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Definitions :-

CSFB (Circuit Switched Fallback):- is a functionality specified by 3GPP to provide legacy circuit
switched services (like voice, SMS, call independent supplementary services, location services, ...) for
LTE UEs when they are attached in LTE coverage.

This is achieved by falling back to GERAN or UTRAN in case those services are requested.
The CSFB functionality needs to be implemented in the UE, the E-UTRAN, the EPC (MME), the
MSS/VLR, the HLR (in case of MTRR, MTRF).
To support moving back from GERAN/UTRAN to LTE functionality in GERAN/UTRAN is required.

Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB):-


Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) for a UE in LTE coverage towards legacy GSM or WCDMA.

5. Page response and call setup


over GSM or WCDMA
B
Nc /
Abis / Iub A / IuCS Nb
Um / Uu
BTS BSC
NodeB RNC MSS

GSM / WCDMA Gb /
IuPS
SGs
Paging

1. Incoming call to the subscriber


4. UE fall back
currently attached over LTE.
to GSM or
Paging in LTE via SGs.
WCDMA S3
SGSN

RAT ng MME 2. MME orders the UE to


gi
change Pa release from LTE and
S4 S11 execute CSFB
S1-MME
e-Uu
in g
Pag Internet
S1-U S&P SGi
eNodeB GW
A 3. eNodeB orders the UE to release from LTE to a target
LTE
frequency and RAT using the RRC Connection Release
with Redirect message

6. UE reselects an LTE cell after call completion, time


staying in GSM/WCDMA is implementation dependent

Figure 1 CSFB for MT call

In CSFB, upon a voice call origination attempt or when receiving a page for CS voice
(via SGs interface), the UE is moved to UMTS/GSM and the voice is sent over one of
these access networks. The page response is sent over the new RAT on the Iu or A
interface. The UE will return to LTE after call completion if LTE is preferred and
coverage exists.
The CSFB function is only possible to realize in areas where E-UTRAN coverage is overlapped with GSM
and WCDMA coverage

CSFB will allow retaining current roaming relationships between operators, since CS voice is still used.
CSFB Implementation Alternatives
There are 2 main CSFB procedures:

RRC Release with Redirect

Basic CSFB: without target RAN System Information (SI)

Enhanced CSFB:

o Deferred Measurement Control Reading (WCDMA)

o SI exchange based on 3GPP RIM procedures (GSM


and WCDMA)

PSHO (Packet Switched Handover)

Depending on the CSFB procedure different network elements are affected and different CSFB
performance can be achieved, which is shown in the following sections.

Basic RRC release with redirect without SI exchange


The basic CSFB option is RRC Release with Redirect without SI exchange between WCDMA/GSM and
LTE RAN. The impacted nodes are indicated by the CSFB in the circle.
B
CSFB Nc /
Abis / Iub A / IuCS Nb
Um / Uu
BTS BSC
A NodeB RNC MSS

GSM / WCDMA Gb /
IuPS
SGs

S3
SGSN CSFB

RAT MME
change
S4 S11

CSFB S1-MME

e-Uu
Internet
CSFB
S1-U S&P SGi
eNodeB GW
CSFB A
phone LTE

Impact: UE, eNB, MME and MSC


Characteristics:
CS: ~1.5s (UTRAN) / ~2.5s (GERAN) higher call setup time
PS: stop in non-DTM GERAN or RAU to establish PS bearers (5-6s)

Figure 2 Basic CSFB with RRC Connection Release & Redirect

Impacted nodes are UE, eNB, MME and MSC. No impact exists for GSM or WCDMA, which
consequently does not require a rollout of new software in the legacy radio network. In an MSC pool
environment only few MSCs need to support SGs, as each MSC serve all LAs of the pool.
Main characteristics:

Slower call set-up time because SI needs to be fetched by the UE in the


target RAN

Longer PS outage time for WCDMA or DTM GSM as no PSHO is


performed

E2e Functionality already available. Basic CSFB supported from: MSC-S 12A, MME 2011A and L11 B
(LTE Radio).
Enhanced RRC release with redirect, Deferred Measurement Control Reading (DMCR)
procedures (WCDMA)

The DMCR feature avoids reading specific SIBs with information that can be received at another
occasion. The maximum time for reading system information without this indication is 1280ms .

B
DMCR CSFB Nc /
Iub IuCS Nb

A NodeB RNC MSS

WCDMA IuPS
SGs

S3
SGSN CSFB
UE reads only
essential SIB
RAT MME
change
S4 S11

CSFB S1-MME

e-Uu
Internet
CSFB
S1-U S&P SGi
eNodeB GW
CSFB A
phone LTE

Impact: RNC + basic CSFB (First CSFB UE support DMCR by default)


Characteristics:
CS: ~0.8s higher call setup time for UTRAN
PS: stop in non-DTM GERAN or RAU to establish PS bearers (5-6s)

Figure 3 CSFB with Deferred Measurement Control Reading (WCDMA)

in RNC Additional Nodes impacted: DMCR support


Additional Network Impact: DMCR to be rolled out in RNC
Benefit: faster call set-up times compared to the non enhanced solution.

Enhanced RRC release with redirect, automatic system info exchange with RIM (GSM &
WCDMA)
The standardized RIM procedures allow the transfer of SI from GSM or WCDMA to LTE. This requires
additional impact on the total network. RIM needs to be rolled-out in the source and target RAN as well as
for SGSN and MME. SGSN and MME will be needed to route the RIM container to the correct target
node.

B
RIM CSFB Nc /
Abis A Nb

A BTS BSC MSS

GSM Gb
SGs
RIM
UE receives from
eNB to which
RAT to tune S3 RIM
SGSN CSFB

with additional
cell list and
RAT system MME
change information
S4 S11

RIM CSFB S1-MME

e-Uu
Internet
CSFB
S1-U S&P SGi
eNodeB GW
CSFB A
phone LTE

Impact: BSC (RNC), SGSN, MME, eNB + basic CSFB


Characteristics:
CS: ~0.5s higher call setup time
PS: stop in non-DTM GERAN or RAU to establish PS bearers (5-6s)

Figure 4 CSFB with Automatic system info exchange with RIM (GSM &
WCDMA)

Additional Nodes impacted: RIM support in BSC/RNC, eNB, SGSN and MME
Additional Network Impact: RIM to be rolled out in RAN and PCN
Benefit: faster call set-up times compared to the non enhanced solution.
E2e Functionality available in Q2 2012. On top of basic CSFB, RIM support in GSM, WCDMA and LTE
radio is planned for: G12A (GSM Radio), W12B (WCDMA Radio), L12B (LTE Radio). RIM support in
MME-SGSN is already available from MME-SGSN 2011B

PS Handover between LTE and WCDMA for CSFB


An alternative option to the RRC release is a CSFB based on PSHO. Here the PS bearer is prepared first
in the target cell before CSFB takes place. The benefit is a shorter PS service interruption time.
B
PS HO CSFB Nc /
Abis A Nb

A Nodeb RNC MSS

WCDMA Gb
SGs
PS HO
UE receives from
eNB to which
RAT to tune S3 PS HO
SGSN CSFB

with additional
cell list and
RAT system MME
change information
S4 S11

PS HO CSFB S1-MME

e-Uu
Internet
CSFB
S1-U S&P SGi
eNodeB GW
CSFB A
phone LTE

Impact: RNC, SGSN, MME, eNB + basic CSFB


Characteristics:
CS: ~0.5s higher call setup time
PS: ~0.2s PS interruption in WCDMA

Figure 5 CSFB with PS HO(WCDMA)

Additional node impact: Support of PSHO with CSFB from LTE to WCDMA
Benefit: Shorter PS outage time.
E2e Functionality available in Q2 2012. On top of basic CSFB, PS HO support in WCDMA and LTE radio
is planned for: W12B (WCDMA Radio) and L13 (LTE Radio). PS HO support in MME-SGSN is already
available from MME-SGSN 2011B (S3 based).

Steering of CSFB calls to a prioritized target RAT and frequency


The eNB can send the UE back to GSM or WCDMA depending on the operator setting of the preferred
target RAT (with highest priority). An RRC Release wit

Redirect will always be performed to a specific RAT and frequency (not to cell).
It should be noted that the eNB cannot include a list of allowed cells in the CSFB RRC Release with
Redirect, to enssure that CSFB calls will be steered to GSM/WCDMA cells belonging to the right MSC
(where the subscriber is registered in).
It should also be noted that in case the UE does not support target RAT or the LTE cell has not full
overlay in target RAT, the lower priority RAT will be chosen. If the network has different MSCs for the
different RATs then the call will fail unless we have MTRF or MTRR functionality deployed .

Umbrella Cells
GSM/WCDMA umbrella cells can increase probability that all LTE-border cells are completely covered by
cells from the correct MSC (registered MSC). The UE might select these umbrella cells if the signal
strength is better than the signal of the other cells. However cell selection is up to the UE and it is not
guaranteed that umbrella cell will be chosen.

MSC with Dual Access


Deployment of dual access MSC will reduce the need for MTRF/MTRR when the UE selects the lower
priority RAT.

MSC in Pool
With MSC pool all MSCs serve all LA within the pool (prerequisite is that all RNC and BSC are pool aware
or the pool proxy functionality is activated in the M-MGW).
The areas where MTRF/MTRR would be required are limited to the pool border areas. Border areas are
typically located between regions in low dense areas where large GSM cells are used. It much more likely
that the GSM and LTE cells would be aligned at these MSC pool borders, so the need of MTRF/MTRR
will affect a lower number of calls.
Also, the SGs-interface can be implemented in one or a few number of MSCs in initial migration steps
and then SGs in more MSCs can be added when more capacity is needed .

Mobile Terminating Roaming Forwarding


MT Roaming Forwarding (MTRF) will allow that the MSC/VLR where the UE is registered to route the call
further to the MSC where the UE has fallen back to. The probability is higher that this use case occurs if
no MSC pool is deployed (at MSC borders) or when MSC pool is deployed it can occur as MSC pool
border areas. MTRF functionality impacts only in MSC.

Additional delay has to be added for an inter-MSC roaming forwarding procedure (2-6 seconds).

MTRF is recommended over MTRR for the following reasons:

Shorter call setup times:-MTRF solution forwards the call directly between the
concerned VMSCs. MTRR solution sends the call back from the VMSC to the
GMSC which then makes a second interrogation to the HLR. Extra routing and
interrogation, longer call setup process especially for international call cases.

Better suited for multi-vendor and inter-operator scenarios:- MTRF can


be implemented in the visited network only. MTRR must be implemented in
the VMSC, GMSC and HLR layers. With MTRR for CSFB all roaming
agreements need to be revised and checked in order to assure that the
function will work e2e.
Less signaling traffic

Optimization of Call Set up Delay


Basic CSFB (RRC Release with Redirect) will prolong the call setup time. Comparing the call in classic
GSM with a CSBF call we can identify some extra interfaces and procedures as shown in the diagram
below.

Classic CS call setup in GSM CS Fallback call setup


MSC GSM UE MSC MME LTE GSM UE

Page Page
Page Page
Page
Page response
Extended service request
Release
Release
Cell change
Call setup Read SI
Page response

RAN information mgmnt (RIM)


Apprx. 1.5s addition in 3G - 1.2s improvementCall
for setup
3G
- 2.0s improvement for 2G
Apprx. 2.5s addition in 2G
Deferred measurement control reading (DMCR)
- 0.7s improvement for 3G

Figure 6 Call set up time comparison: normal GSM call vs CSFB call
The theoretical additions are 1.5 seconds for fallback to WCDMA and around 2.5 seconds to GSM.
The key contributor to the additional CSFB call setup time is the reading of system information (SI) in the
new cell, and therefore, optimization methods address the reduction of the SI reading time .

The 2 main optimization mechanisms for enhanced CSCFB are:

Deferred Measurement Control Reading (WCDMA)

SI exchange based on 3GPP RIM procedures (GSM and WCDMA)

Deferred Measurement Control Reading:-


This feature avoids reading SIBs with information that can be received at another occasion. Such
information is included in SIB11 and 12. The SIB 11 includes measurement control and neighbouring cell
list. As soon as a call is setup in Ericsson WCDMA, intra frequency measurements are started and the
information in SIB11 information is retransmitted to the UE. The information in SIB12 regards traffic
volume measurements and is only used in CELL_FACH, where SIB12 may also be read.
To tell the UE to skip reading SIB11 and 12 an indication is needed in SIB3, stating that this WCDMA
network supports Deferred Measurement Control Reading. The maximum time for reading system
information without this indication is 1280ms; omitting SIB11 and 12 would decrease this worst case time
to 640ms.
As indicated in previous answer WCDMA support of this feature is planned for W12B (WCDMA RAN). No
impact in other areas of the network.

SI exchange based on 3GPP RIM procedures:-


This feature introduces the transfer of the relevant System Information from GSM to LTE via the packet
core network.

The procedures are illustrated in the diagram below:

1. eNodeB requests System Information


(SI) for the overlapping GSM/WCDMA
cells via the packet core network.

2. SI request/response
relayed by the MME

eNodeB S1 MME
LTE

5. eNodeB provides
S3
SI to UE at CSFB.

RBS A-bis BSC Gb


NodeB RNC SGSN 3. SI request/response
Iub IuPS
GSM / WCDMA relayed by the SGSN

6. UE do not need to read 4. BSC/RNC provides SI based on


SI in GSM / WCDMA regular intervals (requests) or when
=> Faster call setup ! ever the configuration is changed.

Figure7 RIM procedures to transfer SI information


By making the GSM/WCDMA system information available to the eNB it is possible to reduce the setup
times necessary for the CSFB by allowing the eNB to transmit this information to the UE in the Release
with Redirect message so that the UEs dont have to retrieve this information from the target RAT.
It is important for CSFB that the target IRAT system information is correct since faulty system information
would cause the UE to return back to LTE, thus causing the CSFB to fail. So in order for this approach to
work there must be a reliable system information delivery mechanism that makes it possible for the eNB
to always have correct system information.
This can e.g. be done by the 3GPP specified RIM procedures. This would enable the eNB to supply the
correct system information to the UE and this would enable the UE to access the target RAT without
having to read the target system information and be able to access the target RAT more quickly. RIM
procedures require support in the eNB, MME, SGSN and RNC/BSC. The RNC/BSC is responsible for
creating and distributing the system information to the eNB and the MME/SGSN are responsible for
routing the RIM.
On top of basic CSFB, RIM support in GSM, WCDMA and LTE radio is planned

Optimization of call success rate


Call success rate, MSC load and overall CSFB performance are optimized by the use of the
Network Design Recommendations explained in the previous answer:

Steering of CSFB calls to a prioritized target RAT and frequency

Umbrella Cells

MSC with Dual Access

MSC in Pool

Mobile Terminating Roaming Forwarding


It is important to highlight that Dual Access MSC and MSC in Pool features will minimize the number of
calls where MTRF or MTRR would be needed, eliminating the additional call set up time caused by these
procedures (additional 2 to 10 seconds for MTRR) and reducing signalling load over MSCs.

Optimization of E-UTRAN return time


Fast Return to LTE (GSM)
This feature enables a faster re-selection to LTE at TCH/SDCCH release, i.e. when a service over a CS
connection is terminated.
In case of DTM operation, when the CS connection of the DTM operation is released then the UE will
automatically drop the PS connection. This means that the UE will obey the redirection information if
provided at TCH release. Hence the behaviour is very similar to the ordinary case of a plain CS
connection release.

Idle Mode Cell Reselection (WCDMA)


When the CS call is ended the UE will return to LTE by the WCDMA feature Idle Mode Cell Reselection,
provided that it has no active PS connection

If the UE has an active PS connection in Cell_DCH or Cell_FACH in WCDMA it will stay there as long as
there is an ongoing communication. When the PS connection becomes inactive the UE goes to
URA_PCH or Idle and returns to LTE by Idle Mode Cell Reselection, given that LTE has been set as the
preferred RAT in the broadcast information in WCDMA.
CSFB from LTE to 1X-CDMA:-

The following figure provides an overview of the high level architecture as defined in the CSFB standards.

1xCS
CSFB 1xRTT CS A1 1xRTT
UE Access MSC
A1

1xCS IWS

S102
MME

S1-MME S11
1x CS
1xCS Serving/PDN SGi
E-UTRAN
CSFB GW
UE S1-U EPC

Tunnelled 1xRTT messages

In Ericsson solution, the IWS is collocated with the MSC, thus the A1 interface between MSC and IWS is
an internal interface.
The S102 interface is between the IWS and MME and is the connection between 1x CDMA and LTE.
Control messaging for mobile originated and terminated 1x CDMA call setups use this interface to reach
the UE over EPS while its camping on LTE. The eCSFB procedure re-directs the UE to tune to the 1x
RTT access network in order to proceed with the 1x RTT call setup procedures, illustrated by the upwards
vertical arrow in the figure

Basic CSFB, RRC Release with Redirect :-

This initial deployment of the CSFB solution. Pre-registration and SMS Origination and Termination occur
entirely over the S102 tunnel. Voice calls have the following behavior :

Mobile Originated calls: The mobile recognizes an attempt by the user


to originate a voice call. It proceeds to suspend any current LTE data
session and then immediately begins tuning to CDMA (falling back),
attaching and using normal CDMA procedures to originate a voice call.
Note that this does not require any messaging across S102 or
involvement of the IWS.

Mobile Terminated calls: The MSC recognizes that to page the mobile,
it must do so via the IWS, rather than a normal BSC (as a result of pre-
registration data). The page is delivered to the MME via the S102 tunnel
and subsequently to the eNB and the UE. The UE proceeds to suspend
any current LTE data session and then immediately begins tuning to
CDMA (falling back), attaching and using normal CDMA procedures to
respond to the page and accept the incoming call. The IWS is only
involved in delivering the page message. No other messaging goes
across the S102 link.
Characteristics:

Slower call set-up time because System Information needs to be


fetched by the UE in the target RAN before call setup procedures
can continue.