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LTE Capacity compared to the Shannon Bound

Preben Mogensen (1,2), Wei Na (1), Istvn Z. Kovcs (2), Frank Frederiksen (2) Akhilesh Pokhariyal
(1), Klaus I. Pedersen (2), Troels Kolding (2), Klaus Hugl (3), and Markku Kuusela (3)
(1) Aalborg University, Denmark
(2) Nokia Networks Aalborg, Denmark
(3) Nokia Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
Abstract In this paper we propose a modification to Shannon
capacity bound in order to facilitate accurate benchmarking of
UTRAN Long Term Evolution (LTE). The method is generally
applicable to wireless communication systems, while we have used
LTE air-interface technology as a case study. We introduces an
adjusted Shannon capacity formula, where we take into account
the system bandwidth efficiency and the SNR efficiency of LTE.
Separating these issues, allows for simplified parameter
extraction. We show that the bandwidth efficiency can be
calculated based on system parameters, while the SNR efficiency
is extracted from detailed link level studies including advanced
features of MIMO and frequency domain packet scheduling
(FDPS). We then use the adjusted Shannon capacity formula
combined with G-factor distributions for macro and micro cell
scenarios to predict LTE cell spectral efficiency (SE). Such LTE
SE predictions are compared to LTE cell SE results generated by
system level simulations. The results show an excellent match of
less that 5-10% deviation.
Index TermsOFDMA, MIMO, Shannon Capacity, Wireless
system and link performance, LTE.

I.

combined with the G-factor distribution to predict LTE cell


level spectral efficiency (SE). The G-factor distribution is
defined as the average own cell power to the other-cell power
plus noise ratio. With OFDMA in a wide system bandwidth
this corresponds to the average wideband signal to interference
plus noise power ratio (SINR).We compare such predicted
LTE cell SE to similar results generated by an advanced quasistatic system level simulator. In the presented study we have
used LTE downlink as an example, but the method is general
and can be applied to other cellular wireless communications
systems with fast link adaptation; e.g. HSPA and WIMAX.
The organization of the paper is as follows: In Section II we
give a short overview of the LTE performance requirements
and continue with a short overview of the LTE air-interface
technology. In Section III we propose the modification to the
Shannon formulation and discuss how parameters relate to real
system parameters. Before drawing conclusions in Section V,
we conduct verification benchmarking of the proposed method
with system simulations SE results in Section IV.

INTRODUCTION

II. LTE AIR INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR DOWNLINK

In standardization forums, WCDMA has emerged as the


most widely adopted third generation air interface technology
for mobile communications. Since the first 1999 release of the
WCDMA-based universal terrestrial radio access network
(UTRAN), new features have been added such as high-speed
downlink packet access (HSDPA) in Rel. 5 and high-speed
uplink packet access (HSUPA) in Rel. 6. Today, packet
optimized WCDMA has reached data rates in excess of 2
Mbps. In order to prepare for future needs, 3GPP initiated a
study item (SI) in 2004 on the long term evolution (LTE) of
UTRAN, which is clearly aiming beyond what the WCDMA
air interface can do with HSDPA in downlink and HSUPA in
uplink.
The target of this paper is to analyze how the capacity of
LTE downlink, including advanced features of frequency
domain packet scheduler (FDPS) and multiple-input-multipleoutput (MIMO) Antenna technology, compares to the Shannon
capacity bound. And visa versa, to formulate an approach for
simplified benchmarking of systems based on the Shannon
formulation. In order to benchmark LTE link-level
performance versus Shannon capacity bound, we introduce
two fitting parameters: the Bandwidth efficiency and the SNR
efficiency. In a second step we use the fitted Shannon capacity

1550-2252/$25.00 2007 IEEE

From the radio-interface point of view, clearly ambitious


targets have been defined for LTE including [1]: Scalable
bandwidth from 1.25 up to 20 MHz, peak data rates up to 100
Mbps and 50 Mbps for downlink and uplink respectively, i.e. a
capacity increase of 2-4 times HSPA/Rel. 6. During the Study
Item phase of LTE in 3GPP, OFDMA was selected as the air
interface solution for downlink and single carrier FDMA (SCFDMA) was selected for uplink [2]. OFDMA/SC-FDMA have
several advantages over WCDMA, including high bandwidth
scalability, intra-cell orthogonally between users, suitability
for simple receiver design even for multi-stream MIMO, and
support for FDPS. Furthermore, OFDMA is suitable both for
unicast and multicast transmission in DL.
Fast link adaptation is facilitated through a large modulation
and coding set (MCS) as well as single-stream/multi-stream
MIMO transmission modes. The main physical parameters
related to LTE downlink and our simulation setup are
summarized in Table 1. Only a subset of the available LTE
flexibility is considered here (e.g. system bandwidth and set of
MCS). Several MIMO multi-antenna configurations are
currently being considered for LTE. The default assumption is
2 Tx antennas at the eNodeB and 2 Rx antennas at the eUE,
but up to 4 by 4 MIMO antenna configurations are being
specified. In this study, we consider the following

1234

antenna/reception schemes besides from SISO and SIMO 2Rx


maximum ratio combining (MRC): 2x2 space frequency
coding (SFC) is Alamouti Space Time Coding applied on
groups of two neighboring sub-carriers [3], 2x2 V-BLAST
with equal power allocation across transmit antennas, joint
channel coding across antennas and MMSE receiver [3], and
closed loop mode 1 in Rel. 6 (CLM1) with 2 bit feedback per
antenna weight (feed-back weights is optimized per 2 resource
blocks. [3].
Table 1. LTE downlink physical layer parameters.
Parameter
Value
Carrier frequency
2 GHz
System bandwidth
10 MHz
OFDM parameters
See 3GPP TR 25.814 [2], short cyclic prefix,
7 data symbols per sub-frame, 1 ms TTI.
Channel model
6-tap Typical Urban
Modulation and coding QPSK: 1/6, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3
set (MCS)
16QAM: 1/2 , 2/3, 3/4
64QAM: 1/2 , 2/3, 3/4, 4/5
Encoding scheme
Rel. 6. HSDPA compliant Turbo
Channel estimation
Ideal
Antenna schemes
SISO, SIMO and, 2x2 SFC, BLAST, CLM1
Speed
10 km/h

III. SHANNON CAPACITY FITTING


Recall the SISO Shannon capacity formula for the
theoretical channel spectral efficiency as a function of SNR:
(1)
S max (bits/s/Hz) = log 2 (1 + SNR )
This formula is valid for infinite delay and infinite code block
size in an AWGN channel [4]. For general MIMO with perfect
transmitted knowledge, the Shannon capacity is [5]:
min (nT ,nR )
(2)
S max (bits/s/Hz) =
log 2 (1 + SNRk )

k =1

Here nT and nR denote the number of transmit and receive


antennas respectively and SNRk denotes the resulting SNR of
the kth spatial sub-channel which is influenced by the
eigenvalue, the noise/interference, as well as the allocated
transmit power on that sub-channel. The Shannon Capacity
bound in Eq (1) can not be reached in practice due to several
implementation issues. To represent these loss mechanisms
accurately, we use a modified Shannon capacity formula:
S(bits/s/Hz) = BW _ eff log 2 (1 + SNR / SNR _ eff ) (3)
Here BW_eff adjusts for the system bandwidth (BW) efficiency
of LTE and SNR_eff adjusts for the SNR implementation
efficiency of LTE. The factor is a correction factor which
nominally should be equal to one. However, we shall discuss
its convenient use later in Section II.B. Furthermore we upper
limit S according to the hard spectral efficiency given by MCS,
e.g. 64QAM, Rate 4/5 for the single stream case.
A. System bandwidth efficiency
The bandwidth efficiency of LTE is reduced by several

issues listed in Table 2. Due to requirements to Adjacent


Channel Leakage Ratio (ACLR) and practical filter
implementation, the BW occupancy is reduced to 0.9. The
overhead of the cyclic prefix is approximately 7% and the
overhead of pilot assisted channel estimation is approximately
6% for single antenna transmission [2]. For dual antenna
transmission the overhead is approximately doubled to 11%. It
should be noticed that we in the study have used ideal channel
estimation, which is the reason why the pilot overhead is not
included in the link performance BW efficiency but only in
system BW level efficiency. This issue also impacts the
SNR_eff. As shown in Table 2, the extracted link-level
bandwidth efficiency is about 83%.
Table 2. Link and system BW efficiency for LTE downlink with a 10
MHz system BW.
Impairment
Link: BW_eff
System : BW_eff
BW efficiency
0.9
0.9
Cyclic Prefix
0.93
0.93
Pilot overhead
1.0
0.94
Dedicated &
N.a.
0.715
Common
control channels
Total
0.83
0.57

Further, at the system level, we have additional overhead


related to common control channels, such as synchronization
and broadcast channels. However, the more essential control
signaling overhead in LTE is related to the shared control
channel: To support fast frequency domain link adaptation and
scheduling, a non-negligible signaling overhead is related to
the dynamic assignment of resources for each 1ms TTI. This
overhead depends on the number of users to be simultaneously
scheduled in a cell. The overhead listed in Table 2 corresponds
to a simultaneously scheduling in the order of 10 users in 10
MHz, which give almost full FDPS gain [6].
Including the additional system level overhead, the LTE
bandwidth efficiency of the shared data-channel becomes 57%
(54% for MIMO). It is thus outmost important to consider
system BW efficiency when using Shannon to estimate the
system performance of LTE; Otherwise the estimated results
will be approx. a factor of x2 off from reality!
B. SNR efficiency
Full SNR efficiency is not plausible in LTE due to limited
code block length. The transport block size in LTE is confined
to 1 ms and the actual transport block size depends further on
the link adaptation and scheduling decision. As earlier
discussed there are also hard restrictions to the maximum
spectral efficiency from the supported modulation, coding and
MIMO modes, see Table 1. Furthermore there are performance
aspects related to receiver algorithms (linear, non-linear etc).
In other words, the SNR efficiency is much more complicated
to analytically compute than the bandwidth efficiency. Hence,
the value for SNR_eff in Eq. (3), we extract by using curve
fitting to link-level simulation results.

1235

The simulation and fitting results for an AWGN channel are


shown in Fig. 1. We have shown the simulated link adaptation
curve for LTE assuming the MCS steps given in Table 1. In
the fitting, we extract the best value for SNR_eff using the
setting for BW_eff of 0.83 obtained from Table 2. For all
figures in this paper, the Shannon fitting parameters are
indicated in parenthesis as (BW_eff*, SNR_eff). We can
observe that LTE is performing less than 1.6~2 dB off from
the Shannon capacity bound. As can be seen, there is
nevertheless a minor discrepancy in both ends of the G-factor
dynamic range. The reason for this is that the SNR_eff is not
constant but changes with G-factor. It is shown later that we
can circumvent this G-factor dependency on the parameters by
using the fudge factor . For AWGN, =0.9
(BW_eff*=0.75) and SNR_eff =1.25~1dB provides the best fit
to the link adaptation curve.
5

Table 3. Gain mechanisms of various LTE DL antenna


configurations.
MIMO
Tx
Rx
Diversity Array
Effective
Schemes
Ant. Ant. Order
Gain
Spatial
(dB)
streams
1
1
1
0dB
1
SISO (1x1)
1
2
2
3dB
1
SIMO (1x2)
2
2
4
3dB
1
SFC (2x2)
2
2
4
4.6dB
1
CLM1 (2x2)
2
1
-3dB
2
BLAST (2x2, 2
LMMSE)*
*: the array gain of -3dB can be theoretically up to 0dB if ideal nonlinear
interference cancellation receiver is used. Only valid for high G-factor

LTE AWGN

4.5
4

15

Shannon(0,83; 1,6)

3.5

A W GN
S IS O_TU
S IM O_TU
S FC_TU
CLM1_TU

Shannon(0,75; 1,25)

3
2.5
2

SNR_eff [dB]

SE [bit/s/Hz/cell]

steadily increases due to using higher order modulation and


higher coding rates; Turbo-decoding performance reduces
significantly with the higher variability, and hence the SNR_eff
increases significantly.

1.5
1
0.5
0
-5

10

15

10

20

G-Factor [dB]

Fig. 1. LTE SE as function of G-factor (in dB) including curves for


best Shannon fit. The stair steps in the AWGN curve correspond to
each of the MCS defined in Table 1.

Now, we are considering the fixed setting of the BW_eff of


0.83 and look at the optimal extracted SNR_eff versus G-factor.
The results are provided for the aforementioned antenna
schemes listed in Table 1 and for the Typical Urban (TU) and
AWGN channels. In Table 3 we list the analytical diversity
order, the array gain, and effective number of spatial streams
for the antenna configurations. It should be noted that the
analytical array gain is explicitly considered when extracting
SNR_eff for the best Shannon fit, Eq (3).
The results for the SNR_eff vs. G-factor are given in Fig. 2.
While for AWGN there is almost no dependency, the
dependency is much more pronounced for TU channel, where
the performance is degraded by the frequency selective fading
over the OFDM symbols. An example from Fig. 2; For the
SISO channel, at lower G-factor than -2dB, the coding rate is
very low and provides essential frequency diversity. On the
other hand the block size is so small that it starts to severely
decrease the coding efficiency i.e. increase in SNR_eff. From
approx -2dB to 2dB we get best performance. Here the
encoding block size is sufficiently large and the coding rate is
still very low (e.g. 1/3), which provides maximum frequency
diversity. For higher G-factor than approx 2dB, the SNR_eff

0
-5

10
15
20
25
G-factor [dB ]
Fig. 2. Extracted SNR efficiency versus G-factor for different
schemes and channel conditions. Bandwidth efficiency is set to 0.83.

The above discussion raises a choice of what approach to


use for predicting system performance with the modified
Shannon formula. Keeping a physical entry point, the
bandwidth efficiency should relate to the physical system
parameters (=1) and SNR efficiency should be extracted in
details versus the UE operating conditions. However, we have
also shown above that the required variability on the SNR_eff
may be artificially moved outside of the log2() expression and
be multiplied with the bandwidth efficiency (<1) for best fit
over the complete G-factor range. Of course, the latter
approach somewhat violates the main idea of basing the
analysis on pure physical effects and the modified Shannon
formula, but it is still a convenient approach to map the link
efficiency to system level analysis as shall be shown in Section
IV.
In Fig. 3 we show the SE results versus G-factor from LTE
link level studies and the best Shannon fit. Using the G-factor
dependent SNR_eff by introducing BW_eff*, we achieve a
visibly almost perfect fit to the link simulation results. For
SISO it can be observed that the best Shannon fit parameters

1236

are significantly worsened compared to AWGN: the BW_eff


* has reduced from 0.83 to 0.56 (=0.6) and the SNR_eff
parameter is increased from 1.6~2dB dB to 2~3dB.
From Fig. 3, it can also be observed that the combined array
& diversity gain of 1x2 SIMO is approx 4-5 dB over SISO, 5-6
dB for 2x2 SFC, and approximately 7-8 dB for 2x2 CLM1.
Comparing these results to Table 3, the gain from diversity
order 2 is approx 1-2 dB and approx. 2-3 dB for diversity order
4. For BLAST, we selected to model the performance as two
curves: For G < 10 we use SFC fitting parameters and for
G>10 we use the SISO fitting parameters, but changing from 1
to 2 spatial streams according to Table 3. The mach is not
perfect but sufficiently close for practical purpose.

5.0000

bit/s/Hz

5,0000

2,0000

1,0000

0,0000
0

10

SE [bit/s/Hz]

Shannon(0,67; 0,78)

2.5000

Shannon(0,83; 1,6)

2.0000
1.5000
1.0000
0.5000
0.0000
-10

-5

10

15

20

Table 4. Summary of best Shannon fit parameters (BW_eff*,


SNR_eff), Eq. (3).
Explicit
Spatial
RR
FDPS
Array gain streams
(0,75;1,25)
(0,75;1,25)
3dB
1
AWGN
(SIMO)
(0,56;2)
0dB
1
SISO
(0.62;0.62)

3,0000

-5

Shannon(0,62; 1,8)

3.0000

Fig. 4. LTE SE for 1x2 MRC with round robin (RR), time-domain
(TDPS), and time/frequency-domain packet scheduling (FDPS).

4,0000

-10

LTE SIMO (TDPS)

3.5000

G-Factor [dB]

LTE SISO
LTE SIMO
LTE SFC
LTE BLAST
LTE CLM1
Shannon(0,56; 2)
Shannon(0,62;1,8)
Shannon(0,62;1,4)
Shannon(0,66; 1,1)
G>10: Shannon(0,56; 2)

6,0000

LTE SIMO (FDPS)

4.0000

8,0000

7,0000

LTE SIMO RR

4.5000

15

20

25

30

SIMO
2x2 SFC

(0,62; 1,8)
(0,62; 1,4)

2x2 CLM1

(0,65; 1,6)

G-factor [dB]

2x2
BLAST*

Fig. 3. SE for SISO(1x1), SIMO(1x2), SFC (2x2), BLAST (2x2) and


CLM1(2x2), as a function of G-Factor. The best Shannon fit curves
are plotted with parameters (BW_eff*, SNR_eff), Eq. (3).

C. Fast packet scheduling


Fast Time and Frequency Domain Packet Scheduling
(FDPS) is a feature in LTE to obtain multi-user diversity [2].
Fig. 4 shows the SIMO link performance of LTE for Round
Robin (RR) and time-domain packet scheduling (TDPS) based
on the proportional fair (PF) principle [6] plus the PF-based
FDPS [6]. The user diversity order (UDO) is 10 for TDPS and
FDPS. For reference purpose we also show the Shannon fit for
AWGN; Shannon(0.83, 1.6).
A significant gain from FDPS over RR can be identified,
while TDPS provides relatively less gain due to a large system
bandwidth relative to the coherence bandwidth. The gain of
FDPS over RR of 4.5-5 dB comes from the user selection
diversity providing an array gain since each UE is allocated
only on the best 1/UDO of the bandwidth on average.
Simultaneously, FDPS also reduces the SNR variability across
the OFDM symbol to one user, which improves the Turbodecoding performance and hence the SNR_eff. The parameters
for the best Shannon fit curves for the different considered
antenna schemes in combination with RR and FDPS
combinations are summarized in Table 4.

(0,56;2)

(0,67; 0,78)
(0.65;0.95)
(0.66;0.9)
na

3dB
3dB

1
1

4.6dB

-3dB

IV. LTE SYSTEM CAPACITY ESTIMATION.


In the previous Sections, we have captured the performance of
LTE in terms of the link SE versus G-factor including
essential features such as multi-antenna and multi-user
scheduling gains, see Table 4. To map these results to system
level performance, we need to consider the G-factor
distribution, PDF(G), over the cell area. Assuming uniform
user distribution, the obtained G-factors for the LTE capacity
evaluation are plotted in Figure 5.
The distributions are obtained by deploying Macro Cell and
Micro Cell hexagonal cellular layouts according to [2]. The
mapping from the Shannon SE curves and G-factor
distribution to cell capacity can be written as:
Cell _ SE =

SE (G) * PDF (G )dG ,

(4)

where the SE as a function of G SE(G) is computed from Eq.


(3) (also applying a hard limitation on maximum SE due to
MCS limitations). The probability density function of G is
obtained from Figure 5. It is assumed that all users have equal
session times (e.g. infinite buffer assumption). Using Eq. (3)
for multi-cell scenario presumes further that other-cell
interference can be modeled as AWGN. In terms of cell SE,
this assumption is conservative, as it does not consider receiver

1237

structure with the capability to cancel or reject other-cell


interference.

results from Eq. (4), both when using Shannon fit and Link
results. The results for Macro cell scenario case #1 are almost
fits within +/- 5%, whereas we observed up to 10% difference
for the micro-cell scenario (not shown in the plot).
V. CONCLUSIONS
In this paper we have assessed the performance of LTE DL
including the effects of system bandwidth efficiency and the
SNR efficiency. This was done for both AWGN, and for the
TU channel including features of advanced antenna techniques
and fast time and frequency domain packet scheduling (FDPS).
The link-level results show that LTE DL with ideal channel
estimation performs only approx 2dB from Shannon Capacity
in AWGN, whereas the deviation between Shannon and LTE
become much larger for a TU fading channel even for the
SIMO case. We show that FDPS compensates for the fading
loss by providing multi-user diversity gain. We furthermore
demonstrate that cell capacity results can be accurately
estimated from the suggested modified Shannon formula and a
G-Factor distribution according to a certain cellular scenario.
Thus, the Shannon fit method can be applied to fast prediction
of the cell SE including various features and aspects not
considered in the paper; Such as: Higher order sectorization
(change G-Factor distribution), or to include loss from real
channel estimation (change of Shannon fit parameter).

Fig. 5. G-factor CDFs for different evaluation scenarios for DL LTE.

2
1,8

System simulation

Shannon fit (Table 4)

Link results (Fig. 2)

1,6

SE [bps/Hz]

1,4

REFERENCES

1,2

[1]

1
0,8

[2]

0,6
0,4

[3]

0,2
0

SISO (RR)

1TX-2RX (RR)

1TX-2RX
(FDPS)

2TX-2RX SFC
(RR)

2TX- 2RX
BLAST (RR)

[4]

TX scheme

[5]

Fig. 6. Comparison of cell Spectral Efficiency from Shannon Fit


parameters, results from semi-static system simulations and using
the raw link simulation results. Macro cell case#1 .

Fig. 6 shows the Cell SE computed from Eq. (4), labeled


Shannon fit compared to results from a semi-static system
level simulator, labeled System Simulator. For comparison
we also show the SE results when using the raw link
simulation results rather than the Shannon fit, labeled Link
results. The system simulator includes the same advanced
features of FDPS and MIMO techniques as discussed in
Section III. The system simulator uses EESM mapping of subcarrier SINR to compute effective SINR per transport block [7]
and we have modeled an MMSE receiver and Maximal Ratio
Combining (MRC) to avoid the interference cancellation issue.
For generation of the cell SE results, we also scale the BW_eff
in the best Shannon fit (by a factor 0.57/0.83=0.68 in order to
account for the same system-level overhead, see Table 2.
It can be observed from Fig. 6 that there is very good match
between the cell SE results from the system simulator and the

[6]

[7]

1238

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