News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Methods, Network Node, and User Equipment Related to Channel Spacing", for Approval

July 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Kazmi, Muhammad (Bromma, SE); Larsson, Magnus (Sollentuna, SE); Queseth, Olav (Solna, SE), filed on October 30, 2012, was made available online on June 19, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Telefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson (publ).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In cellular networks, such as Long Term Evolution (LTE), a concept of carrier aggregation (CA) is being deployed. CA implies that several (two or more) Component Carriers (CC) can be utilised for communication between a network node and a user equipment (UE). The CCs can be contiguous in the frequency domain or non-contiguous.

"The distance between centre frequencies of CCs is called channel spacing of the CCs. All subcarriers in LTE resource blocks are aligned to one a single 15 kHz grid. Moreover, the centre subcarrier is aligned to a 100 kHz grid. This is done in order to simplify UE carrier search and attachment procedures. In order to accommodate both these requirements, channel spacing of CCs need to align to a grid of multiples of 300 kHz.

"A small allocated frequency block for a CC, say 5 MHz will, with a 5 MHz channel bandwidth LTE carrier, not have much, if any, frequency space available to be shifted to align to a 300 kHz grid. An alignment to a 300 kHz grid could mean an adjustment by up to 200 kHz, when the band edges conform to even 100 kHz (which is typically the case). This means, in some scenarios, when considering guard bands at the edge of the frequency block, that an operator will not be able to use the non contiguous intra band carrier aggregation at all.

"It would be of great benefit if, whenever possible, even small frequency blocks could be used for component carriers in carrier aggregation, while still supporting legacy UEs."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "It is an object to improve the ability to place component carriers when carrier aggregation is used.

"According to a first aspect, it is presented a method for obtaining a capability of channel spacing between component carriers used in carrier aggregation for a user equipment, UE. The method is performed in a network node and comprises the step of: determining, from a plurality of alternatives, the capability of channel spacing for the UE based on signalling between the UE and the network node, the channel spacing capability comprising at least one of the alternatives of: a multiple of 300 kHz, a multiple of 15 kHz and any other channel spacing.

"By obtaining the capability of channel spacing between component carriers of the particular UE, component carriers can, in at least some cases, be better placed in the frequency spectrum. For example, when small frequency blocks are allocated, these can be better utilised when the capability of the particular UE is known, in terms of channel spacing between component carriers.

"The method may further comprise the step, prior to the step of determining, of: receiving signalling from the UE, the signalling indicating the capability of channel spacing, the channel spacing capability comprising at least one of the alternatives of: a multiple of 300 kHz, a multiple of 15 kHz, and any other channel spacing. The UE thus reports its capability to the network node.

"The method may further comprise the step of: transmitting a request for capability of channel spacing to the UE. In other words, the channel spacing capability is reported from the UE in response to a request from the network node.

"According to a second aspect, it is presented a method for obtaining a capability of channel spacing between component carriers used in carrier aggregation for a user equipment, UE. The method is performed in a network node and comprises the step of: determining, from a plurality of alternatives, the capability of channel spacing for the UE based on a pre-defined rule relating a channel spacing to a type of carrier aggregation, the channel spacing capability comprising at least one of the alternatives of: a multiple of 300 kHz, a multiple of 15 kHz and any other channel spacing. Using the pre-defined rule, the UE is relieved of any signalling with regard to explicitly indicating its capability of channel spacing between component carriers.

"The method may further comprising the step, prior to the step of determining, of: detecting the capability of channel spacing by comparing performance of intra-band carrier aggregation when the UE is connected to different cells, where component carriers in some cells are sent with 300 kHz channel spacing, in other cells with 15 KHz or with any other channel spacing.

"The step of detecting the capability of channel spacing may comprise comparing the performance of intra-band carrier aggregation with a pre-determined carrier aggregation performance.

"The step of determining the capability of channel spacing may comprise determining the capability of channel spacing based on a type of carrier aggregation supported by the UE.

"The step of determining the capability of channel spacing may comprise determining the capability of channel spacing for the UE based on a number of IFFT/FFT, Inverse Fast Fourier Transform/Fast Fourier Transform, which are supported by the UE receiver and/or UE transmitter.

"The step of determining the capability of channel spacing may comprise determining that the UE supports any channel spacing when the UE supports more than one IFFT/FFT for carrier aggregation.

"The step of determining the capability of channel spacing may comprise determining the capability of channel spacing for the UE to be any channel spacing when non contiguous carrier aggregation is supported by the UE.

"The step of determining the capability of channel spacing may comprise determining the capability of channel spacing for the UE to be any channel spacing when inter-band carrier aggregation is supported by the UE.

"The step of determining the capability of channel spacing may comprise determining the capability of channel spacing for the UE based on the frequency band(s) used for carrier aggregation.

"The method may further comprise the step of: storing the capability of channel spacing for the UE for network management or configuration tasks.

"The method may further comprise the step of: deciding what channel spacing to use between component carriers in carrier aggregation for the UE, based on the determined capability of channel spacing for the UE.

"The step of deciding what channel spacing to use may comprise: deciding which one of available component carriers to use in carrier aggregation for the UE, based on the determined capability of channel spacing for the UE and based on the channel spacing of available component carriers, where there are several component carriers configurations available in the network of the network node, having channel spacing being a multiple of 300 kHz and channel spacing being a multiple of 15 kHz.

"The method may further comprise the step of: configuring the UE to operate in carrier aggregation with a channel spacing between component carriers based on the determined capability of channel spacing for the UE.

"The method may further comprise the step of: operating the UE without carrier aggregation when the determined capability of channel spacing for the UE is not supported by the network node.

"The method may further comprise the step of: forwarding the determined capability of channel spacing for the UE to other network nodes.

"According to a third aspect, it is presented a network node arranged to obtain a capability of channel spacing between component carriers to be used in carrier aggregation for a user equipment, UE. The network node comprises: a processor; and a computer program product. The computer program product stores instructions that, when executed by the processor, causes the network node to: determine, from a plurality of alternatives, the capability of channel spacing for the UE based on signalling between the UE and the network node, the channel spacing capability comprising at least one of the alternatives of: a multiple of 300 kHz, a multiple of 15 kHz and any other channel spacing.

"According to a fourth aspect, it is presented a network node arranged to obtain a capability of channel spacing between component carriers to be used in carrier aggregation for a user equipment, UE, the network node comprising: a processor; and a computer program product, The computer program product stores instructions that, when executed by the processor, causes the network node to: determine, from a plurality of alternatives, the capability of channel spacing for the UE based on a pre-defined rule relating a channel spacing to a type of carrier aggregation, the channel spacing capability comprising at least one of the alternatives of: a multiple of 300 kHz, a multiple of 15 kHz and any other channel spacing.

"According to a fifth aspect, it is presented a method arranged to providing a capability of channel spacing between component carriers to be used in carrier aggregation for a user equipment, UE. The method is performed by the UE and comprises the step of: transmitting signalling to the network node, the signalling indicating a capability of channel spacing between component carriers used in carrier aggregation for the UE, the channel spacing capability comprising at least one of the alternatives of: a multiple of 300 kHz, a multiple of 15 kHz, and any other channel spacing.

"The step of transmitting may comprise transmitting the capability separately for each supported band.

"The step of transmitting may comprise transmitting the capability for a group of supported bands.

"The step of transmitting may comprise transmitting the capability separately for uplink and downlink carrier aggregation.

"The step of transmitting may comprise transmitting the capability jointly for both uplink and downlink carrier aggregation.

"The step of transmitting may be performed proactively.

"The method may further comprise the step of: receiving a request for capability of channel spacing from the network node. In that case, the step of transmitting is performed in response to the step of receiving a request.

"According to a sixth aspect, it is presented a user equipment, UE, arranged to providing a capability of channel spacing between component carriers to be used in carrier aggregation for the UE. The UE comprising: a processor; and a computer program product. The computer program product stores instructions that, when executed by the processor, causes the UE to: transmit signalling to the network node, the signalling indicating a capability of channel spacing between component carriers used in carrier aggregation for the UE, the channel spacing capability comprising at least one of the alternatives of: a multiple of 300 kHz, a multiple of 15 kHz and any other channel spacing.

"It is to be noted that any feature of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth aspects may, where appropriate, be applied to any other of these aspects.

"Generally, all terms used in the claims are to be interpreted according to their ordinary meaning in the technical field, unless explicitly defined otherwise herein. All references to 'a/an/the element, apparatus, component, means, step, etc.' are to be interpreted openly as referring to at least one instance of the element, apparatus, component, means, step, etc., unless explicitly stated otherwise. The steps of any method disclosed herein do not have to be performed in the exact order disclosed, unless explicitly stated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The invention is now described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

"FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating an environment where embodiments presented herein can be applied;

"FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating the physical resources for LTE (Long Term Evolution) downlink;

"FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating LTE time-domain structure;

"FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram illustrating carrier aggregation in the network of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram illustrating aggregated bandwidth in the network of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram illustrating non-contiguous carrier aggregation in the network of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram illustrating a structure of a 5 MHz LTE carrier of the network of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 8 is a schematic sequence diagram illustrating signalling in the network of FIG. 1

"FIGS. 9A-C are flow charts illustrating methods for obtaining a capability of channel spacing between component carriers used in carrier aggregation, performed in the network node of FIG. 1;

"FIGS. 10A-B are flow charts illustrating methods for providing a capability of channel spacing between component carriers used in carrier aggregation, performed in the user equipment of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 11 is a block diagram of some of the components of the network node of FIG. 1; and

"FIG. 12 is a block diagram of some of the components of the UE of FIG. 1."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Kazmi, Muhammad; Larsson, Magnus; Queseth, Olav. Methods, Network Node, and User Equipment Related to Channel Spacing. Filed October 30, 2012 and posted June 19, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4199&p=84&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140612.PD.&OS=PD/20140612&RS=PD/20140612

Keywords for this news article include: Telefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson (publ).

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