LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a fourth generation cellular network technology that provides improved performance compared to legacy cellular systems. LTE introduces an enhanced air interface as well as a flat, „all-IP‟ packet data optimized network architecture that provides higher user data rates, reduced latencies and cost efficient operations.
The rollout of initial commercial LTE networks is likely based on service hot spots in major cities. The design goal is however to provide a universal mobile service that allows the subscribers to connect to both operator and Internet services anywhere anytime and stay connected as the users are on the move. To provide seamless service, mobility towards widespread legacy radio access technologies such as GSM and UMTS is required.
The research topic of this thesis is handover from LTE to 3G cellular networks, which is a high priority item to the operators that seek to provide an all-round service. To satisfy certain quality of service requirements this feature needs to go through a development process that consists of thorough functionality, performance and fault correction testing
This thesis introduces a plan for test execution and introduces the tools and procedures required to perform inter radio access technology handover tests. The metrics that indicate the network performance, namely Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), i.e. handover success rate, call drop rate, throughput and handover delay are introduced in detail. In order to provide reliable results, the plan is to perform the measurements in a field environment with realistic radio conditions. With the proper tools such as XCAL for air interface performance analysis, the field tests should provide results that are comparable to tests performed by the operators in live commercial LTE networks.
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