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R E C E N T A D VA N C E S A N D E V O L U T I O N O F WLAN A N D WMAN S TA N D A R D S

HANDOVER MANAGEMENT IN INTEGRATED WLAN AND MOBILE WIMAX NETWORKS


ALLAN BORGES PONTES, DIEGO DOS PASSOS SILVA, JOS JAILTON, JR., OTAVIO RODRIGUES, JR., AND KELVIN LOPES DIAS, FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF PARA

WiMAX core network

ABSTRACT
Recently there has been much effort, in both academia and industry, to integrate a plethora of wireless technologies in order to provide ubiquitous broadband access to mobile users. Handover management is still one of the most challenging issues to be solved for seamless integration of wireless networks. This article addresses the integration of IEEE 802.11 WLANs and IEEE 802.16 WMANs, focusing mainly on the handover management aspects. First, we describe architectures, futuristic application scenarios such as the envisioned heterogeneous multihop wireless networks (HMWNs) and moving networks, as well as the related research issues. Second, we present IEEE 802.21, a new emerging standard aimed at providing a framework for media-independent handover (MIH) among heterogeneous networks. Finally, we discuss how the MIH framework can help handover management for the integrated network.

BS3

BS2

MN12

1 MN12

The authors address the integration of IEEE 802.11 WLANs and IEEE 802.16 WMANs, focusing mainly on the handover management aspects.

INTRODUCTION
One of the main purposes of so-called fourthgeneration (4G) networks is to allow mobile users to be always best connected (ABC) through a number of underlying wireless technologies and networks [1]. It is expected that wireless devices will increasingly have multiple heterogeneous interfaces. In this scenario the selection of the most appropriate network should be based on various criteria such as economic cost, coverage, transmission rate, quality of service (QoS), security, and user preferences. To this end, efficient schemes are needed to provide seamless intertechnology/vertical handovers in these integrated heterogeneous networks. New heterogeneous networks, including IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs (WLANs), popularly known as WiFi [2], and IEEE 802.16 wireless metropolitan area networks (WMANs) [3], also known as worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX), seem to be a promising approach as both technologies support very high data rates as well as QoS. Hence,

this integrated network will bring a synergetic improvement to the services provided to mobile users. In addition, currently there is an ongoing effort by the IEEE on standardization of the socalled media-independent handover (MIH) framework under the IEEE 802.21 standard [4]. The 802.21 standard aims to facilitate the integration of heterogeneous networks (802 and non-802-based networks) by providing to the upper layers (layer three [L3] and higher) uniform information about layer two (L2) triggers in order to help the handover decision. The handover decision algorithm must take into account information gathered from both users and networks through the MIH framework. With this new scenario composed of two important technologies (802.11 and 802.16) and the glue provided by the MIH framework, the feasibility of integration seems even more promising. This article addresses the integration of IEEE 802.11 WLANs and IEEE 802.16 WMANs, focusing mainly on the handover management aspects. The remainder of this article is organized as follows. First, we briefly describe the IEEE 802.11 and 802.16 standards by comparing their main characteristics and basic integration issues. After that, Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) approaches are compared to IEEE 802.21 with regard to the vertical and seamless handover support. Then we illustrate various scenarios integrating WLAN and WMAN networks and the related research issues. The MIH framework for supporting handover management between heterogeneous networks is presented, including the handover signaling between WMANs and WLANs. Finally, we present some conclusions and future directions.

WLAN AND WMAN: BASIC INTEGRATION ISSUES


This section briefly compares the IEEE 802.11 standard for WLANs and the IEEE 802.16 standard for WMANs, highlighting the main features

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that complement/differentiate from each other and corresponding basic integration issues.

APPLICATIONS AND COST


WiFi has been used to permit wireless connectivity for local networks in companies as well as to public hotspots (e.g., airports and shopping centers). WiFi service providers can offer free or low-cost Internet connectivity using the unlicensed frequency band. While WiMAX operates in both licensed and unlicensed bands, and was designed mainly for point-to-multipoint communication, last mile access (as an alternative to digital subscriber line [DSL]), and backhaul connections (e.g., for connecting WLAN hotspots to the Internet). Despite the fact that a less costly integrated solution could be deployed using unlicensed bands in both WiFi and WiMAX (or WiMAX licensed band near the WiFi one), the operator may take into account interference issues. Furthermore, pricing models must be carefully designed in order to permit revenue to the operator and more users sharing the aggregated bandwidth.

offers high data rates (up to 75 Mb/s in current standards) as well as larger coverage (up to 50 km for line of sight [LOS] and 25 km for nonLOS [NLOS] operation) compared to that of WLANs. In the future the new 802.16m will reach up to 100 Mb/s for high-mobility users (250 km/h). In summary, both technologies can offer high data rates, but there are significant differences in the coverage area which should be carefully taken into account for an integrated network in order to provide seamless handover (e.g., an operator may prefer to switch high-mobility users to WiMAXs larger coverage to avoid session disruption due to handovers).

QOS SUPPORT
The 802.11e amendment for QoS support employs a medium access control (MAC) technique called the hybrid coordination function (HCF). QoS enhancements are available to QoS stations (QSTAs) associated with a QoS access point (QAP). The HCF uses both a contentionbased channel access method, enhanced distributed channel access (EDCA), for contention-based transfer and a controlled channel access, referred to as HCF controlled channel access (HCCA), for contention-free transfer. EDCA defines four queues or access categories (ACs) for each QSTA: AC_VO (voice) with highest priority, AC_VI(video), AC_BE(best effort), and AC_BK(background) with lowest priority. The priorities depend on the contention window (CW) size, which determines the maximum random backoff time due to collisions, and the time each category must wait before it has permission to transmit, called arbitration interframe space (AIFS). Therefore, higher-priority ACs have smaller CWs and shorter AIFSs. Different from WiFi, WiMAX was designed from the beginning with QoS in mind. It uses a connection-oriented MAC protocol, which offers a mechanism for SSs to request bandwidth from BSs. Despite the WiMAX centralized approach, it is worth noting that it also uses contentionbased transmission; thus, collisions may occur during initial ranging and bandwidth request intervals in the uplink (sub-) frame. Furthermore, the standard proposes, as an example, the use of contention instead of individual polling for SSs that have been inactive for a long period of time. With respect to the enforcement of an applications requirements, the QoS parameters associated with the connection instruct the bandwidth grant services to define the appropriate allocation. To this end, four services are defined to support different types of data flows: unsolicited grant service (UGS) for constant bit rate traffic, such as voice over IP (VoIP); polling service (PS) for which some level of QoS is required in terms of delay guarantees (real-time PS [rtPS]) and minimum bandwidth guarantees (non-real-time PS [nrtPS]). Examples of rtPS and nrtPS are MPEG variable bit rate (VBR) traffic and FTP traffic. Finally, best effort (BE) service does not have QoS guarantees (e.g., Web and email traffic). From the differences in the QoS frameworks supported by both technologies, it becomes clear that the integration of WiFi and WiMAX needs

Both technologies can offer high data rates, but there are significant differences in the coverage area that should be carefully taken into account for an integrated network in order to provide seamless handover

ARCHITECTURES AND OPERATION MODES


In IEEE 802.11 several stations (STAs) are connected to access points (APs). The STAs and AP within the same radio coverage form a basic service set (BSS). It can use two architectures: infrastructure and ad hoc. In addition, 802.11s implements mesh connectivity where the STAs and APs become mesh points that can communicate with each other by multihop networking. Important features of mesh networks are that their wireless backbone has minimal mobility, so more powerful routing protocols can be deployed; and they are dynamically self-organized and self-configured [5]. Regarding the architecture of IEEE 802.16, it provides two modes of operation: point-to-multipoint (PMP) and mesh mode. In PMP multiple subscriber stations (SSs) are served by a base station (BS); that is, SSs residing within the WiMAX cell communicate directly with the BS. WiMAX also offers the mesh mode, in which SSs can also serve as routers and communicate with each other by multihop networking. Additionally, a new study group has been formed called Mobile Multihop Relay (MMR) or 802.16j, which aims to extend the PMP mode for an SS outside the BS coverage and use dedicated relay stations (RSs) to support mobile nodes. The issue here is how to integrate different metrics adopted in the MAC of the technologies for an integrated routing scenario. This issue will be emphasized when discussing the futuristic scenarios.

COVERAGE AND DATA RATES


The first IEEE 802.11 standard, introduced in 1999, gives a maximum data rate of 2 Mb/s per AP, but further advances in WLAN transmission rates/techniques have been achieved with 802.11b and 802.11a/g operating at 11 Mb/s and 54 Mb/s, respectively. Furthermore, the new 802.11n can reach up to 600 Mb/s, and the upcoming 802.11 very high throughput (VHT) promises the astonishing rate of 1 Gb/s for lowmobility users. On the other hand, WiMAX

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Despite the L2 technology specific handover procedures, there are various protocols for providing mobility management at the upper layers, that is, from network to application layer of the TCP/IP protocol stack. At the network layer, the most representative protocol is the IETF MIP.

to take into account a QoS mapping procedure. Current research on QoS mapping between WiFi and WiMAX classes focuses, in general, on a static translation scheme. This straightforward approach has some drawbacks. First, it does not take into account current network load and therefore does not benefit from adaptation mechanisms in order to increase operator revenue or alleviate congestion. Second, the mapping is network-specific (e.g., WiFi-WiMAX or WiMAX-UMTS),and thus neither flexible to new QoS-aware sessions nor scalable.

naling protocol, widely used for setting up and tearing down multimedia sessions. For a detailed discussion of upper layers protocols for mobility management in all-IP networks please see [6].

SOLUTIONS FROM 3G STANDARDIZATION GROUPS


At the core of the integration between cellular networks (3GPP/3GPP2) and the Internet, and hence with other access technologies, is the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS). IMS is an architectural framework for delivering IP multimedia to mobile users. IMS was originally defined in 3GPP release 5 and builds on Internet protocols (e.g., IETF SIP is reused as much as possible), as well as adopting a network of servers (call session control functions [CSCFs]) in order to control the multimedia sessions. Similarly, 3GPP2 standardized its own architecture, the multimedia domain (MMD). MMD is actually based on the IMS architecture. Mobility management schemes for integrating heterogeneous technologies in the context of current 3GPP work as well as toward all-IP networks (AIPNs) are presented below.

MOBILITY MANAGEMENT AND INTEGRATION SOLUTIONS FOR HETEROGENEOUS ALL-IP WIRELESS NETWORKS
The following discussion aims to describe the current solutions for providing mobility management in integrated heterogeneous wireless networks. First we describe solutions at upper layers (from network up to application) from the IETF. Next, the specific solutions given in the context of integration of cellular networks and others are presented. We conclude with the MIH framework, highlighting how it improves on and encompasses previous approaches.

VCC/IMS
3GPP defined a mobility management scheme based on IMS in its Releases 6 and 7 to meet both carriers and subscribers requirements for service continuity. Voice call continuity (VCC) integrates Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and unlicensed spectrum technologies (e.g., WiFi) into a seamless network. This approach was originally developed to transfer voice sessions between the circuitswitched domain (e.g., GSM) and the packetswitched domain (e.g., WiFi and IMS/UMTS). Despite its applicability to vertical handover, VCC has some drawbacks. In particular, VCC does not define a set of universal link layer triggers in order to efficiently explore the connectivity opportunities and enhance vertical handover. It also adds extra complexity through a call control continuity function (CCCF) to control the handover. Moreover, in order to provide seamless mobility all interfaces must be continuously active to execute the network discovery procedure, which may adversely impact energy consumption.

IETF SOLUTIONS: UPPER LAYER PROTOCOLS


Currently, there is a trend in the research and design of the so-called all-IP wireless networks, which are based on Internet principles, services, and protocols. Hence, despite the L2 technology-specific handover procedures, there are various protocols for providing mobility management at the upper layers (i.e., from the network to application layer of the TCP/IP protocol stack). At the network layer, the most representative protocol is the IETF Mobile IP (MIP). MIP provides a new IP address (care-of address [CoA]) to a mobile node (MN)as it moves to a new (foreign) network. The registration and binding update are carried out through signaling among the home agent (HA) at the MNs home network, the foreign agent (FA) at the visited network, and the MN. In MIPv4 the correspondent node (CN), communicating with the MN, sends packets to the MN through the MNs HA. This may result in the triangular routing problem generating longer routes, and consequently, increased delays due to the HA intermediating the communication between the MN and the CN. MIPv6 avoids this problem by allowing the CN to send packets directly to the FA at the visited network. A further improvement regarding minimizing the disruption due to the long delays for completing L3 handover signaling is fast handover MIP (FMIP). FMIP aims to eliminate the delay due to the address auto-configuration procedure. Basically, it is achieved by informing the MN of the new AP/access routers advertised prefix, thus anticipating the configuration of the new address to the new L2 link. Apart from the execution of mobility management at the network layer, there are other options at the transport (e.g., mobile Stream Control Message Protocol [mSCTP]) as well as at application layer (e.g., Session Initiation Protocol [SIP]). SIP is an end-to-end-oriented sig-

SAE/LTE
3GPP is currently working toward its release 8 to develop new system architecture for an evolved 3GPP system. System Architecture Evolution/Long Term Evolution (SAE/LTE) is expected to provide a means for efficient vertical handover among heterogeneous technologies. The SAE part of the 3GPP activity focuses on the core network (CN) of a mobile network, whereas changes in the radio access network (PHY and MAC layers) are handled in the LTE project, whicht focuses on the radio access network (RAN). The SAE project is basing its solutions on the idea of a fully IP network. Hence, IETF mobility protocols are under consideration in order to provide seamless handover across heterogeneous networks. SAE allows integration of RANs based on different radio access technologies in the network (e.g., UMTS, WiFi, and WiMAX). On the other hand, LTE specifies a

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radio access technology (RAT) aimed at peak data-rates of 100 Mb/s downlink and 50 Mb/s uplink. From a network layer protocol perspective, 3GPP is focusing on network-based localized mobility management (NetLMM) for local mobility and MIP for global mobility, but has also accepted the current General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) Tunneling Protocol (GTP). It is also worth mentioning that improvements in VCC/IMS are in the new 3GPP release. Despite efforts to provide heterogeneous handover, at the time of this writing it was not foreseen that handover would be seamless. 3GPP expects to incorporate this seamless handover function into release 8 and beyond, but it still lacks standardized triggers for helping with the network discovery and selection procedures in heterogeneous networks. In [7] the authors propose the use of MIH to meet the requirements of applications for minimum disruption during vertical handovers in evolved 3GPP architecture.

SIP Handover policy engine SCTP FMIPv6 MIH users MIICS MICS MIH_SAP MIH function MIH_LINK_SAP Link commands Link events MIES

THE IEEE 802.21 STANDARD (MEDIA INDEPENDENT HANDOVER)


IEEE 802.21 is intended to facilitate handover and interoperability between IEEE 802 and nonIEEE 802 technologies such as cellular networks (e.g., UMTS) in order to provide transparent service continuity across heterogeneous networks [4]. The 802.21 framework is also called mediaindependent handover (MIH), which consists of a signaling framework and triggers that make available information from lower layers (MAC and PHY) to the higher layers of the protocol stack (network to application layerd). Furthermore, MIH is responsible for unifying the various L2-specific technology information used by the handover decision algorithms so that the upper layers can abstract the heterogeneity aspects that belong to different technologies. For example, the signal strength received at an MN is traditionally used by the horizontal handover decision algorithm, but considering handover between heterogeneous networks (e.g., WLAN and WMAN), there is no comparable signal strength to help in the handover decision. Moreover, the MIH offers commands to higher layers through an independent technology service access point (SAP) in order to control the lower layers regarding handover, for example, to request radio channel scanning. Through the use of a database that maintains information about candidate networks, the MIH can also tackle the ABC concept. Apart from the radio signal features, the handover decision can be based on diverse factors such as QoS, security support, economic cost, and users personal preferences. This way, the MIH framework improves the overall handover procedure by allowing the MN and network to exchange information gathered from both the mobile user preferences following the ABC scheme and the involved networks. As can be seen in Fig. 1, the MIH (MIHF) is the main component of the IEEE 802.21 framework. The MIHF provides the unified interface to the upper layers independent of the underlying access technology. This is accomplished through three services: media-independent event

802.3

802.11

Interface Mobile node

802.16

3GPP

I Figure 1. MIH framework/architecture. service (MIES), media-independent information service (MIIS), and media-independent command service (MICS), briefly described below. The MIES provides services to the upper layers by reporting both local and remote events (please note the arrow from lower to upper layers in Fig. 1). These events correspond to dynamic changes in link characteristics, link quality, and link status. As mentioned above, in IEEE 802.21 local or remote L2 interfaces deliver events and triggers to the MIHF layer called link events (link_up, link_down, link_going_down, etc.). On the other hand, MIH events are made available to upper layers through the MIH_SAP. Some MIH events and their meanings are listed below: MIH_Link_Up: L2 connection is established and link is available for use. MIH_Link_Going_Down: Link conditions are degrading and connection loss is imminent. MIH_Link_Detected: A new link has been detected. The MICS gathers information on the status of connected links and the connectivity decision to the lower layers by offering commands to the upper layers (e.g., scanning of available networks). Therefore, the MICS commands control, manage, and send actions to lower layers, and can be issued by both local and remote MIH users. In the framework an MIH user is an entity that uses the MIHF services. For example, an MIH user could be a mobility management protocol such as MIPv6, SCTP, or SIP. In addition, an MIH user could also be the handover decision module (handover policy engine) that actually fires the handover execution. Finally, in order to optimize handover the MIIS provides a framework and corresponding

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The IETF is currently engaged with the widespread adoption of MIH. IETF is working within the MIPv6 Performance, Signaling and Handoff Optimization to address a layer 3 transport mechanism for the reliable delivery of MIH messages between different access networks.

mechanism for an MIHF to discover available neighboring network information within a geographical area. Both static (names and service providers of the MNs current network neighborhood) and dynamic information (e.g., MAC addresses, channel information, and upper layer service information) is provided by the MIIS through a set of so-called information elements (IES). The common representation of the repository information across different technologies is accomplished using a standard format such as XML or ASN.1. In IEEE 802.21 terminology, the L2 connectivity to the network (BS/AP) is referred to as point of attachment (PoA). Specifically, the MIHF functionality is implemented in the element called point of service (PoS), that is, a network-side MIHF instance that exchanges MIH messages with an MN-based MIHF. Both PoA and PoS can be collocated. One should note that IEEE 802.11 and IEEE 802.16 have already integrated MIH functionality in their MAC layers. IEEE 802.11u is an amendment to IEEE 802.11 cooperating with 802.21 to improve interworking with external networks. This amendment has defined a new state MAC convergence function, which is responsible for providing services to other protocols based on MAC state machines and interaction between the different layers. Likewise, IEEE 802.16g is an amendment to IEEE 802.16 whose extension service access points (SAPs) will support MIH related primitives. The IETF is also currently engaged in the widespread adoption of MIH. IETF is working within MIPv6 Performance, Signaling and Handoff Optimization (MIPSHOP) to address an L3 transport mechanism for the reliable delivery of MIH messages between different access networks. With respect to QoS mapping, MIH provides a uniform framework consisting of MIH parameters in which the technology-specific parameters are mapped. For example, class of service (CoS) maximum packet tranfer delay is the MIH parameter that corresponds to IEEE 802.11s transmit delay histogram, IEEE 802.16s maximum latency, and UMTS maximum transfer delay. This allows an entity located, for example, at the PoS to find a suitable CoS that will meet those QoS requirements in the target network. The MIH only provides the exchange of messages to carry out the QoS mapping, not the mapping intelligence (e.g., remapping adaptive applications to lower classes during congestion periods).

In summary, the IETF protocols and architectures lack standardized L2 triggers. On the other hand, the 3GPP solution based on LTE/SAE encompasses integration with WiFi and WiMAX, but in general the architecture is cellular-operator-dependent (i.e., it uses a complex and expensive tightly coupled approach). Furthermore, 3GPPs solution for providing seamless handover is not yet well defined in current releases. IEEE 802.21 appears to be the glue that can be used as a unified solution for providing seamless handover across heterogeneous networks. This framework provides universal link triggers to facilitate the handover phases, and can be used in conjunction with various mobility management protocols at different layers (e.g., SIP, MIP) and network architectures (e.g., WiFi, 3GPP UMTS, WiMAX). It should be noted that the MIH is not a replacement for IETF mobility management protocols; instead, it aims to help and enhance the operation of those protocols.

WMAN AND WLAN INTEGRATION SCENARIOS


This section presents some traditional architectures and envisioned futuristic scenarios that take advantage of WiFi and WiMAX integration. We consider single mode (SM) MNs, which are nodes equipped with one interface, dual mode (DM) MNs, which are nodes equipped with two interfaces (WiFi and WiMAX), WLAN APs, WiMAX BSs, and dual mode gateways as potential users and components of this heterogeneous environment. The scenarios described in Fig. 2 will enforce the benefits and describe some issues in integrated WiFi and WiMAX networks.

SINGLE-MODE CLIENT/SINGLE-HOP SCENARIOS


In the typical single-hop scenario depicted in Fig. 2, WiMAX BS 1 serves MN1 through a PMP connection. In addition, there are also WiFi clients directly connected to the APs (e.g., MN2 connected to AP 1).

BACKHAUL SCENARIO
Another traditional use of WiMAX that benefits both mobile WiMAX and WiFi clients as well as fixed ones (residential and business users) is access to the Internet through the use of the WiMAX backhaul to transport data/voice traffic from a WiMAX BS edge (e.g., from the building) to the Internet. Thus, the WiFi client represented by MN4 has its traffic conducted to the Internet through the point-to-point backhaul connection (BS3BS2).

COMPARISON OF SOLUTIONS FOR INTEGRATION AND HANDOVER MANAGEMENT


It is worth mentioning that current and emerging paradigms enabling optimized handovers must cover all layers of the protocol stack. As previously discussed, standardization organizations (IETF, IEEE, and 3GPP) consider different and, in some cases, complementary approaches to architectures and protocols enabling seamless handover in heterogeneous networks. Table 1 shows comparisons among the different approaches.

DUAL MODE CLIENT SCENARIO


The DM client MN3 under the overlapped area of WiMAX BS1 and WiFi AP1 can be connected to both systems. The issue here is to decide the best connectivity taking into account the users preferences (e.g., economic cost) and the resource availability in the candidate networks in order to switch the user to the most appropriate network. The handover decision may also be triggered by the network operator.

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Solutions SIP (Application)

Particular features Because it is an end-to-end protocol, it requires only modifications at the host. Provides simultaneous associations (multihoming) with different access technologies.

Drawbacks End-to-end re-INVITED message for handover execution incurs high delay It requires modification of well established TCP-based applications. It requires changes in the network infrastructure (HA, FA). Unsuitable for real-time applications It is restricted to CS-to-PS voice handover. New entity to control handover

Comments

IETF

mSCTP (Transport)

MIP (Network)

It does not require changes in the applications

They require optimizations and standardized triggers to provide seamless handover. For instance, at the network layer, FMIPv6 uses cross-layer information from the underlying technology. The same need is true for the other higher layers protocols.

VCC/IMS

It relieves congestion on the GSM or UMTS via the relatively low cost Internet It relies on IETF protocols (e.g., MIP and NetLMN) for mobility management. Handovers among 3GPP and non-3GPP networks Highly flexible handover framework offering event, command, and information services, therefore it benefits network discovery, network selection, and agnostic vertical hand-over As a flexible framework, it may be used as a base for the aforementioned solutions.

3GPP LTE/SAE

Approach for providing seamless handover is not yet defined

They are not general/flexible frameworks. They rely on cellular philosophy as the core architecture

IEEE

IEEE 802.21 (MIH Media Independent Handover)

It requires intelligence and additional components in both, the core network and in the MN.

It does not support end-to-end QoS mapping across multiple administrative domains. It does not support ad hoc and moving networks

I Table 1. Comparison of protocols and architectures. If a service provider owns the two networks, the WLAN could be used to offload the WiMAX network in congested areas. Depending on the QoS requirements and users preferences, the provider could switch some users from WMAN to WLAN. As can be seen, QoS mapping is also an issue as the two technologies may implement different QoS provisioning mechanisms. From the point of view of the economic cost, the handed off users may prefer cheaper access at the expense of controlled QoS degradation. On the other hand, if the MNs session requires strict QoS and the MN moves at high speed, it may be preferable that it continue in the larger WiMAX coverage in order to avoid signaling overhead and disruptions due to frequent handovers while moving across smaller WLAN coverage. Next, MN7 illustrates a case for a DM MN, currently served by the WiFi network (AP2), which will move toward the WiMAX coverage area. Note that after the movement, the new MNs position will be represented by MN7. In this case MN handover is mandatory due to the imminent loss of connectivity with its current network. Therefore, in order to provide seamless handover, there must be mechanisms and events to detect that the link will go down as well as search for candidate networks to which to hand over the MNs session. In the opposite case, the handover from WiMAX to WiFi may occur when MN11 moves into public buildings (M11) or underground (MN12). The WMAN connection will probably be lost. Also, in such a scenario there must be a means to anticipate the handover decision to avoid session disruption.

DUAL GATEWAY AND SINGLE/DUAL MODE CLIENTS SCENARIOS


The next scenario uses a dual gateway to extend the WiMAX network with the aim to provide access to SM WiFi clients, such as MN5, outside BS coverage. This could be also the case for a DM client (MN6) outside BS coverage. Hence, in both cases the dual gateway will work as a client for the WiMAX network and is the key component for this integration.

MULTIHOP HETEROGENEOUS SCENARIOS


One of the main research challenges for heterogeneous wireless systems is identification of a mobility management technique that can integrate different wireless technologies, operating in infrastructure (single-hop) and infrastructureless (ad hoc or multihop) modes [8, 9]. The socalled heterogeneous multihop wireless networks (HMWNs) are a futuristic view of

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It is expected that public transportation will popularize Internet access through WiFi connectivity to their passengers while in movement. To this end, it will be equipped with a bridge to communicate with external networks such as WiMAX.

WiFi client

MN8 MN8 MN9 MN10 MN1

Internet WiMAX core network

Subscriber station

Base station

Dual client

AP1 MN2 MN3 BS1 BS3 BS2


Dual gateway WiFi AP WiMax client

MN12 AP2 MN6 MN5 MN7 MN7 MN11 MN12 MN11 MN4

I Figure 2. Scenarios for integrated WiFi and WiMAX networks. integrated single-hop and multihop communications in order to provide increased capacity and enhanced coverage to users [8, 9]. We envision the integration of both mesh standards for 802.11 and 802.16 as well as the new MMR/802.16j as part of the HMWN philosophy/vision. An MN with poor coverage or outside the coverage area of the BS/AP can use relay stations to communicate with the BS/AP. In the aforementioned previous scenarios, as an MN moves from WLAN to WMAN or vice versa, it is connected to an AP/ BS via a single hop. But in HMWNs the MN can communicate via multihop, and the decision on the best AP/BS to handover is not a trivial task as the intermediate nodes may also be mobile and have different link layer characteristics. Therefore, handover management for HMWNs must integrate both connection and mobility management [8]. Connection management involves both resource and routing management. The link quality estimates for routing management can be quite different for each heterogeneous link that composes the end-to-end path. Therefore, apart from other metrics used for the handover decision algorithm, the multihop routing strategy must also be taken into account in an integrated way. For example, suppose that MN8 is directly connected to BS1 for accessing the Internet. MN8 moves out of BS coverage and can either be connected again to the same BS 1, but now through a multihop connection, or get Internet service through a low-bandwidth single-hop WiFi AP. The candidate multihop gateways for the MN (MN9 or MN10) could be relay stations of different technologies (e.g., 802.11s and 802.16a or 802.16j). The provisioning of seamless handover in this scenario is still more challenging.

MOVING NETWORKS SCENARIO


Finally, with the advent of research on moving networks (e.g., NEMO Network Mobility, an IETF working group aiming to extend the IPv6 suite for moving network related issues) [10], in which the whole network is mobile, the integration of WLANs and WMANs can improve mobile network connectivity. It is expected that public transportation (trains, buses, airplanes, ships, etc.) will popularize Internet access through WiFi connectivity to passengers while in movement. To this end, it will be equipped with a bridge to communicate with external networks such as WiMAX. Moreover, seamless handover is still an issue as clients may be equipped with both interfaces, and the vehicle gateway may also give support to WiFi external connectivity through dual gateways/interfaces (WiFi/ WiMAX) in order to offer fault tolerance and load balance between networks as well as new connectivity opportunities to passengers. Apart from serving the movement network, the mobile gateway can also be used by external clients, such as those outside the WiFi AP and WiMAX BS coverage areas, but that have the opportunity to download data or attain Internet access through the dual gateway belonging to the vehicular area network (VAN).

HANDOVER BETWEEN WIMAX AND WIFI USING THE MIH FRAMEWORK


This section presents two scenarios in order to describe the handover signaling for an integrated WiFi and WiMAX network. The first scenario illustrates the signaling where a DM client is in an overlapped area and can choose better con-

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nectivity, enforcing the ABC concept. Please see the DM client MN3 under the overlapped area of WiMAX BS1 and WiFi AP1 in Fig. 2. The second scenario depicts the signaling for a user obligated to execute the handover as its current connectivity will be lost because it is moving into a subway or tunnel, as represented in Fig. 2 by the movement of MN12 into a subway. Both scenarios describe how the MIH framework can provide service continuity to the users session as well as some mechanisms involved in this process. Specifically, the IEEE 802.21 scope includes the two first handover phases, initiation and preparation. Hence, handover execution is largely delegated to the higher layer mobility management protocols (e.g., MIP, SCTP, and SIP). In order to describe the big picture of handover management signaling between WiMAX and WiFi using the MIH framework, we include explicitly FMIPv6 signaling as the L3 mobility management protocol. The 802.21 messages are represented by filled lines, while MIPv6 and technology-specific messages are represented by dashed and dotted lines, respectively. Due to the lack of space we reduce the WiFi and WiMAX set of specific signaling to single messages such as WiFi or WiMAX association/dissociation. Figure 3 depicts the handover signaling and mechanisms involved in an ABC scenario for an integrated WiFi and WiMAX network. In such a scenario the MN is initially served by/connected to the WiMAX network, but frequently requests MIIS information and listens to its interfaces trying other connectivity opportunities. At point 1, upon receiving a beacon from the WiFi APs followed by an 802.11_LINK_DETECTED event from the MAC layer toward the MIHF, the MN becomes aware of a new connectivity opportunity. Afterward, the MIHF fires the event 802.11_LINK_DETECTED for all local and remote registered MIH users. Particularly, in our example this MIH detected event is received by the MNs FMIPv6, which in turn contacts the handover policy engine. The handover policy engine may execute a preverification of the new connection; depending on the kind of detected link, the MIH user does not need to request more information about the new link (e.g., if the serving network is Gigabit Ethernet and detected an 802.11b link) and may prefer continuing with the current network. In our example, depending on the implemented handover policy, the MN can search for information about the new network at the MIIS (e.g., monetary cost, security, available bandwidth). To this end, the MN must start using an MIH_MN_HO_Get_ Information Request message and finish with an MIH_MN_HO_Get_Information Response message. The MIIS answers with an MIH_MN_HO_ Get_Information Response message. Next, the MN makes a query (MIH_MN_HO_Candidate_Query Request) to the current PoA (WiMAX BS) to check for resource availability at the candidate PoAs (802.11 APs). In turn, the current PoA sends MIH_N2N_HO_Candidate_Query_ Resources Request messages toward the candidate PoAs. At points 2 and 3, the WiFi candidates may execute their call

admission control (CAC) to verify whether they support the MN session requirements as well as that it does not deteriorate the existing sessions in the candidate networks. The CAC result (session totally, partially, or not at all supported) is sent in MIH_N2N_HO_Query_Resources Response messages (from candidates to the current PoA) that is followed by an MIH_MN_HO_ Candidate_Query Response message (from the current PoA to the MN). After that (at point 4), the MIH user (handover policy engine) can execute the handover decision taking into account both the resources available at the candidate PoA and the users preferences. After the handover decision making, the FMIPv6 signaling begins (RtSolPr Router Solicitation for Proxy, PrRtAdv Proxy Router Advertisement, FBU Fast Binding Update, HI Handover Initiate, HAck Handover Acknowlege, FBAck Fast Binding Acknowlege, and Fast Neighborhood Advertisement FNA). This L3 handover execution is interlaced with MIH_Handover_Commit messages (MN Request, N2N Request, N2N Response, and MN Response), which aim to confirm that the handover will be executed. The current PoA starts buffering newly arriving packets with old CoAs as their destinations and exchanges HI and HAck messages with the new PoA. The MN traffic is redirected from the previous PoA to the new PoA after FMIPv6s FBack message, where it is buffered waiting for L2 handover completion. In particular, the resource reservation at the target network is done after the MIH_MN_Handover_Commit messages. From this moment, the MIH user activates the 802.11 interface by means of the Link_ Action request message, which initiates the L2 handover. Note that the L3 procedure is almost finished, and the MN connectivity with the previous PoA must still be active in order to provide a make-before-break approach. Hence, the MN session can benefit from seamless handover. Upon the reception of the FMIPv6s FNA message, the traffic starts to be delivered to the MN. Finally, the MIH_MN_Handover_Complete message releases the allocated WiMAX resources and deactivates the MNs corresponding interface. Different from the previous handover description (ABC scenario), in a scenario corresponding to the situation where the MN enters a tunnel or subway while using the WiMAX network and is obligated to search for a new network once it loses the current L2 connectivity, it requires events in order to proactively detect the imminent loss of connectivity. This scenario illustrates the usage of an important feature of the MIH framework: the benefit of using predictive triggers to provide seamless handovers. Basically, the difference from the previous signaling example occurs in the HI phase. Instead of a Link_Detected event, the MIHF receives a Link_Going_Down event indicating that connection loss is imminent. Afterward, the MIH user fires the command MIH_Scan_Request toward the WiFi interface. Through scanning, the MN detects the candidate network. After that, the signaling follows a sequence similar to that described in Fig. 3.

The handover policy engine may execute a pre-verification of the new connection, and depending on the kind of detected link, the MIH user does not need to request more information about the new link and will prefer continuing with the current network.

IEEE Wireless Communications October 2008


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Since there is not a winner wireless technology suitable for all current and future applications, the integration of heterogeneous networks seems to be a good approach in order to offer the 4G always best connected vision.

Mobile node

Current WiMAX BS

Candidate Wi-Fi AP

Candidate Wi-Fi AP

MIIS

1 MN becomes aware of new connectivity opportunities through beacons received from candidate APs. Alternatively, it can also periodically query the MIIS to gather information on available access networks. MIH_Get_Information Request MIH_Get_Information Response MIH_N2N_HO_Candidate_Query Request MIH_N2N_HO_Query_Resource Request 2 MIH_N2N_HO_Query_Resource Request MIH_N2N_HO_Query_Resource Response MIH_N2N_HO_Query_Resource Response MIH_N2N_HO_Candidate_Query Request 3

4 Handover decision based on resource availability and users preferences. Selection of the target network. (FMIPv6) RtSolPr, PrRtAdv, FBU (FMIPv6) HI MIH_MN_Handover_Commit request MIH_N2N_Handover_Commit Request MIH_N2N_Handover_Commit Response MIH_MN_Handover_Commit response (FMIPv6) HAck, FBAck (FMIPv6) FBack (Wi-FI) ASSOCIATION PROCEDURE (WiMAX) DISSASSOCIATION_PROCEDURE (FMIPv6) F-NA MIH_MN_Handover_Complete Request MIH_N2N_Handover_Complete Request MIH_N2N_Handover_Complete Response MIHMN_Handover_Complete Response

I Figure 3. Always best connected scenario: WiMAX/WiFi handover using the MIH framework.

CONCLUSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS


Since there is no winner wireless technology suitable for all current and future applications, the integration of heterogeneous networks seems to be a good approach in order to offer the 4G always best connected vision. WLAN and WMAN are two promising wireless technologies that will contribute to these envisioned 4G networks. Furthermore, the combined usage of these two technologies can also benefit WiMAX operators through a low-

cost service deployment provided by WiFi hotpots. We describe some futuristic scenarios for this integration as well as the corresponding research issues. The use of the MIH framework for integrating WiFi and WiMAX networks in order to provide seamless handover was illustrated through two common scenarios presented in the 4G discussions. However, there are still some missing points that should be studied in future research such as MIH support for multihop heterogeneous networks, QoS mapping, and resource alloca-

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IEEE Wireless Communications October 2008

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tion mechanisms for WLAN/WMAN integrate d ne t wo rk s, and d e s p i t e t h e 8 0 2 . 1 1 a n d 802.16 MAC security support, security solutions for preventing denial of service (DoS) attacks and corrupted or compromised mesh points/relay stations should integrate mobility management and connection/routing management to provide secure routes for users sessions.

BIOGRAPHIES
ALLAN BORGES PONTES (abp@ufpa.br) received a B.Sc. degree in computer engineering from Superior Studies Institute of Amazon, Brazil, in 2006. Currently he is an M.Sc. student at the Federal University of Par , Brazil, and a member of the Ubiquitous Computing and Networks Laboratory (UCNL). His research interests include wireless networks, heterogeneous wireless mesh networks, hierarchical routing protocols for mesh networks, location-based systems, mobility management, and media-independent handover. D IEGO DOS P ASSOS S ILVA (dps@ufpa.br) received a B.Sc. degree in computer engineering from the Federal University of Par, Brazil, in 2007. Currently, he is an M.Sc. student at the same university and a member of UCNL. His research interests include wireless networks, IEEE 802.16, mobility management, and media-independent handover. J OS J AILTON , J R . (jjj@ufpa.br) received a B.Sc. degree in computer engineering from Superior Studies Institute of Amazon, Brazil, in 2006. Currently he is an M.S degree student at the Federal University of Par, Brazil, and a member of UCNL. His research interests include wireless networks, IPv6, IEEE 802.16, mobility management, and media-independent handover. OTAVIO RODRIGUES, JR. (orj@ufpa.br) received a B.Sc. degree in computer science from the Federal University of Par, Brazil, in 2005, and an M.Sc. degree in computer science from the same university in 2008. Currently, he is a member of UCNL. His research activities include heterogeneous wireless multihop networks, fourth-generation networks, mobility management, and media-independent handover. KELVIN LOPES DIAS (kld@ufpa.br) received a B.Sc. degree in computer science from the Federal University of Par, Brazil, in 1995 and a Ph.D. degree in computer science from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), Brazil, in 2004. Since 2006 he has been an associate professor in the computer engineering department of the Federal University of Par. He also heads the UCNL. His current research interests include wireless and mobile communications, middleware for ubiquitous computing, mobility management, and heterogeneous wireless multihop networks.

REFERENCES
[1] E. Gustafsson and A. Johnson, Always Best Connected, IEEE Wireless Commun., vol. 10, no. 1, 2003, pp. 4955. [2] IEEE 802.11, Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications, 2007. [3] IEEE 802.16e, Local and Metropolitan Area Networks Part 16: Air Interface for Fixed and Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Systems, 2005. [4] IEEE P802.21/D10.0, Draft Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks: Media Independent Handover Services, Apr. 2008. [5] I. Akyildiz, X. Wang, and W. Wang, Wireless Mesh Networks: A Survey, Computer Networks, vol. 47, no. 4, 2005, pp. 44587. [6] I. Akyildz, J. Xie, and S. Mohanty, A Survey of Mobility Management in Next Generation All IP Based Wireless Systems, IEEE Wireless Commun., vol. 11, no. 4, 2004, pp. 1627. [7] G. Lampropoulos, A. Salkintzis, and N. Passas, Media Independent Handover for Seamless Service Provision in Heterogeneous Networks, IEEE Commun. Mag. , vol. 46, no. 1, Jan. 2008. [8] D. Cavalcanti et al., Issues in Integrating Cellular Networks, WLANs, and MANETs: A Futuristic Heterogeneous Wireless Network, IEEE Wireless Commun., vol. 12, no. 3, 2005, pp. 3041. [9] A. George et al., Protocols for Mobility Management in Heterogeneous Multihop Wireless Networks, Pervasive and Mobile Computing, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, pp. 92116. [10] IETF NEMO WG; http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/nemocharter.html

There are some missing points that should be conducted in future research such as MIH support for multi hop heterogeneous networks, QoS mapping and resource allocation mechanisms for WLAN/WMAN integrated network.

IEEE Wireless Communications October 2008


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