Adaptive cell selection algorithm for balancing cell loads in 5G heterogeneous networks

Gures E., Shayea I. A. M., Sheikh M., Ergen M., El-Saleh A. A.

Alexandria Engineering Journal, vol.72, pp.621-634, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 72
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.aej.2023.04.012
  • Journal Name: Alexandria Engineering Journal
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Compendex, INSPEC, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.621-634
  • Keywords: 5G, Handover, Heterogeneous networks, Load balancing, Millimetre-wave, Mobility management
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Heterogeneous networks (HetNets) are a promising solution for managing the exponential increase in the number of mobile users while maintaining high data rates and coverage. HetNets consist of various cell types with different cell coverage and system capacities. However, the traffic load in HetNets is variable, uneven and random over time, leading to unequal cell loads. Some cells have excessive user presence where the competition for system resources is high, while other cells have low user presence where system resources are not fully utilised. This paper proposes a mobility load balancing algorithm that prioritises millimetre-wave (mmWave) cells in target cell selection and user association to provide load balancing in 5G HetNets and improve overall system performance. A two-step target cell selection method that considers the load level of cells and reference signal received power (RSRP) is proposed. This method prioritises mmWave cells that meet cell load level and RSRP conditions in target cell selection, taking full advantage of the unique properties of mmWave cells (enhanced network throughput, spectral efficiency and enormous bandwidth) to balance traffic loads. The HO triggering and decision-making process is independently performed for each user. In case the serving cell is overloaded, different HO procedures are applied for load balancing depending on the target cell type (macro base station (BS) or mmWave BS). The scope of the study is further expanded by applying different HO procedures according to the serving and target cell types to maintain mobility robustness in case the serving cell is not overloaded. This research proposes various system scenarios with fixed HO margin (HOM) values and fixed time-to-trigger (TTT) durations to examine the effects of HCP settings on the proposed algorithm's performance in terms of average load level of the serving cell, throughput, spectral efficiency and call dropping ratio (CDR). The system that provides the highest overall performance is applied to the proposed algorithm. To further assess and validate the performance of the proposed algorithm, it is compared with other load balancing algorithms from the literature. The simulation results reveal that the proposed algorithm does provide noticeable enhancements in network performance in terms of load level, throughput, spectral efficiency and CDR for various mobile speed scenarios as compared to existing load balancing algorithms.