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MOBILE RADIO Radiocommunication testers

Universal Radio Communication Tester R&S ® CMU200

Handover scenarios in
GSM systems
Modern mobile radio systems without Intracell handover channel and is able to maintain both its
previous settings for timing and the base
handover functionality are inconceiv- The easiest type of handover is intra- station parameters.
cell handover where either the physical
able. The capability to hand over a channel or the associated timeslot con- Intracell handover is also possible
figuration is changed. This may become between different GSM bands. Thus,
mobile phone from a UMTS system to necessary if the connection on a physi- a GSM cell in the 900 MHz band is
cal channel is impaired. To evaluate con- quite able to use voice channels in the
a GSM system, for example, is a basic nection quality, the mobile phone con- 1800 MHz band, which, by the way, is
tinuously transmits the measured RXLev an enormous stress factor on the mobile
prerequisite for the economic success (receive level measured by the tele- phone since it is constantly required to
phone) and RXQual (bit error ratio deter- switch the frequency bands: In addition
of UMTS. It is the only way to guar- mined) values to the base station. to the voice connection in the 1800 MHz
band, it must also cyclically analyze
antee UMTS customers full coverage If the base station wants to hand over the BCCH information in the 900 MHz
the telephone to another physical chan- band. This ”stress” on the mobile phone
from the start. nel, all it needs to do is to inform the tele- and the high performance speed make
phone about the new channel number this handover version the favoured test
and the new timeslot configuration. The method in production.
telephone changes directly to the new

FIG 1 The GSM neighbour cell list (BA list) of the R&S ® CMU 200 is user-editable. Up to FIG 2 The mobile phone cyclically determines the receive level on the RF channels listed
16 random channel numbers from any GSM band can be entered. The tester allows conve- in the neighbour cell list. The six most powerful RF channels are transmitted from the
nient and customized definition of the neighbour cells. The WCDMA neighbour cell can be mobile phone to the base station. The R&S ® CMU 200 clearly displays these measurement
defined in the 3G neighbour cell description. results of the mobile phone.

News from Rohde & Schwarz Number 180 (2003/IV)
Intercell handover Handover with the In the case of blind handover, the base
R&S®CMU200 station simply transmits the mobile
If the mobile phone moves from one phone with all relevant parameters to
cell to another during a call, it must The GSM signalling option of the the new cell. The mobile phone changes
be handed over to the new cell. If the Universal Radio Communication “blindly” to the GSM cell, i.e. it has not
neighbour cell is time-synchronous with Tester R&S ® CMU200 makes it pos- yet received any information about the
the current cell, the base station is able sible to perform intracell handover. timing there. It will first contact the
to effect a finely synchronized intercell It can use physical channels from all transmitted BCCH channel, where it tries
handover. In this case, the mobile phone GSM bands. The problem of ambig- to achieve the frequency and time syn-
is transmitted on the new physical chan- uous channel numbers in GSM1800 chronization within 800 ms. Next, it will
nel in the neighbour cell. Moreover, the and GSM1900 has also been solved switch to the handed-over physical voice
mobile phone must be informed about in the R&S ® CMU200 by implement- channel, where it will carry out the same
the vital parameters of the new cell. ing the band indicator in accordance sequence as with the non-synchronized
with the 3GPP standard. To perform intercell handover.
The mobile phone then optionally trans- neighbour cell measurements, the
mits four access bursts on the new chan- tester features user-definable lists for For the second type of handover from
nel. Compared to the normal bursts, the GSM neighbour cells (FIG 1) and WCDMA to GSM, the compressed
these are shortened which is why they for the UMTS cells. It also outputs mode is used within the WCDMA cell;
cannot cause interference with other the receive levels of the GSM neigh- in this mode, transmission and recep-
calls even if the timing is slightly incor- bour cells as measured by the mobile tion gaps occur during the transmis-
rect. If necessary, timing is corrected in a phone (FIG 2). In addition to the GSM sion between base station and mobile
next step and the call continued. intracell handover, the R&S ® CMU200 phone. During these gaps, the mobile
also features blind handover from phone can measure and analyze the
If the two cells with time offset are syn- WCDMA to GSM. nearby GSM cells. For this purpose, the
chronous, the base station will effect base station, similar to the GSM system,
a pseudo-synchronized or presynchro- provides a neighbour cell list, and the
nized intercell handover. This handover mobile phone transfers the measure-
is similar to the finely synchronized inter- ment results to the base station. The
cell handover, but differs in that the actual handover in the compressed
mobile phone is provided with informa- mode is basically analogous to blind
tion about the time offset. Usually, how- tion. Based on this information, the base handover.
ever, a non-synchronized intercell hand- station determines the point in time
over takes place. In this case, the mobile at which the mobile phone is handed There is, of course, an intersystem hand-
phone transmits up to 64 access bursts over to which cell. Changing the physi- over from GSM to WCDMA. A special
on the new channel by means of which cal channel both for the call and for the neighbour cell list for WCDMA cells
the new base station determines the BCCH information is key to intercell hand- was established in GSM to support this
timing and hands it over to the mobile over. handover.
phone. The mobile phone then reestab- Rudolf Schindlmeier
lishes the call connection with the cor-
rect timing. Intersystem handover

The base station requires the mobile If the mobile phone leaves a cell and
phone’s help in order to know the new no new cell can be found in the same
cell to hand it over to. By means of the system, the base station can hand over
neighbour cell list, the base station an appropriately equipped mobile phone
informs the mobile phone about the RF to a cell in another system. These inter-
channels for the BCCH that are used by system handovers are highly complex
the neighbour cells. The mobile phone because two technically disparate sys-
More information and data sheet at
now cyclically measures the RF level tems must be combined with each
on these channels and transmits the other. Basically, there are two handover (search term: CMU 200)
measurement results to the base sta- options from WCDMA to GSM:

News from Rohde & Schwarz Number 180 (2003/IV)