|Diala Naboulsi||Concordia University, Canada|
|Assia Mermouri||INSA Lyon, France|
|Razvan Stanica||INSA Lyon, France|
|Herve Rivano||Inria & Université de Lyon, INRIA, INSA Lyon, CITI, France|
|Marco Fiore||National Research Council of Italy, Italy|
The development of virtualization techniques enables an architectural shift in mobile networks, where resource allocation, or even signal processing, become software functions hosted in a data center. The centralization of computing resources and the dynamic mapping between baseband processing units (BBUs) and remote antennas (RRHs) provide an increased flexibility to mobile operators, with important reductions of operational costs. Most research efforts on Cloud Radio Access Networks (CRAN) consider indeed an operator perspective and network-side performance indicators. The impact of such new paradigms on user experience has been instead overlooked. In this paper, we shift the viewpoint, and show that the dynamic assignment of computing resources enabled by CRAN generates a new class of mobile terminal handover that can impair user quality of service. We then propose an algorithm that mitigates the problem, by optimizing the mapping between BBUs and RRHs on a time-varying graph representation of the system. Furthermore, we show that a practical online BBU-RRH mapping algorithm achieves results similar to an oracle-based scheme with perfect knowledge of future traffic demand. We test our algorithms with two large-scale real-world datasets, where the total number of handovers, compared with the current architectures, is reduced by more than 20%. Moreover, if a small tolerance to dropped calls is allowed, 30% less handovers can be obtained.