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LTE Fundamental Concepts

3GPP Releases
LTE Overview
The LTE network has a flat architecture, which has the following
The RNC is removed from the radio access network. The only NE in
the radio access network is the NodeB.
The MSC server and MGW are removed from the core network. Voice
services are provided based on IP.
The PS domain of the core network adopted an architecture similar to
softswitch. It separates the control plane from user plane.
The mobility management entity (MME) stores UE contexts on
the control plane, including the ID, status, and tracking area
of the UE. It manages and allocates an ID to an UE. The MME
also performs functions such as mobility management,
authentication, key management, encryption, and integrity
A serving gateway (SGW) provides functions such as paging,
information management for a UE in idle state, mobility
management, encryption on the user plane, PDCP, SAE bearer
control, and encryption and integrity protection for NAS
It is an all-IP network.
The reasons for this design are as follows:
Too many network layers make it impossible to meet the requirement
for low delay, which is less than 10 ms on the radio network side.
The all-IP network has the lowest costs because the VoIP technology
is already mature.
OFDMA Technology
OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency
Division Multiple Access) is the
latest addition to cellular
systems. It provides a multiple
access technique based on
OFDM. It can be seen that the
bandwidth is broken down to
smaller units known as
“subcarriers”. These are
grouped together and allocated
as a resource to a user. It can
also be seen that a user can be
allocated different resources in
both the time and frequency
LTE Frame Structure
LTE Frame : A typical LTE frame is 10 ms (milliseconds)
long. Each LTE frame has 10 sub-frames (1 ms each)
while each sub-frame is further divided into 2 slots
(0.5 ms each).
LTE Slot : The slots are divided into symbols – each
slot has either 6 or 7 symbols. The number of
symbols per slot depends on the size of the cyclic
prefix. The LTE uses 2 CP sizes – Normal CP (4.67 μs)
and Extended CP (16.67 μs).
LTE Symbol : The symbol time (Ts) for each LTE symbol
is 66.67 μs. Adding Cyclic Prefix to Ts makes it
around 71.34 us. The CP of the first symbol of the
slot (Normal CP) is not 4.67 μs but 5.21 μs so the first
symbol of the slot is 71.88 μs.
Sub-carrier : The spacing between two carriers is
constant and is equal to 15 kHz. Each symbol on a
carrier is called a Resource Element.
Resource Block : A group of 7 resource elements in
time axis and 12 resource elements in frequency axis
make up a Resource Block (RB) and each RB spans
over 180 kHz.
LTE Channels

PCFICH :This is the Physical Control Format Indicator

Channel and describes the format of the PDCCH
PHICH : This is the Physical HARQ Indicator Channel
which carries the HARQ ACKs and NACKs for the UE’s
Uplink data traffic
PDCCH : This is the Physical Downlink Control Channel
and typically contains allocations & TPC.
PBCH : This is the Physical Broadcast Channel and
contains the MIB for the LTE network
PSS & SSS : These signals are used by the UE for
synchronization reasons. The synchronization signals
are transmitted once every 5 ms.
PDSCH : This is the Physical Downlink Shared Channel
which contains the Downlink traffic or data for the UEs.
LTE Throughput Calculation Formula
PCI Planning
PRACH Planning
Frequency Bands LTE 3GPP
Cell Search Procedure
Cell search is a procedure in which a UE achieves time
and frequency synchronization with a cell, obtains the
physical cell identifier (PCI), and learns the RX signal
quality and other information about the cell based on
the PCI.
The detailed cell search procedure is as following:
The UE monitors the P-SCH to achieve clock
synchronization with a maximum
synchronization error of 5 ms. The UE
determines the cell identity in a cell identity
group based on the mapping between cell
identities and primary synchronization
The UE monitors the S-SCH to achieve frame
synchronization, that is, time synchronization
with the cell. Cell identity groups have a one-
to-one relationship with secondary
synchronization signals. Therefore, the UE
acquires the number of the cell identity group
to which the cell identity belongs by
monitoring the S-SCH.
The UE monitors the Broadcast Channel (BCH)
to acquire other information about the cell
The UE determines the PCI based on the cell
identity and the cell identity group number.
The UE monitors the downlink reference
signal to acquire the RX signal quality in the
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