Social Data Offloading in D2D-Enhanced Cellular Networks by Network Formation Games
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Recently, cellular networks have become severely overloaded by social-based services, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, in which thousands of clients subscribe to a common content provider (e.g., a popular singer) and download his/her content updates all the time. Offloading such traffic through complementary networks, such as a delay tolerant network formed by device-to-device (D2D) communications between mobile subscribers, is a promising solution to reduce the cellular burdens. In the existing solutions, mobile users are assumed to be volunteers who selflessly deliver the content to every other user in proximity while moving. However, practical users are selfish and they will evaluate their individual payoffs in the D2D sharing process, which may highly influence the network performance compared to the case of selfless users. In this paper, we take user selfishness into consideration and propose a network formation game to capture the dynamic characteristics of selfish behaviors. In the proposed game, we provide the utility function of each user and specify the conditions under which the subscribers are guaranteed to converge to a stable network. Then, we propose a practical network formation algorithm in which the users can decide their D2D sharing strategies based on their historical records. Simulation results show that user selfishness can highly degrade the efficiency of data offloading, compared with ideal volunteer users. Also, the decrease caused by user selfishness can be highly affected by the cost ratio between the cellular transmission and D2D transmission, the access delays, and mobility patterns.