A Q-Learning Scheme for Fair Coexistence Between LTE and Wi-Fi in Unlicensed Spectrum

During the last years, the growth of wireless traffic pushed the wireless community to search for solutions that can assist in a more efficient management of the spectrum. Toward this direction, the operation of long term evolution (LTE) in unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U) has been proposed. Targeting a global solution that respects the regional regulations worldwide, 3GPP has published the LTE licensed assisted access (LAA) standard. According to LTE LAA, a listen before talk (LBT) procedure must precede any LTE transmission burst in the unlicensed spectrum. However, the proposed standard may cause coexistence issues between LTE and Wi-Fi, especially in the case that the latter does not use frame aggregation. Toward the provision of a balanced channel access, we have proposed mLTE-U that is an adaptive LTE LBT scheme. According to mLTE-U, LTE uses a variable transmission opportunity (TXOP), followed by a variable muting period. This muting period can be exploited by co-located Wi-Fi networks to gain access to the medium. In this paper, the system model of the mLTE-U scheme in coexistence with Wi-Fi is studied. In addition, mLTE-U is enhanced with a Q-learning technique that is used for autonomous selection of the appropriate combinations of TXOP and muting period that can provide fair coexistence between co-located mLTE-U and Wi-Fi networks. Simulation results showcase the performance of the proposed model and reveal the benefit of using Q-learning for self-adaptation of mLTE-U to the changes of the dynamic wireless environment, toward fair coexistence with Wi-Fi. Finally, the Q-learning mechanism is compared with conventional selection schemes showing the superior performance of the proposed model over less complex mechanisms.

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