Cellular radio networks continuously evolve to respond the exponential growth in data traffic volume in mobile communications. Active antenna technology contributes to this evolution by introducing vertical sectorization, which splits the horizontal sector into two subsectors with respect to the elevation plane and doubles the number of cells that can be deployed. However, in order to guarantee a reliable and near-optimal operation of vertical sectorization in a system that applies universal frequency reuse, such as LTE-advanced, co-channel interference mitigation is essentially needed. In this article we propose a decentralized self-optimization method that can be used to mitigate the undesirable inter-cell interference by self-tuning the electrical antenna downtilt toward the optimal antenna elevation angle. The performance evaluations for the proposed self-optimization method are carried out for both coordinated and uncoordinated subsector transmission scenarios within the LTE-advanced framework using a dynamic LTE-advanced compliant system level SON simulator. Based on the extensive performance evaluations carried out for a realistic urban scenario, it is found that self-optimization improves the vertical sectorization performance 25 % in terms of virtual load. Furthermore, the performance gain reaches up to 30 % when vertical vectorization is provided with dynamic point selection and muting feature. Therefore, the article concludes that in LTE-advanced networks vertical sectorization can largely benefit from the antenna self-optimization and outperform the traditional horizontal sectorization approach with low algorithmic complexity.
- Active antenna system
- Vertical sectorization