Full Project – Drive test analysis to optimization of a live UMTS network
1.1 Background of the Study
With GSM being developed and deployed, the eyes of the development community started to look at the next cellular developments which would provide greater more functionality and greater levels of efficiency. The UMTS 3G history shows how these basic ideas turned into reality and changed the way in which mobile telecommunications was used.
The UMTS 3G history shows that despite many setbacks, UMTS was able to become established as the major 3G technology providing new standards in cellular telecommunications performance, functionality, and convenience. The International Mobile Telecommunications-2000, IMT-2000 standard is actually a family of standards for third generation (3G) wireless communications. It defines the broad outlines and requirements for standards that can be called 3G standards. It was set in place by the International Telecommunications Union, ITU-R.
In the 1980s work started on looking at, “Future Public Land Mobile Telecommunications System”. However, with the deployment on GSM and other 2G technologies the impetus for the development of the next generation system was not present.
It was not until the early 1990s that progress was seen. A working group was set up and also the 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference allocated 230 MHz of spectrum between 1885 and 2025 and 2110 and 2200 MHz.
A number of organizations recognized the need for a global standard for the next generation of mobile telecommunications services. ETSI in Europe moving towards what they termed their Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, UMTS and in Japan the forerunner of the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses, ARIB undertaking a study. To enable a single standard to be adopted the ITU-R requested each regional Standards Development Organization (SDO) to submit proposals for a Radio Transmission Technology. A total of 17 different proposals were submitted. Of these eleven were for terrestrial systems and the remaining six were for satellite systems. The evaluation of the proposals was completed during 1998 but during early 1999 it was necessary to gain some form of consensus. Once this was complete, by the end of 1999 the specification for the radio Transmission Technology was released by the end of 1999.
Although many proposals were submitted there were several that were considerably more important than others. These included:
UMTS / WCDMA: The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System using wideband CDMA was the successor to the highly successful GSM system that was initially deployed around Europe, but was spreading rapidly worldwide.
CDMA2000: This scheme was the successor to the cdmaOne system defined under Interim Standard IS-95 which was the first system to be deployed using CDMA technology.
TDS-CDMA: This was a scheme developed in China that adopted many elements of the GSM / UMTS technology but was optimised for Time Division Duplex.
Of the main IMT-2000 systems, history has shown that UMTS has became the most widely deployed of the 3G systems. It offered global roaming as well as being designed to enable more applications than many of its competitors. Also as it followed on from GSM, it had a very wide base on which to build.
1.2 Mobile Telephony
The impact of mobile technologies has been of immense benefit to man. Mobile communication is now viewed as a necessity and is one of the fastest growing and most demanding technologies. Mobile systems have evolved over time. When discussing different developments, we speak of system generations.
First generation (1G) systems were analog with reasonably reliable networks but limited service offerings and did not permit roaming between networks.
Second generation (2G) mobile systems are digital and bring significant advantages in terms of service sophistication, capacity and quality. GSM is a 2G technology. The increasing demand for wireless access to the Internet has led to further developments within 2G systems. Thus we speak of 2.5G systems. General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) is an example of a 2.5G technology and is a standardized packet switched technology enabling mobile use of the Internet. Since there are several 2G systems using incompatible radio technologies, on different frequency spectra, they cannot capture a real worldwide mass-market in the long-term. These factors have led to the concept of third generation (3G) systems which will allow communication, information and entertainment services to be delivered via wireless terminals. The foundation for these services has already been laid in 2G systems, but in order to support such services we need higher capacity on the radio links as well as compatibility between systems in order to provide seamless access worldwide. An example of a 3G system is Universal Mobile Telecommunication Systems (UMTS).
1.3 UMTS Technology In Brief
Wideband CDMA is the recognized air interface standard for 3G-UMTS. It was developed as one of the third generation radio access technologies whose ultimate goal is better spectrum efficiency, faster data transfer rate, an increase in service quality, and better user perceptive. WCDMA utilizes the spread spectrum technology for radio access where users are identified by unique codes, which means that all users can use the same frequency and transmit at the same time. A bandwidth of 5MHz is used per channel with a chip rate of 3.84 Mcps. For optimal operation of the wireless system, several functions are in place to control the radio network and the many active handsets. Efficient power control in both directions regulates the over-all interference level which is very important in a network with a frequency reuse of 1, fast power control algorithms at 1500 Hz, counter fading dips and ensure good performance.
“Cell breathing” is a phenomenon inherent in WCDMA. This is the trade-off between coverage and capacity where the size of the cell varies depending on the current load.
Macro diversity is another feature of the network which is achieved during soft handover. A user can be connected to two or three base stations at a time providing a more reliable connection, thus reducing the risk of premature disconnection. A drawback with soft handover is that it requires additional hardware resources on the network side, as the handset has multiple connections. In a well-designed radio network, 30–40 % of the users will be in soft or softer handover.
Other system functionalities are admission and congestion controls which, as the names imply, are responsible for maintaining optimum loading in all parts of the radio network.
Some of the ways by which this is done are by selective admission of users depending upon the expected noise level contribution and by dynamic reduction of the bitrates of certain non-real time applications to resolve overload situations.
1.4 Statement Of The Problem
In Nigeria today, there appears to be a decrease in quality of service render to users by telecommunication organization, yet customers pay heavily for this services and do not get value for their money.
Recently, the Government waded into this by ensuring the tariff charged by telecommunication company was reduced, but the only gain we have derived so far is just the cost of sending messages that was significantly reduced. This brings the question of how many people in Nigeria send messages to each other. It is a known fact that we prefer to call and hear each other rather than sending SMS. On the other hand the Network providers such as Glo, MTN, Etisalat and Airtel want to lean on the side that the cost of business in Nigeria is too expensive, the cost of paying workers salaries is too high and also the cost of providing Electricity for base stations so as to provide service for customers is too high.
Cost aside, the quality of the network provided is really very poor and this is a major problem which this thesis sought to resolve
1.5 Purpose/ Objective Of Study
The objectives/purpose of this research amongst others is to make suggestion on how to resolve and improve the poor quality of service provided by the network operators here in Nigeria. This will be achieved by doing drive test which is a field engineering job with some special equipments and gadgets and properly analyzing the result of the drive test, then optimizing the network to the expected level for good and improved quality of service.
1.6 Significance Of The Study And Report
First of all, every academic research and report is attempted to add to existing knowledge about a subject thus promoting research and learning, and also to inform and widening the knowledge of people who have not know about the issue of poor quality of service probably because they are not aware of the problem or have not been around in the country for a while.
This thesis is an opportunity to give an appraisal to the network provider’s i.e Glo, MTN, Etisalat and Airtel in Nigeria. It has also shown that this study and analysis will be helpful in reducing the poor quality of network giving to the users by adequately improving and properly optimizing the needed sites when needed and where necessary.
1.7 Limitation Of Study
First, there was a huge time constraint in obtaining needed data from the network provider to be used by the field engineers for drive testing and data gathering. Analysis of the data gotten also was a huge task because special expensive softwares have to be used and also some of the needed software are network provisioned, as such I needed to seek access form top management from the Network provide to be able to gain access to their software and network.
Lack of cooperation was also a big challenge as Network Provider engineers did not give full support and helping hand in achieving success in good time, most times they were busy with their tight daily schedules.
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Full Project – Drive test analysis to optimization of a live UMTS network