On the Optimality of Treating Inter-Cell Interference as Noise: Downlink Cellular Networks and Uplink-Downlink Duality

Hamdi Joudeh (Corresponding author), Xinping Yi, Bruno Clerckx, Giuseppe Caire

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7 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the information-theoretic optimality of treating inter-cell interference as noise (multi-cell TIN) in downlink cellular networks. We focus on scenarios modeled by the Gaussian interfering broadcast channel (IBC), comprising K mutually interfering Gaussian broadcast channels (BCs), each formed by a base station communicating independent messages to an arbitrary number of users. We establish a new power allocation duality between the IBC and its dual interfering multiple access channel (IMAC), which entails that the corresponding generalized degrees-of-freedom regions achieved through multi-cell TIN and power control (TINA regions) for both networks are identical. As by-products of this duality, we obtain an explicit characterization of the IBC TINA region from a previously established characterization of the IMAC TINA region; and identify a multi-cell convex-TIN regime in which the IBC TINA region is a polyhedron (hence convex) without the need for time-sharing. We then identify a smaller multi-cell TIN regime in which the IBC TINA region is optimal and multi-cell TIN achieves the entire capacity region of the IBC, up to a constant gap. This is accomplished by deriving a new genie-aided outer bound for the IBC, that reveals a novel BC-type order that holds amongst users in each constituent BC (or cell) under inter-cell interference, which in turn is not implied by previously known BC-type orders (i.e. degraded, less noisy and more capable orders). The multi-cell TIN regime that we identify for the IBC coincides with a corresponding multi-cell TIN regime previously identified for the IMAC, hence establishing a comprehensive uplink-downlink duality of multi-cell TIN in the GDoF (and approximate capacity) sense.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9112224
Pages (from-to)6939-6961
Number of pages23
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme789190
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research CouncilEP/R511547/1, EP/N015312/1
European Research Council


    • Gaussian networks
    • Treating interference as noise (TIN)
    • capacity region
    • generalized degrees-of-freedom (GDoF)
    • interfering broadcast channel (IBC)


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