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LTE IP Address Allocation Schemes I: Basic
February 13, 2015 | By Netmanias (tech@netmanias.com)
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This document will describe how an LTE network allocates IP addresses to users accessing the network. IP addresses can be either dynamic or static depending on their allocators. Below we will discuss how the two types are different, and how they are allocated.
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1. Introduction


LTE networks are all-IP networks. This means that they deliver all user traffic in IP packets, and provide users with “always-on IP connectivity”. When UE joins an LTE network, a Packet Data Network (PDN) address (i.e. the one that can be used in the PDN) is assigned to the UE for its connection to the PDN, and a default bearer is established in the LTE network (i.e. between UE and P-GW). This default bearer remains connected (i.e. the IP address assigned to the UE during the initial attach remains valid) until the UE is detached from the LTE network.

A default bearer is established for each APN (Access Point Name)1 a user has, and thus a unique IP address is assigned for each APN. An IP address can be an IPv4, IPv6 or IPv4/IPv6 type.


This document will explain how an LTE network allocates an IP address to a user (i.e. UE) when the user initially attaches to the network, by giving an example of a case where UE uses only one PDN, the Internet, and an IPv4 type address is assigned to the UE.


Two different types of IP address allocation will be discussed in this and next documents. This document will cover the basic IP address allocation schemes and procedures, describing how IP addresses are allocated to a user who, while staying in one place, is performing initial attach to the network multiple times (e.g. by turning off UE and then back on). The next document will look into different ways of IP address allocation in case a user performs initial attach from two geographically-separated locations (e.g. City A and City B).


This document is organized as follows:


In Chapter 2, different types of IP address allocation – dynamic and static - and their characteristics will be discussed.

Chapters 3 and 4 will provide the detailed explanation of the dynamic and static IP address allocation procedures, respectively.



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Sachidananda 2015-02-13 23:14:02

Hello Team, Thanks for Superb and Detailed Explantion , I am unable to find part 2 of this document , can you provide the link for it.




Kshirod 2015-02-15 13:26:05

Do we have part-2 please upload it.

I am great fan of this site.
I am sure all the documnet we have now in EPC side.
Can we put something in air interface side.

Following is the over protocal sequence being exchanged between UE and Network. Actually understanding all the details of these steps would be the goal of your whole LTE career.

1) <Cell Search and Detection>
2) MIB
3) SIB 1
4) <Check Cell Selection Criteria>
5) SIB 2 and other SIBs
6) RRC : PRACH Preamble
7) RRC : RACH Response   
8) RRC : RRC Connection Request
9) RRC : RRC Connection Setup

>>>>> Can we put something how 1-7 works.
      I mean what happens when somebody switchon the mobile.What happens in air interface side.
    Like cell search and RACH procedure.

10-14 is coverred in attach procedure.
10) RRC : RRC Connection Setup Complete + NAS : Attach Request + ESM : PDN Connectivity Request
11) RRC : DL Information Transfer + NAS : Authentication Request
12) RRC : UL Information Transfer + NAS : Authentication Response
13) RRC : DL Information Transfer + NAS : Security Mode Command
14) RRC : UL Information Transfer + NAS : Security Mode Complete


I am Kshirod and you can reach me in softkshirod@gmail.com

ZG 2015-02-24 05:29:48

I have 2 quick questions:

  1. APN has been shown as part of PDN. Is this correct or should it be part of P-GW?
  2. The above document is using IPv4. Would the procedure remain the same for IPv4v6 and IPv6. It seems that for IPv6 addressing, the UE can dynamically generate it's own IP addresses. Not absolutely certain though.
Dieter Busch 2015-07-10 16:37:12

A question on the sequence diagram differences of of fixed and dynamic address allocation:


In dynamic alloc. step 2 points to SGW whereas for static step 2 points to HSS. I do not quite understand if and how the MME distinguishes what to do. Is there just a shortcut in the dynamic sequence diagram? -meaning: the update location request and answers are also part in the complete diagram for dynamic, but these were skipped in the picture?

버너 2015-07-15 13:10:06

To Dieter Busch : 

When UE send "initial attach request" to MME, UE also includes GUTI (unique id of each MME) information within "initial attach request". 

After receiving "IAR" from UE, MME checks GUTI and

 - send ULR to HSS if GUTI is different with MME's own 

 - send CSR to SGW if GUTI is same as MME's own 

pls check "Figure" in TS.23.401 for more explanation 

To Netmanias : 

Please comment more detailly, example call flow has a potential to make a misunderstanding. 

ULR/ULA also can happen in "dynamic IP allocation" scenario. (in this case, HSS does not return any IP address information to MME)

gecuili 2016-03-17 16:15:42

To Dieter Busch,

in ts 23.401, ULR is sent when in following cases:

"If the MME has changed since the last detach, or

 if there is no valid subscription context for the UE in the MME, or

 if the UE provides an IMSI or

 the UE provides an old GUTI which doesn't refer to a valid context in the MME, or

 for some network sharing scenario (e.g. GWCN) if the PLMN-ID of the TAI supplied by the eNodeB is different from that of the GUTI in the UE's context, "


To 버너

I do not quit sure all the cases can be concluded into "if GUIT is different with MME' own"?


Sundar Ramaswamy 2017-04-13 15:07:54

What if a device executes PSM mode and goes to deep sleep state and wakes up to connect later. What will happen to the IP address? Also, in the case of dynamic IP allocation, is there a possibility that IP address can be changed? 

berry blacks 2017-07-02 05:03:25

in the following example, user 1 belongs to operator A. When he is on network A, the IP address is allocated by the P-GW of network A.

When he roams on network B, he may still be using the P-GW of network A which can allocate an IP address.

Question: can there be overlap of IP addresses, between a user 2 of Network B who get an IP address by P-GW(B), with user 1 on network B who got an address from P-GW(A)?

Srijan Singh 2017-09-26 16:46:24

@berry blacks:
As far as I know, there can be overlap of IP addresses in that P-GW of network A itself for different APNs in that PGW. What is done to overcome that is VLAN tagging at SGi interface. 

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