The truth about mobile IP
IP Mobility means more than accessing a wireless network.
It encompasses the ability to work seamlessly across networks and devices, says
Amandeep Singh Dang.
Amandeep Singh Dang
Internet Protocol (IP)s precedence stands unquestioned.
IP is there to stay for long and will continue to transform so as to accommodate
newer challenges. The recent developments in IPv6 re-establish its future dominance.
In line with IPs current evolution trends, wireless technologies have
matured to be widely accepted even for mission-critical application usage. This
maturity was marked with continued upgradation and service enhancements in areas
of Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 3G, and more.
Today, wireless technology extends IP services not only to a seamless roaming
static environment, but to an environment which is dynamically in motion. IP
mobility adds a new dimension to the existing flexibility extended by standard
wireless networks by enabling it to offer a service portfolio that wasnt
possible in the past.
More than just wireless
If the references so far suggest that IP mobility only accounts for IP connectivity
on a wireless platform, then consider some more meaningful and generic definitions.
IP mobility is about providing ubiquitous connectivity irrespective of device
and access technology.
IP mobility may mean different things to different people. For some, mobility
is achieved if they are able to take their portable computing device from their
desk to their conference room, and for some the mobility coverage encompasses
much beyond premises, town, countries and sub-continents.
Mobility is a start towards establishing an enterprises IP mobility objectives;
be it seamless corporate services to its mobile sales force or IP connectivity
for control systems on board maintenance vans servicing a manufacturing facility.
It can also be more challenging like monitoring onboard computers mounted on
a test car on a racetrack.
The Tech extensions
Technology permutations are innumerable when it comes to IP mobility, and the
best choice would be the one which comes at par with business application throughput,
coverage and response parameters to provide seamless end-user experience. It
is of paramount significance that the IP services user interfaces look
and feel is not affected by roaming between media types, access technology and
presence. This is a challenging mobility control attribute.
One of the prevailing limited wireless mobility technologies, and by far the
most widely accepted is Wi-Fi. Limited mobility can be achieved through WiFi
under restricted coverage scenarios for high bandwidth applications even while
moving at a top speed of 300 kilometres per hour.
This advance in Wi-Fi technology was only possible in recent
times due to enhancements in the authentication, authorisation and accounting
services and fast access-point-to-access-point switch over capabilities. The
limiting factor for Wi-Fi technology is the clear line of sight-prerequisite.
On the horizon
With WiMAXs recent ratification, IP mobility is all set to take its next
big leap. WiMAXs promise is to overcome the limitations which Wi-Fi technology
is still struggling to cope with; limitations such as line of sight and coverage
spread. However, with wireless spectrum allocation a challenge for most countries,
the wait could be long before this technologys true benefits are established.
In contrast, shifting trends and maturity in managed services operations for
most global telcos give 3G promising prospects in the IP mobility technology
space. With a better performance and coverage promise, 3G apparently commands
to be the best alternative for moderate bandwidth enterprise applications that
require wider coverage areas.
Wireless technology aside, end-user gear and applications are driving development
and acceptance in IP mobility. Today over 90 percent of all laptops are pre-equipped
with mobility capabilities (irrespective of whether these are put to use or
Within the next 10 years, 70 percent of the worlds business processes
will rely on exchange of real-time information among mobile workers. If this
does not sound compelling enough, it may be noted that over 55 percent of workers
in the US are mobile workers. Hence while the demand already exists; technology
and applications are yet to catch-up and encash the same.
The author is Senior Manager, Internet Business
Solutions, Asia-Pacific, Allied Telesyn