Device-to-Device Load Balancing for Cellular Networks

7 Oct 2017  ·  Lei Deng, Yinghui He, Ying Zhang, Minghua Chen, Zongpeng Li, Jack Y. B. Lee, Ying Jun Zhang, Lingyang Song ·

Small-cell architecture is widely adopted by cellular network operators to increase network capacity. By reducing the size of cells, operators can pack more (low-power) base stations in an area to better serve the growing demands, without causing extra interference. However, this approach suffers from low spectrum temporal efficiency. When a cell becomes smaller and covers fewer users, its total traffic fluctuates significantly due to insufficient traffic aggregation and exhibiting a large "peak-to-mean" ratio. As operators customarily provision spectrum for peak traffic, large traffic temporal fluctuation inevitably leads to low spectrum temporal efficiency. In this paper, we advocate device-to-device (D2D) load-balancing as a useful mechanism to address the fundamental drawback of small-cell architecture. The idea is to shift traffic from a congested cell to its adjacent under-utilized cells by leveraging inter-cell D2D communication, so that the traffic can be served without using extra spectrum, effectively improving the spectrum temporal efficiency. We provide theoretical modeling and analysis to characterize the benefit of D2D load balancing, in terms of total spectrum requirements of all individual cells. We also derive the corresponding cost, in terms of incurred D2D traffic overhead. We carry out empirical evaluations based on real-world 4G data traces to gauge the benefit and cost of D2D load balancing under practical settings. The results show that D2D load balancing can reduce the spectrum requirement by 25% as compared to the standard scenario without D2D load balancing, at the expense of negligible 0.7% D2D traffic overhead.

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Networking and Internet Architecture


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