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Low-latency mobile IP handoff for infrastructure-mode wireless LANs

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3 Author(s)
Sharma, S. ; Rether Networks Inc., Centereach, NY, USA ; Ningning Zhu ; Tzi-cker Chiueh

The increasing popularity of IEEE 802.11-based wireless local area networks (LANs) lends them credibility as a viable alternative to third-generation (3G) wireless technologies. Even though wireless LANs support much higher channel bandwidth than 3G networks, their network-layer handoff latency is still too high to be usable for interactive multimedia applications such as voice over IP or video streaming. Specifically, the peculiarities of commercially available IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN hardware prevent existing mobile Internet protocol (IP) implementations from achieving subsecond Mobile IP handoff latency when the wireless LANs are operating in the infrastructure mode, which is also the prevailing operating mode used in most deployed IEEE 802.11b LANs. In this paper, we propose a low-latency mobile IP handoff scheme that can reduce the handoff latency of infrastructure-mode wireless LANs to less than 100 ms, the fastest known handoff performance for such networks. The proposed scheme overcomes the inability of mobility software to sense the signal strengths of multiple-access points when operating in an infrastructure-mode wireless LAN. It expedites link-layer handoff detection and speeds up network-layer handoff by replaying cached foreign agent advertisements. The proposed scheme strictly adheres to the mobile IP standard specification, and does not require any modifications to existing mobile IP implementations. That is, the proposed mechanism is completely transparent to the existing mobile IP software installed on mobile nodes and wired nodes. As a demonstration of this technology, we show how this low-latency handoff scheme together with a wireless LAN bandwidth guarantee mechanism supports undisrupted playback of remote video streams on mobile stations that are traveling across wireless LAN segments.

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Selected Areas in Communications, IEEE Journal on  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 4 )