Competition in Femtocell Networks: Strategic Access Policies in the Uplink

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


ICC, Ottawa, Canada (2012)


In emerging small cell wireless, each femtocell access point (FAP) can either service its home subscribers exclusively (i.e., closed access) or open its access to accommodate a number of macrocell users so as to reduce cross-tier interference. In this paper, we propose a game-theoretic framework that enables the FAPs to strategically decide on their uplink access policy. We formulate a noncooperative game in which the FAPs are the players that want to strategically decide on whether to use a closed or an open access policy in order to maximize the performance of their registered users. Each FAP aims at optimizing the tradeoff between reducing cross-tier interference, by admitting macrocell users, and the associated cost in terms of allocated resources. Using novel analytical techniques, we show that the game always admits a pure strategy Nash equilibrium, despite the discontinuities in the utility functions. Further, we propose a distributed algorithm that can be adopted by the FAPs to reach their equilibrium access policies. Simulation results show that the proposed algorithm provides an improvement of 85.4% relative to an optimized open access scheme in the average worst-case FAP utility.

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