iBUS: An Integrated Beamformer and Uplink Scheduler for OFDMA Small Cells


Beamforming is a signal processing technique with numerous advantages in wireless communication. Unlike traditional omnidirectional communication, it focuses the energy of the transmitted and/or the received signal during a specific direction. Although beamforming has been extensively studied on typical systems such as WiFi, very little is known concerning its practical impact on performance in orthogonal frequency-domain multiple access (OFDMA) little-cell deployments. Since OFDMA schedules multiple clients (users) in the same frame in distinction to WiFi, coming up with intelligent scheduling mechanisms and at the same time leveraging beamforming is a difficult task. Unlike downlink, we show that the integration of beamforming with uplink scheduling projects an attention-grabbing tradeoff between beamforming gain on the one hand, and the power-pooling gain ensuing from joint multiuser scheduling on the other hand. This, in flip, makes the uplink scheduling problem even laborious to approximate. To address this, we propose algorithms that are straightforward to implement, nonetheless provably efficient with a worst-case guarantee of 1/two. We implement our algorithms on a true WiMAX tiny-cell platform integrated with an eight-component phased-array beamforming antenna. Evaluations from each prototype implementation and trace-driven simulations show that the algorithms deliver throughput gains of over fortypercent compared to an omnidirectional scheme.

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