Add a note hereThough the 4G is the evolved version of 3G there are many fundamental differences between the two systems, the greatest of these being speed enhancement of 3G network services.
Add a note hereThe main differences between the 3G and 4G have been listed below.

Add a note here1 The Speed or Data Rate
Add a note hereThe maximum speed or the data rate of 3G system is 2MBPS. With that speed we can definitely get a better service than the 2G system or its advanced versions like the GPRS (where the maximum possible speed is 204 KBPS). Although 3G substantially enhanced the data rate, the data contents of the present wireless broadband services make it impossible to carry on far with the 3G system. 4G was the solution to overcome that bottleneck of the 3G technologies. In 4G the aim is to get a data rate of 100MBPS or even more in the indoor environment. In theory, 4G will be at least 50 times faster then the 3G system; this is the main difference between the 3G and 4G technologies. In other words, the bandwidth of 4G system would be much higher than the 3G system.

Add a note here2 Packet Switched Infrastructure
Add a note hereIn 4G, the whole network will be packet switched. The IP based infrastructure will be used for the 4G system exclusively. IPv6 is the version on which the whole protocol system will govern the different kinds of switching for the data transfer. 4G switching aspects will therefore be more sophisticated and complex than the 3G system.

Add a note here3 Quality of Service or QoS
Add a note hereThe quality of services in 4G networks is going to be much better than the 3G and its contemporary technologies. The improvement in main service factors will be due to the high broadband of the 4G systems, the improved quality of service of the IPv6 systems compared to previous IP versions, and better reception and transmission services from the smart antenna based MIMO system.

Add a note here4 Network Security
Add a note hereNetwork security is another important aspect, one for which people are ready to pay. Network security in 4G is different from that of the 3G or 2G versions, in part because the security provided through the 4G networks is made up of two tiers. That means not only the MSC authentication is required but along with that there are some adder securities. We have seen the added security arrangement of the 4G systems in the OSI model. The Information Privacy Layer is there to take care of the security related aspects of the information that is exchanged in the 4G networks.

Add a note here5 Management of Resources
Add a note hereThe resource management in 4G is much better than 3G. Optimization is present in the 3G system, but most of the optimizations are not that adaptive and dynamic. In contrast to that, 4G would have very smart adaptations in the resource management sector. Adaptive algorithms are used to provide optimization everywhere, from the modulation and coding, to the individual scalable channel bandwidth allocation.

Add a note here6 Differences between the WiMAX and the 4G
Add a note hereSome people mistakenly believe that 4G and WiMAX are the same technology and only the application domains of the two are different. Here we would like to clarify that 4G and WiMAX are different types of technologies and the standards for the technologies are also different in many respects. Of course, there are some similarities between the two. The truth is that the WiMAX business group and the people who are working with the WiMAX technology want to popularize WiMAX as the 4G wireless technology, leading people to think that WiMAX and 4G are the same thing. In reality it is not accepted by the research community and the technology development group of either technology.
Add a note hereLike 4G, WiMAX can deliver high data rate (up to 70 Mbps over a 50Km radius). However, as mentioned in the earlier sections, with 4G wireless technology people would like to achieve up to 1Gbps (indoors). Additionally, WiMAX technology (802.16d) does not support mobility very well. To overcome this mobility problem 802.16e, or Mobile WiMAX, is being standardized in the same way as 4G. Ultimately though, when it comes to performance and speed 4G remains the winner.
Add a note hereThe important thing to remember here is that all the research for 4G technology is based around the orthogonal technology OFDM. WiMAX is also based on OFDM, and this fact gives more credibility to those in the WiMAX lobby who would like to term WiMAX as a 4G technology. It is worth mentioning that 4G is going to be an ultramodern, high performance mobile system. Most of the advanced features of 4G are due to OFDM, MIMO and other advanced technologies. It is seen as a hybrid system which is based on both 3G and other advanced systems, including WiMAX.

Seamless Mobility Support

An important feature of a mobile wireless system such as LTE is support for seamless mobility across eNBs and across MME/GWs. Fast and seamless handovers (HO) are particularly important for delay-sensitive services such as VoIP. The handovers occur more frequently across eNBs than across core networks because the area covered by MME/GW serving a large number of eNBs is generally much larger than the area covered by a single eNB. The signaling on X2 interface between eNBs is used for handover preparation. The S-GW acts as anchor for inter-eNB handovers.
Add a note hereIn the LTE system, the network relies on the UE to detect the neighboring cells for handovers and therefore no neighbor cell information is signaled from the network. For the search and measurement of inter-frequency neighboring cells, only the carrier frequencies need to be indicated. An example of active handover in an RRC CONNECTED state is shown in Figure 1 where a UE moves from the coverage area of the source eNB (eNB1) to the coverage area of the target eNB (eNB2). The handovers in the RRC CONNECTED state are network controlled and assisted by the UE. The UE sends a radio measurement report to the source eNB1 indicating that the signal quality on eNB2 is better than the signal quality on eNB1. As preparation for handover, the source eNB1 sends the coupling information and the UE context to the target eNB2 (HO request) on the X2 interface. The target eNB2 may perform admission control dependent on the received EPS bearer QoS information. The target eNB configures the required resources according to the received EPS bearer QoS information and reserves a C-RNTI (cell radio network temporary identifier) and optionally a RACH preamble. The C-RNTI provides a unique UE identification at the cell level identifying the RRC connection. When eNB2 signals to eNB1 that it is ready to perform the handover via HO response message, eNB1 commands the UE (HO command) to change the radio bearer to eNB2. The UE receives the HO command with the necessary parameters (i.e. new C-RNTI, optionally dedicated RACH preamble, possible expiry time of the dedicated RACH preamble, etc.) and is commanded by the source eNB to perform the HO. The UE does not need to delay the handover execution for delivering the HARQ/ARQ responses to source eNB.

Figure 1: Active handovers.
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Add a note hereAfter receiving the HO command, the UE performs synchronization to the target eNB and accesses the target cell via the random access channel (RACH) following a contention-free procedure if a dedicated RACH preamble was allocated in the HO command or following a contention-based procedure if no dedicated preamble was allocated. The network responds with uplink resource allocation and timing advance to be applied by the UE. When the UE has successfully accessed the target cell, the UE sends the HO confirm message (C-RNTI) along with an uplink buffer status report indicating that the handover procedure is completed for the UE. After receiving the HO confirm message, the target eNB sends a path switch message to the MME to inform that the UE has changed cell. The MME sends a user plane update message to the S-GW. The S-GW switches the downlink data path to the target eNB and sends one or more “end marker” packets on the old path to the source eNB and then releases any user-plane/TNL resources towards the source eNB. Then S-GW sends a user plane update response message to the MME. Then the MME confirms the path switch message from the target eNB with the path switch response message. After the path switch response message is received from the MME, the target eNB informs success of HO to the source eNB by sending release resource message to the source eNB and triggers the release of resources. On receiving the release resource message, the source eNB can release radio and C-plane related resources associated with the UE context.
Add a note hereDuring handover preparation U-plane tunnels can be established between the source eNB and the target eNB. There is one tunnel established for uplink data forwarding and another one for downlink data forwarding for each EPS bearer for which data forwarding is applied. During handover execution, user data can be forwarded from the source eNB to the target eNB. Forwarding of downlink user data from the source to the target eNB should take place in order as long as packets are received at the source eNB or the source eNB buffer is exhausted.
Add a note hereFor mobility management in the RRC IDLE state, concept of tracking area (TA) is introduced. A tracking area generally covers multiple eNBs as depicted in Figure 2. The tracking area identity (TAI) information indicating which TA an eNB belongs to is broadcast as part of system information. A UE can detect change of tracking area when it receives a different TAI than in its current cell. The UE updates the MME with its new TA information as it moves across TAs. When P-GW receives data for a UE, it buffers the packets and queries the MME for the UE’s location. Then the MME will page the UE in its most current TA. A UE can be registered in multiple TAs simultaneously. This enables power saving at the UE under conditions of high mobility because it does not need to constantly update its location with the MME. This feature also minimizes load on TA boundaries.

Figure 2: Tracking area update for UE in RRC IDLE state.
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Layer 2 Structure | LTE for 4G

The layer 2 of LTE consists of three sublayers namely medium access control, radio link control (RLC) and packet data convergence protocol (PDCP). The service access point (SAP) between the physical (PHY) layer and the MAC sublayer provide the transport channels while the SAP between the MAC and RLC sublayers provide the logical channels. The MAC sublayer performs multiplexing of logical channels on to the transport channels.
The downlink and uplink layer 2 structures are given in Figures 1 and 2 respectively. The difference between downlink and uplink structures is that in the downlink, the MAC sublayer also handles the priority among UEs in addition to priority handling among the logical channels of a single UE. The other functions performed by the MAC sublayers in both downlink and uplink include mapping between the logical and the transport channels, multiplexing of RLC packet data units (PDU), padding, transport format selection and hybrid ARQ (HARQ).

Figure 1: Downlink layer 2 structure.

Figure 2: Uplink layer 2 structure.

The main services and functions of the RLC sublayers include segmentation, ARQ in-sequence delivery and duplicate detection, etc. The in-sequence delivery of upper layer PDUs is not guaranteed at handover. The reliability of RLC can be configured to either acknowledge mode (AM) or un-acknowledge mode (UM) transfers. The UM mode can be used for radio bearers that can tolerate some loss. In AM mode, ARQ functionality of RLC retransmits transport blocks that fail recovery by HARQ. The recovery at HARQ may fail due to hybrid ARQ NACK to ACK error or because the maximum number of retransmission attempts is reached. In this case, the relevant transmitting ARQ entities are notified and potential retransmissions and re-segmentation can be initiated.
The PDCP layer performs functions such as header compression and decompression, ciphering and in-sequence delivery and duplicate detection at handover for RLC AM, etc. The header compression and decompression is performed using the robust header compression (ROHC) protocol .

Downlink logical, transport and physical channels
The relationship between downlink logical, transport and physical channels is shown in Figure 3. A logical channel is defined by the type of information it carriers. The logical channels are further divided into control channels and traffic channels. The control channels carry control-plane information, while traffic channels carry user-plane information.

Figure 3: Downlink logical, transport and physical channels mapping.

In the downlink, five control channels and two traffic channels are defined. The downlink control channel used for paging information transfer is referred to as the paging control channel (PCCH). This channel is used when the network has no knowledge about the location cell of the UE. The channel that carries system control information is referred to as the broadcast control channel (BCCH). Two channels namely the common control channel (CCCH) and the dedicated control channel (DCCH) can carry information between the network and the UE. The CCCH is used for UEs that have no RRC connection while DCCH is used for UEs that have an RRC connection. The control channel used for the transmission of MBMS control information is referred to as the multicast control channel (MCCH). The MCCH is used by only those UEs receiving MBMS.
The two traffic channels in the downlink are the dedicated traffic channel (DTCH) and the multicast traffic channel (MTCH). A DTCH is a point-to-point channel dedicated to a single UE for the transmission of user information. An MTCH is a point-to-multipoint channel used for the transmission of user traffic to UEs receiving MBMS.
The paging control channel is mapped to a transport channel referred to as paging channel (PCH). The PCH supports discontinuous reception (DRX) to enable UE power saving. A DRX cycle is indicated to the UE by the network. The BCCH is mapped to either a transport channel referred to as a broadcast channel (BCH) or to the downlink shared channel (DL-SCH). The BCH is characterized by a fixed pre-defined format as this is the first channel UE receives after acquiring synchronization to the cell. The MCCH and MTCH are either mapped to a transport channel called a multicast channel (MCH) or to the downlink shared channel (DL-SCH). The MCH supports MBSFN combining of MBMS transmission from multiple cells. The other logical channels mapped to DL-SCH include CCCH, DCCH and DTCH. The DL-SCH is characterized by support for adaptive modulation/coding, HARQ, power control, semi-static/dynamic resource allocation, DRX, MBMS transmission and multi-antenna technologies. All the four-downlink transport channels have the requirement to be broadcast in the entire coverage area of a cell.
The BCH is mapped to a physical channel referred to as physical broadcast channel (PBCH), which is transmitted over four subframes with 40 ms timing interval. The 40 ms timing is detected blindly without requiring any explicit signaling. Also, each subframe transmission of BCH is self-decodable and UEs with good channel conditions may not need to wait for reception of all the four subframes for PBCH decoding. The PCH and DL-SCH are mapped to a physical channel referred to as physical downlink shared channel (PDSCH). The multicast channel (MCH) is mapped to physical multicast channel (PMCH), which is the multi-cell MBSFN transmission channel.
The three stand-alone physical control channels are the physical control format indicator channel (PCFICH), the physical downlink control channel (PDCCH) and the physical hybrid ARQ indicator channel (PHICH). The PCFICH is transmitted every subframe and carries information on the number of OFDM symbols used for PDCCH. The PDCCH is used to inform the UEs about the resource allocation of PCH and DL-SCH as well as modulation, coding and hybrid ARQ information related to DL-SCH. A maximum of three or four OFDM symbols can be used for PDCCH. With dynamic indication of number of OFDM symbols used for PDCCH via PCFICH, the unused OFDM symbols among the three or four PDCCH OFDM symbols can be used for data transmission. The PHICH is used to carry hybrid ARQ ACK/NACK for uplink transmissions.

Uplink logical, transport and physical channels
The relationship between uplink logical, transport and physical channels is shown in Figure 4 In the uplink two control channels and a single traffic channel is defined. As for the downlink, common control channel (CCCH) and dedicated control channel (DCCH) are used to carry information between the network and the UE. The CCCH is used for UEs having no RRC connection while DCCH is used for UEs having an RRC connection. Similar to downlink, dedicated traffic channel (DTCH) is a point-to-point channel dedicated to a single UE for transmission of user information. All the three uplink logical channels are mapped to a transport channel named uplink shared channel (UL-SCH). The UL-SCH supports adaptive modulation/coding, HARQ, power control and semi-static/dynamic resource allocation.

Figure 4: Uplink logical, transport and physical channels mapping.

Another transport channel defined for the uplink is referred to as the random access channel (RACH), which can be used for transmission of limited control information from a UE with possibility of collisions with transmissions from other UEs. The RACH is mapped to physical random access channel (PRACH), which carries the random access preamble.
The UL-SCH transport channel is mapped to physical uplink shared channel (PUSCH). A stand-alone uplink physical channel referred to as physical uplink control channel (PUCCH) is used to carry downlink channel quality indication (CQI) reports, scheduling request (SR) and hybrid ARQ ACK/NACK for downlink transmissions.

Network Architecture and Protocols | LTE for 4G

Add a note hereThe LTE network architecture is designed with the goal of supporting packet-switched traffic with seamless mobility, quality of service (QoS) and minimal latency. A packet-switched approach allows for the supporting of all services including voice through packet connections. The result in a highly simplified flatter architecture with only two types of node namely evolved Node-B (eNB) and mobility management entity/gateway (MME/GW). This is in contrast to many more network nodes in the current hierarchical network architecture of the 3G system. One major change is that the radio network controller (RNC) is eliminated from the data path and its functions are now incorporated in eNB. Some of the benefits of a single node in the access network are reduced latency and the distribution of the RNC processing load into multiple eNBs. The elimination of the RNC in the access network was possible partly because the LTE system does not support macro-diversity or soft-handoff.

Add a note hereWe discuss network architecture designs for both unicast and broadcast traffic, QoS architecture and mobility management in the access network. We also briefly discuss layer 2 structure and different logical, transport and physical channels along with their mapping.

All the network interfaces are based on IP protocols. The eNBs are interconnected by means of an X2 interface and to the MME/GW entity by means of an S1 interface as shown in Figure 1. The S1 interface supports a many-to-many relationship between MME/GW and eNBs.

Figure 1: Network architecture.

Add a note hereFigure 1: Network architecture.
Add a note hereThe functional split between eNB and MME/GW is shown in Figure 2. Two logical gateway entities namely the serving gateway (S-GW) and the packet data network gateway (P-GW) are defined. The S-GW acts as a local mobility anchor forwarding and receiving packets to and from the eNB serving the UE. The P-GW interfaces with external packet data networks (PDNs) such as the Internet and the IMS. The P-GW also performs several IP functions such as address allocation, policy enforcement, packet filtering and routing.

Figure 2.2: Functional split between eNB and MME/GW.

Add a note hereFigure 2.2: Functional split between eNB and MME/GW.
Add a note hereThe MME is a signaling only entity and hence user IP packets do not go through MME. An advantage of a separate network entity for signaling is that the network capacity for signaling and traffic can grow independently. The main functions of MME are idle-mode UE reachability including the control and execution of paging retransmission, tracking area list management, roaming, authentication, authorization, P-GW/S-GW selection, bearer management including dedicated bearer establishment, security negotiations and NAS signaling, etc.

Add a note hereEvolved Node-B implements Node-B functions as well as protocols traditionally implemented in RNC. The main functions of eNB are header compression, ciphering and reliable delivery of packets. On the control side, eNB incorporates functions such as admission control and radio resource management. Some of the benefits of a single node in the access network are reduced latency and the distribution of RNC processing load into multiple eNBs.

Add a note hereThe user plane protocol stack is given in Figure 3. We note that packet data convergence protocol (PDCP) and radio link control (RLC) layers traditionally terminated in RNC on the network side are now terminated in eNB.

Figure 3: User plane protocol.

Add a note hereFigure 3: User plane protocol.
Add a note hereFigure 4 shows the control plane protocol stack. We note that RRC functionality traditionally implemented in RNC is now incorporated into eNB. The RLC and MAC layers perform the same functions as they do for the user plane. The functions performed by the RRC include system information broadcast, paging, radio bearer control, RRC connection management, mobility functions and UE measurement reporting and control. The non-access stratum (NAS) protocol terminated in the MME on the network side and at the UE on the terminal side performs functions such as EPS (evolved packet system) bearer management, authentication and security control, etc.

Add a note hereFigure 4: Control plane protocol stack.
Figure 4: Control plane protocol stack.

Add a note hereThe S1 and X2 interface protocol stacks are shown in Figures 5 and 6 respectively. We note that similar protocols are used on these two interfaces. The S1 user plane interface (S1-U) is defined between the eNB and the S-GW. The S1-U interface uses GTP-U (GPRS tunneling protocol – user data tunneling) on UDP/IP transport and provides non-guaranteed delivery of user plane PDUs between the eNB and the S-GW. The GTP-U is a relatively simple IP based tunneling protocol that permits many tunnels between each set of end points. The S1 control plane interface (S1-MME) is defined as being between the eNB and the MME. Similar to the user plane, the transport network layer is built on IP transport and for the reliable transport of signaling messages SCTP (stream control transmission protocol) is used on top of IP. The SCTP protocol operates analogously to TCP ensuring reliable, in-sequence transport of messages with congestion control . The application layer signaling protocols are referred to as S1 application protocol (S1-AP) and X2 application protocol (X2-AP) for S1 and X2 interface control planes respectively.

Add a note hereFigure 5: S1 interface user and control planes.
Figure 5: S1 interface user and control planes.

Add a note hereFigure 6: X2 interface user and control planes.
Figure 6: X2 interface user and control planes.

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