System Performance Investigation of Layer-1 and Layer-3 Relays in LTE-Advanced Downlink

Satoshi NAGATA
Yuan YAN
Anxin LI
Xinying GAO
Tetsushi ABE

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E94-B    No.12    pp.3296-3303
Publication Date: 2011/12/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.E94.B.3296
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Cooperative Communications for Cellular Networks)
LTE-advanced,  OFDM,  relay,  layer 3,  scheduling,  

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In Long-Term Evolution (LTE)-Advanced, an important goal in addition to achieving high-speed, high-capacity communications is throughput enhancement for cell-edge users. One solution is to relay radio transmissions between an eNode B and user equipment (UE). Relays are expected to extend the coverage to the cell boundary and coverage hole areas, and are expected to reduce network costs. It was agreed that in Release 10 LTE, a Layer-3 (L3) relay, which achieves self-backhauling of radio signals between an eNode B and a UE in Layer 3 should be standardized. Meanwhile, a Layer-1 (L1) relay, which amplifies and forwards received radio frequency signals, has already found widespread use in second-generation and third-generation mobile communication systems. This paper investigates the downlink system level performance for L3 and L1 relays with orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) in LTE-Advanced. Various practical factors are taken into account in the evaluations such as the processing delay and upper bound of the amplifier gain of the L1 relay, capacity limitation of the backhaul channels, and empty buffer status at the L3 relay. We also propose and investigate a downlink backhaul link (radio link between the eNode B and L3 relay node) scheduling method for the in-band half-duplex L3 relay. In the proposed scheduling method, radio resources from an eNode B to an L3 relay node and macro UE are multiplexed in the same backhaul subframe considering the number of relay UEs and macro UEs, and the channel quality of the backhaul link to the L3 relay and the access link to the macro UE. Based on system-level simulations, we clarify the system impact of several conditions for the relay such as the number of relay nodes and the number of backhaul (radio link between eNode B and L3 relay) subframes, the distance between the eNode B and relay, and show the throughput performance gain of the L3 relay compared to the L1 relay. We also clarify that the cell-edge UE throughput performance is increased by approximately 10% by applying the proposed scheduling method due to more efficient and fair resource allocation to the L3 relay and macro UEs.