Iris: Deep Reinforcement Learning Driven Shared Spectrum Access Architecture for Indoor Neutral-Host Small Cells

Xenofon Foukas, Mahesh K. Marina, Kimon Kontovasilis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider indoor mobile access, a vital use case for current and future mobile networks. For this key use case, we outline a vision that combines a neutral-host-based shared small-cell infrastructure with a common pool of spectrum for dynamic sharing as a way forward to proliferate indoor small-cell deployments and open up the mobile operator ecosystem. Toward this vision, we focus on the challenges pertaining to managing access to shared spectrum [e.g., 3.5-GHz U.S. Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum]. We propose Iris, a practical shared spectrum access architecture for indoor neutral-host small-cells. At the core of Irisis a deep reinforcement learning-based dynamic pricing mechanism that efficiently mediates access to shared spectrum for diverse operators in a way that provides incentives for operators and the neutral-host alike. We then present the Iris system architecture that embeds this dynamic pricing mechanism alongside cloud-RAN and RAN slicing design principles in a practical neutral-host design tailored for the indoor small-cell environment. Using a prototype implementation of the Iris system, we present the extensive experimental evaluation results that not only offer insight into the Iris dynamic pricing process and its superiority over alternative approaches but also demonstrate its deployment feasibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1820-1837
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number8
Early online date5 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Indoor mobile access
  • small cells
  • neutral host
  • RAN slizing
  • C-RAN
  • shared spectrum
  • dynamic pricing
  • deep reinforcement learning


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