Graduate School and Research Center in Digital Sciences

User association in over- and under- provisioned backhaul HetNets

Sapountzis, Nikolaos; Spyropoulos, Thrasyvoulos; Nikaein, Navid; Salim, Umer

Research Report RR-16-318

Operators, struggling to continuously add capacity and upgrade their architecture to keep up with data traffic increase, are turning their attention to denser deployments that improve spectral efficiency. Denser deployments make the problem of user association challenging, and much work has been devoted to finding algorithms that strike a tradeoff between user quality of service (QoS), and network-wide performance (load-balancing). Nevertheless, the majority of these algorithms typically consider simple setups with a single type of traffic, usually elastic non-GBR (Guaranteed Bit Rate). They also focus on the radio access part, ignoring the backhaul topology and potential capacity limitations. Backhaul constraints are emerging as a key performance bottleneck in future networks, partly due to the continuous improvement of the radio interface, and partly due to the need for inexpensive backhaul links to reduce capital and operational expenditures. To this end, we propose an analytical framework for user association that jointly considers radio access and backhaul network performance. Specifically, we derive an algorithm that takes into account spectral efficiency, base station load, backhaul link capacities and topology, and two traffic classes (GBR and non-GBR) in both the uplink and downlink directions. We prove analytically an optimal user association rule that ends up maximizing either an arithmetic or a weighted harmonic mean of the achieved performance along different dimensions (e.g. UL and DL performance or GBR and non-GBR performance). We then use extensive simulations to study the impact of (i) traffic differentiation, and (ii) backhaul capacity limitations and topology on key performance metrics.

Document Bibtex

Title:User association in over- and under- provisioned backhaul HetNets
Keywords:hetnets; backhaul; optimization; traffic differentiation; user-association; load balancing; spectral efficiency
Department:Communication systems
Eurecom ref:4886
Copyright: © EURECOM. Personal use of this material is permitted. The definitive version of this paper was published in Research Report RR-16-318 and is available at :
Bibtex: @techreport{EURECOM+4886, year = {2016}, title = {{U}ser association in over- and under- provisioned backhaul {H}et{N}ets}, author = {{S}apountzis, {N}ikolaos and {S}pyropoulos, {T}hrasyvoulos and {N}ikaein, {N}avid and {S}alim, {U}mer}, number = {EURECOM+4886}, month = {04}, institution = {Eurecom}, url = {},, }
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