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On the downlink capacity of LTE cell

Conference Paper · November 2015

DOI: 10.1109/TELFOR.2015.7377443


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23rd Telecommunications forum TELFOR 2015 Serbia, Belgrade, November 24-26, 2015.

On the downlink capacity of LTE cell

Igor A. Tomić, Milutin S. Davidović and Sanja M. Bjeković, Ericsson d.o.o

On the other hand, LTE is designed to improve latency

Abstract — Mobile networks are experiencing last few years
data tsunami, where traffic is growing exponentially, together significantly, which is very important for high demanding
with user demands in terms of network performance. In such applications, as well as for E2E TCP/IP performance at high
circumstances, mobile operators are upgrading existing 2G/3G throughputs.
networks to LTE, which significantly improves user experience, Impact of LTE on user experience was analyzed in [1],
both in terms of throughput and latency, and provides needed while this paper tend to analyze additional capacity introduced
capacity. In this paper the focus is on downlink capacity, which by LTE, and based on conducted analysis to discuss potential
is more critical. In order to analyze downlink capacity and ways for further improvements. Analysis is focused on
potential ways of improvement, the first part of the paper will downlink, which is more critical from capacity prospective.
deal with estimation of throughput in different part of the cells
for different network load situation. It will be done by analysis of
correlation between downlink throughput and level of signal, II. USER DOWNLINK THROUGHPUT – THEORETICAL
measured as Reference Signal Received Power (RSRP) for CONSIDERATIONS
various network load expressed as average Resource Block (RB) Downlink throughput in LTE is mainly driven by
utilization. Next step will be downlink cell capacity estimation, in interference, where due to OFDM only inter-cell interference
the second part of the paper, which will be derived for different
networks load and different site density. Downlink ring method is relevant. Interference depends on several factors, however
is used for calculation of the cell capacity where network load, as two main should be elaborated in details. First is the quality of
well as distribution of the users in the cell area and site density, is radio network design, where typical measures for
taken in all capacity consideration. Finally, the potential ways for improvement are proper site selection, antenna choice and
capacity improvements will be discussed in conclusion part. tilting, implementation of some advanced radio functionalities
Results are based on field measurements from the real network
and result of other RF optimization activities. Second is
in combination with channel and wave propagation models.
network load, which is actually amount of traffic in the
Index Terms — Long Term Evolution (LTE), Orthogonal network, and need to be properly addressed by network
frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), Signal to Interference dimensioning.
plus Noise Ratio (SINR), eNodeB, Radio Base Station (RBS),
Reference Signal Received Power (RSRP), average cell
When it comes to the quality of radio network design,
throughput, network load, downlink throughput, network commonly accepted good measure is the interference factor
performance, RF design, User Equipment (UE), Reference Signal (𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟), defined as
(RS), Resource Block (RB), path loss, interference factor (F-
factor), MIMO (Multiple-Input/Multiple-Output). ∑𝑖≠𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑖
𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 = (1)
𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙

obile Network Operators are faced with soaring data where ∑𝑖≠𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑖 is the summation of all 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃s

M traffic. Data is growing exponentially, due to

increasing user demands, where video content based
services are typically one of the major contributors. To
detected by UE except the 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 which represents
𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 (Reference Signal Received Power) of the serving cell
(should be the best one detected). Interference factor is
address such growing user needs, mobile operators are forced calculated for each bin, and measure of quality of radio design
to evolve and transform their networks and perform different is average 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 in the system.
actions, where some of the most typical are: to improve Network load is defined as percentage of used Resource
spectral efficiency, expand used spectrum, introduce new Blocks (RB), as defined in [2]. What it will be assumed in
technologies, add small cells, offload networks to WiFi etc. calculations is that network load is evenly distributed among
From Shannon channel capacity formula it is evident that cells, where a set of different values will be used to simulate
main way for capacity improvement is expansion of used traffic growth in future (5 % - matching approximately
channel bandwidth. Introduction of LTE is the key step, as it Reference Signals RS’s only, as well as other load values for
provides superb user experience and utilizes new spectrum
growing traffic, such as: 10 %, 20 %, 50 %).
efficiently and with flexibility. With LTE it is very easy to
According to (1), 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 depends on 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃.
add additional spectrum, especially with carrier aggregation.
Furthermore, high correlation between 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 and best
Igor A. Tomić, Ericsson d.o.o, Milentija Popovica 5a, 11070, server 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 can be expected. This is logical, as 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟
Belgrade, Serbia (e-mail:, actually measures dominancy of best server, and typically
Milutin S. Davidović, Ericsson d.o.o, Milentija Popovica 5a, 11070,
there is good dominance close to antenna where 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 is
Belgrade, Serbia (e-mail:,
Sanja M. Bjeković, Ericsson d.o.o, Milentija Popovica 5a, 11070, good, while dominance is worse far from antenna, when
Belgrade, Serbia (e-mail: 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 decreases and interference coming from neighboring

978-1-5090-0055-5/15/$31.00 ©2015 IEEE 181

cells increases. Speaking about overall noise power, relevant powers that
At the same time, as already stated, 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 is measure will be taken in consideration are thermal noise power
of quality of radio design, which is highly impacted by sites (𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 ) and noise power added by UE (𝑁𝑎 ). Therefore,
density (site-to-site distance). Also, in networks with good overall noise power is
radio design it is desired to avoid antennas positioned at high
height, as they are causing overshooting, which is radio 𝑁 = 𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 + 𝑁𝑎 . (4)
propagation to areas where it is not desired to have certain cell
presence. Typical corrective measure to optimize RF design in Thermal noise power is defined as
order to achieve best server dominance is antenna tilting.
Fig. 1 presents results of simulation, showing dependence of 𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 = 𝑁𝑡 + 10 𝑙𝑜𝑔 𝐵𝑊 [dBm] (5)
𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 on antenna distance, for networks with different
average antenna tilts implemented (from zero to eight where 𝑁𝑡 is thermal noise power density (-174 dBm for
degrees). As can be seen on Fig. 1, tilt increase improves noise bandwidth [𝐵𝑊] of 1 Hz). In this particular case
𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟, as it decreases its value (ideally is zero). Reference Signal (RS), which is one subcarrier in LTE, is
observed. So bandwidth of interest is 𝐵𝑊 = 15 kHz.
According to that, 𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 = -132.24 dBm value will be
taken in calculation.
To define noise added by UE noise figure of UE (𝑁𝐹𝑈𝐸 )
must be known. It can be safely assumed 7 dB. Now, from the
definition of noise figure of a device
𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 +𝑁𝑎
𝑁𝐹𝑈𝐸 = (6)

overall noise power can be calculated as

𝑁 = 𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 + 𝑁𝑎 = 𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 (𝑁𝐹𝑈𝐸 ). (7)

As it was already remarked, useful signal 𝑆 is actually 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃

coming from the serving cell.
Finally, referring to (2), (3), (4) and (7) now 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 can be
defined as:
Fig. 1. 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 as a function of 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 for different average antenna tilts 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙
𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 = . (8)
𝑄𝐿 ∑𝑖≠𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑖 + 𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 (𝑁𝐹𝑈𝐸 )
Having in mind all said, as a first step 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 will be
modelled as function of 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃. It will be done through If we divide denominator and numerator by 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 ,
process of measurement in the field and averaging value for we will have:
different 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 segments.
Next step is to link 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 to 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟. We will start 1
𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 = ∑𝑖≠𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑖 . (9)
from the definition of 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 𝑄𝐿
+ 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙
𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙

𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 = (2) Looking back at (1), 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 can be noticed as one of the
numerator factors of the previous relation (9). After
where 𝑆 is useful signal (in this case it is actually replacement, we get the final relation for our calculation:
𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃serving cell), 𝐼 is interference coming from other
Reference Signals (RS) and 𝑁 is overall noise power. 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 = (10)
𝑁𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 (𝑁𝐹𝑈𝐸 )
Interference coming from other cells is actually a 𝑄𝐿 𝐹𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 +
𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙
summation of all 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃s detected by UE except the
𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 . Taking in calculation network load it is where 𝐹𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 is 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 of the monitored cell (the
defined as serving one), network load QL is already assumed, while other
parameters have already been defined and can be calculated.
𝐼 = 𝑄𝐿,𝑖 ∑𝑖≠𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃𝑖 . (3) 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 will be presented, as discussed, through
derived function of 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 (1), where correlation will be
It will be assumed that network load is equally distributed in modelled based on drive test logs analysis and
the network and same in all cells (in the following equations it post-processing, where 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 will be extracted for
will be used just as 𝑄𝐿 ). every sample/bin in the drive test. In such way there will be

signature of RF design quality incorporated in further within the different 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 ranges, with a step of
calculations. 5 dB.
It is important to mention few facts about network
configuration and settings. In this particular case, antenna
configuration was MIMO 2x2 and used channel bandwidth
was 15 MHz.
Now, when the relation between 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 and 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 is
created, 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 can be mapped for every 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 measured.
Then, there is good correlation (theoretical, but confirmed in
practice as well) between Downlink Throughput and 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅. It
will lead us to Downlink Throughput estimation, where
simulator was used, one for the channel model EPA5 with
15 MHz of bandwidth. Finally, empirical curve Downlink
Throughput vs. RSRP will be generated and analyzed.


In this chapter the calculation process will be described,
based on the measurement results obtained in the drive test.
At the end, the final results will be shown.
The first step, as discussed in previous chapter, was making Fig. 3. Average downlink 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 as a function of 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 range
the correlation between 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 and 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃, according to
the (1). It is important to pay attention to that all parameters Looking at the Fig. 3, it can be concluded that the original
needed for this relation, and also (2), were calculated in 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 (blue line) is behaving similarly in the most of
decibels, not in watts, so recalculation in watts was made the 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 ranges except in range from -65 dBm to -55 dBm.
before placing them into the relation. Following graph (Fig. 2) Since only this part is diverging from the rest, it can be
presents the result of this step, in form of scatter – to assumed that the reason of this deviation is probably
understand level of correlation, standard deviation and insufficient number of samples in this 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 range.
introduced mistake in further averaging process. Furthermore, this can be confirmed by taking a deep look at
the Fig. 2. Having this in mind, this part of the curve was
extrapolated (red line) in order to eliminate effects of
statistical insignificance.
As derived correlation between 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 and 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 was
obtained from real field measurements, it should be stressed
that drive test campaign was done for operator who is in the
initial phase of deployment of LTE. In other words, changes
in modeled correlation and all future related results can be
expected as networks become more mature, and density of
LTE sites increases. Also, it should be noticed that exercise
results carry incorporated inside signature of radio network
design. Hence it is recommended to be repeated for other
mobile operators, or when site density is changed and new
sites are added, which can be expected in future.
According to (2) from Chapter II and considering the
results for the average 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 within the 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 ranges,
the 𝑆𝐼𝑁𝑅 results were obtained for the networks in different
Fig. 2. 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 as a function of 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃
network load circumstances.
As it was mentioned before, the network load values taken
As it can be seen on the scatter presented in Fig. 2, there is in calculation are 5 %, 10 %, 20 % and 50 %. The network
correlation, but far from ideal, meaning that certain degree of with the load around 5 to 10 % (Cell Reference Signals,
variation can be expected in realistic throughputs from common and control channels) is considered as an unloaded
estimated later in calculations. or very-low loaded network, and can be assumed for initial
However, what is needed for further analysis is 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 network deployment phase. As network maturity grows, it can
as function of 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 in form of a curve, not a scatter. Due to be expected that number of subscriber will increase and load
that, the next logical step is to average these results over will grow. Also it can be expected also that operator will add
certain bands. new sites or additional carriers, to avoid congestions. Table 1
Next figure (Fig. 3) presents the average 𝐹 − 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 presents the results of this calculation part.

[-75,-70) 84024.21 73216.94 61404.49 45849.86
TABLE 1: SINR WITHIN RSRP RANGES DEPENDING ON THE NETWORK [-70,-65) 84040.74 73226.51 61409.52 45851.77
[-65,-60) 88638.7 78669.06 67211.11 51452.32
[-60,-55) 94461.86 86211.75 75755.57 60218.17
𝑹𝑺𝑹𝑷 range 𝑺𝑰𝑵𝑹 [dB]
[-55,-50) 101295.2 99657.95 94443.59 83012.62
[dBm] 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟓 % 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟏𝟎 % 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟐𝟎 % 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟓𝟎 %
[-130,-125) -2.59505 -2.89747 -3.44561 -4.76733
[-125,-120) 1.167384 0.020646 -1.63513 -4.53769
[-120,-115) 6.067268 5.138658 3.724119 1.090231 IV. AVERAGE DOWNLINK USER THROUGHPUT
[-115,-110) 10.52465 9.29315 7.550201 4.55794 CALCULATION – RING METHOD
[-110,-105) 14.44424 12.7537 10.59235 7.215437
[-105,-100) 17.57553 15.37665 12.83705 9.166675 Once achievable downlink throughputs are known for
[-100,-95) 18.15161 15.41714 12.55161 8.661447 different RSRP levels, or in other words for different
[-95,-90) 20.47858 17.61515 14.68019 10.74663 positions/cell areas, assuming equal density of distribution of
[-90,-85) 20.48568 17.52136 14.53424 10.56881
21.68078 18.68957 15.68885 11.7152
users over the cell area, next step in capacity analysis is to
[-80,-75) 23.69743 20.69673 17.69123 13.71472 understand average achievable cell throughput. For that
[-75,-70) 24.55193 21.54533 18.53687 14.55858 purpose, ring method will be used to approximate cell.
[-70,-65) 24.55698 21.54785 18.53814 14.55909 Ring methods are based on successive calculations for
[-65,-60) 26.01957 23.00978 19.99974 16.0205
28.23854 25.22851 22.21835 18.23903
defined ring-shaped regions of the cell. Commonly accepted
[-55,-50) 34.25058 31.24063 28.2305 24.2512 shape of cell model is hexagon. The idea of ring method is to
divide cell area into N rings where the number of users in ring
The next step is to map these SINRs to downlink i is directly proportional to the area of ring i. In other words,
throughput. This was done using the throughput calculator users are modeled to be uniformly distributed over the cell
already implemented for this purpose by setting the area. The concept of ring method is shown in Fig. 5.
configuration as the one that is used in this case.
Finally, desired relation between 𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 and downlink
throughput for different network loads is obtained,
and presented visually in Fig. 4. and numerically in Table 2.

Fig. 5. Illustration of ring method

In case of hexagonal cell model, ring areas can be easily

calculated from the definition of hexagonal area:

Fig. 4. Downlink throughput as the function of RSRP for different values of 3√3 𝑑 2
Q DL 𝑆𝑖 = ( 𝑖) (11)
2 2

where 𝑑𝑖 is diameter of outer range of ring i. The target ring

TABLE 2: DOWNLINK THROUGHPUT WITHIN RSRP RANGES area (shaded area in Fig. 1) can be calculated like
𝑹𝑺𝑹𝑷 range Downlink throughput [kbps] 𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑔𝑒𝑡 = 𝑆𝑖 − 𝑆𝑖−1 . (12)
[dBm] 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟓 % 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟏𝟎 % 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟐𝟎 % 𝑸𝑫𝑳 = 𝟓𝟎 %
[-130,-125) 5286.42 4957.90 4511.61 3413.85
[-125,-120) 9965.03 8336.40 6276.86 3608.57 Maximum diameter of outer range of the ring, 𝑑𝑚𝑎𝑥 , is
[-120,-115) 19379.11 17267.44 14352.46 9847.881 actually the cell border, R.
[-115,-110) 31757.07 27976.82 23088.08 16024.25
[-110,-105) 45420.39 39257.92 31975.05 22218.22
As it was already stated, the number of users in ring i is
[-105,-100) 57578.17 48962.6 39552.47 27603.03 directly proportional to the area of ring i. Therefore, the ratio
[-100,-95) 59869.94 49117.72 38543.68 26140.81 between area of the target ring and area of whole cell
[-95,-90) 69091.76 57735.74 46309.86 32471.78 corresponds to the ratio between number of users in target
[-90,-85) 69119.64 57362.81 45757.79 31899.25
[-85,-80) 73730.66 62012.55 50166.78 35667.25
ring and number of users in whole cell. Based on this, the
[-80,-75) 81108.99 69941.47 58038.26 42717.76 proportion of users in ring i, 𝑝𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑖 , is defined by following

equation: throughput, 𝑅𝑖 , for observed ring (ring i). Then, total average
𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑆𝑖 − 𝑆𝑖−1
𝑝𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑖 = = (13) user throughput presents the summation of all “ring”
𝑆𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝑆𝑚𝑎𝑥
where 𝑆𝑚𝑎𝑥 is area of the whole cell (ring diameter 𝑑𝑚𝑎𝑥 ). 𝑅𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑎𝑣𝑒 = ∑𝑖 𝑝𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑖 𝑅𝑖 . (17)
Linking (11), (12) and (13), 𝑝𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑖 can be also expressed like

𝑑𝑖2 − 𝑑𝑖−1
This chapter is devoted to the calculation process described
In order to calculate throughput for each ring, conditions in previous chapter and based on the measurements obtained
such as path loss, signal attenuation and SINR in each ring in drive tests.
must be determined. Path loss, as well as signal attenuation, is Relying on previous estimation, cell will be divided in rings
directly related to RSRP detected by UE. Hence, knowing with RSRP step of 5 dB. Using (15) from Chapter IV RSRP
RSRP on the position of UE and power of RS provide the levels of the ring borders are transformed in signal
information about signal attenuation between RBS (Radio attenuations. Then, path loss is calculated by (16). In this case,
Base Station) and UE. Well-known relation which links these measuring equipment was in inside the vehicle, so car
parameters is penetration loss (common value 6 dB) should be taken in
calculation. The other losses can be neglected.
𝑅𝑆𝑅𝑃 = 𝑃𝑡𝑥,𝑅𝑆 − 𝐿𝑠𝑎 [dBm] (15) The sum of the maximum gain in the forward direction of
the RBS antenna and UE antenna gain, 𝐺𝑎 , will be taken as
where Ptx,RS [dBm] is power of reference signal and Lsa [dB] 18,5 dBi. Path losses on ring borders are defining the ring
is signal attenuation. The relation between signal attenuation outer and inner diameters, 𝑑𝑖 and 𝑑𝑖−1 ,. Path loss to distance
and path loss is given by relation transformation will be based on Okamura-Hata wave
propagation model [5-6].
𝐿𝑝 = 𝐿𝑠𝑎 − 𝐿𝐵𝐿 − 𝐿𝐶𝑃𝐿 − 𝐿𝐵𝑃𝐿 + 𝐺𝑎 − 𝐿𝑗 [dB] (16) Finally, for defined cell edge (𝑑𝑚𝑎𝑥 ) the proportion of users
in each ring , 𝑝𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑖 , can be calculated (using (13), Chapter
where 𝐿𝑝 is path loss due to propagation in the air, 𝐿𝐵𝐿 is the IV).
body loss, 𝐿𝐶𝑃𝐿 is the car penetration loss, 𝐿𝐵𝑃𝐿 is the building Definition of the cell edge is based on the site density
penetration loss, 𝐺𝑎 is the sum of the maximum gain in the (site-to-site distance) in the measured area of the network.
forward direction of the RBS antenna and UE antenna gain, 𝐿𝑗 More precisely, it can be estimated from the drive test logs by
is any losses due to jumpers installed between the antenna and taking a deep look when the UE is making a handover. In this
the RX reference point. case there were several different situations, because of
Based on these relations path loss for each ring can be different site-to-site distance on the drive test route. This
calculated. The path losses, 𝐿𝑝,𝑖 , to all positions in ring i are diversity provides opportunities to make capacity estimation
modeled to be equal. The same is valid for the signal for different cell edges. In future analysis, three different cell
attenuations, 𝐿𝑠𝑎,𝑖 . edge definitions, matching three different site density/network
Cell rings can be modeled based on distance step or the maturity scenarios, will be observed and analyzed:
path loss step. Using some of wave propagation models the
values of one parameter can be transformed to the values of  cell edge defined by RSRP = -120 dB,
another.  cell edge defined by RSRP = -100 dB,
Similar like it was modeled for path loss and signal  cell edge defined by RSRP = -80 dB.
attenuation, SINR in each ring is modeled to be equal in all
positions in the ring. SINR can be measured and averaged in Cell rings defined this way match with RSRP ranges, so all
each ring or it can be calculated from other measured conditions in ring areas are defined exactly the same like in
parameters. predefined RSRP ranges. Hence, SINR in each ring/RSRP
The idea is to calculate average cell throughput in order to range is already known and used to calculate the throughput
estimate cell capacity based on the distribution of the user (see Table 2, Chapter III).
over the cell ring areas. Having in mind that SINR in each These results were additionally extended, and study was
ring is determined and approximated as equal in whole ring made for network loads from 5 % (which is considered as
area, throughput of each ring can be calculated using some of unloaded network) to 100 % (fully loaded network). The final
commonly accepted channel models (EPA5, EVA70 or results were obtained by including calculated throughputs and
ETU300). The choice of the channel model depends on the proportion of users in each ring in final summation like it was
circumstances in the drive test (mainly depends on the speed described in Chapter IV.
of the vehicle) [3]–[4]. Table 3 presents expected average user throughput for
The “ring” throughput for each ring can be directly different network loads and Fig. 6 illustrates the same. As it
calculated from the proportion of the users, 𝑝𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑖 , and was already discussed, the estimation was made for different

cell edge definitions (site density in the network) and VI. AREA FOR CAPACITY IMPROVEMENT AND CONCLUSIONS
according to that, comparison of results was made. The main purpose of this paper is to understand the concept
cell capacity in LTE network and the factors that can affect it.
TABLE 3: AVERAGE USER THROUGHPUT DEPENDING ON NETWORK Obtained results show what performance can be expected
depending on the site density (size of the cell) and load.
Average user throughput [kbps]
Cell edge def. by Cell edge def. by Cell edge def. by
Preformed analysis has shown that cell capacity depends on
load several factors. These factors are limitative, but also make
(𝑸𝑳 )
-80 dB -100 dB -120 dB room for improvements, depending on the state of the
5% 81906.39 66150.98 32886.37 network.
10% 71475.59 55005.59 28444.53
15% 64858.44 48446.36 25424.69 Analysis of downlink capacity should always start from the
20% 60064.32 43894.93 23166.27 point that in general downlink performance is limited by
25% 56336.14 40464.56 21382.89 interference. Focusing on intra system interference that can be
30% 53305.35 37740.74 19925.95
35% 50765.27 35502.85 18702.23 addressed by system design, it should be understood that in
40% 48587.26 33614.10 17653.93 LTE systems interference is always inter-cell interference.
45% 46688.37 31990.88 16743.74 The main method of controlling inter-cell interference is RF
50% 45010.49 30574.65 15945.69
55% 43511.12 29322.63 15233.50
design, where dense network with small tucked cells and well
60% 42157.65 28202.44 14592.95 tilted antennas is desired, providing superb cell throughputs
65% 40927.00 27193.98 14018.37 and network performance.
70% 39802.80 26282.50 13491.85
75% 38766.46 25444.86 13013.01
The second aspect is network load, or system utilization in
80% 37808.33 24680.18 12570.96 terms of occupied RB. Network load tends to increase, as the
85% 36919.58 23971.97 12164.28 number of user in the cell/network is increasing and traffic
90% 36088.53 23316.92 11786.12 model is changing, as data usage per subscriber is growing
95% 35312.92 22705.76 11434.53
100% 34583.48 22138.02 11106.13 exponentially last couple of years. Adding cells to cope with
traffic growth is needed.
However, each way of eventual load decrease is more than
welcome. One quite significant source of interference is
power coming from Cell-Specific Reference Signals (CRS),
which are transmitted in a cell in each downlink subframe and
in each resource block in the frequency domain.
Approximately 5% of RE in RB, or to be precise 4 out of 84
RE are reference signals. The values of the CRS are uniquely
determined by the physical-layer cell ID and hence are
common to all terminals connected to this cell. The CRS are
used for channel estimation for coherent demodulation of
physical control channels and packet data channels (PDSCH)
in some of the transmission formats referred to as
transmission modes (CRS are used for TM 1–6). In the initial
releases of the LTE system, CRS can also be used by the user
terminals to measure channel state information (CSI), which
serves as the basis for link adaptation. The CRSs are also used
Fig. 6. Average user throughputs for different network loads/different site
density and cell capacity calculation
by terminals to make handover or cell reselection
measurements and decisions.
Finally, the difference between average user throughput and Possibilities for reduction of CRSs were analyzed in [7],
cell capacity should be discussed. Once average user two options were discussed – reduction in time and reduction
throughput is known for given load, cell capacity can be in frequency. However, both options require changes in 3GPP
calculated by simple multiplication: standard. In this paper the focus will be on options that are
already available in existing 3GPP and installed equipment.
Tcell,ave = QL R user,ave . (18) After analysis of existing standard, available functionalities in
eNodeB and work done in this area, it can be found that two
Example: For dense urban area, with short site-to-site options are available.
distance, where RSRP on cell edge is -80 dBm, average user The first is to play with settings of CRS power, with clear
throughput, 𝑅𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟,𝑎𝑣𝑒 , is 45 Mbps at 50% network load (red idea to investigate effects of its reduction. Second idea is to
point in Figure 6). This means that cell capacity, 𝑇𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑙,𝑎𝑣𝑒 , is investigate benefits and drawbacks of shifted and non-shifted
actually 22.5 Mbps in that case. PCI planning, described in [8]. In a non-shifted CRS
configuration the same time and frequency resources are used
for CRS transmissions in all cells. In shifted CRS

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Impact of CSI Optimization and CRS Selection on Performance of LTE
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