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Comparative analysis of IP-based mobility protocols and fast handover algorithms in IEEE 802.11 based WLANs

Comparative analysis of IP-based mobility protocols and fast handover algorithms in IEEE 802.11 based WLANs

J. Wozniak , P. Machań , K. Gierlowski , M. Hoeft , M. Lewczuk  

Gdańsk University of Technology,


 A rapid growth of IP-based networks and services created the vast collection of resources and functionality available to users by means of an uniform method of access – an IP protocol. At the same time, advances in design of mobile electronic devices allowed them to reach utility level comparable to stationary, desktop computers, while still retaining their mobility advantage. Unfortunately, the base IP protocol does not perform very well in mobile environments, due to lack of handover support and higher layer mobility management mechanisms. In this paper we present an overview of the most popular and promising methods of handling mobility in IPv4 and IPv6 networks, covering both ISO-OSI layer 2 low level handover mechanisms in IEEE 802.11 WLAN systems and ISO-OSI layer 3+ mobility solutions.

Keywords: IP networks, IEEE 802.11 based WLANs, handover, mobility protocols, analysis, comparison

  1.  Introduction 

 With rapid growth of information and communication technologies during the last decade, two dominant technology trends can be observed.

 The first one is the Internet – an easily accessible internetwork offering numerous services based on a single network protocol – the Internet Protocol (IP). As utilization of IP protocol results in obtaining the largest possible group of potential users, service developers and providers consistently do so. This trend, which can be called “All-IP” approach, results in a uniform way in which services are provided to remote users.

 The second one is mobility. A rapid development of universal mobile devices, able to offer their users functionality comparable to stationary desktop computers has inevitably led to their integration with the largest available source of services – the Internet and IP protocol.

 Unfortunately mobility in IP network brings a number of problems, which need to be solved, if IP-based services are to be offered to end-users with satisfactory quality. Mobile users need to communicate without interruption while moving across different access networks, which results not only in necessity to change points of physical network access (handover) but also in probable changes of users IP address.

 To allow a user to retain an uninterrupted access to services under such conditions, a two-tier solution is necessary: an universal, IP mobility mechanism which will counteract adverse effects of necessary IP address changes, and methods of efficient and seamless handover.

 To provide insight into current state-of-the-art in this area, we would like to present a description of the most promising IP-based mobility solutions being developed and deployed, complete with an overview of advanced handover solutions designed for IEEE 802.11-based networks – the most popular wireless local area network (WLAN) technology today.


 For full version of this article follow this link.

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