Performance analysis and optimization of handoff algorithms in heterogeneous wireless networks

Min Liu*, Zhongcheng Li, Xiaobing Guo, Eryk Dutkiewicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)
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The convergence of heterogeneous wireless access technologies with diverse levels of performance has been envisioned to characterize the next-generation wireless networks. In heterogeneous wireless networks, handoff can be separated into two parts: horizontal handoff (HHO) and vertical handoff (VHO). VHO plays an important role in fulfilling seamless data transfer when mobile nodes cross wireless access networks with different link layer technologies. Current VHO algorithms mainly focus on when to trigger VHO to improve connection QoS but neglect the problem of how one can synthetically consider all currently available networks (homogeneous or heterogeneous) and choose the optimal network for HHO or VHO from all available candidates. In this paper, we present an analytical framework to evaluate VHO algorithms. This framework can be used to provide guidelines for the optimization of handoff in heterogeneous wireless networks. Subsequently, we extend the traditional hysteresis-based and dwelling-timer-based algorithms to support both VHO and HHO decisions and apply them to complex heterogeneous wireless environments. We refer to these enhanced algorithms as E-HY and E-DW, respectively. Based on the proposed analytical model, we provide a formalization definition of the handoff conditions in E-HY and E-DW and analyze their performance. Subsequently, we propose a novel general handoff decision algorithm GHO to trigger HHO and VHO in heterogeneous wireless networks at the appropriate time. Analysis shows that GHO can achieve better performance than E-HY and E-DW. Simulations validate the analytical results and verify that GHO outperforms traditional algorithms in terms of the matching ratio, TCP throughput, and UDP throughput.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4359007
Pages (from-to)846-857
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 IEEE. Reprinted from IEEE transactions on mobile computing, volume 7, issue 7, 846-857. This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of Macquarie University’s products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.


  • Heterogeneous wireless networks
  • Horizontal handoff
  • Vertical handoff


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