Performance Evaluation of Location Management in UMTS

Shun Ren Yang*, Yi-Bing Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


The universal mobile telecommunications system utilizes a three-level location-management strategy to reduce the net costs of location update and paging in the packet-switched service domain. Within a communication session, a mobile station (MS) is tracked at the cell level during packet transmission. In the idle period of an ongoing session, the MS is tracked at the UTRAN registration area (URA) level to avoid frequent cell updates while still keeping the radio connection. If the MS is not in any communication session, the MS is tracked at the routing-area (RA) level. The inactivity counter mechanism was proposed in 3GPP 25.331 to determine when to switch between the three location-tracking modes. In this mechanism, two inactivity counters are used to count the numbers of cell and URA updates in an idle period between two packet transmissions. If the number of cell updates reaches a threshold K 1, the MS is switched from cell tracking to URA tracking. After that, if the number of URA updates reaches a threshold K2, the MS is tracked at the RA level. This paper proposes analytical and simulation models to investigate the performance of the inactivity counter mechanism. Our study provides guidelines for K1 and K2 selection to achieve lower net costs of location update and paging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1603-1615
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2003


  • Mobile network
  • Mobility management
  • Universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS)
  • Wireless data

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