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In future mobile networks, different radio access technologies, such as GSM, UMTS, WiMAX, WIFI, will coexist. In order to realize a seamless vertical handover (inter-RAT handover) among these technologies, a variety of interworking architectures and inter-RAT handover mobility managements have been proposed. Based on an integrated coupling architecture, the authors propose a novel common interworking sublayer (IW sublayer) at layer 2 on RNC and UE to provide a seamless PS inter-RAT handover between UMTS and WiMAX systems. This IW sublayer scheme focuses on eliminating packet loss and reducing handover latency which are common problems for most inter-RAT handover scenarios.
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