Flexible Dual-Connectivity Spectrum Aggregation for Decoupled Uplink and Downlink Access in 5G Heterogeneous Systems

Maria A. Lema, Enric Pardo, Olga Galinina, Sergey Andreev, Mischa Dohler

Maintaining multiple wireless connections is a promising solution to boost capacity in fifth-generation (5G) networks, where user equipment is able to consume radio resources of several serving cells simultaneously and potentially aggregate bandwidth across all of them. The emerging dual connectivity paradigm can be regarded as an attractive access mechanism in dense heterogeneous 5G networks, where bandwidth sharing and cooperative techniques are evolving to meet the increased capacity requirements. Dual connectivity in the uplink remained highly controversial, since the user device has a limited power budget to share between two different access points, especially when located close to the cell edge. On the other hand, in an attempt to enhance the uplink communications performance, the concept of uplink and downlink decoupling has recently been introduced. Leveraging these latest developments, our work significantly advances prior art by proposing and investigating the concept of flexible cell association in dual connectivity scenarios, where users are able to aggregate resources from more than one serving cell. In this setup, the preferred association policies for the uplink may differ from those for the downlink, thereby allowing for a truly decoupled access. With the use of stochastic geometry, the dual connectivity association regions for decoupled access are derived and the resultant performance is evaluated in terms of capacity gains over the conventional downlink received power access policies.

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