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Mobile IP

About Mobile IP

By Vishal Sathawane

Mobile IP (or MobileIP) is an open standard communication protocol defined by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) which enables mobile device users to keep the same IP ( Internet Protocol) address while roaming between IP networks. It also allows them to stay connected and communicate seamlessly with each other. Mobile IP is applicable for both IPv4 and IPv6 standards. The specifications for Mobile IP are published in IETF RFC 2002,RFC 3320, RFC 3344 (for IPv4) and RFC 3775 (for IPv6). Since Mobile IP is based on IP, it is supported by any media that supports IP and, is scalable over the Internet regardless of the mobility of different mobile devices across different intermediate networks. Also, it does not require any user intervention to maintain this seamless connectivity.

How Does Mobile IP Work?

The key components of Mobile IP are Home Agent, Foreign Agent and Mobile Node. Mobile IP works by permitting a mobile node to have two IP addresses which are a home address IP (a permanent IP address) and a CoA IP (temporary "care-of" address IP which relates only to the network where the mobile node is currently located.) A Foreign agent advertises care-of addresses and stores the information about mobile nodes visiting its network. The Home agent stores information about the mobile nodes whose permanent home address belongs to the home agent's network. Since the home address logically belongs to the network associated with the home agent, the communication packets are always forwarded to the home agent using IP routing mechanisms. On receiving these packets, the home agent redirects these packets towards the foreign agent by picking up a CoA IP from a look-up binding table. It appends the new IP header to the original IP packet. The appended IP address is then finally decapsulated and removed from the packet on final delivery to the mobile device end.

Applications of Mobile IP
Applications of Mobile IP are particularly pronounced within Internet enabled communication environments (both wired as well as wireless.) This is where the Mobile devices which are to be used for scalable communication maintain the same IP address while roaming, so that seamless communication is kept alive, even when mobile nodes change their point of attachment to the Internet. Since Mobile IP is primarily based on convergence of mobile communication technologies and the IP network, therefore, besides network communication mobility, it is also capable of supporting two-way one-to-one access and deployment of real-time multimedia services. Some of the typical information services and business applications that Mobile IP can enable include provision for real time information dissemination on weather, news, sports, entertainment, traffic and stock.

Besides that, Mobile IP technology can enable unhampered web-surfing, MMS (Multimedia Message Service), SMS (Short Message Service), email and file transfer facility, and telephony value-added services, all of this happening while the end user is on the move. Mobile IP technology can also be applied to set up IVRS (Interactive Voice Response Systems), multimedia gaming web sites, automated stock and shares and other online finance portals, ERP systems, voice portals and voice enabled websites. Mobile IP technology can enable the bridging of various overlapping wired as well as wireless communication environments such as internet enabled LANs, WLANs, WiMAX, Wi-Fi systems, IP over DVB (Digital Video Broadcast), and IP over MPEG. Although most cellular systems such as GSM, and CDMA are self sufficient in mobile technology to provide users with transparency and seamless voice communication and internet connectivity through use of evolved 2.5 G wireless technologies such as GPRS (General Packet Radio Services), the Mobile IP technology can be used to bridge different cellular systems and, also, PDSN (Packet Data Servicing Node) which can act as a connection point between Radio Access and IP networks.