Internet-Draft LPWAN SCHC NB-IoT September 2022
Ramos & Minaburo Expires 26 March 2023 [Page]
lpwan Working Group
Intended Status:
Standards Track
E. Ramos
A. Minaburo



The Static Context Header Compression and Fragmentation (SCHC) specification, RFC8724, describes header compression and fragmentation functionalities for Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) technologies. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) architectures may adopt SCHC to improve their capacities.

This I-D describes the use of SCHC over the NB-IoT architecture and provides the configuration in each case. If 3GPP adopts SCHC, then this I-D recommends some values.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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This Internet-Draft will expire on 26 March 2023.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The Static Context Header Compression (SCHC) [RFC8724] defines a header compression scheme and fragmentation functionality suitable for the Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) networks described in [RFC8376]. In the 3GPP networks and particularly the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network, header compression efficiently brings Internet connectivity to the Device-User Equipment (Dev-UE). This document describes the SCHC parameters that support the static context header compression and fragmentation over the NB-IoT architecture. This document assumes functionality for NB-IoT of 3GPP release 15 [_3GPPR15]. Otherwise, the text explicitly mentions other versions' functionality.

2. Conventions and Definitions

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

3. Terminology

This document will follow the terms defined in [RFC8724], in [RFC8376], and the [TR23720].

4. NB-IoT Architecture

The Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) architecture has a complex structure. It relies on different NGWs from different providers. It can send data via different paths, each with different characteristics in terms of bandwidths, acknowledgments, and layer-2 reliability and segmentation.

Figure 1 shows this architecture, where the Network Gateway Cellular Internet of Things Serving Gateway Node (NGW-CSGN) optimizes co-locating entities in different paths. For example, a Dev-UE using the path formed by the Network Gateway Mobility Management Entity (NGW-MME), the NGW-CSGW, and Network Gateway Packet Data Node Gateway (NGW-PGW) may get a limited bandwidth transmission from a few bytes/s to one thousand bytes/s only.

Another node introduced in the NB-IoT architecture is the Network Gateway Service Capability Exposure Function (NGW-SCEF), which securely exposes service and network capabilities to entities external to the network operator. The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) [TS23222] and the One Machine to Machine (OneM2M) [TR-0024] define the northbound APIs [TR33203]. In this case, the path is small for data transmission. The main functions of the NGW-SCEF are Connectivity path and Device Monitoring.

  +---+                            +------+
  |Dev| \              +-----+ ----| HSS  |
  |-UE|  \             | NGW |     +------+
  +---+  |             |-MME |\__
          \          / +-----+   \
  +---+    \+-----+ /    |       +------+
  |Dev| ----| RGW |-     |       | NGW- |
  |-UE|     |-eNB |      |       | SCEF |---------+
  +---+    /+-----+ \    |       +------+         |
          /          \ +------+                   |
         /            \| NGW- |  +-----+   +-----------+
  +---+ /              | CSGW |--| NGW-|---|Application|
  |Dev|                |      |  | PGW |   |   Server  |
  |-UE|                +------+  +-----+   +-----------+

Figure 1: 3GPP network architecture

5. Data Transmission in the 3GPP Architecture

NB-IoT networks deal with end-to-end user data and in-band signaling between the nodes and functions to configure, control, and monitor the system functions and behaviors. The signaling uses a different path with specific protocols, handling processes, and entities but can transport end-to-end user data for IoT services. In contrast, the end-to-end application only transports end-to-end data.

The recommended 3GPP MTU size is 1358 bytes. The radio network protocols limit the packet sizes over the air, including radio protocol overhead, to 1600 bytes. However, the recommended 3GPP MTU is smaller to avoid fragmentation in the network backbone due to the payload encryption size (multiple of 16) and the additional core transport overhead handling.

3GPP standardizes NB-IoT and, in general, the cellular technologies interfaces and functions. Therefore, the introduction of SCHC entities to Dev-UE, RGW-eNB, and NGW-CSGN needs to be specified in the NB-IoT standard, which implies that the standard specifying SCHC support would not be backward compatible. In case SCHC is not standardized as a mandatory capability. It will not be used when a terminal or network does not support it.

This I-D identifies the use cases of SCHC over the NB-IoT architecture.

First, the radio transmission where, see section Section 5.1, the Dev-UE and the RGW-eNB can use the SCHC functionalities.

Second, the packets transmitted over the control path can also use SCHC when the transmission goes over the NGW-MME or NGW-SCEF. See sections Section 5.2. These two use cases are also valid for any 3GPP architecture and not only for NB-IoT.

And third use case, over the SCHC over Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD) connection or at least up to the operator network edge, see Section 5.4. In this case, SCHC functionalities are available in the application layer of the Dev-UE and the Application Servers or a broker function at the edge of the operator network. The radio network transmits the packets as non-IP traffic using IP tunneling or SCEF services. It is also possible to benefit legacy devices with SCHC by using the non-IP transmission features of the operator network.

A non-IP transmission refers to other layer-2 transport.

5.1. Use of SCHC over the Radio link (Informational)

This section consists of IETF suggestions to the 3GPP. Deploying SCHC over the radio link only would require placing it as part of the protocol stack for data transfer between the Dev-UE and the RGW-eNB. This stack is the functional layer responsible for transporting data over the wireless connection and managing radio resources. There is support for features such as reliability, segmentation, and concatenation. The transmissions use link adaptation, meaning that the system will optimize the transport format used according to the radio conditions, the number of bits to transmit, and the power and interference constraints. That means that the number of bits transmitted over the air depends on the selected Modulation and Coding Schemes (MCS). Transport Block (TB) transmissions happen in the physical layer at network-synchronized intervals called Transmission Time Interval (TTI). Each Transport Block has a different MCS and number of bits available to transmit. The MAC layer [TR36321] defines the Transport Blocks' characteristics. The Radio link stack shown in Figure 2 comprises the Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP) [TS36323], Radio Link Protocol (RLC) [TS36322], Medium Access Control protocol (MAC) [TR36321], and the Physical Layer [TS36201]. The Appendix A gives more details about these protocols.

  +---------+                              +---------+  |
  +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
  | PDCP    +-------+ PDCP  | GTP|U +------+ GTP-U   |->+
  | (SCHC)  +       + (SCHC)|       +      +         |  |
  +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
  | RLC     +-------+ RLC   |UDP/IP +------+ UDP/IP  +->+
  +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
  | MAC     +-------+ MAC   | L2    +------+ L2      +->+
  +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
  | PHY     +-------+ PHY   | PHY   +------+ PHY     +->+
  +---------+       +---------------+      +---------+  |
             C-Uu/                    S1-U             SGi
    Dev-UE               RGW-eNB             NGW-CSGN
            Radio Link

Figure 2: SCHC over the Radio link

5.2. Use of SCHC over the No-Access Stratum (NAS) (Informational)

This section consists of IETF suggestions to the 3GPP. The NGW-MME conveys mainly signaling between the Dev-UE and the cellular network [TR24301]. The network transports this traffic on top of the radio link.

This kind of flow supports data transmissions to reduce the overhead when transmitting infrequent small quantities of data. This transmission is known as Data over No-Access Stratum (DoNAS) or Control Plane Cellular Internet of Things (CIoT) evolved packet system (EPS) optimizations. In DoNAS, the Dev-UE uses the pre-established security and can piggyback small uplink data into the initial uplink message and uses an additional message to receive a downlink small data response.

The NGW-MME performs the data encryption from the network side in a DoNAS PDU. Depending on the data type signaled indication (IP or non-IP data), the network allocates an IP address or establishes a direct forwarding path. DoNAS is regulated under rate control upon previous agreement, meaning that a maximum number of bits per unit of time is agreed upon per device subscription beforehand and configured in the device.

The system will use DoNAS when a terminal in a power-saving state requires a short transmission and receives an acknowledgment or short feedback from the network. Depending on the size of buffered data to transmit, the Dev-UE might deploy the connected mode transmissions instead, limiting and controlling the DoNAS transmissions to predefined thresholds and a good resource optimization balance for the terminal and the network. The support for mobility of DoNAS is present but produces additional overhead. The Appendix B gives additional details of DoNAS.

5.2.1. SCHC Entities Placing over DoNAS

SCHC resides in this scenario's Non-Access Stratum (NAS) protocol layer. The same principles as for the section Section 5.1 apply here as well. Because the NAS protocol already uses ROHC [RFC5795], it can also adapt SCHC for header compression. The main difference compared to the radio link, section Section 5.1, is the physical placing of the SCHC entities. On the network side, the NGW-MME resides in the core network and is the terminating node for NAS instead of the RGW-eNB.

+--------+                       +--------+--------+  +  +--------+
| IP/    +--+-----------------+--+  IP/   |   IP/  +-----+   IP/  |
| Non-IP |  |                 |  | Non-IP | Non-IP |  |  | Non-IP |
+--------+  |                 |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
| NAS    +-----------------------+   NAS  |GTP-C/U +-----+GTP-C/U |
|(SCHC)  |  |                 |  | (SCHC) |        |  |  |        |
+--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
| RRC    +-----+RRC  |S1|AP+-----+ S1|AP  |        |  |  |        |
+--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +--------+  UDP   +-----+  UDP   |
| PDCP*  +-----+PDCP*|SCTP +-----+ SCTP   |        |  |  |        |
+--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
| RLC    +-----+ RLC | IP  +-----+ IP     | IP     +-----+ IP     |
+--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
| MAC    +-----+ MAC | L2  +-----+ L2     | L2     +-----+ L2     |
+--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
| PHY    +--+--+ PHY | PHY +--+--+ PHY    | PHY    +-----+ PHY    |
+--------+     +-----+-----+     +--------+--------+  |  +--------+
           C-Uu/           S1-lite                   SGi
 Dev-UE           RGW-eNB               NGW-MME             NGW-PGW

    *PDCP is bypassed until AS security is activated TGPP36300.

Figure 3: SCHC entities placement in the 3GPP CIOT radio protocol architecture for DoNAS transmissions

5.3. Parameters for Static Context Header Compression and Fragmentation (SCHC) for the Radio link and DONAS use-cases.

If 3GPP incorporates SCHC, it is recommended that these scenarios use SCHC header compression capability to optimize the data transmission.

  • SCHC Context initialization.

The RRC (Radio Resource Control) protocol is the main tool used to configure the parameters of the Radio link. It will configure SCHC and the static context distribution as it has made for ROHC [RFC5795] operation [TS36323].

  • SCHC Rules.

The network operator in these scenarios defines the number of rules. For this, the network operator must know the IP traffic the device will carry. The operator might supply rules compatible with the device's use case. For devices acting as a capillary gateway, several rules match the diversity of devices and protocols used by the devices associated with the gateway. Meanwhile, simpler devices may have predetermined protocols and fixed parameters. The IPv6 and IPv4 deployment may force to get more rules to deal with each case.

  • RuleID.

There is a reasonable assumption of 9 bytes of radio protocol overhead for these transmission scenarios in NB-IoT, where PDCP uses 5 bytes due to header and integrity protection, and RLC and MAC use 4 bytes. The minimum physical Transport Blocks (TB) that can withhold this overhead value according to 3GPP Release 15 specifications are 88, 104, 120, and 144 bits. A transmission optimization may require only one physical layer transmission. SCHC overhead SHOULD NOT exceed the available number of effective bits of the smallest physical TB available to optimize the transmission. The packets handled by 3GPP networks are byte-aligned, and therefore, the smallest payload possible (including padding) is 8 bits. Thus, to use the smallest TB, the maximum SCHC header size is 12 bits. These 12 bits must include the Compression Residue in addition to the RuleID. On the other hand, more complex NB-IoT devices (such as a capillary gateway) might require additional bits to handle the variety and multiple parameters of higher-layer protocols deployed. In that sense, the operator may want to have flexibility on the number and type of rules supported by each device independently, and consequently, these scenarios require a configurable value. The configuration may be part of the operation profile agreed together with the content distribution. The RuleID field size may range from 2 bits, resulting in 4 rules to an 8-bit value that would yield up to 256 rules that can be used together with the operators and seems quite a reasonable maximum limit even for a device acting as a NAT. An application may use a larger RuleID, but it should consider the byte-alignment of the expected Compression Residue. In the minimum TB size case, 2 bits of RuleID leave only 6 bits available for Compression Residue.


The Radio Link can handle the fragmentation of SCHC packets if needed, including reliability. Hence the packet size is limited by the MTU handled by the radio protocols, which corresponds to 1600 bytes for 3GPP Release 15.

  • Fragmentation.

For the Radio link Section 5.1 and DoNAS' Section 5.2 scenarios, the SCHC fragmentation functions are disabled. The RLC layer of NB-IoT can segment packets in suitable units that fit the selected transport blocks for transmissions of the physical layer. The block selection is made according to the link adaptation input function in the MAC layer and the quantity of data in the buffer. The link adaptation layer may produce different results at each Time Transmission Interval (TTI), resulting in varying physical transport blocks that depend on the network load, interference, number of bits transmitted, and QoS. Even if setting a value that allows the construction of data units following the SCHC tiles principle, the protocol overhead may be greater or equal to allowing the Radio link protocols to take care of the fragmentation natively.

  • Fragmentation in RLC Transparent Mode.

The RLC Transparent Mode mostly applies to control signaling transmissions. When RLC operates in Transparent Mode, the MAC layer mechanisms ensure reliability and generate overhead. This additional reliability implies sending repetitions or automatic retransmissions.

The ACK-Always fragmentation mode of SCHC may reduce this overhead in future operations when data transmissions may use this mode. ACK-Always mode may transmit compressed data with fewer possible transmissions by using fixed or limited transport blocks compatible with the tiling SCHC fragmentation handling. For SCHC fragmentation parameters see section Section 5.4.2.

5.4. SCHC over Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD) (Normative)

This section specifies the use of SCHC over Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD) services of 3GPP. The NIDD services of 3GPP enable the transmission of SCHC packets compressed by the application layer. The packets can be delivered using IP-tunnels to the 3GPP network or NGW-SCEF functions (i.e., API calls). In both cases, as compression occurs before transmission, the network will not understand the packet, and the network does not have context information of this compression. Therefore, the network will treat the packet as Non-IP traffic and deliver it to the other side without any other protocol stack element, directly over the layer-2.

5.4.1. SCHC Entities Placing over NIDD

In the two scenarios using NIDD compression, SCHC entities are located almost on top of the stack. The NB-IoT connectivity services implement SCHC in the Dev-UE, an in the Application Server. The IP tunneling scenario requires that the Application Server send the compressed packet over an IP connection terminated by the 3GPP core network. If the transmission uses the NGW-SCEF services, it is possible to utilize an API call to transfer the SCHC packets between the core network and the Application Server. Also, an IP tunnel could be established by the Application Server if negotiated with the NGW-SCEF.

+---------+       XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX             +--------+
| SCHC    |      XXX                    XXX            | SCHC   |
|(Non-IP) +-----XX........................XX....+--*---+(Non-IP)|
+---------+    XX                  +----+  XX   |  |   +--------+
|         |    XX                  |SCEF+-------+  |   |        |
|         |   XXX     3GPP RAN &   +----+  XXX     +---+  UDP   |
|         |   XXX    CORE NETWORK          XXX     |   |        |
|  L2     +---+XX                  +------------+  |   +--------+
|         |     XX                 |IP TUNNELING+--+   |        |
|         |      XXX               +------------+  +---+  IP    |
+---------+       XXXX                 XXXX        |   +--------+
| PHY     +------+ XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX         +---+  PHY   |
+---------+                                            +--------+
  Dev-UE                                              Application

Figure 4: End-to End Compression. SCHC entities placed when using Non-IP Delivery (NIDD) 3GPP Services

5.4.2. Parameters for Static Context Header Compression and Fragmentation (SCHC)

These scenarios MAY use SCHC header compression capability to improve the transmission of IPv6 packets.

  • SCHC Context initialization.

The application layer handles the static context; consequently, the context distribution MUST be according to the application's capabilities, perhaps utilizing IP data transmissions up to context initialization. Also, the static contexts delivery may use the same IP tunneling or NGW-SCEF services used later for the SCHC packets transport.

  • SCHC Rules.

Even when the transmission content is not visible for the 3GPP network, the same limitations as for Section 5.1 and Section 5.2 transmissions apply in these scenarios in terms of aiming to use the minimum number of transmissions and minimize the protocol overhead.

  • Rule ID.

Similar to the case of Section 5.1 and Section 5.2, these scenarios can dynamically set the RuleID size before the context delivery. For example, negotiate between the applications when choosing a profile according to the type of traffic and application deployed. The same considerations related to the transport block size and performance mentioned for the Section 5.1 and Section 5.2 MUST be followed when choosing a size value for the RuleID field.


In these scenarios, the maximum RECOMMENDED MTU size is 1358 bytes since the SCHC packets (and fragments) are traversing the whole 3GPP network infrastructure (core and radio), not only the radio as the IP transmissions case.

  • Fragmentation.

Packets larger than 1358 bytes need the SCHC fragmentation function. Since the 3GPP uses reliability functions, the No-ACK fragmentation mode MAY be enough in point-to-point connections. Nevertheless, additional considerations are described below for more complex cases.

  • Fragmentation modes.

A global service assigns a QoS to the packets depending on the billing. Packets with very low QoS may get lost before arriving in the 3GPP radio network transmission, for example, in between the links of a capillary gateway or due to buffer overflow handling in a backhaul connection. The use of SCHC fragmentation with the ACK-on-Error mode is RECOMMENDED to secure additional reliability on the packets transmitted with a small trade-off on further transmissions to signal the end-to-end arrival of the packets if no transport protocol takes care of retransmission.
Also, the ACK-on-Error mode COULD be desirable to keep track of all the SCHC packets delivered. In that case, the fragmentation function could be activated for all packets transmitted by the applications. SCHC ACK-on-Error fragmentation MAY be activated in transmitting non-IP packets on the NGW-MME. A non-IP packet will use SCHC reserved RuleID for non-compressing packets as [RFC8724] allows it.

  • Fragmentation Parameters.

SCHC profile will have specific Rules for the fragmentation modes. The rule will identify, which fragmentation mode is in use, and section Section 5.3 defines the RuleID size.

SCHC parametrization considers that NBIoT aligns the bit and uses padding and the size of the Transfer Block. SCHC will try to reduce padding to optimize the compression of the information. The Header size needs to be multiple of 4, and the Tiles MAY keep a fixed value of 4 or 8 bits to avoid padding except for transfer block equals 16 bits where Tiles may be 2 bits. The transfer block size has a wide range of values. Two configurations are RECOMMENDED for the fragmentation parameters.

  • For Transfer Blocks smaller or equal to 304 bits using an 8-bit Header_size configuration, with the size of the header fields as follows:

    • RuleID from 1 - 3 bits,
    • DTag 1 bit,
    • FCN 3 bits,
    • W 1 bits.
  • For Transfer Blocks bigger than 304 bits using a 16 bits-Header_size configuration, with the size of the header fields as follows:

    • RulesID from 8 - 10 bits,
    • DTag 1 or 2 bits,
    • FCN 3 bits,
    • W 2 or 3 bits.
    • W 2 or 3 bits.
  • RCS will follow the default size defined in section 8.2.3 of the [RFC8724], with a length equal to the L2 Word.
  • MAX_ACK_REQ is RECOMMENDED to be 2, but applications MAY change this value based on transmission conditions.

The IoT devices communicate with small data transfer and have a battery life of 10 years. These devices use the Power Save Mode and the Idle Mode DRX, which govern how often the device wakes up, stays up, and is reachable. Table 10.5.163a in [TS24008] specifies a range for the radio timers as N to 3N in increments of one where the units of N can be 1 hour or 10 hours. The Inactivity Timer and the Retransmission Timer be set based on these limits.

6. Padding

NB-IoT and 3GPP wireless access, in general, assumes byte-aligned payload. Therefore, the layer 2 word for NB-IoT MUST be considered 8 bits, and the padding treatment should use this value accordingly.

7. IANA considerations

This document has no IANA actions.

8. Security considerations

This document does not add any security considerations and follows the [RFC8724] and the 3GPP access security document specified in [TR33203].

9. References

9.1. Normative References

Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <>.
Minaburo, A., Toutain, L., Gomez, C., Barthel, D., and JC. Zuniga, "SCHC: Generic Framework for Static Context Header Compression and Fragmentation", RFC 8724, DOI 10.17487/RFC8724, , <>.

9.2. Informative References

Sandlund, K., Pelletier, G., and L-E. Jonsson, "The RObust Header Compression (ROHC) Framework", RFC 5795, DOI 10.17487/RFC5795, , <>.
Farrell, S., Ed., "Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) Overview", RFC 8376, DOI 10.17487/RFC8376, , <>.
OneM2M, "3GPP_Interworking", , <>.
3GPP, "Study on architecture enhancements for Cellular Internet of Things", , <>.
3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol specification", , <>.
3GPP, "3G security; Access security for IP-based services", , <>.
3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol specification", , <>.
OMA, "Common definitions for RESTful Network APIs", , <>.
3GPP, "Mobile radio interface layer 3 specification.", , <>.
3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); LTE physical layer; General description", , <>.
3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Radio Link Control (RLC) protocol specification", , <>.
3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP) specification", , <>.
3GPP, "The Mobile Broadband Standard", , <>.

Appendix A. Appendix NB-IoT User Plane protocol architecture

A.1. Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP)

Each of the Radio Bearers (RB) is associated with one PDCP entity. Moreover, a PDCP entity is associated with one or two RLC entities depending on the unidirectional or bi-directional characteristics of the RB and RLC mode used. A PDCP entity is associated with either a control plane or a user plane with independent configuration and functions. The maximum supported size for NB-IoT of a PDCP SDU is 1600 octets. The primary services and functions of the PDCP sublayer for NB-IoT for the user plane include:

  • Header compression and decompression using ROHC [RFC5795]
  • Transfer of user and control data to higher and lower layers
  • Duplicate detection of lower layer SDUs when re-establishing connection (when RLC with Acknowledge Mode in use for User Plane only)
  • Ciphering and deciphering
  • Timer-based SDU discard in uplink

A.3. Medium Access Control (MAC)

MAC provides a mapping between the higher layers abstraction called Logical Channels comprised by the previously described protocols to the Physical layer channels (transport channels). Additionally, MAC may multiplex packets from different Logical Channels and prioritize what to fit into one Transport Block if there is data and space available to maximize data transmission efficiency. MAC also provides error correction and reliability support through HARQ, transport format selection, and scheduling information reporting from the terminal to the network. MAC also adds the necessary padding and piggyback control elements when possible and the higher layers data.

                                            <Max. 1600 bytes>
                    +---+         +---+          +------+
Application         |AP1|         |AP1|          |  AP2 |
(IP/non-IP)         |PDU|         |PDU|          |  PDU |
                    +---+         +---+          +------+
                    |   |         |  |           |      |
PDCP           +--------+    +--------      +-----------+
               |PDCP|AP1|    |PDCP|AP1|     |PDCP|  AP2 |
               |Head|PDU|    |Head|PDU|     |Head|  PDU |
               +--------+    +--------+     +--------+--\
               |    |   |    |     |  |     |    |   |\  `--------\
         +---------------------------+      |    |(1)| `-------\(2)\
RLC      |RLC |PDCP|AP1|RLC |PDCP|AP1| +-------------+    +----|---+
         |Head|Head|PDU|Head|Head|PDU| |RLC |PDCP|AP2|    |RLC |AP2|
         +-------------|-------------+ |Head|Head|PDU|    |Head|PDU|
         |         |   |         |   | +---------|---+    +--------+
         |         |   | LCID1   |   | /         /   /   /         /
        /         /   /        _/  _//        _/  _/    / LCID2   /
        |        |   |        |   | /       _/  _/     /      ___/
        |        |   |        |   ||       |   |      /      /
    +------------------------------------------+ +-----------+---+
    |Hea|Hea|Hea |PDU|Hea|Hea |PDU|Hea|Hea |PDU| |Hea|Hea|PDU|din|
    |der|der|der |   |der|der |   |der|der |   | |der|der|   |g  |
    +------------------------------------------+ +-----------+---+
                      TB1                               TB2

(1) Segment One
(2) Segment Two

Figure 5: Example of User Plane packet encapsulation for two transport blocks

Appendix B. Appendix NB-IoT Data over NAS (DoNAS)

The Access Stratum (AS) protocol stack used by DoNAS is somehow particular. Since the security associations are not established yet in the radio network, to reduce the protocol overhead, PDCP (Packet Data Convergence Protocol) is bypassed until AS security is activated. RLC (Radio Link Control protocol) uses by default the AM mode, but depending on the network's features and the terminal, it may change to other modes by the network operator. For example, the transparent mode does not add any header or process the payload to reduce the overhead, but the MTU would be limited by the transport block used to transmit the data, which is a couple of thousand bits maximum. If UM (only Release 15 compatible terminals) is used, the RLC mechanisms of reliability are disabled, and only the reliability provided by the MAC layer by Hybrid Automatic Repeat reQuest (HARQ) is available. In this case, the protocol overhead might be smaller than the AM case because of the lack of status reporting but with the same support for segmentation up to 16000 bytes. NAS packets are encapsulated within an RRC (Radio Resource Control) TGPP36331 message.

Depending on the data type indication signaled (IP or non-IP data), the network allocates an IP address or establishes a direct forwarding path. DoNAS is regulated under rate control upon previous agreement, meaning that a maximum number of bits per unit of time is agreed upon per device subscription beforehand and configured in the device. The use of DoNAS is typically expected when a terminal in a power-saving state requires a short transmission and receiving an acknowledgment or short feedback from the network. Depending on the size of buffered data to transmit, the UE might be instructed to deploy the connected mode transmissions instead, limiting and controlling the DoNAS transmissions to predefined thresholds and a good resource optimization balance for the terminal the network. The support for mobility of DoNAS is present but produces additional overhead.

    +--------+   +--------+   +--------+
    |        |   |        |   |        |       +-----------------+
    |   UE   |   |  C-BS  |   |  C-SGN |       |Roaming Scenarios|
    +----|---+   +--------+   +--------+       |  +--------+     |
         |            |            |           |  |        |     |
     +----------------|------------|+          |  |  P-GW  |     |
     |        Attach                |          |  +--------+     |
     +------------------------------+          |       |         |
         |            |            |           |       |         |
  +------|------------|--------+   |           |       |         |
  |RRC Connection Establishment|   |           |       |         |
  |with NAS PDU transmission   |   |           |       |         |
  |& Ack Rsp                   |   |           |       |         |
  +----------------------------+   |           |       |         |
         |            |            |           |       |         |
         |            |Initial UE  |           |       |         |
         |            |message     |           |       |         |
         |            |----------->|           |       |         |
         |            |            |           |       |         |
         |            | +---------------------+|       |         |
         |            | |Checks Integrity     ||       |         |
         |            | |protection, decrypts ||       |         |
         |            | |data                 ||       |         |
         |            | +---------------------+|       |         |
         |            |            |       Small data packet     |
         |            |            |------------------------------->
         |            |            |       Small data packet     |
         |            |            |<-------------------------------
         |            | +----------|---------+ |       |         |
         |            | Integrity protection,| |       |         |
         |            | encrypts data        | |       |         |
         |            | +--------------------+ |       |         |
         |            |            |           |       |         |
         |            |Downlink NAS|           |       |         |
         |            |message     |           |       |         |
         |            |<-----------|           |       |         |
 +-----------------------+         |           |       |         |
 |Small Data Delivery,   |         |           |       |         |
 |RRC connection release |         |           |       |         |
 +-----------------------+         |           |       |         |
                                               |                 |
                                               |                 |

Figure 6: DoNAS transmission sequence from an Uplink initiated access

                   +---+ +---+ +---+                  +----+
 Application       |AP1| |AP1| |AP2|                  |AP2 |
(IP/non-IP)        |PDU| |PDU| |PDU|  ............... |PDU |
                   +---+ +---+ +---+                  +----+
                   |   |/   /  |    \                 |    |
NAS /RRC      +--------+---|---+----+            +---------+
              |NAS/|AP1|AP1|AP2|NAS/|            |NAS/|AP2 |
              |RRC |PDU|PDU|PDU|RRC |            |RRC |PDU |
              +--------+-|-+---+----+            +---------|
              |          |\         |            |         |
              |<--Max. 1600 bytes-->|__          |_        |
              |          |  \__        \___        \_       \_
              |          |     \           \         \__      \_
         +---------------|+-----|----------+             \      \
RLC      |RLC | NAS/RRC  ||RLC  | NAS/RRC  |       +----|-------+
         |Head|  PDU(1/2)||Head | PDU (2/2)|       |RLC |NAS/RRC|
         +---------------++----------------+       |Head|PDU    |
         |    |          | \               |       +------------+
         |    |    LCID1 |  \              |       |           /
         |    |          |   \              \      |           |
         |    |          |    \              \     |           |
         |    |          |     \              \     \          |
MAC |MAC |RLC |    RLC   ||MAC  |RLC |  RLC    ||MAC |  RLC    |Pad|
    |Head|Head|  PAYLOAD ||Head |Head| PAYLOAD ||Head|  PDU    |   |
             TB1                   TB2                     TB3

Figure 7: Example of User Plane packet encapsulation for Data over NAS

Appendix C. Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank (in alphabetic order): Carles Gomez, Antti Ratilainen, Thomas Tirronen, Pascal Thubert, Eric Vyncke.

Authors' Addresses

Edgar Ramos
Hirsalantie 11
FI- 02420 Jorvas, Kirkkonummi
Ana Minaburo
1137A Avenue des Champs Blancs
35510 Cesson-Sevigne Cedex