The deployment of small cells has been identified as one of the future-proof solutions to cope with the increasing demand for higher data rate and ubiquitous access in mobile networks. However, providing a reliable and cost-effective backhaul connectivity for small cells has become a key challenge. It is identified that the cost efficiency of small-cell deployments can be improved by leveraging existing resources when planning the deployment. However, if not strategically planned the deployment, such an approach may compromise other requirements such as coverage and capacity. In this paper we demonstrate how a small-cell network and its backhaul can be planned cost efficiently in scenarios where the existing fiber resources are sparsely located.
To this end, we develop an optimization framework to minimize the deployment cost subject to a range of constraints that capture different network requirements such as the coverage and capacity. We demonstrate a practical example by using our model to plan a smallcell network and its backhaul, for a typical suburban area where existing fiber access locations are sparsely located.We also discuss the potential cost implications due to the stringency of different network requirements, by evaluating the optimal solutions for variety of deployment scenarios.