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Not Your Father’s Base Station

Meeting the data challenge that

Shannon can’t help

Alan Gatherer
TI Fellow and CTO of High-Performance & Multicore Processing
Texas Instruments

• Modulation meets the end of the

• The network has gotten very
• Self-optimization to the rescue
• Femto cells: part of the solution
or part of the problem?
• Some math to show how smart
we are
• Conclusions
Sorry, but we’re out of ideas….



I think I’ll go
play with my
OFDMA! mice

• Point to point capacity we have nearly got covered

• Future of capacity is at the network layer
And we don’t need more buttons to press
• WCDMA followed by HSPA introduced data to
• We have LOTS of options
– Data rates, FEC, scheduling, QoS, latency
• We have made for a very hard system to manage
“The belief among operators is
that 3G represents a missed
opportunity to automate network
processes, and that much of the
ongoing cost to configure and
manage Node Bs, radio network
controllers, and core network
elements is accounted for by the
need to allocate expensive
technicians to mundane, yet
cumbersome, tasks.” – Heavy
Plan B: more cells, smaller cells
``Wireless capacity has doubled every 30
months over the last 104 years’’ – Martin
Cooper, ArrayComm
• Million-fold increase since 1957
– 25 x from wider spectrum

– 25 x from slicing spectrum, better modulation and

01001  1010110101
–1600 x from reduced cell sizes and transmit distance
But that’s

So the answer is….it’s really, really messy

Big Cells
Macro BTS

Small Cells
Pico BTS

Various Femto

and…even more messy to manage!

Self-optimization to the rescue
• SON functions: “Aims to configure & optimize the network
automatically to minimize operational effort and improve
network performance” - 3GPP TS 36.902 SON Use Cases and Solutions
• Why SON?
– Number & structure of network parameters is complex/large
– Parallel operation of multiple technologies such as 2G, 3G,
LTE, etc.
– Rapid expansion of base stations (& Home NB’s/eNB’s)
require minimum human effort
• Aspects of SON
– Self Configuration: Automatic installation & basic
configuration for system operation (for NB/eNB)
– Self Optimization: UE & eNB measurements are used to
auto-tune the network operations
– Self Healing: Detection & automatic failure recovery
We all know it’s a good idea
• Industry momentum
– Operators: T-Mobile, Orange, KPN
– Manufacturers: Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson, Nortel, NEC,
Huawei, NTT DoCoMo
• Standards momentum
– 3GPP
• NSN, Huawei, NEC, Ericsson, Samsung, T-Mobile, Orange
• RAN2, RAN3 – use cases and procedures
• SA5 WG - requirements
– Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN)
• T-Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, Nortel, KPN
– Femto Forum
• Huawei, NEC, ALU, Ubiquisys
• Vodafone, Ericsson, NSN, University research
Self organizing network (SON)
SON framework for eNB
eNB Power on

Basic Setup Configuration of IP address

Association with a GW

Self Configuration Authentication

(Pre -operational state )
Software & configuration data

Initial Radio
Neighbor list configuration
Coverage parameters
Others (Physical cell
identity configuration )

Self Optimization
Optimization Neighbor list optimization
(Operational state )
Capacity & coverage
Others (energy savings , interference
reduction , mobility optimizations )

Self Healing
(Operational state ) Self -healing Failure detection & localization

Healing schemes

Femto without SON?
• SON might give you
– Idiot install
– Dynamic reaction to traffic change
– Long term “cognitive” optimization of the network
– Fallback in the event of failure
• Without these can you really add femto to your
– Well, probably yes (because people have done it)
– But…
Halloween costume idea

Dress up as
a femto cell.

They’re pretty sc
Femtocells: standardization efforts
• LTE-A is the first standard to explicitly address
femtocells and relays
– Treats femtocells as a relay through the network
• 3GPP pursuing “femto aware”
– Heterogeneous networks
– In-band backhauling for relays
– Inter-cell Interference Coordination (ICIC)
– Lots of room for research!
• But.. today femtocells are just little base stations
• $100 BOM leads to only $20-30 of DSP physical layer
• And don’t even think about MIMO!!
• Will the volumes justify this price point?
From concept to reality….

Concept Reality
3GPP RAN4. “Downlink interference from a closed-access femtocell will
result in coverage holes in the macro network….considerably more
significant than when the femtocell is deployed on a dedicated carrier.”

On the other hand….
• Reduced TX-RX distance IP
– Spatial reuse IP
– Service poor coverage areas
• Femtocell differences
– Connected via DSL or cable modem
– Customer pays for their own backhaul
– Customer pays for air conditioning and
– Customer may pay for equipment too?

[ChaAndGat08] V. Chandrasekhar, J.G Andrews and A.

Gatherer, “Femtocell networks: a survey,’’ IEEE
14 Communications Magazine, Sep. 2008
So there is some room for research…
• How to do power control?
– Assist users with poor channels
– Limit interference to neighboring cells
• Overlay macro-femto deployment
– Interference “couples” target Signal-to-
Interference-Plus-Noise Ratio (SINRs) at
macrocell and femtocells
• Femtocells
– Placed by end-consumers in self-interest
– Femto-users seek higher data rates

Key Questions
1) Given N arbitrary FC SINR targets, what is the highest cellular SINR target?
2) How does relative placement of femtocells affect per-tier SINR targets?

System model
• Central Macrocell (B0)
• N femtocells Bi,
• One user/slot/cell
• All in the same frequency band

Min. SINR target Current SINR Transmit power Channel power, user j to Bi

What was the question

– Given a desired SNR for
the femtos, what is the
largest macro SNR?

Max-Min SINR Assignment [Zander92, Grandhi94]

Max-min SINR
Normalized channel powers

For convenience, define the normalized

cross-tier channel powers given as below:

Normalized interference of
macro-user onto femtos

Normalized interference of
femto-users onto macro
Shared spectrum two-tier network
Consider a two-tier network with target SINRs γc and γf
at macrocell and femtocell hotspots.

Rewrite Interference from

femtocell users to macrocell
Normalized channel power
between femtocells
Interference from
macro-user at femtocell
Highest macro-femto SINR targets

Normalized intra
Macro SINR & cross-tier Femto SINRs
channel power
Tower and maze approximation

• Femto sees 2 walls to

neighboring femto
• Macro sees one wall to
each femto
• So drop the femto to
femto matrix term
Lower bound with common femto SNR
• If there is a common Femto SNR then:

Link Budget

• Gives an interpretation of the link budget available

in terms of the normalized interference

Decibel Link Budget

SINR Contours
grid with 64 femtocell
. Isolated configuration

Nearly 40 dB Link Budget Loss


(dB )


. Co-located configuration Blue

-40 solid : Exact (Theorem 1)
Black dotted: Link Budget Apprx.
0 5 10 15 20 25

Гf (dB )
1. Link budget analysis is simple and
2. Motivates interference-aware
23 femtocells
Strange effect: correlation of interference
• Maximize link budget by “de-correlating” the two
interference vectors
– You don’t want the normalized interference to peak in the same
place for macro to femto and femto to macro
• When the macro user is close to its tower it sees a similar
pattern of interference as its tower creates
– Because all cell phones are close to their towers
– Hence the vectors are correlated
• When the macro user is away from its tower it sees a
different pattern than the tower is creating
– Hence vectors are uncorrelated
• Result improves as the macro cell user moves away from
its tower!!
• The winners in next-generation base
stations will solve the messy networking
• SON is essential to the solution -- and a
hot topic
• Femtocells are just part of this picture
• Without managing interference, femtocell
deployments are likely self-defeating
• There is still a lot to learn in this area

V. Chandrasekhar, J.G. Andrews, Ramanuja Vedantham, Sandeep
Thank You!

Alan Gatherer
TI Fellow, CTO, High Performance & Multicore Processing