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Mobile IP

Published on Apr 02, 2024


While Internet technologies largely succeed in overcoming the barriers of time and distance, existing Internet technologies have yet to fully accommodate the increasing mobile computer usage. A promising technology used to eliminate this current barrier is Mobile IP.

The emerging 3G mobile networks are set to make a huge difference to the international business community. 3G networks will provide sufficient bandwidth to run most of the business computer applications while still providing a reasonable user experience.

However, 3G networks are not based on only one standard, but a set of radio technology standards such as cdma2000, EDGE and WCDMA. It is easy to foresee that the mobile user from time to time also would like to connect to fixed broadband networks, wireless LANs and, mixtures of new technologies such as Bluetooth associated to e.g. cable TV and DSL access points.

In this light, a common macro mobility management framework is required in order to allow mobile users to roam between different access networks with little or no manual intervention. (Micro mobility issues such as radio specific mobility enhancements are supposed to be handled within the specific radio technology.) IETF has created the Mobile IP standard for this purpose.

Mobile IP is different compared to other efforts for doing mobility management in the sense that it is not tied to one specific access technology. In earlier mobile cellular standards, such as GSM, the radio resource and mobility management was integrated vertically into one system. The same is also true for mobile packet data standards such as CDPD, Cellular Digital Packet Data and the internal packet data mobility protocol (GTP/MAP) of GPRS/UMTS networks. This vertical mobility management property is also inherent for the increasingly popular 802.11 Wireless LAN standard.

Mobile IP can be seen as the least common mobility denominator - providing seamless macro mobility solutions among the diversity of accesses. Mobile IP is defining a Home Agent as an anchor point with which the mobile client always has a relationship, and a Foreign Agent, which acts as the local tunnel-endpoint at the access network where the mobile client is visiting. Depending on which network the mobile client is currently visiting; its point of attachment Foreign Agent) may change. At each point of attachment, Mobile IP either requires the availability of a standalone Foreign Agent or the usage of a Co-located care-of address in the mobile client itself.

The concept of "Mobility" or "packet data mobility", means different things depending on what context the word is used within. In a wireless or fixed environment, there are many different ways of implementing partial or full mobility and roaming services.

The most common ways of implementing mobility (discrete mobility or IP roaming service) support in today's IP networking environments includes simple "PPP dial-up" as well as company internal mobility solutions implemented by means of renewal of IP address at each new point of attachment. The most commonly deployed way of supporting remote access users in today's Internet is to utilize the public telephone network (fixed or mobile) and to use the PPP dial-up functionality.

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