Scheduling Policies for Federated Learning in Wireless Networks

Howard H. Yang, Zuozhu Liu, Tony Q.S. Quek, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

401 Scopus citations


Motivated by the increasing computational capacity of wireless user equipments (UEs), e.g., smart phones, tablets, or vehicles, as well as the increasing concerns about sharing private data, a new machine learning model has emerged, namely federated learning (FL), that allows a decoupling of data acquisition and computation at the central unit. Unlike centralized learning taking place in a data center, FL usually operates in a wireless edge network where the communication medium is resource-constrained and unreliable. Due to limited bandwidth, only a portion of UEs can be scheduled for updates at each iteration. Due to the shared nature of the wireless medium, transmissions are subjected to interference and are not guaranteed. The performance of FL system in such a setting is not well understood. In this paper, an analytical model is developed to characterize the performance of FL in wireless networks. Particularly, tractable expressions are derived for the convergence rate of FL in a wireless setting, accounting for effects from both scheduling schemes and inter-cell interference. Using the developed analysis, the effectiveness of three different scheduling policies, i.e., random scheduling (RS), round robin (RR), and proportional fair (PF), are compared in terms of FL convergence rate. It is shown that running FL with PF outperforms RS and RR if the network is operating under a high signal-to-interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR) threshold, while RR is more preferable when the SINR threshold is low. Moreover, the FL convergence rate decreases rapidly as the SINR threshold increases, thus confirming the importance of compression and quantization of the update parameters. The analysis also reveals a trade-off between the number of scheduled UEs and subchannel bandwidth under a fixed amount of available spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8851249
Pages (from-to)317-333
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Federated learning
  • convergence analysis
  • parallel and distributed algorithms
  • scheduling policies
  • stochastic geometry


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