Performance Enhancements in a Frequency Hopping GSM Network

Dieter Spaar had pointed out this book some months ago when I first raised some questions regarding frequency hopping and the orthogonal nature of hopping sequences with the same HSN but different MAIO.

Last week while David Burgess was with me, he also indicated that this book was great and he unfortunately didn't think of bringing it along with him.

Meanwhile, I have immediately ordered the book and am already at something like 30% completion. It is a most interesting book to read, approaching GSM from an advanced network planning angle, with a specific focus on the effects of frequency hopping, uplink/downlink power control and DTX on the overall system performance of a GSM network.

The theoretical foundations are always put in a GSM network simulator with detailed channel model, but also actually implemented in a real-world GSM network in Denmark.

Next to all the GSM specifications with their plethora of options and operator dependent settings, this book gives a detailed (but still very technical) background on how and why an Operator would configure his network to maximize the service quality offered to his subscribers.

From the results, you can for example very clearly see that

  • frequency hopping over a cyclic sequence gives higher gain improvement than random hopping, especially if the number of channels in the mobile allocation is low
  • frequency hopping gain is very dependent on the speed at which the MS moves. At 3kph, the gain when hopping over 8 channels can be 7dB, while at 50kph the same hopping will only provide 1.5dB
  • MAIO management (using different MAIO but same HSN) for all sectors in a cell gives significant FER improvements
  • handover algorithms differ quite a bit between non-frequency-hopping and frequency-hopping networks

In the end, it seems, network planning is never about allocating your channels in a way they don't overlap. That would limit the network capacity way too much. Network planning seems to only be about averaging out the interference that cells inevitably have with each other and ensure that the quality of the system only degrades with increasing load.