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In 3G networks, when user applications of mobile subscribers send or receive data-plane traffic, control-plane signaling messages will be triggered to initiate or release radio resources for the data transfer. Such signaling messages can increase the processing and transmission overheads of the 3G cellular network infrastructure, and this in turns degrades the performance experience of mobile subscribers. Thus, understanding the signaling overhead of a 3G network becomes critical. In this paper, the authors conduct the first comprehensive measurement study of the signaling overhead of a city-wide 3G operational network in China.
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