Cost-Aware Fronthaul Rate Allocation to Maximize Benefit of Multi-User Reception in C-RAN
The performance of cloud radio access network (C-RAN) is constrained by the limited fronthaul link capacity under future heavy data traffic. To tackle this problem, extensive efforts have been devoted to design efficient signal quantization/compression techniques in the fronthaul to maximize the network throughput. However, most of the previous results are based on information-theoretical quantization methods, which are hard to implement due to the extremely high complexity. In this paper, we consider using practical uniform scalar quantization in the uplink communication of a broadband C-RAN system, where the mobile users are assigned with orthogonal sub-carriers for multiple access. In particular, we consider joint wireless power control and fronthaul quantization design over the sub-carriers to maximize the system end-to-end throughput. Efficient algorithms are proposed to solve the joint optimization problem when either information-theoretical or practical fronthaul quantization method is applied. Interestingly, we find that the fronthaul capacity constraints have significant impact to the optimal wireless power control policy. As a result, the joint optimization shows significant performance gain compared with either optimizing wireless power control or fronthaul quantization alone. Besides, we also show that the proposed simple uniform quantization scheme performs very close to the throughput performance upper bound, and in fact overlaps with the upper bound when the fronthaul capacity is sufficiently large. Overall, our results would help reveal practically achievable throughput performance of C-RAN, and lead to more efficient deployment of C-RAN in the next-generation wireless communication systems. Index Terms Cloud radio access network (C-RAN), fronthaul constraint, quantize-and-forward, multi-carrier system, power control, throughput maximization.