coverage areas as
well as for tuning the propagation model of network planning system. In case of
measurement before the base station installation, the site should be equipped with the test

42
transmitter. Possible test transmitter configurations are mobile station base station
channel unit signal generator with power amplifier. The selection of routs to be measured
depends on the purpose of the measurements. The most critical routs are typical located
in urban or hilly areas, where it is difficult to predict the field strength values with high
accuracy. During the field strength measurement, the measuring system normally takes
the samples from the signal received by the antenna. The field strength samples are
recorded by a control computer with time and location marks. Using the samples it is
possible to calculate the average values. To compute the radio coverage it is necessary to
apply a propagation model in each region of the spatial partition.

2.8.4 PROPAGATION MODEL TUNING

Propagation models are extensively used in network planning, particularly for conducting
feasibility studies and performing initial system deployment. Model tuning is one of the
important modules of radio network planning and design that simulates the propagation
of the RF signal on the air, in order to obtain accurate radio coverage and interference
predictions in the service area. The model tuning is usually accomplished through
elaborate and costly tests. The measurements are performed in the different areas of the
planned network. Collected data is used to tune the propagation model parameters in
planning and stimulation tools. The propagation models are not universal. The
predictions must be verified by measurements and the models must be tuned accordingly.
The model testing and tuning is a very sophisticated and challenging task which requires
detailed knowledge of the propagation nature. It should be done for every area type in a
given country or region before the detailed network planning is started. Due to the
different characteristics of the environment for which the models have been made, a
tuning procedure is needed to adjust the model parameters according to measured data.

2.8.5 EXTENSION OF CELL COVERAGE AREA

Scalable, upgradeable and flexible coverage solutions allow the growth for cost efficient
network. Performance evaluation focuses on both the coverage extension and network
capacity aspects. The cellular area extension can be done with cellular repeaters and

43
preamplifiers. In the areas with large teletraffic demand (like in dense cities) the coverage
is rarely a problem; rather capacity is the real limitation. Consequently, there are small
micro- and picocells with reduced power necessary to cover this large teletraffic demand.
The cellular repeater amplifies the RF signal in both uplink and downlink directions, i.e.
it is a device which compensates the propagation loss between the base station antenna
and mobile station antenna. The cellular repeater antenna is connected between two
antennas: the first antenna is pointed to the base station site and the second one
(reradiating elements) is pointed to the area to be covered. Radiating or leaky cable can
be used in tunnels as a reradiating element to provide homogeneous field strength inside
the tunnel. The deployment of flexible relay based wireless networks is expected to
increase the capacity of the network when placed within the base station. It also extends
the coverage when placed at the border of base station coverage. Recently there have
been extensive studies on cooperative and relay–based transmission schemes for
extending the cellular coverage or increasing the diversity. Several basic relaying
transmission techniques have been introduced, such as amplify-and-forward (AF),
decode-and-forward and compress-and-forward (CF). The coverage depends on a number
of parameters such as, antenna characteristic, wave propagation model, coverage
threshold, visibility concept and so on. Even for the simple case of geometric visibility
this optimization problem is NP-hard. For an economic design of radio networks, a trade-
off between the cost of coverage and the benefit resulting from covering an area is
desired. This network deployment objective leads to the definition of the transmitter
location problem as a location problem that does not require the coverage of the entire
terrain which has been defined as the maximal coverage location problem (it assumes a
limited budget and thereby restricts the number of base stations). The objective is to place
a fixed number of base stations so that the coverage is maximized.

2.8.6 HANDOVER

Handover is the procedure that transfers an ongoing call from one cell to another as the
user’s moves through the coverage area of cellular system as depicted in Fig. 2.12. The
handoffs are critical in cellular communication systems as the neighboring cells are
always using a disjoint subset of frequency bands, so negotiations must take place

44
between the mobile station (MS), the current serving base station (BS) and the next
potential BS. As suggested by Li C.L. et al. (1993), although the concept of cellular
handover or cellular handoff is relatively straightforward, it is not an easy process to
implement in reality. The cellular network needs to decide when handover or handoff is
necessary, and to which cell. Also when the handover occurs it is necessary to re-route
the call to the relevant base station along with changing the communication between the
mobile and the base station to a new channel. All of this needs to be undertaken without
any noticeable interruption to the call.

Fig. 2.12. Handover example: Two base stations and a mobile node

Each handover requires network resources to route the call to next base station. If
handover does not occur at right time, the QoS may be dropped below an adequate level
and connection will be lost. Different cellular standards handle handover in slightly
different way. Efficient handoff algorithms are the cost-effective way of enhancing the
capacity and QoS of cellular systems. Handover mechanism is extremely important in
cellular network because of the cellular architecture employed to maximize the spectrum
utilization. One way to improve the cellular network performance is to use efficient
handover prioritization schemes when user is switching between the cells. The number of
handoffs per cell is increased by an order of magnitude and the time available to make a
handoff is decreased. Using an umbrella cell is one way to reduce the handoff rate. Due
to increase in the micro cell boundary crossings and expected high traffic loads, a higher
degree of decentralization of the handoff process becomes necessary.

45
Cellular handover is performed by all cellular telecommunications networks and it is the
core element of the whole concept of cellular telecommunications. There are number of
requirements for the process. The first is that it occurs reliably and if it does not, users
soon become dissatisfied and choose another network provider in a process known as
churn. However it needs to be accomplished in the most efficient manner. With the
advent of CDMA systems, where the same channels can be used by several mobiles and
where it is possible to adjacent cells or cell sectors to use the same frequency channel
there are different types of handover that can be performed:

• Hard handoff
• Soft handoff
• Softer handoff

Although all of these forms of handover or handoff enable the cellular phone to be
connected to a different cell or different cell sector, they are performed in slightly
different ways and are available under different conditions.

2.8.6.1 HARD HANDOVER

In hard handover, an existing connection must be broken before the new one is
established, i.e. communication network is designed to work by first breaking off from
the initial connection with a base station before switching to another base station. For this
reason such handover is also known as break-before-make. A hard handoff is relatively
cheaper and easier to implement in comparison to another type of handoff called soft
handoff. Its mechanism is particularly suitable for delay-tolerant communication traffic
such as in broadband technology-enabled Internet, VoIP etc. As shown in Fig. 2.13,
under the control of the MSC, the BS hands off the MS’s call to another cell and then
drop the call. In the hard handoff process, the link to the prior BS is terminated before or
as the user is transferred to the new cell’s BS, the MS is linked to no more than one BS at
any given time. As the mobile is able to transmit on one frequency at a time, the
connection must be broken before it moves to the new channel where the connection is
re-established. This is often termed as inter frequency hard handover.

46
Fig. 2.13. Handoff between mobile station and base station
(a) Before handoff (b) After handoff

It is also possible to have intra-frequency hard handovers where the frequency channel
remains the same. Although there is generally a short break in transmission, this is
normally short enough not to be noticed by the user. A hard handover is perceived by
network engineers as an event during the call. It requires the least processing by the
network providing service. In hard handover, the phone's hardware does not need to be
capable of receiving two or more channels in parallel, which makes it cheaper and
simpler. On contrary to this, if a handover fails the call may be temporarily disrupted or
even terminated abnormally. Technologies which use hard handovers usually have the
procedures which can re-establish the connection to the source cell, if the connection to
the target cell cannot be made.

2.8.6.2 SOFT HANDOVER

The 3G technologies make use of CDMA, where it is possible to have neighboring cells
on the same frequency and this opens the possibility of having a form of handover where
it is not necessary to break the connection which is known as soft handover. It is defined
as a handover where a new connection is established before the old one is released, i.e.
the connection to the target is established before the connection to the source is broken,
hence this handover is called make-before-break. In UMTS, most of the handovers are of
the type intra-frequency soft handovers. The interval during which the two connections
are used in parallel may be brief or substantial. A soft handover happens between two
47
cells under the same frequency and related to the same RNC, as illustrated in the Fig.
2.14 below:

Fig. 2.14. A soft handover between two cells with same frequency

In soft handover, the chances that the call will be terminated abnormally due to failed
handovers are lower because the connection to the source cell is broken only when a
reliable connection to the target cell has been established. Simultaneous channels in
multiple cells are maintained and the call could only fail if all of the channels are
interfered or fade at the same time. Fading and interference in different channels are
unrelated and therefore the probability of them taking place at the same moment in all
channels is very low. Thus the reliability of the connection becomes higher when the call
is in a soft handover. In a cellular network the majority of the handovers occur in places
of poor coverage where calls would frequently become unreliable when their channel is
interfered or when fading occurs. Soft handovers bring a significant improvement to the
reliability of the calls in these places by making the interference or the fading in a single
channel as less critical. This advantage comes at the cost of more complex hardware in
the phone which must be capable of processing several channels in parallel. Another

48
price to pay for soft handovers is making use of several channels in the network to
support just a single call. This reduces the number of remaining free channels and thus
decreasing the capacity of the network. By adjusting the duration of soft handovers and
the size of the areas in which they occur, the network engineers can balance the benefit of
extra call reliability against the price of reduced capacity.

2.8.6.3 SOFTER HANDOVER

The third type of handover is termed as softer handover where a new signal is either
added to or deleted from the active set of signals. It may also occur when a signal is
replaced by a stronger signal from a different sector under the same base station. This
type of handover is available within UMTS as well as CDMA2000. Although the softer
handoff is most reliable yet it uses more network capacity. The reason is that it is
communicating with more than one sector or base station at any given instance. It is
therefore necessary for the cellular telecommunications network provider to arrange the
network to operate in the most efficient manner, while still providing the most reliable
service.

Fig. 2.15. A softer handover between two cells with same frequency

A softer handover happens between two cells under the same frequency and related to the
same node, as illustrated in the Fig. 2.15. Softer handover is termed as a special case of
soft handover where the radio links that are added and removed belong to the same node
(i.e. the site of co-located base stations from which several sector-cells are served).

49
2.9 CELLULAR NETWORK PLANNING OPTIMIZATION

Many design related problems in engineering are ambiguous and difficult to handle, as
discussed by Srinivas N. and Deb K. (1994). The engineers face the task of finding the
solution to a problem that involves the consideration of multiple contradicting objectives
and constraints. A solution that provides an appropriate balance between all the
objectives and meets the given constraints is found only after an exhaustive trial-and-
error process. However, the optimality of the solution is not known and the quality of the
solution is usually not guaranteed. On the other hand, in the increasingly competitive
wireless industry there is a need to provide good quality solution consistently. An
optimization approach offers the means to achieve such goal. In order to use optimization
to solve a problem, we need to consider the following steps:
1. To identify the variables and describe the problem quantitatively.
2. After the problem is clearly defined, the next step is to construct a mathematical
model.
2.1 The mathematical model of a problem is a system of equations that relates the
essence of the problem to the decision variables.
2.2 Thus, if there are n related quantifiable decisions to be made, then they are
defined as n decision variables.
2.3 The dimensions of a problem are the number of decision variables that the
problem considers while the solution space is the n dimensional space that
contains all the possible solutions to the problem.
3. In wireless systems engineering, there are numerous types of objectives that can be
associated with an optimization problem.
3.1 Some of these objectives are essentials such that they must be satisfied while
the others are only desirables. An example would be the minimization of the
number of base stations required in a wireless system.
3.2 These types of objectives are usually combined and expressed as a
mathematical function of the decision variables called the objective function.
4. This is the last step of the network planning procedure. It can start during the network
trial period and continues after opening the commercial service and during the network

50
expansion. The aim of this process is to evaluate and maximize the quality of service in
the network with the corresponding set of quality criteria. The first part of the
optimization process includes pre-launch optimization and acceptance testing and will be
finalized when the network is handed over to the operation. The pre-launch optimization
is an iterative process where:
(i) the physical and logical parameters of the network are tuned based on drive testing or
field testing in the actual network to improve service performance and network
performance.
(ii) the second part of the optimization process is in the operational phase and ensures
that capacity, coverage and network parameters are maintained and adjusted according to
traffic growth, changing services and changing requirements. This part involves the
evaluation of new technologies and network features as part of the long term optimization
and it includes daily optimization and trouble shooting. Network optimization requires:
(a) vendor specific technology expertise,
(b) an end to end understanding of the network, and
(c) understanding of how networks and services interacts and experience with various
engineering tools, drive test tools and monitoring systems.

Most of the research in the optimization of the radio coverage in cellular system is
restricted to the selection of base station locations. Base stations are considered to start
service at the same time. Some existing base stations are currently in service for a
specified region. The increased traffic demand in the region requires capacity expansion
with additional base stations. We thus need to determine the location and the capacity of
each new base station. The aim of optimization is to maximize the Quality of Service
(QoS) of the GSM network. In order to do this we need to measure the QoS, compare the
measured value with the desired value and then take steps to correct the causes of any
deviations from the desired value. The goal is to reach or exceed the customers required
level of performance. Optimization is used to examine a number of criteria when tuning a
cell that involve frequency planning (interference related issues), topology selection
(neighbors list), cell dynamics (handover timers and margins), hotspot detection, database
parameter and antenna tilts.

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Optimization is traditionally undertaken immediately after the commissioning stage or
after a new frequency plan is introduced in a deployed network. Several teams of field
personnel undertake extensive drive testing around each site making a number of calls,
concentrating on testing the handovers between each cell. Each call is investigated and
any identified or potential problems are then resolved by classical fault-reasoning
methods. This methodology (termed as drive-testing) is used by most network operators
as a tried and tested way of identifying the areas of their network for improvement
through optimization. This method of network performance measurement is very
important for comparing the performance of network under test with competitor’s
network.

2.9.1 NETWORK VERIFICATION

The purpose of the network verification is to evaluate an independent and objective


quality of service (QoS) inside a given service area. This is done with network
measurement system. Some operation, maintenance and configuration (OMC) traffic
measurements are dine in parallel to provide a statistical data and to complete the
network picture. The network verification procedure consists of the following steps:
• Planning of the measurement resources (including the tools), reference network,
schedule and test route(s).
• Setting of the network performance objectives and quality criteria.
• Measurement execution and analysis of the statistical results.
• Reporting to the customer the results of analysis.
• Agreement on possible corrective actions if the set quality criteria are not met.

The field verification takes place after successful completion of site acceptance. It should
be repeated before and after any major network hardware/software changes to verify their
affect on the network quality. The service area or the part of the network to be verified, is
defined as a group of cells giving continuous coverage. It is always connected with a
selection of test routes; the all verification and optimization activities are based in
recurrent measurements over the same routes.

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2.9.2 DECIDING FACTORS

The factors that need to be taken into consideration in the planning phase include:
(i) Area of coverage needed
(ii) Sites required for the area
(iii) Number of sites needed based on capacity and coverage requirements
(iv) Dimension of sites
(v) Type of clutter (urban, suburban, open, water etc)
(vi) Identification of search areas covering all clutter types
(vii) Survey sites with reference to: clutter heights, vegetation levels, obstructions etc
(vii) Building strengths and other civil requirements
(viii) Propagation tests
(ix) Coverage probabilities
(x) Final coverage map
Cell planning that is able to give response to the local traffic changes and/or to make use
of advanced technological features at the planning stage is essential for cost effective
design of future systems. The increased number of base stations and the variable
bandwidth demand of mobile stations will force the operators to optimize the way the
capacity of a base station is utilized. Unlike in previous generations, the ability of a base
station to successfully satisfy the service demand of all its mobile stations would be
highly limited and will mostly depend on its infrastructure restrictions as well as on the
service distribution of its mobile stations.

2.9.3 COPING WITH NP-HARD PROBLEMS ON PRACTICE

The field of complexity theory deals with how fast one can solve a certain type of
problem. More generally, it involves the total count of resources (like time, memory-
space, number of processors etc) taken. It is assumed that the problem is solvable. An
important goal of the theory of algorithms is to produce efficient algorithms that solve
computationally difficult problems. When considering the class of NP-hard combinatorial
optimization problems, this goal is beyond our reach. The best one can hope for is an
algorithm that is guaranteed to be close. Alternatively, one can ask for an algorithm that

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is close most of the time or maybe it is correct but only its average running time is fast.
As these problems need to be solved routinely, we seek practical ways of coping with
NP-completeness. Perhaps the most common approaches are presented as follow:
Easy special cases: Identify properties of the input instances that make the problem
easier, and design an algorithm that makes use of these properties.
Somewhat efficient exponential algorithms: Design an algorithm that always solves the
problem whose running time is not polynomial but it still runs much faster than
exhaustive search. This approach is useful may be for the inputs of moderate size.
Approximation algorithms: These algorithms run fast and are guaranteed to be close to
the correct answer and may sacrifice the quality of the solution so as to obtain more
efficient algorithms. Instead of finding the optimal solution, they settle for a near optimal
solution which makes the problem easier.
Heuristics: Design algorithms that work well on many instances (though not on all
instances). This is perhaps the approach, most commonly used in practice.
The base station location problem is NP-hard. Thus, we can say that it is unlikely to solve
such a problem in polynomial time. If the optimal solution is unattainable, then it is
reasonable to sacrifice optimality and settle for a superior feasible solution that can be
computed efficiently. It is obvious that optimality should only be sacrificed as little as
possible while gaining as much efficiency as possible. Trading-off optimality in favor of
tractability is the paradigm of approximation algorithms. The goodness of an
approximation algorithm may be expressed in relation to an optimum solution measure
over all possible instances of a problem.

2.10 AUTOMATED CELL PLANNING

Allen S.M. et al. (2002) have suggested that instead of manually tuning cell sites one by
one we propose an automatic cell planning procedure that jointly analyzes all the cell
sites in the supplying area and optimizes the overall service quality mathematically by
using different sites (from a set of possible sites to be erected) and/or different
configurations per site (like main antenna direction, antenna down tilt, antenna pattern, or
even different pilot power for a macro/micro cell layout). Afterwards, the detailed
network simulations might be carried out to prove the quality of our optimal solution and

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to evaluate its improvements compared to manually-designed network configurations.
Automated cell planning can be split into four aspects:
(i) Network Modeling
(ii) Network Evaluation
(iii) Network Dimensioning
(iv) Network Optimization
Modeling the network design problem often presents a tradeoff between
abstraction and detail. Abstract models have previously compared and modeled the cell
planning problem mathematically using the mathematical areas such as graph theory, set
theory and integer linear programming. A network planner working for an operator may
take a detailed approach to model the network. As the results have to be accurate, a more
abstracted approach could be useful for the network dimensioning stage or the process of
evaluating a network. Either way, a planning tool must be capable of accurately modeling
the system behavior when provided with network design parameters and traffic demand
scenarios.
Automatic cell planning which optimizes a cellular network configuration and
expedites the engineering process by eliminating manual interventions, decision making,
and judgments, is desirable. Thus, our goal is to select a subset of base station sites to
commission from a predefined set of possible locations while configuring the
transmission power settings to maximize the service coverage, minimize the financial
cost and control the cell overlap automatically. One of the advantages of using automated
optimization is that it provides a means to efficiently utilize human and computing
resources in solving this type of complex problem. Furthermore, with adequate
customization, an automated optimization algorithm allows the user to integrate their
experience into the search. In comparison to a manual process, it effectively allows more
solutions to be examined within the same time period. Consequently, it is likely that a
solution with better quality can be obtained. The focus of this thesis is to investigate the
cell site selection problem in wireless system planning. The areas of application of
automated cell planning include:
(i) To optimize an existing network: The user enters the current network plan and our
solutions suggest how the sites should be reconfigured.

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(ii) To expand an existing network: The user enters the current network plan together
with potential new sites and our solutions suggest which of the new sites should be added
to the network together with the appropriate configurations. Optionally, an advice is
given regarding the existing sites to be reconfigured.
(iii) To erect a network from scratch: The user enters a set of potential sites and our
solutions suggest how many and which of these should be erected and how each of the
chosen sites should be configured to ensure an optimal network design.
The tremendous growth in the demand for mobile communication services with
more and more carriers joining the market, has triggered the need of tools for system
design optimization and radio network planning. Modern mobile network design involves
several inter-dependent factors such as cell coverage, traffic, topography, propagation
characteristics and system capacity. The selection of the number of cells, cell locations,
power at base station and other design parameters have to be determined in the context of
one another. The cell locations can be determined based on the number of cells, the
coverage performance, traffic distribution and propagation environments. Design
parameters at base station and mobile units cannot be specified until the cell allocation is
completed. Finally, cell planning is not a time task as the design has to be continually
updated based on the mobile network scenario and hence such provision should be
included in the design tool.

2.11 CONCLUSION

The fundamental concepts of cellular network infrastructure, cell network planning


process, frequency planning, capacity planning, coverage planning, handoff and cellular
optimization are presented in this chapter. The solution to frequency allocation problem
and clustering concepts are also discussed. Handover is the procedure that transfers an
ongoing call from one cell to another as the user’s moves through the coverage area of
cellular system and there is variety of different ways to implement handoffs. The capacity
of a cellular system depends upon several variables. Finally, co-channel interference
method, cell sectoring, capacity expansion method, cell splitting and information required
on all wireless telephone transmitting site plans are also discussed.

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