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Chapter 4

Upon completion of this chapter the student will be able to:

• List four different traffic classes

• List some CS and PS applications
• Explain why multi-rate blocking probability calculations are
• Describe the main difference between circuit switched and
packet switched traffic
• Explain how best effort applications can be included in
traffic calculations
WCDMA Radio Network Design

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4 Traffic

4 Traffic
Table of Contents

Topic Page

BASIC TRAFFIC DIMENSIONING INPUT ..........................................53

TRAFFIC CLASSES .....................................................................................................53
INPUT ANALYSIS ........................................................................................................53

BASIC TRAFFIC DIMENSIONING ......................................................58

SPEECH ONLY NETWORKS ......................................................................................58
MULTI-SERVICE NETWORKS ....................................................................................59
PACKET DATA SERVICES..........................................................................................60

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4 Traffic


From end-user and application point of view four major traffic
classes can be identified:

• Real time applications

– Streaming class, where the fundamental characteristics
for QoS are to preserve time relation (variation) between
information entities of the stream.
– Conversational class, where the fundamental
characteristics for QoS are to preserve time relation
(variation) between information entities of the stream and
to have a low delay
• Non-real time applications
– Background class, where the destination is not expecting
the data within a certain time but with preserved payload
– Interactive class, where a request/response pattern is of
importance and the payload content must be preserved.
Conversational and streaming classes are intended to carry real-
time traffic flows, like speech and video streaming.

Interactive class and background class are mainly meant to be

used by traditional Internet applications like WWW, e-mail and
by a number of vertical applications like Telemetry and E-


One of the most important steps in any dimensioning process is
defining the input data thoroughly. This can be difficult in some
circumstances due to limited or vague input requirements. It is
up to the dimensioning engineer to interpret the input data so
that it reflects reasonable values.

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WCDMA Radio Network Design

Examples of input data

Table 1 contains examples of input data.

Table 1: Examples of input data

Service #subscribers Traffic during BH

Speech – AMR 400k 12000 Erl
Video service 20k 38,4 Mbps
UL: 19,2 Mbps
Traffic load Ftp service 50k
DL: 38,4 Mbps
and capacity
Internet web UL: 16 Mbps
service DL: 64 Mbps
Total 600k
Environment Coverage Service
City area 70 km2 Indoor- all services
and services In car for web service
Suburban/outskirts 1600 km2
and voice
Spectrum Subscriber distribution
50% city area
Miscellaneous 2 x 10 MHz
50% suburban

Required services
The required services must be mapped onto the existing Radio
Access Bearers, RABs that are available in the system or onto
some of the hypothetical bearers that are expected to be
available in future releases of the system. The number of
required individual bearers (RABs) should be kept to a
minimum. Up to five-six bearer types is reasonable for a typical
dimensioning case.

When using a large number of bearers, the dimensioning effort

becomes more complex. It will be increasingly difficult to
obtain a good overview of the dimensioning in general, and the
impact of individual parameters in particular. Remember that
one RAB can handle several different types of service.

The following items can be useful to consider when selecting


• Delay criteria
Delay criteria indicate whether to use a

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4 Traffic

conversational/streaming or interactive/background type

RAB. As a rule of thumb use conversational/streaming if the
delay requirement is less than 0.5 s. In case the delay is
greater than 1 s an interactive/background RAB can be used.
For values in between a case by case judgement have to be
• Max user data rate/throughput
This gives some indication as to which type of bearer to use.
It is not necessary to have a RAB that conforms exactly to
the max user data rate. The given service may be specified
with a lower data rate than the RAB rate.
• Other service requirements
Some of the information given may not be expressed as hard
numbers specifying delay criteria and throughput. Often the
service is described from the end user perspective. Then the
service has to be interpreted based on those criteria.
Table 2 gives an example of mapping of services to RABs.

Table 2: Example of mapping of services to Radio Access


Service RAB Motivation

Speech-AMR Speech
Video service Circuit 128 A video service requires data transfer at low
(conversational) delay. A high data rate is required for the
quality aspect of the video link.
Ftp service Circuit 64 A conversational class bearer is used since it
(conversational) is expected that the user does not send bursty
traffic but long constant streams of data. The
medium data rate is a design choice; no
requirements for the maximum data rate have
been given.
Internet Web Packet 64/384 This service does not require low delay data
service (interactive) and therefore an interactive (packet) RAB
can be used. The medium/high data rate in
the UL/DL is a design choice chosen due to
the strong asymmetry of the traffic volume.

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WCDMA Radio Network Design

Determining the average user profile

It is often convenient to define an “average user” to obtain a
good feeling for the traffic distribution generated by the service
provider. The “average user” defines the traffic for all services
during the busy hour. This abstraction makes it seem that a user
is using several simultaneous services at the same time.
Naturally this is not the case in reality. For dimensioning
purposes it is quite convenient as it enables the reduction of
complex spreadsheets into a standardized input matrix.

Besides defining the average traffic during the busy hour several
other parameters must be defined that describe quality
parameters for the users:

• Activity factor
This has an impact on the air interface dimensioning as well
as the hardware dimensioning. A low activity factor allows
more users to share the same spectrum. This however,
requires more allocation of hardware resources. The activity
factor for speech can not be used directly to obtain a
capacity gain since there is no activity factor to the signaling
overhead . Instead, the capacity is modeled through the pole
capacity. For higher data rates however the signaling
overhead is negligible and for dimensioning purposes it is
possible to utilize the gain fully.
• Average bit rate per user
This parameter is similar to the activity factor but is used to
define the number of active sessions for packet data services.
It has a bearing on the required amount of hardware
• Retransmission rate
In the radio interface there are always retransmissions due to
frame errors. This reduces the total throughput of the
channel and must be compensated for in the dimensioning.
An estimated value for retransmissions is 10%.
• Grade of service (GoS)
Used for circuit switched traffic, GoS defines how many
calls that are allowed to be blocked.
Table 3 shows an example of an average user profile.

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4 Traffic

Table 3: Example of an average user profile

BH Traffic Activity Average bit Retrans-

Service RAB GOS
(UL/DL) factor rate/ user missions
Speech AMR 20 mErl 0.5 2%
Video service C128 0,5 mErl 1 2%
Ftp service C64 0,5/ 1 mErl 1 2%
Best effort, max
Web service P64/384 27/107 bps 10 kbps 10%
system throughput

1 Activity factor for the data services is 1 since a raw bit volume has been specified.

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WCDMA Radio Network Design


The purpose of the basic traffic dimensioning is to find the
maximum number of users supported by the actual cell under
investigations. In a WCDMA network this process becomes
quite complex. Three types of services can be supported in a
cell; voice, circuit switched data and packet switched data
services. The different service types must be treated differently
as they are carrying different applications. Voice and circuit
switched data services require allocation of fixed rate resources
to provide the actual service while packet switched traffic can
utilize the remaining resources efficiently due to its elastic


In traditional speech only services traffic dimensioning is based
on the Erlang-B calculations. This method calculates the number
of users in a cell (with a predefined offered traffic per user of
e.g. 30 mErlang) based on the actual network resources for a
given call blocking probability (e.g. 2%). Generally, Erlang
tables are used for this purpose. Figure 4-1 indicates
dimensioning of a cell with only one speech service. The
blocking probability increases as the number of user increases.
The input data used in this example corresponds to the existence
of 59 channels for voice. Then the cell can support at most 1623
users if the blocking probability is restricted to 2%.
Blocking Probability (%)

3-sector cell
1 RF carrier
Max 59 voice
channels available
30 mErlang per

Figure 4-1 Erlang-B blocking probability

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4 Traffic

In multi service networks several services with different
parameters share the same resource. Therefore, the inputs of
multi-service cell dimensioning are the offered load, the
required resource (effective bandwidth), the requirements on
blocking for each service and the total resource available in the
cell. Figure 4-2 shows an example of multi-rate blocking
probability calculations using five different circuit switched
services. For a given number of subscribers the blocking
probabilities are different for different services because they
share the same pool of resources. The more resources a service
needs for one user the higher is the blocking probability, e.g. CS
384 is assumed to need 23 times the resources of voice in this
example. If 2% blocking probability for each service is taken as
the criteria of the dimensioning 133 users can be supported with
the given indata.

Blocking Probability (%)

3-sector cell
59 voice channels available
Circuit 384 Circuit 144
30 mErlang for voice
1 mErlang for all other services

Circuit 64

Circuit 32


Figure 4-2 Example of multi-rate blocking probability

calculations (%)

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WCDMA Radio Network Design

Figure 4-3 shows the actual channel utilization for the example
above. The figure shows that handling large bandwidth circuit
switched services may result in very low utilization of the
available channel resource.
Channel utilization (%)

Figure 4-3 Channel utilization example


Voice and circuit switched services should be handled in the
way described above but for packet switched services this leads
to over dimensioning.

In packet switched applications the minimum average

throughput can be taken as dimensioning criteria. The part of the
resource which is not used for circuit switched services can be
utilized by packet services. This part of the total resource is
clearly visible in Figure 4-3. For example if the number of users
are 133 the channel utilization becomes 16%. That means that
on average 84% of the resources are available for best effort

Best effort means that the packet service can utilize the resource
that is available, but there are no guarantees on “blocking
probabilities”, delays or throughput.

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