Interference alignment for cooperative femtocell networks: A game-theoretic approach

Francesco Pantisano, Mehdi Bennis, Walid Saad, Merouane Debbah, Matti Latva-Aho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The use of small cells serviced by low-power base stations such as femtocells is envisioned to improve the spectrum efficiency and the coverage of next-generation mobile wireless networks. However, one of the major challenges in femtocell deployments is managing interference. In this paper, we propose a novel cooperative solution that enables femtocells to improve their achievable data rates, by suppressing intratier interference using the concept of interference alignment (IA). We model this cooperative behavior among the femtocells as a coalitional game in partition form and we propose a distributed algorithm for the coalition formation. The proposed algorithm allows the femtocell base stations to independently decide on whether to cooperate or not, while maximizing a utility function capturing both the gains and costs from cooperation. Using the proposed algorithm, the femtocells can self-organize into a stable network partition composed of disjoint femtocell coalitions and which constitutes the recursive core of the game. Inside every coalition, cooperative femtocells use advanced IA techniques to improve their downlink transmission rate. Simulation results show that the proposed coalition formation algorithm yields significant gains, in terms of average payoff per femtocell, reaching up to 30 percent relative to the noncooperative case for a network of (N=300) femtocells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6302137
Pages (from-to)2233-2246
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2013


  • coalitional games
  • Emerging technologies
  • femtocell networks
  • game theory
  • interference alignment
  • mobile communication systems
  • partition form
  • recursive core
  • wireless communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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