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A Concept for Efficient System-Level Simulations of OFDMA Systems With Proportional Fair Fast Scheduling

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2 Ansichten6 SeitenA Concept for Efficient System-Level Simulations of OFDMA Systems With Proportional Fair Fast Scheduling

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Scheduling

Jan Ellenbeck, Johannes Schmidt, Ulrike Korger, and Christian Hartmann

Institute for Communication Networks

Technische Universitat Munchen

Email: jan.ellenbeck@tum.de

AbstractSystem-level simulations of packet-based orthogonal

frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) cellular networks

require a proper consideration of the channel-dependent fast

fading/scheduling in order to produce meaningful results. However, generating the time and frequency selective fast fading

channels and performing detailed channel-adaptive scheduling

for each user in a multi-cellular system is computationally too

expensive in most system-level simulations. To this end, we

propose an efficient mapping technique that allows to accurately

characterize the performance of the fast-scheduling system using

two parameters: the average effective post-scheduling SINR gain

and the ratio of allocated resources, both conditioned on the SINR

and the velocity of a user in a scenario defined by the number

of co-scheduled users. To derive these parameters for different

numbers of users at different velocities and SINR levels, we

perform detailed link level simulations including fast scheduling

for the downlink of a Long Term Evolution (LTE) system.

I. I NTRODUCTION

Performance evaluation by means of computer simulation

has always been an important technique during the development and standardization of wireless systems. But as wireless

systems have become more and more complex from generation

to generation, the computational complexity of simulations has

increased tremendously as well. In order to limit the scope of

the simulation and the simulation time, typically only certain

aspects of a system that are in the focus of the investigation are

modeled in detail. Other aspects are then either not modeled

at all or only in a highly abstracted way.

One aspect of wireless systems that demands high computational complexity is the modeling of the fast fading behavior

of the wireless channel. While this computational effort is

mandatory to study the performance of, e.g., fast channelaware scheduling schemes, it becomes excessive1 for systemlevel simulations focused on longer-term aspects such as

the system behavior under varying traffic load or inter-cell

interference coordination. However, if fast fading would not be

modeled in a simulation, the performance gain from channelaware scheduling would be neglected. This gain on the one

hand results from the transmitters knowledge of the current

(estimated) channel conditions which allows link-adaptation.

1 In a scenario consisting of 57 cells each serving 20 mobiles and assuming

an LTE system with 5 MHz and SISO links, 57 20 (5 MHz/15 kHz)

14, 000 symbols/s 5 109 channel samples/s would have to be computed.

achieved because different mobiles will have different channel

realizations so that for each resource the base station can select

the user with the best conditions on that resource (multi-user

diversity).

In this paper, we therefore propose an abstraction mechanism that yields the average performance of fast scheduling

without incurring the computational overhead of generating

the fast fading channel in every single simulation run. Most

often, system-level simulations are not designed to capture

the individual performance in one specific scenario but rather

average results from multiple random scenario realizations

are derived. Thus, our approach is to first characterize the

systems average fast scheduling performance by means of

extensive off-line simulations that focus on the fast scheduling

behavior in a single-cell. During these detailed simulations,

many random scenarios are generated and the channel is

modeled using a standard channel model to obtain time-variant

and frequency-selective fading. Using these results we are then

able to perform efficient system-level simulations that yield

valid performance results with low computational complexity.

The vastly reduced computational complexity of this abstract

model allows the user to extend the simulations scope to, e.g.,

bigger multi-cell scenarios or more complex protocol stacks.

As the paper does not specifically focus on the scheduling algorithm itself (e.g., with respect to fairness), we have

selected the popular proportional fair (PF) scheduling algorithm first introduced in [1]. Its fast scheduling performance

is characterized by the achieved effective per-user signalto-interference-and-noise-ratio (SINR) gain, compared to the

long-time mean SINR, and by the ratio of the resources

assigned to a single user vs. the total resources. Using these

two key parameters as inputs and a modified PF scheduling

metric, we perform system-level simulations with an abstract

model. We show that the throughputs achieved using the

abstract model with drastically reduced computational complexity match the ones achieved in detailed simulations with

small residual error.

Despite the PF schedulers popularity, there is only a limited amount of analytical studies published in the literature

and in the few existing papers like [2] and [3] simplifying

assumptions have to be made. These simplifications usually

Pathloss

Detailed PF Scheduler

Shadowing

Fast Fading

CQI

(SINRest )

arg max

pastTPk (t)

user k

Per user TP

Interference

Model

Accuracy?

Pathloss

Shadowing

Abstract PF Scheduler

SINR

Interference

arg max

user k

pastTPk (t)

Per user TP

Fig. 1.

measurement feedback delay, or employ a PF metric based on

the SINR rather than on the realizable data rate. In order to

allow for a detailed modeling of the system that yields the

necessary effective SINR gains and ratios, we thus resort to

extensive simulations. There are a number of publications on

simulative performance evaluations of fast scheduling and the

achievable multi-user diversity gains in OFDMA systems [4],

showing that the achievable gains tend to be higher for low

channel quality and grow with the number of users. However,

none of them provides the effective gains and ratios as needed

for our abstraction concept and we are not aware of prior work

introducing an abstraction of the fast scheduling performance

for efficient system-level simulations as proposed in this paper.

The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. In Section II we introduce the proposed abstraction for the systemlevel simulation. In Section III we discuss our simulation

model. In Section IV the simulation results are presented

and in Section V the accuracy of the model is shown. The

conclusions in Section VI end the paper.

II. A BSTRACT S YSTEM L EVEL P ROPORTIONAL FAIR

S CHEDULING M ODEL

A. Fast Scheduling Preliminaries

To perform channel-adaptive fast scheduling in the downlink, the base station (BS) needs timely information about the

instantaneous channel conditions of all mobile stations (MSs)

across the whole system bandwidth. For this purpose, the MSs

transmit channel quality indicators (CQIs) to report the highest

bit rate modulation and coding scheme they could successfully

receive on a certain subband. The CQIs are based on the SINRs

and aggregate the signal attenuation by pathloss, shadowing,

and fast fading as well as noise and inter-cell interference, cf.

the upper part of Fig. 1.

There is always a delay between the CQI measurement

and the time instant the resource allocation based on the

CQI report takes effect. In the following, we will refer to

this as the scheduling delay that is needed for the channel

measurement and processing by the MS and the transmission

to the BS where the scheduling takes place. The accuracy

of the channel estimation decreases with longer scheduling

scheduling with link adaptation is highest for slowly varying

channels and diminishes as MSs reach higher speeds.

Different users in a cell will have different channel realizations. Using CQI feedback from multiple users the scheduler

can allocate a physical resource block (PRB) to a MS which

has reported good channel conditions on that part of the

spectrum. The resulting multi-user diversity gain grows with

the number of MSs to schedule. To summarize, we expect

the realizable scheduling gain to grow with either shorter

scheduling delays, slower MS movement and thus lower

channel variability, or higher number of users.

B. Detailed Proportional Fair Scheduling Model

For our simulations we use the popular proportional fair

scheduler. It aims at exploiting the multi-user diversity while

ensuring a certain degree of fairness among the users. According to these goals, it selects for each PRB r the user k to

schedule by employing the following metric (1):

MI(SINRest,k (t, r))

k = arg max

pastTPk (t)

user k

pastTPk (t) =

R

t1

MI(SINRk (, r)) xk (, r)

(1)

(2)

=1 r=1

PRB r, the scheduler picks the user with the best ratio2 of

the expected data rate MI(SINRest,k (t, r)) over the amount

of already transmitted bits pastTPk (t) as defined by (2). We

use a binary variable xk (, r) = 1 to indicate that user k

is scheduled on PRB r at t = . Here, we derive the data

rate as the average mutual information (MI) transmitted within

one PRB during one TTI according to the channel estimate

SINRest,k (t, r) (provided by user k in the form of a CQI report)

or the actual received SINRk (t, r), respectively.

If the CQI reporting is fast enough for the time varying

channel, the effect of proportional fair scheduling is that fading

dips can be avoided and users realize an effective SINR gain

compared to, e.g., a round robin scheduler. Besides achieving

an effective post-scheduling SINR gain, PF scheduling also

gives more resources to users who suffered low past throughputs so that a different distribution of resource allocation

ratios results. These two characteristics of proportional fair

fast scheduling will be evaluated in the following. In Fig. 3(b)

we show that in our simulations the generic implementation

of the PF scheduler yields a distribution of user throughputs

that fulfills the 10-50 metric fairness criterion, cf. [5], [6].

C. Abstract Proportional Fair Scheduling Model

As motivated in the introduction, the fast fading behavior

of the wireless channel is computationally expensive to model

due to its short timescale variations and complex modeling.

Longer timescale effects like signal attenuation due to pathloss

2 Note that constant factors like the number of symbols per PRB are omitted

from the metric as they are identical for all users.

.

k = arg max

pastTPk (t)

user k

(4)

The results presented in this paper are applicable to systemlevel simulations of the LTE downlink. The approach itself

is also valid for arbitrary OFDMA systems with channel

dependent proportional fair scheduling.

Differentiating the scheduling gain with respect to the postscheduling effective SINReff = SINR + k,v,N (SINR) on the

one hand and the different scheduling ratios on the other hand,

allows a realistic system-level simulation with packet-based

scheduling. The knowledge of the effective post-scheduling

Shannon bound

used mapping

4.5

4

MI

Throughput [bit/s/Hz]

3.5

3

2.5

2

1.5

Gain k,v,N

1

0.5

SINR

0

15

10

5

10

SINR [dB]

15

SINR eff

20

25

30

how the scheduling gain = SINReff SINR is computed.

1

0,8

0,6

0,4

0,2

0

10

0

10

SINR [dB]

20

30

scheduling ratio k,v,N (SINRk ) are the key inputs for the

proposed abstract scheduling model. In Section III we discuss

how we derive them by means of extensive simulations. In

Section IV the simulation results are presented and we discuss

the dependence of k,v,N (SINRk ) and k,v,N (SINRk ) on the

speed of the user v and the total number of users N in the

cell.

For the abstract system-level scheduling algorithm we again

assume a proportional fair scheme. Instead of SINRest,k (t, r)

as in metric (1) we now use the long-term average SINRk and

apply the effective gain k,v,N (SINRk ) to characterize the

post-scheduling improvements. Now the numerator is constant

over time

T foraRuser k and the denominator (2) can be separated

into =1 r=1 xk (, r) times the constant throughput per

allocated resource. Hence, the metric would always select the

user with the least number of previously allocated resources

yielding a round robin behavior. In order to achieve the correct

scheduling ratios and thus the correct throughputs, we modify

the metric (1) by multiplying with the user specific scheduling

ratio k,v,N to obtain the following PF abstract scheduling

metric:

simulations. These two effects together with the thermal and

receiver noise and the inter-cell interference contribute to the

mean SINRk for a user k which can be seen as a long-enough

average of the instantaneous SINRk (t, r).

The proposed efficient system-level proportional fair

scheduling model as depicted in the lower part of Fig. 1

allows for an efficient simulation based on long-term averages

SINRk while still taking the benefits of channel-aware fast

scheduling into account. This is achieved by modifying the

scheduling metric (1) of a user k by two parameters that

are pre-computed off-line for different combinations of the

number of co-scheduled users N , the velocity v of the user

k and its perceived long-term SINRk . These parameters are

the effective post-scheduling gain k,v,N (SINRk ) and the

scheduling ratio k,v,N (SINRk ), which captures the slight

differences in the share of resources that the PF scheduler

assigns to different mobiles:

T R

N =1 r=1 xk (, r)

.

(3)

k,v,N =

T R

1

0,8

0,6

0,4

0,2

0

0

1

2

3

MS throughput normalized to average

(a) User geometry resulting from (b) Scheduling fairness criterion (10model and calibration offset

50 metric) [5], [6]

Fig. 3.

techniques as discussed, e.g., in [7]. The knowledge of the

scheduling ratios allows determining a realistic number of

allocated resources for each user.

In order to obtain the appropriate gains and ratios, the

system-level simulation needs to employ the correct group size

N corresponding to the number of active MSs that currently

compete for the resources. With bursty traffic sources the

group size N will change over time.

III. S IMULATION SETUP

To evaluate the performance of proportional fair scheduling

in fast fading environments we conduct simulations using the

Spatial Channel Model Extended (SCME). The SCME [9],

[10] is a geometry-based stochastic spatial channel model.

We use the SCME to generate time-varying channel impulse

responses with drifting delays for each MS from which we

obtain the channel transfer function H(f, t) using the Fourier

transform. This gives us random realizations of a time- and

frequency-selective fast fading channel including the pathloss.

We assume that the cyclic prefix length is sufficient to eliminate any intra-cell interference. In our simulation, only the

channel-dependent fading, the pathloss of the link between the

BS and the served MS, and the thermal noise is modeled explicitly. All other effects (e.g., antenna gains, penetration loss,

noise figures, and inter-cell interference levels) contributing to

the received SINR are summarized in a fixed calibration offset

, which we tune to achieve a typical SINR distribution within

the cell, cf. Fig 3(a):

SINR = PTx + 20 log10 (|H(f, t)|) Nthermal

(5)

resource element (RE), we derive the mutual information that

can be transmitted per RE from the BS to the MS. The

employed mapping (6) is based on Shannons channel capacity

and assumes an implementation loss factor = 0.6. It takes

into account the modulation and coding schemes as well as

the HARQ mechanisms available in LTE [8]:

0

: SINR < 10 dB

log2 1 + 10SINRdB /10 : else

4.4

: SINR > 22 dB

(6)

As the motivation of our abstract scheduling model is to

accurately represent the achievable throughputs, we compute

a mutual information effective (post-scheduling) SINReff [11].

To derive SINReff we first compute the average amount of bits

per resource element MI a user has obtained over the course of

the simulation. Using this average mutual information value,

we perform a reverse mapping as shown in Fig. 2 to obtain

the SINReff value. Finally, we then compute the effective

scheduling gain k,v,N = SINReff SINR as the difference of

effective and mean SINR. The inverse mapping function (7)

is defined for minimum and maximum SINR values between

-10 dB and 22 dB, respectively:

(7)

MI(SINR) =

TABLE I

R ADIO SIMULATION PARAMETERS

Parameter

Transmission direction

Antenna configuration

SCME scenario

Center frequency

Cell radius

Pathloss model

Shadowing

SCME options

System bandwidth

BS Tx power

Symbols per slot

Sub-carrier spacing

Noise assumption

Calibration offset

Scheduling delay

MS velocity distribution

MS distribution

Number of drops

Duration per drop

Value

Downlink

SISO

Urban Macro

2 GHz

500 m

SCME standard (COST231 based)

L = 34.5 + 35 log10 (d/[m]) [dB]

No shadowing

Drifting delays and angles enabled

5 MHz with R = 25 PRBs

PTx = 29 dBm per 180 kHz PRB

7 for normal CP length

15 kHz

Nthermal = 121.4 dBm per 180 kHz PRB

= 23.5 dB

4 ms from end of measurement to start of Tx

Channel Mix (60% at 3 km/h, 30% at 30

km/h, and 10% at 120 km/h) [7]

Uniformly distributed over cell area

10,000 randomly generated MS distributions

T = 50 TTIs with a duration of 1ms each

In figures 4, 5, and 6 we present the scheduling gains

and scheduling ratios that result for mobiles from the 3

km/h, 30 km/h, and 120 km/h velocity groups of the channel

mix, respectively. To evaluate the results, we aggregate the

individual effective SINR gains and ratios of all MSs from

all 10,000 scenario drops into m = 1 . . . M discrete bins

according to their mean SINR. For each bin we compute and

plot the average of all effective scheduling gains and ratios

falling into that bin. These averaged results serve as the input

parameters for the abstract PF scheduling model introduced in

Sec. II. The individual gains are distributed around the plotted

curves with standard deviations of, e.g., up to 1 dB in Fig. 4(a).

At 3 km/h, the scheduling delay of 4 ms is much shorter

than the channel coherence time so that the CQI feedback is

still accurate. Hence, for users from the slow velocity group

a substantial scheduling gain can be realized in most cases,

as shown in Fig. 4(a). As expected [4], the achievable gains

increase with the number of active users due to the growing

multi-user diversity. The marginal gains decrease until almost

no further gain is realized at about 20 MSs. At high mean

SINRs the gains diminish and become negative for mean

SINRs > 22 dB. The reason is that the effective SINR is

upper-bounded by this value, cf. Fig. 2.

At 30 km/h, Fig. 5(a) shows that due to higher timevariability of the fast fading, almost no scheduling gains can

be realized with the assumed scheduling delay of 4 ms. At

120 km/h, the situation is even worse as depicted in Fig. 6(a).

Note that with our assumed mobility mix, only 40% (30%

at 30 km/h and 10% at 120 km/h) of the MSs will have the

respective high velocities while the remaining 60% of the MSs

who are assumed to be at v = 3 km/h benefit from the gains

shown in Fig. 4(a).

Fig. 5 and 6 show mostly negative scheduling gains. These

losses are not primarily caused by the attempt to perform fast

scheduling but rather are an effect of the employed MI-based

effective SINR mapping3 .

In the figures 4(b), 5(b), and 6(b) the corresponding scheduling ratios are shown. We need these ratios to reflect the

slight differences in the number of resources the PF scheduler

allocates to a certain class of MSs. For the vast majority of

MSs the scheduling ratios are close to 1 meaning that the MSs

receive about the same number of resources. The higher ratios

shown for MSs with very low mean SINR in the left parts of

Fig. 5(b) and 6(b) represent very rare cases as the velocities

are underrepresented in the assumed mix in addition to the

low probability of the considered SINR levels, cf. Fig. 3(a).

3 To see this, consider the case of 1 MS. No fast scheduling is performed

in this case as the single MS gets all the resources. Still, for all velocities

Fig. 4 6 show a significant loss in terms of effective SINR as compared to the

mean SINR. The reason for this effect is that the instantaneous SINR levels

fluctuate around the mean SINR due to the fast fading. Low instantaneous

SINRs then lead to zero throughputs while the benefit of high instantaneous

SINRs is limited by the link performance model, cf. Fig. 2.

2

40 MSs

20 MSs

10 MSs

5 MSs

2 MSs

1 MS

1.5

scheduling ratio

40 MSs

20 MSs

10 MSs

5 MSs

2 MSs

1

0

1

1

2

3

5

10

mean SINR [dB]

15

20

0.5

5

25

Fig. 4.

10

mean SINR [dB]

15

20

25

Gains and scheduling ratios experienced by a mobile k with v = 3 km/h for different numbers of total users N

2

40 MSs

20 MSs

10 MSs

5 MSs

2 MSs

1 MS

1.5

scheduling ratio

40 MSs

20 MSs

10 MSs

5 MSs

2 MSs

1

0

1

1

2

3

5

10

mean SINR [dB]

15

20

25

Fig. 5.

0.5

5

10

mean SINR [dB]

15

20

25

Gains and scheduling ratios experienced by a mobile k with v = 30 km/h for different numbers of total users N

In the previous section we have presented the results for

our detailed simulation. Using the resulting average scheduling

gains and ratios, we have conducted simulations using our

abstract PF scheduling model as introduced in Section II-C. In

the abstract simulations we use the mean SINR computed from

the pathloss and offset values as in the detailed simulations

thus yielding the same SINR CDF as in Fig. 3(a). The PF

scheduling is performed according to metric (4).

As we are not interested in the performance of a particular

MS, we evaluate the average system performance of a typical

MS which is characterized by its mean SINR, velocity v, and

by the number N of co-scheduled MSs. Thus, we only rely on

the average effective gain and scheduling ratios even though

the gains of individual MSs vary in the detailed simulations.

throughputs TPdet (m) and TPabs (m) in the detailed and abstract simulation, respectively. To compare the throughputs and

derive the modeling error, we again assign each MS to one

of m = 1 . . . M discrete SINR bins. In Table II we show the

weighted root mean square error (wRMSE) which we compute

using (8) with a SINR bin resolution of 1 dB. The weighting

factor P (m) represents the probability of the respective SINR

bin according to Fig. 3(a):

M

TP (m) TP (m) 2

det

abs

P (m). (8)

wRMSE =

TPdet (m)

m=1

We observe that the wRMSE is in general small which

underlines the applicability and accuracy of our proposed

abstract proportional fair scheduling model. Possible error

2

40 MSs

20 MSs

10 MSs

5 MSs

2 MSs

1 MS

1.5

scheduling ratio

40 MSs

20 MSs

10 MSs

5 MSs

2 MSs

1

0

1

1

2

3

5

10

mean SINR [dB]

15

20

25

Fig. 6.

10

mean SINR [dB]

15

20

25

Gains and scheduling ratios experienced by a mobile k with v = 120 km/h for different numbers of total users N

WEIGHTED

Number

of MSs N

1

2

5

10

20

40

0.5

5

TABLE II

RMSE OF MS THROUGHPUTS

v = 3 km/h

v = 30 km/h

v = 120 km/h

0.05%

2.37%

2.30%

1.69%

1.11%

0.93%

0.06%

1.96%

1.54%

0.23%

1.24%

2.07%

0.03%

2.42%

3.30%

2.48%

1.43%

0.55%

believe that our concept can be useful for many researchers

facing similar challenges when evaluating OFDMA-based networks on a system level.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to thank the German Research

Foundation DFG for funding part of this work.

R EFERENCES

emulation of scheduling ratios due to finite simulation times.

The small wRMSE values for the 1 MS case underline the

accuracy of the employed mutual information-based SINReff

mapping. The close match between the values obtained from

the proposed abstract model and the detailed simulations is

especially remarkable as the abstract simulation only needs

a fraction of the simulation time. The CPU time in our

simulations was reduced from about 2 weeks to about 2 hours

because the time-consuming generation of the fast fading

channel using the SCME model accounts for about 99% of

the time in the detailed simulation.

VI. C ONCLUSION

We have proposed an efficient method to very accurately

include the effects of fast scheduling into system-level simulations of multicellular OFDMA networks without adding significant computational complexity. This is achieved by detailed

off-line single cell fast scheduling simulations from which

two parameters are derived that are sufficient to represent

the fast scheduling effects in system-level simulations. We

have provided and discussed an array of numerical results,

demonstrating the feasibility and the benefit of this approach.

Our simulations and results assume LTE system parameters

but the approach is applicable to any OFDMA system with

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