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S1AP View of Inter-MME S1 Handover

Here we look at the S1 handover that involves an MME change. The S1 handover is analyzed at the S1AP interface. S1AP messages involved in S1 handover are shown just before the message. The messages show a high level structure of the complex messages involved in the interaction.

Inter-MME-S1-handover

Additionally, you can click on any S1AP message to see the complete field level details like the one shown below.

PDCP-transfer


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S1AP View of LTE Attach and EPS Bearer Setup

This sequence diagram looks at LTE Attach and EPS Bearer Setup from the S1AP vantage point. The following signaling is covered:

  1. UE Attach, authentication and security signaling
  2. Setup of two EPS Bearers (RAB id 5 and 6)
  3. Release of UE context due to inactivity
  4. Reestablishment of the UE context with a Service Request.

You can click on individual messages in the sequence diagram to see field level details.

Click to see the "S1AP View of LTE Attach & EPS Bearer Setup"  sequence diagram


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LTE S1-interface handover between eNodeBs

LTE networks prefer using the X2 interface for performing inter eNodeB handovers. An S1 handover is a fallback for scenarios where X2 interface is not available.

As the name suggests, S1 handovers take place over the S1-interface. The MME and the SGW are involved during the handover procedure.

An interesting part of LTE S1 handovers is the indirect tunnel that is established to carry the downlink data during the handover process. Refer to the S1 handover call flow for a detailed signaling flow.

Inter eNodeB S1 handover in LTE

 


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LTE X2 Handover Between eNodeBs Served by the same MME

LTE eNodeBs can directly communicate with other eNodeBs on the X2 interface. The X2 interface is used to perform a handover between eNodeB.

The messaging in X2 handover is detailed in LTE X2 Handover Presentation. A few excerpts from the presentation as shown below.

X2 Handover Sequence Diagram

The X2 handover flow is shown in the following sequence diagram:

Figure 1 X2 Handover Sequence Diagram

Handover Preparation

The handover procedure is triggered by the X2AP Handover Request message. The RABs to be handover over are sent from the source eNodeB to the target eNodeB.

Figure 2X2AP Handover Request

The target eNodeB then admits the user and responds with X2AP Handover Request Acknowledge message. This message contains a transparent container that carries the Handover Command message that needs to be sent to the UE.

Figure 3 X2AP Handover Request Acknowledge

The source eNodeB sends the handover command to the UE. It then sends sequence number information to the target eNodeB.

The target eNodeB then requests the MME to switch the path from the source eNodeB to target eNodeB.

Handover Execution

Figure 4 S1AP Path Switch Request

This was an overview of the messaging involved in the X2 handover. For details refer to the LTE X2 Handover Presentation.