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Handover management strategies in LTE-advanced heterogeneous networks.

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Meeting the increasing demand for data due to the proliferation of high-specification mobile devices in the cellular systems has led to the improvement of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) framework to the LTE-Advanced systems. Different aspects such as Massive Multiple-Input Multiple Output (MIMO), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), heterogeneous networks and Carrier Aggregation have been considered in the LTE-Advanced to improve the performance of the system. The small cells like the femtocells and the relays play a significant role in increasing the coverage and the capacity of the mobile cellular networks in LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) heterogeneous network. However, the user equipment (UE) are faced with the frequent handover problems in the heterogeneous systems than the homogeneous systems due to the users‟ mobility and densely populated cells. The objective of this research work is to analyse the handover performance in the current LTE/LTE-A network and to propose various handover management strategies to handle the frequent handover problems in the LTE-Advance heterogeneous networks. To achieve this, an event driven simulator using C# was developed based on the 3GPP LTE/LTE-A standard to evaluate the proposed strategies. To start with, admission control which is a major requirement during the handover initiation stage is discussed and this research work has therefore proposed a channel borrowing admission control scheme for the LTE-A networks. With this scheme in place, resources are better utilized and more calls are accepted than in the conventional schemes where the channel borrowing is not applied. Also proposed is an enhanced strategy for the handover management in two-tier femtocell-macrocell networks. The proposed strategy takes into consideration the speed of user and other parameters in other to effectively reduce the frequent and unnecessary handovers, and as well as the ratio of target femtocells in the system. We also consider scenarios such as the one that dominate the future networks where femtocells will be densely populated to handle very heavy traffic. To achieve this, a Call Admission Control (CAC)-based handover management strategy is proposed to manage the handover in dense femtocell-macrocell integration in the LTE-A network. The handover probability, the handover call dropping probability and the call blocking probability are reduced considerably with the proposed strategy. Finally, the handover management for the mobile relays in a moving vehicle is considered (using train as a case study). We propose a group handover strategy where the Mobile Relay Node (MRN) is integrated with a special mobile device called “mdev” to prepare the group information prior to the handover time. This is done to prepare the UE‟s group information and services for timely handover due to the speed of the train. This strategy reduces the number of handovers and the call dropping probability in the moving vehicle.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.