Scalable Spectrum Allocation and User Association in Networks with Many Small Cells

Binnan Zhuang*, Dongning Guo, Ermin Wei, Michael L. Honig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A scalable framework is developed to allocate radio resources across a large number of densely deployed small cells with given traffic statistics on a slow timescale. Joint user association and spectrum allocation is first formulated as a convex optimization problem by dividing the spectrum among all possible transmission patterns of active access points (APs). To improve scalability with the number of APs, the problem is reformulated using local patterns of interfering APs. To maintain global consistency among local patterns, inter-cluster interaction is characterized as hyper-edges in a hyper-graph with nodes corresponding to subcarriers allocated to APs. A scalable solution is obtained by iteratively solving a convex optimization problem for bandwidth allocation with reduced complexity and followed by a global spectrum allocation using hyper-graph coloring. Numerical results demonstrate the proposed solution for a network with 100 APs and several hundred user equipment. For a given quality of service, the proposed scheme can often increase the network capacity severalfold compared with assigning each user to the strongest AP with full-spectrum reuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7894272
Pages (from-to)2931-2942
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Convex optimization
  • spectrum management
  • user centric model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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