Practical Conflict Graphs for Dynamic Spectrum Distribution

Xia Zhou
Zengbin Zhang
Gang Wang
Xiaoxiao Yu
Ben Y. Zhao
Haitao Zheng

Proceedings of ACM SIGMETRICS 2013
Awarded Best Practical Paper

[Full Text in PDF Format, 1.3MB]

Paper Abstract

Most spectrum distribution proposals today develop their allocation algorithms that use conflict graphs to capture interference relationships. The use of conflict graphs, however, is often questioned by the wireless community because of two issues. First, building conflict graphs requires significant overhead and hence generally does not scale to outdoor networks, and second, the resulting conflict graphs do not capture accumulative interference.

In this paper, we use large-scale measurement data as ground truth to understand just how severe these issues are in practice, and whether they can be overcome. We build "practical" conflict graphs using measurement-calibrated propagation models, which remove the need for exhaustive signal measurements by interpolating signal strengths using calibrated models. These propagation models are imperfect, and we study the impact of their errors by tracing the impact on multiple steps in the process, from calibrating propagation models to predicting signal strength and building conflict graphs. At each step, we analyze the introduction, propagation and final impact of errors, by comparing each intermediate result to its ground truth counterpart generated from measurements. Our work produces several findings. Calibrated propagation models generate location-dependent prediction errors, ultimately producing conservative conflict graphs. While these "estimated conflict graphs" lose some spectrum utilization, their conservative nature improves reliability by reducing the impact of accumulative interference. Finally, we propose a graph augmentation technique that addresses any remaining accumulative interference, the last missing piece in a practical spectrum distribution system using measurement-calibrated conflict graphs.