Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CS Fallback - A Study

We know that LTE doesn’t have basic voice and SMS support. To mitigate this 3GPP proposes fall back to CS network for voice and SMS. Though the industry pundits frown, I believe CS fallback has to be launched by operators deploying LTE, at-least for initial stages. Let’s look at how this works. In EPS a new interface is required to connect to the CS network. It’s called SGs, based on Gs interface, and runs SGsAP protocol. This interface is between MME and MSC Server. Next requirement is overlapping networks. It is expected to have a GERAN/UTRAN network along with EUTRAN for UE to fallback to CS. The concept is simple. UE will attach to the network through EUTRAN, MME will ask MSC to update UE location in its database, when a call is made or received UE is simply asked to fall back to CS network to answer/make the call. However note that sending and receiving SMS doesn’t need UE to fall back to CS network.
Few more details! When UE is attaching to EUTRAN, UE will perform a combined attached. That is a new IE, mobile class mark, will be sent in Attach Request asking MME to perform a combined attach. Once Attach request is received, MME will send a location update request informing MSC of UE’s location. This way UE is now known to LTE as well as CS network. When a UE has to make a call, it will simply send an extended service request to MME. MME will inform eNB that UE has to now move to GERAN/UTRAN network. If inter RAT handovers are supported, UE will be handed-over to GERAN/UTRAN network else UE’s EUTRAN connection is released and is asked to connect to GERAN/UTRAN. Because of this LTE services on UE will be disrupted.
UE attaching to EUTRAN & CS Networks
SMS is delivered over signaling channel. This means there will be no data path established to deliver or receive SMS. SMS will be sent over a signaling message. Exactly for this reason, SMS delivery or reception doesn’t need UE to fall back to CS network. Once the UE is attached to both MSC and EUTRAN and if MSC wants to deliver a SMS to UE, it will simply send a downlink unit data to MME with SMS content. MME will dump this message in NAS message and send it to UE. In the same way if UE wants to send a SMS it will dump the message in NAS message and send it to MME. MME will extract SMS content and send it to MSC over Sgs interface. This operation doesn’t need UE to fall back to CS network thus ensuring smooth delivery of SMS.
Mobile Orginated SMS delivery in Idle mode
One important thing to note here is that MME should keep a proper mapping of Tracking Area and Location Area. This is because MME needs to know to which MSC the UE should be connected to, based on the tracking area received in attach request. MME will map the tracking area to the corresponding location area and will pick the MSC based on the location area. All the details regarding CS Fallback are present in 3GPP TS 23.272. Refer to same for all the call flows.


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Anonymous said...

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