Wireless Networks

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 535–550 | Cite as

Association control algorithms for handoff frequency minimization in mobile wireless networks

  • Minkyong Kim
  • Zhen Liu
  • Srinivasan ParthasarathyEmail author
  • Dimitrios Pendarakis
  • Hao Yang


As mobile nodes roam in a wireless network, they continuously associate with different access points and perform handoff operations. Frequent handoffs performed by a mobile device may have undesirable consequences, as they can cause interruptions for interactive applications and increase the energy usage of mobile devices. While existing approaches to this issue focus entirely on improving the latency incurred by individual handoffs, in this paper, we initiate a novel approach to association control of mobile devices with the goal of reducing the frequency of handoffs for mobile devices. We study the handoff minimization problem across multiple dimensions: offline versus online where the complete knowledge of mobility patterns of users is known in advance or unknown respectively; capacity constrained versus unconstrained access points, which imposes limits on the number of mobile devices which could be associated with a given access point at any given point in time; group mobility versus arbitrary mobility of users, which are contrasting ways to model the mobility patterns of the mobile users. We consider various combinations of the above dimensions and present the following: (1) optimal algorithms, (2) provably-good online and offline approximation algorithms, (3) complexity (NP-Completeness) results, and (4) a practical heuristic which is demonstrated to work well on real network traces.


Wireless networks Handoff Algorithms Approximation ratio Competitive ratio Optimization 


  1. 1.
    Balachandran, A., Bahl, P., & Voelker, G. (2002). Hot-spot congestion relief in public-area wireless networks. SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, 32, 59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bejerano, Y., Han, S.-J., & Li, L. (2004, September). Fairness and load balancing in wireless LANs using association control. In Proceedings of ACM Mobicom, Philadelphia, PA, USA.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cisco Systems Inc. (2006). Aironet 802.11 a/b/g WLAN client adapter data sheet.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Haeberlen, A., Flannery, E., Ladd, A. M., Rudys, A., Wallach, D. S., & Kavraki, L. E. (2002, September). Practical robust localization over large-scale 802.11 wireless networks. In Proceedings of the 10th ACM international conference on mobile computing and networkign (MOBICOM), Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Henderson, T., Kotz, D., & Abyzov, I. (2004, September). The changing usage of a mature campus-wide wireless network. In Proceedings of the 10th annual international conference on mobile computing and networking (MobiCom) (pp. 187–201). ACM Press.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jardosh, A., Mittal, K., Ramachandran, K., Belding, E., & Almeroth, K. (2006, September). IQU: Practical queue-based user association management for WLANs. In Proceedings of ACM Mobicom, Los Angeles, CA, USA.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kim, M., Liu, Z., Parthasarathy, S., Pendarakis, D. E. & Yang, H. (2008). Association control in mobile wireless networks. In IEEE INFOCOM (pp. 1256–1264).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    King, T., Kaenselmann, T., Kopf, S., & Effelsberg, W. (2006). Overhearing the wireless interface for 802.11-based positioning systems. In Proceedings of the 5th annual IEEE international conference on pervasive computing and communications (PerCom’07) (pp. 145–150). New York: White Plains.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Klein, M. (1967). A primal method for minimal cost flows with applications to the assignment and transportation problems. Management Science, 14, 205–220.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kleinberg, J., & Tardos, E. (2005). Algorithm design. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley/Longman.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kolen, A. W. J., Papadimitriou, C. H., Lenstra, J. K., & Spieksma, F. C. R. (2007). Interval scheduling: A survey. Naval Research Logistics, 54, 530–543.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Li, B. (2002). On increasing service accessibility and efficiency in wireless ad-hoc networks with group mobility. Wireless Personal Communications—Special Issue on Multimedia Networking and Enabling Radio Technologies, 21(1), 105–123.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    MaNett, M., & Voelker, G. M. (2005). Access and mobility of wireless PDA users. Mobile Computing Communications Review, 9, 40–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mishra, A., Shin, M., & Arbaugh, W. (2004, March). Context caching using neighbor graphs for fast handoffs in a wireless network. In Proceedings of IEEE Infocom, Hong Kong, China.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ozdaglar, A. E. & Bertsekas, D. P. (2003). Optimal solution of integer multicommodity flow problems with application in optical networks. In Proceedings of symposium on global optimization.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pack, S., & Choi, Y. (2002, August). Fast inter-AP handoff using predictive authentication scheme in a public wireless LAN. In Proceedings of IEEE networks conference, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Raghavan, P., & Thompson, C. D. (1987). Randomized rounding: A technique for provably good algorithms and algorithmic proofs. Combinatorica, 7(4), 365–374.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ramani, I., & Savage, S. (2005, March). SyncScan: Practical fast handoff for 802.11 infrastructure networks. In Proceedings of IEEE Infocom, Miami, FL.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shin, M., Mishra, A., & Arbaugh, W. (2004, June). Improving the latency of 802.11 hand-offs using neighbor graphs. In Proceedings of ACM MobiSys, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Symbol Technologies. (2006). Wireless networker CF radio card data sheet.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tsai, T.-C., & Lien, C.-F. (2003). IEEE 802.11 hot-spot load balance and QoS-maintained seamless roaming. In Proceedings of national computer symposium (NCS).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wu, H., Tan, K., Zhang, Y., & Zhang, Q. (2007). Proactive scan: Fast handoff with smart triggers for 802.11 wireless lan. In INFOCOM (pp. 749–757).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zhang, Y., Liu, Y., Xia, Y., & Huang, Q. (2007). Leapfrog: Fast, timely wifi handoff. In GLOBECOM (pp. 5170–5174).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minkyong Kim
    • 1
  • Zhen Liu
    • 2
  • Srinivasan Parthasarathy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dimitrios Pendarakis
    • 1
  • Hao Yang
    • 3
  1. 1.IBM T. J. Watson Research CenterHawthorneUSA
  2. 2.Nokia Research CenterBeijingChina
  3. 3.Nokia Research CenterPalo AltoUSA

Personalised recommendations