mm-Wave communication systems use narrow directional beams due to the spectrum's characteristic nature: high path and penetration losses. The mobile and the base station primarily employ beams in line of sight (LoS) direction and when needed in non-line of sight direction. Beam management protocol adapts the base station and mobile side beam direction during user mobility and to sustain the link during blockages. To avoid outage in transient pedestrian blockage of the LoS path, the mobile uses reflected or NLoS path available in indoor environments. Reflected paths can sustain time synchronization and maintain connectivity during temporary blockages. In outdoor environments, such reflections may not be available and prior work relied on dense base station deployment or co-ordinated multi-point access to address outage problem. Instead of dense and hence cost-intensive network deployments, we found experimentally that the mobile can capitalize on ground reflection. We developed TERRA protocol to effectively handle mobile side beam direction during transient blockage events. TERRA avoids outage during pedestrian blockages 84.5 $\%$ of the time in outdoor environments on concrete and gravel surfaces. TERRA also enables the mobile to perform a soft handover to a reserve neighbor base station in the event of a permanent blockage, without requiring any side information, unlike the existing works. Evaluations show that TERRA maintains received signal strength close to the optimal solution while keeping track of the neighbor base station.
mm-Wave communication employs directional beams to overcome high path loss. High data rate communication is typically along line-of-sight (LoS). In outdoor environments, such communication is susceptible to temporary blockage by pedestrians interposed between the transmitter and receiver. It results in outages in which the user is lost, and has to be reacquired as a new user, severely disrupting interactive and high throughput applications. It has been presumed that the solution is to have a densely deployed set of base stations that will allow the mobile to perform a handover to a different non-blocked base station every time a current base station is blocked. This is however a very costly solution for outdoor environments. Through extensive experiments we show that it is possible to exploit a strong ground reflection with a received signal strength (RSS) about 4dB less than the LoS path in outdoor built environments with concrete or gravel surfaces, for beams that are narrow in azimuth but wide in zenith. While such reflected paths cannot support the high data rates of LoS paths, they can support control channel communication, and, importantly, sustain time synchronization between the mobile and the base station. This allows a mobile to quickly recover to the LoS path upon the cessation of the temporary blockage, which typically lasts a few hundred milliseconds. We present a simple in-band protocol that quickly discovers ground reflected radiation and uses it to recover the LoS link when the temporary blockage disappears.
Whittle index policy is a powerful tool to obtain asymptotically optimal solutions for the notoriously intractable problem of restless bandits. However, finding the Whittle indices remains a difficult problem for many practical restless bandits with convoluted transition kernels. This paper proposes NeurWIN, a neural Whittle index network that seeks to learn the Whittle indices for any restless bandits by leveraging mathematical properties of the Whittle indices. We show that a neural network that produces the Whittle index is also one that produces the optimal control for a set of Markov decision problems. This property motivates using deep reinforcement learning for the training of NeurWIN. We demonstrate the utility of NeurWIN by evaluating its performance for three recently studied restless bandit problems. Our experiment results show that the performance of NeurWIN is significantly better than other RL algorithms.
In mm-wave networks, cell sizes are small due to high path and penetration losses. Mobiles need to frequently switch softly from one cell to another to preserve network connections and context. Each soft handover involves the mobile performing directional neighbor cell search, tracking cell beam, completing cell access request, and finally, context switching. The mobile must independently discover cell beams, derive timing information, and maintain beam alignment throughout the process to avoid packet loss and hard handover. We propose Silent tracker which enables a mobile to reliably manage handover events by maintaining an aligned beam until the successful handover completion. It is entirely in-band beam mechanism that does not need any side information. Experimental evaluations show that Silent Tracker maintains the mobile's receive beam aligned to the potential target base station's transmit beam till the successful conclusion of handover in three mobility scenarios: human walk, device rotation, and 20 mph vehicular speed.