Project Title: Joint Backhaul and Radio Access Design for Heterogeneous Wireless Networks

Award Number: CNS-1617896

Project Summary: 

Delivering pervasive access to data-hungry wireless applications is contingent upon enabling wireless cellular systems to sustain the foreseen 1000x increase in the demand for wireless capacity. One promising solution is via wireless network densification in which small base stations are deployed at possible adverse locations, such as lamp posts and the sides of the buildings, to significantly boost the wireless capacity. However, reaping the benefits of such dense cellular networks requires devising novel heterogeneous backhaul solutions that can connect the small base stations to the Internet and core network by smartly and jointly exploiting existing, wired infrastructure, as well as new wireless, possibly in-band, backhaul solutions. The key goal of this project is therefore to introduce a fundamentally new cellular network design framework in which elaborate wireless, wired, heterogeneous, and possibly multi-hop backhaul models are tightly integrated with the access networks to facilitate joint analysis, modeling, and optimization of backhaul and radio wireless access. This proposed framework will enable tomorrow's cellular systems to support bandwidth-intensive wireless applications such as mobile high-definition video streaming, thus expediting their global deployment. The proposed research is further coupled with an elaborate educational plan that includes the introduction of an educational program encompassing new courses and student seminar series focused on heterogeneous cellular networks. Moreover, under-represented student groups will be involved in the research via hands-on projects and outreach events, thus contributing to training tomorrow's workforce in the area of wireless communications. 

The proposed research will introduce a holistic mathematical framework that will lay the foundations of joint backhaul and radio access design in heterogeneous wireless networks. The proposed framework will marry together notions from stochastic geometry, microeconomics, and wireless networks to yield several important outcomes that include: 1) Novel tractable models and quality-of-service (QoS) metrics that will provide an in-depth, fundamental understanding on the performance limits of joint backhaul and access design in heterogeneous networks; 2) Fundamentally new resource management algorithms that can be used to jointly optimize the backhaul and radio access network performance; 3) New resource allocation and network design methodologies, such as joint uplink/downlink optimization with end-to-end QoS guarantees, that can explicitly leverage the opportunities brought forward by the presence of heterogeneous backhaul links; and 4) Validation of the developed theory over software and hardware testbeds. These critical outcomes are expected to break new research ground by providing a truly unified theory for system-wide design of emerging heterogeneous cellular networks.