Base Station ON-OFF Switching in 5G Wireless Networks: Approaches and Challenges

Mingjie Feng, Shiwen Mao, Tao Jiang

To achieve the expected 1000x data rates under the exponential growth of traffic demand, a large number of base stations (BS) or access points (AP) will be deployed in the fifth generation (5G) wireless systems, to support high data rate services and to provide seamless coverage. Although such BSs are expected to be small-scale with lower power, the aggregated energy consumption of all BSs would be remarkable, resulting in increased environmental and economic concerns. In existing cellular networks, turning off the under-utilized BSs is an efficient approach to conserve energy while preserving the quality of service (QoS) of mobile users. However, in 5G systems with new physical layer techniques and the highly heterogeneous network architecture, new challenges arise in the design of BS ON-OFF switching strategies. In this article, we begin with a discussion on the inherent technical challenges of BS ON-OFF switching. We then provide a comprehensive review of recent advances on switching mechanisms in different application scenarios. Finally, we present open research problems and conclude the paper.

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