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The femtocell is becoming a promising solution to face the explosive growth of mobile broadband usage in cellular networks. Although each femtocell only covers a small area, a massive deployment is expected to form networked femtocells in the near future. One immediate challenge is to provide seamless mobility support for networked femtocells with minimal support from mobile core networks. In this paper, we propose efficient local mobility management schemes for networked femtocells based on X2 traffic forwarding under the Third-Generation Partnership Project Long-Term Evolution Advanced (3GPP LTE-A) framework. Instead of implementing the path switch operation at core network entity for each handover, a local traffic forwarding chain is constructed to use the existing Internet backhaul and the local path between the local anchor femtocell and the target femtocell for ongoing session communications. Both analytical studies and simulation experiments are conducted to evaluate the proposed schemes and compare them with the original 3GPP scheme. The results indicate that the proposed schemes can significantly reduce the signaling cost and relieve the processing burden of mobile core networks with the reasonable distributed cost for local traffic forwarding. In addition, the proposed schemes can enable fast session recovery to adapt to the self-deployment nature of the femtocells.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2013