Deployment of clustered-based small cells in interference-limited dense scenarios: analysis, design and trade-offs

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Network densification is one of the most promising solutions to address the high data rate demands in 5G and beyond (B5G) wireless networks while ensuring an overall adequate quality of service. In this scenario, most users experience significant interference levels from neigh-bouring mobile stations (MSs) and access points (APs) making the use of advanced interference management techniques mandatory. Clustered interference alignment (IA) has been widely pro-posed to manage the interference in densely deployed scenarios with a large number of users. Nonetheless, the setups considered in previous works are still far from the densification lev-els envisaged for 5G/B5G networks that are considered in this paper. Moreover, prior designs of clustered-IA systems relied on oversimplified channel models and/or enforced single-stream transmission. In this paper, we explore an ultradense deployment of small-cells (SCs) to pro-vide coverage in 5G/B5G wireless networks. A novel cluster design based on size-restricted k-means algorithm to divide the SCs into different clusters is proposed taking into account path loss and shadowing effects, thus providing a more realistic solution than those available in the current literature. Unlike previous works, this clustering method can also cater for spatial mul-tiplexing scenarios. Also, several design parameters such as the number of transmit antennas, multiplexed data streams, and deployed APs are analyzed in order to identify trade-offs between performance and complexity. The relationship between density of network elements per area unit and performance is investigated, thus allowing to illustrate that there is an optimal coverage area value over which the network resources should be distributed. Moreover, it is shown that the spectral-efficiency degradation due to the inter-cluster interference in ultra-dense networks (UDNs) points to the need of designing an interference management algorithm that accounts for both, intra-cluster and inter-cluster interference. Simulation results provide key insights for the deployment of small cells in interference-limited dense scenarios.
Ultra-dense network (UDN), Small-cells (SCS) deployment, Clustering, Interference alignment (IA), 5G, B5G networks
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Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing, v. 2021, Article ID 9914456, 15 p.