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In LTE network, UEs need to measure signal strength of its own and neighbor cells constantly,
during idle, connected mode or handovers in order to keep the signal quality constant. UE measures

Reference Symbol Received Power (RSRP):

RSRP is the linear average of the downlink reference signals across the channel bandwidth

RSRP provides information about signal strength and gives no indication of signal quality

RSRP measurements are used in handover, cell selection and cell re-selections

The reporting range of RSRP is defined from -140 dBm to -44 dBm with 1 dB resolution as
shown in table below

RSRP measurement report mapping (3GPP Reference: TS 36.133)

Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI):

RSSI represents the total received wide-band power by UE

RSSI is measured only in symbols containing Reference signals

RSSI includes power from serving cell as well as co-channel interference and noise

RSSI helps in determining interference and noise information

RSSI is never reported by UE

Reference Signal Received Quality (RSRQ):

RSRQ indicates quality of received reference signal. RSRQ measurement and calculation is
based on RSRP and RSSI since RSRP determines signal quality and RSSI determines co-channel
interference and noise. RSRQ formula is shown below (N represents number of resource blocks)

The reporting range of RSRQ is defined from -19.5 dB to -3 with 0.5 dB resolution

RSRQ measurement report mapping (3GPP Reference: TS 36.133)


Lets try to calculate RSRP, RSSI and RSRQ for one very simple
case of one resource block with 12 sub carriers and 0.5 ms in time domain. For sake of simplicity,
lets assume the power of reference symbols (shown by red square) and power of other symbols
carrying other data channels (shown by blue square) is same i.e. 0.021 watt

Since RSRP is linear average of downlink reference signal for given channel bandwidth therefore
RSRP = 10*log (0.021*1000) = 13.2 dBm
While RSSI is total received wide-band power. Therefore we have to add power of all 12 carriers in
the given resource block
RSSI = 10*log(0.021*1000)+10*log(12) = 24 dBm
RSRQ is now simple ratio of RSRP to RSSI with N=1

RSRQ = 10*log(0.021/(12*0.021)) = -10.79 dB

Why do we use dBm as a unit of Power

We use decibels-milliwatts to measures power levels in telecommunication and other fields instead
of Watt. The reason to use logarithmic scale is that it helps in reducing massive values to smaller
Example : 0.00000000000080 watt which apparently looks very small value but
can still be received by antenna. The logarithmic value is just -91 dbm by using below formula
P (dBm) = 10 x Log (1000*P)