Spectrum Coexistence Mechanisms for Mobile Networks in Unlicensed Frequency Bands

Alhulayil, Moawiah
(2021) Spectrum Coexistence Mechanisms for Mobile Networks in Unlicensed Frequency Bands. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Mobile network operators have historically experienced increasing traffic loads at a steady pace, which has always strained the available network capacity and claimed constantly for new methods to increase the network capacity. A key solution proposed to increase the available spectrum is the exploitation of the unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz bands, predominantly occupied by Wi-Fi technology. However, an uncontrolled deployment of mobile networks in unlicensed bands could potentially lead to a resource starvation prob lem for Wi-Fi networks and therefore degrade their performance significantly. To address this issue, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standardised the Long Term Evolution Unlicensed (LTE-U) and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technologies. The main philosophy of these technologies is to allow mobile operators to benefit from the vast amount of available spectrum in unlicensed bands without degrading the performance of Wi-Fi networks, thus enabling a fair coexistence. However, the proposed coexistence mechanisms have been proven to provide very limited guarantees of fairness, if any at all. This thesis proposes several improvements to the 3GPP coexistence mechanisms to en able a truly fair coexistence between mobile and Wi-Fi networks in unlicensed bands. In particular, various methods are proposed to adjust the transmission duty cycle in LTE-U and to adapt/select both the waiting and transmission times for LAA. The main novelty of this work is that the proposed methods exploit the knowledge of the existing Wi-Fi activity statistics to tune the operating parameters of the coexistence protocol (duty cycle, contention window size and its adaptation, transmission opportunity times, etc.), optimise the fairness of spectrum coexistence and the performance of mobile networks. This research shows that, by means of a smart exploitation of the knowledge of the Wi-Fi activity statistics, it is possible to guarantee a truly fair coexistence between mobile and Wi-Fi systems in unlicensed bands. Compared to the 3GPP coexistence mechanisms, the proposed methods can attain a significantly better throughput performance for the mobile network while guaranteeing a fair coexistence with the Wi-Fi network. In some cases, the proposed methods are able not only to avoid degradation to the Wi-Fi network but even improve its performance (compared to a coexistence scenario between Wi-Fi networks only) as a result of the smart coexistence mechanisms proposed in this thesis. The proposed methods are evaluated for the 4G LTE standard but are similarly applicable to other more recent mobile technologies such as the Fifth Generation New Radio in Unlicensed bands (5G NR-U).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2021 12:12
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:37
DOI: 10.17638/03127584
  • López-Benítez, Miguel
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3127584