Journal of Heuristics

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 845–880 | Cite as

Randomized heuristics for handover minimization in mobility networks

  • L. F. Morán-Mirabal
  • J. L. González-Velarde
  • M. G. C. Resende
  • R. M. A. Silva


A mobile device connects to the cell tower (base station) from which it receives the strongest signal. As the device moves it may connect to a series of towers. The process in which the device changes the base station it is connected to is called handover. A cell tower is connected to a radio network controller (RNC) which controls many of its operations, including handover. Each cell tower handles an amount of traffic and each radio network controller has capacity to handle a maximum amount of traffic from all base stations connected to it. Handovers between base stations connected to different RNCs tend to fail more often than handovers between base stations connected to the same RNC. Handover failures result in dropped connections and therefore should be minimized. The Handover Minimization Problem is to assign towers to RNCs such that RNC capacity is not violated and the number of handovers between base stations connected to different RNCs is minimized. We describe an integer programming formulation for the handover minimization problem and show that state-of-the-art integer programming solvers can solve only very small instances of the problem. We propose several randomized heuristics for finding approximate solutions of this problem, including a GRASP with path-relinking for the generalized quadratic assignment problem, a GRASP with evolutionary path-relinking, and a biased random-key genetic algorithm. Computational results are presented.


Mobility networks Handover minimization Randomized heuristics GRASP Biased random-key genetic algorithm. 



This research was done while L.F. Morán-Mirabal and R.M.A. Silva were Visiting Scholars at AT&T Labs Research in Florham Park, New Jersey. The research of L.F. Morán-Mirabal was partially funded by Tecnológico de Monterrey Research Fund CAT128. The research of R.M.A Silva was partially supported by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the Foundation for Support of Research of the State of Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), the Office for Research and Graduate Studies of the Federal University of Pernambuco (PROPESQ), and the Foundation for Support of Science and Technology of the State of Pernambuco (FACEPE).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. F. Morán-Mirabal
    • 1
  • J. L. González-Velarde
    • 1
  • M. G. C. Resende
    • 2
  • R. M. A. Silva
    • 3
  1. 1.Quality and Manufacturing CenterTecnológico de MonterreyMonterreyMexico
  2. 2.Algorithms and Optimization Research DepartmentAT&T Labs ResearchFlorham ParkUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Informática (CIn), Federal University of Pernambuco, Av. Prof. Luís Freire s/nCidade UniversitáriaRecifeBrazil

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