Location-Based Vertical Handovers in Wi-Fi Networks with IEEE 802.11ah


IEEE 802.11ah is a new sub-GHz Wi-Fi technology that provides several advantages over traditional Wi-Fi such as a higher communication range, enhanced scalability, and lower energy consumption, however at the cost of substantially lower throughput. With the aim of simultaneously benefiting from multiple Wi-Fi technologies, recent proposals suggest combining a number of these technologies into a single device. This, however, compromises the energy efficiency of the device, as it implies concurrent utilization of different radio access interfaces. To mitigate this issue, the device should utilize the interface of a certain technology only when there is a high probability of establishing communication over that technology. Traditional vertical handover algorithms are not designed for this purpose as they rely on continuous beacon listening or active probing, even if the device is not in the range of a given technology. To address this issue, vertical handover algorithms based on the combination of devices’ physical locations and either Radio Environmental Maps (REM) or propagation modeling have been proposed. Moreover, their suitability and encouraging performance have been demonstrated for a number of the established Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technologies. However, their appropriateness for Wi-Fi-based networks with IEEE 802.11ah is currently unknown, which provides the main motivation for this work. Specifically, we carry out an extensive experimental performance evaluation of two location-based vertical handover algorithms in the context of Wi-Fi-based networks with IEEE 802.11ah. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of location-based handovers in this context. We base our findings on the fact that location-based algorithms can maintain comparable data communication quality as the beacon listening-based baseline, while simultaneously reducing the utilization of the IEEE 802.11ah and IEEE 802.11n radio access interfaces by a factor of 2 and 10, respectively.

IEEE Access