Evaluating the effectiveness of Cooperative/Coordinated Multipoint (CoMP) LTE feature in uplink and downlink transmissions

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Shannon demonstrated that the channel capacity depends of the ratio of the received signal power to interference plus noise power (SINR). Inter-cell interference caused by neighbouring base stations (BSs) has been identified as one of the most severe problem towards the deployment of LTE technology as it can significantly deteriorate the performance of cellside User Equipment (UE). However, because of regulatory and radiation restrictions as well as operational costs, signal power may only be increased only up to a certain limit to reduce the interference. The other common radio propagation impairment is multipath. Multipath refers to a scenario where multiple copies of a signal propagate to a receiver using different paths. The paths can be created due to signal reflection, scattering and diffraction. As will be discussed later the effects of multipath contribute little to intercell interference because multipath characteristics such as delay spread are compensated for using cyclic prefixes. In this work, we will limit our scope to interference as it has been identified as the main cause of performance degradation for cell edge users due to the full frequency reuse technique used in LTE. To mitigate interference 3GPP devised options of increasing the capacity in LTEAdvanced Release 12 which include the use of spectral aggregation, employing Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) Antenna techniques, deploying more base stations and micro and femto cells, increasing the degree of sectorisation and Coordinated Multipoint (CoMP). We are primarily interested in evaluating performance improvements introduced when uplink (UL) and downlink (DL) coordinated/cooperative multipoint (CoMP) is enabled in LTE Advanced Release 12 as a way of reducing interference among sites. The CoMP option of reducing interference does not require deployment of new equipment compared to the other options mentioned above hence network deployment costs are minimal. CoMP in theory is known to reduce interference especially for cell edge users and therefore improves network fairness. With CoMP, multiple points coordinate with each other such that transmission of signals to and from other points do not incur serious interference or the interference can even be exploited as a meaningful signal. In September 2011 work on specifications for CoMP support was started in 3GPP LTEAdvanced as one of the core features in LTE-Advanced Release 11 to improve cell edge user throughput as well as the average network throughput. We set to do field measurements in the evaluation of the effectiveness of CoMP in LTE. 3GPP LTE Release 12 was used and cell edge users' performance was the focus. The network operates in 2330 - 2350 MHz band (Channel 40). From the field measurements, it was demonstrated that the CoMP (Scenario 2) feature indeed effective in improving service quality/user experience/fairness for cell edge users. CoMP inherently improves network capacity. A seven (7) percent throughput was noticed.