Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

My website and thesis captures the essential elements in the convergence path of wireless networks and Internet protocols resulting in the new paradigm of "Wireless IP." It covers all the important 1G/2G cellular technologies that I have seen in the past decade, along with 3G and 4G, Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technologies,including modifications required in protocols, architectures, and framework in virtually every area such as QoS, security, mobility, and so on.

The thesis can be useful for anyone who is interested in the convergence of the wireless and IP networks and for them who need to understand how packet data services and IP work in the wireless world. Furthermore, the thesis represents my views and opinions , based on my technical understanding and experience in these areas

Because the increase of higher system capacities and data rates provided by latest and proposed wireless network technologies, and their closer integration with the Internet enabled by the IP technologies used in these wireless networks are enabling many new ways for people to communicate.
Also people on moving vehicles (e.g. cars, trains, boats and airplanes) may access the Internet or their enterprise networks the same way as when they are at their offices or homes. They may be able to surf the Internet, access their corporate networks, download games from the network, play games with remote users, obtain tour guidance information, obtain real-time traffic and route conditions information.

Wireless networks are evolving into wireless IP networks to overcome the limitations of traditional circuit-switched wireless networks. Wireless IP networks are more suitable for supporting the rapidly growing mobile data and multimedia applications.
IP technologies (such as Mobile IP) are the most promising solutions available today for supporting data and multimedia applications over wireless networks. IP-based wireless networks will bring the globally successful Internet service into wireless networks. The mobile or wireless Internet will be an extension to the current Internet.

Advanced mobile data and multimedia applications such as; MMS, play games in real time with remote users, Voice over wireless (VoIP calls) and broadcasting of audio and video advertisements to mobile phone users such as: advertiser supported phone calls, Wireless IP-enabled radio and watch TV, will grow very fast. New IP broadcasting techniques such as DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds), will make it possible to bring video broadcasting services to handheld receivers.

In particular, the growth of advanced mobile data and multimedia applications such as Voice-over-IP (VoIP) help increase multimedia traffic over the wireless networks significantly. Thus, Wireless IP can also be a killer sometimes. Therefore future Wireless IP networks can only be able to service those mobile data and multimedia applications without congestions in the Wireless network, if those Wireless IP networks are ready for it. In other words, "those networks need to be controlled (e.g. by QoS parameters or other specific protocols) end must have enough bandwidth to support all this types of services. Wireless networks and the IP technologies within those networks have to be reviewed and evolved constantly.

Remark these words:
The traffic on broadband wireless networks will be increasingly IP

Archive for October, 2013


The growth of wireless networks

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The growth of wireless networks is expected to continue well into the first decade of the twenty-first century, and the number of wireless subscribers is expected to overtake the number of fixed lines within the next three years.

One thing is clear, wireless technologies will continue to evolve and offer organizations and end users higher standard of life by making us more mobile and increasing our ability to interact with each other, removing distance as a barrier. There will be a time when a traveler can sit in any airport or hotel and surf the Web or connect to the home office and work. Users will be able to surf or work in places such as malls, parks, or (with smaller handheld computers) just walking down the street. Internet service providers will install larger wireless networks allowing users to connect from anywhere in the city. All of these things are possible with wireless technology.

One day soon, the network will follow you instead of you following it.

I strongly believe that this exciting field of wireless networks, and their evolution to all-IP networks, is full of many challenges and opportunities.

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Challenges of IP in Wireless Networks

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IP has been tried and tested successfully in fixed networks for data services. It has become a de facto standard for data communications on the Internet by connecting universities, businesses, and individuals all over the world. In this section the critical limitations of IP applicability to wireless networks are discussed, such as; addressing incompatibilities, wireless link characteristics, mobility (roaming and handover), security and Quality of Service (QoS).

Technical overview

IP in wireless networks plays different roles due to the varying capabilities and applications supported in these technologies. For example, Personal Area Networks (PAN) are concerned with short-range communications within a home or a Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) environment for wireless connectivity and for applications like simple file and data transfer. Existing IP protocols with necessary adaptations to specific PAN radio technologies (e.g., Bluetooth, IEEE 802.15) can help achieve those goals.

WLAN, on the other hand, is meant for broadband wireless access in a larger environment, such as airports, hotels, universities, and malls. The intent of WLAN is similar to the Ethernet but provides a link-level wireless solution. Therefore, WLAN, just like Ethernet, can support IP on the network layer and various IP applications that are/have been developed based on the capabilities of the higher-layer protocols over IP.

Current cellular networks (2G and 3G) are some of the most complex network architectures ever deployed on a large scale and provide a complete solution for addressing, security, paging, mobility, accounting, and so on. 2G cellular radios have limited bandwidth and costly radio resources. In 3G cellular, although the bandwidth is higher, the radio resources are still expensive. Cellular networks make use of strict radio admission control to allocate radio resources based on demand and availability. The IP suite of protocols is not well optimized for low-bandwidth and limited resource links.

Cellular networks provide idle mobility, also called roaming, and active call handoff functions to users without any noticeable glitch to allow for seamless mobility within an operator network and across different operator networks. All these features have been tried and tested and are currently in use on a large scale. The IETF is presently defining mobility solutions with IP (versions 4 and 6) that include idle mobility and handover. The IETF also formed a working group to handle internetwork roaming for Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) functions for large-scale deployments.

Recently introduced 3G cellular networks provide higher bandwidth in their packet core network and offer multimedia applications and Web services as a first step of service integration to the Internet. These IP applications are mainly data centric and work complementary to existing cellular voice services by making use of existing Internet infrastructure support and protocols. But they are not suitable to replace cellular functionality without due enhancements.

The first enhancements include support for real-time call establishments over IP networks leading to the development of an IP-based call/session control signalling (Session Initiation Protocol, SIP) to handle calls and other multimedia sessions.

Cellular networks exclusively use the SS7 (Signalling System #7) backbone in the core network to carry signalling. SS7 offers a robust and highly reliable network to carry signalling messages. Cellular networks have been designed to connect seamlessly to the PSTN, which provides landline telecommunication services. This enables mobile users to make calls to landline phones and vice versa. To remain connected to the PSTN network, IP networks must make use of gateways that will perform signalling and media interworking on the border of IP networks and PSTN.

In order for IP to be applied ubiquitously to wireless networks, it must overcome the wireless challenges.

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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AirTight’s Flagship SpectraGuard C-60

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The AirTight C-60 is a 802.11n access point (AP) for enterprises with a need for high speed performance and strong wireless security, especially enterprises that want to run distinct applications on separate networks and do not want to compromise on wireless security.
The AirTight C-60 is the industry’s first dual band, dual radio AP where each radio can be independently configured in either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency bands in software, it has three kind of operation modes:

* Dual AP with Background WIPS:
Simultaneous Wi-Fi access in the 2,4GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands plus background scanning for wireless threat detection and mitigation in both frequency bands.

* AP with dedicated WIPS:
AP on one radio for Wi-Fi access in the 2,4GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands and a dedicated sensor on the other radio for 24/7 protection from wireless threaths in both frequency bands.

* Overlay WIPS:
Dedicated sensor on both radios for 24/7 protection from wireless threaths in both frequency bands.

AirTight C60

The industry’s most flexible 3×3 802.11n access point with industry’s Top Rated WIPS and Controller-less “Intelligent Edge” Architecture.


Special thanks to:
Anthony Paladino – Vice President at AirTight Networks USA
Tom Haas – Director Sales

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The Wireless Security Challenge

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Traditionally, security mechanisms developed in the IETF for IP networks are meant to provide security features end-to-end. There is no particular assumption of link-level security functionality. For example, Ethernet, which is one of the most widely used link-layer protocols, does not offer any link-level protection against eavesdropping and spoofing. Complete end-to-end security requires that a network, transport, or higher-level security mechanisms must be used.

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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Security in Wireless Networks

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The handling of security in cellular networks is quite different from that of IP networks. In circuit switched cellular networks, user authentication and authorization is used for access to cellular services. Ciphering (encryption) is done over the radio link.
For example, in UMTS packet networks, the user is authenticated and authorized in a similar fashion at the time of registration.

The packet network element in the core network performs the authentication procedures and provides a ciphering key for use to the Mobile Network. The packet data traffic is ciphered over the radio and is tunnelled in the core network to a gateway element in the core network. There is no security for IP traffic outside the UMTS core network unless an IP-level security mechanism is adopted.

WLAN provides link-level authentication and confidentiality features through wired equivalent privacy (WEP). The authentication mechanism is only to bring the wireless link level to the same assumed physical standards of a physical link. WEP provides encryption equivalent to the wired connection for the wireless link.

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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Security in Wireless IP Networks

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Acknowledging the higher risk of security problems in wireless networks opens up new problems due to the inherent mobility functionality associated with wireless networks. While mobility is a great convenience to wireless users, it demands a lot of intelligence and complexity on the network side. Mobility provides that users can establish a wireless subscription with one service provider in their hometown and can roam nationally or internationally.

This introduces a connection between roaming and security functionality that the users must be authenticated and authorized for gaining access to network services in the visiting network that they are currently roaming to. The user must provide credentials that are used to identify the home network where he or she belongs, and then the access is provided after performing the security functions. On the flip side, the security function also involves the home network to ensure that the user is an unalloyed user who has subscribed to its services. There are numerous security protocols in use on the Internet.

Taking mobility into consideration, IPSec provides a robust security framework to satisfy the requirements of the wireless IP networks. It offers access control, connectionless integrity, data origin authentication, protection against replays (a form of partial sequence integrity), confidentiality (encryption), and limited traffic flow confidentiality. IPSec security features are handled at the IP layer, offering protection for IP- and/or upper-layer protocols.
There are two traffic security protocols, the Authentication Header (AH) and the Encapsulated Security Payload (ESP), that are used as part of the IPSec.

AH provides connectionless integrity, data origin authentication, and an optional anti-replay service. The ESP may provide confidentiality (encryption) and limited traffic flow confidentiality and it may also provide connectionless integrity, data origin authentication, and anti-replay service. AH and ESP can be used individually or in combination with each other to provide a desired set of security services in IPv4 and IPv6.
A security association is uniquely identified by a triple consisting of a Security Parameter Index (SPI), an IP destination address, and a security protocol (AH or ESP) identifier. Internet Key Exchange (IKE) is the default automated key management protocol to negotiate protocols and algorithms and to create security associations and generate authentication keys. A security policy database can be used as input data to the IKE

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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The WiMAX Scenario

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Here’s what would happen if you got WiMAX. An Internet service provider sets up a WiMAX base station for about 10 miles (+/- 15km) from your home. You would buy a WiMAX-enabled computer or upgrade your old computer to add WiMAX capability. You would receive a special encryption code that would give you access to the base station. The base station would beam data from the Internet to your computer (at speeds potentially higher than today’s cable modems), for which you would pay the provider a monthly fee. The cost for this service could be much lower than current high-speed Internet-subscription fees because the provider never had to run cables.

If you have a home network, things wouldn’t change much. The WiMAX base station would send data to a WiMAX-enabled router, which would then send the data to the different computers on your network. You could even combine WiFi with WiMAX by having the router send the data to the computers via WiFi.
WiMAX doesn’t just pose a threat to providers of DSL and cable-modem service. The WiMAX protocol is designed to accommodate several different methods of data transmission, one of which is Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

VoIP allows people to make local, long-distance and even international calls through a broadband Internet connection, bypassing phone companies entirely. If WiMAX-compatible computers become very common, the use of VoIP could increase dramatically. Almost anyone with a laptop could make VoIP calls.

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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Introduction to Wireless IP

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Wireless IP obviously refers to using the Internet Protocol over a wireless connection. At one time, the term “wireless IP” referred to CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data), a method for transmitting data packets across wireless cellular networks. Today, wireless IP refers to a variety of technologies, including the following:

· Wireless data protocols
· Mobile IP
· MANET (Mobile Ad Hoc Networking)
· WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)

An IP-based wireless network, or wireless IP network, uses IP-based protocols to support one or more key aspects of network operations. These may include network-layer routing and transport of user packets, mobility management at the network or higher protocol layers, signalling and control of real-time voice and multimedia services, and support for network security and quality of service. An all-IP wireless network would use IP-based protocols to support all or most aspects of network operations at the network layer or above in the core networks or even in the radio access networks.
IP-based wireless networks offer a range of advantages over traditional circuit-switched wireless networks. For example, IP-based networks are more suitable for supporting the rapidly growing mobile data and multimedia applications.

IP-based wireless networks bring the globally successful Internet service creation and offering paradigm into wireless networks. This not only makes Internet services available to mobile users but also provides a proven successful platform for fostering future mobile services. Furthermore, IP-based protocols are independent of the underlying radio technologies and therefore are better suited for supporting services seamlessly over different radio technologies and for achieving global roaming.
Realizing IP-based wireless networks introduces many new technical challenges, especially in the areas of network architecture, signalling and control, mobility management, network security, and Quality of Services (QoS). These areas are therefore the focus.

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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WiMAX: Who’s going to pay for WiMAX?

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Citywide blanket coverage of wireless Internet access sounds great, but companies aren’t going to go around setting up WiMAX base stations out of sheer kindness. Who’s going to pay for WiMAX?
It depends how it will be used. There are two ways WiMAX can be implemented; as a zone for wireless connections that single users go to when they want to connect to the Internet on a laptop (the non-line-of-sight “super WiFi” implementation) or as a line-of-sight hub used to connect hundreds of customers to a steady, always-on, high-speed wireless Internet connection

Under the “super WiFi” plan, cities might pay to have WiMAX base stations set up in key areas for business and commerce and then allow people to use them for free. They already do this with WiFi, but instead of putting in a bunch of WiFi hot spots that cover a few hundred square yards (+/- 80 m2), a city could pay for one WiMAX base station and cover an entire financial district. This could provide a strong draw when city leaders try to attract businesses to their area.

Some companies might set up WiMAX transmitters and then make people pay for access. Again, this is similar to strategies used for WiFi, but a much wider area would be covered. Instead of hopping from one hot spot to another, WiMAX-enabled users could have Internet access anywhere within 30 miles (~ 45km) of the WiMAX base station. These companies might offer unlimited access for a monthly fee or a “pay as you go” plan that charges on a per-minute or per-hour basis.

The high-speed wireless hub plan has the potential to be far more revolutionary. It is similar to the ADSL or Cable services with delivers high-speed Internet access to the homes now and where you pay the telecom or cable company a monthly fee.

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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Mobile Fi (802.20) and the Global Area Network

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The final step in the area network scale is the Global Area Network (GAN). The proposal for GAN is IEEE 802.20. A true GAN would work a lot like today’s cell phone networks, with users able to travel across the country and still have access to the network the whole time. This network would have enough bandwidth to offer Internet access comparable to cable modem service, but it would be accessible to mobile, always-connected devices like laptops or next-generation cell phones.
There is a big competition between WiMAX 802.16e and Mobile Fi 802.20.

Mobile Fi will be launched on the market for mobile products in moving objects. 802.16e has a speed limit of 100kmh while Mobile Fi can still operate at a speed of 250 kmh. Mobile Fi uses frequencies beneath the 3,5GHz band, which will make international acceptation easier while WiMAX operates within the spectrum of 2-66 GHz.
Mobile Fi will have a much lower bandwidth (16Mb downstream and 3,2Mb upstream) regarding to WiMAX, but the biggest disadvantage is that Mobile Fi is still under construction. Before Mobile Fi will join the market, WiMAX 802.16e has already been positioned. At the same time this can be an advantage because the market will then be ready to launch. Therefore, Mobile Fi will be seen as a part of the next generation wireless networks (4G).

Current Wireless Technology:

Future Wireless Technology:

Part of the thesis: Wireless IP, The Killer Application !?

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