Improved Handover Through Dual Connectivity in 5G mmWave Mobile Networks

Michele Polese, Marco Giordani, Marco Mezzavilla, Sundeep Rangan, Michele Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The millimeter wave (mmWave) bands offer the possibility of orders of magnitude greater throughput for fifth-generation (5G) cellular systems. However, since mmWave signals are highly susceptible to blockage, channel quality on any one mmWave link can be extremely intermittent. This paper implements a novel dual connectivity protocol that enables mobile user equipment devices to maintain physical layer connections to 4G and 5G cells simultaneously. A novel uplink control signaling system combined with a local coordinator enables rapid path switching in the event of failures on any one link. This paper provides the first comprehensive end-to-end evaluation of handover mechanisms in mmWave cellular systems. The simulation framework includes detailed measurement-based channel models to realistically capture spatial dynamics of blocking events, as well as the full details of Medium Access Control, Radio Link Control, and transport protocols. Compared with conventional handover mechanisms, this paper reveals significant benefits of the proposed method under several metrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7959177
Pages (from-to)2069-2084
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • 5G
  • blockage
  • handover
  • millimeter wave
  • mobility
  • multi-connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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