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Introduction:-

The signaling transported on the SDCCH channel is aimed at reaching the service requested by the Mobile Station; in some cases this represents only the setup of the service, in other cases the service is completely performed on the SDCCH channel.

SDCCH usage: User Requests (Mobile Originated Call, SMS, Supplementary Services) Answer To paging (Mobile Terminated Call) Call - Re Establishment Location Update Procedure IMSI detach indication

Signaling Analysis:-

First of all the channel request message is sent from the MS on RACCH Channel to the BTS and the BTS sends the channel required message to the BSC. This is always the first step for accessing the network. This part of signaling is performed for every MS accessing a service, independently on the kind of service required, and meaning that it is valid also for all the other services (not call) the MS can ask: SMS, Location Update, IMSI detach, Supplementary Service.

This CR message consists of 8 bits 3 bits are reserved for the establishment cause and 5 bits for the random reference. Among the 8 possible combinations of establishment cause's 3 bits, 5 are valid as establishment causes. The other 3 combinations are not valid and then refused by the network.

The usage of random reference is when two MSs access the network exactly the same time; they can be separated by using the random reference.

After the channel request has been received, the BTS forwards the channel request generated by MS to the BSC sending the channel required message (#2). The channel required contains the same information as channel request with additional information of Channel number UL,message discriminator,message type,access delay,establishment cause etc..

After the BSC received the channel required message if the establishment cause is valid (5 valid cases out of 8 cases mentioned above) the BSC starts searching for a SDCCH channel.if the channel is available in the cell where the original access came from, it is reserved otherwise the MS cannot access the service, the immediate assignment rejected message will be sent to the MS (if SDCCH dynamic allocation and/or FACCH call setup are not active) if the establishment cause is not valid (3 cases out of 8 cases mentioned above) the BSC doesn't proceed with the signalling and RACH will be considered as Ghost RACHH.

After a successful reservation of a new SDCCH channel, the BSC activates it by sending the channel activation message to the BTS with data like message type, channel activation, Channel number, activation type, channel Mode, DTX control, MS power capabilities.

Three events may happen:

1. A successful case is acknowledged by the BTS with channel activation acknowledgement message (#4).
The BTS will starts the transmission and reception on the associated SACCH using the power levels and the timing advance received in the channel activation message.

2. The BTS refuses to activate the new channel, it sends the channel activation not acknowledgement
message to the BSC with the reason of the failure. Possible failure causes are like radio resource not available, radio channel already activated/allocated, protocol error and subclause, such as mandatory information error, O&M failure reasons, ciphering algorithm not supported, Service or option not available.

3. The GSM timer T9103 is used for supervising the channel activation procedure. If the BSC does not
receive the channel activation ack/nack message within the time limit of the timer T9103, the timer expires and it releases the allocated channel by sending the procedure of assignment failure to the MSC.

After a successful SDCCH channel activation, the BSC sends the immediate assignment command message to the BTS on AGCH channel containing data like SDCCH channel number, page mode: normal paging, channel description of the SDCCH allocated and the associated SACCH and hopping frequency, mobile allocation if frequency hopping is used, initial timing advance.

This message is an order from the network to the MS to move to the SDCCH channel defined before.The GSM timer T3101 is used to supervise the immediate assign procedure. If the SDCCH channel reservation or activation has failed, the BSC sends the immediate assignment reject message to the MS.

When the mobile has sent the channel request message on the RACH channel, it expects an answer from the network within a certain period. The MS starts the timer T3120 and waits for the answer (immediate assignment or immediate assignment reject).

If the MS doesn't receive the answer within the time limit defined by the timer T3120, the MS makes a new attempt(Automatically - not by pressing dial button on MS) and sends another channel request message with a new random reference on the next time slot. A new value of timer T3120 is computed and used. The MS repeats this process either until it is granted access or until the maximum number of repetitions is reached; the network broadcasts the maximum repetition number.

This phenomenon leads to a big value of a counter related to SDCCH failures in Abis interface that are not perceived by the subscriber.

Now When the MS has performed the radio access phase (i.e. it received the immediate assignment from the BTS), the signalling proceeds with the establishment phase, the authentication procedure, the ciphering and encryption reported. After receiving the immediate assignment message, the MS tunes to the assigned SDCCH and starts to establish the signalling link across the network. The MS sends the layer 2 SABM to the BTS on the SDCCH.

The SABM contains the layer 3 CM service request message in which the MS specifies the service type required to the network.

The service request message includes one of the following informations: header CM service type: mobile originated call, short message service, supplementary services, emergency call Ciphering key sequence number MS classmark 2 mobile identity

The BTS forwards the MS service request to the BSC in the establish indication message with following data: message discriminator - radio link layer management message type - establishment indication channel number - SDCCH + AGCH link identifier - main signalling channel SDCCH L3 Information - complete L3 service request as received from the MS.

This message indicates to the BSC that MS is now on the SDCCH channel. If this message is not received by the BSC, the counter of abis failure will be incremented and the setup of the service will be interrupted. The BSC decodes the cause of the service request from the content of the establish indication message.

Reasons For SDCCH Failures:-

1. Poor RF Condition:The MS is in poor coverage area is sending RACCH to access the cell.After receiving RACCH request BTS is reserving SDCCH for that request and send immediate assignment message to MS.But due to bad coverage area MS will not receive assignment command.The BTS will release the SDCCH upon expiry of Timer T3101 which will counted as SDCCH abis failure.Then MS will re transmit the RACCH upto parameter Max No. Of Retrasmission defined in the BTS.If RF conditions improve within this period then

call set up will be successful otherwise user will have to redial the call.So incase of poor coverage condition there might be cumulative SDCCH failure and hence it show high SDCCH drop in statastics but the end user wont perceive the same at that level. The only effect will be long call set up time.

2. Path imbalance or sensitivity difference between MS and BTS

It is observed that path imbalance between uplink and downlink is poor as in most of the cases uplink diversity gain is not expected due to installation limitations.At the same time sensitivity difference between the BTS (-110 dbm) and MS ( typically -102 dbm) is also high.

3. Co-BCCH & BSIC problem


The MS is sending RACCH request to serving BTS that have the same BCCH and BSIC with another BTS so far.

The request will be received by both of the BTS and will reserve the SDCCH and both BTS's will send immediate assignment to MS.But MS will accept the command only from the dominant BTS so far BTS will not receive any ack from MS.So far BTS will drop the reserved SDCCH after timer expiry of T3101.

4. Ghost random RACCH


The BTS is continuously monitoring the UL Random Access Channel slots in order to find whether or not there has been a random access from a mobile. The information contents of a random access burst are rather limited, thus it is possible the BTS detects a random access from background noise. This kind of a "ghost random access" contains a random Establishment Cause, and it is detected with a random timing advance.

There will always be a certain number of ghost accesses in the network. If the number of SDCCH seizures per site is very small, then it is possible that the majority of the accesses are ghost accesses. If this is the case, then the result will be a high failure rate, and nothing can really be done except to ignore the SDCCH Abis fail on sites where there is very little traffic. The rejection is based on the Establishment Cause. Since the Establishment Cause is random, in some cases the Establishment Causes in the ghost random accesses will not be valid.

However we can expect a random distribution of Establishment causes on ghost random accesses, thus a certain amount of ghost random accesses will contain a valid establishment cause and be granted a SDCCH. This SDCCH reservation will eventually time out and will result in failure.

5.Bursts of random accesses (HO access)


The handover access burst is exactly like a random access burst (as electromagnetic shape); the fields in the handover access burst may be interpreted as the Establishment Cause and the random reference of the Random Access burst.So the MS will receive the assignment command from far BTS but will not respond and finally far BTS will release the reserved SDCCH and considered as SDDCH drop.

6. channel activation not acknowledgement message failure


After the BSC has sent the channel activation message to the BTS, it waits for the answer; three different events may happen: The BTS sends the channel activation acknowledgement,successful case The BTS sends the channel activation not acknowledgement because of a failure The BSC doesn't receive any signal from the BTS; in this case (after the timer T9103 expires

Recommendations:-

Modify the SDCCH formula:- Remove the SDCCH fails due to Timer expiry T3101 from SDCCH abis failure counter SDCCH KPI could be improved by optimized use of cell parameters and removing the Co-BCCH and Co-BSIC problems. Lower the Rx Lev min Access in urban area. Make cell boundary less by tilting and improving coverage area. It has been observed that SDCCH failures are in the cells between location area boundaries due to high location updates.It is recommended that use cell hysteresis value high for example like 10dbm in the cells at location boundary. Also increase the periodic location update counter to lower the no of location updates.