Load balancing with 3-D beamforming in macro-assisted small cell architecture

Bo Yu, Liuqing Yang, Hiroyuki Ishii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Small cell is an attractive and promising technology for improving capacity in traffic hotspots using cell densification. We consider the traffic load-balancing problem for a macro-assisted small cell architecture exploiting the flexible 3-D beamforming facilitated by the adoption of the active antenna system at base stations. Specifically, 3-D user equipment (UE)-specific beamforming is utilized for traffic load balancing due to its unique feature that the received signal is maximized, while the interference is limited with narrower beamwidth. We propose a novel traffic load-balancing algorithm based on cell association and cell sectorization using 3-D UE-specific beamforming, and the performance of the proposed algorithm is evaluated via system-level simulations. Results show that cell edge user throughput and cell average throughput both improve significantly with the proposed load-balancing algorithm compared with the conventional sectorization with fixed antenna down-tilt scheme. In addition, in denser small cell scenarios, our proposed scheme can further increase the load-balancing gain with reduced cell planning efforts compared with the conventional scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7465794
Pages (from-to)5626-5636
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2002-2012 IEEE.


  • 3D beamforming
  • Load balancing
  • cell association
  • cell sectorization
  • small cell


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