Network sharing and the probability of ruin

There is now increasing interest in network sharing to support wireless communications, where the main focus is on how operators should get access to the scarce spectrum (at least in the radio bands). A more general question is how different parties can provide different components of the network. Although spectrum is one component, the physical transmitting devices and the backhaul are also key components.

In a previous post, I discussed some different ways that infrastructure can be owned by different parties, especially in the setting where users are in a facility (e.g., mine, power plant or large residential area). I briefly mentioned the need for new evaluation metrics in order to optimize network sharing agreements and it is this aspect I want to explore further in this post. In particular, I will introduce the notion of the probability of ruin.

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How much does the PHY layer matter?

In wireless communications, a recurring question is whether or not the PHY layer is dead (there was even a paper with this title in 2011). While it is my view that it isn’t (there are still interesting open questions related to, for instance, impulsive noise and also vehicular communications), there are what in all probability are more pressing questions: when and how much does the PHY layer matter?

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