Towards a software-based mobility management for 5G: An experimental approach for flattened network architectures

Jesús Calle-Cancho, José-Manuel Mendoza-Rubio, José-Luis González-Sánchez, David Cortés-Polo, Javier Carmona-Murillo

The number of mobile subscribers, as well as the data traffic generated by them, is increasing exponentially with the growth of wireless smart devices and the number of network services that they can support. This significant growth is pushing mobile network operators towards new solutions to improve their network performance and efficiency. Thus, the appearance of Software Defined Networking (SDN) can overcome the limitations of current deployments through decoupling the network control plane from the data plane, allowing higher flexibility and programmability to the network. In this context, the process of handling user mobility becomes an essential part of future mobile networks. Taking advantage of the benefits that SDN brings, in this article we present a novel mobility management solution. This proposal avoids the use of IP-IP tunnels and it adds the dynamic flow management capability provided by SDN. In order to analyse performance, an analytical model is developed to compare it with NB-DMM (Network-based DMM), one of the main DMM (Distributed Mobility Management) solutions. Additionally, performance is also evaluated with an experimental testbed. The results allow handover latency in real scenarios and numerical investigations to be measured, and also show that SR-DMM achieves better efficiency in terms of signaling and routing cost than NB-DMM solution.