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Diploma in Info-communications

Wireless Technology (ETW2005)

Selection of Frequency Reuse Patterns

Submitted By Tan Yong Sheng 0402896E P06 Facilitator: Mr Srinivasan Sukumar Date: 5 Dec 2005

1. Abstract
Mobile cellular networks are made up of cells, each indicating a coverage zone with a base station either in the center of the cell or at the corner boundaries. A hexagon is used to represent a single cell as it would make network diagrams tidier and that it is closest to the ideal cell shape of a circle. Each cell is then connected physically to the operators Mobile Switching Centre, which then connects to land lines via the Public Switched Telephone Network. Mobile phones communicate with each cell using a frequency allocated to that particular cell.

2. Introduction
Since the implementation of the first generation of cellular networks, cell planning has always held a crucial role in determining the efficiency and robustness of any network. Cell planning comprises many aspects such as cell traffic balancing and types of cells, but this report shall focus on the selection of frequency reuse patterns. Frequency reuse is the process of assigning the same frequency to two or more nonadjacent cells to enable the provision of service to a greater number of mobile subscribers while having the same limited frequency spectrum. Frequency reuse is only implemented in FDMA and TDMA based networks like GSM, and is not required in CDMA which has universal frequency reuse. The reuse of frequencies is almost inevitable as mobile operators are usually allocated only a limited spectrum of frequencies by the respective regulators. This causes the number of potential mobile subscribers to be extremely limited. As such, operators need to assess their operating conditions, plan their requirements, and hence implement a frequency reuse pattern in their networks. The resultant pattern should ideally be able to accommodate the maximum subscriber count and be almost totally resistant to cochannel interferences and other external interferences.

3. Selection of Frequency Reuse Patterns

3.1 Patterns
A pattern is a number of cells grouped together, with each cell allocated a certain number of channels, which are pairs of two frequencies to enable full-duplex communication. This entire group of cells is known as a cluster. One cluster serves a complete set of frequencies ranging from the entire allocated spectrum of the operator. The cluster pattern is then repeated throughout the required coverage area. Patterns come in fixed numbers, and are derived from the formula, N = i + ij + j (refer to Appendix A). Typical cluster sizes include 3, 4, 7, 9, 12, 19 and 21; with the most common configuration being a 7-cell cluster.

3.2 Factors of Consideration

Factors to consider when selecting patterns include co-channel interference, which is the radio interference caused by placing two cells, which have been allocated the same channel, too close together. This causes deterioration of signal quality and in severe cases, might cause a call to be temporarily or permanently disconnected, affecting the Grade of Service of the operator. The minimum distance required between the centers of two cells, using the same channel to maintain the desired signal quality, is known as the reuse distance (refer to Appendix A). The longer the reuse distance, the smaller the co-channel interference level will be. However, a reuse distance that is too long increases the number of cells per cluster, which in turn results in lower reuse efficiency and less system capacity. Thus, the frequency reuse pattern should be determined taking into consideration both the co-channel interference level and the reuse efficiency.

3.3 Determining Cluster Size

As mentioned above in section 2.1, the formula N = i + ij + j is used to derive possible values of a cluster size. However, to find exact or more accurate values given certain conditions, the following formula is used instead:

This formula takes into account the desired carrier power (C), the signal power of interferers (Ii), the radius of cells (R), and the frequency reuse distance to the interferers (Di). Using this formula and the respective parameters, operators can then better plan their coverage areas by fine tuning those factors.

3.4 Implementation
In the course of preliminary planning, an operator would have thoroughly researched upon and determined appropriate operational parameters such as the coverage radius of each cell, placement of cells, and most importantly, the selection of the frequency reuse pattern derived from the research and formula in section 2.3. After being allocated a spectrum of frequencies from the respective regulator, the operator will have to implement the plan by first determining the number of channels it can provide. Then, the operator distributes the channels evenly among the cell cluster. The total number of cells required for the desired coverage area is then calculated and the chosen cluster pattern is repeated throughout the coverage area. Testing will then be done to ensure the levels of co-channel interference and external interference remain negligible, and following which the network will be fully functional for commercial use.

4. Application
Due to the prevalence of frequency reuse, there is rarely a need to create an environment to simulate application. The main problem that frequency reuse eliminates is the limitation of allocated spectrum width to accommodate a higher number of mobile subscribers. Once operators have chosen to implement frequency reuse, there will be an essential need to strategically plan the distribution of cells and channels, and hence, decisively select a frequency reuse pattern.

4.1 Example Situation

A new local mobile operator is allocated a spectrum of 892 to 893 MHz for uplink and 937 to 938 Mhz for downlink. The spectrum per link would be 1 MHz. Using Frequency Division Multiple Access, each simplex channel would occupy 25 kHz of bandwidth. The total number of channels would then be 1 Mhz/25kHz = 40. The operator assesses its situation and uses the formula in section 2.3 to derive a cluster size of 4. Each cell would then be evenly assigned 40 channels/4 cells = 10 channels each. For island-wide coverage (699km), with a cell radius of 0.5 km, the total number of cells required would be 699/(2.6*(0.5km)) = 2789. If each cell can service 50 calls at any instance, one cluster would be able to handle 200 calls. With the frequency reuse pattern, this cluster can be repeated 2789/4 = 698 times to deliver island-wide coverage. Therefore, the operator would be able to accommodate (698*50) 50 = 34,850 more calls than if it were not implementing a frequency reuse pattern.

5. Replaceable Alternatives
As of current and emerging cellular technologies, operators are still forced to implement frequency reuse patterns in their networks. The only exception would be operators who run CDMA, which has seen a downslide in popularity.

The spectrum allocated by regulators continues to be limited, and the coverage areas of individual cells are kept small. Due to the large numbers of subscribers in highly populated areas, those areas require the introduction of cell splitting, which further stresses the importance of the proper selection of frequency reuse patterns. Health concerns also factor in, when higher levels of power used to boost signal coverage result in the emission of more harmful radiation. This limits operators to the range of coverage each cell can provide even though the maximum ranges of the base stations have not been reached. As such, there currently exists no viable technology or solution to replace the necessity of frequency reuse patterns in cellular networks.

6. Future Development
As the selection of frequency reuse patterns is more of a concept and process rather than a technology itself, the continued development into this area is dependent on the individual standardisation bodies or manufacturers whom which develop the standards. The ubiquitous global standard GSM, which is currently handled by 3GPP, does not see potential in any further major development of frequency reuse patterns. 3GPP is instead, focusing on 3G technologies to better address the general limitations of GSM.

7. Conclusion
In conclusion, this report has verbosely described the process of selecting frequency reuse patterns and implementing them in mobile networks. It has discussed the required considerations in proper planning, and the key factors in determining appropriate parameters to build a feasible and robust network.

Appendix A

7-Cell Clusters:

D i

N = i + ij + j D = reuse distance r = radius of cell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_networks http://www.site.uottawa.ca/~ivan/hybrid-ca.pdf http://www.soi.wide.ad.jp/class/20030005/materials_for_student/07/2003.05.23CellularSystem.pdf http://www.privateline.com/PCS/HowPCSworks.htm http://www.3gpp.org/