Integrating 3G/4G and Wi-Fi Architectures for Diverse Offloading Capabilities

Applied Research Project Funded by NTRA
(Research Grant CFP6)

Integrating 3G/4G and Wi-Fi Architectures for Diverse Offloading Capabilities

  This is a two-year applied research project funded by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) in Egypt and conducted by a research team from the Wireless Research Lab (WRL) at the department of Electronics, Communications and Computers Engineering in Faculty of Engineering at Helwan University.
   The project is carried out in the context of collaborative research projects between the Faculty of Engineering at Helwan University and one of the leading mobile operators in Egypt (Etisalat Misr).
   Project Start Date: 01/11/2017
   Project End Date  : 31/10/2019

This project aims to design, implement, and evaluate

A fully integrated cellular/Wi-Fi network architecture that merge in a synergic way a diverse set of complementary offloading possibilities in order to achieve a comprehensive and efficient traffic offloading system. The proposed system will be designed to include various offloading opportunities and mechanisms in a fully innovative architecture. The proposed architecture enables programmable offloading policies that take into account the access network conditions as well as the status of devices.

Design

Implement

Evaluate

Project main objectives:

The project is targeting the following main scientific and technological objectives:

  1. Objective 1 - Design an efficient cellular/Wi-Fi architecture for data offloading including seamless authentication and enhanced access network discovery and selection mechanisms. 
  2. Objective 2 - Design an efficient RAN-level-based integrated 4G/LTE - Wi-Fi architecture for data offloading.
  3. Objective 3 - Building a unified integrated cellular/Wi-Fi operator-managed offloading system with diverse offloading capabilities.
  4. Objective 4 - Carry out integrated prototyping and test cases for different developed modules. Technical feasibility of the proposed system will be evaluated in the project with the cooperation of Etisalat-Misr mobile operator.

The Approach to Tackle the Problem
The research methodology for developing the proposed system architecture can be summarized in the following main points:

  • Design and development of a smart and efficient architecture which integrates different radio access technologies with diverse offloading capabilities.
  • Design and development of a smart and efficient architecture which integrates different radio access technologies with diverse offloading capabilities.
  • Design and development of an efficient network selection mechanism that complies with the scope of the 3GPP standard while considering the real-time conditions of cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
  • Propose of efficient LTE-Wi-Fi RAN level-based offloading system which complies with the scope of the recent (3GPP: release-13) standard. 
  • Design and development of an efficient and flexible LTE/Wi-Fi testbed (hardware and software) that allows testing and examination for the performance of the proposed offloading techniques.
  • Carry out and implement of real prototyping for cellular/Wi-Fi offloading system which are planned to be tested and validated through different test cases in collaboration with Etisalat-Misr mobile operator. 

Added Value/Impact
The integration between 3GPP cellular (3G/4G) and Wi-Fi network architectures with diverse offloading ca/pabilities will provide the following key impact and added values: 

Reflect on the current wireless mobile infrastructure with better coverage and higher network capacity especially in in highly congested areas.

New revenue can be generated by cellular operators from innovative Wi-Fi services and communications.

Address the issue of spectrum crunch whereby the cellular operators can provide high bandwidth consuming services through Wi-Fi.e pre-made, they are flexible.

Improved customer satisfaction and reduced churn. Churn is reduced by optimizing the customer experience and providing always-best-connected advantages.

Building research capacity for researchers in a relatively new area in Egypt.

Joining international research community for next generation mobile networks.

Practical solution for a big challenged problem faced mobile operators in Egypt can be implemented and commercialized in the market
(Egyptian and worldwide markets).

Provide a detailed study to NTRA about some of emerging wireless technologies (Wi-Fi offloading) for next generation mobile systems.

Take part in the global race of mobile systems researchers in both of the academic and industrial levels.

WORK PACKAGES & GANTT CHART

The project consists of ten work packages which are distributed over the 24 months. The work packages are titled as follows:

WP01 - Project Management

Manage the overall project and its subtasks. In addition, in this package, all activities and tasks related to the technical and financial reporting will be covered. Quality assurance tasks will be also covered within this work package.

WP02 - System Requirements and Modeling

Understand all major existing Wi-Fi offloading architectures and technologies; identify system requirements, modules and develop the overall system high-level design (architecture).

WP03 - Development of Seamless Authentication for Cellular/Wi-Fi Offloading System

Understand seamless authentication schemes for cellular/Wi-Fi offloading system; identify system requirements, modules and develop and test seamless authentication.

WP04 - Design an Advanced ANDSF Architecture for Cellular/Wi-Fi Offloading System

Understand all major existing schemes and technologies for ANDSF; identify system requirements, modules and design an efficient, advanced ANDSF architecture for cellular/Wi-Fi offloading system.

WP05 - Implementation and real test for 3G/Wi-Fi Offloading System

Identify the hardware and software requirements for implementing real seamless 3G/Wi-Fi offloading system and develop and configure the designed ANDSF server and ANDSF client software on the mobile terminal. The developed ANDSF architecture is planned to be tested, validated and evaluated using real test.

WP06 - Cross-RAT Coordination for RAN Level-based LTE/Wi-Fi Offloading System

Identify technical challenges and requirements for different levels of coordination between LTE and Wi-Fi radios. Design and performance evaluation of Cross-RAT offloading technique in case of RAN-level-based LTE/Wi-Fi offloading system.

WP07 - Flexible LTE/Wi-Fi Testing and Validation Platform

Identify the hardware and software requirements for the implementation of LTE/Wi-Fi testing platform. Development of a complete experimental LTE test-bed using open-air-interface (OAI) platform.

WP08 - Implementation for RAN Level-based LTE/Wi-Fi Offloading System

A framework for combining tighter cross-RAT cooperation will be developed for intelligent coordination and utilization of radio resources between LTE and Wi-Fi radios. In this WP, we implement and evaluate the performance of both the RAT assignment (LTE Bearer and switched bearer) scenarios and the cross-RAT scheduling (Bearer splitting) approaches.

WP09 - Integration, Validation and Performance Measurement

Integration of the overall, developed subsystems/modules in WP3 – WP9 in order to assemble the overall proposed 3G/4G/Wi-Fi offloading architecture. Validation of the designed architecture and algorithms with the requirements of WP2. In addition, in this work package, the overall performance of the proposed architecture will be measured and analyzed.

WP10 - Dissemination and Demonstration

Activities in this work package focus on disseminating the scientific results of the project and conducting seminars/workshops in order to demonstrate the concept of 3G/4G/Wi-Fi offloading solutions, establish reorganization in the domain via publication in high-quality scientific venues, and enhance the teaching curriculum with cutting-edge and emerging technologies.

Work Package Time Frame

Work Package Time Frame

Outcomes of The Project

Potential outcomes and deliverables of this project can be include the following:

Survey Study

1) Study on various offloading architectures and technologies and its functional components.

Seamless Authentication

2) Developed 3GPP AAA server and client software for seamless authentication.

Advanced ANDSF

3) Efficient ANDSF client and server software modules for cellular/Wi-Fi offloading systems.

ANDSF Performance-Evaluation

4) Performance analysis study for the designed and developed ANDSF.

OAI LTE Testbed

5) Developed experimental LTE testbed using LTE OAI platform.

LTE-WiFi Agregation (LWA)

6) Developed offloading technique for RAN level-based LTE/Wi-Fi offloading systems.

LTE/WiFi Offloading Testbed

7) Testbed for the proposed integrated LTE/Wi-Fi architecture that can be used for testing and validating different proposed algorithms and techniques.

Offloading Archticture

8) Final developed architecture of the proposed cellular/Wi-Fi offloading system

Publication

9) At least three high-quality scientific papers published in reputable international journals/conferences.