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ADHOC RELAY NETWORK PLANNING FOR IMPROVING CELLULAR DATA COVERAGE

Hung-yu Wei, Samrat Ganguly, Rauf Izmailov

NEC Labs America, Princeton, USA 08852, {hungyu,samrat,rauf}@nec-labs.com

Abstract Non-uniform coverage is a major concern in


cellular data networks based on HSDPA/HDR access
technologies. Poor coverage lowers the overall utilization of
the cell and results in location-dependent downlink
throughput for mobile users.
We focus on the planning of Ad hoc Relay Network (ARN)
in providing an improved cellular coverage. Specifically, we
present and discuss issues and approaches for relay node
placement in cellular space. Through extensive simulation
modeling, we provide the evaluation of the improvement in
the location dependent cellular data rate by employing the
ARN.
Keywords HSDPA, Ad hoc network, Multihop cellular,
4G wireless, Node placement, Optimization.

filling of the cellular data network, which results in a


improved downlink data rate across the cell.

Relay node

BS

Relay node
Mobile
client

I. INTRODUCTION
To cope up with the growing demand in downlink data rate,
UMTS specifications recently defined the "high speed
downlink packet access" (HSDPA) [1]. HSDPA can provide
up to maximum 10Mb/s downlink data rate.
However, poor coverage of a cell caused by path-loss and
fading is the main reason why a user may not be able to get
the maximum 10Mbps data rate that HSDPA specifies.
Proper cell dimensioning by adjusting the cell size or base
station location may be solution for alleviating the coverage
problem albeit has its own drawbacks. Smaller cells can
significantly increase inter-cell interference; they also
require high cost of backhaul connection (between base
stations (BS) and the Radio Access Network). Further, the
coverage cannot be reconfigured based on change in
traffic/user concentration.
A most promising solution to the above problem is the use
of Adhoc Relay Network (ARN). The goal of ARN is to
provide a uniform downlink data rate across the cellular
space. Each node in the ARN is capable of relaying 3G data
traffic to the mobile client through a multi-hop relay. The
relay network is created using inexpensive 802.11a/b/g
based WiFi technology providing high intra-relay
throughput of up to 56Mb/s on an unlicensed channels noninterfering with 3G spectrum.
Adhoc Relay Network can connect two points in cellular
space with unequal data rates and relay traffic from a better
coverage area (high data rate) to a poor coverage area (low
data rate). We refer the above application as spatial capacity

Figure 1: ARN in cellular space.


Figure 1 shows a deployment of relay nodes forming an
ARN. It also shows how relay nodes (RN) are used to relay
data from the BS to the mobile clients. In order to use the
ARN, the mobile handset needs to have dual (3G and WiFi)
interfaces.
Several architectures have been proposed to integrate ad hoc
relay with cellular systems. ODMA (Opportunity Driven
Multiple Access) [3] is a 3GPP proposal to add relay
functionality to 3G cellular systems. Nevertheless, ODMA
targets on conducting relay in TDD-WCDMA instead of
applying WiFi relay over 3G systems. In Multihop Cellular
Network [4], multihop relay is integrated with cellular
systems to lower transmission power and to reduce the
number of base stations. SOPRANO [5] introduces a selforganizing ad hoc overlay architecture for CDMA-based
cellular network to enhance network capacity and to provide
system adaptivity and scalability. Load balancing voice
traffic between cells with relay stations is considered in
iCAR system [6]. Recently, architecture of ad hoc relay
networks that integrate with high-speed dynamic-rate
cellular data access (such as HDR [8] or HSDPA) was
proposed in the UCAN architecture [7]. However, the
authors in [7] did not consider the ARN design and planning
problem for deployment as the authors assumed relay by
typically mobile users.

In this paper, we focus on the problem of how to deploy the


relay nodes in a cellular space. We assume that information
about long-term data rate on HSDPA is known as a function
of location (given as grid points). In the relay node (RN)
deployment problem we consider the optimisation problem
with the objective of minimizing the number of relay nodes
required to provide uniform coverage. The proposed
solution to the above problem also provides the locations
where relay nodes needs to be deployed.

This figure also shows a shaded part representing the region


of poor coverage where the HSDPA data rate is below some
pre-specified threshold. As shown in the figure, one can
place the relay nodes represented by the black dots to cover
the shaded region. The dotted curve shows a possible way of
reaching A from a good location B.

Past research on coverage problems related to various


wireless and sensor networks (such as in [9]) was focused
on how to cover the given space. In our case of ARNenabled cellular data relay, the problem is about how to
improve the reception in a spot with poor coverage by
relaying data from a spot with good coverage.

A. Overview

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In the next


section we outline the premise and system model for the
node placement problem. In section III, we present and
discuss the node placement algorithm. In section IV we
demonstrate location dependent HSDPA rates with and
without ARN. Evaluation of the coverage is studied in
section V. Finally in section VI, we draw some important
conclusions.
II. ASSUMPTIONS AND SYSTEM DESCRIPTION
We consider an HSDPA cell with a coverage area that is
mapped into grid points. The long-terms HSDPA rates at
each of these points are assumed to be known. The rates
depend on path-loss, inter-cell interference/fading etc.
The relay nodes (RN) are deployed only at the grid points.
Each relay node is associated with a radius R of receiving
and transmission. For a relay node RN-A to receive traffic
from RN-B, radius of RN-A must cover the location of RNB as shown in Figure 2.

B
A

Figure 2: Covering a grid area with relay nodes.

III. RELAY NODE PLACEMENT ALGORITHM

We are interested in the optimal relay node placement under


two scenarios. In the first scenario, we would like to find out
how many relay nodes are needed to make data rate at every
location within in a HSDPA cell greater than some
minimum threshold, and where should we place those relay
nodes. In the second scenario, we are given a certain number
of relay nodes, and we would like to find out where should
we place these relay nodes so that we could maximize the
minimum rate in the HSDPA cell.
Due to fading and the difference in distance between mobile
terminals and the HSDPA base station, mobile terminals
suffer from non-uniform data rate across a HSDPA cell. The
above two problems aim at providing an improved coverage
of the cell and enhance Quality of Service (QoS) at locations
with poor signal reception. The first scenario minimizes the
number of nodes with the constraint on minimum prespecified rate. The second maximizes the minimum rate
through placement with a limited number of relay nodes.
B. Minimizing number of relay nodes
In the first scenario, we are given r(p) (the HSDPA rate
function at location p) and the target rate threshold constant
. Our goal of the first algorithm is to find out N (the
minimum number of relay nodes) and M (the deployment
locations of these relay nodes) to achieve the target rate
within the cell. The optimal placement of the relay nodes is
an NP-hard problem. We propose a heuristic algorithm with
low computational overhead for the relay node placement
problem. This problem is modeled in a discrete way. We
have a finite set P that includes all possible location p to
deploy ad hoc relay nodes. The raw HSDPA data rate at
location p is denoted as r(p). We initialize the set M as an
empty set and add the relay node placement location k into
the set M in each step of iterations until the data rate at all
locations x will be greater than the target rate threshold .
The first algorithm is illustrated in Figure 3. First, we
compare the raw data rate at each location with the
minimum rate threshold . Then, we partition all of these
discrete locations into two sets that are served with good
HSDPA rate and poor HSDPA rate, respectively. The good
set is denoted as P+. The poor set is denoted as P-. Then, we
consider the good nodes as possible locations for initial
relay node deployment. In each iterative step, we compute a
function (p), the neighboring poor locations of p. We

compute the size of (i) for each good node i. This heuristic
algorithm is a greedy algorithm that places relay node at the
good location with the greatest number of poor neighbor
nodes so that placing relay node at this location can fill the
most HSDPA spatial capacity gaps. The location k will be
selected if it has the largest number of poor neighboring
nodes. If there is more than one location have the largest
number of poor neighboring nodes, we could use the service
rates at p as the tiebreaker. After deciding to place a relay
node at location k, we update the good location set and poor
location set. This procedure will run iteratively until there is
no more poor location in this HSDPA cell to be covered.
This approach extends good coverage area in each iterative
step. Choosing a good location that covers the maximum
number of points at each step generally reduces the required
number of relay nodes, even though this may not always
lead to a global optimum solution.

depends on the results of Algorithm 1. If the Algorithm 1


indeed provides the optimal solution, Algorithm 2 results in
optimal solution by placing the limited number of relay
nodes at the best locations.
Given n relay nodes
Objective:
Find optimal relay node placement so that max min r (i )
iP

Find so that N = n
Place n relay nodes at location M
Figure 4: Algorithm 2 Find the maxmin rate of the cell and
optimal placement given n relay nodes.
IV. LOCATION DEPENDENT USER RATE IN HSDPA

Given target rate

bps

Initialize M =
Define Set P+ = {z | r ( z ) > , z P}
Define Set P = {z | r ( z ) , z P}

In Figure 5, we show a typical HSDPA cell with location


dependent user rates. For the sake of clarity, only a quarter
of the HSDPA cell is shown in this figure. The base station
is located at the location (1200,1200), the far end of the
figure. Both path-loss and long-term lognormal shadowing
is considered in the radio propagation model. The standard
deviation of lognormal shadowing is equal to 8dB.

While { P } {

(i ) = {z | dist ( z , i ) dtx , z P }
k = arg max( (i ) )
iP+

Add k to M
Add (k ) to P+
Remove (k ) from P
} End while
N = M

Figure 3: Algorithm 1- Find minimum number of relay


nodes to achieve target rate .
C. Maximizing minimum HSDPA rate
In the second scenario, we are given a fixed number of relay
nodes n to maximizing the minimum rate in all locations
within the HSDPA cell. The algorithm shown in Figure 4
gives the optimal placement of these relay nodes to achieve
the maxmin rate. While using Algorithm 1, we can create a
mapping table of target rate threshold and the
corresponding N and M. . We could simply find the N that
is closest to n and the corresponding M.. Placing these relay
nodes at M. will result in the best maxmin rate. Algorithm 2

Figure 5: Location dependent user rate in a HSDPA cell


without relay.
To alleviate the low data rate due to poor signal reception,
we place the relay nodes to improve the supported data rate
in the poorly covered regions. In Figure 6, we demonstrate
the location dependent rate with ARN deployment. The
target rate threshold is 3000kbps. In the figure, we use dots
to indicate the good locations (data rate is higher than the
target threshold) and xs to indicate the poor locations (data
rate is lower than the target threshold) before placing any
relay node. The deployment locations are depicted with
circles in the figure. With the heuristic algorithm 1, it
requires 10 relay nodes to cover the low data rate area. On

the other hand, Figure 7 presents the optimal relay node


placement with the same 3000kbps target rate. In the
optimal placement, only 8 relay nodes are needed to achieve
the 3000kbps minimum rate. Note that the HSDPA user data
rates shown in Figure 6 are higher in general because more
relay nodes are deployed in the Figure 6 case than the Figure
7 case.

performance is close to the optimal placement. Only when


= 2000kbps, 3000kbps, and 3500kbps, the greedy algorithm
does not perform as well as the optimal placement. In other
cases, given the target rate, the required number of relay
node computed by greedy algorithm is the same as the case
in optimal placement.

Relay Node
Good
Poor

Figure 6: Location dependent user rate in a HSDPA cell


with greedy relay node placement (target rate = 3000kbps).

Figure 8: Comparison of greedy algorithm and optimal


placement.

Relay Node
Good
Poor

B. Capacity enhancement with ARN


1) Methodology

Figure 7: location dependent user rate in a HSDPA cell with


optimal relay node placement (target rate = 3000kbps).

V. COMPARISON OF GREEDY ALGORITHM AND


OPTIMAL SOLUTION
A. Required number of relay nodes
We compare the greedy relay node placement algorithm to
the optimal placement with different target rate threshold
values. We use the same location dependent HSDPA rates
shown in Figure 5. Figure 8 shows that the greedy algorithm

We implement a discrete-time simulator to evaluate the


HSDPA system performance with or without ARN. The 3G
HSDPA model is implemented based on the 3GPP
specification [1]. Fifteen channelisation-spreading codes
with spreading factor 16 are used for HSDPA data channel
with frame length equals to one Transmission Time Interval
(TTI=2ms). Radio propagation models suggested in [2] are
adopted. The path-loss model for vehicular environment
with 15-meter base station antenna and 2000MHz carrier
frequency is used. Long-term shadow fading is modeled
with lognormal distribution with standard deviation of 8dB.
Rayleigh fading is used for short-term multipath fading
modeling. Adaptive modulation and coding schemes are
applied according to the average value of instantaneous
SINR during one TTI. The peak rate of 10.6Mbps is
achieved while applying 64-QAM modulation with rate 3/4
turbo coding in good SINR condition [1].
The base station allocates the time slot to a mobile terminal
at the beginning of a TTI slot. Three scheduling algorithms
are implemented. The C/I scheduler allocates time slots to
the users with the best instantaneous signal quality. The
Round Robin (RR) scheduler allocates time slots to mobile
terminals alternatively regardless of their radio signal
quality. The proportional fair (PFair) scheduler tracks
instantaneous SINR values as well as the previous allocation

history. The proportional fair scheduler allocates time slot to


the mobile terminal with the maximum ri/i value, in which
ri represents the instantaneous achieve user rate of mobile
terminal i and i represents the previously allocated rate to
mobile terminal i.
Table 1
System throughput with different schedulers
Mbps

PFair

RR

C/I

Optimal

9.508

7.856

10.58

Greedy

9.536

8.079

10.58

Random

8.458

6.786

10.58

HSDPA

8.108

5.409

10.58

VI. CONCLUSIONS
In this paper, we proposed a solution for improving cellular
data coverage using adhoc relay network (ARN).
Specifically, we focussed on the relay node placement
algorithms. The ARN architecture deploys dual-mode ad
hoc relay nodes on high-speed cellular system to provide
better system coverage and enhance location dependent user
throughput. The relay node placement algorithm is the core
component of our ARN network-planning tool that
facilitates the ARN deployment. Since the optimal relay
node placement algorithm is NP-hard, we propose a
heuristic relay node placement algorithm that requires less
computational complexity and achieve a comparable
performance as the optimal algorithm. In terms of both the
minimum number of relay node to achieve a given rate
threshold and the overall HSDPA throughput, the heuristic
algorithm performs almost as well as the optimal algorithm.

2) Simulation results
We simulated the HSDPA system under the three
scheduling algorithms with and without ARN. The overall
throughput in Mbps is shown in Table 1. There are 7 relay
nodes deployed in the 1200-meter radius HSDPA cell with
different deployment strategies. 49 mobile terminals are
uniformly placed in the cell. When relay nodes provide
high-speed connection from the HSDPA base station,
mobile terminals that are covered by ARN service will
connect through those high-speed relay nodes; otherwise,
mobile terminals will connect directly to the HSDPA base
station. Three relay node placement strategies: (1) optimal
placement, (2) greedy placement, and (3) random placement
are investigated. The base HSDPA cellular system without
ad hoc relay is denoted as HSDPA in the table.
As shown in the table, both optimal RN placement and
greedy RN placement effectively improves the system
throughput, compared to the base HSDPA system. The
greedy algorithm performs equally well as the optimal
algorithm. The average throughput with greedy relay node
placement is even slightly higher than the optimal case,
which is due to the fact that criteria of optimality is based
on minimizing the number of relay node deployment rather
than maximizing the overall throughput. While selecting the
possible relay node deployment locations, the overall
throughput improvement is hard to predict unless
conducting several simulation runs. This is also the main
reason that we choose maxmin as the optimal placement
criteria. The proposed greedy algorithm not only provides a
straightforward method to determine relay node placement,
but its capacity improvement also achieves the same level of
improvement in the case of optimal placement. On the other
hand, the randomly placed relay nodes improves HSDPA
throughput slightly but is far from the performance of
greedy algorithm and optimal algorithm.

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