In the Time of Crisis

Life never came to as at standstill as it is these days. It has increasing been frustrating staying home and keep thinking and hearing about corona related chaos. Although I don’t blame media for being so noisy about it as it someway helps the purpose to spread the justified fear of corona. So media is doing its job and engaging people to stay at home and enjoy their 24 hours broadcast of same repetitive stuff. Medical manoeuvre is at full swing and its operators are truly the forefront warriors of this war. Government, as has always been the case, are handling back office operation with efficient negligence at beginning and when things get over the head they woke up and act like taking the lead.

In general, there are thousands of people responsible of taking us through this crisis, and most of them are now doing jobs realizing that how important their vigilance is to keep this human specie alive.

Now, for common people, are these days just be normal stay-at-home-holidays? Should they just see how things are evolving without being part of it? Should they give too much stress on work-from-home scenario? Should they keep on involving themselves in social media debate as whose virus they are fighting against?  Should they just have persistent crossed fingers for vaccine or antiviral medicines?

Continue reading “In the Time of Crisis”

Multiple Aggregation Levels

Why do we need multiple aggregation levels?

First, to support multiple DCI (Downlink Control Information) formats to improve resource utilization. We know that the DCI size varies a lot depending on the format and the channel bandwidth.  We can view PDCCHs with different aggregation levels as different sizes of container, which can increase the granularity of the resource utilization, instead of a “one size fits all” solution.

Second, to accommodate different RF conditions. The ratio between the DCI size and the PDCCH size indicates the effective coding rate. With the DCI format fixed, higher aggregation levels provide more robust coding and reliability for the UEs under poor RF conditions. For a UE in good RF conditions, lower aggregation levels can save resources.

Third, to differentiate DCIs for control messages and DCIs for UE traffic. Higher aggregation levels can be used for control message resource allocations to provide more protection. The aggregation level for control messages can be 4 or 8, while the aggregation level for UE-specific allocation can be 1 or 2 or 4 or 8.

Aggregation Level

What is Aggregation Level to use ?

It is defined as number of CCE’s used for sending a control information. Its values can be 1,2,4 and 8.

Search space Number of PDCCH candidates
Type Aggregation level Size [in CCEs]
UE-specific 1 6 6
2 12 6
4 8 2
8 16 2
Common 4 16 4
8 16 2

Resource allocation to PDCCH

Explain Resource allocation to PDCCH? What is CCE ?

Elements allocated to the PDCCH are grouped into quadruplets (groups of 4 Resource Elements). The number of quadruplets(REG) available to the PDCCH is equal to the number of quadruplets within the set of OFDMA symbols signaled by the PCFICH, which have not already been allocated to the PCFICH.

Re source element quadruplets are grouped into Control Channel Elements (CCE). There are 9 quadruplets within a single CCE. i.e. 36 Resource Elements per CCE. The PDCCH uses QPSK modulation so a single CCE can transfer 72 bits.

1 CCE = 9 continuous REG’s ( Resource element Group )
1 REG = 4 RE ( Resource Element )

RRC Connection Reestablishment

Why does RRC Connection Reestablishment trigger?

Below are the scenario when RRC Connection Reestablishment triggers:

  • RRC Connection Reconfiguration Failure
  • Upon detecting Radio Link Failure
  • Handover Failure
  • Mobility From E-UTRA Failure
  • Integrity Failure Indication Received From Lower Layers

Difference between X2 and S1 Hand Over

X2 Hand Over:

HO occurs when source and target eNBs are served within the same MME pool. The procedures relies on the presence of X2 interface between Source and Target eNB, which is summarized as follows,

  • Source eNB makes HO decision and setup a direct tunnel i.e X2 transport bearer between Source and target eNB.
  • Detach UE from Source eNB and Forward traffic from source eNB to Target.
  • Path switch procedure between Target eNB and MME
  • Releases S1 bearer of source eNB
  • Release X2 transport bearer for direct packet forwarding.

S1 Hand Over:

S1 handover is when If two eNodeBs are not connected with same MME or the X2 interfaces are not defined between eNB or when X2 procedure fails(due to unreachability/Error response etc). Summary of S1-HO is as follows,

  • Source eNB makes HO decision and setup a indirect tunnel i.e S1 bearer between Source eNB and SGW, and target eNB and SGW.
  • S1 bearer for UL setup between target and source eNB
  • Detach UE from Source eNB and indirect packet forwarding
  • No need for the Path switch procedure between Target eNB and MME, as MME is aware of HO
  • Releases S1 bearer of source eNB
  • Release S1 transport bearer for indirect packet forwarding.

If the two eNodeBs are connected with same MME, it is preferred to perform X2 based handover but there is no restriction in using S1 based handover even in this case. If two eNodeBs are not connected with same MME, you have to perform S1 based handover even in this case.

X2 handover is faster as compared to S1. X2 handover is defined only for intra LTE handover while S1 handover can be used for intra LTE, inter RAT.

Handover types in LTE

The Handover is the process of transferring an ongoing data session/Call from
one (source) cell connected to the core network to another (target) cell. Handovers are needed when UE moved out of its serving cell’s coverage or for load balancing purposes.

In mobile communication, Handover can either be Network controlled (i.e. HO decision is with network) or Mobile Evaluated (i.e. Mobile terminal makes HO decision and inform Network to arrange resources on target cells)

LTE uses both the approaches in a way that, LTE capable UE sends measurement report to network and based on this report; network directs UE to move to a target cell.

Handover Types in LTE:

  • Intra-LTE Handover:  Source and target cells are part of the same LTE network.
    • Handover using X2 Interface
    • Handover using S1 Interface

What is difference between X2 and S1 HO?

If more than one frequencies/carrier are being in use for LTE then HO can further be distinguished with (Inter or Intra eNodeB) InterFreq and (Inter or Intra eNodeB) IntraFreq Hand overs.

  • Inter-LTE Handover:  Handover happens towards other LTE nodes. (Inter-MME and Inter-SGW
    • Inter-MME Handover
    • Inter-MME/SGW Handover
  • Inter-RAT Handover: Handover between different radio technologies. For example handover from LTE to WCDMA.

Back To LTE Interview Question


What is Difference between MIB and SIB?

MIB and SIM are two types of System Information (SI) that is broadcasted in the serving are of particular cell. SI is carried by the logical channel BCCH, which in turn is carried by either of the transport channels BCH or DL-SCH.

Master information Block (MIB): is a static part of SI and contain information like number of antennas, system bandwidth,PHICH configuration, transmitted power and scheduling information on how the SIBs are scheduled together with other data on DL-SCH. MIB is transmitted on the BBCH–> PBCH with periodicity of every 40 ms.

System Information Block (SIB): is a dynamic part of SI. It carry relevant information for the UE, which helps UE to access a cell, perform cell re-selection, information related to INTRA-frequency, INTER-frequency and INTER-RAT cell selections. It is mapped on DL-SCH –>PDSCH with periodicity of every 80 ms, 160ms or 320ms for SIB1,SIB2 and SIB3 respectively.

How many types of SIBs are available in LTE?

There are 13 types of SIBs for LTE.

 What does SIB1/SIB2/ … /SIB13 do?

Each SIB carry information related to specific tasks.

SIB-1 Carries Cell access related parameters like cell ID, MCC, MNC, TAC, scheduling of other SIBs
SIB-2 Carries Common and shared channel configuration, RACH related configuration are present; RRC, uplink power control, preamble power ramping, uplink Cyclic Prefix Length, sub-frame hopping, uplink EARFCN
SIB-3 Parameters required for intra-frequency, inter-frequency and I-RAT cell re-selections
SIB-4 Information regarding INTRA-frequency neighboring cells (E-UTRA)  carries serving cell and neighbor cell frequencies required for cell reselection as well handover
SIB-5 Information regarding INTER-frequency neighboring cells (E-UTRA); carries E-UTRA LTE frequencies, other neighbor cell frequencies from other RATs.
SIB-6 Information for re-selection to INTER-RAT (UTRAN cells)
SIB-7 Information for re-selection to INTER-RAT (GERAN cells)
SIB-8 Information for re-selection to INTER-RAT (CDMA2000)
SIB-9 Information related to Home eNodeB  (FEMTOCELL)
SIB-10 ETWS (Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System) information (Primary notification)
SIB-11 ETWS (Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System) information (Secondary notification)
SIB-12 Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) information.
SIB-13 Contains the information required to acquire the MBMS control information associated with one or more MBSFN areas.

Explore below link to know more about earch and every SIB,
On which channels SIBs are transmitted?

Which SIBs are essential?

In LTE, for a UE to access the eNB, at the most minimum 2 SIBs are required (SIB1 and SIB2). Information regarding SIB2-SIB13 are carried in SI messages and are included in schedulingInfoList which is part of SIB1.

Why we need SIB19?
SIB 19 is needed when UE is coming back from 3G to 4G. LTE priority should be set high in 3G. SIB19 carries the absolute priority of the serving UMTS cell, the absolute priorities of the LTE frequencies, and the cell reselection thresholds.

HO , Redirection, Cell Selection and Re-Selection

What is difference between HO , Redirection, Cell Selection and Re-Selection?

Handover (HO): UE moves from one eNB to target eNB while keeping its connected state. LTE Services will be uninterrupted.

In handover procedure, target cell would be prepared and UE will latch on target cell based on the configuration sent by source enodeb to UE.

Redirection: UE changes its state from connected to Idle mode during Redirection. LTE Service will be interrupted. Meaning the Source ENB shall release the connection of the UE and will ask the UE to redirect itself onto the target ENB by indicating the carrier frequency or the cell id in the RRC connection release message. For example, During CS Fallback, the UE is redirected from LTE RRC_CONNECTED mode to (2G/3G) idle mode).

 Cell Selection: It allows a UE to search and camp on a suitable cell. Cell selection occurs during Initial cell selection (when UE switches ON),  Stored information cell selection (uses stored cell info to identify appropriate cell),  and Cell selection when leaving RRC connected mode (When UE move from RRC CONNECTED to RRC IDLE mode)

 Cell Reselection: Its Idle mode procedure and happens from idle mode to idle mode. Reselection can occue on cell within same RAT (Intra-RAT) or different RAT(Inter-RAT).

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