While Internet technologies largely succeed in overcoming the barriers of time and distance, existing Internet technologies have yet to fully accommodate the increasing mobile computer usage. A promising technology used to eliminate this current barrier is Mobile IP. The emerging 3G mobile networks are set to make a huge difference to the international business community. 3G networks will provide sufficient bandwidth to run most of the business computer applications while still providing a reasonable user experience. However, 3G networks are not based on only one standard, but a set of radio technology standards such as cdma2000, EDGE and WCDMA.
It is easy to foresee that the mobile user from time to time also would like to connect to fixed broadband networks, wireless LANs and, mixtures of new technologies such as Bluetooth associated to e.g. cable TV and DSL access points.In this light, a common macro mobility management framework is required in order to allow mobile users to roam between different access networks with little or no manual intervention. (Micro mobility issues such as radio specific mobility enhancements are supposed to be handled within the specific radio technology.) IETF has created the Mobile IP standard for this purpose.Mobile IP is different compared to other efforts for doing mobility management in the sense that it is not tied to one specific access technology. In earlier mobile cellular standards, such as GSM, the radio resource and mobility management was integrated vertically into one system.
The same is also true for mobile packet data standards such as CDPD, Cellular Digital Packet Data and the internal packet data mobility protocol (GTP/MAP) of GPRS/UMTS networks. This vertical mobility management property is also inherent for the increasingly popular 802.11 Wireless LAN standard.Mobile IP can be seen as the least common mobility denominator - providing seamless macro mobility solutions among the diversity of accesses. Mobile IP is defining a Home Agent as an anchor point with which the mobile client always has a relationship, and a Foreign Agent, which acts as the local tunnel-endpoint at the access network where the mobile client is visiting.