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International Journal of Engineering & Technology IJET-IJENS Vol:10 No:01 55

Radio Access Network Audit & Optimization in

GSM (Radio Access Network Quality
Improvement Techniques)
Mudassar Ali, Asim Shehzad, Dr. M.Adeel Akram.

Abstract Network audit is necessary to judge the network comparative process and requires an initial baseline of KPIs
performance and maintain QOS standards. The network audit and/or objectives. These can be derived from the design
identifies inconsistencies or limitations in current overall guidelines, service requirements, customer expectation,
network design, helps to improve processes resulting in market benchmarks and others. The comparative baseline
optimized network and improved quality of service. Radio Access and/or the KPIs can be re-adjusted during the audit itself to
Network audit includes many aspects of network like improve its diagnostic capabilities.
performance, neighbor, parameter, frequency, competitive
benchmark audits. In this paper, real GSM Radio Access
Benefits of Network Audit.
network evaluated, and different issues, findings, trials and Key benefits of network audit are:
improvements have been summarized and Identify actions to improve network quality in problem
observations/recommendations have been listed to correlate the areas.
practical aspects of RF optimization, which affect the Discover inconsistencies or limitations in current overall
performance, and QoS of an operational cellular network. network design.
Index term RAN, BSC, MSC, BTS, CSSR, CDR, HSR, TCH, Discover practices or processes that can be improved or
COVERAGE, QUALITY, KPI, DT and QoS. optimized
Results in improved Network quality , thereby reduced
The mobile communication aims to offer anytime and Optimize overall network design:
anywhere communications between any objects. GSM , One Reduction of excess network elements
of the fastest growing and most demanding of all Postponement future CAPEX, leading to CAPEX
telecommunications technologies . savings
GSM Network usually called as cellular network (as the It takes only a delay in the CAPEX for few BTSs to
whole coverage area is divided into different cells and sectors) justify the network audit investment
is comprised of a mobile Station (MS) which is connected to Streamline processes:
the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) via air interface. In OPEX savings
addition to other hardware, BTS contains the equipment called
Transceiver (TRX), which is responsible for the transmission Network Audit Steps
and reception of several radio frequency (RF) signals to/from The audit has 3 distinct steps:
the end user .BTS is then connected to the base station 1. Information gathering (The Diagnosis)
controller (BSC) via abis interface. BSC usually handles radio 2. Information analysis and results (The Prognosis)
resource management and handovers of the calls from one 3. Recommendations (The Cure)
BTS (or cell/sector) to the other BTS (or cell/sector) equipped
in it. BSC is then connected to Mobile Switching Centre III. INFORMATION GATHERING (DATA COLLECTION)
(MSC). Following data will be collected for radio network audit
This paper focuses on audit of radio access part of GSM 1. BSS Network Design and Performance Data.
network, suggestions to optimize the network and post All Site Data : sites position, antenna types,
optimization benchmarks. Following is sequence of height, tilt electric and Mechanical) and azimuth,
Objectives. sector power, number of sectors, Number of
1. Network Audit and Recommendations TRXs per sector
2. Optimization Plan and Cluster optimization Macro Site data and Micro Layer data
3. Post Optimization Evaluations (Benchmark BSC and transcoder designs
Improvements) Coverage data
Neighbor List
The ultimate purpose of the audit is to establish a baseline that Frequency Plan and Interference Analysis
measures overall network design, quality, performance and OMC Statistics.
process, and to identify and characterize the areas where Drive Test Statistics.
improvement can be achieved. The audit is usually a 2. Major Complaints from Customer Care.

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International Journal of Engineering & Technology IJET-IJENS Vol:10 No:01 56
3. Revenue Churn report from Revenue assurance The paging success rate measures the percentage of how many
department paging attempts that have been answered, either as a result of
the first or the second repeated page.
CHART Time _ of _ Paging _ Re sponses
Algorithm for audit methodology used for test case of PSR
Time _ of _ Paging
network of city K is given in Fig.1
Possible reasons for poor Paging Performance could be:
Paging congestion in MSC
Paging congestion in BSC
Paging congestion in Base Transceiver Station (BTS)
Poor paging strategy
Poor parameter setting
Poor coverage
High interference

2. SDCCH Access Success Rate.

SDCCH access success rate is a percentage of all SDCCH
accesses received in the BSC.
Possible reasons for poor SDCCH Access Performance could
Too High Timing Advance (MHT)
Access Burst from another Co-channel, Co-BSIC
False Accesses due to High Noise Floor
Unknown Access Cause Code

3. SDCCH Drop Rate

The SDCCH DROP RATE statistic compares the total number
of RF losses (while using an SDCCH), as a percentage of the
total number of call attempts for SDCCH channels. This
statistic is intended to give an indication of how good the
cell/system is at preserving calls.
SDCCH _ Drops
SDCCH _ Drop _ Rate
SDCCH _ Seizures
Possible reasons for SDCCH RF Loss Rate could be:
Fig. 1. Radio Network Audit Flow Chart
Low Signal Strength on Down or Uplink
All the events being occurred over air interface are Too High Timing Advance
triggering different counters in the Base Station Congestion on TCH
Controller (BSC). The KPIs are derived with the help of
these counters using different formulations. 4. Call Setup Success Rate
The Call Setup success rate measures successful
A. Accessibility
TCH Assignments of total number of TCH
Service accessibility is : The ability of a service to be
assignment attempts.
obtained, within specified tolerances and other given
conditions, when requested by the user. In other words:
CSSR 1 SDCCH _ Congestion _ Rate * TCH _ Assignment _ Success _ Rate

Total _ NO _ of _ Successful l _ Calls _ Setup SDCCH_Overflows

Acessibility 1
CSSR * 1 TCH_Congestion_Rate * 1 TCH_Assignment_failureRate * 100
Total _ Calls _ Accesses _ to _ Network SDCCH_Call_Attempts
Listed below are the KPIs connected to accessibility. Reasons for low call setup success rate could be:
TCH congestion
1. Paging Success Rate Interference

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International Journal of Engineering & Technology IJET-IJENS Vol:10 No:01 57
Poor coverage Congestion
Faulty HW units Link Connection or HW Failure
Bad Antenna Installation
5. Call Setup TCH Congestion Rate The MS Measures Signal Strength of another Co-or-
The Call Setup TCH Congestion Rate statistic provides the Adjacent Cell than Presumed
percentage of attempts to allocate a TCH call setup that were Incorrect Handover Relations
Incorrect Locating Parameter Setting
blocked in a cell.
Bad Radio Coverage
Call _ Setup _ TCH _ Congestion_ Rate
No _ of _ TCH _ Blocks( Excluding _ HO )
High Interference, Co-channel or Adjacent
No _ of _ TCH _ Attempts
Possible reasons for call setup block could be:
It is important for the neighbor list to be updated and
Increasing Traffic Demand
optimized as it directly affects handover decisions in a
Bad Dimensioning
mobile network. Wrong or missing neighbor relations may
HW Fault & Installation Fault
cause an on-going connection to drop or be handed over to the
High Antenna Position
wrong neighbor cell. Excessive neighbor relations in a cell, on
High Mean Holding Time (MHT)
the other hand, may cause wrong handover decision on the
Low Handover Activity
part of the BSS because of inaccurate measurements.
Congestion in Surrounding Cells
Neighbor relations and parameters are cross checked to
identify and remove
B. Retain ability
One way neighbors
Service retain ability is The ability of a service, once
Illogical neighbor Relations
obtained, to continue to be provided under given conditions
Methods used to assign frequencies in the network are
for a requested duration. In other words:
reviewed and the steps are taken to control interference and
maximize network capacity through frequency planning.
Total _ Calls _ Completed BCCH/BSIC reuse is crosschecked. MA (Moblile Allocation)
Re tainabilit y List is cross verified.
Total _ Successful _ calls _ setup
Listed below are the KPIs connected to retain ability. VII. COMPETITIVE BENCHMARK AUDIT
In competitive benchmarking, coverage and quality
1. Call Drop Rate comparison of network is performed with competitors.
This KPI gives rate of drop call. Percent of TCH dropped after Below is coverage and quality comparison for two operators
TCH assignment complete. for a city, Results are taken Drive test tool, TEMS.
Total _ TCH _ Drops
TCH _ Normal _ Assignment _ successes inco min g _ DR Inco min g _ HO _ Successes Outgoing _ HO _ successes Coverage Comparison :
*DR is directed retry As visible from Plots mentioned in Fig.2 and Fig .3 operator 1
Possible reasons for TCH Drop Call Rate could be: have better coverage than operator 2. which is also visible in
Low Signal Strength on Down or Uplink
Lack of Best Server
Congestion in neighboring cells
Battery Flaw
Poor Quality on Down or Uplink
Too High Timing Advance
Antenna problems
Low BTS Output Power
Missing Neighboring Cell Definitions
Unsuccessful Outgoing Handover
Unsuccessful Incoming Handover
2. Handover Success Rate
The handover success rate shows the percentage of successful
handovers of all handover attempts. A handover attempt is
when a handover command is sent to the mobile.
Possible reasons for poor handover success rate could be:
Fig. 2 . Coverage Plot for Operator 1 For City K :

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International Journal of Engineering & Technology IJET-IJENS Vol:10 No:01 58

Fig. 5. Quality Plots for Operator 2 for city K

Legend For Quality Plots is as follows :

Fig. 3. Coverage Plot for Operator 2 for City K

Legend For Coverage is given below .

Formula for Quality:
( RX _ Qual0 RX _ Qual1 RX _ Qual2 RX _ Qual3) ( RX _ Qual4 RX _ Qual5 RX _ Qual6 ) .07
Re ceive _ Quality
Total _ Samples

Results for receive quality for operator 1 and operator 2 taken

for city K.
Formula For Coverage Rate: KPI Operator 1 Operator 2
No _ of _ samples _ having _ Signal _ strength 90dbm Rx QUALITY 88.19% 87.18%
Covergae_ Rate * 100
Total _ Samples
Results for Coverage rate for operator 1 and operator 2 taken VIII. REFERENCES
for city K are given below [1] Halonen T., Romero J., Melero J.: GSM, GPRS and EDGE
Performance. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2003.
[2] ITU-T recommendation G.1000 (2001), Communication quality of
KPI Operator 1 Operator 2 Service: A framework and definition.
COVERAGE [3] Jens Zander. Radio Resource Management for Wireless
Networks. Artech House Inc., 2001
RATE 94.64% 72.77%
[4] [4] Bilal Haider,M.Zafarrullah Khan, M.K.Islam: Radio Frequency
Optimization and QOS in operational GSM network.
Quality Comparison:
As visible from plots mentioned in Fig 4 and Fig 5 , Operator
1 has better quality than operator 1 , which is also visible in

Fig. 4. Quality Plots for Operator 1 For City K.

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