Network-assisted Outband D2D-clustering in 5G Cellular Networks: Theory and Practice
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We introduce a channel-opportunistic architecture that enhances the user experience in terms of throughput, fairness, and energy efficiency. Our proposed architecture leverages D2D communication and it is built on top of the forthcoming D2D features of 5G networks. In particular, we focus on outband D2D where cellular users are allowed to exploit both cellular (i.e., LTE-A) and WLAN (i.e., WiFi Direct) technologies to establish a D2D connection. In this architecture, cellular users form clusters, in which only the user with the best channel condition communicates with the base station on behalf of the entire cluster. Within the cluster, the unlicensed spectrum is utilized to relay traffic. In this article, we provide analytical models for the proposed system and study the impact of several payoff distribution methods commonly adopted in the literature on coalitional game theory. We then introduce an operator-controlled relay protocol based on the D2D features of LTE-A and WiFi Direct, and demonstrate the feasibility and the advantages of D2D-assisted cellular communication with our SDR prototype.