2015 Volume E98.B Issue 10 Pages 1957-1968
Heterogeneous networks (HetNet) with different radio access technologies have been deployed to support a range of communication services. To manage these HetNets efficiently, some interworking solutions such as MIH (media independent handover), ANQP (access network query protocol) or ANDSF (access network discovery and selection function) have been studied. Recently, the millimeter-wave (mm-wave) based HetNet has been explored to provide multi-gigabits-per-second data rates over short distances in the 60GHz frequency band for 5G wireless networks. WiGig (Wireless Gigabit Alliance) is one of the available radio access technologies using mm-wave. However, the conventional interworking solutions are not sufficient for the implementation of LTE (Long Term Evolution)/WiGig HetNets. Since the coverage area of WiGig is very small due to the high propagation loss of the mm-wave band signal, it is difficult for UEs to perform cell discovery and handover if using conventional LTE/WLAN (wireless local area networks) interworking solutions, which cannot support specific techniques of WiGig well, such as beamforming and new media access methods. To solve these problems and find solutions for LTE/WiGig interworking, RAN (radio access network)-level tightly coupled interworking architecture will be a promising solution. As a RAN-level tightly coupled interworking solution, this paper proposes to design a LTE/WiGig protocol adaptor above the protocol stacks of WiGig to process and transfer control signaling and user data traffic. The proposed extended control plane can assist UEs to discover and access mm-wave BSs successfully and support LTE macro cells to jointly control the radio resources of both LTE and WiGig, so as to improve spectrum efficiency. The effectiveness of the proposal is evaluated. Simulation results show that LTE/WiGig HetNets with the proposed interworking solution can decrease inter-cell handover and improve user throughput significantly. Moreover, the downlink backhaul throughput and energy efficiency of mm-wave HetNets are evaluated and compared with that of 3.5GHz LTE HetNets. Results indicate that 60GHz mm-wave HetNets have better energy efficiency but with much heavier backhaul overhead.