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11, NOVEMBER 2010

Joint Resource Allocation for Parallel Multi-Radio Access in

Heterogeneous Wireless Networks
Yonghoon Choi, Hoon Kim, Sang-wook Han, and Youngnam Han, Senior Member, IEEE

AbstractHeterogeneous wireless networks where several sys- as energy consumption [3]. That is, a system operator has to
tems with different bands coexist for multimedia service are consider the allocation of transmission data to subsystems and
currently in service and will be widely adopted to support spectrum band for its operational cost savings. Also, optimal
various traffic demand. Under heterogeneous networks, a mobile
station can transmit over multiple and simultaneous radio access bandwidth (BW) and power allocation of the MRA system
technologies (RATs) such as WLAN, HSPA, and WCDMA LTE. should be determined at the same time. In this work, an
Also, cognitive radio for the efficient use of underutilized/unused optimal solution for how these resources should be allocated is
frequency band is successfully implemented in some networks. considered. We intend to provide the solution for the systems
In this letter, we address such operational issues as air interface of CR over SDR, where lots of work have described that BW
and band selection for a mobile and power allocation to the
chosen links. An optimal solution is sought and analyzed and of each RAT can be dynamically assigned rather than fixed.
a distributed joint allocation algorithm is proposed to maximize Some promising MRA concepts for increasing system ef-
total system capacity. We investigate the benefit of multiple trans- ficiency may be found in literature [2] [4] [5] related with
missions by multiple RATs over a single transmission by a single Ambient Networks (AN) [6]. Feasibility study on MRA [2],
RAT at a time, which can be interpreted as network diversity. an implementable MRA [4], and system architecture and
Numerical results validate the performance enhancement of our
proposed algorithm. necessary functions for the realization [5] are introduced,
each as a subproject under the umbrella of AN project in
Index TermsAccess network selection, joint allocation, multi- Europe. Especially in [5], they provide universal link layer
radio access, optimization, radio resource management.
processing over different RATs for the purpose of multi-radio
cooperation and improving connectivity at the radio access
I. I NTRODUCTION level. Also, in [2] and [5], MRA can be accomplished in
two ways: a switched MRA scheme among available RATs,
N ETWORKS with multiple radio access technologies
(RATs) would become one of the most prevalent features
in next generation mobile networks. These networks where
where only one RAT is used for the transmission of data at a
time, and a parallel MRA scheme, where multiple RATs are
utilized for data transmission (with or without data duplication
a user equipment can transmit its data over multiple RATs
over different RATs). In [7], authors address joint multi-
simultaneously are named multi-radio access (MRA) system
radio resource management amongst RATs. Investigations
[1], which accommodates RATs such as 3GPP Long Term
of MRAs are also carried out in [8], where packet-based
Evolution (LTE), Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave
radio channel diversity is adopted with emphasis on physical
Access (WiMAX), and Wireless LAN (WLAN) as subsystems
layer. In addition, [9] shows another resource allocation with
[2]. For such a mobile one can consider a user equipment
QoS supporting where multi-radio networks have also been
implementing cognitive radio (CR) over software defined
investigated from theoretical standpoints. However, studies are
radio (SDR). For such an MRA system, many issues are yet
rare on the optimal solution of joint resource (i.e., RAT, BW,
to be resolved on implementation and network optimization
and power) allocation for a parallel MRA scheme from a
including radio resource management problems. And, opti-
viewpoint of a scheduler, partly due to the fact that these are
mal operation issues have taken lots of attention recently to
multidimensional optimization problems with complexity. We
increase system efficiency and improve connectivity as well
investigate the optimal resource allocation issues to support
Manuscript received January 12, 2010; revised April 30, 2010 and July 27, parallel MRA for much higher system capacity in this context.
2010; accepted July 27, 2010. The associate editor coordinating the review The rest of this letter is organized as follows. Section II
of this letter and approving it for publication was E. Hossain. begins with introducing the MRA transmission and a system
This research was supported by the MKE (The Ministry of Knowledge
Economy), Korea, under the ITRC (Information Technology Research Center) model. In Section III, an optimal solution for parallel MRA
support program supervised by the NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion is provided, and Section IV proposes a joint resource alloca-
Agency) [NIPA-2010-(C1090-1011-0013)]. This paper was presented in part tion algorithm for maximum capacity. Numerical results are
at the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC)09, Fall, Anchorage,
Alaska, USA, September 2009. presented in Section V, followed by conclusions in Section VI.
Y. Choi is with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford Univer-
sity, Stanford, CA 94305 (e-mail:
H. Kim is with the Department of Electronics Engineering, University of II. S YSTEM M ODEL
Incheon, Incheon, Korea (e-mail:
S. Han is with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, As shown in Fig. 1, we consider an MRA system model
UBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4 (e-mail: based on AN [6], where subsystems (i.e., radio interfaces)
Y. Han (corresponding author) is with the Department of Electrical Engi- are available for each user terminal. It is assumed that a
neering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea
(e-mail: multi-mode, multi-band user terminal (MMT) implemented by
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TWC.2010.11.100045 the reconfigurable SDR technology [10] has ability to access
c 2010 IEEE

as ( )

= log 1 + (2)

where is the total number of RATs an MMT can access,

is allocated bandwidth to the MMT from RAT ,
is the transmission power of MMT to RAT , and (0
1) represents the efficiency which can be guaranteed by
RAT to an MMT.
In (2), gives us the validity of each subsystem because it
can express the offered system spectral efficiency. Hence, an
RAT , which has deployed a better turbo decoder with more
iterations or better interleaver, can have a higher value
than other RATs with a conventional Viterbi decoder [12],
for the same encoder. For instance, could be 0.6 and 0.29
Fig. 1. An example of parallel MRA for data transmission in MRA system, for LTE (1x2) and WiMAX Wave 1 [13] respectively, which
which consists of subsystems.
can be evaluated comparatively for different RATs although it
is difficult to obtain the actual value of . Therefore, the
multi-RAT through a single or simultaneous transmissions, achievable data rate, more clearly the fraction of Shannon
capacity, of is decided by (2) with the weight .
where spectrum bands of multi-RAT are not highly distributed.
Therefore, a maximization problem for MRA allocation can
Furthermore, MMTs are considered as a CR terminal on SDR,
be formulated as
which are capable of accessing different RATs and operating

BWs. Also, it is regarded that each MMT does not require
multiple RF chains to take advantage of all these different ( ) max (x, p) = max
RATs simultaneously, although each subsystem occupies dif- ( )

ferent BWs. In our MRA system, data unit transmission is
= max log 1 + (3)
made by either a switched MRA or a parallel MRA method,
=1 =1
as introduced in Section I.
For transmitting a data unit, two functional levels have
subject to , (4)
been considered [2]: MAC protocol data unit (PDU) and IP =1
packet. Although these two methods are possible as shown in

[2] - [5], we will investigate MAC PDU level transmission , (5)
without redundancy for higher system capacity. In addition, =1
MRA at MAC PDU level may be thought of as multi- , 0 (6)
radio packet scheduling [5], an extension of the single-radio
scheduling, and fast cell-site selection mechanisms as in 3G where is the total number of MMTs, is the total system
systems [11]. Regardless of the number of interfaces, perfect bandwidth of RAT , and is the maximum power of MMT
synchronization among subsystems and MMTs is assumed for .
necessary signal exchange and data transmission. This formulation of the problem is almost the same as
the one for power and bandwidth allocation in orthogonal
frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) systems [14]
III. P ROBLEM F ORMULATION AND O PTIMALITY except for choosing = 1 and adding an additional pa-
C ONDITIONS rameter . But, system parameters of our formulation have
A. Problem Formulation totally different physical interpretations and come up with a
new construction of a parallel MRA. Furthermore, our work
As illustrated in Fig. 1, in order to transmit a data unit by considers an optimal operation of multiple heterogeneous net-
parallel MRA, each MMT should obtain BWs from multiple works, analyzes the parallel MRA transmission, and proposes
RATs (i.e., subsystems). After the BW allocation, each MMT a distributed decision making and an efficient parallel MRA
experiences different channel gains on each BW in each RAT. method, which is unprecedented by any work. In addition, the
For MMT and RAT , channel transfer function and total formulation does not allow the allocation of multiple bands to
noise power spectral density are denoted as and , a single MMT within a same RAT (i.e., ), while
respectively. The channel gain to noise ratio function for MMT the multiple allocation is allowed in [14]. Therefore, each
and RAT can be indicated by BW allocated to a single MMT is contiguous in frequency

2 within the same subsystem at each time slot, which can reduce
= (1) peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) for the uplink [15]. Note

that the objective function in (3) is concave with respect to
where is assumed flat during each transmission time inter- {x, p} (see Appendix A for the derivation of concavity). This
val. Therefore, from Shannon capacity formula for Gaussian means that an optimal solution can be derived, where a local
channel, the achievable data rate ( ) of MMT can be defined maximum is also the global maximum [16].

B. Optimality Conditions for the Parallel MRA Property 1: (Convergence) The proposed technique based
For the optimal solution of problem ( ), the Lagrangian on Newtons method converges to the optimum.
can be obtained as below. Proof: For the optimal solution, the algorithm starts the
( ) process off with some arbitrary positive initial values 0 and

( , , , ) = log 1 + 0 . This method will always converge because the objective
=1 =1
function (3) is concave (refer to Appendix) and ( ) in (15)
is decreasing in since (3) is concave and ( ) < 0.
( )

Also, since (3) is concave and increasing in ( , ) for
+ + (7) a fixed , it can be verified that the objective function is
=1 =1 =1 =1 increasing in for fixed and . Therefore, one can get
the converged optimal value of , regardless of initial values
where shadow prices and are nonnegative Lagrange 0 and 0 , where ( ) satisfies (4) - (6).
multipliers. By taking derivatives with respect to and Property 2: (Speed of convergence) The process for itera-
respectively, we can have the Karush-Kuhn-Tucker (KKT) tive calculating the optimum converges quadratically.
conditions as, Proof: Let us use the abbreviation for simplic-
( )
ity. Assume that is a root of ( ) and that as
= log 1 + 0, (8)
+ , where is given by (17). Let the error at the
iteration to be = , so = + . We know ( )
is continuous near and use a Taylor approximation about
= 0, (9)
+ [17].
( ( ) ) 0 = () = ( + )

log 1 + = 0, (10) = ( ) + ( ) + 2 ( )/2! + (3 ). (18)

( ) If ( ) = 0, one writes ( ) 2 ( ) 3
( ) = + 2 ( ) + ( ).
= 0, (11) ( )
+ ( )
+1 = +1 =
( ) ( )

( )
= 0, (12) ( ) 2 3
= + + ( )
=1 2 ( )
( ) 2
= + (3 ). (19)

2 ( )
= 0. (13)
Therefore, we say that the process converges quadratically in
the sense that the error at a given stage is the square of the
Using (9) and (11), the relation between BW and power error at the preceding stage.
allocation can be obtained After is obtained, can be determined by using (14).
[ ]+ In addition, from the calculated values (i.e., , ) and KKT
= (14) conditions, the usual waterfilling level ( ) of each MMT

also can be represented as below.
where []+ = {, 0}. From (14), to get the optimal
and value, we need to have one of them. For the optimal + 1 = , if > 0

value firstly, the well-known Newtons method [17] can be
1 , if = 0.

applied because it converges faster towards a local maximum
than other algorithms based upon gradient descent or non- To update the
values for the optimal solution,
gradient methods. Now, let us take function ( ) as (15) we consider the continuously differentiable dual function as
and its derivative ( ) as in (16).
( ) ( , ) = max ( , , , ). (21)

( ) = log 1 + , (15) Using a gradient-based search [17], the updated +1 value
for power allocation is given by
( ) [ ]+ +
1 (
( ) = (16) +1 =

= + (22)
+ +
where superscript represents the iteration. Then, by where > 0 is a constant step size. Likewise, the updated
simple algebra, a better approximation +1 value can be +1 value for the BW allocation can also be determined as

obtained as [ ]+ [ ( )]+
( ) (
+1 =
. (17) +1
= = + (23)

( ) =1

where > 0 is another constant step size. From iterations 5

using (14) - (23), we can obtain the optimal solution for a
parallel MRA which maximizes system capacity. 4.5

Total system capacity [bps/Hz]


Algorithm 1 at MMT 3

1: if = 0, then
(0) (0) (0) (0) 2.5
2: Initialize , , , and .
3: else 2

4: Calculate +1
using Newtons method. 1.5 parallel MRA
( )
= (
switched MRA
) 1

Determine +1 +1
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
5: using the obtained value. Number of MMTs (N
[ ]+
+1 +1 1
Fig. 2. Total system capacity of the parallel MRA which implemented the
6: if the equilibrium value of and is obtained, then proposed joint allocation algorithm.
7: Transmit data unit to the RAT(s) using +1 and
8: else efficiency (i.e., = 1 for = 1, 2), and 100 separation
9: Update +1 using +1 information. between subsystems access points. MMTs are assumed to
[ ( )]+ have maximum power of 20mW and randomly distributed in

= + multi-RAT region, where any MMT can access to multiple
=1 RATs, with a speed of 3km/h. We consider path loss and
10: Feedback the +1
information to each RAT. shadowing as a channel propagation model. For path loss, we
11: end if adopt the modified Hata urban propagation model [18]:
12: end if {
122 + 38 log(d), if d 0.05 km
122 + 38 log(0.05), if d < 0.05 km
Algorithm 2 at access point of RAT where represents the distance between a subsystem and
1: Compute +1
using +1
information. an MMT in kilometers. The shadowing component follows a

[ ( )]+ lognormal distribution with a mean value of 0dB and standard
= + deviation of 8dB. Thermal noise power is assumed to be -
=1 174dBm/Hz.
2: Broadcast the new +1
value to all MMTs.
3: + 1
B. Simulation Results
Fig. 2 compares the system capacity of the parallel MRA
Based on the optimality conditions for the parallel MRA
scheme and a switched MRA method with respect to the num-
in Section III-B, we propose a distributed joint allocation
bers of MMTs. It can be seen that the parallel MRA achieves
method over multiple subsystems as shown in Algorithms 1
more capacity increase than a switched MRA method. The
and 2. Note that the value is determined not by each
reason is that the parallel MRA makes use of multi-RAT
subsystem but by each MMT. That is, through the proposed
diversity if MMTs can use parallel MRA method for data
algorithm, the optimal allocation value of and for
transmission, whereas the switched MRA use only one RAT
the parallel MRA can be determined in a distributed manner.
at any given time slot. In general, the co-existence of different
Although (3) could be solved via centralized optimization
RATs causes the enhanced entire system throughput and it
techniques where convergence is guaranteed without signaling
can be considered as RAT-diversity gain. Also, in Fig. 3,
overhead, it is preferred to use a distributed optimization
it is shown that the occurrence rate of the parallel MRA
method in order to make a decision at each MMT under
increases and approaches to about 55% as the number of
perfect synchronized updates. Hence, this algorithm shows the
MMTs increases. Hence, from Figs. 2 and 3, it can be asserted
possibility and feasibility of a distributed decision making for
that by applying the parallel MRA scheme which involves the
the parallel MRA when MMTs sharing multiple heterogeneous
proposed joint allocation algorithm, one can achieve increased
subsystems act in a selfish manner.
system capacity.
An example for finding an optimal solution for the parallel
MRA and the corresponding shadow prices is provided in
A. Simulation Environment Figs. 4 and 5. Particularly, in an MRA system with = 2,
In order to evaluate the system capacity, we consider a we apply the proposed algorithm of Section IV for evaluation.
simplified MRA system consisting of two OFDMA-based In Fig. 4, it can be seen that MMT 2 selects parallel MRA
subsystems. It is assumed that each subsystem has total system to both RATs 1 and 2, and others choose only one subsystem
bandwidth of 5 and 20MHz, respectively, with the same after iterative calculations for the maximum capacity. Fig. 5

x 10
55 2.85 4.5

Percentage of the parallel MRA ][%

Shadow price of the allocated BW

Number of the parallel MRA ][#
45 2



25 2
Percentage of the parallel MRA
Number of the parallel MRA
20 0 1.5
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Number of MMTs (N
) Iteration (k)

Fig. 3. Occurrence rate of the parallel MRA when the proposed joint Fig. 5. An illustration of the corresponding shadow price ( ) when the
allocation algorithm is applied at = 2. proposed algorithm is applied.

allocated to MMT 1 by RAT
allocated to MMT 1 by RAT 2
10 allocated to MMT 2 by RAT
1 A. Proof of the Concavity
allocated to MMT 2 by RAT
allocated to MMT 3 by RAT
1 To show the concavity of the objective function in (3), let
allocated to MMT 3 by RAT
us observe the following general form.
Allocated BW [MHz

( )
6 (, ) = ln 1 + . (25)
MMT 3 selects RAT
MMT 1 selects RAT
Finding whether a function is concave or not can be started
MMT 2 selects the parallel MRA to both RATs from the first partial derivatives of (, ).
2 ( )
ln 1 + +

= = . (26)
0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Iteration (k) +

The Hessian of the function (, ) is obtained by the second

Fig. 4. An illustration of how to find the optimal solution when the proposed order partial derivatives.
algorithm is applied.
2 2 ( 1 1

+ + 2
= ( ) . (27)
indicates the corresponding shadow price ( ) to the allocated 2 2 1
2 + 1 + (+)2
BWs of Fig. 4. Therefore, these figures prove that whether
each MMT accesses to multi-RAT or not is decided by the From the Hessian, the leading principal matrices by eliminat-
proposed algorithm. Even though this algorithm might be ing are found as
rather complex and costly to implement, an MRA system ( )
could be utilized as an upper bound on the achievable gains 1 1
1 = , (28)
in heterogeneous radio access networks. With a considerable + +
gain for MRA systems, we can conclude that there is a
potential to explore in practical implementations. Still, lots 2 = . (29)
of implementation issues need to be resolved.
The determinants of these leading principal matrices are
computed as below.
1 1
det (1 ) = 0, (30)
We analyzed the optimal solution for parallel MRA scheme + +
and proposed a joint allocation algorithm for an efficient MRA ) ( ) (
method to maximize system capacity. Evaluation results based 1 1
det (2 ) = 1
on the proposed scheme were shown that the parallel MRA for (+)3 + (+)3 +
data transmission was superior to the switched MRA method. ( )

Our results will provide useful and insightful information in = 3 1 1 + = 0. (31)
(+) + +
designing efficient MRA systems. A fast converging optimal
solution algorithm with reduced complexity remains for future The results of (30) and (31) are obtained from the fact that
work. 0, 0 in constraints.

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