Performance Impact of Idle Mode Capability on Dense Small Cell Networks

Ming Ding, David Lopez-Perez, Guoqiang Mao, Zihuai Lin

Very recent studies showed that in a fully loaded dense small cell network (SCN), the coverage probability performance will continuously decrease with the network densification. Such new results were captured in IEEE ComSoc Technology News with an alarming title of "Will Densification Be the Death of 5G?". In this paper, we revisit this issue from more practical views of realistic network deployment, such as a finite number of active base stations (BSs) and user equipments (UEs), a decreasing BS transmission power with the network densification, etc. Particularly, in dense SCNs, due to an oversupply of BSs with respect to UEs, a large number of BSs can be put into idle modes without signal transmission, if there is no active UE within their coverage areas. Setting those BSs into idle modes mitigates unnecessary inter-cell interference and reduces energy consumption. In this paper, we investigate the performance impact of such BS idle mode capability (IMC) on dense SCNs. Different from existing work, we consider a realistic path loss model incorporating both line-of-sight (LoS) and non-line-of-sight (NLoS) transmissions. Moreover, we obtain analytical results for the coverage probability, the area spectral efficiency (ASE) and the energy efficiency (EE) performance for SCNs with the BS IMC and show that the performance impact of the IMC on dense SCNs is significant. As the BS density surpasses the UE density in dense SCNs, the coverage probability will continuously increase toward one, addressing previous concerns on "the death of 5G". Finally, the performance improvement in terms of the EE performance is also investigated for dense SCNs using practical energy models developed in the Green-Touch project.

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