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I-HSPA overview

I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

Table of Contents:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Network Architecture before I-HSPA.................................................................. 4


I-HSPA Step 1: Collapsed RNC/BTS ................................................................. 8
I-HSPA Step 2: Direct Tunnel Solution ............................................................ 10
I-HSPA Transport Solution .............................................................................. 12
I-HSPA and Mobility Management ................................................................... 13
I-HSPA and Security........................................................................................ 15
I-HSPA and Quality of Service (QoS) .............................................................. 17
Capacity Options ............................................................................................. 18
Exercise .......................................................................................................... 19

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

Network Architecture before I-HSPA

Before starting to investigate the I-HSPA network architecture, let us first examine
the generic architecture of a 3G network.
Please move your mouse pointer over the network elements RNC, SGSN, GGSN,
MSC, and SAS for a short description.
Note also the following interfaces: Iub, Iur, Iu-PS, Iu-CS, Iu-PC, and Gn.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

I-HSPA Step 1: Collapsed RNC/BTS

The basic idea in the I-HSPA solution is to move the packet-switched functions of the
RNC to an I-HSPA adapter unit added to the BTS. Consequently, a separate RNC is
not needed any more as far as packet-switched traffic is concerned. Also, the Iub
interface is fully removed from the network.
This architecture is called flat RAN architecture or collapsed architecture in 3GPP
technical report 25.999.
Note that there are no changes at the air interface. In other words any terminal that
supports the 3GPP release 5 specifications can be used in an I-HSPA network.
In I-HSPA, the radio resource control (RRC) and radio link control (RLC) protocols
are terminated in the I-HSPA BTS. As a result, the round trip time (RTT) in the user
plane is reduced compared to the case where the protocols are terminated in the
RNC. Also, I-HSPA reduces the connection setup delay due to the direct signalling
between the BTS and SGSN.
Very large I-HSPA networks with more than 4095 I-HSPA base stations require that
the length of the RNC identifier is increased from 12 bits to 16 bits as specified in
3GPP release 7. After this change, up to 65536 I-HSPA BTS nodes can be deployed
in a single I-HSPA network.
If communication with the circuit-switched core network is required, that is, the user
wishes to make or receive circuit-switched calls, the I-HSPA BTS must also support
the Iu-CS signalling interface over which paging and hard handover signalling takes
place.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

I-HSPA Step 2: Direct Tunnel Solution

In the I-HSPA solution it is also possible to implement a direct GTP tunnel between
the I-HSPA adapter and the GGSN for carrying the user plane traffic. The signalling
in the control plane takes place via the SGSN as before.
The flat packet core network architecture obtained in this way is specified in 3GPP
Release 7 standards.
The SGSN controls the establishment of the direct tunnels, in other words it provides
the I-HSPA adapter with the tunnel endpoint identifier and IP address of the GGSN
and the GGSN with the tunnel endpoint identifier and IP address of the I-HSPA
adapter. The detailed tunnel establishment procedures are specified in 3GPP
technical specification 29.060. As before, the SGSN also performs various mobility
management tasks, and may perform security functions and access control tasks.
The direct tunnel solution offers high bitrates in a very cost efficient manner and
furthermore reduces the round trip time (RTT) in the user plane.
It is not mandatory to employ the direct tunnel solution in I-HSPA. However, if the
direct tunnel solution is not used, that is, the user plane traffic is routed via the
SGSN, upgrading of the SGSN user plane capacity needs to be considered.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

I-HSPA Transport Solution

According to the original 3GPP standards, all control plane and user plane traffic in
the radio access network is carried over ATM. As an example, the figure shows the
control plane protocol stack at the Iu interface.
As a newer option, it is possible to replace the signalling system number 7 (SS7)
based transport protocols with the IP-over-ATM (IPoA) based transport solution
including the Sigtran protocols SCTP and M3UA.
In an I-HSPA network, the interfaces are all based on IP transport, both in the control
plane and user plane. The figure shows the control plane protocol stack at the Iu
interface and the user plane protocol stack at the Gn interface, where it is assumed
that a direct tunnel exists between the I-HSPA BTS and the GGSN.
Note the IP-over-Ethernet solution, where IP packets are directly carried within
Ethernet frames without first being split up into ATM cells. Direct IP-over-Ethernet
transport is also employed at the Iur interface between two I-HSPA adapters.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

I-HSPA and Mobility Management

I-HSPA supports softer handovers within a single base station and soft handovers
between two base stations, provided the Iur interface exists between the I-HSPA
adapters.
To be more specific, the soft or softer handover is implemented for the associated
dedicated channel (DCH) in the case of HSDPA, and the enhanced dedicated
channel (E-DCH) in the case of HSUPA. Remember that the high speed downlink
shared channel (HS-DSCH) in HSDPA does not support soft or softer handovers.
If the Iur interface does not exist, the inter-I-HSPA handover is always a hard
handover.
Between the I-HSPA network and a WCDMA 3G or GSM 2G network, only hard
handovers are possible. The reason for this is that the Iur interface between an IHSPA adapter and stand-alone RNC is not yet available in I-HSPA release 1.
When the UE requests a circuit-switched service, the I-HSPA system hands over the
UE to a traditional 3G or 2G network. Also mobile terminated calls are possible,
provided the Iu-CS interface is available for signalling between the I-HSPA BTS and
the circuit-switched core network.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

I-HSPA and Security

I-HSPA implements the latest 3GPP security standards for securing the traffic over
the air interface. The 3GPP specified ciphering over the air interface is terminated in
the I-HSPA adapter.
Between the I-HSPA adapter and the packet-switched core network, the transport is
optionally secured using IPSec. In the packet core, the IPSec protection is terminated
in the security gateway - if there is such a separate network element - or in the
GGSN in the case of user plane traffic and the SGSN in the case of control plane
signalling.
In the I-HSPA adapter, the 3GPP and IPSec ciphering and deciphering takes place
within a secure domain, for instance a single processor, to prevent eavesdropping.
The I-HSPA BTS is authenticated with a digital X.509 certificate to protect against
attackers masquerading as legitimate base stations.
Finally, centralised user password management enforces regular password updates.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

I-HSPA and Quality of Service (QoS)

Quality of service (QoS) in I-HSPA basically means that voice-over-IP (VoIP) traffic is
prioritised over other traffic in order to minimise the VoIP packet end-to-end delay in
the network.
There are several ways of implementing QoS in an I-HSPA network:
Over the air interface, the scheduling priority indicator (SPI) can be used by the
HSPA packet scheduler in the I-HSPA BTS to prioritise VoIP flows relative to other
flows. This functionality will be introduced in I-HSPA release 2.
Admission control in the I-HSPA BTS takes into account the allocation and retention
priority (ARP), which determines the VoIP bearer priority relative to other UMTS
bearers.
In IP transport networks, the differentiated services (DiffServ) QoS mechanism can
be used, where the priority class is indicated in the 8-bit type of service field within
the IP header of each packet. The routers in the IP network then utilise this
information when routing the packets through the network to their destination.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

Capacity Options

There are several I-HSPA capacity options, where each option offers a specific
HSPA uplink and downlink capacity.
The capacity of the I-HSPA adapter is defined by the adapter-specific capacity
licence.
The capacity licence sets a limit on the downlink traffic. If the average downlink data
rate per second exceeds this capacity limit, packets are dropped.
The uplink capacity limit is equal to the downlink limit divided by three.

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I-HSPA overview I-HSPA Architecture

Exercise

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