Utility-Aware Refunding Framework for Hybrid Access Femtocell Network


Femtocell technology addresses the problem of poor indoor coverage, benefiting both wireless service provider (WSP) and end users. With the introduction of femtocell, the cross-tier interference between macro link and femto link becomes a major factor which greatly impacts the network performance. Different access control approaches, by generating different interference patterns, also severely affect the overall throughput of the network and need to be carefully investigated. Among all the access control mechanisms, hybrid access is the most promising one, which allows roaming unregistered users (referred to as macro users) to access the nearby femto base station (BS) while reserving certain resource for registered home users (referred to as femto users), improving overall network capacity. However, to successfully leverage hybrid access is challenging because the femto holders (FHs) are selfish, unwilling to share their femto facilities and spectrum resource with macro users without any incentive mechanism. In this paper, we propose a novel utility-aware refunding framework to motivate hybrid access in femtocell. Within the framework, both WSP and FHs are assumed to be selfish, and target at maximizing their own utilities. WSP provides certain refunding to motivate FHs to open their resource for macro users. FHs decide the resource allocation among femto and macro users according to the amount of refunding WSP offers. Under this framework, the optimal strategies of both WSP and FHs are analyzed by formulating the problem as a Stackelberg Game. A unique Nash Equilibrium is achieved and a hybrid access protocol is designed according to the analysis. Extensive simulations have been conducted and the results show that the utilities of both WSP and FHs are significantly improved exploiting the hybrid access mechanism.

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