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Feb 28 2017

Give your 3G uplink an uplift

Twitter: @DCD269

You’re at a music concert. The venue’s packed and it’s “rocking”. You video the chorus of everyone’s favorite song on your mobile and want to share it via social media. You’ve got four bars of 3G coverage, so you hit the send button.

After a couple of minutes you check your mobile only to find the video clip is stuck, it’s still sending. In frustration, you then check to see if the people beside you are getting proper service.

The chances are it may take some time for the clip to get to your friends; sometimes it doesn’t make it at all. That’s probably because the uplink capacity is constrained, which is common when a 3G cell is heavily loaded. Unfortunately, customer frustration can lead to costly churn for the operator.

Several advances in 3G have increased the headline downlink data rate, which is great, but this has led to a substantial gap between achievable downlink and uplink throughputs. With more users sending more data, it’s important to narrow this gap by making the uplink faster.

New software tackles interference

The Nokia WCDMA 18 software release helps to redress the situation. This new release includes features that significantly boost the uplink.

Interference can reduce uplink capacity. While control channel interference is caused by the radio control channels themselves, it can also be caused by the voice and data calls in the cell. The new software tackles the issue by introducing Control Channel Interference Cancellation that works with existing interference cancellation features to improve uplink cell capacity and throughput by around 10%.

Similarly, narrowband interference can be a big issue. An external source of narrowband interference in the uplink can seriously damage the cell’s performance. So the new Narrowband Interference Cancellation feature automatically and dynamically filters it out. This can result in over three times larger cell coverage. That’s great news in itself, but equally beneficial is that the high cost often associated with locating and eliminating the source of the interference can be avoided.

New ways to control power and scheduling

HSUPA Time Division Scheduling also gets a boost and is extended to higher data rates. This results in fewer HSUPA users simultaneously sending packets in the uplink, reducing signaling traffic, which leads to less intra-cell interference. In this case, HSUPA cell throughput can increase by about 15%.

Interference is also affected by the power control methodology. Our Smooth Power Control feature ensures that uplink power control is optimized for high data rate HSUPA (2ms TTI) connections. Any necessary changes in transmit power are smoothly applied, reducing interference from end users’ own and neighboring cells. This increases HSUPA user and cell throughputs by up to 14%.

Finally, Intelligent Cell Breathing dynamically adjusts transmit power according to network load. During periods of high load, the output power is reduced to shrink the cell and leave more headroom for HSDPA power. In reality, this can mean between a 5-10% increase in HSDPA/HSUPA cell throughput in high-load conditions.

For some time now, the focus has been on boosting 4G uplink capacity, with Centralized RAN and other 4G features. That’s great news for users of 4G, however with the forecast* of around 30% of all subscribers still using 3G in 2020 and beyond, it makes sense to boost 3G uplink performance; especially as it’s enabled via software.

Both individually and collectively these features will deliver a marked improvement in 3G uplink throughput, which is sure to be noticed by customers. This is just a selection from our latest software and there’s more to come. In the meantime, doesn’t your 3G uplink deserve an uplift?

Discover more about Nokia WCDMA software capabilities, and be sure to check out out our executive summary.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #3G #WCDMA #MWC17

*Ovum, 2017

About Darrell Davies

Darrell is responsible for the imaginative marketing behind various WCDMA products at Nokia. Hardly surprising considering his background in radio telecommunications and marketing with some of the industry’s biggest players. The mere sight of technology fills his head with ideas of how it can be used for good and to make tech more human. To see some of the clever things that Nokia offers, including the stuff that Darrell’s responsible for click here.

Tweet me @DCD269