In LTE-Advanced networks, besides the overall coverage provided by traditional macrocells, various classes of low-power nodes (e.g., pico eNBs, femto eNBs, and relays) can be distributed throughout the macrocells as a more targeted underlay to further enhance the area's spectral efficiency, alleviate traffic hot zones, and thus improve the end-user experience. Considering the limited backhaul connections within lowpower nodes and the imbalanced traffic distribution among different cells, it is highly possible that some cells are severely congested while adjacent cells are very lightly loaded. Therefore, it is of critical importance to achieve efficient load balancing among multi-tier cells in LTEAdvanced networks. However, available techniques such as smart cell and biasing, although able to alleviate congestion or distribute traffic to some extent, cannot respond or adapt flexibly to the real-time traffic distributions among multi-tier cells. Toward this end, we propose in this article a device-to-device communicationbased load balancing algorithm, which utilizes D2D communications as bridges to flexibly offload traffic among different tier cells and achieve efficient load balancing according to their real-time traffic distributions. Besides identifying the research issues that deserve further study, we also present numerical results to show the performance gains that can be achieved by the proposed algorithm.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering