Echo State Networks for Self-Organizing Resource Allocation in LTE-U With Uplink–Downlink Decoupling
Uplink–downlink decoupling in which users can be associated to different base stations in the uplink and downlink of heterogeneous small cell networks (SCNs) has attracted significant attention recently. However, most existing works focus on simple association mechanisms in LTE SCNs that operate only in the licensed band. In contrast, in this paper, the problem of resource allocation with uplink–downlink decoupling is studied for an SCN that incorporates LTE in the unlicensed band. Here, the users can access both licensed and unlicensed bands while being associated to different base stations. This problem is formulated as a noncooperative game that incorporates user association, spectrum allocation, and load balancing. To solve this problem, a distributed algorithm based on the machine learning framework of echo state networks (ESNs) is proposed. This proposed algorithm allows the small base stations to autonomously choose their optimal resource allocation strategies given only limited information on the network’s and users’ states. It is shown that the proposed algorithm converges to a stationary mixed-strategy distribution, which constitutes a mixed strategy Nash equilibrium for their studied game. Simulation results show that the proposed approach yields significant gain, in terms of the sum-rate of the 50th percentile of users, that reaches up to 167% compared with a Q-learning algorithm. The results also show that the ESN significantly provides a considerable reduction of information exchange for the wireless network.