Mobile small cell networks for next generation wireless communication systems

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Engineering

First Advisor

Professor Daryoush Habibi

Second Advisor

Dr Iftekhar Ahmad


In recent years, the demand for higher data rates in wireless communication networks is escalating due to widespread penetration of portable smart devices and increasing popularity of multimedia services. As these devices and applications proliferate, data traffic volume is expected to reach 11 exabytes per month in 2017, which is beyond the current fourth generation (4G) cellular system architecture's capacity, particularly when spectrum and energy efficiency, coverage and interference issues are considered. The next generation of wireless communication technology, commonly known as the fifth generation (5G) system, aims to overcome the limitations of the 4G systems. 5G systems will be formally standardised in 2018, but the early indication suggests that heterogeneous networks (HetNets) and small cell networks (SCNs) are going to be big parts of 5G systems, particularly in facilitating massive data traffic and ubiquitous connectivity for users.

In HetNets, small cells of different sizes are integrated into an existing macrocell network, which helps to overcome limited spectrum and power efficiency issues. Researchers have been actively looking for solutions to further improve small cell network technology, and numerous solutions are presented in the literature. However, most of these studies focus on fixed small cell networks, which are suitable only for static users, and to support mobile users, mobile small cells are required. Mobile small cells are expected to be a key technological advancement in 5G networks, specifically to serve mobile users in vehicular environments. This thesis focuses on research challenges related to mobile small cell networks, and presents solutions for overcoming poor spectrum and energy efficiency issues. An analytical model for resource management in 5G HetNets to mitigate interference among mobile small cells with deterministic mobility (e.g., public bus/train), is also presented in this thesis. First, the analytical model in this work is modelled as a classical optimisation problem, and considering the time complexity of a classical optimisation solution, a heuristic graph colouring solution is then presented. Next, the model is extended for mobile small cells with random mobility. In addition, an optimisation and meta-heuristic solution is presented to cater for the need of mobile users moving at pedestrian speeds. The ultimate benefits of these proposed solutions include better spectrum and energy efficiency and improved data rates.

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