Small cell networks have attracted a great deal of attention in recent years due to their potential to meet the exponential growth of mobile data traffic, and the increasing demand for better quality of service and user experience in mobile applications. Nevertheless, wide deployment of small cell networks has not happened yet because of the complexity in the network planning and optimization, as well as the high expenditure involved in deployment and operation. In particular, it is difficult to provide grid power supply to all the small cell base stations in a cost-effective way. Moreover, a dense deployment of small cell base stations, which is needed to meet the capacity and coverage of next generation wireless networks, will increase operators' electricity bills and lead to significant carbon emission. Thus, it is crucial to exploit offgrid and green energy sources to power small cell networks, for which energy harvesting technology is a viable solution. In this article, we conduct a comprehensive study of energy harvesting small cell networks, and investigate important aspects, including a feasibility analysis, network deployment, and network operation issues. The advantages as well as unique challenges of energy harvesting small cell networks are highlighted, together with potential solutions and effective design methodologies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Computer Networks and Communications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering