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Default vs Dedicated Bearer

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Bearer is a virtual concept. It defines how the UE data is treated when it travels across the network. Network might treat some data in a special way and treat others normally. In short, bearer is a set of network parameter that defines data specific treatment .

Default Bearer in LTE
When LTE UE attaches to the network for the first time, it will be assigned default bearer which remains as long as UE is attached. Default bearer is best effort service and comes with an IP address. UE can have additional default bearers as well.
Each default bearer will have a separate IP address. QCI 5 to 9 (Non- GBR) can be assigned to default bearer.

Bearers in LTE

Dedicated Bearer
Dedicated bearers provides dedicated tunnel to one or more specific traffic (i.e. VoIP, video etc). Dedicated bearer acts as an additional bearer on top of default bearer. It does not require separate IP address due to the fact that only additional default bearer needs an IP address and therefore dedicated bearer is always linked to one of the default bearer established previously. Dedicated bearer can be GBR or non-GBR (whereas default bearer can only be non-GBR).
For services like VoLTE we need to provide better user experience and this is where Dedicated bearer would come handy. Dedicated bearer uses Traffic flow templates (TFT) to give special treatment to specific services

posted Feb 6, 2014 by Jai Prakash

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  1. The PDN GW uses this QoS policy to assign the EPS Bearer QoS, i.e., it assigns the values to the bearer level QoS parameters QCI, ARP, GBR and MBR. The PDN GW sends a Create Dedicated Bearer Request message (IMSI, PTI, EPS Bearer QoS, TFT, S5/S8 TEID, LBI, Protocol Configuration Options) to the Serving GW, the Linked EPS Bearer Identity (LBI) is the EPS Bearer Identity of the default bearer. Procedure Transaction Id (PTI) parameter is only used when the procedure was initiated by a UE Requested Bearer Resource Modification Procedure

  2. The Serving GW sends the Create Dedicated Bearer Request (IMSI, PTI, EPS Bearer QoS, TFT, S1-TEID, LBI, Protocol Configuration Options) message to the MME. If the UE is in ECM-IDLE state the MME will trigger the Network Triggered Service Request from step 3 .In that case the following steps 4-7 may be combined into Network Triggered Service Request procedure or be performed standalone.

  3. The MME selects an EPS Bearer Identity, which has not yet been assigned to the UE. The MME then builds a Session Management Request including the PTI, TFT, EPS Bearer QoS parameters (excluding ARP), Protocol Configuration Options, the EPS Bearer Identity and the Linked EPS Bearer Identity (LBI). If the UE has UTRAN or GERAN capabilities, the MME uses the EPS bearer QoS parameters to derive the corresponding PDP context parameters QoS Negotiated (R99 QoS profile), Radio Priority, Packet Flow Id and TI and includes them in the Session Management Request. MME then signals the Bearer Setup Request (EPS Bearer Identity, EPS Bearer QoS, Session Management Request, S1-TEID) message to the eNodeB.

  4. "Radio Level" Messages exchanges

  5. The eNodeB acknowledges the bearer activation to the MME with a Bearer Setup Response (EPS Bearer Identity, S1-TEID) message. The eNodeB indicates whether the requested EPS Bearer QoS could be allocated or not.

  6. The eNodeB sends an Uplink NAS Transport (Session Management Response) message to the MME.
    Upon reception of the Bearer Setup Response message in step 7 and the Session Management Response message in step 9, the MME acknowledges the bearer activation to the Serving GW by sending a Create Dedicated Bearer Response (EPS Bearer Identity, S1-TEID) message.

  7. The Serving GW acknowledges the bearer activation to the PDN GW by sending a Create Dedicated Bearer Response (EPS Bearer Identity, S5/S8-TEID) message

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Default Bearer Setup or Initial Attach procedure is a procedure to register a UE to Core/LTE network. The following diagram shows the UE attach procedure.

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  1. UE initiate Attach Request towards eNB to attach in the LTE network.

  2. eNB derives the MME and sends Attach Request to MME in S1-MME Initial UE Message.

  3. MME selects the SGW and sends Create Session Request towards SGW with EPS bearer information for default Bearer.

  4. SGW creates the EPS bearer context and sends Create session Request to PGW with default EPS bearer information. Note: PGW selection done by MME and shared with SGW in Create session Request from MME. PDN GW performs an IP-CAN Session Establishment with PCRF. The PCRF may modify the APN-AMBR and the QoS parameters (QCI and ARP) associated with the default bearer in the response to the PDN GW.

  5. PGW creates EPS Bearer Context table and generates Create Session Response towards SGW. PGW initiates the Charing activities for the EPS bearer. PGW also obtain the prefix from the external PDN through Diameter and shares the prefix info and Interface ID for an UE in the PAA(PDN Address) Informational Element of Create Session Request. Now PDN can sends the downlink packet for an UE but as the eNB information is not available the packet will get buffered at SGW. SGW might initiates Downlink indication towards MME.

  6. SGW confirms the Default bearer creation and sends the Create Session Request with MME. SGW shares the prefix info and Interface ID for an UE in the PAA(PDN Address) Informational Element of Create Session Request.

  7. MME creates the Bearer Context and sends Attach Accept in S1-MME Intial Context Setup Request to eNB. In the Attach Accept message, the MME does not include the IPv6 prefix within the PDN Address but shares the UE Interface ID to eNB.

  8. eNB sends RRC Reconfiguration Request message to UE. If the UE receives an IPv6 interface identifier, it may wait for the Router Advertisement from the network with the IPv6 prefix information or it may send a Router Solicitation if necessary.

  9. UE sends RRC Reconfiguration Complete message to eNB.

  10. eNB sends the Initial Context Setup Response message to MME with eNB’s TEID(Tunnel Identifier) and IP address for downlink packet.

  11. UE sends a Direct Transfer message to the eNodeB.

  12. eNB sends the Attach Complete towards MME.

  13. As UE knows the UL bearer information, now UE can sends the UL traffic. So UE initiates the Router Solicitation message towards network to get the Full IPv6 address. This packet is same as UL traffics.

  14. MME initiates the Modify Bearer Request towards SGW to share the eNB’s information i.e. eNB’s TEID and IP address for downlink packet.

  15. SGW updates the eNB information and sends Modify Bearer response towards MME.

  16. Now SGW has the information of eNB, so the downlink packet can be delivered to UE. So the PGW response back with Router Advertisement message for a Router Solicitation message initiated by UE. The Router Advertisement message will have IPv6 prefix in it to make the Full IPv6 address. This Router Advertisement Message is carried as a DL packet. Now UE can make the full IPv6 address by using the Interface ID shared before by PGW and the IPv6 prefix shared in Router Advertisement message. •

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