The Internet Protocol Journal - Volume 6, Number 4

Book Review

IP for 3G
IP for 3G, Networking Technologies for Mobile Communications, by David Wisely, Philip Eardley, and Louise Burness, ISBN 0-471-48697-3, John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

I was looking for a book covering mobile communication issues from an IP perspective and IP issues from a mobile communications perspective in order to better clarify details of IP and third-generation (3G) convergence. The issue is becoming more and more concrete with the early implementations of 3G networks, so this is a timely book for networking professionals.

Organization
This well-organized textbook helps readers easily understand the "IPfor-3G" issues. It gives a clear vision of that convergence as well as the current snapshot of the recent developments about the subject within the research community. The book is more than an introductory textbook; but readers interested in more technical elaboration can refer to a detailed list of references and further readings given at the end of each chapter.

The book begins with a short chapter that explains the case for IP for 3G. The authors discuss in detail what the term means. They give possible interpretations of IP (Internet, IP Protocol, applications) and their consequent implications on the meaning of IP for 3G. Then they elaborate the IP case within first the "Engineering Reasons for IP for 3G" and then "Economic reasons for IP for 3G" sections.

The second chapter is an introduction to 3G networks. The chapter mostly concerns the core and the access part of 3G networks, skippingthe air interface part, because core and access are where IP would make a real difference to the performance and architecture of a 3G network. The chapter reviews briefly the history of 3G developments, from conception to implementation. Then the architecture of Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) is introduced, followed by the section where elements of the core network and the architecture of the radio access part are examined. For each part, main functional components such as Quality of Service (QoS), mobility management, security, transport, and network management are discussed in detail.

The third chapter discusses the basics of IP and IP networks. Authors give excellent remarks about IP design principles, which are then compared to those of classical telecommunications. Subsequent short sections inform readers about IP addressing schemes, routing, layer behavior, etc. The final section covers the issue of application layer security, which is irrelevant to me for the content of this book. A note: Some of the following chapters require better IP know-how, especially about domain segmentation and intra- and interdomain routing issues. Readers with no prior information are encouraged to refer to other materials before examining the details of, for example, mobility management and QoS.

The fourth chapter is about the multimedia support and session management. First, the concept of session management is introduced. The chapter focuses mainly on the control plane functions of the session management, and the data plane functions are covered in detail in the sixth chapter. The concept of the Virtual Home Environment (VHE) is introduced, which forms one of the major requirements of the next-generation mobile system. The authors then review control plane session management protocols, namely H.323 and the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). More discussion is given to SIP, because it is included in the next generation of UMTS standards as the major session management protocol.

The fifth chapter reviews a major problem of the IP-for-3G concept: mobility management. Other key issues of IP such as QoS, IPv6, and session management have always been subject to preceding studies, because those protocols have already been proposed for use in stationary networks. However, the issue of mobility management is a major subject to be investigated for any proper convergence scenario. Personally, I find that this is the biggest challenge of the "long-time-discussed" convergence of IP and mobile communications, and hard work is still ongoing in order to properly resolve the mobility problem. The chapter reviews the basics of mobility such as personal or terminal mobility. From there, macromobility (interdomain or global mobility) and micromobility (intradomain or local mobility) concepts are discussed, followed by proposed protocols for each type of mobility. Mobile IP is examined as the (unique) macromobility protocol. More attention is given to micromobility because it is the most sensitive part of the mobility, under the assumption that 3G BTSs (B nodes) will be simple routers with some extra capabilities. Two variants are discussed, mobile IP schemes, which are based on dynamic tunneling mechanisms, and "perhost forwarding" schemes based on dynamic routing functions. A comparison of major proposals for micromobility management protocols follows.

The sixth chapter considers current IP QoS mechanisms, their operation and capabilities. Those mechanisms created mostly for stationary IP networks may provide a bounded QoS for some "non-real-time" applications, but they are not enough to support any QoS request within the wireless or mobile environment. After giving details of current QoS mechanisms and discussing wireless implications for TCP QoS as well as mobility and wireless issues for Real Time Protocol (RTP) QoS, the chapter examines the key elements of QoS and generic features that any prospective QoS mechanism must have. Finally, the authors analyze recent Internet QoS mechanisms such as Integrated Services (IntServ), Differentiated Services (DiffServ), Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), and Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP). The closing section proposes a possible outline solution for how to provide IP QoS for 3G, based on previous work done during the EU BRAIN project.

In the final chapter, the authors summarize all previously given subjects to sketch out the vision of an "All-IP" mobile network. Principles, architecture, routing and mobility issues, QoS, security issues, and interfaces are all discussed to elaborate the generic vision of All-IP networks. Finally, 3G network evolution covering UMTS R4 and R5, and what is beyond 3G, are all discussed.

The book is perfect in the sense that it touches a very hot topic, most of the technical details of which are still in the process of evolving. The authors manage very well the level of details about each subject; they first discuss the overall material before examining details, so readers can obtain a generic but complete view before studying technical details. Each chapter is followed by a comprehensive list of references and further readings, each of them classified by topic. The only fault I find in the book is that SIP should be discussed in more detail.

Recommended
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any network professional, especially one who is part of any IP-3G convergence process for mobile operators. Still, data network professionals can glean much from the book, because the aim is to carry—a little differently—the same old data, whether or not it contains multimedia, voice, or standard data information.

—Dr. K. Murat Eksioglu, RT.NET, Turkey
murat.eksioglu@o2.net.tr


[Ed.: A version of this review was previously published in the October 2003 issue of IEEE Communications Magazine (Vol. 41, No. 10). Used with permission.]