Convergence of Heterogeneous Wireless Networks for 5G-and-Beyond Communications: Applications, Architecture, and Resource Management
Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Evolving fifth-generation-(5G-) and-beyond communication networks are envisioned to provide services with massive connectivity, ultrahigh data-rate, ultralow latency, much improved security, very low energy consumption, and high quality of experience. 5G-and-beyond communication systems not only will be more advanced but also are expected to be more complex in comparison with legacy systems. To achieve the goals of 5G-and-beyond communication systems, convergence of the heterogeneous wireless
... chnologies has emerged as one of the key solutions. This entails convergence of not only the radio frequency (RF) technologies, but also the optical and RF/optical wireless technologies. The optical spec trum is considered as an emerging solution for the development of future high capacity optical wireless communication (OWC) networks. It offers unique advantages, such as huge unregulated optical spectrum and inherent security. Therefore, future networks are anticipated to adopt a multitier RF/optical architecture comprising macrocells, microcells, different types of licensed small cells, optical attocells, OWC networks, and relays. The future 5G-and-beyond systems, instead of being a single wireless access network, will be a "network of networks." The seamless integration among heterogeneous wireless, optical and RF/optical wireless networks, demands paradigm shifts in such a way that different networks collaborate with each other so as to achieve the desired goals of the 5G-and-beyond communications. In order to attain full convergence of the heterogeneous networks, many technical issues need to be resolved. The motivation behind this special issue has been to solicit cutting-edge research relevant to applications, architecture, and resource management of heterogeneous wireless networks for 5G-and-beyond communications. This special issue invited papers that address such issues. Following a rigorous review process (including a second review round), six outstanding papers have been finally selected for inclusion in the special issue. The accepted papers cover a wide range of research subjects in the broader area of convergence of heterogeneous wireless networks to meet the demand of 5Gand-beyond communications systems.