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Authors: Apostolos Apostolaras, George Iosifidis, Kostas Chounos, Thanasis Korakis and Leandros Tassiulas

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, vol. 15, no. 9, pp. 5984-5997, Sept. 2016

Abstract: As the growth of mobile data traffic places significant strain on cellular networks, plans for exploiting underutilized network resources become increasingly attractive. In this paper, we propose, design, and evaluate a data offloading architecture, where mobile users are offloaded to mesh networks, which are built and managed by residential users. Such networks are often developed in the context of community networks or, recently, as commercial services. Mobile network operators can lease capacity from these networks and offload traffic to reduce their servicing costs. We introduce an analytical framework that determines the offloading policy, i.e. which mobile users should be offloaded, based on the energy cost induced to the cellular base stations. Accordingly, we design a minimum-cost servicing policy for the mesh networks. Clearly, such architectures are realizable only if the mesh nodes agree with each other to jointly serve the offloaded traffic. To achieve this, we employ the Shapley value rule for dispensing the leasing payment among the mesh nodes. We evaluate this paper by simulating the operation of the LTE-A network, and conducting test bed experiments for the mesh network. The results reveal significant savings for eNBs power consumption and reimbursements for mesh users. 

Index Terms — Mobile data offloading, mesh networks, network economics, Shapley value.

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