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More battery life with LTE connected state DRX

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LTE connected state DRX (Discontinuous Reception)

What is DRX? We know that 2G and 3G terminal uses discontinuous reception in idle state to increase battery life time. HSPA and LTE have introduced DRX also for connected state. By idle state, we understand that the smartphone is not utilizing radio resources. Whereas in connected state, smartphone utilizes radio resources and battery consumption is very high due to 'over the air' communication between mobile terminal and network antenna (base station).
Discontinous Reception (DRX)
In LTE, DRX mode can be enabled in both RRC_IDLE and RC_CONNECTED states. In the RRC_IDLE state, the UE is registered with the evolved packet system (EPS) mobility management (EMM) but does not have an active session. In this state the UE can be paged for DL traffic. UE can also initiate UL traffic by requesting RRC connection with the serving eNB. In LTE DRX mode can also be enabled in RRC_CONNECTED state. In the RRC_CONNECTED state DRX mode is enabled during the idle periods during the packet arrival process. When there are no outstanding/new packets to be transmitted/received, eNB/UE may initiate the DRX mode. Source: IEEE communication

What is connected state DRX (cDRX) in LTE smartphones? In LTE, any data transmission requires that the smartphone is in high power RRC connected state. With all data applications there are often short moments when no data is sent or received and during those moments connected state DRX can save energy. Connected state DRX cyclically wakes up and shuts down the receiver circuits in order to save energy.



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More battery life with LTE connected state DRX Insignificant delay impact
Up to 95% lower current consumption during the inactivity periods in RRC connected state (UE radio unit in RRC connected state when no data is transmitted)

20 - 40% lower UE current consumption for background apps (UE savings with background activities such as keep-alive and push notifications)
14% lower average UE current consumption measured with active use of multiple favorite apps (Average current measured over user activity with browser, Facebook, weather app, email and Skype) Lower signaling load with cDRX energy efficiency Allows operators to use longer RRC inactivity timers

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Examples of cDRX support in early LTE smart devices

No cDRX support
UE capability information indicates that UE does not support cDRX

Virtual cDRX support in RRC

UE capability information indicates that UE supports cDRX However UE does not implement power saving DRX

Partial cDRX support

UE capability information indicates that UE supports cDRX
UE implements power saving DRX for some long cDRX parameters

The new iPad (AT&T variant)

March 2012

LG Optimus LTE
November 2011

HTC Velocity 4G
April 2012

cDRX capability depends on modem chipset and its firmware version. Even devices with same chipset model can have different support. cDRX capability expected to improve in devices coming to market 2H2012.

Nokia Siemens Networks

UE current consumption in cDRX

Test UE connected to power measurement tool with display off.
Average current measured in RRC connected state during the DRX long cycles.
UE current (mA) DRX duration timer [ms] DRX long cycle [ms] 320 640 1280
73,9 92,1 145 157,8


19,2 22,1 28 30,3

Reference measurements: Idle 9,6 mA (1280 ms paging) No cDRX 352,4 mA

20 40 80 100

140,8 201,5 286,5 339,6
in practice looks like a noDRX

44,1 52 75,5 104,2

27,2 33,1 44,1 49,7







640 ms cDRX cycle together with 640 ms paging cycle provides energy savings with good latency experience for best effort Internet apps

Nokia Siemens Networks

cDRX comparison with active use of multiple apps

1 min user inactivity, screen off 1 min user inactivity, screen off 1 min user inactivity, screen off 1 min user inactivity, screen off 1 min user inactivity, screen off

Take a picture and upload to Facebook.

Send & receive emails

Check weather


Make a 1 min Skype call

UE current without DRX 342,70 mA (time 8:20,88)

UE current with DRX 300,86 mA (time 8:22,70)

DRX inactivity 750 ms DRX cycle 640 ms DRX on duration 10 ms

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Receiving WhatsApp text message

cDRX impact on data application latencies is not significant based on the fact that any transaction can anyway start either from idle or connected state.
Average delay of the first ACK in S1 (s),
paging cycle 640 ms, 20 ms DRX on duration
01,382 01,210 01,037

00,864 00,691
00,518 00,346

Whatsapp service

Smart phone

00,173 00,000 Connected, no DRX Idle DRX 160 ms cycle DRX DRX 640 ms cycle 2560 ms cycle


Ack Data
Ack Data Ack

Radio access delay


Average total service delay in S1 (s),

paging cycle 640 ms, 20 ms DRX on duration
01,728 01,296 00,864 00,432

Total service delay in radio access

Delay measured between messages in S1 interface (Idle case includes paging and e-RAB setup delay).

00,000 Connected, no DRX Idle DRX 160 ms cycle DRX DRX 640 ms cycle 2560 ms cycle

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Our offer to you

About NSN Smart Labs: Smart Lab Consultancy offers in-depth knowledge, proven experience and real success working to deliver mobile network optimization, service quality improvements and higher user experience. Our experience delivering these analysis and improvements has delivered millions of euro of cashable savings combined with best in class network optimization. We offer our consultancy service Smart Lab Performance Advisor to analyze:

Detailed cDRX capability in devices

cDRX for different LTE services such as best effort Internet applications and VoLTE cDRX performance analysis and comparison for different applications and devices

NSN Flexi Multiradio BTS LTE supports RRC connected state DRX since release RL30: LTE42 - DRX in RRC connected mode, LTE473 - Extended DRX settings Please contact our local NSN sales manager for further information about the joint service.

NSN Global Services offers network planning and optimization services Enabling cDRX and optimizing cDRX settings for LTE apps and devices on the field

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