Leveraging Context-Triggered Measurements to Characterize LTE Handover Performance

  • Shichang XuEmail author
  • Ashkan Nikravesh
  • Z. Morley Mao
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11419)


In cellular networks, handover plays a vital role in supporting mobility and connectivity. Traditionally, handovers in a cellular network focus on maintaining continuous connectivity for legacy voice calls. However, there is a poor understanding of how today’s handover strategies impact the network performance, especially for applications that require reliable Internet connectivity.

In this work, using a newly designed context-triggered measurement framework, we carry out the first comprehensive measurement study in LTE networks on how handover decisions implemented by carriers impact network layer performance. We find that the interruption in connectivity during handover is minimal, but in 43% of cases the end-to-end throughput degrades after the handover. The cause is that the deployed handover policy uses statically configured signal strength threshold as the key factor to decide handover and focuses on improving signal strength which by itself is an imperfect metric for performance. We propose that handover decision strategies trigger handover based on predicted performance considering factors such as cell load along with application preference.



This work is partially supported by NSF under the grants CCF-1628991 and CNS-1629763.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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