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Capabilities and Impacts of EDGE Evolution toward Seamless Wireless Networks D. Mužić, D.Opatić Mobile Networks Ericsson Nikola Tesla d.d. Krapinska 45, HR-10001 Zagreb E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgAbstract - Current EDGE peak data rates of 300 kbps cannot have minimal or no impact on legacy network equipment.cope with the data rates of 7.2 Mbps provided by Most of the proposed enhancements can be implementedWCDMA/HSPA networks. Still, the enormous GSM/EDGE in EDGE networks only with software upgrades, withoutsubscriber base motivates mobile operators to continue requiring any hardware modification. This fact is crucialinvesting in network upgrades to provide higher data rates at since mobile operators strive to maximize hugeminimum cost. EDGE Evolution, also standardized by 3GPP, investments made so far in GSM/EDGE equipment.consists of a subset of features which allow to quadruple the Mobile terminals will require more extensivedownlink data rates compared to legacy EDGE performance. modifications, but they are replaced at a much higher rate.Introduction of new modulation schemes, e.g. 32 QAM and EDGE Evolution puts mobile operators in a position tohigher symbol rate will boost data rates up to 118.4 kbps per cost-effectively provide better data services on networktimeslot. In combination with dual downlink carrier, mobile wide level in a very short time.terminals will be able to allocate ten downlink timeslots The paper is organized as follows: Section II presentswhich will enable peak data rates of 1.2 Mbps. Additional the techniques and enhancements introduced in EDGEimprovement of EDGE Evolution end user performance will Evolution. The expected performances are explained inbe provided by reduced latency, turbo codes and mobile Section III, with an accent on the impact that evolvedreceive diversity techniques. All this features together will EDGE features will have on legacy network hardware andprovide comparable performances with 3G technology and mobile terminals. Conclusions are provided in Section IV.more importantly, enable true service transparency between2G and 3G networks. Implementing EDGE Evolutionimprovements will mostly impact mobile terminal side. II. EDGE EVOLUTION ENHANCEMENTSKey words – GSM, EDGE, Evolution, Seamless A. Reduced latency Latency, or round-trip-time, plays a major part for end- I. INTRODUCTION to-end user experience in any type of packet data application or service. For applications like VoIP or real- Commercially deployed during early 90, GSM grew to time gaming reduced latency is a necessity to get it to workbecome the most widespread wireless mobile technology. at all. EDGE Evolution introduces substantialLater implementation of GPRS followed by EDGE improvements to latency and perceived delay combiningintroduced data services for users all around the clock. Fast ACK/NACK reporting (FANR) and reducedToday GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks comprise more than 3 Transmission Time Interval (TTI).billion subscribers in 177 countries [Global mobileSuppliers Association - GSA, January 6, 2009]. The vast ACK/NACK reporting is a common procedure forinstalled capacity proves the success of this technology confirming that data packets have been correctlyand brings benefits in terms of omnipresent coverage, transmitted. Legacy procedures imply that ACK/NACKlower terminal price and cost-efficient network upgrades. messages are sent separately from user data which inevitably increase system’s reaction time. With Fast The advent of WCDMA/HSPA with data rates up 7.2 ACK/NACK reporting the acknowledgment message isMbps paved the way for mobile broadband and triggered embedded together with payload, so called piggybackedmore demanding services like Mobile TV, VoIP, on-line reporting, thus significantly reducing retransmissiongaming, etc. Since such services are constantly increasing intervals. Additional delay reduction is achieved byrequirements on data rates, latency and bandwidth, current sending ACK/NACK reports upon detection of RLCEDGE performances are not able to cope with these blocks that have not been correctly received, rather thangrowing demands. Accordingly, 3GPP (3rd Generation periodically according to the legacy design base.Partnership Project) standardized a set of enhancementsthat will mark the development of future EDGE networks The second mechanism that significantly contributesknown as EDGE Evolution. The proposed improvements latency reduction is based on sending RLC data blocks onare included in the 3GPP Release 7 and the focus areas are two consecutive timeslots instead of only one, halving thelatency reduction, increasing peak and mean bit rates, TTI from 20 ms with EDGE today to 10 ms.expanding service coverage and improving spectrum Combining reduced TTI and FANR it is expected to cutefficiency. One of the key issues embedded in the Release round-trip-times from today’s values of around 135 ms7 standard is that introduction of EDGE Evolution should down to 80 ms.
B. Downlink dual carrier proposed to allow the MS to enable or disable the second receiver branch dependently on current battery lifetime and Currently EDGE is deployed only on one 200 kHz interference situation on the air interface.carrier. Taking in consideration that mobile terminals onthe market support up to five timeslots transmitting at a D. Higher order modulation (HOM)peak rate of 59.2 kbps per timeslot, the maximumachievable throughput is around 300 kbps. Introducing the Increasing bits per symbol rate by means of higher ordercapability to send data on two carriers simultaneously will modulations is a very straight forward way to increase datadouble the data rate in a very straightforward and throughput. Currently, data sent through the air interface isbackward-compatible way. The usage of the additional modulated using GMSK or 8-PSK, which allows carryingcarrier can also be used for reducing TTI. By sending RLC one or three bits per symbol respectively. Introduction ofblocks on timeslots on two separate carriers instead of higher order modulation schemes, such 16QAM andusing one timeslot on a single carrier for transmitting RLC 32QAM, will increase the bit per symbol rate to 4 and 5blocks the TTI is halved. Uplink dual carrier feasibility respectively. 16QAM and 32QAM are more vulnerable tostudies are postponed in 3GPP Release 8 due to terminal interference compared to legacy GMSK and 8-PSKimplementation complexity. modulation because of lower inter-symbol distance which tend to increase BER. However, the increased data ratesC. Mobile station receive diversity (MSRD) from HOM can be exploited to improve the channel coding and cope with higher BER. By comparing legacy MSRD is included in the 3GPP Release 7 known as EDGE coding rates from Table 1 with those from Table 2DARP2 (Downlink Advanced Receiver Performance it can be noted that for equal user data rates, codingphase 2). MSRD means that terminals will use dual schemes with HOM provide more robust channel coding.antennas, acquiring receiver diversity on downlink. Additional redundancy is then used to effectively retrieveDiversity allows much more efficient interference corrupted user data even at low CIR values.cancellation compared to single-antenna terminals. Inenvironments where the carrier and interfering signal arenot synchronized the interference cancellation is expected TABLE 1to give up to 8 dB higher CIR. Besides diversity gain, BIT RATES PER TIME SLOT FOR LEGACY EDGE MCSMSRD provides better sensitivity since it mitigates effectsof fast fading. Sensitivity increase of 3 dB can be EGPRSexpected bringing an increase of EDGE coverage area. User Data CodingConsequently, even users that are situated in areas with MCS Modulation Rate (kbps) Ratepoor EDGE coverage will be able to achieve satisfactory MCS-9 8-PSK 59.2 0.71data rates. Figure 1 presents data rates per timeslot MCS-8 8-PSK 54.4 0.60achieved at different CIR using conventional receiver anddual-antenna receiver (DAIC - Dual Antenna Interference MCS-7 8-PSK 44.8 0.47Cancellation). The simulation assumes coding schemes MCS-6 8-PSK 29.6 0.63adaptation together with and adjacent and co-channel MCS-5 8-PSK 22.4 0.49interference influence. MCS-4 GMSK 17.6 1.00 MCS-3 GMSK 14.8 0.85 MCS-2 GMSK 11.2 0.66 MCS-1 GMSK 8.8 0.53 TABLE 2 BIT RATES PER TIME SLOT FOR EDGE EVOLUTION MCS  EGPRS-2 Level A Downlink User Data Coding MCS Modulation Rate (kbps) Rate DAS-12 32QAM 98.4 0.96 DAS-11 32QAM 81.6 0.80 DAS-10 32QAM 65.6 0.64 DAS-9 16QAM 54.4 0.68 DAS-8 16QAM 44.8 0.56 DAS-7 8-PSK 32.8 0.54 Fig. 1. Throughput per timeslot for single and dual antenna receiver  DAS-6 8-PSK 27.2 0.45 DAS-5 8-PSK 22.4 0.37 MCS-4 GMSK 17.6 1.00 MSRD and Downlink Dual Carrier both require two MCS-3 GMSK 14.8 0.85antennas and two receivers in the mobile terminal. Using a MCS-2 GMSK 11.2 0.66second receiver will inevitably increase power MCS-1 GMSK 8.8 0.53consumption thus drains the battery faster. It is therefore
E. Higher symbol rate (HSR) thus with no impact on networks or handsets make them favorable for an early market introduction. The need for higher bit rates makes favorable the use of HOM, turbo codes and HSR enhancements are bundledfaster symbol rate. Currently, the legacy symbol duration is together by the name of EGPRS-2 Uplink and EGPRS-23.69 μs while EDGE evolution standardize 3.077 μs Downlink. HOM and turbo codes are already supported bysymbol duration. This reduction of symbol duration allows latest base stations and can be implemented only with aa 20% increase of the symbol rate, resulting in a equivalent software upgrade. Introduction of HSR will most probablydata throughput increase. Accordingly, a wider pulse filter require a new pulse shaping filter so transceivers boards onis required, which current base station and terminal base stations will have to be replaced. To maximize thehardware is not comprising. Thus introduction of this fraction of legacy hardware where these features can beenhancement is not straight forward and will require implemented, different ambition levels are specified:modifications or replacement of legacy hardware. Table 3shows increased data rates achieved using HSR. EGPRS-2A downlink: 8-PSK+16/32QAM+Turbo Codes EGPRS-2A uplink: 16QAM TABLE 3 EGPRS-2B downlink: QPSK+16/32QAM+Turbo Codes+BIT RATES PER TIME SLOT FOR EDGE EVOLUTION MCS Higher Symbol Rate WITH HIGHER SYMBOL RATE  EGPRS-2B uplink: 16/32QAM+Higher Symbol Rate EGPRS-2 Level B Downlink EGPRS-2A will be the first step toward introduction of User Data Coding advanced coding and modulation schemes since the vast MCS Modulation Rate (kbps) Rate majority of currently deployed GSM/EDGE equipment DBS-12 32QAM 118.4 0.98 provides support for those features. DBS-11 32QAM 108.8 0.91 Figure 2 depicts the gain that individual EDGE DBS-10 32QAM 88.8 0.72 evolution enhancement can bring in terms of bit rate per DBS-9 16QAM 67.2 0.71 timeslot vs. CIR. It can be denoted that a dual antenna DBS-8 16QAM 59.2 0.60 terminal using 16QAM with turbo codes can achieve DBS-7 16QAM 44.8 0.47 maximal bit rate at CIR around 15 dB, which is 15 dB DBS-6 QPSK 29.6 0.63 lower compared to legacy EDGE handsets. DBS-5 QPSK 22.4 0.49 MCS-4 GMSK 17.6 1.00 MCS-3 GMSK 14.8 0.85 70000 MCS-2 GMSK 11.2 0.66 60000 MCS-1 GMSK 8.8 0.53 50000 Throughput [bit/s] 40000F. Turbo codes 30000 Single antenna EGPRS Turbo Codes, already used in 3G WCDMA networks, Dual carrier EGPRS 20000 Single antenna 16QAM / TCare part of EDGE evolution. Turbo Codes outperform Single antenna 16QAMlegacy convolutional codes in term of error correction, 10000 Dual antenna EGPRS Dual antenna 16QAM / TCimproving channel robustness and further diminishing the 0drawback of higher BER for HOM. At the same time, -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 CIR [dB] 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34Turbo Codes are more complex than convolutional onesbut existing implementation in WCDMA assure a feasible Fig. 2. Throughput per timeslot vs. CIR for different modulationintroduction also in GSM/EDGE terminals. and receiver combinations  III. EDGE EVOLUTION CAPABILITIES AND IMPACTS Predictions show that by combining EGPRS2-A downlink enhancements, MSRD and dual carrier on downlink with 5 timeslots each for a total of 10 timeslots, The leading idea behind evolved EDGE is that its data rates up to 1 Mbps on downlink can be achieved indeployment should have minimal impact on currently the serving cell vicinity. This is illustrated in Figure 3.installed network hardware and handsets. To further This throughput is comparable to what user get fromfacilitate introduction of EDGE Evolution improvements, ADSL connections and not so far from HSPA data rates.the majority of the proposed features are mutually This performances represents the fundament to guaranteeindependent, allowing operators to bundle and deploy seamless network operations between GSM/EDGE andenhancements accordingly to the installed hardware WCDMA/HSPA networks. It is worth to remark that thiscapabilities. prediction is based on EGPRS2-A enhancements which Latency reduction improvements are the ones that are should not require any hardware modification in the baseexpected to hit the market first. The updates regard station. Eventual hardware constraints from terminal sidemodification of procedures that are extensively used today, can be easily surmounted due to simplicity of
implementation, lower cost and shorter terminal lifetime. receive diversity can be reused also for MSRD. Multi RATEven without MSRD same peak rates can be expected, terminals will be able to more readily incorporate featuresalthough at much higher CIR levels than with MSRD. of evolved EDGE with less impact on cost and size as they Considering that by using 32QAM together with HSR, leverage reuse of 3G elements, thus making them idealdata rate per timeslot can be elevated up to 118.4 kbps and fabric for a feasible implementation of EDGE Evolutionfor state-of-the-art handsets supporting 5 timeslots together features. It is expected that Multi-RAT terminals marketwith dual downlink carrier the theoretical peak throughput share will grow to reach same levels as GSM/EDGE onlycan be further boosted to the maximum value of 1.184 handsets in the next couple of years, allowing a largeMbps on downlink. portion of subscriber to avail from the benefits of evolved EDGE in the very near future. Dual carrier downlink Mbps 1 HOM and turbo codes IV. CONCLUSION MSRD 0,8 EDGE today This paper presents the performance concept for evolved EDGE. The key aspects of used techniques and 0.50.5 Mbps Mbps 0,6 expected performances are described together with the EDGE Evolution impact that introduction of this standard will have on 0,4 mobile terminals and base station’s hardware. The 0,2 evolution of EDGE will continue also in 3GPP Release 8. EDGE Huge subscriber base and widespread coverage makes 0 EDGE still an attractive technology for delivering data 15 20 25 30 35 C/I (dB) 30 25 20 15 services which operators dont want to give up on. Features included in evolved EDGE allow peak data rates of 1.2 Mbps and round-trip-times down to 80 ms, keeping the pace with performances achieved by 3rd generation cellular networks. Data rates offered by EDGE EvolutionFig. 3. Predicted user throughput with EGPRS2-A downlink and provide much better complement to HSPA speeds allowing dual downlink carrier  users to seamlessly roam between 2G and 3G networks without affecting service continuity. All EDGE Evolution improvements can be implemented with software upgrades Downlink dual carrier and mobile station receive only or with minimum impact on installed hardwarediversity (MSRD) both requires double antennas and guaranteeing a cost-efficient implementation which willreceivers included in the handset. Implementation of further prolong the life time of this mature technology.MSRD and downlink dual carrier capability on 2G onlyphones will require and additional receive chain and anadditional local oscillator as shown in Figure 4. REFERENCES  3GPP TR 45.912 V7.2.0 (2007-02), Technical Report, “Feasibility study for evolved GSM/EDGE Radio Access Network (GERAN)”, Release 7  P. Chitrapu, B. Aghili, “Evolution of GSM into the Next Generation Wireless World”, IEEE Systems, Applications and Technology Conference, Long Island, 2007  K. Ivanov, C.F. Ball, R. Müllner, H. Winkler, “Paving the Path for High Data Rates by GERAN Evolution EDGE2 with Dual-Carrier”, IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications, Cannes, 2008.  M. Säily, J. Hulkkonen, O. Piirainen, K. Niemelä, E.B. Zacarías, “EGPRS2 Uplink Performance for GERAN Evolution”, IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, Singapore, 2008.Fig. 4. Chipset view of additional EDGE Evolution requirements  M.L. Roberts, M.A. Temple, R.F. Mills, R.A. Raines, for 2G only terminals  “Evolution of the Air Interface of Cellular communications Systems Toward 4G Realization”, IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials journal, Vol. 8, No.1, p.2-23, 2006 EDGE Evolution functions will increase the processing  T. Halonen, J. Romero, J. Melero “GSM, GPRS and EDGEpower requirements while the D/A interface should be Performance: Evolution Towards 3G/UMTS”, 2nd Edition,upgraded to fully support all the EDGE Evolution features John Wiley, 2003.combined. On the other side, Multi-RAT handsets (i.e.  “The Case for Evolved EDGE”, 3G Americas White Paper,supporting GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA) offer more 2008processing power while dual receive chain for 3G mobile  “The Evolution of EDGE”, Ericsson White Paper, 2007.