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Reconfigurable Access module for MObile computiNg applications - RAMON
PRIN, 2000-2002

The project goals were the design and the analysis of a reconfigurable access module for mobile computing applications (RAMON). The framework is represented by mobile users making use of Internet data services. These users are considered to be on the move and able to connect themselves to different (at least two) networks, i.e., to networks characterized by different radio access technologies. User mobility is provided both in a physical way (users are on the move) and in a logical way (different access points). The research program focused on radio access and packet transport services at least in two different communication environments (referred to as Reference Environments, REs), that were selected in these two sets:
  • Terrestrial wide area cellular systems, with GPRS technology and/or their evolution in UMTS systems;
  •  Local area access systems; particularly the 802.11 LAN and/or the potentiality offered by BlueTooth.

Users on the move in a multi-environment scenario, should be able to be connected, at every time, to the most favourable network. To this end, they need to estimate the perceived (or expected) quality and to react accordingly (e.g., to select the best network to which being connected to or to handover to the most favourable one). The main goal of the project has been on the design and test of a module (the RAMON module) able to manage the access of these users to different REs. The RAMON modules is composed by two main parts: the external RAMON entity and the intenal RAMON entity. The external module is mainly responsible for the translation of radio access specific messages and performance metrics into the common RAMON format. Further, the function of the RAMON internal module is to collect these common messages and to fed them to RAMON algorithms, where the indications of the perceived quality are used to take on-line decisions to handle on-going connections. This set of algorithms aim at controlling the perceived quality, by adjusting physical layer parameters (e.g., transmission power and/of physical layer FEC), link layer parameters and/or by controlling inter-RE handovers.

To sum up, the general target was to achieve the best possible quality by exploiting the available resources in an efficient manner. On-line decisions and adaptations regarded several aspects such as handover procedures, link layer settings (energy/delay aware) and inter-RE mobility management. Connection fees and user profiles were also taken into account to take such decisions. RAMON algorithms were divided into three planes, according to their functionalities (i.e., Session Control, Radio Resource Control and Session Control algorithms).

The final result of the project was the design of the RAMON entity (the NS2 simulator has been considered as the platform for development and test). Investigations, proofs of concepts and functionalities were carried out considering the UMTS, the IEEE802.11 and the BlueTooth networks.

The University of Ferrara was responsible for the design of Session Control algorithms, with particular focus on the optimization of the transmission of TCP flows and on their management during hanvoders.
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