cellular network simulation


Overview - Description




Currently available network simulators are complex and focus on packet level issues. In order to use such simulators for a simulation verifying a simple concept, one has to learn the complex underlying system that the simulator is based on. This is time consuming and counterproductive in many cases.

The aim of this project is to create a simple yet powerful cellular network simulator that focuses on the simulation of concepts and comparative performance studies rather than absolute performance studies that are dependent on the underlying system specifics. The aim is also to create the simulator to be extremely modular, such that swapping of existing components is trivial to the point of not requiring any code modifications, and creation of new components that easily fit into the simulator is a simple and well defined process.




There are a number of academic as well as commercial simulators or simulation packages available for various uses. None of these however lends itself easily to the simulation of cellular networks from a high level perspective as opposed to a packet level perspective. It has been noted by many members of our group that it would often be useful to be able to abstract from packet level detail when attempting to verify concepts in initial stages. It has also been identified that system specific details such as MAC layer protocol etc., are often not important in the initial stages of design when dealing with such issues as admission control algorithms and mobility prediction. These problems require a higher level view of the cellular network in order to speedily verify their relative performance.

A simulator that abstracts from packet level traffic was proposed, where the basic entities would be mobile terminals and cells. Each mobile terminal can create traffic flows, however these are considered only as a resource use, not as actual traffic flowing through the network. It is then possible to perform various admission control schemes as well as generate various mobility traces using such a model, without having to delve deep into the network specifics.

There are a number of major goals in designing such a simulator:

  • Modularity
    The design and the implementation of this simulator should be such that each part of the simulator is a module that can be replaced with ease by a module of the same type but a different implementation. What this means is that an admission control module should be easily replaced by any other admission control module without any need to modify the rest of the simulator. This allows for quick testing of any new admission control scheme in this example. By creating the entire simulator out of such modules, any part of the simulator can be replaced to achieve whatever desired behavior. This can include handoff schemes, mobility models, admission control schemes etc.

  • Ease of use
    If the modules that the user wishes to simulate with have already been created, then it should be easy for the user to run simulations with these modules. Easy in this case means no code modifications and a small learning curve as to simulator specific information. We aim to achieve a simulator that can be run using a web front end where a user can enter some parameters, run the simulation and be presented with some results.

  • Generality
    This simulator should be able to simulate many different scenarios, past the ones envisioned by the authors. The event driven core of the simulator should allow for a great degree of generality such that the simulator is useful to a wide range of researchers as opposed to a few members of our group.

With these goals in mind, the software design process in currently underway and we hope to have a working simulator very soon.