Femtocell technology has been gaining popularity as an inexpensive means of enhancing cellular coverage and capacity. However, under co-channel deployment—expected to be commonplace due to high spectrum costs—femtocells may incur harmful interference to existing macrocells, and vice versa. To alleviate this problem, This paper proposes a new architecture called HandOver-driven Femtocell Interference Management
(HO-FIM) that offloads macrocells by handing macrocell users over to “hybrid-access” femtocells that allow the access of both subscribed and unsubscribed users. This use of handovers adds a new degree-of-freedom for solving the interference problem, thus overcoming the capacity limit of the existing approaches that exploit radio resource coordination only. A new challenge associated with this approach is how to minimize handovers while reaching a desired system condition due to the inevitable service interruptions that accompany handovers. This paper proposes to overcome this challenge by triggering handovers only when needed and, once triggered, to find an optimal sequence to reach a target system condition with minimal handovers. This paper designs a greedy per-user control algorithm that has a fine control granularity and thus enables convergence to an optimal solution. The in-depth evaluation of the paper shows that HO-FIM improves the service quality of both macro- and femtocell users; in an example simulation scenario, HO-FIM is shown to improve the signal-to-interference and noise ratios (SINRs) of macro- and femtocell users by up to 23.3 and 2.9 dB, respectively, on average, compared to the case of no handovers.
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