Adapting Cellular Networks to Whitespaces Spectrum

TV whitespaces, recently opened up by the FCC for unlicensed use, are seen as a potential cellular offload and/or standalone mechanism, especially in dense metros where the demand for throughput is high. In this paper, we use real data collected from whitespaces databases to empirically demonstrate features unique to whitespaces - power-spectrum trade-off and spatial variation in spectrum availability. From this study, we conclude the need for whitespaces-specific adaptations to cellular networks so as to be able to extract maximum throughput and guarantee reliability. To tackle the effects of the power-spectrum trade-off, we propose a novel base-station design that specifically uses low-power transmitters as a means to maximise throughput. This design co-locates and networks together many low-powered mode-I devices to act as a multiple-antenna array. We estimate the size of the array required to meet typical rate targets, and show that the array design significantly outperforms traditional designs in terms of throughput for a given cost. We then turn our attention to spatial variability and study its impact on the problem of locating base-stations in a whitespaces network. Here, we propose spectrum-aware placement algorithms for whitespaces, which account for this spatial variability along with key parameters like user density. We show that such algorithms clearly outperform traditional placement algorithms and improve network coverage in this band.

By: Mukundan Madhavan, Harish Ganapathy, Malolan Chetlur, Shivkumar Kalyanaraman

Published in: RI14003 in 2014


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