A Tutorial On LTE Evolved UTRAN (EUTRAN) and LTE Self Organizing Networks (SON)
Shah, Dhruv Sunil
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The third-generation (3G) cellular communication technology, Universal Mobile Terrestrial System (UMTS), based on Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), has been widely deployed all over the world providing faster download speeds for data (packet) communications. To further improve the throughput and overall performance of the cellular communication system established by UMTS, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in November 2004 launched an ambitious project called the Long Term Evolution (LTE) of UMTS. This would ensure the continued competitiveness of the UMTS in the future. The technical specifications of the LTE project are formally known as the Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA) and Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (EUTRAN). The main features of LTE are high peak data rate, flexibility of spectrum usage, low latency times, higher capacity per cell, etc. The radio interface of LTE is based on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) in the downlink and Single Carrier-Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA) in the uplink. LTE undergoes a major design change in its Core Network Architecture. The previously used separate cores for Voice and Data in 3G are being replaced by a single packet based or an all-IP core in LTE. This evolution of the Core Network is commonly referred to as System Architecture Evolution (SAE). As we move towards the end of the year 2010, several service providers are set to launch their LTE services in markets across USA. LTE services are already available in some markets in Europe, and the performance so far has been impressive. As a marketing gimmick, LTE is being said and launched as a 4G technology, which in reality is still a 3.9G technology. For LTE to be truly called a 4G technology, it has to undergo some fine improvisations in order to meet the requirements for 4G technology set forth by International Telecommunication Union (ITU). With this goal set in mind, the 3GPP Standards Committee is further developing the LTE standards to meet the requirements set for International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced (IMT-A) technologies which would be called the Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A). The 3GPP specification in Release 10 is going to be an LTE-A/IMT-A compatible release. LTE-A will have new requirements and new features for the system, for instance, new Self-Organizing Network (SON) is one of the features. In this research activity, I have made an attempt to completely explore the Network Architecture in Long Term Evolution, main point of focus being the Evolved UTRAN and the eNodeB (eNB) in LTE. Then we focus on the Self Organizing Networks (SON) concept being implemented in LTE and Handover Optimization Techniques. The LTE SON concept aims at minimizing the human involvement in network maintenance and operation.