With the exponential increase in mobile internet traffic driven by a new generation of wireless devices, future cellular networks face a great challenge to meet this overwhelming demand of network capacity. At the same time, the demand for higher data rates and the ever-increasing number of wireless users led to rapid increases in power consumption and operating cost of cellular networks. One potential solution to address these issues is to overlay small cell networks with macrocell networks as a means to provide higher network capacity and better coverage. However, the dense and random deployment of small cells and their uncoordinated operation raise important questions about the energy efficiency implications of such multi-tier networks. Another technique to improve energy efficiency in cellular networks is to introduce active/sleep (on/off) modes in macrocell base stations. In this paper, we investigate the design and the associated tradeoffs of energy efficient cellular networks through the deployment of sleeping strategies and small cells. Using a stochastic geometry based model, we derive the success probability and energy efficiency in homogeneous macrocell (single-tier) and heterogeneous K-tier wireless networks under different sleeping policies. In addition, we formulate the power consumption minimization and energy efficiency maximization problems, and determine the optimal operating regimes for macrocell base stations. Numerical results confirm the effectiveness of switching off base stations in homogeneous macrocell networks. Nevertheless, the gains in terms of energy efficiency depend on the type of sleeping strategy used. In addition, the deployment of small cells generally leads to higher energy efficiency but this gain saturates as the density of small cells increases. In a nutshell, our proposed framework provides an essential understanding on the deployment of future green heterogeneous networks.
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