LTE encompasses a set of aggressive requirements that aim at improving the end-user throughput, the cell capacity and reducing the user plane latency. These requirements, together with full mobility, will bring substantial benefits to user experience.
LTE is designed to support all kind of IP data traffic and voice is supported as Voice over IP (VoIP) for better integration with multimedia services. LTE aggressive requirements lead to the definition of a new Network Architecture, the Evolved Packet System (EPS), which comprises the Enhanced RAN (E-UTRAN or LTE) and the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). Both data and voice services are supported over the same packet switched network. E-UTRAN and EPC have been defined in 3GPP Release 8 and enhanced in further 3GPP Releases.
LTE paved the way to a new standardisation approach. In Release 8 LTE network and OAM have been standardised at the same time, yielding tremendous opportunities to design an overall optimised system with built in SON features.
The scope of this chapter is to give first a short introduction, without digging into technical details of the EPS network architecture, both E-UTRAN and EPC (deep inside is addressed in LTE technology specific books, for example, (Holma and Toskala, 2011) for LTE Radio Access Network). The chapter continues with a brief description of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A is specified in 3GPP Release 10), ...