Load Balancing and Interference Management for Heterogeneous Cellular Networks

With the proliferation of wireless devices and the advent of bandwidth hungry applications such as video streaming, cloud-based technologies, etc., incremental improvements to existing networks and architectures such as 4G are insufficient to meet the projected data demands in the next five years. This has called for paradigm shifts in next generation networks, i.e., 5G, and particularly, the ongoing evolution towards very dense and unplanned deployment of low-power small cell base stations (BSs) of various types, commonly known as HetNets.

Small cells can significantly enhance network’s throughput, but there are several key challenges associated with the deployment of HetNets such as load-balancing and the high interference. For instance, low-power BSs can be overshadowed by the high transmit power of the macro BS, rendering existing user association techniques such as the max-power user association impractical due to the load-imbalance it causes in the network. Similarly, co-channel deployment of these cells prohibitively increases the interference, degrading the quality-of-service especially for users located at cell edges.

We propose load-aware user association policies that significantly improve the user’s throughput by balancing the load for different network settings. In addition, we study interference not only via the allocation of time-frequency resources but also via the allocation of spatial resources based on the premise that massive MIMO will be an integral technology in 5G.