Delay-Optimal Biased User Association in Heterogeneous Networks

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Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, 2017, 66 (8), pp. 7360 - 7371
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© 2017 IEEE. In heterogeneous networks (HetNets), load balancing among different tiers can be effectively achieved by a biased user association scheme with which each user chooses to associate with one base station (BS) based on the biased received power. In contrast to previous studies, where a BS always has packets to transmit, we assume in this paper that incoming packets intended for all the associated users form a queue in the BS. In order to find the delay limit of the network to support real-time service, we focus on the delay optimization problem by properly tuning the biasing factor of each tier. By adopting a thinned Poisson point process model to characterize the locations of BSs in the busy state, an explicit expression of the average traffic intensity of each tier is obtained. On that basis, an optimization problem is formulated to minimize a lower bound of the network mean queuing delay. By showing that the optimization problem is convex, the optimal biasing factor of each tier can be obtained numerically. When the mean packet arrival rate of each user is small, a closed-form solution is derived. The simulation results demonstrate that the network queuing performance can be significantly improved by properly tuning the biasing factor. It is further shown that the network mean queuing delay might be improved at the cost of a deterioration of the network signal-to-interference ratio coverage, which indicates a performance tradeoff between real-time and non-real-time traffic in HetNets.
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