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The rapid growth of the Internet has led to the anticipated depletion of addresses in the current version of the Internet protocol (IP), i.e., IPv4. This depletion has given rise to a newer version of the IP, i.e., IP version 6 (IPv6). IPv6 provides sufficient address space to meet the predicted increase of the Internet. Since IPv4 has already widely been deployed, it is required that the existing IPv4 and the newly added IPv6 can coexist and interoperate. Due to the incompatibility of the IPv4 and IPv6 headers, various mechanisms have been proposed to support the interoperability between IPv4 and IPv6. However, they are mostly designed for a static environment. Mobility support of mobile terminals in a mixed IPv4/IPv6 environment remains largely unexplored. It introduces additional overhead and delay to communications. In this paper, we analyze various handoff scenarios for a dual-stack mobile node with a predominant IPv6 home address roaming in a mixed IPv4/IPv6 environment. We investigate how handoffs can be supported and derive the handoff procedures for all scenarios. In addition, we analyze the impact of mobility support on the system performance in terms of handoff-signaling cost, handoff delay, and handoff-failure probability using our designed analytical models. Different traffic and mobility patterns are taken into account in the performance analysis. Numerical results are provided to demonstrate the performance of all handoff scenarios. Conclusions from this study can give great in-depth understanding and insights into designing new cost-effective mobility support mechanisms for IPv4/IPv6 transition and interoperability.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2010