Joint downlink user association and interference management in two-tier HetNets with dynamic resource partitioning

Chunshan Liu, Min Li, Stephen V. Hanly, Philip Whiting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate a joint user association and interference management problem in two-tier downlink heterogeneous networks where pico base stations (BSs) are densely deployed in areas of high traffic demand. We employ macro almost blanking subframes (ABSs) to mitigate cross-tier interference. To manage co-tier interference among picocells, we introduce pico operation mode (POM): During each POM, a distinct subset of picocells serve users simultaneously; different POMs operate at different times at different durations. We formulate the problem as maximizing the network utility under proportional fairness with the optimization over user association and resource partitioning (RP) (including the macro ABS and the amount of time allocated to each POM). As an exhaustive search over all possible POMs in the optimization may become computationally infeasible, we propose a method of preselecting favorable POMs to reduce the dimension of the optimization. With the selected POMs, we explicitly examine the structure of the optimal solutions and show that 1) the optimal user association is load-aware and can be determined by rate bias values of each BS, and 2) all the POMs and the macro BSs have balanced load in the sense that the ratios of the number of associated users to the allocated time are the same. Based on the analysis, an alternating algorithm is developed to obtain the RP and the biases. We demonstrate through numerical examples that 1) the proposed POM selection method does not incur significant performance loss, compared with the case where all possible POMs are considered; 2) the alternating algorithm provides near-optimal cell association and RP solutions; 3) by applying the proposed framework, significant network performance improvement can be achieved with dense pico deployments, compared with baselines without co-tier interference management and baselines with sparse pico deployments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1378
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • cell association
  • dynamic partitioning
  • enhanced intercell interference coordination (eICIC)
  • graph coloring
  • heterogeneous networks
  • interference management


Dive into the research topics of 'Joint downlink user association and interference management in two-tier HetNets with dynamic resource partitioning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this