News Column

Patent Application Titled "Device-Anchor Base Stations" Published Online

August 28, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Yang, Yu (Solna, SE); Dimou, Konstantinos (Stockholm, SE), filed on January 28, 2014, was made available online on August 14, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson (publ).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the study and use of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication and/or the deployment of Machine Type Communication (MTC) devices in cellular communications networks. As used herein, an MTC device is a wireless device that performs MTC or M2M communication. The use of these MTC devices can be a great opportunity for telecommunication operators to extend their network without significant costs. In M2M communications, MTC devices such as smart meters, signboards, cameras, remote sensors, laptops, and appliances are connected to the cellular communications network. Many MTC devices sporadically transmit one or a few short packets containing measurements, reports, or triggers such as, for example, temperature, humidity, wind speed, etc. In most cases, MTC devices are expected to have low mobility, e.g., they are static. MTC devices are often of low complexity, targeting low-end (e.g., low average revenue per user, low data rate, high latency tolerance) applications. For typical applications, the power/energy consumption for such MTC devices is expected to be low as well.

"One of the distinguishing characteristics in cellular communications networks with M2M communication is that there is a large increase in the number of wireless devices (i.e., there are typically a large number of MTC devices). This can lead to the cellular communications network becoming over-loaded, which in turn can cause the cellular communications network to be unable to fully support the requested communications services. In addition, the MTC devices can be installed indoor or underground where the propagation conditions can be significantly degraded (i.e., some MTC devices may be located in coverage holes). It may therefore be difficult for MTC devices located in such coverage holes to maintain efficient and reliable communication with the cellular communications network.

"As such, there is a need for systems and methods that provide efficient and reliable communication for MTC devices located in coverage holes. In addition, there is a need for systems and methods that address potential high load conditions when a large number of MTC devices are in a cellular communications network."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present disclosure relates to systems and methods for providing efficient and reliable communication for wireless devices, e.g., Machine Type Communication (MTC) devices, in a cellular communications network. In one embodiment, a network node of the cellular communications network identifies candidate device-anchor base stations, where the candidate device-anchor base stations are wireless devices that satisfy one or more predefined criteria for serving as a candidate device-anchor base station. The network node then effects selection of a device-anchor base station for a wireless device from the candidate device-anchor base stations such that communication between a serving base station of the wireless device and the wireless device is via the device-anchor base station. In this manner, communication between the wireless device and the serving base station of the wireless device is assisted by the device-anchor base station. This is particularly beneficial where the wireless device is in need of assistance due to, for example, being located in a coverage hole or high cell load conditions.

"In one embodiment, identifying the candidate device-anchor base stations includes selecting the candidate device-anchor base stations at the network node. Further, in one embodiment, selecting the candidate device-anchor base stations at the network node includes obtaining information that is indicative of capabilities of a second wireless device, determining whether the second wireless device satisfies one or more predefined criteria for being a candidate device-anchor base station based on the information, and selecting the second wireless device as a candidate device-anchor base station if the second wireless device is determined to satisfy the one or more predefined criteria for being a candidate device-anchor base station. Still further, in one embodiment, obtaining the information includes obtaining the information that is indicative of the capabilities of the second wireless device from the second wireless device. In one embodiment, the information is obtained from the second wireless device via one or more Information Elements (IEs) received from the second wireless device via Radio Resource Control (RRC) signaling. In another embodiment, obtaining the information includes receiving information that is indicative of a device type of the second wireless device, wherein the device type of the second wireless device is indicative of the capabilities of the second wireless device.

"In one embodiment, identifying the candidate device-anchor base stations includes receiving information from a second wireless device that is indicative of whether the second wireless device is selected as a candidate device-anchor base station.

"In one embodiment, the network node is further configured to determine that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in a cell served by the serving base station of the wireless device, wherein the network node identifies the candidate device-anchor base stations for the cell served by the serving base station. In one embodiment, the network node identifies the candidate device-anchor base stations in response to determining that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in the cell served by the serving base station of the wireless device. In one embodiment, the network node determines that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in the cell if one or more coverage holes are located in the cell.

"Further, in one embodiment, the network node is further configured to determine that there are one or more predefined coverage holes located in the cell and, in response, determine that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in the cell. In another embodiment, the network node is further configured to receive information from one or more wireless devices that indicates that the one or more wireless devices have detected one or more coverage holes in the cell and, in response, determine that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in the cell. In another embodiment, the network node is further configured to detect one or more coverage holes in the cell and, in response, determine that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in the cell.

"In one embodiment, at least one of the one or more coverage holes is a partial coverage hole. In one embodiment, the network node is further configured to detect the partial coverage hole in response to a predefined number of consecutive unsuccessful Physical Uplink Shared Channel (PUSCH) transmissions from a second wireless device when the second wireless device is located in the partial coverage hole.

"In one embodiment, the network node is further configured to detect the one or more coverage holes in the cell based on one or more Radio Link Failure (RLF) reports for radio link failures that occurred in the coverage hole. In another embodiment, the network node is further configured to detect the one or more coverage holes in the cell based on at least one of a group consisting of: received power with respect to a second wireless device when the second wireless device is located in the coverage hole, Signal-to-Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINR) with respect to the second wireless device when the second wireless device is located in the coverage hole, and Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request (HARQ) NACK rate with respect to the second wireless device when the second wireless device is located in the coverage hole.

"In another embodiment, the network node is further configured to detect the one or more coverage holes in the cell in response to a second wireless device operating in a coverage enhancement mode of operation when located in the coverage hole. In another embodiment, the network node is further configured to detect the one or more coverage holes in the cell in response to failed communication with a second wireless device when the second wireless device is located in the coverage hole.

"In another embodiment, the network node is further configured to determine that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in the cell if a network load for the cell is greater than a predefined threshold representative of a high network load.

"In another embodiment, the network node is further configured to determine that assistance from device-anchor base stations is needed in the cell in response to a predefined number of consecutive random access attempts from a second wireless device.

"In one embodiment, the wireless device is an MTC device located in a coverage hole. In another embodiment, the wireless device is an MTC device and a network load of a cell served by the serving base station of the wireless device is greater than a predefined threshold representative of a high network load.

"In one embodiment, a wireless device in a cellular communications network is configured to select the wireless device as a candidate device-anchor base station and, in response, notify the cellular communications network that the wireless device is a candidate device-anchor base station.

"Those skilled in the art will appreciate the scope of the present disclosure and realize additional aspects thereof after reading the following detailed description of the embodiments in association with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

"The accompanying drawing figures incorporated in and forming a part of this specification illustrate several aspects of the disclosure, and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the disclosure.

"FIG. 1 illustrates a cellular communications network in which a device-anchor base station is utilized to assist with communications between a Machine Type Communication (MTC) device and a serving base station of the MTC device according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 2 illustrates a process for utilizing a device-anchor base station to assist with communications between an MTC device and a serving base station of the MTC device according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate the operation of the cellular communications network of FIG. 1 according to the process of FIG. 2 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 4 illustrates a process for determining whether to activate, or trigger, device-anchor base station assistance based on coverage holes according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 5 illustrates a process for detecting a coverage hole according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 6 illustrates a process for determining whether to activate, or trigger, device-anchor base station assistance based on network load according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 7 illustrates a process for determining whether to activate, or trigger, device-anchor base station assistance based on coverage holes and network load according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 8 illustrates a process for determining whether to activate, or trigger, device-anchor base station assistance based on failed random access attempts according to yet another embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 9 illustrates a process for selecting a candidate device-anchor base station according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 10 illustrates some examples of Information Elements (IEs) containing capability information for a wireless device according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 11 illustrates a process for selecting a candidate device-anchor base station according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 12 illustrates a process in which a wireless device selects itself as a candidate device-anchor base station according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIGS. 13A through 13C illustrate a process by which the MTC device selects the device-anchor base station for the MTC device from a number of candidate device-anchor base stations according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 14 illustrates a process by which the MTC device selects the device-anchor base station for the MTC device from a number of candidate device-anchor base stations according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 15 illustrates a process by which the base station selects the device-anchor base station for the MTC device from a number of candidate device-anchor base stations according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 16 illustrates one example of IEs utilized to provide information regarding a traffic pattern of a wireless device to the cellular communications network according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 17 graphically illustrates one example of a traffic pattern of the MTC device and traffic patterns of two candidate device-anchor base stations, where the traffic patterns can co-exist such that either or both of the two candidate device-anchor base stations can serve as the device-anchor base station of the MTC device according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 18 illustrates an embodiment where multiple device-anchor base stations are selected for the MTC device and operate to enable communication between the MTC device and the serving base station of the MTC device using a multi-point communication scheme;

"FIG. 19 illustrates an embodiment in which candidate device-anchor base stations are grouped according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 20 illustrates one example of IEs that provide information to the cellular communications network that enables grouping of the candidate device-anchor base stations according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 21 illustrates a process by which device-anchor base station and wireless device pairing are stored and utilized to select device-anchor base stations according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 22 is a block diagram of one of the wireless devices of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 23 is a block diagram of the MTC device of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure; and

"FIG. 24 is a block diagram of the base station of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure."

For more information, see this patent application: Yang, Yu; Dimou, Konstantinos. Device-Anchor Base Stations. Filed January 28, 2014 and posted August 14, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4434&p=89&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140807.PD.&OS=PD/20140807&RS=PD/20140807

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

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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