Meeting QoS Requirements in a Dynamically Priced Commercial Cellular Network
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With the current trend towards user mobility and ubiquitous computing, cellular networks are becoming an evermore important feature of day-to-day life, albeit an unseen one. Mobile networks are characterised by a scarcity of resources, particularly bandwidth and frequency spectrum. However, for new multimedia applications, such as video telephony, a large amount of these resources is required and, moreover, these applications demand that specific quality of service guarantees are met by the network at all times. In a cellular network, the traffic is highly variable both temporally and spatially. Therefore, dimensioning a network so that it can meet peak-time demand is both uneconomic and inefficient, as most of the time the network will be under-utilised. This leads to frequent and significant congestion in mobile networks, so that, at a certain time and place, users may find it impossible to start a phone call, or an ongoing phone call may be interrupted. Some solutions have been proposed to alleviate the problem of congestion without installing new infrastructure. However, these schemes only improve the network performance for some incoming traffic rates, but cannot meet QoS guarantees at peak-times. Another possible solution to this problem is to attempt to modify the user demand to fit the available resource. This leads to dynamic pricing: charging users according to the current traffic conditions, hence providing negative or positive incentives to regulate the traffic entering the network. As they know the price they will be charged, users can decide whether to make the phone call or not, and the importance of the call will influence their choice. Hence dynamic pricing leads to a natural prioritisation of calls, ensuring that only low priority calls are blocked. Dynamic pricing has been applied successfully in several domains, but its application to cellular networks is an emerging research area and is particularly challenging due to the mobility of users. This project investigates dynamic pricing in cellular networks from a technical perspective. For this purpose, detailed network and traffic models are defined based on an investigation of current research in related areas. These models are implemented in a simulator which is then used to test, refine and improve existing dynamic pricing schemes for both GSM and GSM/GPRS networks.
Author: Bouroche, Melanie
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