Open Cell-less Network Architecture and Radio Resource Management for Future Wireless Communication Systems

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In recent times, the immense growth of wireless traffic data generated from massive mobile devices, services, and applications results in an ever-increasing demand for huge bandwidth and very low latency, with the future networks going in the direction of achieving extreme system capacity and ultra reliable low latency communication (URLLC). Several consortia comprising major international mobile operators, infrastructure manufacturers, and academic institutions are working to develop and evolve the current generation of wireless communication systems, i.e., fifth generation (5G) towards a sixth generation (6G) to support improved data rates, reliability, and latency. Existing 5G networks are facing the latency challenges in a high-density and high-load scenario for an URLLC network which may coexist with enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services. At the same time, the evolution of mobile communications faces the important challenge of increased network power consumption. Thus, energy efficient solutions are expected to be deployed in the network in order to reduce power consumption while fulfilling user demands for various user densities. Moreover, the network architecture should be dynamic according to the new use cases and applications. Also, there are network migration challenges for the multi-architecture coexistence networks. Recently, the open radio access network (O-RAN) alliance was formed to evolve RANs with its core principles being intelligence and openness. It aims to drive the mobile industry towards an ecosystem of innovative, multi-vendor, interoperable, and autonomous RAN, with reduced cost, improved performance and greater agility. However, this is not standardized yet and still lacks interoperability. On the other hand, the cell-less radio access network (RAN) was introduced to boost the system performance required for the new services. However, the concept of cell-less RAN is still under consideration from the deployment point of view with the legacy cellular networks. The virtualization, centralization and cooperative communication which enables the cell-less RAN can further benefit from O-RAN based architecture. This thesis addresses the research challenges facing 5G and beyond networks towards 6G networks in regard to new architectures, spectral efficiency, latency, and energy efficiency. Different system models are stated according to the problem and several solution schemes are proposed and developed to overcome these challenges. This thesis contributes as follows. Firstly, the cell-less technology is proposed to be implemented through an Open RAN architecture, which could be supervised with the near real-time RAN intelligent controller (near-RT-RIC). The cooperation is enabled for intelligent and smart resource allocation for the entire RAN. Secondly, an efficient radio resource optimization mechanism is proposed for the cell-less architecture to improve the system capacity of the future 6G networks. Thirdly, an optimized and novel resource scheduling scheme is presented that reduces latency for the URLLC users in an efficient resource utilization manner to support scenarios with high user density. At the same time, this radio resource management (RRM) scheme, while minimizing the latency, also overcomes another important challenge of eMBB users, namely the throughput of those who coexist in such a highly loaded scenario with URLLC users. Fourthly, a novel energy-efficiency enhancement scheme, i.e., (3 × E) is designed to increase the transmission rate per energy unit, with stable performance within the cell-less RAN architecture. Our proposed (3 × E) scheme activates two-step sleep modes (i.e., certain phase and conditional phase) through the intelligent interference management for temporarily switching access points (APs) to sleep, optimizing the network energy efficiency (EE) in highly loaded scenarios, as well as in scenarios with lower load. Finally, a multi-architecture coexistence (MACO) network model is proposed to enable inter-connection of different architectures through coexistence and cooperation logical switches in order to enable smooth deployment of a cell-less architecture within the legacy networks. The research presented in this thesis therefore contributes new knowledge in the cellless RAN architecture domain of the future generation wireless networks and makes important contributions to this field by investigating different system models and proposing solutions to significant issues.
5G, Fifth generation, 5G and beyond systems, 6G, Sixth generation, Radio access networks, Open radio access networks, Energy efficiency, Base stations, Access points, Radio resource management, Sleep mode approach, Cell-less networks, Schedulers, Multi-architecture coexistence networks, Ultra reliable low latency communication
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