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LTE Random Access Procedure and Contention Resolution

LTE random access procedure is used by the UEs to initiate a data transfer. The UEs also obtain uplink timing information from the initial handshake.

This sequence diagram describes the tale of three UEs (UE-A, UE-B and UE-C) that are powered on at the same time:

  1. UEs synchronize with the downlink channel by decoding the PSS and SSS signal. The UEs are synchronized to the downlink frames after completing this procedure.
  2. The three UEs initiate the random access procedure at exactly the same time. Two of them (UE-A and UE-B) happen to pick the same preamble. This results in a resulting in a collision. UE-C picks a distinct preamble so it succeeds in the random access procedure.
  3. Contention between UE-A and UE-B is resolved in UE-A’S favor. UE-A proceeds with the RRC connection.
  4. UE-C times out and retries the random access procedure.

LTE random access procedure