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A New Standard for Securing Media-Independent Handover: IEEE 802.21a



Rafa Marin-Lopez, Fernando Bernal-Hidalgo, Subir Das, Lidong Chen, Yoshihiro Ohba


When enabling handover between different radio interfaces (e.g., handover from 3G to Wi-Fi), reducing network access authentication latency and securing handover related signaling messages are major challenging problems, amongst many others. The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards committee has recently finished its standardization work in this area by defining the IEEE std 802.21a-2012. The mechanisms introduced in this standard are aimed to protect the IEEE std 802.21-2008 messages and services and to reduce handover latency by introducing the concept of proactive authentication. We provide a comprehensive survey of this standard and describe how the defined mechanisms can be used to reduce the overall latency during handover between access networks using heterogeneous radio interfaces.
IEEE Wireless Communications


fast handover, IEEE 802.21, media independent handover, security


Marin-Lopez, R. , Bernal-Hidalgo, F. , Das, S. , Chen, L. and Ohba, Y. (2013), A New Standard for Securing Media-Independent Handover: IEEE 802.21a, IEEE Wireless Communications, [online],, (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created December 30, 2013, Updated October 12, 2021