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Radio planning and coverage optimization of 3G cellular networks

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Radio planning and coverage optimization are critical issues for service providers and vendors that are deploying third generation mobile networks and need to control coverage as well as the huge costs involved. Due to the peculiarities of the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) scheme used in 3G cellular systems like UMTS and CDMA2000, network planning cannot be based only on signal predictions, and the approach relying on classical set covering formulations adopted for second generation systems is not appropriate.

In this paper we investigate mathematical programming models for supporting the decisions on where to install new base stations and how to select their configuration (antenna height and tilt, sector orientations, maximum emission power, pilot signal, etc.) so as to find a trade-off between maximizing coverage and minimizing costs. The overall model takes into account signal-quality constraints in both uplink and downlink directions, as well as the power control mechanism and the pilot signal.

Since even small and simplified instances of this NP-hard problem are beyond the reach of state-of-the-art techniques for mixed integer programming, we propose a Tabu Search algorithm which provides good solutions within a reasonable computing time. Computational results obtained for realistic instances, generated according to classical propagation models, with different traffic scenarios (voice and data) are reported and discussed.

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Author information

Correspondence to Edoardo Amaldi.

Additional information

Preliminary results have been presented in [5, 7, 8]. This work has been supported by the “Progetto Cofinanziato 2001–2003” of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Scientific Research (MIUR), Optimization models and methods for telecommunication network design and management.

Edoardo Amaldi received the “Diplome” in Mathematical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne (EPFL) in 1988. After one year in the Computational and Neural Systems program, California Institute of Technology, USA, he came back at EPFL where he earned the “Doctoratés Sciences” (PhD) in October 1994. He then joined the School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, Cornell University, USA, where he did research and taught graduate courses in mathematical programming. Since 1998 he is with the Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione (DEI), Politecnico di Milano, Italy, where he is currently an Associate Professor in Operations Research. His main research interests are in discrete optimization, the design and analysis of algorithms, and computational complexity with applications in telecommunications, image/signal processing, machine learning, and computational biology/finance. In 2005 he received an IBM Faculty Award for his work on the maximum feasible subsystem problem. He serves on the Program Committees of several international workshops and conferences (including the European Symposium on Algorithms, International Network Optimization Conference, International Workshop on Efficient and Experimental Algorithms–WEA) and since 2005 he is on the Steering Committee of WEA.

Antonio Capone is an Associate Professor at the Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione of the Technical University of Milan (Politecnico di Milano). His expertise is on networking and main research activities include protocol design (MAC and routing) and performance evaluation of wireless access and multi-hop networks, traffic management and quality of service issues in IP networks, and network planning and optimization. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1994 and 1998, respectively. In 2000 he was a visiting professor at UCLA, Computer Science department. He currently serves as editor of the Wiley Journal of Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing. He served in the technical program committee of several international conferences and he is a regular reviewer of the main journals in the networking area. He is currently involved in the scientific and technical activities of several national and European research projects, and he leads several industrial projects. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Federico Malucelli (Ferrara, 7/4/62) got a Laurea in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Computer Science both from Universita’ di Pisa in 1988 and 1993 respectively. Since 2003 he is full professor of Operations Research at the Politecnico di Milano. In 1998–2002 he was associate professor of Operations Research at the Politecnico of Milano, and from 1992 to 1998 research associate at Pisa and Perugia Universities. He has visited several foreign universities and research laboratories, including HP Laboratories, Palo Alto (USA), Universite’ de Montreal (Canada) and Linkoping Universitet (Sweden). He has served as research unit coordinator for several nationwide MIUR and CNR research projects on optimization in telecommunications networks and transportation systems. His main research interests include: models and algorithms for combinatorial optimization problems, with applications in particular to telecommunications, transportations, logistics, and electronic circuit design. He has published more than 30 articles on international scietific journals.

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Amaldi, E., Capone, A. & Malucelli, F. Radio planning and coverage optimization of 3G cellular networks. Wireless Netw 14, 435–447 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11276-006-0729-3

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  • 3G
  • UMTS
  • CDMA2000
  • Radio planning
  • Base stations
  • Location
  • Configuration
  • Signal quality constraint
  • Mathematical programming models
  • Tabu Search