Impact of Dual Slope Path Loss on User Association in HetNets

Garg, Nikhil and Singh, Sarabjot and Andrews, Jeffrey

Intelligent load balancing is essential to fully realize the benefits of dense heterogeneous networks. Current techniques have largely been studied with single slope path loss models, though multi-slope models are known to more closely match real deployments. This paper develops insight into the performance of biasing and uplink/downlink decoupling for user association in HetNets with dual slope path loss models. It is shown that dual slope path loss models change the tradeoffs inherent in biasing and reduce gains from both biasing and uplink/downlink decoupling. The results show that with the dual slope path loss models, the bias maximizing the median rate is not optimal for other users, e.g., edge users. Furthermore, optimal downlink biasing is shown to realize most of the gains from downlink-uplink decoupling. Moreover, the user association gains in dense networks are observed to be quite sensitive to the path loss exponent beyond the critical distance in a dual slope model.