TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001]
This application relates to wireless cellular systems and, more particularly, to mitigation of cochannel interference in a wireless neighborhood.
BACKGROUND

[0002]
The performance of wireless cellular systems is significantly limited due to cochannel interference from neighboring base stations, especially as these systems move towards aggressive frequency reuse scenarios. While the overall spectral efficiency of the cellular system may improve with aggressive frequency reuse, the performance of celledge users degrades substantially. Recent research is focused on a variety of interference management techniques, ranging from the design of fractional frequency reuse (FFR) mechanisms for celledge users, to coordinated transmit beamforming techniques, to receiver interference cancellation using multiple antennas.

[0003]
One simple approach to reducing interference for the cell edge users is to reserve a set of frequencies used for transmission to only celledge users in a fashion such that adjacent cells use different sets of frequencies. This may be achieved through a fractional frequency reuse (FFR) mechanism wherein a lower frequency reuse is specified for users at the cell edge, cellcenter users enjoy full frequency reuse. This improves the throughput performance of celledge users since they experience lower levels of interference.

[0004]
FIG. 1 shows an exemplary network deployment 50 with fractional frequency reuse. Such a deployment enables most of the frequencies (‘white’) to be reused over a significant portion of each cell, and only a fraction of frequencies to be set aside for celledges (‘dotted’, ‘vertical striped’, ‘diagonal striped’). While initial deployments with FFR may use a static subdivision of celledge and cellcenter frequencies, it is expected that the frequency reuse patterns be dynamically adjustable through coordination across the network, since the traffic load and user distribution may not be uniform across the network.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005]
The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this document will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the various views, unless otherwise specified.

[0006]
FIG. 1 is an exemplary network deployment with fractional frequency reuse, according to the prior art;

[0007]
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a interference mitigation system, according to some embodiments;

[0008]
FIG. 3 is a diagram of a wireless neighborhood using the interference mitigation system of FIG. 2, according to some embodiments;

[0009]
FIG. 4 is a flow diagram showing the cochannel interference avoidance of the interference mitigation system of FIG. 2, according to some embodiments;

[0010]
FIG. 5 is a flow diagram the transmission randomization of the interference mitigation system of FIG. 2, according to some embodiments;

[0011]
FIG. 6 is a graph of a cochannel interference avoidance trigger threshold, according to some embodiments;

[0012]
FIG. 7 is a graph of comparing the CIA MAC of FIG. 2 with a legacy MAC, according to some embodiments;

[0013]
FIG. 8 is a graph showing interference to carrier ratio versus distance, according to some embodiments; and

[0014]
FIG. 9 is a graph showing the spectral efficiency improvement using the CIA MAC of FIG. 2, according to some embodiments;
DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0015]
In accordance with the embodiments described herein, a system and method for reducing interference in a network, or interference mitigation system and method, are disclosed. The interference mitigation system includes a cochannel interference avoidance (CIA) medium access controller (MAC) in both a base station and a subscriber station of a wireless neighborhood. The interference mitigation method randomizes transmissions to celledge users by carefully controlling the probability of transmission to these users, thereby creating a virtual fractional frequency system that does not require extensive frequency management and coordination across the network. In some embodiments, the interference mitigation method identifies severely interfered links and reduces the probability of transmission on these links, with the result being a reduced probability of interference.

[0016]
An interference mitigation system 100 is depicted in FIG. 2, according to some embodiments. The interference mitigation system 100 includes a serving base station 20 and a subscriber station 30. The serving base station is typically selected by the subscriber 30, based on the relative strength of the base station signal received by the subscriber. The system 100 may include one or more other base stations, denoted as base station 24, base station 26, and base station 28. The serving base station 20 has a medium access controller (MAC) 20 and the subscriber station 30 has a MAC 32. The MACs 22 and 32 include functional and structural components not described herein, which are wellknown to those of ordinary skill in the art. These functional and structural components, which are common to all base stations in the wireless region, are known herein as legacy MAC operations.

[0017]
In some embodiments, the MACs 22 and 32 each include novel components suitable for cochannel interference avoidance (CIA), known as the CIA MAC 40. Because the MACs 22 and 32 continue to support other MAC functions not described herein, both the serving base station 20 and the subscriber station 30 have both legacy MAC and CIA MAC 40 functionality.

[0018]
The CIA MAC 40 includes cochannel interference avoidance 200, transmission randomization 300, and physical layer optimization 400, in some embodiments. As shown in FIG. 2, cochannel avoidance 200 is performed by the subscriber station 30 while transmission randomization 300 and physical layer optimization 400 are performed by the base stations 20, 24, 26, 28. Cochannel avoidance 200 is described in the flow diagram of FIG. 3; transmission randomization 300 is described in the flow diagram of FIG. 4.

[0019]
A wireless neighborhood 60 is depicted in FIG. 3, to facilitate understanding the system 100 of FIG. 2, according to some embodiments. The wireless neighborhood 60 includes seven cells 62, each of which has a base station, BS_{1}BS_{7 }(collectively, base stations BS). Subscribers, depicted as mobile devices, denoted M_{1}, M_{2}, . . . M_{9}, are employed throughout the wireless neighborhood 60 (collectively, subscribers M). The number of subscribers M may vary over time. Lines c_{1 }show the desired links between mobile subscribers and base stations. For mobile subscriber M_{1}, there exists a desired link, c_{1}, to the base station, BS_{1}. Because the base stations are transmitting on channel 1 (c_{1}) using the same frequency, such transmission may cause interference to mobile stations in other cells. For example, in FIG. 3, interferences on the same channel are occurring from base stations, BS_{4 }and BS_{2}, indicated as i_{c1 }in both cases.

[0020]
The interference mitigation system 100 commences with the subscriber station 30. The subscriber station 30 notifies the serving base station 20 of interference from some other base station in the wireless neighborhood 50. In FIG. 2, a feedback link 34 is shown pointing from the subscriber station 30 to the serving base station 20 to indicate this step. Then, the serving base station 20 shares the interference report(s) with the other base stations in the wireless neighborhood 50 that there has been a report of interference. Interference reporting links 36 are shown in FIG. 2 between the serving base station 20 and each of the base stations 24, 26, and 28 in the system 100. Once all base stations in the wireless neighborhood 50 are aware of the interference, the base stations determine whether to perform transmission randomization 300, in some embodiments. Like other transmissions, randomized transmissions occur according to parameters obtained through physical layer optimization 400.

[0021]
Cochannel interference avoidance 200 operates according to the flow diagram of FIG. 4, in some embodiments. The operations are performed by the subscriber 30 (or one of the subscribers M in the wireless neighborhood 50), although the operations may be performed simultaneously by multiple subscribers. The subscriber 30 identifies the base station 20 (or stations) causing the most interference to transmissions on its link to the serving basestation (block 202). The subscriber 30 then makes a determination whether to notify its serving base station 20 of the interference by comparing the interferencetocarrier ratios (ICR) to a threshold (Γ) (block 204).

[0022]
If the threshold is not exceeded (block 206), the interference is not sufficient to trigger the notification by the subscriber 30. Otherwise, the subscriber 30 submits the identity of the basestation(s) causing the most interference to its serving base station, 20 (block 208). In some embodiments, the submission operation constitutes one or more exchanges of the CIA MAC trigger information between the subscriber station 30 and the serving base station 20. As used herein “CIA MAC trigger” means events that lead the subscriber station 30 or the serving base station 20 to invoke the CIA MAC 40 of their respective MACs 22, 32. In other words, the CIA MAC trigger is when the subscriber station 30 determines that the interference exceeds the threshold.

[0023]
The serving base station 20 communicates the information reported by the subscriber 30 to other base stations in the wireless neighborhood 50 (block 210). At this point, each base station knows the links in which interference has been reported, which are the links in which transmissions may optimally be randomized (block 212). In some embodiments, the CIA MAC trigger may be based on average SINR conditions, determined by system geometry and location of subscribers. In these embodiments, the CIA MAC trigger is updated and coordinated among other base stations in the wireless neighborhood periodically.

[0024]
Once the CIA MAC 40 is triggered, the transmission randomization 300 of the MAC 22 in the serving base station 20 is initiated. The other base stations in the wireless neighborhood likewise initiate transmission randomization to the subscriber station 30. FIG. 5 is a flow diagram showing operations performed to randomize transmissions in the wireless neighborhood 50, according to some embodiments. The operations in FIG. 5 may be performed by all base stations BS in the wireless neighborhood 50, but, for simplification, only one base station is indicated in the flow diagram.

[0025]
The base station identifies the link to be analyzed (block 302), which is the link between the serving base station 20 and the subscriber 30 that reported the interference. The base station determines a channel threshold for the CIA MAC link (block 304). If the channel gain on the link does not exceed a “channel threshold”, H (block 306), no transmission to the subscriber 30 occurs (block 308). Otherwise, the base station 20 transmits to the subscriber 30 with optimized physical layer parameters (block 310). Hence, in some embodiments, the transmission probability is proportional to the probability of exceeding the “channel threshold”.

[0026]
The CIA MAC 40 also includes physical layer optimization 400. In some embodiments, the power and modulation on each link is optimized separately. The components of the CIA MAC 40 shown in FIG. 2 may be realized in different ways.

[0027]
In some embodiments, once a decision to trigger the CIA MAC 40 on a given link is reached, the system 100 determines the transmission threshold H , the power allocation, and the modulation selection policy through optimization of the following criterion. This criterion is based on a proportional fair approach of maximizing the product of the goodput of all users. The transmission threshold, power allocation, and modulation parameters may also be derived through alternative optimization criteria.

[0028]
In some embodiments, the system 100 uses an optimization equation to determine the threshold and the optimal link parameters for transmission to the subscriber 30, as follows:

[0000]
${C}^{*}=\text{Arg}\ue89e\underset{\left\{\stackrel{\_}{H},P\right\}}{\mathrm{max}}\ue89e\prod _{\forall {\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}\ue89e\left[\frac{{R\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}{S}\ue89e\text{(}\ue89e1{\mathrm{FER}}_{{\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}\ue89e{p\ue8a0\left(i,k\right)}_{k}\ue89e\prod _{l\in {N}_{j}}\ue89e\left(1{p}_{l}\right)\right]$
$\mathrm{subject}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{to}$
${\int}_{{\stackrel{\_}{H}\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}^{\infty}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.3em}{0.3ex}}\ue89ef\ue8a0\left(h\right)\ue89e{P\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\ue89e\uf74ch\le \stackrel{\_}{P}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\left(\mathrm{Average}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{power}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{constraint}\right)$
$0\le {P\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\le {P}_{\mathrm{max}}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.6em}{0.6ex}}\ue89e\left(\mathrm{Peak}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{power}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{constraint}\right)$

[0000]
where (i,j)_{k }is the link between the i^{th }base station and the j^{th }subscriber on the k^{th }channel; R(i,j)_{k}, is the rate on link (i,j)_{k}; FER(i,j)_{k }is the average frame error rate on link (i,j)_{k}; p(i,j)_{k }is the probability of transmission on link (i,j)_{k}; N_{j }is the set of base stations comprising severe interferers for the j^{th }subscriber; p_{l }is the probability of transmission by the l^{th }interfering base station; H is the threshold for transmission; P(i,j)_{k }is the average transmit power on link (i,j)_{k}; f(h) is the probability distribution of fast fading channel with cumulative distribution function, F; and S is the frame length.

[0029]
An example approach to solving the above optimization problem is to separate the optimization function into two distinct parts. The separation is motivated in part by the fact that maximization of the objective function is equivalent to maximizing the log of the objective function. The two parts separately address the issue of minimizing collisions and maximizing throughput.

[0030]
Using the logarithm function splits the problem into two parts. The first part is related to the transmission probabilities of the desired and interfering basestations. The objective, in this case, thus reduces to finding the threshold H to minimize the probability of collision in the network. The second part maximizes the sum of the average throughput on all links, which can be solved through a suitable power and rate allocation strategy per link. The objective functions for the two problems are defined in the following sections.

[0031]
First, the probability of transmission is determined by the system 100 as follows. In some embodiments, the threshold H is determined through a solution to the following optimization criterion:

[0000]
${\stackrel{\_}{H}}^{*}=\text{arg}\ue89e\underset{\stackrel{\_}{H}}{\mathrm{max}}\ue89e\sum _{\forall {\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}\ue89e\mathrm{ln}\left({p\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\ue89e\prod _{l\in {N}_{j}}\ue89e\left(1{p}_{l}\right)\right)$

[0032]
It can be shown that the optimal threshold and consequently the probability of transmission on a given link is given by:

[0000]
${{\stackrel{\_}{H}}^{*}\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}={F}^{1}\ue8a0\left(\frac{\uf603{\Gamma \ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\uf604}{\uf603{\Gamma \ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\uf604+1}\right)\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{and}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e{{p}^{*}\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}=\frac{1}{\uf603{\Gamma \ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\uf604+1}$

[0033]
In the above, Γ(i,j)_{k }is the number of base stations severely interfering on channel(i,j)_{k}.

[0034]
Next, the interference mitigation system 100 performs physical layer optimization 400, in some embodiments. This part of the CIA MAC 40 resides in all base stations in the wireless neighborhood 50. The interference mitigation system 100 optimizes the physical layer parameters per link. In some embodiments, the physical power and rate parameters on the link are determined through maximization of the throughput of all users, using the following objective function:

[0000]
${{P}^{*}\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}=\text{arg}\ue89e\underset{\left\{{P\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\right\}}{\mathrm{max}}\ue89e{R\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}$
$\mathrm{subject}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{to}$
${\int}_{{\stackrel{\_}{H}\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}^{\infty}\ue89ef\ue8a0\left(h\right)\ue89e{P\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\ue89e\left(h\right)\ue89e\uf74ch\le \stackrel{\_}{P}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\left(\mathrm{average}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{power}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{constraint}\right)$
$0\le {P\ue8a0\left(i,j\right)}_{k}\le {P}_{\mathrm{max}}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\left(\mathrm{Peak}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{power}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{constraint}\right)$

[0035]
Each user may vary both the transmitted power and rate to achieve best transmission performance. The signaltonoise ratio (SNR) is denoted as η, the data rate function R′^{−1}(η) is continuously differentiable with first order derivative positive and strictly decreasing, i.e. concave of η. The power allocation is given by:

[0000]
$\mathrm{if}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e{P}_{m}<\frac{\stackrel{\_}{P}}{1F\ue8a0\left({\stackrel{\_}{H}}_{{\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}^{*}\right)},{P}_{{\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}^{*}\ue8a0\left(h\right)={P}_{m}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89e\mathrm{for}\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.8em}{0.8ex}}\ue89eh\ge {\stackrel{\_}{H}}_{{\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}^{*},\mathrm{otherwise},\text{}\ue89e{P}_{{\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}^{*}\ue8a0\left(h\right)=\{\begin{array}{cc}{P}_{m}& {\upsilon}^{*}<{R}^{\prime}\ue8a0\left(\frac{{\mathrm{hP}}_{m}}{{n}_{o}\ue89eW}\right)\ue89e\frac{h}{{n}_{o}\ue89eW}\\ 0& {\upsilon}^{*}\ge {R}^{\prime}\left(\frac{{\mathrm{hP}}_{m}}{{n}_{o}\ue89eW}\right)\ue89e\frac{h}{{n}_{o}\ue89eW},\\ {R}^{\prime 1}\left(\frac{{\upsilon}^{*}\ue89e{n}_{o}\ue89eW}{h}\right)\ue89e\frac{{n}_{o}\ue89eW}{h}& \mathrm{otherwise}\end{array}$

[0000]
for h≧ H*_{(i,j)} _{ k }. R′^{−1}( ) is the inverse function of R′( ). υ*≧0 is uniquely given by

[0000]
${\int}_{{\stackrel{\_}{H}}_{{\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}}^{\infty}\ue89e{P}_{{\left(i,j\right)}_{k}}^{*}\ue8a0\left(h\right)\ue89ef\ue8a0\left(h\right)\ue89e\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0.2ex}}\ue89e\uf74ch=\stackrel{\_}{P}.$

[0036]
Before the transmission randomization 300 and physical layer optimizations 400 can take place, however, the interference mitigation system 100 determines the threshold for the CIA MAC trigger. In some embodiments, each subscriber 30 makes a decision to trigger the CIA MAC 40. This trigger is based on comparing the measured interferencetocarrierratio (ICR) from each basestation to a threshold, as described in FIG. 3, above. In some embodiments the threshold is derived based on the assumption of one strong interferer per subscriber. The extension to multiple interferers is straightforward. In some embodiments, where there is a single interferer, the optimal threshold is derived by comparing the goodput of a system using the CIA MAC with that of a system having no CIA MAC. For the optimal threshold, the goodput of CIA MAC is greater than the goodput of a traditional MAC. The values of the ICR thresholds are calculated as a function of the SNR, as shown in the graph 70 of FIG. 6, according to some embodiments.

[0037]
The value of the threshold at a high SNR is derived as a function of the target probability of error P_{e }and the number of data symbols, L_{d}, as

[0000]
$\Gamma =\frac{1}{{P}_{e}\ue89e\lceil 1{\left(1/4\right)}^{1/{L}_{d}\ue89eR}\rceil}\frac{1}{\mathrm{SNR}}.$

[0000]
The graph 70 plots the values of the thresholds as a function of the SNR for various numbers of data symbols.

[0038]
The interference mitigation system 100 may employ alternate methods for triggering the CIA MAC. These include but are not limited to comparing goodput based on more than one strong interferer, using locationbased information or cooperation between subscribers to determine severely interfered users, etc.

[0039]
Observed improvements in throughput and spectral efficiency with the use of the CIA MAC are shown in the following figures. A graph 80 (FIG. 7) is a comparison of the CIA MAC with a traditional MAC for a frequency reuse system. In some embodiments, the use of the CIA MAC is triggered at a distance of 1.2 kilometers (km) from the center of the cell 62, based on the throughput shown at different distances. A graph 90 (FIG. 8) plots distance to call center versus interference to carrier ratio, in some embodiments. Again, the CIA MAC is triggered at a distance of 1.2 km to ensure the best overall throughput at the center cell and at the cell edge. A graph 110 (FIG. 9) plots spectrum efficiency versus transmit power (dBm). The graph 110 shows spectral efficiency improvement with the CIA MAC 10 for 8QAM modulation: 75% for CIA MAC with crosslayer optimization, 34% without crosslayer optimization (reference 43 dBm).

[0040]
The above results are described for a singlecarrier scenario. However, extensions to a multicarrier OFDM system are achieved, in some embodiments. A simple extension is based on determining the CIAtriggers and thresholds based on the average interference power in the entire OFDM band. Subsequent transmission on each OFDMA subchannel are controlled by the average “channel threshold” and the instantaneous channel gain on the subchannel.

[0041]
In FIG. 2, both the base stations 20 and the subscriber station 30 have CIA MAC functionality. In some embodiments, the interference mitigation system 100 may operate with a legacy subscriber station, i.e., one without CIA MAC functionality. In such a system, the base station 20 may trigger the CIA MAC 40 when the subscriber is located a predetermined distance from the center of the cell 62. For example, if the legacy subscriber is 1.2 km from its cell center, the subscriber is likely to be at the edge of the cell 62, and thus may be more susceptible to interference by other base stations. In this manner, the location of the subscriber station would be the “notification of interference” to the base station, obviating the need for the subscriber station to notify the base station of a likely interference situation.

[0042]
The interference mitigation system 100 provides a lowcomplexity method for interference mitigation, which involves limited coordination between basestations. In some embodiments, the interference mitigation system 100 provides for a relatively decentralized and automatic method for controlling the degree of frequency reuse to improve performance of celledge users. Complex frequency reuse and power management schemes across a cellular system are avoided with the interference mitigation system 100.

[0043]
The interference mitigation system 100 may provide significant benefit to cellular users severely impacted by cochannel interference, thereby improving their qualityofservice. The interference mitigation system 100 may be standardized within next generation cellular standards.

[0044]
The interference mitigation system 100 is novel in its use of randomization by the base station for controlling the level of interference in the wireless neighborhood. In particular, the interference mitigation system 100 provides fair transmission opportunities for users affected by cochannel interference. Although randomization for collision avoidance is used extensively for uplink random access channels and wireless local area network (LAN) systems, its use by the interference mitigation system 100 for automatically controlling the level of downlink interference per link is novel.

[0045]
While the application has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate numerous modifications and variations therefrom. It is intended that the appended claims cover all such modifications and variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.