Conference PaperPDF Available

The Living Systems(R) Connection Agent: Seamless Mobility at Work

Authors:
  • Whitestein Technologies AG, Switzerland

Abstract

The Living Systems(R) Connection Agent is a customizable client software that allows mobile operators and wireless Internet service providers to offer data services across different wired and wireless, own and partner networks. The technology offers seamless handover allowing mobile operators to converge different networks and simplifies usage of the software for the end-user.
The Living Systems R
Connection Agent
Seamless Mobility at Work
Dominic Greenwood and Monique Calisti
Whitestein Technologies AG, Pestalozzistrasse 24, 8032 Zurich,
{dgr,mca}@whitestein.com,
WWW home page: http://www.whitestein.com
Abstract. The Living SystemsR
Connection Agent is a customizable
client software that allows mobile operators and wireless Internet
service providers to offer data services across different wired and
wireless, own and partner networks. The technology offers seamless
handover allowing mobile operators to converge different networks
and simplifies usage of the software for the end-user.
1 A Seamlessly Mobile World
Contemporary mobile telecommunications users demand empowerment and rich
interactive services as a matter of course. Not only this, but sessions must be as
continuous as possible, providing a consistent experience by seamlessly adapting
configuration according to available access technologies, device types and loca-
tions. A key component of this is the expectation of being always best-connected
in terms of access to the maximum capacity on offer, the broadest selection of
services, and of course for the least possible cost. This is a complex demand for
providers to address, especially in the rapidly evolving telecommunications land-
scape where consumers are now commonly using always-connected multifunction
mobile devices able to handle rich multimedia.
2 The LS/CA Solution
The Living SystemsR
Connection Agent, LS/CA, responds to these specific de-
mands with a flexible, autonomic and customizable client software solution pro-
viding seamless vertical handover. The technology assists operators with con-
verging their fixed and mobile networks and thus to provide their data services
everywhere; to residential customers as well as to global enterprises, across dif-
ferent wired and wireless, own, and partner networks.
Fundamentally, the LS/CA offers true seamless mobility that ensures the
selection of bearer technology, such as GSM or WLAN, is optionally transparent
to the user; preferences are simply expressed in terms of available services and the
quality/cost levels at which they can be delivered. Seamless switching between
any IP-network is achieved through Mobile IP, which assists with providing
session continuity, allowing a client to maintain the same IP address for an
entire session and applications to run uninterrupted.
Available networks are automatically detected and support for all major
access network technologies is available, with new technologies added via a plug-
in architecture as they become available. Secure communication is also supported
via integration with multiple VPN clients and an optional standards compliant
IPSec implementation for true end-to-end encryption.
The LS/CA user interface is designed to minimize user interaction, starting
from straightforward single-click connection. Dropped connections are automat-
ically re-established, with user intervention only required if the problem cannot
be automatically resolved.
The first generation of the LS/CA product, called the Unlimited Data Man-
ager (UDM), has been developed in partnership with Swisscom Mobile and is
now in daily use by thousands of users throughout Switzerland. The UDM, mar-
keted as Mobile Unlimited, won the 2005 GSMA international award for best
mobile business application.
3 Autonomic Communications Management
As fixed-mobile convergence extends the service provisioning modalities available
to users, it also creates a collateral growth in complexity, heterogeneity and dy-
namic behaviour which must be managed in the network, and at the user device.
In this respect LS/CA is empowered with autonomic self-management capabili-
ties that shift common configuration, maintenance and fault management tasks
from users to the underlying technology itself.
LS/CA has a range of self-management features. Self-configuration capa-
bilities allow the software to adjust its own configuration in accordance with
changing network conditions and most importantly, to the working environment
of the user. In this respect, policy controlled profiles are available for different
locations which identify the configuration of features that can be used therein,
e.g, connection type, VPN, file shares, etc. Self-optimization capabilities include
the ability to select a connection type based on specified policies in accordance
with changes detected in the environment. This is especially useful while roam-
ing in partner networks where the nominal connection may not necessarily be
the preferred, best or indeed cheapest option. The association with dependent
applications can also be automatically optimized to, for example, compensate
for temporarily lost or reduced bandwidth connections. The LS/CA also has
several self-healing capabilities that allow automatic recovery from faults and
failures with a minimum of impact on the user’s experience. For example, de-
tecting faults in related system components (e.g., network cards, drivers, system
interrupts) and transparently taking action to repair or circumvent the anom-
alous behavior. The LS/CA will also attempt to re-establish lost connections or,
if not possible, seamlessly transition a session to an alternative connection type.
Fundamentally, the LS/CA is an assistive technology; it responds to the needs
of users by simplifying tasks related to establishing and maintaining connectivity.
... Empowering the anywhere/anytime access aspect of such ubiquitous services we can now observe the emergence of multi-technology systems and software supporting flexible communication [7]. That is, using any available network technology to communicate, whether infrastructure based (e.g., WLAN, WiMAX or Cellular), or ad-hoc based (e.g., Bluetooth, Ultra-Wideband, or even Infrared). ...
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