Managing Heterogeneous Access Networks – Coordinated policy based decision engines for mobility management
It is anticipated that next generation network will consist of heterogeneous access networks and will provide a variety of services. In such an environment the assignment of terminals to access networks and mobility management becomes a challenging problem. This is especially true if one takes into account the user goals and the goal of the network operator. Users would like to be connected to their services over the best available access technology, where the users should be able to define what best means, in other terms users want to be Always-Best-Connected (ABC). The network operator has to satisfy ABC property for users who are competing for resources and has to maintain the best possible utility out of its investments. This can be coined as Always-Best-Managed (ABM) networks. Taking into account that what best means in ABC paradigm for different users will be different in practice, that it will not be possible to fulfill the requirements of each of the users simultaneously, and that the network itself is dynamic in nature, one can imagine the difficulty of achieving ABC and ABM all the time. In this paper we introduce a new approach to policy based mobility management based on two coordinated decision engines, one residing in the terminal and one in the network. We describe our architecture enabling network controlled policy based mobility management and discuss first results observed with our prototype implementation of this architecture.