12 Access Point Selection

12.1 Background Technology

Access point (AP) or in a broader sense network selection refers to the dynamic and automatic choice of the “best” wireless access network to connect to. In classical cellular systems, the network selection is mainly guided by physical layer parameters, and the mobile terminal often associates to the “best received” base station, that is, the closest (in terms of received signal strength) to the end user equipment. Such selection policy is not necessary suited for other wireless access scenarios in heterogeneous wireless access networks. For instance, a WiFi user may favor connecting to a less loaded AP at larger distance, rather than to a very close, highly loaded one. The specific parameters to drive the selection strategy itself are highly dependent on the specific wireless access technology, thus novel parameters must be accounted in the selection procedure [38–41]. On the other hand, network operators have to tackle a resource allocation problem which requires the proper setting/planning of the available radio resources, such as frequencies, time slots, spreading codes, and so on, throughout their deployed access network infrastructures. The resource allocation driving criteria may include the maximization of the overall revenues for the operator, the maximization of the provided geographical coverage, and/or the maximization of the network spectral efficiency, under tight/loose constraints on the quality perceived ...

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