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zCap: a zero configuration adaptive paging and mobility management mechanism

Research paper

Today, cellular networks rely on fixed collections of cells (tracking areas) for user equipment localization. Locating users within these areas involves broadcast search (paging), which consumes radio bandwidth but reduces the user equipment signaling required for mobility management. Tracking areas are today manually configured, hard to adapt to local mobility and influence the load on several key resources in the network. We propose a decentralized and self-adaptive approach to mobility management based on a probabilistic model of local mobility.

By estimating the parameters of this model from observations of user mobility collected online, we obtain a dynamic model from which we construct local neighbourhoods of cells where we are most likely to locate user equipment. We propose to replace the static tracking areas of current systems with neighbourhoods local to each cell. The model is also used to derive a multi-phase paging scheme, where the division of neighbourhood cells into consecutive phases balances response times and paging cost. The complete mechanism requires no manual tracking area configuration and performs localisation efficiently in terms of signalling and response times. Detailed simulations show that significant potential gains in localisation efficiency are possible while eliminating manual configuration of mobility management parameters. Variants of the proposal can be implemented within current (LTE) standards.