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Trends in Mobile Computing

Haleema Tasneem , Asia Samreen

( & )
Department of Computer Science
Syed Hashim College of Science & Technology

The popularity of wireless devices, such as laptop computers, mobile phones, personal digitalAssistants, smartcards,
digital cameras etc. is rapidly increasing. Their computing capabilities are growing quickly, while their size is
shrinking, allowing many of them to become more and more part of everyday life. These devices can be connected to
wireless networks of increasing bandwidth, and software development kits are available that can be used by third
parties to develop applications. The combined use of these technologies on personal devices enables peopleto access
their personal information as well as public resources anytime and anywhere. The present paper discusses the
history and the concepts behind this greatest revolution in the communication world and by following the
strategies to overcome the challenges in Mobile communication, it serves the purpose of bringing the world
more closer.


The history of Mobile computing started off with the invention of Telegraph. As an
Australian newspaper quoted “We call the electric telegraph the most perfect invention
of modern times … as anything more perfect than this is scarcely conceivable, and we
really begin to wonder what will be left for the next generation, upon which to expend
the restless energies of the human mind.” ..1853
Certain Critical Attributes of the Telecommunications Systems, that governed the
development of Mobile Communication system were.
• Speed
– Ability to transmit information in real-time
– Electronic tranmission: faster than transportation
• Coverage
– Beyond regional: national and international in scale.
– Metcalf’s Law: the more connected, the more useful
• Reliability
• Cost
– 1866: 20 word telegram cost $100 (4 months wages)
• Security
– Transmitted information as knowledge, news, secrets
– Always an element of government oversight and control
Origins of Coded Transmission
• 1793, Revolutionary France
– Aerial Telegraph, invented by Claude Chappe
– Extensive network throughout France
Trends in Mobile Computing Tasneem, Samreen

• 1840s, Samuel F. B. Morse

– Coded tranmission via electronic means
– Rapidly spread throughout US and Europe
– International Telegraph Union (ITU) formed in 1865
* Email address of Tasneem , ** Email address of Samreen
Important Dates
• 1915: Wireless voice transmission NY to SF
• 1920: First commercial radio broadcast (Pittsburgh)
• 1921: Police car dispatch radios, Detroit
• 1935: First telephone call around the world
• WW II: Rapid development of radio technology
• 1968: Carterphone decision
• 1974: FCC allocates 40 MHz for cellular telephony
• 1982: European GSM and Inmarsat established
• 1984: Initial deployment of AMPS cellular system

Fundamentals of Electronics that Govern Mobile Computing

As described in the following figures, show the Wavelength and Frequency ranges for
mobile communication. In the communication of signals, the Ionosphere plays the
important role in reflecting the signals and sending the signals back to the appropriate

Radio Basics

Trends in Mobile Computing Tasneem, Samreen

The Amplitude and Frequency modulation are the basic modulation techniques that
involve in the in the transmission of the signals, by selecting an appropriate carrier
frequency , so that the signals do not fade in its path.

Digital Modulation Techniques

• Carrier wave s:
– s(t) = A(t) * cos[ θ(t)]
– Function of time varying amplitude A and time varying
• Angle rewritten as:
– θ (t) = ω 0 + φ (t)
– ω 0 radian frequency, phase φ (t)
• s(t) = A(t) cos[ω 0 t + φ (t)]
– ω radians per second
– relationship between radians per second and hertz
» ω = 2πƒ

Considerations in Choice of Modulation Scheme:

• High spectral efficiency
• High power efficiency
• Robust to multipath effects
• Low cost and ease of implementation
• Low carrier-to-cochannel interference ratio
• Low out-of-band radiation
• Constant or near constant envelope
– Constant: only phase is modulated
– Non-constant: phase and amplitude modulated

Effect of Mobility on Communications Systems

As the Receiver keeps on moving it creates a Physical layer , whose
channel varies with user location and time. The Radio propagation becomes complex,
causing Multi and path scattering from nearby objects and shadowing from dominant
objects. Because of the Attenuation effects, rapid fluctuations of received power will

Trends in Mobile Computing Tasneem, Samreen

appear. Lesser will be the variation, when you are slower. For cellular telephony,
about -30 dB, 3 µsec delay spread

Outdoor Radio Propagation

BER = ƒ(signal stength)

Error rates increase as SNR decreases

• Indoor Propagation
– Signal decays much faster
– Coverage contained by walls, etc.
– Walls, floors, furniture attenuate/scatter radio signals

• Path loss formula:

Path Loss = Unit Loss + 10 n log(d) = k F + l W
Unit loss = power loss (dB) at 1m distance (30 dB), n = power-delay index (between
3.5 and 4.0).
d = distance between transmitter and receiver, k = number of floors the signal
F = loss per floor, I = number of walls the signal traverses, W = loss per wall

Outdoor Propagation Measurements

• Urban areas
– RMS delay spread: 2 µsec
– Min 1 µsec to max 3 µsec
• Suburban areas
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– RMS delay: 0.25 µsec to 2 µsec

• Rural areas
– RMS delay: up to 12 µsec
• GSM example
– Bit period 3.69 µsec
– Uses adaptive equalization to tolerate up to 15 µsec of delay spread (26-bit Viterbi
equalizer training sequence)

Outdoor-to-Indoor Measurements
When signals traverse the buildings there are some losses which can be discussed as
• Penetration/“Building Loss”: Depends on building materials, orientation, layout,
height, percentage of windows, transmission frequency
• Rate of decay/distance power law: 3.0 to 6.2, with average of 4.5
• Building attenuation loss: between 2 dB and 38 dB

Indoor Measurements
Signal strength depends on Open plan offices, construction materials, density
personnel, furniture, etc.
Path loss exponents:
Narrowband (max delay spread < bit period)
» Vary between 2 and 6, 2.5 to 4 most common
» Wall losses: 10 dB to 15 dB
» Floor losses: 12 dB to 27 dB
Wideband (max delay spread > bit period)
» Delay spread varies between 15 ns and 100 ns
» Can vary up to 250 ns

Different Wireless Technologies

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Wireless Personal Communications System (PCS)

This gives high Mobility in Communications coupled with Freedom from physical
connection “tethers” and
Freedom from network “tether”
• PCS: What is it?
– Cellular telephony Circuit-switched
– Cordless telephony
– Paging systems
– Wide area mobile data Packet-switched
– Wireless local area networks

Wireless Personal Communications

Depending on factors that decide about the Purpose and the extent of use , the
Wireless Personal communications are divided in to the following.
• Portability and Mobility
– Within house or building (cordless telephone, WLAN)
– Within campus, town, city (cellular radio, WLANs, wide area wireless data, radio
paging, extended cordless telephone)
– Throughout a state or region (cellular radio, wide area wireless data, radio paging,
satellite-based wireless)
– Throughout a large country or continent (cellular radio, paging, satellite-based
– Throughout the world

• Multimedia Communications
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– Two-way voice
– Data
– Messaging
- Video

Cordless Telephone
• Assumptions: It has very few users per MHz and Few users per BS but large number
of BS per unit area with Shortest transmission range of the existing wireless systems
• Common characteristics: – It has 32 kbps ADPCM digital speech encoding with
Ave xmit power £ 10 mw. It has a low complexity radio signal processing with a Low
transmission delay, < 50 ms. It is supported by Simple frequency-shift modulation and
non-coherent detection. It is also characterized by Dynamic channel allocation and
Time division duplex (TDD).

Cellular Mobile Radio Systems

• Assumptions & Compromises: It has maximum users per MHz and maximum user
per cell site with high transmitter power consumption. They have High user-set
complexity. But it is down with Low circuit quality and high network complexity
• Commonalities : They are characterized by Low bit-rate speech coding £ 8-13 kbps
utilizing speech inactivity. They are downslided by High transmission delay, approx.
200 ms R/T and a High complexity DSP with Fixed channel allocation.

Wide Area Wireless Data Systems

• Assumptions and Compromises: They are characterized by High mobility but with
a Low data rate

High Speed Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)

• Assumptions and Compromises: They have low mobility high speed data
communications and Operates within confined region. They have two alternative
organizations namely Centralized control via base station and Self-organizing ad-hoc.

• Paging/Messaging : There exist Numeric/alphanumeric pagers with 1-way/2-way paging

and Local/regional/nationwide systems. Cell phones, pagers, and commercial two-way business
radios can provide voice and messaging services. These devices may be based on analog or digital standards
that differ primarily in the way in which they process signals and encode information. The analog standard is
the Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS). Digital standards are Global System for Mobile
Communications (GSM), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), or Code Division Multiple Access

• Satellite-Based Mobile Systems: They cover Wide area and need expensive
infrastructure with Large regional coverage outside buildings.
– Low capacity cells

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• Blue Tooth:
Bluetooth is a technology specification for small form factor, low-cost, short-range wireless links between
mobile PCs, mobile phones, and other portable handheld devices, and connectivity to the Internet. A
Bluetooth chip is designed to replace cables by taking the information normally carried by the cable, and
transmitting it at a special frequency to a received to the computer, phone etc. It can be connected to
peripheral devices such as loudspeakers, joystick, headset etc. Support of adhoc networking and bridging of
networks .e.g. GSM via mobile phone-Bluetooth-laptop. All Pico net devices with Bluetooth will form a
wireless gateway that can bridge to the wide area network.

Error Mechanisms

• Error Burst: Because of Transmission losses there exist the Fades in Radio channels
and Doppler induced Frequency/ phase shifts due to motion. This might also result in
loss of synchronization.
These errors increase as bit period approaches delay spread. Therefore consecutive
errors are followed by stream of consecutive error-free bits as
» Voice communication: 10-3 BER, 1 error bit in 1000
» Data communications: 10-6 BER, 1 error in 1,000,000

• Average Duration of a Fade

for example
– 900 MHz, 50 km/hr -- undergoes ave fade depth of 20 dB., ADF = 0.962 ms

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Strategies for Overcoming Errors

- The Antenna should be having a diversity of +10 dB

- Dual antennas placed should be placed at separation of half the wavelength
– Forward error correction (FEC): This improves fade margin through coding gain
Coding gain = signal energy per bit-to-noise ratio required to attain a particular
error rate with and
without coding. FEC is not very effective in slowly varying radio channels
– Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) : It’s a Retransmission protocol for blocks in
error. The Normal process is » Stop and Wait, Go Back N, Selective Repeat

Media Access
Certain strategies are to be followed , especially when media signals are transmitted in
ordered to avoid errors in transmission . The signals should be transmitted only when
desired with Positive ACK from receiver on independent link. If any problem does occur,
the principle followed is to Back off and retransmit if timeout. The Slotted scheme
reduces chance of collision
• Carrier Sense/Multiple Access (CSMA). The signals are to be tested before
transmitting out. If any problem does occur back off and retransmit if collision detected
• Inhibit Sense/Multiple Access. When this problem occursm the Base station
transmits busy tone
and then the signals are transmitted when the lines are not busy. If any problem does
occur back off and retransmit if collision detected

Hidden Terminals– Cannot hear each other

– Adds complexity to carrier sense methods

Near-Far Problem
– Near-by terminal over powers
signal from the far-away terminal

– Unfair access to channel

Security and Privacy in Wireless Systems:

Trends in Mobile Computing Tasneem, Samreen

The Wireless systems are prone to have less security compared to the wired
Security Levels
• Level 0: No Privacy
• Level 1: Equivalent to Wireline
– For routine conversations
– Significant level of effort to “crack” conversation (e.g., 1 year)
• Level 2: Commercially Secure
– For “proprietary” conversations
– 10-25 years to crack
• Level 3: Government/Military Secure

Privacy Requirements
Certain care regarding the Privacy of the user is always undertaken to safeguard his
interests and information
• Privacy of Call Setup Information – e.g., calling #, credit card #, type of service, etc.
• Privacy of Speech
• Privacy of Data
• Privacy of User Location
– Radio link eavesdropping
– Unauthorized access to VLR/HLR
• Privacy of User Identification
– Encrypt user id to protect against analysis of user calling patterns
• Privacy of Calling Patterns
– Protect against traffic analysis of user: calling number, use of the MH, caller ID,
privacy of financial transactions

Theft Resistance

• Clone Resistant Design:: In this modern world, there is quiet a possibility that the
technology is stolen by many ways. It can be avoided by using proper Network
Databases and Network interconnections. The Networking is to be validated enough to
authenticate but not enough clone.
• Installation and Repair Fraud : Multiple mobile hosts programmed with same ID
• Unique User ID: User unique security module (e.g., smart cards)
• Unique Mobile Station ID : Uniquely identify MS to avoid re-registrations with new

Security and Privacy in Existing Wireless Systems

• MIN/ESN. It has AMPS with a 10 digit mobile ID, 32 bit equipment serial number .All
data is sent in clear, systems share info on bad MIN/ESN. It has though Very poor
privacy/security support and can be easily cloned
• Shared Secret Data

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TDMA/CDMA cellular: secret key shared between mobile station and system
Reasonable privacy /security support, but requires systems to exchange keys of visiting
mobile stations. Since airlink is encrypted with it, may need to wiretap at the switch
• Security Triplets. The GSM technology has challenge/response pairs plus privacy
key. The Home system generates 3-5 for visited system with one system used per
• Public Key. PACS has been proposed as an option to provide security . It Avoids
need for communications with home system. It has strong privacy/security: MS and
network never reveal their private keys, but has Complexity of encryption operations

Challenges of Mobile Computing:

Freedom from Collocation

• Harsh communications environment. The unfavorable Communication

environment is coupled with Lower bandwidth/higher latency not good enough for
videoconferencing or any other process. It has Higher error rates and more frequent
disconnection. Its performance depends on density of nearby users but inherent
scalability of cellular/frequency reuse architecture helps.
• Connection/Disconnection: Network failure is a common issue and therefore
Autonomous operation is highly desirable. Fot it Often Caching is a good idea, e.g., web
cache. Asynchronous/spool-oriented applications, like mail or printing do have some
problems .In those cases Trickle back data when bandwidth is available.
• Low Bandwidth
– Orders of magnitude differences between wide-area, in building wireless
• Variable Bandwidth
– Applications adaptation to changing quality of connectivity

Trends in Mobile Computing Tasneem, Samreen

» High bandwidth, low latency: business as usual

» High bandwidth, high latency: aggressive prefetching
» Low bandwidth, high latency: asynchronous operation, use caches to hide latency,
predict future
references/trickle in, etc. etc.
• Heterogeneous Networks
– “Vertical Handoff” among colocated wireless networks

Trends in Mobile Computing Tasneem, Samreen

Research Issues
• Seamless connectivity over multiple overlays
– Implementing low latency handoffs
– Exploiting movement-tracking and geography
– Performance characterization of channels
– Authentication, security, privacy
• Scalable mobile processing
– Hierarchical and distributed network management
– Load balancing for network mgmt & application support
– Integration with local- & wide-area networked servers
– Application support for adaptive connections
Wireless Communications
– Quality of connectivity
– Bandwidth limitations

• Mobility
– Location transparency
– Location dependency
• Portability
– Power limitations
– Display, processing, storage limitations

Discovery of existing services is a key point in mobile systems, where the dynamicity of
the system is, by orders of magnitude, higher than in traditional distributed systems.
Furthermore, the integration of quality of service consideration into the service
advertisement and discovery might enable some optimisation in the service
provision .Another direction of research concerns security. Portable devices are
particularly exposed to security attacks as it is so easy to connect to a wireless link.
Dynamic customisation techniques seem to worsen the situation. Reflection is a
technique for accessing protected internal data structures and it could cause security
problems if malicious programs break the protection mechanism and use the reflective
Trends in Mobile Computing Tasneem, Samreen

capability to disclose, modify or delete data. Security is a major issue for any mobile
computing application and therefore proper measures need to be included in the
design of any mobile middleware system.

References :
• D. Cox, "Wireless Personal Communications: What is It?," IEEE Personal Communications
Magazine, (April 1995), pp. 20-35.
• G. H. Forman, J. Zahorjan, "The Challenges of Mobile Computing," IEEE Computer, V 27, N 4,
(April 1994), pp. 38-47
• D. D. Falconer, F. Adachi, B. Gudmundson, "Time Division Multiple Access Methods for Wireless
Personal Communications," IEEE Communications Magazine, (January 1995), pp. 50-57. K.
Pahlavan, "Wireless Intraoffice Networks," ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems," V. 6,
N. 3, (July 1988), pp. 277-302.
• K-C Chen, "Medium Access Control of Wireless LANs for Mobile Computing," IEEE Network
Magazine, (September/October 1994), pp. 50-63.
• A. Aziz, W. Diffie, "Privacy and Authentication for Wireless Local Area Networks," IEEE Personal
Communications, (First Quarter 1994), pp. 25-31.
• N. Abramson, "Multiple Access in Wireless Digital Networks," Proceedings IEEE, V. 82, N. 9,
(September 1994), pp. 1360-1370
• W. W. Wu, et al., "Mobile Satellite Communications," Proc. of IEEE, V. 82, N. 9, (September 1994),
pp. 1431-1448
• F. Ananasso, F. Delli Pricoli, "The Role of Satellites in Personal Communications Services," IEEE
Journal on Selected Areas in Communications," V 13, N 2, (February 1995), pp. 180-195.
• Gerla, J. Tsai, "Multicluster, Mobile, Multimedia Radio Network," ACM Wireless Networks, V1, N 3,
(October 1995), pp. 255-266
• J. B. Andersen, T. S. Rappaport, S. Yoshida, "Propagation Measurements and Models for Wireless
Communications Channels," IEEE Communications Magazine, (January 1995), pp. 42-49
• ‘Principles of Mobile Computing Middleware’ CECILIA MASCOLO, LICIA CAPRA and