An all-MPLS approach for UMTS 3G core networks

Hung Shih Chueh*, Kuo-Chen Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

2 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present an all-MPLS approach for UMTS 3G core networks. GTP-tunnel has been defined by 3GPP as the transport mechanism for UMTS. For each packet transmission, extra GTP, UDP, and IP headers (40-byte) are required. For short packets, such as VoIP payloads, transmission overhead is very high. Enhanced-GTP was proposed to eliminate the need for a GTP header. Since its operation mode is limited to non-transport mode only, NAT is required in GGSN. Furthermore, its performance improvement is limited, because an extra IP header (20-byte) is still needed. In response to these drawbacks, we propose to integrate MPLS technology to UMTS 3G core networks. We use MPLS-tunnel as the transport mechanism by using two-level MPLS labels (8-byte) to replace the GTP-tunnel. To the best of our knowledge, this is a novel approach, since no MPLS-based approach was ever proposed for UMTS 3G core networks. Our approach is feasible, since more and more routers are MPLS-capable. By reducing header overhead from 40-byte to 8-byte, our new approach improves transmission efficiency from 56.5% - 63% to 86.6% - 89.5% for VoIP payloads and also enhance packet forwarding efficiency. In addition, our all-MPLS approach offers better load balancing, better service resilience, and better QoS support, compared to existing approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2338-2342
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Vehicular Technology Conference
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2003
Event2003 IEEE 58th Vehicular Technology Conference, VTC2003-Fall - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: 6 Oct 20039 Oct 2003


  • Core networks
  • GPRS
  • GTP-tunnel
  • MPLS-tunnel
  • QoS
  • Traffic engineering
  • UMTS

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