Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8

PDP Context vs.

EPS Bearer

A Battle of the Data Session Setups

2
LTE has been designed to support packet services in a more efficient manor than UMTS. The key service, from a
wireless data network perspective, is the establishment of the data session that will be used by the mobile device for
data services. In UMTS and GPRS, the key to establishing a data session is the Packet Data Protocol (PDP) Context
establishment procedure. In LTE, the procedure has been changed to an Evolved Packet System (EPS) Bearer
Setup. Lets take a look at the differences. In a UMTS network the data session is established with a PDP Context
Activation procedure. But, before the PDP context can be established the UE must do an Attach procedure. The
Attach procedure is used to alert the SGSN (Serving GPRS Support Node) that the UE has powered up. The
problem is that there isnt anything the UE can do after an Attach without requesting a PDP Context. To be fair, after
an Attach the UE is available to receive a SMS or a Network Initiated PDP Context. The problem is that we do
nt do SMS over the packet network and we dont do
Network Initiated PDP Context in practice. After the Attach procedure is completed the UE will then do a Primary
PDP Context that will establish the data session and allocate an IP address to the UE. This PDP Context will have a
QoS associated with it based on the needs in the request. If the UE needs to have multiple data sessions, due to
various Quality of Service (QoS), the UE will do a Secondary PDP Context activation. For the sake of completeness,
it is important to note that there are other reasons to establishing subsequent PDP Context beyond QoS, but that is a
good place to start. In a LTE based system, there are two types of data session setups. The first is called a Default
EPS Bearer. The second is the Dedicated EPS Bearer. The first is established as part of the Attach procedure. The
Default EPS Bearer will only support a nominal QoS, but that should be sufficient for application signaling. When
the UE needs to establish a service a Dedicated EPS Bearer will be established. This will have the QoS requirements
needed for the service. As way of comparison, the LTE Attach/Default EPS Bearer will be equivalent to the UMTS
Attach and then doing a Primary PDP Context establishment procedure. The Secondary PDP Context Activation is
similar to the Dedicated EPS Bearer Setup procedure. So, there is a variation of a theme here, but not a significant
difference. If we were to look at the key parameters in these messages, we would see that both the UMTS
procedures and the LTE procedures still use parameters like an Access Point Name (APN), IP address type, and QoS
parameters. Therefore, the only real difference between the two types of procedures is that there has been an
optimization in LTE that reduces the number of signaling messages that need to be sent over the air.
Radio Bearer in LTE
There are 2 types of Radio Bearers (RB) in LTE:
To carry signaling. There are called the SRB (Signaling Radio Bearer)
To carry user data. There are associated with an EPS Bearer
In LA1.X, the maximum number of RB per UE is 4
The following types of Radio Bearer are defined:

SRB1: RRC signaling with high priority

SRB2: RRC signaling and NAS signaling (lower priority)

Best Effort: also defined as the default EPS Bearer

GBR: Radio Bearer with a guaranteed bit rate


VoIP: Radio bearer to carry the VoIP
In LA1.X the following combination are supported:

SRB1

SRB1+SRB2+Best Effort

SRB1+SRB2+Best Effort + GBR

SRB1+SRB2+Best Effort + VoIP

SRB1+SRB2+Best Effort + Best Effort At the RRC connection, the eNodeB scheduler creates a context for the
UE containing the UEBearerList. this list is limited to 4 per user in LA1.X Each bearer is identified by the LCID
(Logical Channel ID)
Each bearer is associated with QoS parameters like :

Max bit rate and guaranteed bit rate


VoIP or not
H-ARQ usage

Default Bearer vs Dedicated Bearer


A default bearer is bearer able to carry all kinds of traffic (no filter) with low value QoS (5-9). It is typically created
during the attach procedure
A dedicated bearer is a bearer to carry a specific data flow, identify by the TFT (Traffic Flow Template), with a
given QoS.

Example: Voice, streaming

It can be established:

During the Attach procedure (depending on the user profile)

After the Attach procedure, on demand


Default Bearer, Dedicated Bearer... What exactly is bearer ?
While trying to get a better understanding of VoLTE and IMS , I came across bearers stuff which I thought might be useful to share with you
guys. Before we talk about what default and dedicated bearer is, let's understand what bearer itself is :
Bearer is just a virtual concept. It defines how the UE data is treated when it travels across the network. Network might treat some data in a
special way and treat others normally. Some flow of data might be provided guaranteed bit rate while other may face low transfer. In short,

bearer is a set of network parameter that defines data specific treatment e.g. Person Awill always get at least 256 Kbps download speed on his
LTE phone while for person B there is no guaranteed bit rate and might face extremely bad download speed at times
Now let me talk briefly about Dedicated and Default bearer one by one.

Default Bearer in LTE


When LTE UE attaches to the network for the first time, it will be assigned default bearer which remains as long as UE is attached. Default
bearer is best effort service. Each default bearer comes with an IP address. UE can have additional default bearers as well. Each default bearer
will have a separate IP address. QCI 5 to 9 (Non- GBR) can be assigned to default bearer.

Dedicated Bearer
To put it simple, dedicated bearers provides dedicated tunnel to one or more specific traffic (i.e. VoIP, video etc). Dedicated bearer acts as an
additional bearer on top of default bearer. It does not require separate IP address due to the fact that only additional default bearer needs an IP
address and therefore dedicated bearer is always linked to one of the default bearer established previously. Dedicated bearer can be GBR or
non-GBR (whereas default bearer can only be non-GBR). For services like VoLTE we need to provide better user experience and this is where
Dedicated bearer would come handy. Dedicated bearer uses Traffic flow templates (TFT) to give special treatment to specific services
IMS(3 KINDS OF BEARERS 2 DEFAULT & 1 DEDICATED)

Default bearer 1: Used for signaling messages (sip signaling) related to IMS network. It uses qci 5
Dedicated bearer: Used for VoLTE VoIP traffic. It uses qci 1 and is linked to default bearer 1
Default bearer 2: Used for all other smartphone traffic (video, chat, email, browser etc)
Question : Why dont we use dedicated bearer for ims signaling as well ?
Answer : IMS network is separate network from normal internet. And it comes with its own APN. Therefore we need separate default bearer
for IMS network. This also helps in separating IMS traffic from normal internet traffic as well
Question :How it is decided to send voip traffic (for example) on dedicated bearer?
Answer Both UE and eNB has TFT which has rules for certain services. For example, incase of VoLTE voip traffic, the rule are defined on the
basis of protocol number , destination network ip network etc
Question How is dedicated bearer linked to default bearer?
Answer The value of "Linked EPS bearer identity" defined in setup info of dedicated bearer is used to link dedicated bearer to default bearer
Please also visit Quality of Service (QoS) in LTE to get more better understanding on bearers
Question : What is the value of GBR in case of dedicate bearer?
Answer : The GBR or MBR can be configured on the PCRF per PCC Rule
Question : Hello, Can you tell me how does the UE know whether it is scheduled on the dedicated bearer or the defaults one? Is there any
indication of it in DCI? From my undertanding it cannot be the TFT because there is one TFTs for each dedicated bearer.
Answer : Lets consider one example. There is some Uplink data in UE buffer related to VoIP (VoLTE rtp traffic). So now assuming the
dedicated bearer (DRB) is already established previously and there is TFT defined in UE. So UE checks the ip data and finds that this data
should flow on one specific DRB defined. DRB mapping at MAC layer is done through LCID to provide unique QoS to specific bearer
Hi, Since there are up to 9 qci standardized values that a bearer can have, and 10-255 are qci values that an operator can define, how and at
which point/network element will the bearer have qci with such operator defined values?
Dedicated bearer can be subdivided into Non-GBR and GBR types.

GBR provides guaranteed bit rate and is associated with parameters like GBR and MBR
- GBR:
The minimum guaranteed bit rate per EPS bearer. Specified independently for uplink and downlink
- MBR:
The maximum guaranteed bit rate per EPS bearer. Specified independently for uplink and downlink
On the other hand, Non-GBR bearer does not provide guaranteed bit rate and has parameter like A- AMBR and UEAMBR

APN-AMBR:
APN Aggregate maximum bit rate is the maximum allowed total non-GBR throughput to specific APN. It is
specified interdependently for uplink an downlink
- UE -AMBR:
UE Aggregate maximum bit rate is the maximum allowed total non-GBR throughput among all APN to a specific
UE
As you can see, the default bearer can only be non-GBR type. Some other important terms associated with each
bearer type are discussed below:
- ARP:
Allocation and retention priority is basically used for deciding whether new bearer modification or establishment
request should be accepted considering the current resource situation.
- TFT:
Traffic flow template is always associated with dedicated bearer and while default bearer may or may not have TFT. As mentioned
earlier, dedicated bearer provides QoS to special service or application and TFT defines rules so that UE and
Network knows which IP packet should be sent on particular dedicated bearer. It usually has rules on the basis of IP
packet destination/source or protocol used.
L-EBI:
It stands for Linked EPS bearer ID. As I discussed in previous article about dedicated and default bearer, we know
that each dedicated bearer is always linked to one of default bearers. L-EBI tells Dedicated bearer which default
bearer it is attached to.
IP Address/ PDN:

Each default bearer is attached to some PDN network and has its own IP address while dedicated bearer does not
need this since it is linked to default bearer.
You can also see one other parameter associated with all bearers i.e. QoS class of identifier (QCI).This parameter
basically defines IP level packets characteristics as shown below

EXAMPLE
Let me try to explain here again with the same example I gave in Default and Dedicated Bearer section
Usually LTE networks with VoLTE implementations have two default and one dedicated bearer
Default bearer 1: Used for signaling messages (sip signaling) related to IMS network. It uses qci 5 Dedicated bearer:
Used for VoLTE VoIP traffic. It uses qci 1 and is linked to default bearer 1 Default bearer 2: Used for all other
smartphone traffic (video, chat, email, browser etc), assuming qci 9 is used here
This means that Default bearer 1 is associated with IMS PDN and has specific IP address. It has throughput
limitations defined in terms of A-AMBR and UE-AMBR. Since it has qci 5 which means that its IP packets has the
highest priority over other IP packets and maximum delay as 100ms between UE and PGW with packet loss
percentage up to 10
-6
Default bearer 2 is associated with internet PDN and has specific IP. It has throughput limitations defined in terms of
A-AMBR and UE-AMBR as well. Since it has qci 9 which means that its IP packets has the lowest priority over
other IP packets and maximum delay possible as 300ms between UE and PGW with packet loss percentage up to 10
-6

Dedicated bearer will be linked to Default bearer 1 with L-EBI and it also has TFT which basically defines which IP
packets should be allowed to travel on this bearer. It has throughput limitations defined in terms of MBR and GBR.

Since it is using QCI 1, the IP packets traveling on this bearer have the second highest priority. The maximum delay
possible to IP packets on this bearer is 100 ms and the percentage of packet loss will be under
10
-2
http://4g-lte-world.blogspot.in/2013/01/quality-of-service-qos-in-lte.html
What are the information that Default EPS has but Dedicated EPS bearer does not ?
The answer is "APN Name" and "PDN type/PDN Address".
Then What kind of PDN address does Dedicated EPS Bearer will use ?
The answer is "Dedicated EPS Bearer uses the PDN address of Default EPS Bearer it is linked to".
Then how a Dedicated EPS Bearer knows which Default EPS Bearer it is linked to ?
The answer is that it is via a information element called "Linked EPS Bearer Identity" (See the arrow shown in the
picture above)
What are the information that both Default EPS Bearer and Dedicated EPS Bearer has ?
The answer is "QCI".
Can Default EPS Bearer and Dedicated EPS Bearer can have the same QCI value ?
The answer is "No, they must have different QCI value".
What is the relation between Default EPS Bearer and an APN ?
The answer is "there is one-to-one relationship between them. One Default EPS Bearer is alllocated for one APN.
Default Bearer in LTE
When LTE UE attaches to the network for the first time, it will be assigned default bearer which remains as long as UE is attached. Default
bearer is best effort service. Each default bearer comes with an IP address. UE can have additional default bearers as well. Each default bearer
will have a separate IP address. QCI 5 to 9 (Non- GBR) can be assigned to default bearer.
EXAMPLE
Let me try to explain here again with the same example I gave in Default and Dedicated Bearer section
Usually LTE networks with VoLTE implementations have two default and one dedicated bearer
Default bearer 1: Used for signaling messages (sip signaling) related to IMS network. It uses qci 5 Dedicated bearer:
Used for VoLTE VoIP traffic. It uses qci 1 and is linked to default bearer 1 Default bearer 2: Used for all other
smartphone traffic (video, chat, email, browser etc), assuming qci 9 is used here
This means that Default bearer 1 is associated with IMS PDN and has specific IP address. It has throughput
limitations defined in terms of A-AMBR and UE-AMBR. Since it has qci 5 which means that its IP packets has the
highest priority over other IP packets and maximum delay as 100ms between UE and PGW with packet loss
percentage up to 10
-6

Default bearer 2 is associated with internet PDN and has specific IP. It has throughput limitations defined in terms of
A-AMBR and UE-AMBR as well. Since it has qci 9 which means that its IP packets has the lowest priority over
other IP packets and maximum delay possible as 300ms between UE and PGW with packet loss percentage up to 10
-6
Dedicated bearer will be linked to Default bearer 1 with L-EBI and it also has TFT which basically defines which IP
packets should be allowed to travel on this bearer. It has throughput limitations defined in terms of MBR and GBR.
Since it is using QCI 1, the IP packets traveling on this bearer have the second highest priority. The maximum delay
possible to IP packets on this bearer is 100 ms and the percentage of packet loss will be under
10
-2
http://4g-lte-world.blogspot.in/2013/01/quality-of-service-qos-in-lte.html
What are the information that Default EPS has but Dedicated EPS bearer does not ?
The answer is "APN Name" and "PDN type/PDN Address".
Then What kind of PDN address does Dedicated EPS Bearer will use ?
The answer is "Dedicated EPS Bearer uses the PDN address of Default EPS Bearer it is linked to".
Then how a Dedicated EPS Bearer knows which Default EPS Bearer it is linked to ?
The answer is that it is via a information element called "Linked EPS Bearer Identity" (See the arrow shown in the
picture above)
What are the information that both Default EPS Bearer and Dedicated EPS Bearer has ?
The answer is "QCI".
Can Default EPS Bearer and Dedicated EPS Bearer can have the same QCI value ?
The answer is "No, they must have different QCI value".
What is the relation between Default EPS Bearer and an APN ?
The answer is "there is one-to-one relationship between them. One Default EPS Bearer is alllocated for one APN.