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Efficient Access of Mobile Flows to Heterogeneous Networks under Flash Crowds

Moura, J.A. ; Edwards, CE

Journal of Network and Computer Applications Vol. 107, Nº 2, pp. 163 - 177, October, 2016.

ISSN (print): 1095-8592
ISSN (online): 1084-8045

Journal Impact Factor: 2,229 (in 2014)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1016/j.comnet.2016.04.010

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Future wireless networks need to offer orders of magnitude more capacity to address the predicted growth in mobile traffic demand. Operators to enhance the capacity of cellular networks are increasingly using WiFi to offload traffic from their core networks. This paper deals with the efficient and flexible management of a heterogeneous networking environment offering wireless access to multimode terminals. This wireless access is evaluated under disruptive usage scenarios, such as flash crowds, which can mean unwanted severe congestion on a specific operator network whilst the remaining available capacity from other access technologies is not being used. To address these issues, we propose a scalable network assisted distributed solution that is administered by centralized policies, and an embedded reputation system, by which initially selfish operators are encouraged to cooperate under the threat of churn. Our solution after detecting a congested technology, including within its wired backhaul, automatically offloads and balances the flows amongst the access resources from all the existing technologies, following some quality metrics. Our results show that the smart integration of access networks can yield an additional wireless quality for mobile flows up to thirty eight percent beyond that feasible from the best effort standalone operation of each wireless access technology. It is also evidenced that backhaul constraints are conveniently reflected on the way the flow access to wireless media is granted. Finally, we have analyzed the sensitivity of the handover decision algorithm running in each terminal agent to consecutive flash crowds, as well as its centralized feature that controls the connection quality offered by a heterogeneous access infrastructure owned by distinct operators.