Reconsidering Internet Mobility

Alex C. Snoeren, Hari Balakrishnan, and M. Frans Kaashoek.
Proc. of the 8th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS-VIII), May 2001

Despite the popularity of mobile computing platforms, appropriate system support for mobile operation is lacking in the Internet. This paper argues this is not for lack of deployment incentives, but because a comprehensive system architecture that efficiently addresses the needs of mobile applications does not exist. We identify five fundamental issues raised by mobility--location, preservation of communication, disconnection handling, hibernation, and reconnection--and suggest design guidelines for any system that attempts to address them.

In particular, we argue that a good system architecture should (i) eliminate the dependence of higher protocol layers upon lower-layer identifiers; (ii) avoid prescribing a particular naming scheme; (iii) handle unexpected network disconnections in a graceful way, exposing occurrences to applications; and (iv) provide these services at the mobile nodes themselves. Motivated by these principles, we propose a session-oriented, end-to-end architecture called Migrate, and briefly examine the set of services it should provide.

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