Subsidiarity and weak coupling in wireless networks

Aarne Mämmelä, Jukka Riekki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We propose the subsidiarity and weak coupling principles for developing the sixth generation (6G) self-organizing wireless networks. The principles are common in social sciences and control theory, respectively. This proposal leads to organizing the network as a hierarchy of interacting rational agents with vertical and horizontal weak coupling. The central agent provides a performance goal and constraints to the lower level agents that operate almost autonomously in this multi-agent system. The system has various favorable properties, including stability, reliability, and efficiency. Present self-organizing networks are usually distributed without any centralized controller. The lack of a common externally given goal may lead to low performance, staggering behavior, or even chaotic situations. In communications, each transmitter can be interpreted as a rational lower level agent. A principle resembling subsidiarity, the locality principle, is used, for example, in cellular automata, systolic arrays, and edge computing. Subsidiarity is also a solution for the tragedy of the commons where common resources are overused because the costs are divided equally among the users, often with some significant delay. We also provide a historical review that shows each idea's origin because different disciplines use different terminology for similar concepts. Understanding the origins can reduce fragmentation and enhance scientific progress.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 Joint European Conference on Networks and Communications and 6G Summit, EuCNC/6G Summit 2021
PublisherIEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-1526-2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventJoint 30th European Conference on Networks and Communications and 3rd 6G Summit, EuCNC/6G Summit 2021 - Virtual, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 8 Jun 202111 Jun 2021


ConferenceJoint 30th European Conference on Networks and Communications and 3rd 6G Summit, EuCNC/6G Summit 2021
CityVirtual, Porto


  • Arbitrator
  • Autonomy
  • Hierarchy
  • Interacting agents
  • Leader
  • Modularity
  • Multi-agent systems
  • Self-organizing communication networks
  • Subsidiarity
  • Tragedy of the commons
  • Weakly coupled systems


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