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Deployable Application Layer Solution for Seamless Mobility Across Heterogeneous Networks
Gianni A. Di Caro, Silvia Giordano, Mirko Kulig, Davide Lenzarini, Alessandro Puiatti, François Schwitter and Salvatore Vanini

The steady increase in user demand for “all the time, everywhere access” asks for effective and portable solutions for mobility management. Traditionally, global mobility has been addressed by solutions at the network layer. This is the case of Mobile IP and related approaches. On the other hand, this class of solutions presents several drawbacks, such as high overhead, poor scalability, inefficiencies at the transport layer, and inability to take into account user preferences and QoS specifications. These drawbacks seriously affect the ability of the systems to provide seamless handovers, that is, transparent management of mobility and continuity of service when changing network connection point. Moreover, most of the proposed solutions cannot deal with vertical handovers, which involve access points equipped with different radio technology (e.g., WLAN and GPRS). In this paper we propose WiOptiMo, an application layer solution for mobility management and seamless handover in heterogeneous multi-technology networks. Working at the application layer, and making use of active and passive cross-layer monitoring, WiOptiMo can overcome most of the drawbacks of previous solutions. It is an integrated approach that can deal effectively with both macro- and micro-mobility. Its design has been driven by the objective of realizing a system which is fully portable, energy and cpu aware, and fully compliant to current standards. The inclusion of autonomic components in WiOptiMo’s design empowers the system with basic self-tuning and self-configuring capabilities. We present a detailed description of the system and discuss its pro and cons. Results from real-world experiments are reported to assess the efficiency and the efficacy of the approach.

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