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BUSE – Beyond User-in-the-Loop: User-in-the-Service

Background: User in the Loop and the Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the 3.5 GHz Band

The idea of the “user-in-the-loop” (UIL) builds on the observation that a majority of human users show willingness to shape their service demands in space/time if they recognize some benefit associated with such behavior [1], [2]. For example, a behavioral survey reported in [1] indicates that more than 50% of mobile users are willing to move around 40 m in indoor or outdoor environments provided they receive a level of discount in the order of 20%-40% on regular charges of certain services. A related trend suggests that some users – typically belonging to the same social group -- take part in distributed device-to-device (D2D) caching technology based video content distribution as long as security concerns are properly addressed [3]. From a physical layer perspective, a recent study suggests that D2D communication can be used to extend or improve the coverage of cellular networks at the expense of a slight increase in the battery consumption at user devices acting as mobile relays [4].

These ideas and market trends point to a direction of socially aware service providers, mobile network operators and human end users who recognize the win-win opportunity of involving users to various degrees in the provisioning of wireless services. Indeed, socially aware D2D communications is an emerging research domain involving technology experts as well as researchers of human behavior and social sciences [5].

 At the same time, in the USA, a recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) creates 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (the “Innovation Band”) available for a tiers of shared users (incumbents, priority access and general authorized access) coordinated by Spectrum Access Systems (SAS) [10]. With the new FCC rules, carrier and private networks will be able to cooperate, share the same band, and create new and complementary business models and services to existing cellular services, including internet access, machine type communications supported by infrastructure assisted or ad hoc type of D2D communications.

BUSE -- Beyond User-in-the-Loop: User-in-the-Service: Objectives

The objective of the BUSE project is to take the UIL idea a step further and explore the possibilities of involving users of advanced smart mobile devices in the cellular infrastructure and provisioning of broadband wireless services, including video content distribution, D2D based relaying, temporal/spatial demand shaping and social proximity services. While in the UIL model the user devices are considered as receivers of services, the BUSE model allows for users getting involved in wireless service provisioning and/or becoming part of the wireless infrastructure. In the future, such new cooperation between users and network operators can be feasible on various carrier frequencies such as the “Innovation Band” or higher frequency bands as well as on entirely network controlled cellular frequencies using network assisted D2D communications. That is BUSE treats the evolving wireless infrastructure, available spectrum and user devices as cooperating “ecosystem” and seeks to find win-win points in this system.

This objective is motivated by the fact that mobile operators and service providers face the difficulties of meeting exponentially increasing demands for broadband and content services which may exceed the supply at some locations and during some periods of time. At the same time, the increasing capabilities of user owned and operated devices in terms of storage capacity, processing power and wireless physical layer capabilities, including multiple antennas, enable such devices to contribute to the service experience of peer wireless devices owned either by the same user or peer users. For example, an advanced cellular device (phone) may easily serve as a semi-static relay node or wireless router in a home or small office environment towards a 5G cellular network.

The BUSE project targets the following research questions:

  1. What technology solutions and business and/or social incentives are necessary to motivate users to actively cooperate with network operators and service providers to find win-win operating points? What is the cost at the user side in terms of increased power consumption or storage capacity usage for various forms of user involvement and how can such costs compensated by certain benefits provided by infrastructure and spectrum owners? Such win-win operating points may be users caching and distributing popular video or audio content, extending the coverage of cellular networks by D2D based relaying or assisting peers to find products and services in the proximity of their current location.
  2. What protocols and algorithms are needed to facilitate the cooperation and collaboration of users, service/content providers and network operators? Although this aspect focuses on the technology and algorithmic/performance aspects, it is intimately related to providing incentives and exchanging information between users and operators:
    1. How should incentives be communicated and updated to users and devices?
    2. What algorithms should be used by operators and users to cooperate such that a win-win operational point is established?
    3. What performance and business gains can be expected at the operator as well as the user side?


Possible Next Steps beyond the Seed Project BUSE

 BUSE is closely related to the well-established areas of cooperative communications, cellular network controlled D2D communications and the emerging research field of UIL and social aware D2D communications. It is also closely intertwined with the economics of future wireless networks [6], [7], [8].

We envisage that as the evolution of user owned and operated devices in terms of PHY layer capabilities (e.g. processing power, multiple antenna schemes and storage capacity) progresses and the regulatory framework continues to support service innovations by incumbent, priority and secondary spectrum users), a new range of higher layer protocols and PHY layer algorithms will be needed to support spectrum and energy efficient systems. With the above objectives, BUSE can be seen as a first step in that direction.

Industry Partners:

The BUSE seed project would be executed in cooperation with the following researchers at the Wireless Access Networks (WAN) department of Ericsson Research:


  1. Vicknesan Ayadurai and Mikael Prytz: The main contribution of Vicknesan and Mikael is the design and implementation of some of BUSE algorithms in the Ericsson D2D testbed [9]. The testbed implementation would focus on the physical layer and algorithmic aspects of network node-user device cooperation;
  2. Qianxi Lu: To facilitate user cooperation, new protocols to support user involvement in user device based relaying, content discovery and distribution are necessary. Qianxi Lu will contribute to the concept development of such new solutions, especially as part of the Ericsson 5G concept development [6].

Researchers involved in BUSE at KTH:

Prof. Mikael Johansson [1 man month]:

Mikael Johansson earned the M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Lund University, Sweden, in 1994 and 1999, respectively. He held postdoctoral research positions at Stanford University and UC Berkeley before joining KTH in 2002, where he now serves as a full professor.

Dr. Gabor Fodor [5 man months]:

Gabor Fodor is a part time researcher at the Automatic Control Lab at KTH. He is also part time part time employed at Ericsson Research, where he is a master researcher.




Dr. Mikael Prytz [1 man month]:

Mikael Prytz is section manager of the Section of Spectrum Management at the Wireless Access Networks Department of Ericsson Research.


Dr. Yngve Selén [1 man month]:

Yngve Selén is section manager of the Radio Network Protocols section at the Wireless Access Networks Department of Ericsson Research.


Vicknesan Ayadurai [4 man months]:

Vicknesan Ayadurai is a senior researcher at the Wireless Access Networks Department of Ericsson Research.


Dr. Qianxi Lu [2 man months]:

Qianxi Lu is a senior researcher at the Wireless Access Networks Department of Ericsson Research.


Expected Outcome of BUSE and Relations to Wireless Systems for the TERA Age:

First, the expected outcome of BUSE is an understanding of the gains at the user and the network/service provider side in terms of improved service experience/availability and reduced OPEX/CAPEX costs due to involving the user in the infrastructure rather than considering the user equipment as a means to receive wireless services. Also, BUSE is expected to identify the costs at the user side and the necessary incentives on the network provider side in various use cases. Finally, a few examples on key algorithms that enable such cooperation to take place will be proposed by BUSE.


The overall expected outcome of BUSE is a first set of mechanisms that contribute to an improved utilization of infrastructure, spectrum and user equipment resources such that ultimately both service/network providers and users benefit from this “joint ecosystem”.

 Related Publications

  • A. Orsino, A. Ometov, G. Fodor, D. Moltchanov, L. Militano, S. Andreev, O. N. C. Yilmaz, T. Tirronen, J. Torsner, G. Araniti, M. Dohler, and Y. Koucheryavy, "Effects of Heterogeneous Mobility on D2D- and Drone-Assisted Mission-Critical MTC in 5G", IEEE Communications Magazine, Vol. 55, Issue 2, pp. 79-87, February 2017.
  • A. Ometov, A. Orsino, L. Militano, D. Moltchanov. G. Araniti, E. Olshannikova, G. Fodor, S. Andreev, T. Olsson, A. Iera, J. Torsner, Y. Koucheryavy,  T. Mikkonen, "TowardsTrusted, Social-Aware D2D Connectivity: Bridging Across Technology and Sociality Realms", IEEE Wireless Communications, Vol. 3, Issue 4, pp. 103-111, August 2016.
  • J. M. B. da Silva and G. Fodor, "A Binary Power Control Scheme for D2D Communications", IEEE Wireless Communications Letters, September 2015. DOI: 10.1109/LWC.2015.2481405.
  • A. Abrardo, G. Fodor and B. Tola, "Network Coding Schemes for D2D Communications Based Relaying for Cellular Coverage Extension", Wiley Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies, November 2015. DOI: 10.1002/ett.2994.
  • M. Belleschi, G. Fodor, D. D. Penda, A. Pradini, M. Johansson, A. Abrardo, "Benchmarking Practical RRM Algorithms for D2D Communications in LTE Advanced", Wireless Personal Communications (Springer), January 2015. DOI 10.1007/s11277-014-2258-1.
  • K. Guo, S. Dai, C. Zhang, G. Fodor, G. H. Ascheid, "Massive MIMO Aided Multi-Pair Relaying with Underlaid D2D Communications", European Wireless, Dresden, Germany, 17-19 May 2017.
  • A. Abrardo, G. Fodor, B. Tola, "Network Coding Schemes for D2D Communications Based Relaying for Cellular Coverage Extension", IEEE Signal Processing Advancements for Wireless Communications (SPAWC), Stockholm, June 2015.
  • J. M. B. da Silva Jr, G. Fodor, T. F. Maciel, "Performance Analysis of Network Assisted Two-Hop D2D Communications", 10th IEEE Broadband Wireless Access Workshop, Austin, TX, USA, December 2014.
  • G. Fodor, A. Pradini and A. Gattami, "On Applying Network Coding in Network Assisted Device-to-Device Communications", European Wireless, Barcelona, Spain, May 2014.
  • L. Qianxi, M. Qingyu, G. Fodor and N. Brahmi, "Clustering Schemes for D2D Communications Under Partial/No Network Coverage", IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC) Spring, Seoul, June 2014.
  • A. Pradini. G. Fodor, G. Miao and M. Belleschi, "Near Optimal Practical Power Control Schemes for D2D Communications in Cellular Networks", European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC), Bologna, Italy, June 23-26, 2014.
  • V. Petrov, K. Mikhaylov, D. Moltchanov, S. Andreev, G. Fodor, J. Torsner, H. Yanikomeroglu, M. Juntti, Y. Koucheryavy, “When IoT Keeps People in the Loop: A Path Towards a New Global Utility”, arXiv,



  • Schoenen and H. Yanikomeroglu, “User-in-the-Loop: Spatial and Temporal Demand for Sustainable Wireless Networks”, IEEE Communications Magazine, February 2014. pp. 196-203.
  • Schoenen, “User-in-the-Loop Project”,
  • Golrezaei, A. F. Molisch, A. G. Dimakis, and G. Caire “Femtocaching and Device-to-Device Collaboration: A New Architecture for Wireless Video Distribution”, IEEE Communications Magazine, pp. 142-149, April 2013.
  • Abrardo and G. Fodor, “Network Coding Schemes for D2D Communications Based Relaying for Cellular Coverage Extension”, 16th IEEE International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications (SPAWC’15), Stockholm, June 28 – July 1 2015.
  • “Device-to-Device Communications with Social Awareness”, IEEE Wireless Communications, Call For Papers, September 2015.
  • “5G Systems” – Ericsson White Paper, January 2015.
  • Jihong Park; Kim Seong-Lyun; and J. Zander, “Asymptotic Behavior of Ultra-Dense Cellular Networks and Its Economic Impact”, IEEE Globecom, pp. 4941 – 4946, Austin, TX, USA 2014.
  • Astely, E. Dahlman, G. Fodor, S. Parkvall and J. Sachs, "LTE Release 12 and Beyond", IEEE Communications Magazine, Vol. 51, No. 7, pp. 154-160, July 2013.
  • Ayadurai, M. Prytz, “Software Radio Platform for Network-Assisted Device-to-Device (NA-D2D) Concepts”, ACM SIGCOMM ’13, August 12–16, 2013, Hong Kong, China.
  • “Breaking Down Barriers to Innovations in the 3.5 GHz Band”,

BUSE Final Report: