Introduction to Cellular Communications Dr. V.Umadevi M.Sc(CS &IT). M.Tech (IT)., M.Phil., PhD., D.Lit., Director, Department of Computer Science, Jairams Arts and Science College, Karur 1. Mobile Communications Principles Each mobile uses a separate, temporary radio channel to talk to the cell site. The cell site talks to many mobiles at once, using one channel per mobile. Channels use a pair of frequencies for communication? one frequency (the forward link) for transmitting from the cell site and one frequency (the reverse link) for the cell site to receive calls from the users. Radio energy dissipates over distance, so mobiles must stay near the base station to maintain communications. The basic structure of mobile networks includes telephone systems and radio services. Where mobile radio service operates in a closed network and has no access to the telephone system, mobile telephone service allows interconnection to the telephone network. 2. Early Mobile Telephone System Architecture Traditional mobile service was structured in a fashion similar to television broadcasting: One very powerful transmitter located at the highest spot in an area would broadcast in a radius of up to 50 kilometers. The cellular concept structured the mobile telephone network in a different way. Instead of using one powerful transmitter, many low-power transmitters were placed throughout a coverage area. For example, by dividing a metropolitan region into one hundred different areas (cells) with low-power transmitters using 12 conversations (channels) each, the system capacity theoretically could be increased from 12 conversations?or voice channels using one powerful transmitter?to 1,200 conversations (channels) using one hundred low-power transmitters. Figure 2 shows a metropolitan area configured as a traditional mobile
telephone network with one high-power transmitter. 3. Mobile Telephone System Using the Cellular Concept Interference problems caused by mobile units using the same channel in adjacent areas proved that all channels could not be reused in every cell. Areas had to be skipped before the same channel could be reused. Even though this affected the efficiency of the original concept, frequency reuse was still a viable solution to the problems of mobile telephony systems. Engineers discovered that the interference effects were not due to the distance between areas, but to the ratio of the distance between areas to the transmitter power (radius) of the areas. By reducing the radius of an area by 50 percent, service providers could increase the number of potential customers in an area fourfold. Systems based on areas with a one-kilometer radius would have one hundred times more channels than systems with areas 10 kilometers in radius. Speculation led to the conclusion that by reducing the radius of areas to a few hundred meters, millions of calls could be served. The cellular concept employs variable low-power levels, which allow cells to be sized according to the subscriber density and demand of a given area. As the population grows, cells can be added to accommodate that growth. Frequencies used in one cell cluster can be reused in other cells. Conversations can be handed off from cell to cell to maintain constant phone service as the user moves between cells. The cellular radio equipment (base station) can communicate with mobiles as long as they are within range. Radio energy dissipates over distance, so the mobiles must be within the operating range of the base station. Like the early mobile radio system, the base station communicates with mobiles via a channel. The channel is made of two frequencies, one for
transmitting to the base station and one to receive information from the base station. 4. Cellular System Architecture Increases in demand and the poor quality of existing service led mobile service providers to research ways to improve the quality of service and to support more users in their systems. Because the amount of frequency spectrum available for mobile cellular use was limited, efficient use of the required frequencies was needed for mobile cellular coverage. In modern cellular telephony, rural and urban regions are divided into areas according to specific provisioning guidelines. Deployment parameters, such as amount of cell-splitting and cell sizes, are determined by engineers experienced in cellular system architecture. Provisioning for each region is planned according to an engineering plan that includes cells, clusters, frequency reuse, and handovers. Cells A cell is the basic geographic unit of a cellular system. The term cellular comes from the honeycomb shape of the areas into which a coverage region is divided. Cells are base stations transmitting over small geographic areas that are represented as hexagons. Each cell size varies depending on the landscape. Because of constraints imposed by natural terrain and man-made structures, the true shape of cells is not a perfect hexagon. Clusters A cluster is a group of cells. No channels are reused within a cluster. Figure 4 illustrates a seven-cell cluster.
Frequency Reuse Because only a small number of radio channel frequencies were available for mobile systems, engineers had to find a way to reuse radio channels to carry more than one conversation at a time. The solution the industry adopted was called frequency planning or frequency reuse. Frequency reuse was implemented by restructuring the mobile telephone system architecture into the cellular concept. The concept of frequency reuse is based on assigning to each cell a group of radio channels used within a small geographic area. Cells are assigned a group of channels that is completely different from neighboring cells. The coverage area of cells is called the footprint. This footprint is limited by a boundary so that the same group of channels can be used in different cells that are far enough away from each other so that their frequencies do not interfere. Cells with the same number have the same set of frequencies. Here, because the number of available frequencies is 7, the frequency reuse factor is 1/7. That is, each cell is using 1/7 of available cellular channels. Cell Splitting Unfortunately, economic considerations made the concept of creating full systems with many small areas impractical. To overcome this difficulty, system operators developed the idea of cell splitting. As a service area becomes full of users, this approach is used to split a single area into smaller ones. In this way, urban centers can be split into as many areas as necessary to provide acceptable service levels in heavy-traffic regions, while larger, less expensive cells can be used to cover remote rural regions.