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P-CPICH Power and Antenna Tilt Optimization in UMTS Networks

Iana Siomina
Link oping University
Department of Science and Technology
SE-601 74 Norrk oping, Sweden
iansi@itn.liu.se
Abstract
Pilot power optimization in UMTS networks is a crucial
engineering issue which has received an increasing inter-
est during the last several years. In previous works, it has
been shown that the optimization approach to assigning the
P-CPICH power levels facilitates coverage control and im-
proves signicantly radio resource utilization in UMTS net-
works. Combined with optimization of radio base station
antenna tilts, this becomes a powerful tool that allows us
to signicantly reduce the total interference level in the net-
work and to improve the network capacity in a very ef-
cient way. The paper addresses the pilot power and an-
tenna tilt optimization problem and presents an efcient al-
gorithm that optimizes the antenna downtilt setting in the
network such that the total P-CPICH power is minimized.
A case study has been done for a network scenario based
on real data for the city of Lisbon. The numerical results
demonstrate that the optimized antenna tilting can give a
reduction of up to 50 % in the optimal pilot power levels.
1 Introduction
The Common Pilot Channel (CPICH) is a xed rate
downlink physical channel that carries a pre-dened
bit/symbol sequence. The function of the CPICH is to
aid the channel estimation at the terminal for the dedi-
cated channel and to provide the channel estimation refer-
ence for common channels. Normally, each cell has only
one CPICH, Primary CPICH (P-CPICH), and it is used
for broadcasting the pilot signal over the entire cell. In
some cases, a cell may have also one or several Secondary
CPICHs (S-CPICHs), for example, for serving dedicated
hot-spot areas.
The measurements of P-CPICH are used in the cell
search and handover procedures. The mobile terminals scan
for the CPICH signals continuosly and measure the Carrier-
to-Interference Ratio (CIR) of all pilot signals they can de-
tect. In order to keep a mobile referenced to a cell, the CIR
at the mobile terminal must exceed a minimum threshold at
all times. If a mobile terminal is unable to clearly receive
one dominant CPICH signal, due to interference or cover-
age problems, the result is likely to be dropped calls, failed
initiations, poor voice quality and/or poor data throughput.
Pilot power control in UMTS networks is a crucial en-
gineering issue which has received an increasing interest
during the last several years. In UMTS networks, adjust-
ing the P-CPICH power levels allows us to control the cell
sizes and the number of connected users to a cell, and to bal-
ance the trafc among the neighboring cells, which in turn
makes it possible to regulate the network load. The more
power is spent for pilot signalling, the less power is left to
serve the user trafc. Excessive pilot power can easily take
too large proportion of the total available transmit power,
so that not enough power is left for trafc channels. Due to
the interference-limited nature of UMTS networks, the pi-
lot power control becomes an even more challenging task.
The pilot power control has been previously studied in, for
example, [7, 9, 10, 11].
Radio base station antenna height, azimuth, and tilt are
the important conguration parameters that have a strong
impact on network coverage and system capacity and thus,
must be carefully planned in the topology planning phase.
The antenna conguration can be also changed in the net-
work operation and optimization phase, but these changes
require additional site visits which is expansive and there-
fore least desirable. Moreover, their effects on signal prop-
agation are difcult to model and it is very expansive to
obtain them from real measurements. From this perspec-
tive, antenna tilting is the easiest and the most practical way
of changing the antenna conguration in order to improve
network performance.
Antenna tilt is used to denote the angle of the main beam
of an antenna below the horizontal plane. The primary goal
of antenna downtilting in an UMTS network is to reduce
the other-cell interference in a cell in order to increase the
relative strength of signals from the home cell. The inter-
ference reduction increases network capacity and improves
the network performance. However, if antennas are down-
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tilted too excessively, the coverage may suffer. Moreover,
the way the antenna downtilted, i.e., in a mechanical way or
in an electrical manner, has different effects on interference
and network performance [2, 5, 6].
When using mechanical tilt, the antenna is mounted with
adjustable brackets in a way that the tilt can be adjusted on
site. Electrical tilt means an in-built tilt that lowers the ver-
tical beam in all horizontal directions. Electrical tilt can be
combined with additional mechanical tilt. The procedure of
electrical downtilting has been signicantly simplied by
introducing remote electrical tilt controllers that allow also
to avoid additional costly site visits by technical personnel.
Therefore, optimization of antenna downtilt has become a
relatively easy and inexpensive way of optimizing the net-
work performance. Combined with P-CPICH optimization,
it can give signicant capacity enhancement in UMTS net-
works and allow efcient coverage control. Thus, CPICH
power and antenna downtilt optimization can be used as a
powerful tool in network performance optimization.
In the current paper, the author presents an efcient algo-
rithm based on local search that nds an antenna tilt setting
in the network that minimizes the uniform P-CPICH power
level. The work is an extension of the research presented
in [9, 10]. The optimization of pilot power and antenna
conguration are also the important parts of the network
optimization problem in [1]. Two algorithms for adjusting
CPICH power and antenna tilts for maximizing network ca-
pacity were presented in [3, 4].
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. In
Section 2, the system model is presented. A brief descrip-
tion of the algorithm is given Section 3. In Section 4, we
present a simple lower bound estimation approach. A nu-
merical study is presented in Section 5. Finally, the conclu-
sions are drawn in Section 6.
2 System Model
Consider a UMTS network with :cells, and let I denote
the set of cells, i.e., I = {1, . . . , :}. The service area is
represented by a grid of bins with a certain resolution, and
the same signal propagation conditions across every bin are
assumed. The total number of bins is denoted by :, and the
set of all bins is denoted by J = {1, . . . , :}.
For each antenna, we dene a set of all possible an-
tenna tilt congurations. We denote this set by K =
{1, . . . , 1} and assume that the range of possible down
tilts is the same for all antennas. To describe the current
network conguration, we use a set of binary variables,
\ = {
(|)
I
, i I, / K}, dened as follows,

(|)
I
=

1 if antenna in cell i uses conguration /,


0 otherwise.
(1)
Note that for each cell, there can be chosen only one antenna
tilt conguration, i.e.,
P
|K

(|)
I
= 1, i I.
We use q
(|)
I
(0 q
(|)
I
1) to denote the
power gain between base station i that uses the /-th an-
tenna tilt conguration and bin ,. For simplicity, we
group the power gain values by antenna tilt and dene
a set of 1 matrices, one for each antenna tilt value,
G
(|)
= {q
(|)
I
, i I, , J}, / K.
Let 1
To|
I
be the total transmission power in cell i and
let 1
c11c1
I
denote the amount of power allocated to the
P-CPICH signal in this cell. Thus, 1
c11c1
I
q
(|)
I
is the
power of the received pilot signal from cell i in bin , if an-
tenna in cell i uses conguration /. Using binary variables
dened by (1), the received pilot signal from cell i in bin ,
is thus
X
|K
1
c11c1
I
q
(|)
I

(|)
I
. (2)
The strength of a pilot signal is measured by its CIR
dened as the received chip energy relative to the total re-
ceived power spectral density. We assume that a pilot signal
can be detected if and only if the CIR is not less than a given
threshold
0
. For cell i and bin ,, the CIR requirement is
therefore
X
|K
1
c11c1
I
q
(|)
I

(|)
I
X
lI
X
|K
1
To|
l
q
(|)
l

(|)
l
+ i


0
, (3)
where i

is the thermal noise power at a mobile terminal


located in bin ,.
Given a tilt setting for all antennas in the network, i.e.,
network conguration \ is known, it can be derived from
(3), that, if cell i covers bin ,, then the pilot power 1
c11c1
I
must be at least 1
I
(\ ) dened as follows,
1
I
(\ ) =
0

X
lI
X
|K
1
To|
l
q
(|)
l

(|)
l
+ i

X
|K
q
(|)
I

(|)
I
(4)
In this paper, we assume the worst-case interference sce-
nario when all base stations transmit at their maximum
transmit power level, i.e., 1
To|
I
= 1
nor
, i I. With this
assumption, (4) reads
1
I
(\ ) =
0
1
nor

1 +
X
lI
l6=I
X
|K
q
(|)
l

(|)
l
X
|K
q
(|)
I

(|)
I

+
+
0

i

X
|K
q
(|)
I

(|)
I
. (5)
To provide a service in some bin ,, the bin needs to be
covered by at least one cell. Thus, for a given congura-
tion \ , the minimum P-CPICH power needed to provide
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the service coverage in bin , is
min
II
1
I
(\ ) . (6)
Uniform pilot power is the most popular strategy used
by operators in assigning the P-CPICH transmit power lev-
els. By this strategy, all cells use the same P-CPICH power.
Considering that the total amount of pilot power in this case
is : 1
c11c1
, where 1
c11c1
is the P-CPICH power
level of each of the cells in the network, the pilot power op-
timization problem which aims to minimize the total pilot
power reduces to minimization of the uniform pilot power
level 1
c11c1
subject to a coverage constraint.
It has been shown in [9, 10] that for a given network con-
guration \ , the minimum uniform pilot power level that
guarantees full coverage of the service area can be found as
follows,
1
c11c1
= max
J
min
II
1
I
(\ ) . (7)
In [9], the authors presented also a simple algorithm that
nds the optimal uniform pilot power for a given minimum
required coverage degree.
In this paper, we address the problem of optimizing the
antenna tilt conguration in the network (\ ) in such a way
that the uniform pilot power level (1
c11c1
) is minimized
and a given service coverage degree is guaranteed. From
(5), we observe that minimizing the uniform pilot power
in the network implies minimizing the maximum other-to-
own-cell interference ratio in the network in the downlink
direction and isolating the cells.
3 A Heuristic Algorithm
To optimize the uniform pilot power level in the network
by adjusting the antenna tilts, there has been designed an
iterative heuristic algorithm based on local search. In each
iteration, the algorithmexamines the current antenna tilt set-
ting in the network and calculates the optimal uniform pilot
power level. (For a given conguration, the optimal uni-
form pilot power solution for full coverage can be found by
(7).) If the current setting gives a lower uniformpilot power
level as compared to the best among those found in previous
iterations, the result and the current conguration are saved
as the best solution. The algorithm iterates over the number
of all possible tilt congurations and changes the antenna
tilts in the network on a cell-by-cell basis.
This approach allows us to handle huge data sets in a
very efcient way. Instead of keeping in RAM all G
(|)
ma-
trices, we can calculate them in advance and then during
the optimization process we load only the one we need, i.e.,
for the current /. Thus, we have to keep in RAM only two
matrices, the one formed according the best current cong-
uration and the one with power gain values for the current
/. The described algorithm is presented below in pseudo
code.
algorithm Ti|tOjtini:otica;
// INPUT:
// n = number of cells
// a = number of bins
// 1 = number of possible tilt configurations
// G
(I)
= power gain matrix for the I-th
// configuration, I = {1, . . . , 1}
// OUTPUT:
// 1
CT1C1
= uniform pilot power level
// \ = antenna tilt setting in the network
begin

G
.
:= G
(1)
.
for all i = {1, . . . , n}, ) = {1, . . . , a};
1
CT1C1
= )iaJOjtlai)1i|ct1c&(

G);

(1)
.
:= 1 for all i = {1, . . . , n};

(r)
.
:= 0 for all i = {1, . . . , n}, v = {2, . . . , 1};
for I := 2 to 1
for i := 1 to n
begin
// Change antenna tilt in cell i
g

=

G
.
for all ) = {1, . . . , a};

G
.
= G
(I)
.
for all ) = {1, . . . , a};
// Find the optimal uniform pilot power
j = )iaJOjtlai)1i|ct1c&(

G);
if j < 1
CT1C1
then
begin
// Save the current configuration
1
CT1C1
= j;

(I)
.
:= 1;

(r)
.
:= 0 for all v = {1, . . . , 1}\I;
begin
else
// Reject the last change

G
.
= g

for all ) = {1, . . . , a};


end;
end;
4 A Lower Bound Estimation
In this section, we present a very simple approach that
allows us to compute a lower bound on the optimal uniform
pilot power level within a few seconds even for very large
networks.
From (5), we observe that for each bin , we can always
nd the best conguration from the bin perspective. This
conguration minimizes the other-to-own-cell interference
ratio, i.e., the second component in brackets in (5), giving
the following equation for the minimum pilot power in cell
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i needed to cover bin ,,
1

I
=
0
1
nor

1 +
X
lI
l6=I
min
|K
q
(|)
l
+
i

1
nor
max
|K
q
(|)
I

. (8)
Thus, for a given system model, independently on the
chosen antenna tilt setting in the network, the optimum uni-
form pilot power needed to provide full coverage cannot be
lower than max
J
min
II
1

I
. For partial coverage, the
maximum shall be taken over a subset of bins, i.e., we can
exclude those bins that require the highest pilot power.
5 A Case Study
In this section, we investigate the impact of different an-
tenna tilt settings on the total amount of pilot power and
present computational results obtained for a test network
originating from a planning scenario for the city of Lisbon.
The planning scenario was provided by the MOMENTUM
project group [8]. Table 1 and Table 2 display some net-
work characteristics and the parameter setting used in our
computational experiments, respectively.
Table 1. Network statistics.
Number of sites 60
Number of cells () 164
Number of bins () 52000
Bin size 20 m 20 m
Area size 4200 m 5000 m
Table 2. Parameter setting.
Maximum downlink transmit power (
rai
) 20 W
Maximum P-CPICH power (
rai
) 3 W
Thermal noise power () 1.55e-14 W
Minimum P-CPICH CIR (0) 0.01
Electrical tilt range [0

]
Mechanical tilt range [0

]
Table 3. Antenna characteristics.
Frequency 2110 MHz
Antenna gain 18.5 dBi
Polarization +45

Half-power beam width 65

Adjustable electrical downtilt range [0

]
We assume that antennas installed at each site in the net-
work are of the same type (Kathrein antenna, type 742265).
Table 3 presents some antenna characteristics. For each an-
tenna in the network, the azimuth is assumed to be given.
Our goal is to adjust antenna tilts such that the total amount
of pilot power in the network is minimized.
Figure 1. Isotropic path loss prediction (best
server map), [dB].
Figure 2. Path loss prediction (best server
map) for the optimized electrical tilting solu-
tion for 99% coverage, [dB].
First, we study the effect of electrical tilting (assuming
mechanical antenna tilts xed at zero) as it is the cheap-
est, but more complicated tilting method from the computa-
tional stand point and therefore, is more interesting fromthe
practical point of view. However, the presented approach
can be also used for mechanical downtilting and the combi-
nation of mechanical and electrical downtilting.
To be able to obtain the attenuation values for specic
network congurations, the attenuation has been decom-
posed into three components [1], the antenna gain, the di-
rectional loss, and the master path loss predictions com-
puted for an isotropic antenna. The antenna gain value
is known from antenna characteristics (18.5 dBi). The
isotropic predictions are given. To calculate the directional
losses for some value of antenna tilt from the given range,
we use an interpolation technique applied to the correspond-
ing antenna vertical and horizontal diagrams (available from
the antenna producer) and the topological information over
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the entire service area [1]. The nal attenuation is calcu-
lated as a sum of three values (the antenna gain value is
taken with the minus sign).
Figure 1 demonstrates the best server map for isotropic
predictions. For every bin, the color represents the smallest
loss value, in dB, among all the cells. Figure 2 shows the
attenuation predictions for the network congured accord-
ing the found solution for 99 %coverage when the electrical
tilts can vary within a given range and the mechanical tilts
are xed at zero.
Table 4 presents the computational results obtained un-
der the full coverage requirement. In the rst scenario none
of antennas in the network is titled. In the next six scenar-
ios all antennas have the same electrical downtilt. In the last
scenario, we use the optimized antenna tilt setting obtained
by the algorithm presented in Section 3. For each scenario,
we present P-CPICH power level, the total amount of pi-
lot power in the network, the percentage of bins covered
by more than one cell, and the average number of covering
cells per bin. We observe that the last scenario yields a sub-
stantial improvement over all previous scenarios. Note also
that using the same electrical downtilt for all antennas in the
network may give a worse result than that for the non-tilted
network due to the increased attenuation along the cell bor-
ders. The lower bound on the optimal uniform pilot power
for full coverage computed by the approach presented in
Section 4 is 0.5251 W.
Table 4. Uniform pilot power solutions for full
coverage (zero mechanical tilts).
El. P-CPICH power, [W] Overlapping Covering
tilt Total Per cell [%] cells per bin
0

309.94 1.8899 72.67 2.08


1

338.38 2.0633 75.72 2.18


2

325.83 1.9868 72.74 2.09


3

325.62 1.9855 68.82 2.01


4

322.97 1.9693 65.06 1.93


5

308.53 1.8813 60.16 1.82


6

309.09 1.8847 57.36 1.79


Opt 158.53 0.9666 34.29 1.36
Table 5 demonstrates the uniform pilot power solutions
obtained under the 99 % coverage requirement for the same
seven scenarios. The lower bound computed for this cov-
erage requirement is 0.3764 W. (Note, the optimized tilt
setting in the last scenario is different from that presented
in Table 4.) The last scenario gives pilot power saving of
up to 37 % of the optimal level for non-tilted network. The
statistics on the other-to-own-cell interference ratios for all
seven scenarios for both types of solutions is presented in
Table 6. Figures 3 and 4 show histograms of the optimized
electrical tilts in the solutions with the full and the 99 %
coverage requirement, respectively.
Further, we studied the effect of optimizing the mechan-
ical antenna tilt on the optimal uniform pilot power as-
Table 5. Uniformpilot power solutions for 99%
coverage (zero mechanical tilts).
El. P-CPICH power, [W] Overlapping Covering
tilt Total Per cell [%] cells per bin
0

165.50 1.0092 39.66 1.41


1

154.08 0.9395 36.04 1.36


2

141.33 0.8679 32.03 1.32


3

130.48 0.7956 26.88 1.27


4

132.82 0.8099 26.80 1.26


5

133.66 0.8150 24.28 1.24


6

136.25 0.8308 24.17 1.24


Opt 103.50 0.63112 13.30 1.12
Table 6. Statistics for the other-to-own-cell in-
terference ratios for the full and 99%coverage
solutions (zero mechanical tilts).
El. 100% coverage 99% coverage
tilt Mean Max Std. dev. Mean Max Std. dev.
0

1.05 8.45 0.90 1.01 4.04 0.81


1

0.98 9.32 0.83 0.95 3.69 0.75


2

0.87 8.93 0.76 0.84 3.31 0.70


3

0.74 8.92 0.69 0.72 2.98 0.63


4

0.68 8.84 0.68 0.65 3.05 0.62


5

0.62 8.41 0.67 0.59 3.07 0.61


6

0.61 8.42 0.69 0.58 3.15 0.62


Opt 0.59 3.83 0.62 0.55 2.15 0.49
suming the electrical tilts xed at zero. In this case, the
lower bounds for full and 99-percent coverage are 0.7310 W
and 0.4265 W, respectively. The results are summarized in
Table 7 which show the optimal uniform pilot power, the
overlapping percentage, and the average other-to-own-cell
interference ratio. The results show that in the studied test
network, changes in electrical antenna tilts have a stronger
effect on the total interference reduction in the network and
the optimal uniform pilot power than those in mechanical
antenna tilts. Nevertheless, the use of mechanical downtilt-
ing can give a further improvement if it used in addition to
electrical antenna tilt whose range, dened by antenna type,
is usually more limited.
Table 7. Uniform pilot power solutions for full
and 99% coverage (zero electrical tilts).
Mech. 100% coverage 99% coverage
tilt Pilot Overl. Mean Pilot Overl. Mean
[W] [%] [W] [%]
1

2.12 76.73 1.01 0.95 36.79 0.97


2

2.09 75.38 0.94 0.90 34.84 0.91


3

2.05 72.88 0.85 0.85 31.40 0.82


4

1.97 69.37 0.78 0.84 29.77 0.75


5

1.89 64.86 0.71 0.83 27.60 0.68


6

1.95 62.58 0.68 0.85 27.35 0.64


Opt 1.02 37.89 0.67 0.68 18.28 0.63
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0 1 2 3 4 5 6
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
ELECTRICAL TILT, [
o
]
N
U
M
B
E
R

O
F

C
E
L
L
S
Figure 3. A histogram of the optimized elec-
trical tilts in the full coverage solution.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
ELECTRICAL TILT, [
o
]
N
U
M
B
E
R

O
F

C
E
L
L
S
Figure 4. A histogram of the optimized elec-
trical tilts in the solution with 99% coverage.
6 Conclusions and Future Research
We have studied the problem of minimizing the
P-CPICH power in UMTS networks by adjusting antenna
downtilts subject to a coverage constraint. Our study shows
that solutions with optimized antenna tilts signicantly out-
perform those without tilting or the ones with uniform an-
tenna tilt setting. The reduction in the optimal uniform
CPICH power is also a sign that the downlink interference
is reduced, which means that the capacity is potentially in-
creased.
We observed that in the studied test network, the effect of
electrical tilt on interference reduction is greater than that of
mechanical tilt. Although in this paper we studied the elec-
trical and mechanical tilting separately, the results suggest
that mechanical tilt can be used in addition to electrical tilt-
ing, e.g., when a further increase of the electrical antenna
tilt is impossible.
We have considered the case when all cells use the same
amount of pilot power, but the work is planned to be ex-
tended to a more general case with adaptive pilot power,
i.e., when each cell can be assigned own pilot power level.
This topic is to be addressed in forthcoming research.
7 Acknowledgments
The author wishes to thank Di Yuan at the Department
of Science and Technology, Link oping University, Sweden,
and Fredrik Gunnarsson at Ericsson Research, Link oping,
Sweden, for the technical discussions. The group of the
MOMENTUM project is also acknowledged for providing
the test data for Lisbon [8]. This work is nanced by
CENIIT (Center for Industrial Information Technology),
Link oping Institute of Technology, Sweden.
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