US 9,980,218 – System and Method for User Terminal-Aware Cell Switch-Off

Granted on 22 May 2018

Inventors: Ibrahim Aydin, Ngoc Dung Dao, Nimal Gamini Senarath, Halim Yanikomeroglu

As the wireless networks get denser and denser with more and more base stations deployed to enable a typical user’s close proximity to a base station most of the time for the provision of high data rates, there is an increased concern for the excessive energy consumption and OPEX cost. It should be noted that most of the time a large number of this dense network of base stations will be lightly loaded (with few or no users) — this is an example of an over-provisioned system designed for the worst case scenario.

A potential solution is the cell switch-off technology which results in only a subset of the high number of base stations in the network to remain active at a given time while many or most base stations are switched off to minimize the OPEX cost as well as to minimize the carbon footprint. This invention suggests feasible algorithms for the very complex decision process of which base stations to keep active and which ones to switch off.

One distinguishing feature of the invention is that the developed algorithms take into account the battery status of the user terminals (when a nearby base station, to which a particular terminal is connected, gets switched off, that terminal has to be connected to a further away base station which will result in a rapid depletion of the battery of that terminal). The terminal status awareness feature of the invented algorithms may create differentiated pricing opportunities for the operators; that is, the cell switch-off algorithms are run in such a way to minimize the likelihood of switching off the nearby base station for a particular user terminal if that user is on a high-price plan.

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