Support For IP mobility and diversity in a broadband wireless access network
Broadband wireless access (BWA) network working at millimetre bands possesses the advantages of quick deployment, more flexibility, wide service coverage and cost efficiency. The range of services to be provided via the system includes broadband digital television, Internet data, telephony and videoconference. Apart from broadcast digital television, all traffic is carried in Internetworking Protocol (IP) format. Unfortunately the services of such a system are susceptible to impairment by buildings, vegetation, terrain and attenuation caused by rain, snow and sleet, etc. Accordingly the service availability and system performance can drop dramatically. In the worst case, the system will experience heavy packet loss and the services might be completely unavailable. An extended multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network architecture is proposed in this thesis, which allows fast mobile IP access and diversity routing for traffic under fade condition. This supports nomadic access, reduced packet loss and improved service availability in BWA network during system outage. Also developed herein is a Diversity and Shadow Flow Merging Mechanism, which, besides sending a packet on its normal path, also duplicates the packet and sends it on a separate, diverted labelled path. The shadow flow merging mechanism is responsible for merging the normal flow and shadow flow together and delivering the merged packet to its destination. It is anticipated that the packet can be successfully delivered to the destination even if one path fails completely during the system outage. The protocol is tested on a general BWA network that is configured with Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) downlink and Multi-Frequency Time Division Multiplex Access (MF-TDMA) uplink equipments. The protocol’s ability of reducing packet loss and improving service availability, during the period of link failure, is verified. It is concluded that the protocol is effective in improving the service availability of BWA network.