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AFP Reference Guide 2.5.0 AT250_ARG_E2

AFP

Reference

Guide

2.5.0

AT250_ARG_E2

AFP Reference Guide

Contact Information

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Atoll 2.5.0 AFP Reference Guide Release AT250_ARG_E2

© Copyright 1997 - 2006 by Forsk

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About AFP Reference Guide

This document is aimed at frequency planning engineers using Atoll AFP module to perform automatic frequency planning of their networks. This document introduces the AFP with a high level description of the frequency planning process in Atoll. Then descending lower to the practical level, this document describes in detail every aspect of frequency planning in Atoll. Main topics covered in this document include AFP pre-requisites, AFP usage, AFP minimization target and some possible problems that may come up during training.

This document begins with a basic user guide containing a short operational introduction to the AFP process in Atoll. Then it goes on to summarize most aspects of the practical planning process and provides detailed discussions on certain topics. It also explains the means to evaluate a frequency plan. Furthermore, a chapter is dedicated to advanced topics and trou- bleshooting in the end.

The appendices deeply detail the technical aspects of the cost function, the BSIC allocation algorithm, the IM calculation, and the dimensioning process.

AFP Reference Guide

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1

Overview

3

 

1.1

Introduction to AFP

3

1.1.1

Frequency Assignment as a Cost Minimization Problem

3

1.1.2

Abbreviations

3

1.2

Architecture

5

2

Basic AFP Tutorial

9

 

2.1

AFP Process in Atoll

9

2.2

Loading and Validating the Network

10

2.3

Definition of the AFP Scope

12

2.4

Preparing to Launch the AFP

13

2.5

Launching the AFP and Monitoring its Progress

14

2.6

AFP Outputs

16

2.6.1

Partial Commit Functionality

18

2.6.2

Automatic Constraint Violation Resolution

19

2.7

Visualising and Manipulating Results

20

2.8

Manual Frequency Allocation

20

2.8.1

Manual Frequency Allocation for NH Case

20

2.8.2

Manual Frequency Allocation for SFH Case

21

3

Frequency Planning Prerequisites

25

 

3.1

Atoll Data Model

25

3.1.1

Reliability and Propagation

25

3.1.2

HCS Layers

25

3.1.3

Subcells

26

3.1.3.1

Key Roles of Subcells

26

3.1.3.2

Concentric Cells and Dual-band Cells

26

3.1.3.3

Minimum C/I

26

3.1.3.3.1

Quality Targets

26

3.1.3.4

Traffic Loads

26

3.1.3.5

Local Domain Restrictions

27

3.1.4

TRXs

27

3.1.5

Freezing Flags

27

3.1.6

AFP Weights

27

3.1.7

Spectrum Administration

27

3.1.8

Redundancy and Subcell Audit

27

3.1.9

Neighbour Importance

28

3.1.10

SeparationConstraints Table

28

3.1.11

SeparationRules Table and Rule Priority

28

3.1.12

Adjacency Suppression

28

3.2

AFP Performance Indicators

28

3.2.1

AFP TRX Rank

28

3.2.1.1

TRX Rank Usage

29

3.2.2

Total Cost and Separation Violation Cost Component

29

4

Frequency Plan Optimisation

33

4.1

Step 1 (Optional): Traffic Model Usage

33

4.1.1

Creating a Traffic Map Based only on Clutter Weighting

33

4.1.2

Performing a Traffic Capture

33

4.1.3

Creating IMs Based on Traffic

34

AFP Reference Guide

4.2

Step 2 (Optional): Neighbour Relations and Relative Weighting

34

4.2.1

Automatic Neighbour Allocation

34

4.2.2

Importing Neighbour Importance

35

4.2.3

Extending Existing Neighbour Relations

35

4.2.4

Importing Partial Sources of Neighbour Importance

36

4.3

4.3.1

4.4

4.4.1

Step 3 (Optional): Using Dimensioning

Optimal Dimensioning of an Existing Network

Step 4: Optimal Usage of the Atoll AFP

Introduction to the AFP Cost Function

37

37

38

38

4.4.1.1

Combination of Separation Violation and Interference Probabilities

38

4.4.1.2

Counting TRXs (Nodes) Instead of Relations (Edges)

38

4.4.1.3

Each TRX Cost

39

4.4.1.4

Separation Violation Cost

39

4.4.1.5

Interference Cost

40

4.4.1.6

Probabilistic Cost combination

40

4.4.1.7

Missing TRX Cost

40

4.4.1.8

Corrupted TRX Cost

41

4.4.1.9

Out-of-domain Frequency Assignment Cost

41

4.4.1.10

Quality Target

41

4.4.1.11

Modifiable and Non-modifiable Costs

41

4.4.2

Most Important Cost Function Parameters and Tuning

42

4.4.2.1

Interference Weight vs. Separation Weight

42

4.4.2.2

Cost of Changing a TRX

42

4.4.2.3

Quality Target and C/I Weighting

43

4.4.2.3.1

Quality Target

43

4.4.2.3.2

C/I Weighting

43

4.4.2.4

Separation Weights Settings

43

5

Means to Evaluate Frequency Plans

47

 

5.1

Estimating Frequency Plan Quality

47

5.1.1

Using Interference Studies

47

5.1.1.1

Various Interference Studies

47

5.1.1.1.1

TRX Based Interference Study

47

5.1.1.1.2

Worst Case Interference Study

48

5.1.1.2

Visualising TRX Ranks with a TRX Based Interference Study

48

5.1.1.3

Visualising C/I Distributions with a TRX Based Interference Study

48

5.1.2

Using Audit

49

5.1.2.1

Global Separation Fitness Expression

49

5.1.2.1.1

Forsk Independent Separation Fitness Expression (FISFE)

49

5.1.2.1.2

Main Separation Violation Item Summary

50

5.2

Using Point Analysis

51

5.2.1

Example 1: Combination of Interference Effects

51

5.2.2

Example 2: Counting Strong Interference Only Once

51

5.3

Uniform Frequency Usage Distribution

52

5.3.1

When Uniform Distribution and Quality do not Coincide

52

5.3.1.1

Domain Range Effect and Adjacent Constraints

52

6

Advanced Topics and Troubleshooting

55

 

6.1

Various AFP Related Features

55

6.1.1

SFH (HSN, MAL, MAIO)

55

6.1.2

Definition of Atom

55

6.1.3

Synchronous Networks

55

6.1.4

Optimising Hopping Gains

55

6.1.5

Fractional Load

55

6.1.6

Domain Use Ratio

56

6.1.7

User Defined MAL Length

56

6.1.8

HSN Allocation

56

6.1.9

MAIO Allocation

56

6.1.9.1

Staggered MAIO Allocation

56

Table of Contents

6.1.10

BSIC Allocation

57

6.1.11

Robustness of Atoll AFP

57

6.1.11.1

6.2

6.2.1

Value Ranges and Limitations at Validation

Managing Consistency in Atoll and the AFP

Service Zone of a Subcell

57

58

58

6.2.1.1

Specifying Correct Interference Study Coverage Criteria

58

6.2.1.2

Selecting “All servers” or “Best Server” Service Zone

59

6.3

Event Viewer

59

6.4

Interference Study Quality Criteria

59

6.5

Calculation Zone Border Effect

59

6.6

Frequency Planning Techniques

60

6.6.1

Basics

60

6.6.2

Post-processing of Hot Spots

60

6.6.3

Learning the Network and Solving for Hot Spots

60

7

7.1

Appendices

Appendix 1: Description of the AFP Cost Function

63

63

7.1.1

Notations

63

7.1.2

Cost Function

64

7.1.3

Cost Components

65

7.1.3.1

Separation Violation Cost Component

65

7.1.3.2

Interference Cost Component

67

7.1.4

7.2

I_DIV, F_DIV and Other Advanced Cost Parameters

Appendix 2: Interferences

68

70

7.2.1

Using Interferences

70

7.2.2

Cumulative Density Function of C/I Levels

70

7.2.3

Precise Definition

70

7.2.4

Precise Interference Distributions Strategy

71

7.2.4.1

Direct Availability of Precise Interference Distributions to the AFP

71

7.2.4.2

Efficient Calculation and Storage of Interference Distributions

71

7.2.4.3

Robustness of the IM

71

7.2.5

7.3

Traffic Load and Interference Information Discrimination

Appendix 3: BSIC Allocation

71

73

7.3.1

Definitions

73

7.3.2

Hard Criterion

73

7.3.3

Soft Criterion

73

7.3.4

Behaviour

73

7.4

Appendix 4: Traffic Capture and Dimensioning

74

7.4.1

Introduction

74

7.4.2

Traffic Map Generation

74

7.4.3

Traffic Capture Process

74

7.4.3.1

Inputs

74

7.4.3.2

The Engine

75

7.4.3.2.1

Traffic Distribution

75

7.4.3.2.2

Average Timeslot Capacity

76

7.4.3.2.3

Integration

77

7.4.3.3

7.4.4

Outputs

Network Dimensioning Process

77

78

7.4.4.1

Inputs

78

7.4.4.2

Dimensioning

78

7.4.4.3

Outputs

78

AFP Reference Guide

List of Figures

List of Figures

Figure 2.1:

AFP Process in Atoll

9

Figure 2.2:

Interaction of the AFP with Other Elements

9

Figure 2.3:

AFP Outputs

10

Figure 2.4:

AFP Launch Wizard - AFP Session Tab

10

Figure 2.5:

AFP Launch Wizard - Separations Tab

10

Figure 2.6:

AFP Launch Wizard - Global Parameters Tab

11

Figure 2.7:

Event Viewer - Sample Messages

11

Figure 2.8:

Message 1

12

Figure 2.9:

Message 2

12

Figure 2.10:

AFP Launch Dialog - Example 1

13

Figure 2.11:

AFP Launch Dialog - Example 2

13

Figure 2.12:

AFP Progress Window

14

Figure 2.13:

Event Viewer Message - Solution Kept

15

Figure 2.14:

AFP Progress Window

15

Figure 2.15:

Cost Distributions on Frequencies

16

Figure 2.16:

Frequency Usage Distributions

16

Figure 2.17:

AFP Results Window

17

Figure 2.18:

Separation Constraint Violation Details Message

17

Figure 2.19:

AFP Results Window - Partial Commit Feature

18

Figure 2.20:

AFP Results Window - Partial Commit Feature

19

Figure 2.21:

Constraint Violation Resolution Tool

19

Figure 2.22:

Scanning for Frequencies

20

Figure 2.23:

Scanning for Frequencies

21

Figure 3.1:

Model Standard Deviation - Default Value

25

Figure 4.1:

Automatic Neighbour Allocation

35

Figure 4.2:

Automatic Neighbour Allocation Results

36

Figure 4.3:

Neighbours Table

36

Figure 4.4:

Dimensioning Process

37

Figure 4.5:

Atoll AFP Module Properties - Separation Weights Tab

39

Figure 4.6:

Atoll AFP Module Properties - Cost Tab

42

Figure 4.7:

C/I Weighting

43

Figure 4.8:

Atoll AFP Module Properties - Separation Weights Tab

44

Figure 5.1:

Interference Study Report

47

Figure 5.2:

TRX Based Interference Studies

48

Figure 5.3:

TRX Based Interference Study - C/I Distributions

49

Figure 5.4:

Event Viewer Messages

50

Figure 5.5:

Event Viewer Message 1

50

Figure 5.6:

Event Viewer Message 2

50

Figure 5.7:

Combinatin of Interference Effects

51

Figure 5.8:

Counting Strong Interference Only Once

51

Figure 6.1:

Hopping Sequence Numbers

56

Figure 7.1:

Atoll AFP Module Properties - Advanced Tab

69

Figure 7.2:

The cumulative density of C/I levels between [TX1, BCCH] and [TX2, BCCH]

70

Figure 7.3:

Traffic Maps Overlay

75

Figure 7.4:

Traffiic Overflow

76

Figure 7.5:

Intra-Layer Distribution

76

Figure 7.6:

Traffic Distribution in Atoll

77

Figure 7.7:

Network Dimensioning Process

78

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 1

Overview

Chapter 1 Overview

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 1: Overview

1

Overview

This document describes every aspect of frequency planning in Atoll, from high level description of the frequency planning process to the practical level detail. Main topics covered in this document include AFP prerequisites, AFP usage, AFP min- imisation target and some possible problems that may come up during training.

This document begins with a basic user guide, a short operational introduction to the AFP process in Atoll, and goes on to summarize most aspects of the practical planning process with detailed discussions on certain topics. It also explains the means to evaluate a frequency plan available in Atoll. A chapter is dedicated to advanced topics and troubleshooting in the end.

Four appendices contain in-depth information on technical aspects of the cost function, the BSIC allocation algorithm, the IM calculation and the dimensioning process respectively. All in all, this document is almost self sufficient with respect to the use of Atoll AFP.

1.1 Introduction to AFP

The main role of an Automatic Frequency Planner (AFP) is to assign frequencies (channels) to the network such that the overall network quality is optimised. With the evolution of GSM over the years to integrate many improvements, additional requirements have emerged in the process of radio network planning. The implementation of baseband and synthesised frequency hopping, discontinous transmission and network synchronisation, for example, has led to higher sophistication in the process of frequency planning. These enhancements require that an AFP also be intelligent and advanced enough to help the frequency planner through out his tedious task.

The Atoll AFP considers a large number of constraints and directives; for example, ARFCN separation requirements be- tween transmitters, interference relations, HSN assignment methods, frequency domain constraints, a certain fractional load to maintain etc. Hence, the AFP depends on a variety of input data, such as the interference matrix, neighbourhood relations, traffic information and so on.

This document not only explains how to use the Atoll AFP, by describing the AFP GUI, but also includes detailed descrip- tions of the various constraints, directives, and data sources. The primary target of this document is to explain the technical background of the AFP.

1.1.1 Frequency Assignment as a Cost Minimization Problem

From the technical point of view, the Frequency Assignment Problem (FAP) is considered as a minimization problem. This means that the AFP will generate a set of Frequency Plans (FPs), and propose the one that has the lowest cost as the “Best Solution”. Therefore, the AFP cost is the equivalent of AFP quality estimation: the lower the cost, the better should be the quality from the AFP point of view.

The approach of cost minimization is not only the most common approach to the FAP but probably also the easiest to un- derstand and control. It provides the user with means of guiding the AFP in its task. For example, by setting the cost of interference violation low, the AFP will concentrate its efforts on resolving the separation violations.

There are AFP tools in which certain types of objectives are presented as “hard constraints”. If a hard constraint is not sat- isfied, the AFP does not offer any solution or offers a partial solution (with fewer frequencies and satisfying hard con- straints). The philosophy of hard constraints vs. soft constraints has nothing to do with the quality of an AFP engine, it is merely a behaviour convention. In Atoll, we prefer always offering a solution to offering partial assignments or violating domain limitations. This ensures that you will always get a result when you launch the Atoll AFP. This result will very well depict the difficulty of the FAP. The cost of this solution will clearly indicate if unacceptable violations have occurred or if this plan has improved the current frequency plan.

The cost function definition permits you to place as much emphasis as required on certain elements of the cost function. This manipulation will make the AFP behave as if it were guided by hard constraints, from the optimisation viewpoint, while retaining its property of being a quality monitor and a hardness-of-assignment monitor both.

1.1.2 Abbreviations

Some abbreviations and terminologies used in the document are listed below:

GSM

Global System for Mobile Communications (Groupe Speciale Mobile)

GPRS

General Packet Radio Service

EDGE

Enhanced Data rates for GSM (or Global) Evolution

EGPRS

EDGE based GPRS

TSL

Timeslot

TX

Transmitter or sector

AFP Reference Guide

TRX

Transceiver

BCCH

Broadcast Control CHannel. A term usually employed in Atoll to refer to the TRX carrying this channel.

TCH

Traffic CHannel. A term usually employed in Atoll to refer to a TRX carrying traffic with usually the same coverage area as the BCCH.

TCH_INNER

Inner Traffic CHannel. A term usually employed in Atoll to refer to a TRX carrying traffic but usually having a coverage area less than that of a TCH.

HR/FR

Half Rate/Full Rate

CS

Circuit-switched

PS

Packet-switched

HCS

Hierarchical Cell Structure

Subcell

An entity defined by the pair [TX, TRX Type]

HO

Handover

Kbps

Kilobits per second

GoS

Grade of Service

QoS

Quality of Service

KPI

Key Performance Indicators

TL

Traffic Load

P

Probability

C

Carrier power (Signal strength)

C/I

Carrier to Interference ratio

AFP

Automatic Frequency Planner/Planning

DTX

Discontinuous transmission

GUI

Graphical User Interface

FP

Frequency Plan

BBH

Baseband Hopping

SFH

Synthesized Hopping

NH

No Hopping

MAL

Mobile Allocation List. In the context of SFH, MAL is the group of frequencies used by the frequency hopping TRX.

HCS

Hierarchical Cell Structure

AMR

Adaptive Multi-Rate

HR / FR

Half-rate / Full-rate

CC

Concentric Cells

Transmitter

Atoll synonym for cell or sector in conventional GSM jargon

FER

Frame Erasure Rate

FH

Frequency Hopping

DL_PC

Down Link Power Control

RRM

Radio Resource Management

Synchronised

transmitters

Transmitters that are synchronised and can, therefore, share the same HSN.

Data Model

A project can be saved in a filename.ATL file or as a database. In both cases, most of the project’s information is saved in database tables. We refer to these tables as the data model.

IM, IM co , IM adj

Interference Matrix, Co-channel / Adjacent-channel Interference Matrix

HO

Handover or Handoff

FN

Frame Number

CDF

Cumulative Density Function

TSC

Training Sequence Code

FAP

Frequency Assignment Problem

#

Number of

Chapter 1: Overview

1.2

Architecture

The Atoll Automatic Frequency Planning (AFP) module is an optional module that enables you to generate frequency plans for GSM and TDMA networks automatically. The Atoll AFP module can allocate the following parameters:

• Frequencies

• Frequency hopping groups (MAL)

• HSN, MAIO

• BSIC (TSC planning)

• TRX rank (can be used to prioritise the use of good frequencies)

• Performance Indicators at Site/Cell/TRX levels

Atoll works with an open AFP interface. Any AFP built using this interface can be able to allocate the following additional parameters. Future versions of the Atoll AFP module are planned to assign the following parameters as well:

• Group ID (better administration of the frequency resources)

• TN offsets

• FN offsets

Atoll AFP implements simulated annealing, taboo search, graph heuristics and machine learning. It manages its time re- sources to match the users time directive. If allowed enough time, the AFP will employ a major part of this time in “learning” the network. During the learning phase, the AFP tunes up its internal parameters. Towards the end of the user-defined time, the AFP switches to a randomised combinatorial search phase.

Remark:

The role of this learning phase is extremely important in order to get good results. You should often let the AFP run over a night or a weekend by specifying corresponding target time. If you never run the AFP specifying a long time period, it will never be able to calibrate itself and will always perform from 10 to 70 solutions and stop.

Network learning is performed by executing numerous fast and deterministic instances of the AFP. The one that obtains the best performance is memorized in the document and is, therefore, the most suitable for the specific network. The next time an AFP is executed it will start where the learning process ended and it will use the parameter profile of the best so- lution stored in the document.

Note:

The following scenario will demonstrate the usefulness of AFP learning capabilities:

-

Create a GSM GPRS EGPRS project and import its network elements and maps.

-

Create a copy of “Atoll AFP module” and name it “Atoll AFP module 2”.

-

If the network has X transmitters, run “Atoll AFP module 2” for X / 10 minutes to obtain a cost Y. (Short exe- cution)

-

Now run “Atoll AFP module 2” for a longer time (for example, X / 5 hours).

-

Another cost, Z, is obtained, which is better than Y (i.e. Z < Y). The network dependent information is mem- orized in the “Atoll AFP module 2” instance whereas the “Atoll AFP module” instance remains unchanged.

-

Now if you perform a short execution with “Atoll AFP module 2”, you can get the improved result (Z) right away. While a short execution of the “Atoll AFP module” instance will give the initial cost (Y).

-

If X / 5 hours is too long, you can perform the “learning” on a small (representative) part of the network.

The Atoll AFP is built based on a specified COM interface designed as a part of Atoll’s open platform strategy. The interface is designed in such a way that puts aside elements that are not inherent to the AFP process. At the same time, through the modelling capabilities of the planning tool, the AFP can support complete list of features expected from an AFP.

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 2

Basic AFP Tutorial

Chapter 2 Basic AFP Tutorial

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial

2

Basic AFP Tutorial

Atoll AFP framework complies with its global open architecture Strategy. Any AFP module, Atoll AFP or 3 rd party AFP, can be interfaced and made available to RF planning engineers through Atoll. Furthermore, different AFP modules are activat- ed, accept their main inputs and generate their main outputs in the same manner. This section teaches the basics of acti- vating an AFP in Atoll.

2.1 AFP Process in Atoll

The AFP process is a cycle in which the AFP is only one of its many steps:

is a cycle in which the AFP is only one of its many steps: Figure 2.1:

Figure 2.1: AFP Process in Atoll

The figure below gives a better view of interaction of the AFP with other elements in Atoll:

view of interaction of the AFP with other elements in Atoll: Figure 2.2: Interaction of the

Figure 2.2: Interaction of the AFP with Other Elements

The following figure depicts the outputs of the AFP:

AFP Reference Guide

AFP Reference Guide Figure 2.3: AFP Outputs 2.2 Loading and Validating the Network To launch the

Figure 2.3: AFP Outputs

2.2 Loading and Validating the Network

To launch the AFP, choose the Automatic Allocation… command from the Frequency Plan menu of the Transmitters folder context menu. This initiates a series of dialogs called the AFP wizard.

This initiates a series of dialogs called the AFP wizard . Figure 2.4: AFP Launch Wizard

Figure 2.4: AFP Launch Wizard - AFP Session Tab

AFP wizard . Figure 2.4: AFP Launch Wizard - AFP Session Tab Figure 2.5: AFP Launch

Figure 2.5: AFP Launch Wizard - Separations Tab

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial

Here you can,

• Specify the AFP module you would like to use and set its parameters,

• Choose the network parameters and AFP performance indicators you want the AFP to allocate,

• Specify the network’s default separation requirements,

• Consult the network’s “Exceptional Pairs” and define other separation constraints for them, and

• Indicate whether interferences are to be included in calculations or not.

For explanations of AFP performance indicators, refer to section 3.2.

The last of the wizard dialogs contains some global parameters that often vary from one AFP instance to another:

that oft en vary from one AFP instance to another: Figure 2.6: AFP Launch Wizard -

Figure 2.6: AFP Launch Wizard - Global Parameters Tab

The most important option here is the one proposing the two sources of the traffic load information. Traffic load can be read directly from the subcells table, which could have been filled manually, by the dimensioning process or by a KPI calculation. You can also specify that the traffic load should be read from the default traffic capture (explained later).

Notes:

1. In case the traffic load is taken from the Subcells table, committed after a KPI calculation, you must be aware of a certain difference: in the KPI calculation, Atoll divides the captured traffic by the timeslot capac- ity of the existing number of TRXs, while the AFP requires it to be divided by the timeslot capacity of the required number of TRXs.

2. The traffic load is artificially increased to 0.1, if it is too low (less than 0.1), in order to maintain the AFP robust against partial data conditions. Hence, the AFP cannot completely ignore the existence of a fre- quency in a TRX.

Clicking Validate will start the data verification and storage optimisation aimed at providing fast access to data needed by the AFP. This stage may generate many warnings for real-life networks (for example, values out of range). These are dis- played in the Event viewer. It is recommended to revise the network data according to these messages and continue once all the data are clean and coherent. If a certain message is not clear or self evident, you can always contact Forsk’s tech- nical support. The figure below depicts the Event viewer with some sample messages:

below depicts the Event viewer with some sample messages: Figure 2.7: Event Viewer - Sample Messages

Figure 2.7: Event Viewer - Sample Messages

AFP Reference Guide

Let us look at two of these messages:

AFP Reference Guide Let us look at two of these messages: Figure 2.8: Message 1 This

Figure 2.8: Message 1

This means that the value entered in the AFP weight column of the Transmitters table for the transmitter 19941 is invalid. In the database, this field’s name is “COST_FACTOR”. A value of –2 for the cost factor implies that the AFP should gener- ate the worst assignment possible for the transmitter. It would be interesting to investigate the origin of this erroneous value as it may avoid possible errors in the future. Atoll automatically resets this value to 1 in order to avoid such calculation errors.

this value to 1 in order to avoid such calculation errors. Figure 2.9: Message 2 This

Figure 2.9: Message 2

This message informs that 3678 subcells were loaded successfully. The next section explains the significance of the term ‘effectively selected’ and why 3678 subcells were loaded and only 6 selected for the AFP process.

2.3 Definition of the AFP Scope

In the example above, the 6 subcells effectively selected for the AFP process had many potential interferers, neighbours, neighbours of neighbours, and/or transmitters with exceptional separation constraints with them. No AFP can perform a good allocation for these 6 subcells without “dragging in” a large part of the network. The AFP considers the part that is “dragged in” to be “frozen”. On the other hand, there are many other ways to freeze network elements in Atoll. Some pre- cise definitions are provided in order to avoid misconceptions.

Let us define 4 groups of transmitters (ALL, NET, SEL, RING):

• ALL = All the transmitters in the project.

• NET = Active transmitters that pass the filters on the main Transmitters folder and on the main Sites folder.

• SEL = Transmitters belonging to the (sub)folder for which the AFP was launched and that are in the intersection of the calculation zone and focus zone.

• RING = Transmitters belonging to NET, not belonging to SEL and having some relationship with the transmitters in SEL:

- If interferences are to be taken into account (see the dialog above), all transmitters whose calculation radii in- tersect the calculation radius of any transmitter in SEL will be included in RING. For large calculation radii (20 km for example), a single site can have a very large RING loaded.

- Neighbours are always included in RING.

- If one transmitter of an Exceptional Pair is included in SEL and the other is not, then the other will be included in RING as well.

- If BSIC assignment is required, then all the second order neighbours (neighbours of a neighbour) will be in- cluded in RING as well.

Both the RING and the SEL parts of the network are loaded. It is important to know which subcells are loaded as the cost is calculated for all loaded subcells. The RING part is frozen for all assignments (BSIC, HSN, MAL, MAIO and channels). The SEL part may be assigned some parameters but only the ones specified in the dialog above. For example, if the user did not select BSIC, it will not be assigned.

In addition to the generic freezing options above, there are some finer freezing options available in the data structure:

1. Individual transmitters can be frozen for channel (and MAL), HSN and/or BSIC assignment.

2. Individual TRX’s can be frozen for channel (and MAL) assignment.

In an Atoll project, it is strongly recommended to avoid TRX’s without channels. For this reason, never create transmitters automatically if there are no channels to assign to them. Therefore, if the user does not ask for MAL/MAIO assignment, all SFH subcells are considered frozen and no TRX will be created for them. The same occurs when only a MAL/MAIO as- signment is requested. In this case, all NH and BBH subcells will be considered frozen and no TRXs will be created.

Note:

See Developer Reference Guide for details on the TO_ASSIGN and FROZEN assignment states available in the AFP API.

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial

2.4 Preparing to Launch the AFP

Once the network is loaded and all warnings resolved, the AFP launch dialog will appear. This dialog contains a short sum- mary of the state of the loaded network, SEL + RING. In addition, this dialog contains an optional section from which IMs can be manipulated. In Atoll, IMs are normally manipulated outside the AFP and are compressed and saved in the docu- ment. It is no longer necessary to load IMs or look for them each time AFP is launched. For this reason, a small report indicates the current state of the IMs.

Example 1: When partial IM info exists, we can see that 9 transmitters out of
Example 1: When partial IM info exists, we can see that 9 transmitters out of 12 do not have any
interferers.
Figure 2.10: AFP Launch Dialog - Example 1
Example 2: When complete IM info exists, observe that the IM topology is more or
Example 2: When complete IM info exists, observe that the IM topology is more or less normal.
Figure 2.11: AFP Launch Dialog - Example 2

This dialog also lets you define a generator initilialisation number. This number serves as a directive of randomness for the AFP process being launched. If the generator initialisation is set to 0, the AFP will be fully random. An integer other than 0 will define a given deterministic sequence for the AFP process. Each generator initialisation number (other than 0) corresponds to a deterministic sequence. Therefore, each AFP instance launched with the same generator initialisation number will yeild the same results.

However, you must keep in mind that all the AFP computations are deterministic in the start, independent of the generator initialisation. The AFP must be allowed to compute during the target time to observe the effects of randomness.

AFP Reference Guide

Notes:

1. Since the method chosen by the AFP depends on the target time provided, you might not get the same results using the same generator initialisation number if the defined target times are different. Therefore, to actually get the exact same results from the AFP process, you must define a certain target time and a cer- tain generator initialisation.

2. The AFP may be perfectly deterministic during a portion of the target computation time (5 - 15%). During this period, the randomness seed will have no effect on the solutions. If you want to see the effect of ran- domness, let the AFP calculate until the end of the target time, or set a shorter target time.

2.5 Launching the AFP and Monitoring its Progress

Provide a time quota and a generator initialisation number in the above dialog and launch the AFP by clicking Run. It is important to set a long time quota from time to time to allow the AFP to calibrate itself. If not stopped, the AFP will usually continue for a while before stopping by itself.

Important: If only a short time is specified, the full optimisation potential of the AFP will not be utilised.

The window below opens when the AFP is started, and displays information about the AFP process:

is started, and displays information about the AFP process: Figure 2.12: AFP Progress Window The Progress

Figure 2.12: AFP Progress Window

The Progress section of this window in the top left displays the target time allocated to the AFP, the time elapsed and the number of AFP solutions that have been evaluated so far.

The calculation status window in the top right gives some general information about the current solution in real time. This display depends on the selected AFP module. This section lists the status of the current solution, the initial cost, the cost of the current best solution, the cost of the previous solution and whether the previous solution was kept or rejected.

The Event viewer has been made accessible through the AFP progress dialog in order to help the user keep track of all the important warnings and messages generated before and during the AFP process. This also enables you to export these messages as an AFP log file.

If a solution is kept, a corresponding message appears in the Event viewer. Double-clicking the message in the Event view- er will open a dialog with the full details of this message, which will look something like the following figure.

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial Figure 2.13: Event Viewer Message - Solution Kept The Best Frequency

Figure 2.13: Event Viewer Message - Solution Kept

The Best Frequency Plan Costs section displays the current values of modifiable and total costs, and their respective sep- aration components. This section also displays the total weighted Erlangs of the network concerned in the AFP process, i.e. the total cost of a 100% interfered frequency plan). It gives a general idea of how good the cost of a certain frequency plan is. The cost of any solution remains between 0 and the Network Weighted Erlangs. The cost is as better as it is closer to 0.

Apart from this information, this section also contains a table listing the initial frequency plan and all the AFP solutions kept so far sorted in ascending order of cost. This table can display:

• Modifiable costs

• Total costs

• Frozen costs

• Summed components

• Main components (separation violation cost component, interference component and modified TRX component)

• Additional taxes (corrupted, missing or out of domain TRXs)

For detailed description of modifiable and non-modifiable parts of the total cost, please refer to section 4.4.1.11.

After the AFP is allowed to compute solutions and try to optimise the network for a while, the AFP progress dialog would look somewhat like this:

the AFP progress dialog would look somewhat like this: Figure 2.14: AFP Progress Window Using the

Figure 2.14: AFP Progress Window

Using the buttons available in the Plan comparison section in the bottom right, it is possible to visually compare the initial frequency plan and the current best solution (with the Best Plan column in the AFP cost details table checked). Clicking these buttons opens dialogs containing graphs corresponding to ’Cost Distribution on Frequencies’ and ’Usage Distribution on Frequencies’.

The cost of a frequency f is given as:

AFP Reference Guide

Cost(f)

=

FL(i) × Cost(i)

i TRXs using f

Where, FL(i) is the fractional load of frequency f in the MAL of i, and cost(i) is the AFP cost of TRX i in Erlangs.

MAL of i, and cost(i) is the AFP cost of TRX i in Erlangs. Figure 2.15:
MAL of i, and cost(i) is the AFP cost of TRX i in Erlangs. Figure 2.15:

Figure 2.15: Cost Distributions on Frequencies

i in Erlangs. Figure 2.15: Cost Distributions on Frequencies Figure 2.16: Frequency Usage Distributions You can
i in Erlangs. Figure 2.15: Cost Distributions on Frequencies Figure 2.16: Frequency Usage Distributions You can

Figure 2.16: Frequency Usage Distributions

You can pause or stop the AFP process any time to check the current best solution, and resume optimising the network after you have checked it. Pausing the AFP process opens the AFP results window with the current best solution results listed.

2.6 AFP Outputs

When calculations stop (completed or paused to view the current situation), Atoll displays the frequency plan proposed by the AFP. All results/violations are listed in a dialog window.

This window contains a table listing all the assigned resources.These resources and related items (transmitters, subcells) are coloured differently to indicate different reasons, such as:

• Arctic blue: frozen resource

• Red: resource modified compared to the previous allocation but with separation violation

• Green: resource modified compared to the previous allocation respecting the separation constraints

• Black: resource not modified

• Blue: resource assigned with no separation violation

• Purple: resource assigned but with separation violation

• Grey: items and resources involved in computation but not available for allocation

Positioning the cursor over a resource in the table displays the reason for its colour in a tool tip.

The results window displays all the results of the AFP session. It is possible to only display some of the results by checking/ un-checking the relevant choices in the Display options menu. You can choose to display the results related to:

• Cells (BSICs)

• Subcells (HSNs)

• TRXs (Channels/MAL, MAIO) and related separation violations

Selected AFP performance indicators (AFP TRX ranks, and total and separation costs at TRX, subcell, transmitter and site levels) will also be available in the results window. These AFP performance indicators are also available to export. You can choose whether to display the AFP indicators in the results as separate columns. The Show AFP Indicators command in the Display options menu controls the display of AFP TRX ranks, and total costs and separation cost components at TRX, subcell, transmitter, and site levels.

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial Figure 2.17: AFP Results Window As the network had been loaded

Figure 2.17: AFP Results Window

As the network had been loaded according to both the items to assign and the ones they relate to, it is possible to display the frequency plan of either:

• Items belonging to the selected transmitters (see the definition of SEL), or

• Items belonging to the loaded transmitters (see the definition of SEL + RING). In the preceding example, there were no transmitters in the RING set, so the option is not available.

It is also possible to display detailed information about separation constraint violations, i.e. the co-channel and adjacent channel collision probabilities for relevant TRXs. You can choose to display these separation constraint violations through the Display options menu.

The Separation violations column lists each each type of separation constraint violation realted to a given TRX, i.e. excep- tional pair, co-transmitter, co-site, or neighbour. Another column titled ’With the TRX’ contains a button for each type of separation constraint violation. This caption of this button shows the TRX with which the separation constraint violation occurs. Clicking this button takes you to the corresponding TRX row in the table. Right-clicking a row with a separation constraint violation opens a Separation Constraint Violations context menu, which opens a dialog mentioning the reason of violation when clicked. For example:

the reason of violation when clicked. For example: Figure 2.18: Separation Constraint Violation Details Message

Figure 2.18: Separation Constraint Violation Details Message

Use the Commit button to assign the allocated resources and AFP performance indicators. The resume button permits re- suming the AFP optimisation from where it stopped the last time.

Note:

At the bottom of the AFP results window, messages related to the last solution are displayed. These may list problems as well.

AFP Reference Guide

The AFP result dialog is a non-blocking dialog. It enables the user to access other Atoll windows while the AFP is still pend- ing. Thus, it is possible to view other data or warning/error messages in the Event viewer (for example, the history of AFP solutions). From this stage, it is possible to commit, to resume or to quit the AFP. It is good practice to keep a report through the export option before resuming the AFP. The user can also partially commit some of the results as explined next.

2.6.1 Partial Commit Functionality

It is often required to commit only a part of the automatically generated frequency plan rather than committing it entirely. The purpose is to avoid committing TRXs that violate separation constraints (sometimes referred to as “not closing the frequency plan”). Future Atoll versions will incorporate advanced automatic filters for partial commit.

The dialog examples below depict a case where removing a TRX eliminates a separation constraint violation on neigh- bours. Once a TRX is manually removed from the resulting plan, separation violations are recalculated (may take a few seconds). If the TCH TRX of transmitter Site36_3, causing neighbour separation constraint violations, is removed from the sample frequency plan below, the resulting frequency plan has no neighbour separation constraint violations on the TCH TRX of transmitter Site36_1.

It is possible to specify the action to be taken with each TRX individually, or globally delete all TRXs with separation viola- tions. It is also possible to mix the old plan and the new plan. Though this is not recommended, since it can cause interfer- ences of which the user might be unaware.

The dialog examples below depict how this operation can be carried out.

examples below depict how this operation can be carried out. Figure 2.19: AFP Results Window -

Figure 2.19: AFP Results Window - Partial Commit Feature

The Delete the TRX option implies that the resulting frequency plan will not respect the number of required TRXs. In the above example, note than the neighbour separation constraint violations at transmitter Site36_1 vanished once the TCH TRX at Site36_31 was deleted.

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial Figure 2.20: AFP Results Window - Partial Commit Feature 2.6.2 Automatic

Figure 2.20: AFP Results Window - Partial Commit Feature

2.6.2 Automatic Constraint Violation Resolution

Different types of constraint violations, i.e. co-transmitter, co-site, neighbour, and exceptional pair, can automatically be eliminated from the propsed frequency plan using the Automatic Constraint Violation Resolution tool. This tool is accessi- ble from the Actions button menu.

This tool is accessi- ble from the Actions button menu. Figure 2.21: Constraint Violation Resolution Tool

Figure 2.21: Constraint Violation Resolution Tool

AFP Reference Guide

The aim of this tool is to find the TRXs in the currently proposed frequency plan that cause constraint violations of any of the four following types:

1. Co-transmitter

2. Co-site

3. Neighbour

4. Exceptional Pair

Once it finds the TRXs that satisfy the criteria, it sets their corresponding values to Delete the TRX in the Channel Assign- ment column of the AFP results window.

This tool lets you resolve any type of constraint violations for different types of TRXs, control or traffic. You can also define a threshold of co-channel and adjacent channel collision probabilities. This restriction will only set those TRXs to Delete the TRX, which have a co-channel or adjacent channel collision probability higher than the threshold you defined.

2.7 Visualising and Manipulating Results

The Commit button copies the frequency plan to the data structure. It is not necessary to save the document or commit the changes to the database right away as the AFP cycle has not yet ended. At this stage, various generic and specific tools are available in Atoll, and can be used to inspect the candidate frequency plan. Interference and C/I prediction studies and various consistency checks are described in the following chapters of document. In addition to these, a useful tool is also available in Atoll, called the Search tool. Its function is to facilitate visualising co-channel and adjacent-channel transmit- ters. This tool is explained in detail in the User Manual. Other means of inspection include the common grouping, filtering, advanced filtering, display and tool tip management features.

2.8 Manual Frequency Allocation

This section describes quick and useful techniques for performing manual frequency allocations in Atoll.

2.8.1 Manual Frequency Allocation for NH Case

To carry out manual frequency assignment:

1. Create a Best Server map and display it,

2. Display neighbours of the transmitter for which you want to find a frequency manually,

3. Open the Search tool,

4. By scanning the spectrum a good frequency can easily be found and can be allocated to the transmitter.

easily be found and can be allocated to the transmitter. Figure 2.22: Scanning for Frequencies 20

Figure 2.22: Scanning for Frequencies

Chapter 2: Basic AFP Tutorial

In this example, frequency 11 is not a good choice since it is used as a neighbour co channel. Frequencies 10 and 12 present similar characteristics.

Frequencies 10 and 12 present similar characteristics. Figure 2.23: Scanning for Frequencies On the other hand,

Figure 2.23: Scanning for Frequencies

On the other hand, frequency 14 is a good one and can be possibly allocated. None of the frequencies {13, 14, 15} are allocated at the selected transmitter of at its neighbours.

2.8.2 Manual Frequency Allocation for SFH Case

It is possible to perform frequency allocations for irrgular pattern networks, i.e. patten allocation of type 1/N. The following set of operations will results in a frequency allocation even if the network is not a 100% regular pattern network.

1. Run the AFP so that it creates the required number of TRXs.

2. Group the transmitters by azimuth and manually assign the MALs to the most important azimuth groups.

3. Filter out these azimuth groups and delete the TRXs of all transmitters that were not assigned a MAL manually.

4. Run the AFP again selecting MAIO assignment only. This will assign proper MAIOs to the TRXs to which MAL was manually assigned.

5. Remove the filter and freeze the existing TRXs. Now use the AFP to complete the assignment (assigning all re- sources).

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 3

Frequency Planning Prerequisites

Chapter 3 Frequency Planning Prerequisites

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 3: Frequency Planning Prerequisites

3

Frequency Planning Prerequisites

The principal difference between AFP and other planning activities is that the impacts of poor frequency planning are more widespread in a network. For example, poor planning of a site or a cell will have somewhat local influences, while imple- menting a poor frequency plan will affect a much larger part of the network. Moreover, creating a poor frequency plan is rather relatively easy, the presence of a single faulty parameter in the process can be sufficient for the damage the entire plan.

Therefore, it is mandatory that the AFP user acquires a minimum level of knowledge regarding Atoll data model. This chap- ter familiarises the user with the essentials of the data model and depicts their relations with the AFP.

3.1 Atoll Data Model

3.1.1 Reliability and Propagation

Often the user senses that the AFP does not have enough constraints:

• The unfrozen part of the AFP cost is 0 and the AFP stops due to this fact.

• There appear to be close frequency reuses in the resulting frequency plan.

This means that the problem is too “easy” for the AFP and the user would like to create a more difficult IM in order for the AFP to have a more difficult problem to solve.

The best method to accomplish this is to increase the cell edge reliability and recalculate the IMs. When the reliability re- quirement is elevated, a larger part of the standard deviation is reduced from “C” when calculating the C/I for each IM entry.

The user should also verify that the standard deviation is properly defined in all clutter classes and its default value. This verification is more important in the case of Atoll documents converted from older versions or connected to a database.

3.1.2 HCS Layers

older versions or connected to a database. 3.1.2 HCS Layers Figure 3.1: Model Standard Deviation -

Figure 3.1: Model Standard Deviation - Default Value

HCS layers have several roles in Atoll. Their most important role is related to the way Atoll manages traffic maps. Different layers have different priorities and mobility limitations. There is also the possibility to manage traffic overflow from one layer to another. The objective of all these options is to model the behaviour of a real network, where two potential servers that do not belong to the same layer usually do not compete for best server.

When calculating an IM, or when generating an interference study, HCS layers are used in generating service zone maps, the basis of these calculations. If two transmitters belong to different layers, they can both serve the same pixel even if received signal from one is much stronger than the other’s. For equal HO margins, more HSC layers mean higher overlap- ping levels in the network. As the overlapping level increases, the constraint level in the IM and the amount of interference in an interference study also increase.

Note: Be sure to study the priority mechanism in your network, both in the re-selection process and in the han- dover process. Define the corresponding HCS layers once you know its working. When using a traffic model, make sure that there are a few levels of mobility in order to model high speed / low speed mobility behaviours.

AFP Reference Guide

3.1.3

Subcells

Subcells are defined as a group of TRXs in the same transmitter. Two subcells of the same transmitter can request fre- quencies from different domains, require different C/I qualities, have different downlink power offsets and even have dif- ferent Radio Resource Managements (RRM). Different RRMs can lead to different service zones under the same cell. Subcells are crucial for modelling concentric and dual band transmitters. In these cases, the TRXs belonging to the “inner” subcell serve traffic within a limited zone.

Note:

All TRXs in a subcell share the same TRX type.

3.1.3.1 Key Roles of Subcells

• Associating TRX groups with required quality definitions

• Associating TRX groups with weak / strong constraints (interference , separation)

• Associating TRX groups with different domain limitations

• Visualising and filtering by TRX Type

• The following additional parameters are also defined in the Subcells table:

- HSN (since the inner zone HSN may be different from the outer zone HSN)

- Power offset

- Reception threshold (can limit the zone of the inner subcell)

- Hopping mode

- Assignment mode (in SFH, “group constrained mode” limits the choice of MAL to one of the groups in the do- main)

- Support of DTX

- Traffic load and supplementary AFP weight

- Some other parameters influencing the AFP indirectly (for example, the overflow rate)

3.1.3.2 Concentric Cells and Dual-band Cells

Concentric cells were created in order to exploit downlink power control (DL PC) and radio resource management (RRM)

in frequency planning. This is accomplished by associating channels with subcells. Subcells may have different service

zones with respect to the transmitter’s geographic coverage. For example, a subcell TCH_INNER covers a zone requiring minimum reception level of –75 dBm and TCH_OUTER covers a zone with minimum reception level of –94 dBm. In this case, the inner zone has a higher resistance to increasing interference. The AFP has the possibility ot assign a relatively interfered frequency to the TCH_INNER zone to give more choice to the outer zone.

The other important property of concentric cells is the fact that a downlink power offset is associated with each subcell. The inner subcells can have higher DL PC implying that the frequencies assigned to the inner zones will interfere less with other transmitters. Concentric cells permit a higher reuse pattern between inner zones, providing up to 40% increase in capacity.

Atoll can fully exploit this increase in capacity since it calculates interferences between subcells. It uses the power offset and the C/I threshold that defines the subcell boundaries. Furthermore, it is also possible to define separation constraints

at subcell level.

3.1.3.3 Minimum C/I

The required quality thresholds for BCCH and TCH are usually 12 and 9 dB respectively. But the GSM standard tests this behaviour under the comfortable reception conditions of 20 dB above thermal noise. Therefore, it does not specify the be- haviour for, for example, signals received being only 15 dB above thermal noise.

Atoll provides the possibility to define these thresholds at subcell level resulting in maximum flexibility and option to support

a mixture of old and new equipment. Moreover, the safety margins corresponding to these values can be defined in the AFP cost definition (see C/I weighting in the next chapter).

3.1.3.3.1 Quality Targets

Atoll considers various quality requirements given by a C/I threshold value, “min C/I” with a probability threshold and “% max interference”. These two values indicate that the probability of having C/I lower than the “min C/I” value must not be greater then “% max interference”.

The benefit of this method is to facilitate Atoll in exploiting the fact that a larger number of TCH channels can be assigned with quality requirements lower than the BCCH quality. This results in less constraining interferences and an easier and faster assignment.

3.1.3.4 Traffic Loads

Traffic loads of all the subcells are used as input to the AFP. These traffic loads can be calculated by Atoll or read from the Subcells table. Traffic loads are discussed in detail afterwards.

Chapter 3: Frequency Planning Prerequisites

3.1.3.5 Local Domain Restrictions

Low level domain restrictions can be introduced at subcell level through the excluded channels column in the Subcells ta- ble.

3.1.4 TRXs

Atoll’s TRX table enables the following:

• Support of an external ID space of the TRXs of a transmitter (important for import and export utilities).

• MAL / channel at TRX level.

• MAIO at TRX level.

• Fine freezing: The user can freeze specific TRXs in an unfrozen transmitter.

The TRX table does not contain an “active” field. Therefore, all TRXs in it should contain a valid frequency or MAL and are all considered to be on air. It is better to remove an entire TRX record than removing only the frequency or MAL from its channels list.

3.1.5 Freezing Flags

A multilevel freezing mechanism enables freezing resources at TRX level as well as at transmitter level. This, in turn, en-

ables the user to use an existing plan while assigning only newly added demand for channels. These options are in addition

to the working zone limitations.

Note:

When freezing channels, keep in mind that the MAIOs are not frozen.

3.1.6 AFP Weights

The AFP weight field in the Transmitters table enables the user to assign high or low weightings to certain transmitters. It can be used to improve quality at a problematic location or to boost quality in a particular covered region of the network. An additional AFP weight field exists at the subcell level. It enables the user to assign weighting to subcells. A conventional idea could be to assign a higher weight to the BCCH. The AFP uses the multiplicative product of transmitter level AFP weight and subcell level AFP weight.

3.1.7 Spectrum Administration

Many levels of administration exist relative to frequency planning. In order to avoid confusion, here is a comprehensive list:

• ARFCNs

ARFCN is the method employed by the GSM/DCS standards to enumerate 200 kHz frequency carriers.

• Frequency Bands

Frequency Bands are subgroups of ARFCNs. Different equipment may be limited to different frequency bands (BTS, MS, …). In addition, propagation models use the central frequency of the band for calculating propagation.

• Frequency Domains

Domains are used for managing the usage of the Frequency Bands. For example, an operator may use frequencies 1 to 50 while the other uses 52 to 100. Splitting the band on channel usage basis is of great importance as well (BCCH frequen- cies, TCH frequencies, Hopping layer).

• Domain Groups

Domain groups are used for further managing the use of the frequencies in a domain. For example, f1 and f2 can be as- signed at the same transmitter if and only if they belong to the same group. Another frequent use for groups is in the MAL assignment.

In Atoll, a domain is defined as a union of groups. It points to a frequency band and must be included therein. The AFP

respects domain limitations at subcell level.

3.1.8 Redundancy and Subcell Audit

Atoll incorporates some deliberate redundancies between the subcells and TRX levels, and the Transmitters table:

• The channel list in the Transmitters table is the intersection of all channels appearing in the TRXs of a transmitter.

AFP Reference Guide

• The hopping mode of a transmitter is the hopping mode of it’s default traffic carrier (the TCH TRX Type)

• The frequency band of the transmitter (the one used by the propagation model to deduce the central frequency), is read from the domain of the BCCH subcell of the transmitter.

Atoll considers the low level to be the accurate source of information. For example:

• Atoll will automatically update the TRX table if the channel list of a transmitter in the transmitter table is changed.

• The frequency band of a transmitter cannot be edited.

These redundancies provide some additional features (for example, grouping transmitters according to the frequency bands).

On the other hand, there is a chance of mistakes and bugs which may damage a redundancy in the ATL file. Therefore, it is recommended that the audit tool be used from time to time in order to fix these problems (right click on the Transmitters folder, choose Audit from the Subcells menu).

3.1.9 Neighbour Importance

Neighbour importance field exists in the neighbour relation tables. It is also available in the AFP and can assist in resolving congestion situations. This is discussed in detail in subsequent chapters.

3.1.10 SeparationConstraints Table

It is a separation exceptional-pair table containing pairs of subcells with associated separation requirements. Special sep- arations have a higher priority with respect to all other separations and can be used to relax separation constraints as well.

3.1.11 SeparationRules Table and Rule Priority

The SeparationRules table is simple to understand once the order of priority that exists between various separation rules is kept in mind:

1. Highest priority: exceptional pairs

2. Second higher: co-transmitter

3. Third priority: co-site

4. Last priority: Neighbour.

For example, if two subcells are neighbours and at the same site, their associated separation requirement will be according to the co-site separation rules. And, if this separation requirement is not fulfilled, their separation violation costs will be weighted by the co-site weight.

3.1.12 Adjacency Suppression

Adjacency suppression is defined as the difference between the required C/I and the required C/A (C/A being the “Carrier to Adjacent Intensity ratio”). By default this is set to 18 dB following the standard. It is available in the Predictions folder properties dialog window under the name “Adjacent channel protection level”.

The GSM standard requires this desired behaviour but does not specify any amplification level. It is recommended to be sure that the physical equipment in the network support this value. The value of this parameter is used in the AFP when extracting the interference caused by an adjacent channel, and in Atoll in interference and C/I studies.

It might be a good idea to use a safety margin for this parameter and set it to 16 dB, for example.

3.2 AFP Performance Indicators

The AFP can be used to generate different AFP performance indicators and listing them in the AFP results window. These performance indicators describe the states of different network entities, such as TRXs, subcells, transmitters and sites.

3.2.1 AFP TRX Rank

AFP TRX Rank provides a ranking of the TRXs in a subcell. If a TRX rank is high, it implies that the frequency (channel) corresponding to this TRX has bad usage conditions. TRX ranks indicate the best and worst quality TRXs in each subcell, which maybe candidate GPRS TRXs or potentially removable TRXs to improve overall network quality. The OMC might use rank (or preference) information for better RRM.

Chapter 3: Frequency Planning Prerequisites

Notes:

1. Rank = 1 is the best rank.

2. TRX Rank is the corresponding field in the TRX table.

As it is during an AFP process that frequencies and MALs/MAIOs for different TRXs of a subcell are chosen, the AFP tool stores and manipulates the information about TRXs in good and in bad conditions.

If you choose AFP Rank indicator to be allocated when starting an AFP session, each cost improving solution will go

through a TRX rank assignment. If no improving plan is found, TRX rank will be assigned for the initial plan (like BSIC).

TRX ranking within a subcell is performed on the basis of TRX costs.

In many cases of MAL/MAIO assignment, only one or two of a TRX’s MAIOs violate separation constraints. Therefore, a

higher ranking will be assigned to the MAIO violating the separation constraints.

3.2.1.1 TRX Rank Usage

This information can help increase performance in certain cases where a cell and its neighbour are not loaded with traffic

at the same time (for example, a stadium and its parking lot). In such cases, it is possible to decrease call blocking by add-

ing the TRXs in bad conditions to the concerned cells. If the BTSs do not recognize TRXs in bad conditions, the overall network behaviour will either be very poor or difficult to predict even if the BTS knows how to track ranking in real time.

TRX ranks may be required by the OMC in order to optimise the spectral efficiency. In some networks, a part of the deci- sion-making process at the OMC may be transferred to the BTSs when this information is available. Even if such a “smart” system exists, it might be better to know the TRX ranks in advance to improve predictability and consistent behaviour.

Apart from these uses, AFP TRX ranks can be used in post-AFP optimisation. For example, once you perform AFP, you can freeze all TRXs with ranks less than or equal to X. So that a new AFP instance will concentrate on a smaller subset of the most interfered TRXs in the most loaded subcells.

A TRX will not be considered frozen for TRX Rank assignment if and only if it is selected for AFP allocation and has not

been frozen at Transmitter level or by the AFP launch Wizard.

3.2.2 Total Cost and Separation Violation Cost Component

Total cost and separation violation cost component at the TRX, subcell, transmitter and site levels can be computed and displayed as AFP performance indicators. These are the cumulated total costs and the cumulated separation violation costs of each TRX, subcell, transmitter and site.

In order to be able to compute and display these results, you must add AFP_COST and AFP_SEP_COST fields (of type

SINGLE) to the TRX, Subcells, Transmitters and Sites tables. AFP_COST field and AFP_SEP_COST field correspond to the total cost and separation cost component respectively. These AFP performance indicators are available in the list of AFP performance indicators to be computed available when launching the AFP tool.

The AFP cost assignment to the TRXs, subcells, transmitters and sites is carried out at the same time as the TRX rank assignment. Once a frequency plan is committed, the next instance of the AFP can concentrate more on the problematic TRX/subcell/transmitter/site to improve results. Another use of this feature can be to automatically limit the modification scope to the problematic cells/sites. This feature can deliver a significant quality gain.

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 4

Frequency Plan Optimisation

Chapter 4 Frequency Plan Optimisation

AFP Reference Guide

Chapter 4: Frequency Plan Optimisation

4

Frequency Plan Optimisation

4.1 Step 1 (Optional): Traffic Model Usage

It is not possible to solve a difficult optimisation problem without having a traffic model. Following are the 4 principal roles of a traffic model:

1. To reduce the required number of TRXs where they are least needed and spectrum not available.

2. To indicate the least loaded TRXs, since they are less important and interfere less with others TRXs.

3. To reduce the constraint level of the IM (for example where interferences are limited to low density surface).

4. To provide an accurate quality estimation of the resulting frequency plan.

The first point is currently implemented through a dimensioning model, which is explained in this chapter. Moreover, it will be available as an AFP option in one of the future versions (i.e. the AFP will optimise the decisions so as not to respect the required number of TRXs. In other words, it will perform a spectrum oriented dimensioning). The second role is carried out by the traffic loads. In order to understand traffic loads better, traffic capture is also described subsequently. The third point is explained alongwith the description of the IM and the last point is detailed in chapter 5.

The Atoll traffic model is quite advanced. To gain familiarity with the concepts of user profiles, environments, services, mo- bile types, terminal types etc. a new user should refer to the Atoll User Manual. These traffic model entities can be used to benefit from all possible capacity gaps in a network. The simplest application here, would be to use a clutter weight oriented model. The more advanced models and techniques of creating traffic maps, based on traffic-by-transmitter etc., are also explained in detail in the Atoll User Manual. This chapter provides with the basic know-how on creating the simplest model using clutter information and clutter weights.

4.1.1 Creating a Traffic Map Based only on Clutter Weighting

There are two simple methods:

• Using a raster map

- Define a simple user profile for an active user with voice service, speaking 3600s per hour (i.e. consuming 1 Erlang).

- Create a traffic environment of this kind of user profile with a density of 1 and pedestrian mobility. Any mobility can be used (e.g. 1), as it will be used for calculating IM where only the relative weight matters.

- Assign appropriate clutter weighting to this traffic environment.

- In the Geo tab, create a new traffic map based on environments through the GSM GPRS EGPRS Traffic folder context menu. On the drawing toolbar, select the traffic environment created earlier, click on the polygon but- ton and draw a polygon surrounding the computation zone. This raster map will appear in the Traffic folder.

• Using a vector map

- Define a simple user profile for an active user with voice service, speaking 3600s per hour (i.e. consuming 1 Erlang).

- In the Geo tab, create a new traffic map based on user profiles through the GSM GPRS EGPRS Traffic folder context menu. Select the user profile just created with pedestrian mobility and assign density to the Density field.

- Assign appropriate clutter weighting.

- Click on the polygon button on the drawing toolbar and draw a polygon surrounding the computation zone. Double-click on it and assign a density of 1. This vector map will appear in the Traffic folder.

Both traffic maps are stored in the document and can be exported. An exported vector map is smaller than a raster one.

4.1.2 Performing a Traffic Capture

Traffic capture is a means to cumulate one or more traffic maps, for voice and/or data services, for different terminals and provide a spreading of traffic per sector respecting layer priorities, frequency bands and other rules that can be defined by the user. The details of this process are described in Appendix 4 (Traffic Capture and Dimensioning). Once traffic analysis is performed, a traffic capture object is available in the Explorer window Data tab. This traffic capture object contains traffic demand per [service, subcell] pair in terms of Erlangs for CS traffic and kbps for PS traffic. This traffic demand provides Atoll with an estimate of average demand in terms of # TSL used.

The AFP combines this traffic capture with the number of required TRXs and their timeslot configurations to generate traffic loads (assuming the AFP will create the required number of TRXs indicated in the subcell table).

The dimensioning process reads the basic information contained in the traffic capture to find out the number of TRXs need- ed to support a user defined blocking rate, HR ratio etc. (See Appendix 4 for details).

The KPI calculations combine traffic capture with the current number of TRXs in the network and their timeslot configura- tions to generate current traffic loads.

AFP Reference Guide

Important: Keep in mind that the required number of TRXs is the number of TRXs required to carry a given traffic. This is the number of TRXs (usually) calculated through the dimensioning process. The number of existing TRXs is the current actual number to TRXs at a transmitter.

4.1.3 Creating IMs Based on Traffic

IM calculation is either based on uniform distribution or on the maps used to perform the default traffic capture. In order to calculate IMs based on a traffic clutter weighting,

• Create the traffic map as described earlier,

• Perform a traffic capture using only this traffic map,

• make this traffic capture the default one, and

• Select the option "Traffic spreading based on the maps used in the default traffic capture" in the IM calculation di- alog.

This option has the following advantages:

• Interference over “hot spots” will have more weight

- Example: Sites covering an important highway will interfere over the highway but the interfered surface will be less compared to the coverage. Therefore, not significant if no traffic is used.

• Interference over dead spots will not create overhead constraints

- Example: A large hilly park in the middle of a city is often not covered by a dedicated site since it has low traffic. The slopes of this hill are covered by many overlapping cells and tend to create many undesirable IM entries. If the weight of these slopes is reduced due to very little traffic, this can simplify an over-constrained problem.

See Appendix 3 to understand further why traffic loads and interference information are not combined together in Atoll.

4.2 Step 2 (Optional): Neighbour Relations and Relative Weighting

In many cases, neighbour relations are the most constraining elements for the AFP. Neighbour importance field of the neighbours table permits the AFP to partially ignore weak / far-away neighbours and concentrate more on the more impor- tant neighbours.

This section details the use of this new feature in various scenarios.

Tip:

Check neighbour allocation before running the AFP. Often a bad neighbour relation definition causes poor frequency plan performance.

4.2.1 Automatic Neighbour Allocation

Neighbour importance has two major roles in Atoll:

1. Weighting the neighbour relation in the AFP.

2. Ranking the neighbours so that Atoll can select the n most important neighbours.

The configuration presented below is recommended in order to use the resulting neighbour importance in the AFP.

Coverage Factor:

1% to 81%

Adjacency Factor:

20% to 90%

Co-site Factor:

70% to 100%

 

Note:

The default values for computing importance values are:

Coverage Factor:

1% to 30%

Adjacency Factor:

30% to 60%

Co-site Factor:

60% to 100%

The neighbour allocation algorithm works as in earlier versions with these default values. Changing these values changes the priority definitions of the neighbour allocation algorithm. Refer to the Technical Refer- ence Guide for more details.

Chapter 4: Frequency Plan Optimisation

Chapter 4: Frequency Plan Optimisation Figure 4.1: Automatic Neighbour Allocation AFP can be launched once the

Figure 4.1: Automatic Neighbour Allocation

AFP can be launched once the results of the neighbour allocation have been generated and committed.

4.2.2 Importing Neighbour Importance

Various sources of neighbour importance exist:

• OMC HO statistics

• Test mobile data measurements (which ignore interferences between non-neighbours)

• Other

As with any other source of information, it is the user’s task to prepare and import this external data. The units of the neigh- bour importance are probabilities and are expected to reamin between 0 and 1.

4.2.3 Extending Existing Neighbour Relations

Extending an existing neighbour relation should be performed often either to solve some HO problems or because of ad- dition of new sites. Such operations usually imply that a fresh frequency allocation be carried out. The AFP would be re- quired to use the original neighbour relations as well as the new additional neighbours, yet in a different way (with a different weight). In addition, the AFP would require access to the former (complete or partial) source of neighbour impor- tance as well as to the new values of neighbour importance calculated for the recently added relations.

The neighbour importance of the original neighbour assignment is probably more reliable than the one calculated using path loss calculations.

This section explains how this can be done:

1. Export the current neighbour relation into a file called AllCurrentNei.txt using the generic export feature available through the context menu of the table,

2. Export all the relations for which there are reliable neighbour importance into a file named AllCurrentNei_Importance.txt,

3. Import the file AllCurrentNei.txt into the neighbour exceptional pairs so that the existing neighbour allocation is forced (usual operation for extending an existing allocation),

4. Run automatic neighbour allocation in order to extend your neighbour relations and/or assign importance where it was not already assigned. To keep important values lower than X%, all Max% values in the importance part of the dialog should be kept less than X. For example, if X is 50%, the configuration shown below can be used,

AFP Reference Guide

AFP Reference Guide Figure 4.2: Automatic Neighbour Allocation Results As can be observed in the figure

Figure 4.2: Automatic Neighbour Allocation Results

As can be observed in the figure above, all new neighbour relations have weak importance values.

5. Commit the allocation,

6. Import the file, and answer “no” if asked to remove neighbours of modified transmitters.

The screenshot below shows that the neighbour relations now comprise old neighbours with a higher importance and new neighbours with a lower importance automatically calculated by Atoll.

with a lower importance automatically calculated by Atoll. Figure 4.3: Neighbours Table 4.2.4 Importing Partial Sour

Figure 4.3: Neighbours Table

4.2.4 Importing Partial Sources of Neighbour Importance

Atoll’s generic import feature can be used to import the data easily. In order to import, the user should know the location to place this imported data (Importance column of the Neighbours table) and the data units (probabilities between 0 and 1).

Chapter 4: Frequency Plan Optimisation

4.3 Step 3 (Optional): Using Dimensioning

The Atoll dimensioning model, combined with the traffic capture, is a strong tool for frequency plan optimisation. In most cases, where a spectrum problem exists and the problem does not originate from the neighbour relation, the second most important task is to reduce the number of required TRXs in a selective and careful way.

This optimisation can currently be carried out with the help of the dimensioning model. In future versions, it may be avail- able directly through the AFP.

4.3.1 Optimal Dimensioning of an Existing Network

1. Run the AFP and commit the resulting frequency plan. Proceed to the next step if this frequency plan is not satis- factory and the TRX demands have to be reduced.

2. Increase the service blocking rates (from 2% to 4% for example). The screenshot below shows:

- Where this can be done (Services table).

- That the dimensioning model is based on blocking.

- The effect this change has on the required number of TRXs (the number of existing TRXs being the previous number of required TRXs for 2% blocking rate committed in Step 1).

3. Recalculate the traffic capture since service definitions have changed and then launch dimensioning. Some trans- mitters will have less required TRXs while others, which were more loaded, have the same number of required TRXs as before.

loaded, have the same number of required TRXs as before. Figure 4.4: Dimensioning Process Running the

Figure 4.4: Dimensioning Process

Running the AFP once more can return an improved frequency plan, as the following example shows:

 

AFP cost for the empty network, indicating the number of weighted Erlangs

Sum of

     

Action performed

Number of

Required

TRXs

Separation

Violation

Cost

Interference

Cost

Missing TRX

Erlangs

Original network

603.6

100

106

9.7

0

After increasing the Blocking Probability to 4% and dimensioning

601.4

95

96.6

9.4

0

AFP Reference Guide

The above experiment proves that the capacity difference between the two networks is very low (first column, around 2 Erlangs). This means that the reduction of 5 TRXs leads to a very minor decrease in capacity. This is due to the fact that this was done by dimensioning considerations rather than other possible considerations.

The AFP generates a better plan after this decrease in the number of TRXs. The AFP cost units are Erlangs, therefore, we can compare the 2 Erlangs lost because of capacity to the 10 Erlangs gained because of better AFP cost.

Note: It is possible to set a “Maximum number of TRXs” in the Transmitters table. You can copy and paste the current demand to this column, thus forcing the dimensioning process to respect the current state of the network as an upper bound. This possibility is a handy in all possible cases of difficult frequency allocation.

4.4 Step 4: Optimal Usage of the Atoll AFP

4.4.1 Introduction to the AFP Cost Function

4.4.1.1 Combination of Separation Violation and Interference Probabilities

The cost function of Atoll AFP has two main components. The first component is the cost for violations of separation con- straints and the second component is the cost for creating interference.

Atoll AFP gives each separation violation a cost equivalent to a certain amount of interference, making it possible to sum both costs and minimize their sum. For example, the user can define that a separation violation of 1 “costs” the same as x% of interfered traffic. This is weighted by the type of violation (co-transmitter separation violations have higher impact than neighbour separation violations). Through this equivalence, It is possible to sum separation violation and interference costs that share a common unit, i.e. percentage of interfered traffic.

Following this principle, all other cost elements are also calculated in the same manner, the cost of Missing TRXs, the cost of corrupted TRXs, the cost of a TRX assigned out-of-domain frequencies and the cost of changing a TRX’s assignment.

4.4.1.2 Counting TRXs (Nodes) Instead of Relations (Edges)

In the following example, each separation violation represents an edge and each TRX a node. All the 3 frequency plans proposed in this example do not respect all separation requirements for all TRXs, meaning that they all have bad nodes and bad edges. Now the question is that whether the AFP minimization target should try to minimize the number of bad edges or the number of bad nodes.

Example:

• Imagine a network with 6 TRXs, all having a separation constraint of 1 with each other (i.e. 6 nodes, 15 Edges).

• The following 3 cases demonstrate the way the AFP calculates the cost of an allocation.

Case 1

Case 2

Case 3

F1 is used 4 times, F2 and F3 are used one time each.

F1 is used 3 times, F2 twice, and F3 is only used one time.

F1, F2, and F3 are used two times each.

Number of separation violations is 6 (6 bad edges)

Number of separation violation is 4 (4 bad edges)

Number of separation violations is 3 (3 bad edges)

Two TRXs have good assignments

Only one TRX has a good assignment

No TRX has a good assignment

The spectrum is not equally used

 

The spectrum is equally used

• Atoll AFP prefers Case 1 by default. Nevertheless, it can be configured to opt for Case 3.

The parameters that control the capability of Atoll AFP to be more Edge-oriented than Node-oriented are explained next. But, before this explanation, following are the three main advantages of the Node-oriented approach:

1. The cost function has meaningful units, i.e. Interfered Erlangs.

2. The ability to focus problems on a TRX that is already 100% interfered and to improve the others instead of spread- ing interference on several TRXs.

3. The capability to respect a TRX based quality target, i.e. dismissing interference at a TRX that does not sum up to a certain considerable value (explained below).

The Node-oriented approach is an important feature of the Atoll AFP and provides a tighter correspondence between the AFP cost and the network quality.

Chapter 4: Frequency Plan Optimisation

4.4.1.3 Each TRX Cost

The AFP cost function is summed up for each TRX according to the following logic:

• If TRX α is corrupted, the tax of being corrupted is added to the cost, and multiplied by T(α).

• If TRX α is missing (the required number of TRXs and the actual number of TRXs being different), the tax of miss-