Description of MERCoNe
MERCoNe is a collaborative project of Ericsson, Helsinki University of Technology, Nethawk, Nokia, Secgo, TeliaSonera Finland, University of Helsinki and VTT. The Multiaccess Experimentations in Real Converging Networks (MERCoNe) is a multiaccess related project where experimentation is one of the main methods of working. This method is supported by the availability of real live networks, network analyzers and simulators that several partners are bringing into the project.
Multiaccess – the main content for the experimentations - as a pure mobility problem, has already several prominent solutions and even standards. However, the communications environment is changing – even today – sufficiently radically that new mobile networking concepts are required as a response. Foremost among these is a change in the business environment. The traditional vertically integrated model, where cellular operators provide a complete end-to-end service from access provisioning to value added services, is increasingly fragmented into a more complex model where service and access providers are not the same anymore. A similar trend is visible especially in the emergence of new hot spot access networks such as WLAN and WiMAX. The mobile world is also extending into the private networks domain – not just in the enterprise, but also in the home we see an increasing use of wireless personal area networks. These developments increase heterogeneity in the networks even further than today. Interworking between all these environments will be a major future challenge.
MERCoNe is created to solve new issues related to multiaccess in this heterogeneous multi-operator environment: seamless multi-operator and multi-domain mobility. Networks will have to integrate the capabilities of different networks to an end-to-end, seamless, efficient and secure solution for the user. MERCoNe also considers the implications of heterogeneous wireless systems on the overall network, especially the impact on end-to-end transport and quality of service.
Multi-domain implies that there are multiple providers of access and network connectivity. Multiple access technologies may be used, that mobility takes place across multiple trust domains. Multiple IP addressing realms may be used across various domains, e.g. IPv6 as well as public and private IPv4 addressing spaces. Handovers between any such domain combinations must be handled efficiently, avoiding existing “patchwork-type” results. MERCoNe also implies seamless exploitation of multi-homing, multiaccess-technology opportunities. Individual data flows of the same device may take different paths across multi-domain networks. Multi-homing is not limited to physical network connection only. A host with a single physical network connection may internally experience multi-homing by having several logical connections.
Moving networks are a prominent component of future networking scenarios. A typical example is moving users, each possibly with several terminals forming temporary moving clusters and network hierarchies while traveling on a train. The train itself as a whole can also be a moving network constantly changing its point of attachment in the fixed network. MERCoNe will develop support for network mobility that can also be multi-homed either with a single mobile router that has multiple attachments to the Internet, or by using multiple mobile routers that attach the mobile network to the fixed network.
Different kinds of events may trigger mobility management actions, including system-, application- or user-dependent events. MERCoNe creates a cross-layer and cross-domain handover triggering architecture that is used for optimizing multiaccess and multi-operator environment management. The architecture provides means to gather cross-layer information, to process the information and to provide it, e.g., for mobility mechanisms, inter-operator roaming, end-to-end signaling, TCP/IP stack protocol optimization, media adaptation and other purposes defined by the project. MERCoNe makes it possible to find new kinds of applications and services for taking full advantage of converging networks. By brokering all viewpoints (e.g. network, application, performance,…) will be taken into account in the design.
Finally, one of the major goals in the project is to deliver know-how from the related European 6th framework projects for further development in the MERCoNe project and to make it available to the Finnish ICT cluster in general. Another important goal is to feed the results from the project to standardization bodies, the IETF, 3GPP, IEEE and GSMA.
MERCoNe contributes to the Tekes GIGA technology program.
Contact informationMervi Ranta
Tel. +358 50 551 4441
Fax +358 9 451 3293
Updated: 12.12.2006, page maintained by PM&RG