A semi-distributed mechanism for Inter-cell Interference Coordination exploiting the ABSF paradigm
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Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (ICIC) has been identified for LTE as the main instrument for interference control. With ICIC, quality requirements can be guaranteed while avoiding the complexity of coordinated baseband processing approaches. However, most ICIC schemes proposed so far rely on centralized multi-cell scheduling algorithms that involve very heavy signaling overhead and, as a result, cannot be used for dense cellular layouts. In this paper, we propose H2(IC)2, a novel ICIC scheme that, in contrast to previous approaches, incurs very low overhead and is practical for dense deployments. H2(IC)2 is based on the Almost Blank SubFrame (ABSF) approach specified by 3GPP, which controls interference by avoiding data transmission in some subframes. Our scheme follows a two-tier approach, consisting of (i) the local schedulers, which perform the scheduling decisions locally and compute ABSF patterns, and (ii) a central coordinator, which supervises ABSF decisions. As a result of such a two-tier design, the scheme requires very light signaling to drive the local schedulers to globally efficient operating points. We analyze the convergence of distributed ABSF/scheduling decisions by using game theoretical tools and show that H2(IC)2 performs fairly close to the benchmark provided by a centralized omniscient scheduler.