A Markov Decision Process based Flow Assignment Framework for Heterogeneous Network Access

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Executive Summary

The authors consider a scenario where devices with multiple networking capabilities access networks with heterogeneous characteristics. In such a setting, the authors address the problem of efficient utilization of multiple access networks (wireless and/or wireline) by devices via optimal assignment of traffic flows with given utilities to different networks. The authors develop and analyze a device middleware functionality that monitors network characteristics and employs a Markov Decision Process (MDP) based control scheme that in conjunction with stochastic characterization of the available bit rate and delay of the networks generates an optimal policy for allocation of flows to different networks. The optimal policy maximizes, under available bit rate and delay constraints on the access networks, a discounted reward which is a function of the flow utilities.

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