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The development of handheld mobile terminals (MT) capable of operating over both Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) and the cellular media is an important step toward the evolution of next-generation integrated networks. For real-time applications like voice, efficient vertical handover (VH) algorithms are required in maintaining a seamless connectivity and an acceptable level of quality for mobile users in heterogeneous environments. This paper proposes an analytical method for evaluating the performance of a VH algorithm that relies on the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) samples. The system model is portrayed upon addressing relevant factors that affect the quality and continuity of a voice call, and a set of performance metrics is proposed. A rigorous signal strength time series is utilized in characterizing the instantaneous decision metrics, and a novel intermediary system model, namely the N-model, is proposed to capture the large-scale shadowing effects. The performance of a generic algorithm that relies on the RSSI, which itself is susceptible to estimation error, is evaluated for an MT roaming in and out of the WLAN coverage area. Results obtained using the analytical expressions are validated by comparing them to that obtained through Monte Carlo simulation.
Date of Publication: March 2013