An incentive framework for cellular traffic offloading

Xuejun Zhuo, Wei Gao, Guohong Cao, Sha Hua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Cellular networks (e.g., 3G) are currently facing severe traffic overload problems caused by excessive traffic demands. Offloading part of the cellular traffic through other forms of networks, such as Delay Tolerant Networks (DTNs) and WiFi hotspots, is a promising solution. However, since these networks can only provide intermittent connectivity to mobile users, utilizing them for cellular traffic offloading may result in a nonnegligible delay. As the delay increases, the users' satisfaction decreases. In this paper, we investigate the tradeoff between the amount of traffic being offloaded and the users' satisfaction. We provide a novel incentive framework to motivate users to leverage their delay tolerance for cellular traffic offloading. To minimize the incentive cost given an offloading target, users with high delay tolerance and large offloading potential should be prioritized for traffic offloading. To effectively capture the dynamic characteristics of users' delay tolerance, our incentive framework is based on reverse auction to let users proactively express their delay tolerance by submitting bids. We further illustrate how to predict the offloading potential of the users by using stochastic analysis for both DTN and WiFi cases. Extensive trace-driven simulations verify the efficiency of our incentive framework for cellular traffic offloading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6419707
Pages (from-to)541-555
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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