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

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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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