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WCDMA Channels &

Channel switching
WCDMA Protocol stack OR WCDMA OSI model
Physical channels
Logical channels
(What is transmitted)
Transport channels
(How it is transmitted)
Radio Resource Control (RRC)
Physical Layer
Medium Access Control (MAC)
OSI reference model
Protocol Set of certain basic rules
WCDMA protocol stack is based on OSI (open system interconnection)
reference model
OSI reference model ,developed by ISO, is a set of seven layers.
Each of this layer performs certain tasks on the data to make it travel
from one device to another over a network. These tasks at each layer,
prepare it for the next layer.
- Layer 7: Application - This is the layer that actually interacts with
the user. For example if the user chooses to transfer files or read
messages , application layer interfaces with the operating system.
- Layer 6: Presentation - Layer 6 takes the data provided by the
Application layer and converts it into a standard format that the
other layers can understand.
- Layer 5: Session - Layer 5 establishes, maintains and ends
communication with the receiving device.

Layer 4: Transport - This layer maintains flow control of data ,
means that if data is coming from more than one application ,
transport layer integrates it into a single stream for the physical
network. It also provides error checking and recovery of data
between the devices.
Layer 3: Network This layer determines the way that the data will
be sent to the recipient. Logical protocols, routing and addressing are
handled here.
Layer 2: Data - This layer assigns the physical protocol to the data.
Also, defines the type of network and the packet sequencing.
Layer 1: Physical - This is the level of the actual hardware. It defines
the physical characteristics such as connections, voltage levels and
For WCDMA the lower 3 layers are most important:
Layer 1: Physical layer- This layer is responsible for transporting data
across the available physical path (radio link). Main jobs of physical layer
are :
1. Forward error correction(FEC)
2. Interleaving
3. Transport channel multiplexing
4. Channel quality measurements
5. Synchronization
6. Spreading , scrambling, modulation

According to the 3GPP WCDMA specs, the physical layer has 2 interfaces to
the higher layers-

1. To the data link layer (which is situated directly above the
physical layer),with which data is exchanged in the form of transport
blocks on transport channels. The transport blocks contain the user
data and control data which are exchanged via the radio channel
between the base station and UE.

2. The physical layer also has a direct communications interface to
the part of the layer which is responsible for managing the radio
resources i.e. the RRC(Radio resource control).Using this interface ,
the RRC directly controls the work of the physical layer. And vice
versa, the physical layer directly transmits information about the
current channel quality to the RRC, based on which RRC undertake
suitable measures in case the connection quality drops.

Some important measurements which physical layer must perform and report to
RRC are :
Measurement Explanation Mode Evaluation
CPICH Ec/No Energy per chip/ RSSI Idle / Connected Periodic Or Upon Request
CPICH RSCP Received Signal Code
Idle / Connected

Periodic Or Upon Request

RSSI Received Signal Strength
Connected Periodic Or Upon Request

TrCh BLER Estimate of BLER on Rx
Transport channel

Periodic Or Upon Request

UE TX Pwr UE Transmit power Connected

Periodic Or Upon Request

Layer 2 : Data link layer It is the upper neighbor of the physical
layer. 3GPP divides it into the radio link control (RLC) and the
medium access control(MAC) layer. It delivers data block by block to
layer 1 via transport channels (or fetches the data when receiving).

In the other direction, layer 2 communicates with the adjoining
network layer via Logical channels.

The RLC and MAC layers have the following essential functions:
- 1. Mapping of logical channels on transport channels
- 2. Selection of the transport format based on current needs
- 3. Data encryption
- 4. Error protection as a function of the desired QOS
- 5. Acknowledgement of data blocks and requests for retransmission in case of

Layer 3 : Network Layer(RRC Layer): RRC layer is directly above the
layer 2 and is responsible for radio resource control. The main RRC
tasks include :
1. Broadcasting of system information
2. Establishment and clear down a RRC connection
3. Management of radio connections
4. Cell selection in IDLE mode
5. Querying and evaluation of physical layer measurements

Channels are simply a tool for specifying and describing the various
communication and data related services. Various type of data is
exchanged between UE and base station over the radio channel. To
characterize this different type of data , we refer to different channels.

There are 3 different types of channels in WCDMA

1. Logical channels : Used for communication between Layer 3
(RRC) & Layer 2 (RLC/MAC). Depending on the information
content ,logical channels are characterized into traffic & Control

Control Channel (Signaling)
Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH)
Paging Control Channel (PCCH)
Dedicated Control Channel (DCCH)
Common Control Channel (CCCH)
Traffic Channel
(User Data)
Dedicated Traffic
Common Traffic
Channel (CTCH)
Broadcast control channel ( BCCH) : Point to multipoint ,DL
It is a broadcasting channel that supplies all the UEs with basic cell
and network parameters(eg. Frequency lists , code lists etc).
Paging control channel(PCCH) : Point to multipoint ,DL
It transports paging information.
All the UEs are required to regularly read the information on the
BCCH and on the PCCH
Dedicated control channel (DCCH) : Point to point ,UL/DL
DCCH is provided in parallel to a DTCH for point to point signaling
during an active connection
Common control channel ( CCCH) : Point to multipoint ,UL/DL
It enables access by a UE to the UTRAN

Control channels:
Dedicated traffic channel (DTCH): Point to point ,UL/DL
DTCH is used to transport user data from Node B to a specific UE
and vice versa. This means it is dedicated to a specific subscriber
Common traffic channel (CTCH) : Point to multipoint ,DL
It transfers dedicated user information for all , or a group of specified
Characterizes HOW data is transported over the air interface . Each
transport channel is accompanied by the Transport format
indicator(TFI). The physical layer combines the TFI information of
different transport channels to the Transport format combination
It is not necessary to transmit the TFCI for fixed data rates.
Organize & Pack data from different services from the higher layers
for suitable transportation
Unpack incoming data and sort for delivery to upper layers
Offers flexible data speeds and channel encoding Efficient usage
of radio resources

Transport Channels:
DCH (Dedicated Channel) Bi-directional channel for transporting both dedicated user and
control data; carries DTCH & DCCH.DCH is characterized by fast
data rate change on a frame by frame basis.
BCH (Broadcast Channel) Downlink; Transports BCCH to UE; Always transmitted using the
same transport format in entire cell
FACH (Forward Access Channel) Downlink; Transports small amount of data from
BCCH/CCCH/DCCH/CTCH to either a specific UE or over the
entire cell
PCH (Paging Channel) Downlink; Transports data from PCCH to UE over entire cell
RACH (Random Access Channel) Uplink; Used by UE for initial access to UTRAN
CPCH (Common Packet Channel) Uplink; Used by UE to send packet data to UTRAN
DSCH (Downlink Shared Channel) With DSCH, user may be allocated different data rates,For example:
384kbps with SF 8and 192kbps with SF16.DSCH may be mapped
to a multicode case,Ex-3channelisation codes with spreading factor
4 provide a DSCH with 2 MBPS.
Dedicated Transport Channel
Common Transport Channel
Mapping Logical To Transport Channels
In The UE
In The Node B
Physical Channels :
By varying the SF, physical layer matches transmission rate
to the current transport channel data.

Actual data transmission over the air

Mapping Transport To Physical Channels
Description Spreading
Factor /
CPICH Common CPICH Channel Downlink Reference channel for estimation of received signal strength & quality; Fixed bit
pattern which is stored in Physical layer; Determines coverage of a cell
256 / 0
P-CCPCH Primary Common Control
Physical Channel
Downlink Responsible for transmitting BCCH logical channel within the cell; Every UE
knows this and can decode system information as soon as it acquires the SC
256 / 1
S-CCPCH Secondary Common Control
Physical Channel

Downlink 1) Carries Paging data to UE for incoming call
2) FACH transport channel also transmits small data or control
Both PCH & FACH data can be multiplexed and sent together
Both Variable
PRACH Physical Random Access
Uplink Used by the UE for call setup; UE sends a preamble to Node B and on receipt,
Node B sends an immediate ACK or NACK on downlink AICH or AP-AICH
PCPCH Physical Common Packet
Uplink Used by UE for packet data transfer involving small quantities
DPDCH Dedicated Physical Data
Uplink /
Used for dedicated mode transfer of user data (from DCH) & associated control
data (from DCCH) to & from UE
SF varies
between 4 &
DPCCH Dedicated Physical Control
Uplink /
Used for dedicated signaling to and from UE; To ensure coherent detection it
contains both necessary pilot symbols & commands for fast power control
SF 256
P/S - SCH Primary / Secondary
Synchronization Channel
Downlink Used for WCDMA cell search and timing synchronization; Never spread or
PDSCH Physical Downlink Shared
Downlink Used by multiple UEs to get out of any bottlenecks in transmission capacity on
downlink; e.g.. Data from DSCH can be transmitted to various UEs multiplexed
PICH Paging Indication Channel Downlink Paging messages are indicated to the intended UE by use of bit masks; On
positive identification, UE starts reading S-CCPCH to find page
AICH Acquisition Indication Channel Downlink Determines whether system can be accessed or not; Uses simple bit sequences
for operation
AP-AICH Access Preamble - AICH Downlink UTRAN uses this to confirm reception of acquisition preamble sent by the UE on
CSICH CPICH Status Indicator
Downlink Channel informs UE about current availability of CPCH uplink transport channel
for packet data use
Collision Detection / Channel
Assignment Indicator Channel
Downlink UTRAN uses this channel to inform UEs about any packet collisions on the
uplink & also about the current assignment of the packet data channel.
Physical Channels Overview
Channel Switching:
To optimize the use of radio resources allocated to the User Equipment (UE),
according to the amount of data that needs to be transmitted in uplink and

Channel Switching only applies to interactive RAB packet data(browsing ,
email file download etc) traffic because :

It belongs to the Interactive and Background Quality of Service classes, which
1. has little or no quality of service(QOS) attribute requirements.
2. no guaranteed bit rates
3. and no packet delay requirements.

Large traffic variations : For example web browsing, E-mail, and file transfer.
After a web page has been downloaded and the user is reading the page, there
is very little data to transfer. Data requirement changes once the user requests
a new web page.

Consequently, it is not efficient to reserve dedicated resources continuously.

Channel Switching is achieved by switching the interactive RAB users between
different transport channel types. Channel Switching only handles switching
between transport channels, and the logical channels are not affected.

Common transport channels : Whenever a user has a small amount of data to send
or receive. Maximum of 32 kbps is shared between the users in a cell.

Dedicated transport channel : When the traffic handled by the UE is large.
Supported bit rates are 64/64, 64/128, 64/384
Channel switching algorithm

Soft Handover: when RL addition fails due to admission denial,
and ongoing transmission is either 64/128kbps or 64/384kbps, a down
switch is triggered.

Admission Control: down switch when resources needs to be
freed up for new users.

Congestion Control: down switch when needed to solve a
congestion situation.

Triggers of Channel Switching
- UE is able to transmit control signals and data packets on the common
transport channel. RACH in the uplink direction and FACH for downlink
- Suitable for carrying common control information and are shared by all users in
the cell.
- A maximum of 32 kbps is available for user data transmission.

- Characterized by allocation of Dedicated Transport Channels to the UE.
- Reserved for 1 user and provides closed-loop power control, well suited for
high bit rate traffic.
- For single interactive RAB, 64/64, 64/128, 64/384 kbps are available.
RAB State Transitions
- CELL_DCH 64/384 to CELL_DCH 64/128
- CELL_DCH 64/128 to CELL_DCH 64/64
- CELL_DCH 64/128 to CELL_DCH 64/384
- CELL_DCH 64/64 to CELL_DCH 64/128


CELL_FACH to CELL_DCH 64/64 kbps

CELL_FACH to Idle Mode
Single RAB State Transitions
Channel Switching Algorithms determine for each interactive RAB
whether it is necessary to switch a UE from one transport channel
to another.

Channel Switching Algorithms receive measurements from either
UE or RNC, depending on the behavior of UL and DL.

Channel Switching Algorithm consists of the following sub-
- Common to Dedicated Evaluation
- Common to Idle Evaluation
- Dedicated to Common Evaluation
- Dedicated to Dedicated Evaluation
- Coverage Triggered Down Switch Evaluation

Channel Switching Algorithms
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