, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 625-640
Date: 22 May 2006

Signal threshold adaptation for vertical handoff in heterogeneous wireless networks

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The convergence of heterogeneous wireless access technologies has been envisioned to characterize the next generation wireless networks. In such converged systems, the seamless and efficient handoff between different access technologies (vertical handoff) is essential and remains a challenging problem. The heterogeneous co-existence of access technologies with largely different characteristics results in handoff asymmetry that differs from the traditional intra-network handoff (horizontal handoff) problem. In the case where one network is preferred, the vertical handoff decision should be carefully executed, based on the wireless channel state, network layer characteristics, as well as application requirements. In this paper, we study the performance of vertical handoff using the integration of 3G cellular and wireless local area networks as an example. In particular, we investigate the effect of an application-based signal strength threshold on an adaptive preferred-network lifetime-based handoff strategy, in terms of the signalling load, available bandwidth, and packet delay for an inter-network roaming mobile. We present an analytical framework to evaluate the converged system performance, which is validated by computer simulation. We show how the proposed analytical model can be used to provide design guidelines for the optimization of vertical handoff in the next generation integrated wireless networks.

This article is the extended version of a paper presented in IFIP Networking 2005
Ahmed H. Zahran is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto. He received both his M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Electronics and Electrical Communication Department in the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University in 2002 and 2000 respectively, where he was holding teaching and research positions. Since September 2003, he has been working as a research assistant in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto under the supervision of Professor Ben Liang. His research interest is wireless communication and networking with an emphasis on the design and analysis of networking protocols and algorithms.
Ben Liang received honors simultaneous B.Sc. (valedictorian) and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, New York, in 1997 and the PhD degree in Electrical Engineering with Computer Science minor from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 2001. In the 2001–2002 academic year, he was a visiting lecturer and post-doctoral research associate at Cornell University. He joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor in 2002. His current research interests are in the areas of mobile networking and wireless multimedia systems. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, IEEE, and ACM and serves on the organization and technical program committees of a number of major conferences each year.
Aladdin Saleh earned his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from London University, England. Since March 1998, Dr. Saleh has been working in the Wireless Technology Department of Bell Canada, the largest service provider of wireless, wire-line, and Internet in Canada. He worked as a senior application architect in the wireless data group working on several projects among them the wireless application protocol (WAP) and the location-based services. Later, he led the work on several key projects in the broadband wireless network access planning group including planning of the IEEE 802.16/ Wimax, the IEEE 802.11/ WiFi, and the integration of these technologies with the 3G cellular network including Mobile IP (MIP) deployment. Dr. Saleh also holds the position of Adjunct Full Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Waterloo University, Canada since January 2004. He is currently conducting several joint research projects with the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto on IEEE 802.16-Wimax, MIMO technology, interworking of IEEE 802.11 WLAN and 3G cellular networks, and next generation wireless networks. Prior to joining Bell Canada, Dr. Saleh worked as a faculty member at different universities and was Dean and Chairman of Department for several years. Dr. Saleh is a Fellow of IEE and a Senior Member of IEEE.