Network access selection in heterogeneous wireless networks

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

In heterogeneous wireless networks (HWNs), both single-homed and multi-homed terminals are supported to provide connectivity to users. A multiservice single-homed multi-mode terminal can support multiple types of services, such as voice call, file download and video streaming simultaneously on any one of the available radio access technologies (RATs) such as Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), and Long Term Evolution (LTE). Consequently, a single-homed multi-mode terminal having multiple on-going calls may need to perform a vertical handover from one RAT to another. One of the major issues in HWNs is how to select the most suitable RAT for multiple handoff calls, and the selection of a suitable RAT for multiple-calls from a single-homed multi-mode terminal in HWNs is a group decision problem. This is because a single-homed multi-mode terminal can connect to only one RAT at a time, and therefore multiple handoff calls from the terminal have to be handed over to the same RAT. In making group decision for multiple-calls, the quality of service (QoS) requirements for individual calls needs to be considered. Thus, the RAT that most satisfies the QoS requirements of individual calls is selected as the most suitable RAT for the multiple-calls. Whereas most research efforts in HWNs have concentrated on developing vertical handoff decision schemes for a single call from a multi-mode terminal, not much has been reported in the literature on RAT-selection for multiple-calls from a single-homed multi-mode terminal in next generation wireless networks (NGWNs). In addition, not much has been done to investigate the sensitivity of RAT-selection criteria for multiple-calls in NGWNs. Therefore, this dissertation addresses these issues by focusing on following two main aspects: (1) comparative analysis of four candidate multi-criteria group decision-making (MCGDM) schemes that could be adapted for making RAT-selection decisions for multiple-calls, and (2) development of a new RAT-selection scheme named the consensus RAT-selection model. In comparative analysis of the candidate RAT-selection schemes, four MCGDM schemes namely: distance to the ideal alternative-group decision making (DIA-GDM), multiplicative exponent weighting-group decision making (MEW-GDM), simply additive weighting-group decision making (SAW-GDM), technique for order preference by similarity to Ideal solution-group decision making (TOPSIS-GDM) are considered. The performance of the multiple-calls RAT-selection schemes is evaluated using the MATLAB simulation tool. The results show that DIA-GDM and TOPSIS-GDM schemes are more suitable for multiple handoff calls than SAW-GDM and MEW-GDM schemes. This is because they are consistent and less-sensitive in making RAT-selection decision than the other two schemes, with regards to RAT-selection criteria (service price, data rate, security, battery power consumption and network delay) in HWNs. In addition, the newly developed RAT-selection scheme incorporates RAT-consensus level for improving RAT-selection decisions for multiple-calls. Numerical results conducted in MATLAB validate the effectiveness and performance of the newly proposed RAT-selection scheme for multiple-calls in HWNs.