In terms of Mobile Internet Protocol, mobility agents are routers that help to control the flow and integrity of online traffic when that traffic is redirected from the home network to a mobile or remote network. The router may be in the form of a home agent that handles the transfer of data or a foreign agent that converts and reads the data at the receiving end of the process. Both examples of a mobility agent are in common use today.
When the mobility agent in question is a home agent, the router on the node network maintains what is known as the care-of address. Essentially, this address functions in the same manner as putting in a forwarding address at the post office. Any inbound data that is received by the home agent can be archived and simultaneously sent out to the mobile node. This process if usually referred to as tunneling.
The foreign agent type of mobility agent is normally a care of address that is in the form of a static IP address that is associated with the mobile device. This mobile IP address may be a temporary connection to a network that is being employed by the mobile device for a short period of time, or a more permanent foreign agent that may be utilized regardless of the location of the mobile device. A co-located care of address that is permanently in place is not uncommon when vendors and clients wish to establish a node for communication between their respective networks.
A mobility agent can be an asset in many situations. Employees traveling away from the physical location of the home network can make use of a mobility agent to connect and retrieve data that may be needed without relying on such devices as memory sticks or CDRs. Because the data can be received from the home agent, information that is real time in nature can also be viewed and worked with. This means that even data that was not available prior to the trip can be accessed once it is loaded onto the home network.