Vertical Handover in Heterogeneous Networks: a Comparative Experimental and Simulation-based Investigation

Giovanni Spigoni,1 Stefano Busanelli,2, Marco Martalò,3, Gianluigi Ferrari,1 and Nicola Iotti2

1University of Parma, Italy

2Guglielmo Srl, Italy

3University of Parma, Italy, E-Campus University, Novedrate (CO), Italy

12.1 Introduction

The continuously growing traffic generated by Mobile Terminals (MTs) – such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks and other mobile Internet devices – is nowadays one of the biggest challenges for mobile network operators, especially because this process is not likely to vanish, at least from a short-time perspective. Therefore, in order to prevent network saturation phenomena, the operators are forced to increase their network capacity more quickly than the customers’ demand increases. This goal will probably be achieved by a combination of methods: (1) increasing the available bandwidth in cooperation with the public communications agency, for example by exploiting the spectrum holes; (2) increasing the cell spectral efficiency through technology upgrades, such as by switching from 3G to the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) [1] or WiMAX [2] technologies; (3) reducing the number of users per macrocell by either reducing the cell size or offloading data traffic through WiFi access points or femtocells [3, 4]. An example of the last solution, which is of interest in this chapter, can be found in 3G networks in customers’ homes, where the deployment ...

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