Interference management in heterogeneous cellular networks
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Heterogeneous cellular networks (HCNs) – comprising traditional macro base stations (BSs) and heterogeneous infrastructure such as microcells, picocells, femtocells and distributed antennas – are fast becoming a cost-effective and essential way of handling explosive wireless data traffic demands. Up until now, little basic research has been done on the fundamentals of managing so much infrastructure – much of it unplanned – together with the carefully planned macro-cellular network. This dissertation addresses the key technical challenges of inter-cell interference management in this new network paradigm. This dissertation first studies uplink femtocell access control in uncoordinated two-tier networks, i.e. where the femtocells cannot coordinate with macrocells. Closed access allows registered home users to monopolize their own femtocell and its backhaul connection, but also results in severe interference between femtocells and nearby unregistered macro users. Open access reduces such interference by handing over such users, at the expense of femtocell resource sharing. In the first analytical work on this topic, we studied the best femtocell access technique from the perspectives of both network operators and femtocell owners, and show that it is strongly contingent on parameters such as multiple access schemes (i.e. orthogonal vs. non- orthogonal) and cellular user density (in TDMA/OFDMA). To study coordinated algorithms whose success depends heavily on the rate and delay (vs. user mobility) of inter-cell overhead sharing, this dissertation develops various models of overhead signaling in general HCNs and derives the overhead quality contour – the achievable set of overhead packet rate and delay – under general assumptions on overhead arrivals and different overhead signaling methods (backhaul and/or wireless). The overhead quality contour is further simplified for two widely used models of overhead arrivals: Poisson and deterministic. Based on the overhead quality contour that is applicable to generic coordinated techniques, this dissertation develops a novel analytical framework to evaluate downlink coordinated multi-point (CoMP) schemes in HCNs. Combined with the signal-to-interference-plus-noise-ratio (SINR) characterization, this framework can be used for a class of CoMP schemes without user data sharing. As an example, we apply it to downlink CoMP inter-cell interference cancellation (ICIC), after deriving SINR results for it using the spatial Poisson Point Process (PPP) to capture the uncertainty in base station locations.