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UMTS Radio Analysis White Paper

RADCOM Ltd., March 2006

Introducing: The RANalysis

The RANalysis is a multi-user application that analyzes radio behavior based on all sessions of real network traffic captured over the Iub interface. This application has an easy-to-use GUI and produces meaningful screen output and reports for troubleshooting and optimizing the RAN setup.

Problems with Radio Network Quality

In a UMTS network deployment, the radio network is the most expensive part for the service provider. This part, known as the Radio Access Network (RAN) is also the most sensitive to environmental or usage changes, such as: Topographical and urban condition changes, such as a new building built opposite the cell, which may cause the mobile users locations and traffic behavior to vary constantly Widely varying radio capacity demand, because of new users or newly launched services

The optimization of the RAN is an ongoing challenge, with the Service Provider making every effort to correct the radio interruptions and failures. As soon as the network becomes commercial and is loaded with real traffic, problematic issues may be identified that are a direct result of low-quality planning due to: A UMTS network planned by GSM planners High sites, used to increase coverage and speed up the implementation process, cause pilot pollution and interference Financially driven antenna strategies that lead to poor 2G site reuse Tight rollout schedules Immature technology (compared to GSM) Default parameters that are not always optimal

Those issues resulting from the network planning and installation will cause radio problems that should be identified and fixed in order to avoid low quality of service.

RANalysis: UMTS Radio Analysis White Paper

Challenges of Optimization
Each cellular service provider has a radio-optimization group that deals with the daily task of tuning the RAN to support subscribers needs. They should focus on three particularly important optimization challenges for the UMTS cell sites:

Traffic load balancing

The fundamental problem of traffic loading is that cellular traffic is distributed unevenly among different geographical areas of the network. In fact, even within cells, traffic tends to be distributed unevenly among the sectors. Such imbalance has the effect of tying up network capacity in underutilized sectors while causing blocking problems in the most heavily used sectors. Balancing the traffic load among the sectors of a cell relieves the blocking and creates space for traffic growth. A targeted traffic load-balancing strategy allows more traffic growth and more efficient use of infrastructure and spectrum across the entire network.

Handover overhead management

Another aspect of WCDMA optimization that directly affects cell site capacity is the management of handover overhead. The soft/softer handover feature of the WCDMA air interface improves the quality and reliability of WCDMA calls. However, because a given mobile may be in contact with two or more cells or sectors at any given time, soft/softer handover implies a significant cost in capacity. After measuring the pilot strength in the area, the size of handover zones within the cell footprint should be decreased. Handover zones should be shifted from high-traffic areas to low-traffic areas.

Interference control
Interference directly limits capacity of WCDMA cell sites. One of the biggest interference problems in WCDMA networks is pilot pollution. Pilot pollution is often caused by highelevation sites with RF coverage footprints much larger than normal. The solution is to reduce the size of the coverage footprint. This can be accomplished by reducing the elevation of offending antennas, introducing downtilt, or reducing the transmitted power.

RANalysis: UMTS Radio Analysis White Paper

Common Problems Found by the RANalysis

Missing neighbours: 3G-3G, 3G-2G and 2G-3G Incorrect antenna adjustments: Azimuths, tilts, (heights) Non-optimal parameters: Intersystem HO, power control, etc. Interference problems: Pilot pollution Insufficient pilot coverage: Coverage gaps; Overlapping coverage (interference)

The better and more accurately the traffic can be collected and analyzed, the quicker and more efficiently (cost, quality, etc.) the radio network can be optimized.

Benefits of the RANalysis

Radio engineers find the RANalysis a most useful application, since it analyzes the networks radio data and: Provides full RAN statistics, which are used to improve the Coverage, Capacity and QoS of numerous network cells simultaneously; Saves drive-testing resources, by pointing to the specific cell that needs to be optimized.

The RANalysis is most valuable for UMTS radio-optimization engineers because of its support of the ongoing RAN optimization process. The application provides information that points to problematic cells, thus increasing the efficiency of the drive-test and eliminating the need for extra RAN resources. This in turn dramatically saves capital and operating expenses.

RANalysis: UMTS Radio Analysis White Paper