CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Novel Wireless Communications Architecture for Supporting Legacy Mainframe Data Transmission

Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Phillip M. Adams

Committee Member

Raul Salazar

Committee Member

S. Rollins Guild

Abstract

This dissertation described a communications architecture that facilitated higher performance and better responsiveness in wireless environments where data transmission failures can be frequent. This communications architecture enabled efficient and cost -effective incorporation of legacy mainframe data access into today's wireless data network environments without the need for costly rewrites of legacy applications code. Data communications over radio frequencies represent the final frontier in computer-based connectivity. Wireless data communications allow users to access enterprise-based information from virtually any location without the constraints imposed by traditional telephone or data network connections. However, legacy applications do not operate efficiently when run over wireless transmissions. Nonetheless, wireless access to enterprise data has become a high priority issue for mobile users within corporations that require "go-anywhere and do-anything" computing. The communications architecture proposed allows mobile users to access legacy mainframe data more efficiently and cost-effectively. The communications architecture described is a layered architecture which eliminated unnecessary legacy mainframe connection-oriented overhead and reduced the amount of data sent to and from the mainframe. It described the layers of the architecture that were responsible for these tasks. The layers in the proposed architecture were designed with built-in intelligence because of the high likelihood of corrupt and incomplete data transmissions in wireless environments. Intelligent analysis of the state of the communications was performed at all times within each layer. The proposed architecture presented various types of intelligent analysis, actions, and the appropriate layers in which the analysis and actions resided. The proposed communications architecture was based upon a simple OSI-like layered protocol with enhancements designed to reduce unnecessary data flow and maximize compression of data to be transferred. Communications was allowed between non-adjacent layers. This inter-intelligent layer communications architecture supported dynamic tuning of communications to minimize cost and maximize network efficiency. A simulation model was implemented to illustrate a performance analysis comparison between SNA communications architecture and the proposed architecture, both in a wireless environment scenario. It simulated the communications between two machines running concurrently. The implementation of the system was in the C computer language using an IBM compatible personal computer. The dissertation proved and demonstrated that the communications architecture and layered protocol proposed, Wireless Communication (WCOM), significantly reduced the overall user wait time (response time), especially in cases where communication failures were high. It also reduced communication costs (air time). These improvements were accomplished without having to change the legacy mainframe applications, a requirement and key benefit of this architecture.

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