Association and spectrum sharing in cellular networks



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Many models have been proposed to evaluate performance of cellular communication systems. However, the emergence of new technologies have changed cellular systems significantly, and requires new modeling and analysis approaches. This dissertation studies network level optimization concerning cell association and spectrum sharing. As the first contribution, the dissertation presents a framework to investigate downlink multi-antenna heterogeneous networks with flexible cell selection and shows that a simple selection bias-based cell selection criterion closely approximates more complex selection rules to maximize mean the signal-to-interference-plus-noise- ratio (SINR). Under this simpler cell selection rule, the exact expressions for coverage probability and achievable rate of a typical user are derived along with an approximation of the coverage optimal cell selection bias. In the second contribution, the dissertation considers a cellular system where users are simultaneously connected to multiple base stations (BSs) to decrease blockage sensitivity and proposes a framework to analyze the correlation in blocking among multiple links. It evaluates the gains of macro-diversity in the presence of random blockages along with the impact of the blockage size. In the third contribution, the dissertation considers spectrum sharing among millimeter wave (mmWave) operators. A two-level architecture is proposed to model a mmWave multi-operator system and the SINR and per-user rate distribution are derived in the presence of spectrum and infrastructure sharing. It is shown that due to narrow beams, license sharing among operators improves system performance by increasing the per-user rate, even when there is no explicit coordination. In the fourth contribution, this analysis is extended to include static coordination among operators in the form of secondary licensing. A framework is developed to model a mmWave cellular system with a primary operator that has an ``exclusive-use'' license with a provision to sell a restricted secondary license to another operator that has a maximum allowable interference threshold. This licensing approach provides a way of differentiating the spectrum access for the different operators. Results show that compared to uncoordinated sharing, a reasonable gain can be achieved using the proposed secondary licensing, especially for edge rates.