Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Computer Science


Martin, James

Committee Member

Russell , Harlan B

Committee Member

Noneaker , Daniel

Committee Member

Dean , Brian

Committee Member

Smith , Melissa


We explore radio resource allocation and management issues related to a large-scale heterogeneous (hetnet) wireless system made up of several Radio Access Technologies (RATs) that collectively provide a unified wireless network to a diverse set of users through co-ordination managed by a centralized Global Resource Controller (GRC). We incorporate 3G cellular technologies HSPA and EVDO, 4G cellular technologies WiMAX and LTE, and WLAN technology Wi-Fi as the RATs in our hetnet wireless system. We assume that the user devices are either multi-modal or have one or more reconfigurable radios which makes it possible for each device to use any available RAT at any given time subject to resource-sharing agreements. For such a hetnet system where resource allocation is coordinated at a global level, characterizing the network performance in terms of various conflicting network efficiency objectives that takes costs associated with a network re-association operation into account largely remains an open problem. Also, all the studies to-date that try to characterize the network performance of a hetnet system do not account for RAT-specific implementation details and the management overhead associated with setting up a centralized control. We study the radio resource allocation problem and the implementation/management overhead issues associated with a hetnet system in two research phases. In the first phase, we develop cost models associated with network re-association in terms of increased power consumption and communication downtime taking into account various user device assumptions. Using these cost models in our problem formulations, the first phase focuses on resource allocation strategies where we use a high-level system modeling approach to study the achievable performance in terms of conflicting network efficiency measures of spectral efficiency, overall power consumption, and instantaneous and long-term fairness for each user in the hetnet system. Our main result from this phase of study suggests that the gain in spectral efficiency due to multi-access network diversity results in a tremendous increase in overall power consumption due to frequent re-associations required by user devices. We then develop a utility function-based optimization algorithm to characterize and achieve a desired tradeoff in terms of all four network efficiency measures of spectral efficiency, overall power consumption and instantaneous and long-term fairness. We show an increase in a multi-attribute system utility measure of up to 56.7% for our algorithm compared to other widely studied resource allocation algorithms including max-sum rate, proportional fairness, max-min fairness and min power. The second phase of our research study focuses on practical implementation issues including the overhead required to implement a centralized GRC solution in a hetnet system. Through detailed protocol level simulations performed in ns-2, we show an increase in spectral efficiency of up to 99% and an increase in instantaneous fairness of up to 28.5% for two sort-based user device-to-Access Point (AP)/Base Station (BS) association algorithms implemented at the GRC that aim to maximize system spectral efficiency and instantaneous fairness performance metrics respectively compared to a distributed solution where each user makes his/her own association decision. The efficiency increase for each respective attribute again results in a tremendous increase in power consumption of up to 650% and 794% for each respective algorithm implemented at the GRC compared to a distributed solution because of frequent re-associations.

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