With the foreseeable explosive growth of small cell deployment, backhaul has become the next big challenge in the next generation wireless networks. Heterogeneous backhaul deployment using different wired and wireless technologies may be a potential solution to meet this challenge. Therefore, it is of cardinal importance to evaluate and compare the performance characteristics of various backhaul technologies to understand their effect on the network aggregate performance. In this paper, we propose relevant backhaul models and study the delay performance of various backhaul technologies with different capabilities and characteristics, including fiber, xDSL, millimeter wave (mmWave), and sub-6 GHz. Using these models, we aim at optimizing the base station (BS) association so as to minimize the mean network packet delay in a macrocell network overlaid with small cells. Numerical results are presented to show the delay performance characteristics of different backhaul solutions. Comparisons between the proposed and traditional BS association policies show the significant effect of backhaul on the network performance, which demonstrates the importance of joint system design for radio access and backhaul networks.
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