Seamless User-Level Handoff in Ubiquitous Multimedia Service Delivery

Yi Cui, Klara Nahrstedt, Dongyan Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advancing mobile computing technologies are enabling "ubiquitous personal computing environment ". In this paper, we focus on an important problem in such environment: user mobility. In the case of user mobility, a user is free to access his/her personalized service at anytime, anywhere, through any possible mobile/fixed devices. Providing mobility support in this scenario poses a series of challenges. The most essential problem is to preserve the user's access to the same service despite changes of the accessing host or service provider. Existing system-level mobility solutions are insufficient to address this issue since it is not aware of the application semantics. On the other hand, making each application to be mobility-aware will greatly increase the development overhead. We argue that the middleware layer is the best place to address this problem. On one hand, it is aware of application semantics. On the other hand, by building application-neutral mobility functions in the middleware layer, we eliminate the need to make each application mobility-aware. In this paper, we design a middleware framework to support user mobility in the ubiquitous computing environment. Its major mobility functions include user-level handoff management and service instantiation across heterogeneous computing platforms. We validate the major mobility functions using our prototype middleware system, and test them on two multi-media applications (Mobile Video Player and Mobile Audio Player). To maximally approximate the real-world user-mobility scenario, we have conducted experiments on a variety of computing platforms and communication paradigms, ranging from T1-connected high-end PC to handheld devices with wireless networks. The results show that our middleware framework is able to provide efficient user mobility support in the heterogeneous computing environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-170
Number of pages34
JournalMultimedia Tools and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Middleware
  • Multimeida service
  • Ubiquitous computing
  • User mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Media Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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