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UMTS Network Planning Basics!
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RAN Planning

Planning the UMTS RAN and core network side is basically selecting the desired network layout, future expansion approach, calculating the required hardware, deciding software features and dimensioning all interfaces.

Radio Access Network has several interfaces, which need to be configured and dimensioned. This dimensioning is out of the scope of this page, but these are the RAN interfaces that need to be configured:

  • Iu: Interface between the RNC and the Core Network (MSC or SGSN).
          - Iucs: Iu circuit switched (voice from/to MSC)
          - Iups: Iu packet switched (data from/to SGSN)
  • Iub: Interface between the RNC and the Node B.
  • Iur: Interface between two RNCs.

    Node B amount is derived form air interface capacity and coverage calculations, but Node Bs also have to be configured. Hardware configuration is vendor specific, but here is a general list of things that need to be considered when configuring Node Bs:

  • Call mix of expected traffic
  • Type of Node Bs (outdoor vs. indoor)
  • Amount of low capacity Node Bs
  • Required redundancies (e.g. 2N, N+1)
  • Required diversities
  • Number of carriers per sector
  • Number of sectors per Node B
  • Number of users
  • Voice and data traffic to be carried
  • Node B software features
  • Required Node B optional features
  • Requirements for special antenna systems
  • Requirements for power and transmission systems

    The RNC planning is done after the air interface dimensioning and network interfaces planning. After those are prepared, the bandwidth of each RNC link is known. RNC dimensioning is to calculate the number RNCs and configuration of RNCs needed to support the radio access network requirements. Any network side equipment will have the trade-offs in configuration selection. Network can be designed for maximising the ease of future expansion or for minimising the total cost. Usually RNC locations are fixed based on network operator's main site locations and transmission costs will determine the most cost effective RNC configurations. RNC Hardware configuration is also vendor specific, but here is a general list of things that need to be considered when dimensioning RNCs:

  • RNC capacity and configuration options
  • Total CS traffic (Erlangs)
  • Total PS traffic (Mbps)
  • Total traffic and signalling load
  • Total number of Node Bs
  • Total number of cells
  • Total number of carriers
  • Used channel configurations
  • RNC software features
  • Required RNC optional features
  • Type of transmission interfaces
  • Expansion possibilities

    Next: Core Network Design.

    3G Network Planning Basics
         1. Planning  5. Radio Access Network Design
         2. Coverage Planning  6. Core Network Design
         3. Capacity Planning  7. Transmission Design
         4. General Guidelines  8. The Summary

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