You are on page 1of 7

Mobility and Capacity Offload for 3G UMTS Femtocells

Farhad Meshkati, Yi Jiang, Lenny Grokop, Sumeeth Nagaraja, Mehmet Yavuz, and Sanjiv Nanda
Qualcomm Inc., 5775 Morehouse Dr., San Diego, CA 92121 USA {fmeshkat, yij, lgrokop, sumeethn, myavuz, snanda}@qualcomm.com

ABSTRACT Femtocells are low-power cellular base stations that are typically deployed indoors in residential, enterprise or hotspots settings. Femtocell deployments provide excellent user experience through better coverage for voice and very high data throughputs. In this paper, we focus on 3G UMTS femtocells and analyze the impact of femtocells on idlemode mobility and UE battery life. Detailed dynamic simulations are presented to quantify the impact of femtocells on the number of cell searches, cell reselections and location area updates for both femtocell users and macro users. It is shown that femtocells reduce the number of intra-frequency and inter-frequency searches for femtocell users while increasing the number of searches for macro users. In addition, methods for facilitating capacity offload to femtocells are presented. In particular, cell reselection parameter optimization, use of beacons and enhancements of UE search algorithms are described as possible methods for facilitating capacity offload to femtocells. The tradeoffs between capacity offload and UE battery life are also evaluated. Keywords- Battery life, beacon, capacity, coverage, femtocells,
HSPA, idle-mode, mobility, UMTS.

potential impacts on UE battery life. The main focus of this paper is on idle mode UE behavior. In particular, we use a dynamic mobility simulation model to quantify the impact of femtocells on number of intrafrequency searches, interfrequency searches, cell reselections and location area updates. It is shown that femtocells can dramatically reduce the number of cell searches and cell reselection for femtocell users while increasing the numbers for macro users rather mildly. Methods for facilitating capacity offload are also presented and their impact on UE battery life is discussed. A two-frequency deployment scenario is considered where macro and femto users share f1 whereas f2 is used by macro users only. Also, restricted association is assumed which means a femto mobile, or home user equipment (HUE), can only access and get served by the macro NodeBs (MNB) and its own HNB whereas a macro mobile, or macro UE (MUE) can only access and get served by the MNBs. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Simulation model and assumptions are described in Section II. Detailed simulation results showing the impact of femtocells on idle-mode mobility and the tradeoff between capacity offload and UE battery life are given in Section III. Methods for facilitating capacity offload to femtocells are described in Section IV. Finally, conclusions are given in Section V. II. SYSTEM SIMULATION MODELS AND ASSUMPTIONS We have developed a detailed path loss model of a dense urban neighborhood using the WinProp software tool by A.W.E. Communications [3]. Within the tool we utilize the dominant path prediction algorithm, which is a computationally efficient ray tracing feature that accounts for reflection, diffraction and penetration of electromagnetic waves off, around, and through media. Using field measurements we have been able to demonstrate the validity and accuracy of the modeling software. A. Model calibration and accuracy Field measurements were used to aid in the selection of appropriate materials from the WinProp material database, and to get a sense of the accuracy of model. Data were collected in an apartment complex in Rancho Bernardo, CA. A total of 28 measurements were made with transmitter and receiver located in various positions in two neighboring apartments and the surrounding outdoor area. A WinProp model was created based on the apartment complex, and a set of building materials were chosen from the database to give good correlation between predictions and measurements. This material set was then used in the

I. INTRODUCTION A femtocell (also called Home NodeB) is a term generally used for a low-power cellular base station that is typically deployed indoors in residential, enterprise or hotspots settings. Femtocell deployments provide excellent user experience through better coverage for voice and very high data throughputs [1]. In addition, cellular operators benefit from reduced infrastructure deployment costs that are otherwise needed for network evolution, including capacity upgrades and coverage improvements. Capacity improvements due to femtocells are due to two reasons. First, users who switch to femtocells receive very high throughputs since they are one of the few users served by the Home NodeB (HNB). Secondly, capacity offload (transfering users from macro to femtocells) helps macro users to achieve higher throughputs since fewer users share the macro network resources. Therefore, enabling capacity offload to femtocells is crucial in improving the overall system capacity. More details about UMTS femtocell coverage performance and capacity can be found in [2]. This paper focuses on methods for facilitating capacity offload to 3G UMTS femtocells and quantifying the

978-1-4244-4148-8/09/$25.00 2009
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE "GLOBECOM" 2009 proceedings.

creation of the dense urban neighborhood. Figure 1 compares the measured and predicted path loss values. The standard deviation of the predictions from the measurements was 3.79 dB, indicating close agreement. B. Dense Urban Neighborhood The neighborhood, roughly 200m x 200m, consists of eight buildings, four 3 story and four 5 story. On each floor there are 10 apartments, six 3-bedroom (1250 sq. ft) and four 1bedroom (625 sq. ft), making the total number of apartments in the neighborhood 320. The apartments contain a range of materials, selected from the material database included in the WinProp software. The materials were chosen based on comparison with field measurements. Figure 2 depicts the neighborhood and floor layout. The neighborhood is surrounded by generic concrete buildings of varying heights. Lying on the periphery of these buildings are three macro cells, two being co-located at the south-east corner, one in the north-west corner. Femtocells are randomly deployed in apartments with the likelihood of an apartment getting a femtocell being dependent on its macro coverage. This creates a clustering effect where areas of poor coverage have many femtocells and areas of good coverage have few. The location of the femtocell in an apartment is uniformly selected from a set of up to five possible sites. Two of these sites correspond to floor locations, three to desk/table locations. The clustering phenomenon is captured in Figure 3, which shows the deployment for the neighborhood situated at cell edge. The path loss profile, generated by WinProp for a sample femtocell location, is shown in Figure 5. C. Mobility Routes Three types of neighborhood mobility routes, outdoor, corridor, and in-apartment ones, are used to model the typical idle UE movement patterns through the neighborhood, through buildings, and within apartments. There are four outdoor routes that follow the sidewalks and passageways between buildings and four corridor routes that model a UE walking from the entrance of its building, up several flights of stairs, along the corridor and ending at the entrance of its apartment. The in-apartment routes are divided into two categories. The first category consists of various routes starting from the entrance of the apartment and proceeding to a resting point, such as a nightstand, desk, dining table, or countertop, on which the UE rests for a period of time. These routes capture the behavior of a user returning home and placing their handset in a stationary location. The second category consists of a circuit that the UE periodically traverses, a certain number of times per day. This route captures the behavior of a user whose handset travels around the apartment with them, in their pocket. These routes are illustrated in Figure 3 and Figure 4.

Figure 1: Measured vs. predicted path loss values

(a)

(b) Figure 2: (a) The dense urban neighborhood model. (b) Floor plan for each building.

978-1-4244-4148-8/09/$25.00 2009
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE "GLOBECOM" 2009 proceedings.

Figure 3: Birdseye view of the neighborhood showing femtocell locations, outdoor routes (R1R4), and corridor routes (R5-R8). The femtocells are color-coded to indicate which floor they lie on. This illustrates the clustering effect areas of poor macro coverage, such as the ground floors of certain apartment buildings, have a greater density of femtocells.

Figure 5: Path loss profile for a sample femtocell location A HUE will switch to another carrier if it is not able to acquire the pilots of the HNB and macro on the shared carrier or if the HUE unsuccessfully attempts to perform an idle cell reselection to a restricted neighbor HNB. Similarly, a MUE will be moved to another carrier if it is not able to acquire the macro pilot or if it unsuccessfully attempts to perform an idle cell reselection to a HNB. A brief description of the 3GPP cell reselection procedure is given below and is also depicted in Figure 6. More details can be found in [4]. 1. Every DRX cycle, UE wakes up and measures signal quality (CPICH Ec/No which is the ratio of the received pilot energy to the total received power spectral density at the UE) of the serving cell. Signal quality below a threshold initiates a cell search (intra or inter) procedure: Squal < Sintrasearch or Squal < Sintersearch (3)

where Squal = Qqualmeas Qqualmin captures the quality requirement of the current serving cell and Sintersearch is the inter-frequency threshold. Furthermore, Qqualmeas and Qqualmin denote measured and minimum required CPICH Ec/No respectively. Qqualmin is typically set to -18dB. Figure 4: In-apartment routes consist of the UE i) moving along the red line from the entrance to one of the resting locations, ii) traversing the red circuit. D. Simulation Assumptions A two-frequency deployment scenario is assumed in which f1 is shared by macro and femtos whereas f2 is for macro only. The two frequencies are assumed to be adjacent with an adjacent channel interference ratio (ACIR) of 33dB. We simulate idle cell reselection procedure to determine whether a HUE is camped on its HNB or on a MNB or whether it is moved to another carrier. 2. UE measures the signal quality of neighboring cells and checks suitability criterion: Squal > 0, (4) where, Squal = Qqualmeas Qqualmin Pcompensation. Typically, Pcompensation is set to 0.
3. UE ranks all cells that fulfill the suitability criterion. The ranking criteria for the serving cell is given by

Rs = Qmeass + Qhysts,

(5)

where, Qhysts is the hysteresis applied to the serving cell on CPICH Ec/No. The ranking criteria for the neighboring cells is: Rn = Qmeasn Qoffsets,n, (6)

978-1-4244-4148-8/09/$25.00 2009
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE "GLOBECOM" 2009 proceedings.

The values Qhysts, and Qoffsets,n are sent on the downlink of the serving cell. 4. The highest ranked neighboring cell is selected. UE checks if the highest ranked cell is better than the serving cell for a time interval of Treselection (system information block (SIB) 3/ SIB 4 of the serving cell). 5. UE reads SIBs of the highest ranked cell and checks the suitability criteria for campingparameters are taken from SIB of the highest ranked cell. 6. UE performs Location Area Update (LAU) on the newly selected cell if the location area of the new cell is different from the one earlier. On receiving LAU Accept, the LAU procedure continues with the Core Network, On the other hand, on receiving LAU Reject, the UE performs the following: i) Adds Location Area Code (LAC) of the cell to its forbidden list of LACs. ii) UE status is set to roaming not allowed iii) Stored information cell selection is performed to find a suitable cell. 7. In the next DRX cycle, if the highest ranked cell is in UEs list of forbidden LACs, the frequency is banned for up to 300 seconds. Table 1 summarizes the idle cell reselection parameters used in our analysis. These parameters are set such that priority is given to HNBs over MNBs when a UE is performing idle cell reselection. However, a minimum CPICH Ec/No (also called CPICH Ec/Io) of -12dB is enforced for HNBs so that idle cell reselection to a HNB happens only when the HNB signal quality is good. The Sintrasearch and Sintersearch parameters for HNB are assumed to be 2dB and 2dB (corresponding to -16dB and -16dB CPICH Ec/No thresholds) so that HUEs stick to HNBs while at home. The macro Sintrasearch and Sintersearch settings are simulation parameters which are varied to quantify their impact on capacity offload and UE battery life. Table 1 Parameters for idle cell reselection procedure
Macro
F1 F2

Ecp/Io Meas
<Sintra?

1 N 1

(every DRX)

Cell Search
Suitable cell?

Y Cell Resel
Different LA?

Y Location registration
Accepted

Y N
Cause #15 or #13

N PLMN Search

Y 1

Figure 6 Flow chart of 3GPP idle cell reselection procedure III. IDLE-MODE MOBILITY ANALYSIS AND RESULTS In this section, we present simulation results and analysis to evaluate the impact of femtocells on UE battery life as well as the impact of different cell reselection parameters on capacity offload. We run simulations using the dynamic simulation model described in Section II.II.B. We focus on indoor routes where the UE starts on macro at the building entrance and walks through corridor and stair to one of 6 (or 4) resting locations inside the apartment. The UE then stays at the resting location for one hour. The routes are repeated for multiple times. Three scenarios are considered: 1) without femtocell deployment, 2) with femtocell deployment but no femtocells in the UEs own apartment, 3) with femtocell deployment and with a femtocell in the UEs apartment. Ten locations in the macro cell are considered ranging from cell edge to near cell site with 5% femtocell penetration at the cell edge and 2.5% femtocell penetration near the cell site. Calibration HNB transmit power is assumed. The DRX cycle is 1.28sec. Four different settings for the cell search thresholds advertised by the macro are (Sintra, Sinter) ={(12,12)}, (12,10), (10,8), (12,2)}. Figure 7 and Figure 8 show the impact of femtocell deployment on the number of intra- and inter-frequency cell searches, respectively. We observe from the figures that even without femto deployment, the UE will perform frequent intra-frequency cell search due to high Sintra

SIB/Parameter Qqualmin SIB3 Sintrasearch Sintersearch Qhyst+Qoffset SIB11 Qqualmin

HNB
F1

-18 dB S_intra_macro S_inter_macro HNB cells: -50 dB Macro cells: 3dB HNB cells: -12 dB Macro cells: not needed

-18 dB S_intra_macro S_inter_macro HNB cells: -50 dB Macro cells: 3dB HNB cells: -12 dB Macro cells: not needed

-18 dB S_intra_femto S_inter_femto HNB cells: 3dB Macro cells: 5 dB Not needed

978-1-4244-4148-8/09/$25.00 2009
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE "GLOBECOM" 2009 proceedings.

threshold. Also, the percentage of UEs that perform interfrequency search decreases as Sinter decreases. There is no
Percentage of UEs performing cell reselection at a given DRX cycle 0.5 0.45 0.4 0.35 0.3 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1 0.05 0 Without femocells

Cell reselection events

Intra-frequency search events


Percentage of UEs performing cell search at a given DRX cycle 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Without femocells With femtocells but no femtocell at own home With femtocells and a femtocell at own home Sintra/Sinter=12/12 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/10 dB Sintra/Sinter=10/8 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/2 dB

Sintra/Sinter=12/12 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/10 dB Sintra/Sinter=10/8 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/2 dB

With femtocells but no femtocell at own home

With femtocells and a femtocell at own home

Figure 7: Intra-frequency cell search events in three scenarios, without femtocells deployed, with femtocells deployed but no femtocell in own home, with femtocells deployed and a femtocell in own home for different macro Sintra/Sinter thresholds.

Figure 9: Cell reselection events in three scenarios, without femtocells deployed, with femtocells deployed but no femtocell in own home, with femtocells deployed and a femtocell in own home for different macro Sintra/Sinter thresholds.

LAU events
Number of LAUs per hour

Inter-frequency search events


Percentage of UEs performing cell search at a given DRX cycle 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Without femocells With femtocells but no femtocell at own home With femtocells and a femtocell at own home Sintra/Sinter=12/12 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/10 dB Sintra/Sinter=10/8 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/2 dB

1.8 1.6 1.4 1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 Without femocells With femtocells but no femtocell at own home With femtocells and a femtocell at own home

Sintra/Sinter=12/12 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/10 dB Sintra/Sinter=10/8 dB Sintra/Sinter=12/2 dB

Figure 8: Inter-frequency cell search events in three scenarios, without femtocells deployed, with femtocells deployed but no femtocell in own home, with femtocells deployed and a femtocell in own home for different macro Sintra/Sinter thresholds. noticeable increase of cell search events for the UEs which do not have their own femto at home. It is also seen from the figure that the deployment of femtocell reduces the intrafrequency search events of its own UE significantly and virtually eliminates the inter-frequency searches due to the high CPICH Ec/No of the femto. As we can see from Figure 9, the presence of femto results in an increase in the cell reselection (CR) events for those UEs that do not have a femtocell at home. The number of CRs increases as Sintra/Sinter parameters increase. This is because with higher Sintra/Sinter values, it will be more likely for the UE to perform search and discover other cells (e.g. femtoclls) which will result in more cell reselection or cell reselection attempts.

Figure 10: LAU events in three scenarios, without femtocells deployed, with femtocells deployed but no femtocell in own home, with femtocells deployed and a femtocell in own home for different macro Sintra/Sinter thresholds. Results are based on
one-hour stay in resting locations.

Figure 10 compares the average number of LAU events per hour (including successful LAUs and rejected LAUs) performed by the UE. We assume the macro cells have the same LAC. Hence there is no LAU event in the absence of femtos. On the other hand, when femtocells are deployed, the MUEs and HUEs may attempt to camp on femtocells which will result in LAUs. If the UE is not allowed on the femtocell (e.g., an MUE), the LAU will get rejected and the UE will reselect back to a macro cell. This would result in an additional LAU. Also, with higher Sintra/Sinter values, it will be more likely for the UE to perform search and discover a femtocell which will result in more LAUs. Figure 11 shows the distribution of the time taken for a HUE to find its own femtocell when it enters its apartment from corridor. Negative values on the x-axis correspond to cases where UE finds its own femto in the corridor even before

978-1-4244-4148-8/09/$25.00 2009
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE "GLOBECOM" 2009 proceedings.

entering the apartment. It is seen from the figure that higher values of Sintra/Sinter result in better HNB discovery. For example, Sintra/Sinter=12/12 dB guarantees that the HUE is able to find its own HNB whereas with Sintra/Sinter=10/8 dB, the HUE is not able to find its own HNB 10% of the time.

UE enhancements. Overviews of these approaches are provided next. A. Search Threshold Optimization A UE searches for cells on other frequencies through interfrequency searches. A search is initiated when the signal quality of the serving cell falls below an inter-frequency search threshold (i.e., Squal<Sintersearch). The Sintersearch value is cell specific and is sent on the downlink broadcast channel (BCH). All UEs camping on a macro NB read the system information block (SIB 11) of the cell to obtain Qqualmin and Sintersearch values. HNB-discovery issue can be mitigated by increasing the Sintersearch threshold. With this, UEs perform more frequent inter-frequency searches and hence are more likely to find HNBs on other frequencies (as shown in Figure 11). While this approach alleviates the HNB discovery issue, it has drawbacks: since all UEs use the same Sintersearch threshold, increasing this threshold will cause all the MUEs in the network to perform frequent searches thereby affecting their battery life. Another downside of this approach is that it requires macro changes, which operators may be unwilling to carry out. B. Beacon-Based Approach An alternative solution for addressing the HNB-discovery issue is using beacon transmission. HNBs can transmit low powered, time staggered, hopping beacons on the carriers used by macrocell. Care must be taken in the beacon design to control the transmit power, transmit duration and periodicity such that it solves the problem of HNBdiscovery while causing no noticeable degradation in MUE performance (e.g., no voice artifact or call drops). Limiting beacon transmissions to short intermittent bursts creates momentary degradation of the macro signal quality below the threshold for inter-frequency searches and facilitates HNB-discovery by an idle UE. However, the impact on an active voice call can be limited to either a small increase in packet loss rate or a small increase in the required transmit power. C. UE Enhancements The Rel-8 enhancements in [4] will also help UEs discover HNBs, hence, facilitating capacity offload. Examples of such UE enhancements are improved UE search algorithms (e.g., autonomous search) to discover nearby HNBs. One drawback of this method is that it is not applicable to legacy UEs. V. CONCLUSIONS In this paper, we have analyzed the impact of femtocells on idle-mode mobility and UE battery life for 3G UMTS femtocell deployments. Detailed mobility simulations are used to quantify the impact of HNBs on number of cell searches, cell reselections and location area updates for both femtocell users and macro users. It is shown that femtocells can significantly reduce the number of cell searches and cell reselections for femtocell users. At the same time, the

Figure 11 Distribution of the time taken for UE to find its own femto from the moment it enters apartment. IV. METHODS FOR IMPROVING CAPACITY-OFFLOAD In addition to coverage improvements, the HNBs result in significant throughput improvements for HNB users. More details on this can be found in [2]. The benefits of femtocells can be leveraged only when UEs discover HNBs. Capacity offload is rather straightforward in single carrier deployments where macro and home NBs co-exist. With multiple frequencies, however, the HNB-discovery is nontrivial and needs addressing. Consider for example, a twofrequency (f1 and f2) macro network deployment. As a UE camping on a macro cell on frequency f2 approaches a HNB operating on frequency f1, the UE experiences little interference form the HNB (due to ACIR) and hence there is only a slight degradation in the macro signal quality for the UE. This degradation may not be enough to trigger inter-frequency search (depending on the value of Sintersearch). As a result, the UE remains on the macro and will never be able to find it own HNB on f1. This behavior significantly impacts capacity offload. Typically, finding new cells is carried out by mobility management procedures. Idle mode mobility management is performed by the cell search, selection and reselection processes outlined in Figure 6. With good macro coverage, a UE may never initiate searches and would remain on the macro even when it is in the vicinity of its own HNB. The HNB-discovery issue, therefore, necessitates enhanced mobility management techniques that enable UEs to discover and camp on HNBs. Three potential solutions for addressing the HNB-discovery issue are inter-frequencysearch threshold optimization, beacon-based approach, and

978-1-4244-4148-8/09/$25.00 2009
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE "GLOBECOM" 2009 proceedings.

percentage of macro UEs performing intra-frequency and inter-frequency searches increases slightly due to the additional DL interference from the nearby HNBs. This tradeoff is quantified for different cell reselection parameters in a two-frequency femtocell deployment where one frequency is shared by macro and femto users and the other frequency is used by macro users only. Furthermore, given the significant throughput improvements provided by HNBs, methods for facilitating capacity offload to femtocells are presented. In particular, cell reselection parameter optimization, use of beacons and enhancements of UE search algorithms are described as possible methods for facilitating capacity offload to femtocells. The tradeoffs between capacity offload and UE battery life are also discussed. For example, while increasing the intra-frequency and inter-frequency thresholds for idle mode helps many users find their own HNB, it will degrade the standby time of macro users due to additional searches. A beacon-based approach is introduced as an alternative method for facilitating capacity offload to femtocells. VI. REFERENCES

[1] V. Chandrasekhar, J. G. Andrews, and A. Gatherer, Femtocell Networks: A survey, IEEE Comm. Magazine, vol. 46, pp. 5967, Sep. 2008. [2] M. Yavuz, F. Meshkati, S. Nanda, A. Pokhariyal, N. Johnson, B. Raghothaman and A. Richardson, Interference Management and Performance Analysis of UMTS/HSPA+ Femtocells, to appear in IEEE Comm. Magazine, Sep. 2009. [3] http://www.awe-communications.com [4] 3GPP TS25.304 V.8.5.0, User Equipment (UE) procedures in idle mode and procedures for cell reselection in connected mode.

978-1-4244-4148-8/09/$25.00 2009
This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE "GLOBECOM" 2009 proceedings.