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Publication numberUS20050239445 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/039,020
Publication dateOct 27, 2005
Filing dateJan 18, 2005
Priority dateApr 16, 2004
Also published asCN1691653A, CN1691714A, CN1697426A, CN1697427A, CN1728692A, CN1728692B, CN100450112C, CN100452785C, CN100461807C, CN100544325C, US7904074, US8730974, US20050232247, US20060025132, US20110026436
Publication number039020, 11039020, US 2005/0239445 A1, US 2005/239445 A1, US 20050239445 A1, US 20050239445A1, US 2005239445 A1, US 2005239445A1, US-A1-20050239445, US-A1-2005239445, US2005/0239445A1, US2005/239445A1, US20050239445 A1, US20050239445A1, US2005239445 A1, US2005239445A1
InventorsJeyhan Karaoguz, Marc Abrams, Nambirajan Seshadri
Original AssigneeJeyhan Karaoguz, Marc Abrams, Nambirajan Seshadri
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and system for providing registration, authentication and access via broadband access gateway
US 20050239445 A1
Abstract
A system and method supporting user registration, authentication and access to multimedia services via a broadband access gateway is disclosed. A representative embodiment of the present invention may comprise a wireless interface and may be capable of exchanging multimedia communication between the wireless interface and a broadband network. The gateway may determine access to available media-related services based upon information that is provisioned in a broadband access gateway prior to the first access by a user of an access device. The gateway may automatically allow access to access devices that are pre-registered, and may support opportunistic registration for those users of access devices that have not been pre-registered. Restricted access to services and networks available through the gateway may be provided even when registration is not successful, or when the access device is not pre-registered. Interactive registration for gateway access may be supported, and one-button access using either soft or hard buttons may be provided.
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Claims(38)
1. A system supporting user controlled access to multimedia information, the system comprising:
a gateway communicatively coupled to a broadband network and at least one wireless interface, the gateway capable of selectively exchanging multimedia information among the at least one wireless interface and the broadband network, and of communicating with a plurality of access devices via the at least one wireless interface;
the gateway capable of providing to the plurality of access devices via the at least one wireless interface, access to at least one media-related service;
the gateway capable of controlling access to multimedia information by each of the plurality of access devices based upon registration information; and
software supporting user management of the registration information, via at least one of the gateway and the broadband network.
2. The system according to claim 1 wherein the multimedia information comprises at least one of streaming video, broadcast video, voice, digital data, text, digitized audio, digitized still images, digitized video, and digitized music.
3. The system according to claim 1 wherein the at least one media-related service comprises at least one of accessing, recording, playing, exchanging, transmitting, receiving, converting, and translating of multimedia information.
4. The system according to claim 1 wherein registration information comprises at least one of a user identifier, an identifier of an access device, information identifying allowable accesses, a password, and a digital certificate.
5. The system according to claim 1 wherein the at least one wireless interface is compliant with the Bluetooth V1.2 or compatible personal area network (PAN) specification.
6. The system according to claim 1 wherein the at least one wireless interface is compliant with at least one of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n standards.
7. The system according to claim 1 wherein the at least one wireless interface communicates using an unlicensed frequency band.
8. The system according to claim 1 wherein the at least one wireless interface communicates at a frequency of approximately 2.4 gigahertz.
9. The system according to claim 1 wherein the broadband network comprises at least one of a digital subscriber line (DSL) network, a cable network, a satellite network, a wireless wide area network, and the Internet.
10. The system according to claim 9 wherein the wireless wide area network comprises a cellular network.
11. The system according to claim 10 wherein the cellular network comprises at least one of a global system for mobile communications (GSM) network, a time division multiple access (TDMA) network, a code division multiple access (CDMA) network, and a universal mobile telecommunications system(UMTS) network.
12. The system according to claim 1 wherein the gateway collects access-related information for at least one of the plurality of access devices and the broadband network.
13. The system according to claim 12 wherein the gateway manages access to the collected information.
14. The system according to claim 1 wherein the plurality of access devices comprises at least one of a mobile multimedia handset, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a personal computer (PC), a digital scanner, a digital camera, a printer, headphones, and a pointing device.
15. A method of operating a gateway supporting user controlled access to multimedia information, the method comprising:
initializing communication via a broadband network;
detecting, via one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network, the presence of an access device;
receiving an access device identifier via the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network; and
determining allowable access to multimedia information by the identified access device based upon registration information.
16. The method of claim 15 further comprising:
collecting, via the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network, information comprising accessibility of at least one access device.
17. The method according to claim 15 wherein the personal area network is compliant with the Bluetooth V1.2 or compatible personal area network (PAN) specification.
18. The method according to claim 15 wherein the wireless local area network is compliant with at least one of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n standards.
19. The method according to claim 15 wherein the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network communicates using an unlicensed frequency band.
20. The method according to claim 15 wherein the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network communicates at a frequency of approximately 2.4 gigahertz.
21. The method according to claim 15 wherein the broadband network comprises at least one of a digital subscriber line (DSL) network, a cable network, a satellite network, a wireless wide-area network, and the Internet.
22. The method according to claim 21 wherein the wireless wide-area network comprises a cellular network.
23. The method according to claim 22 wherein the cellular network comprises at least one of a global system for mobile communications (GSM) network, a time division multiple access (TDMA) network, a code division multiple access (CDMA) network, and a universal mobile telecommunications system(UMTS) network.
24. The method according to claim 15 wherein the multimedia information comprises at least one of streaming video, broadcast video, voice, digital data, text, digitized audio, digitized still images, digitized video, and digitized music.
25. The method according to claim 15 wherein the at least one access device comprises at least one of a mobile multimedia handset, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a personal computer (PC), a digital scanner, a digital camera, a printer, headphones, and a pointing device.
26. The method according to claim 15 wherein registration information comprises at least one of a user identifier, an identifier of an access device, information identifying allowable accesses, a password, and a digital certificate.
27. A machine-readable storage, having stored thereon a computer program having a plurality of code sections for operating a gateway supporting user controlled access to multimedia information, the code sections executable by a machine for causing the machine to perform the operations comprising:
initializing communication via a broadband network;
detecting, via one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network, the presence of an access device;
receiving an access device identifier via the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network; and
determining allowable access to multimedia information by the identified access device based upon registration information.
28. The machine-readable storage of claim 27 wherein the code sections executable by a machine further causing the machine to perform the operations comprising:
collecting, via the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network, information comprising accessibility of at least one access device.
29. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein the personal area network is compliant with the Bluetooth V1.2 or compatible personal area network (PAN) specification.
30. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein the wireless local area network is compliant with at least one of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n standards.
31. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network communicates using an unlicensed frequency band.
32. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network communicates at a frequency of approximately 2.4 gigahertz.
33. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein the broadband network comprises at least one of a digital subscriber line (DSL) network, a cable network, a satellite network, a wireless wide-area network, and the Internet.
34. The machine-readable storage according to claim 33 wherein the wireless wide-area network comprises a cellular network.
35. The machine-readable storage according to claim 34 wherein the cellular network comprises at least one of a global system for mobile communications (GSM) network, a time division multiple access (TDMA) network, a code division multiple access (CDMA) network, and a universal mobile telecommunications system(UMTS) network.
36. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein the multimedia information comprises at least one of streaming video, broadcast video, voice, digital data, text, digitized audio, digitized still images, digitized video, and digitized music.
37. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein the at least one access device comprises at least one of a mobile multimedia handset, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a personal computer (PC), a digital scanner, a digital camera, a printer, headphones, and a pointing device.
38. The machine-readable storage according to claim 27 wherein registration information comprises at least one of a user identifier, an identifier of an access device, information identifying allowable accesses, a password, and a digital certificate.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application makes reference to, claims priority to, and claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/563,894, entitled “Method And System For Handling And Backhauling Traffic From A Wired And/Or Wireless WAN, LAN, And/Or PAN Using A Broadband Access Gateway” (Attorney Docket No. 15656US01 BP3607), filed Apr. 16, 2004, the complete subject matter of which is hereby incorporate herein by reference, in its entirety.

The present application makes reference to U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled “Method And System For Extended Network Access Services Advertising Via A Broadband Access Gateway” (Attorney Docket No. 15723US02 BU3607.2), filed Dec. 23, 2004, the complete subject matter of which is hereby incorporate herein by reference, in its entirety.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[Not Applicable]

MICROFICHE/COPYRIGHT REFERENCE

[Not Applicable]

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

One major common problem faced by cellular and landline service providers is market competition. In today's climate of competitive markets, cellular service providers have found that one way for them to grow market share and defend their businesses is to be proactive and form alliances, and to partner with landline service providers. In addition, cellular service providers seek to differentiate their service offerings, and to capture the largest portion of market revenue by meeting an ever increasing demand for access to a wide range of media forms such as MP3 encoded audio, still and video imaging, data, instant messaging, and email. In a similar manner, the landline service providers have found that to grow market share and ward off competition, they too must be proactive and form alliances, and to partner with cellular service providers. Support for broad economical access to these converging forms of communication is needed to enable unfettered market growth, and to support the development and use of new handheld devices needed to provide increasing levels of mobile multimedia communication functionality.

Although the formation of alliances and partnerships between cellular service providers and landline service providers may help to ward off competition, such alliances and partnerships are faced with other problems. For example, the erection of cellular infrastructure such as cellular towers may be an expensive venture since this may require acquisition of real estate, whether in the form of outright purchases or through leasing. Cellular infrastructure also requires the establishment of one or more expensive backbone links to handle core network traffic. Another cellular-related problem is that the cellular signals do not penetrate and propagate in buildings such as homes and offices very well. This is especially true with the frequencies that are typically utilized in the United States, which may vary between 800 MHz and 1900 MHz or 1.9 GHz.

In present day systems, users of wireless mobile devices, such as WiFi-equipped PDAs and laptops, that wish to access a wireless broadband network must manually configure the wireless mobile device with parameters specific to the wireless network access point or gateway, to identify the wireless device to the network or gateway, and to enable the network or gateway to authenticate the device. For example, in a WiFi (i.e., IEEE 802.11a/b/g) network, parameters such as the service set identifier (SSID), channel number, operating mode (e.g., add hoc or infrastructure mode) and encryption parameters (e.g., the wireless equivalent privacy (WEP) key) must be configured manually before communication over the network can take place. Many users find the configuration or programming of such electronic devices to be intimidating and confusing. The parameters frequently have strange names or abbreviations, or are referred to by acronyms unfamiliar to the user. Hence, potential users fail to adopt such systems that involve the use of new information or procedures, or if they do, they have difficultly during setup. This is demonstrated by the anecdotal evidence of the “flashing VCR clock”, that suggests that many consumers find even the programming of the clock on their VCRs to be too complex and/or intimidating. Users of current wireless networks find a lack of consistency in how system parameters are to be entered into their access device, and the management of such parameters over a population of intimidated or confused users is a continual source of frustration for operators of these types of networks.

Further limitations and disadvantages of conventional and traditional approaches will become apparent to one of skill in the art, through comparison of such systems with some aspects of the present invention as set forth in the remainder of the present application with reference to the drawings.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Aspects of the present invention may be seen in a system supporting user controlled access to multimedia information. Such a system may comprise a gateway communicatively coupled to a broadband network and at least one wireless interface. The gateway may be capable of selectively exchanging multimedia information among the at least one wireless interface and the broadband network, and of communicating with a plurality of access devices via the at least one wireless interface. In addition, the gateway may be capable of providing to the plurality of access devices via the at least one wireless interface, access to at least one media-related service, and of controlling access to multimedia information by each of the plurality of access devices based upon registration information. The system may also comprise software supporting user management of the registration information, via at least one of the gateway and the broadband network.

In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the multimedia information may comprise at least one of streaming video, broadcast video, voice, digital data, text, digitized audio, digitized still images, digitized video, and digitized music, and the at least one media-related service may comprise at least one of accessing, recording, playing, exchanging, transmitting, receiving, converting, and translating of multimedia information. In various representative embodiments of the present invention, registration information may comprise at least one of a user identifier, an identifier of an access device, information identifying allowable accesses, a password, and a digital certificate. The at least one wireless interface may be compliant with the Bluetooth V1.2 or compatible personal area network (PAN) specification, and may be compliant with at least one of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n standards. The at least one wireless interface may communicate using an unlicensed frequency band, and may communicate at a frequency of approximately 2.4 gigahertz. In various representative embodiments of the present invention, the broadband network may comprise at least one of a digital subscriber line (DSL) network, a cable network, a satellite network, a wireless wide area network, and the Internet.

In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the wireless wide area network may comprise a cellular network, and the cellular network may comprise at least one of a global system for mobile communications (GSM) network, a time division multiple access (TDMA) network, a code division multiple access (CDMA) network, and a universal mobile telecommunications system(UMTS) network. The gateway may collect access-related information for at least one of the plurality of access devices and the broadband network, and the gateway may manage access to the collected information. In various representative embodiments of the present invention, the plurality of access devices may comprise at least one of a mobile multimedia handset, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a personal computer (PC), a digital scanner, a digital camera, a printer, headphones, and a pointing device.

Additional aspects of the present invention may be observed in a method of operating a gateway supporting user controlled access to multimedia information. A method in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention may comprise initializing communication via a broadband network, and detecting, via one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network, the presence of an access device. The method may also comprise receiving an access device identifier via the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network, and determining allowable access to multimedia information by the identified access device based upon registration information. The method may also comprise collecting, via the one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network, information comprising accessibility of at least one access device.. The personal area network may be compliant with the Bluetooth V1.2 or compatible personal area network (PAN) specification, and may be compliant with at least one of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n standards. The one of a personal area network and a wireless local area network may communicate using an unlicensed frequency band, and may communicate at a frequency of approximately 2.4 gigahertz.

In various representative embodiments of the present invention, the broadband network may comprise at least one of a digital subscriber line (DSL) network, a cable network, a satellite network, a wireless wide-area network, and the Internet. The wireless wide-area network may comprise a cellular network, and the cellular network may comprise at least one of a global system for mobile communications (GSM) network, a time division multiple access (TDMA) network, a code division multiple access (CDMA) network, and a universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) network. The multimedia information may comprise at least one of streaming video, broadcast video, voice, digital data, text, digitized audio, digitized still images, digitized video, and digitized music. In a representative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, the at least one access device may comprise at least one of a mobile multimedia handset, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a personal computer (PC), a digital scanner, a digital camera, a printer, headphones, and a pointing device. The registration information may comprise at least one of a user identifier, an identifier of an access device, information identifying allowable accesses, a password, and a digital certificate.

Yet other aspects of the present invention may be found in a machine-readable storage, having stored thereon a computer program having a plurality of code sections for executable by a machine for causing the machine to perform the above listed operations.

These and other advantages, aspects, and novel features of the present invention, as well as details of illustrated embodiments, thereof, will be more fully understood from the following description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an architecture of an exemplary communications system in which a representative embodiment of the present invention may be practiced.

FIG. 2 shows a block diagram illustrating an exemplary communication system, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A shows an illustration of an exemplary screen of an access device such as, for example, the laptop or the PDA of FIG. 2, showing information for potential wireless users of a broadband access gateway such as, for example, the gateways or routers of FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3B shows an exemplary new user registration screen that may be employed to enter user registration information such as, for example, that shown in the illustration of FIG. 3A for the registration of users and/or access devices, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows an illustration of a display that may be visible on an exemplary access device upon entering the coverage area of a wireless gateway with which it has been pre-registered, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows an illustration of an exemplary display that may, for example, correspond to the display of an access device such as, for example, the access device of FIGS. 1 and 2, upon entering the coverage area of a wireless gateway with which it has not been pre-registered, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6A shows an illustration of an exemplary display that may correspond to the display of an access device such as, for example, the access device of FIGS. 1 and 2, upon entering the coverage area of a wireless broadband access gateway with which it has not been pre-registered, in accordance with another representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6B shows an illustration of a display with an exemplary access notification message screen that may be displayed by an access device such as, for example, the access device of FIG. 2 upon receiving notification of an access attempt at a broadband access gateway such as the gateway of FIG. 2, by an unregistered access device, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of registering an access device for access to available services using a broadband access gateway such as, for example, the gateway and router of FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of registering an access device with a broadband access gateway such as the gateway and router of FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with another representative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 shows a flowchart of an exemplary method of registering an access device with a broadband access gateway such as the gateway and router of FIGS. 1 and 2 using an interactive process, in accordance with another representative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Aspects of the present invention relate to the seamless merging of wide area networks, from any kind of wired and/or wireless wide area networks, to pockets of wired and/or wireless local area networks and personal area networks, which may be located in homes or other environment such as an office or business. More specifically, aspects of the present invention pertain to simplified (e.g., one-button) and/or automatic registration, authentication, and access of wireless access devices to services available via a broadband network gateway. Such a gateway may permit broadband network access via, for example, a personal cellular microcell, a personal area network (PAN), a wired or wireless wide area network (WAN), wireless local area network (WLAN) or other type of network located within a premises such as, for example, a home, office, business, or the like. Services that may be available via such a broadband gateway connection include, for example, access to the public switched telephone network (PSTN); Internet protocol (IP) phone access; extended access to commercial cellular and PCS networks such as, for example, TDMA, CDMA, and GSM; and access to and/or control of a variety of multimedia access devices or networked resources capable of providing streams of images, still pictures, video, and audio; to name only a few. The merging of these various types of networks may enable transparent communication of all types of media between access devices, which may be coupled in a wired or wireless fashion to one or more of these networks. In an embodiment of the present invention, access to services available through a wireless broadband gateway may be simplified, permitting their use by a wider group of users of access devices in, for example, homes, offices, and businesses.

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an architecture of an exemplary communications system in which a representative embodiment of the present invention may be practiced. Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a first location 102, a second location 104, a broadband access provider (BAP) 106, public switched telephone network (PSTN) 108, a transport network 110, wireless networks including CDMA network 112 and GSM network 114, and access devices 126 and 128. The first location 102 comprises a gateway 118 having a modem 116, a wireless interface(s) block 120, and the access devices 122, 124. The access devices 122, 124, 126, 128 may comprise, for example, a mobile multimedia handset having a high level of functionality such as, for example, that of one or more of a digital video or still camera, a portable audio (MP3) player, a personal digital assistant, and a voice handset. The access devices 122, 124, 126, 128 may be capable of operating using, for example, a personal area network and/or wireless local area network compliant with, for example, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, and/or IEEE 802.15.3a ultrawideband standards. The second location 104 comprises a router 130 having a modem 132, and a plurality of wireless access devices. The plurality of wireless access devices at the second location 104 may comprise a personal computer (PC) 138, a laptop 136 and a wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) 134. A peripheral such as a digital camera 142 may be coupled to the personal computer 138. Other peripherals such as printers, digital scanners, speakers, and the like, which are not shown, may also be coupled to the personal computer 138 and/or laptop 136. The wireless interface block 120 may comprise a plurality of interfaces such as a Bluetooth interface, an IEEE 802.15.3a ultrawideband interface, and any combination of an IEEE 802.11 a, b, g and/or n interface.

FIG. 1 also comprises an “other broadband access provider” block 144, an “other cellular/PCS service provider” block 146, a central control and management block 148, and content provider 150. The “other broadband access provider block 144” may be, for example, a cable, DSL, or other type of broadband access provider. The central control and management block 148 may comprise suitable logic, circuitry and/or code that may be adapted to handle content delivery and security functions such as authentication, validation, key or certificate management, and authorization. The central control and management block 148 may also be adapted to handle provisioning and service management. In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the central control and management block 148 may establish communications links with, for example, the gateway 118, the broadband access provider 106, the other broadband access provider 144, the other cellular/PCS service provider 146, the CDMA network 112, and the GSM network 114 using actual or virtual connections.

The broadband access provider 106 may be, for example, a cable operator, telephone company, or satellite operator providing Internet access along with other communication services. In instances where BAP 106 is a telephone company, broadband service to locations 102, 104 may be provided via DSL or other broadband access technology. Accordingly, the modems 116, 132 may be DSL modems. In instances where BAP 106 is a cable operator, broadband service to locations 102, 104 may be provided via cable. Accordingly, the modems 116, 132 may be DOCSIS compliant or other type of cable modem. Given the rapid decrease in the cost of leased telephone lines over the past decade or more, the connection to the location 102, 104 may also be T1 or T3 connections. For example, a switch located at a central office (CO) (not shown) may be utilized to couple a T1 or T3 connection between the second location 104 and the PSTN 108.

The gateway 118 may comprise an integrated DSL modem, cable modem or other high-speed modem that may be required for handling a connection such as a T1 or T3 connection. Alternatively, the gateway 118 may be coupled to an external DSL modem, cable modem or other high-speed modem that may be capable of handling connections such as a T1 or a T3 connection. The gateway 118 may be adapted so that it has access to protocol stack information that may be related to the GSM and/or CDMA networks 114, 112, respectively. The gateway 118 may also be adapted to provide protocol support for communication with “other cellular/PCS service provider” block 146.

Each of the CDMA and GSM networks 112, 114 may comprise a plurality of cell sites (a/k/a cellular towers) that are located in geographical cells within each of the networks. Within the GSM network 114, each of the cell sites such as, for example, cell site 114 a may comprise a base transceiver station (BTS), and one or more base transceiver stations (BTSs) may be coupled to wireless carrier central office 114 b. The wireless carrier central office 114 b may comprise a base station controller/radio network controller (BSC/RNC) such as BSC/RNC 114 d. One or more base station controllers/radio network controllers (BSCs/RNCs) may be coupled to the core network 114 e, that comprises a network edge switch called a mobile switching center (MSC), such as MSC 114 g, and a serving GPRS support node (SGSN)/packet data serving node (PDSN) 114 f, of the GSM network 114. The mobile switching center may be coupled to, for example, the PSTN 108 via the transport network 110. As an access device moves out of range of a first cell site to within range of a second cell site, the decrease signal power received from the first cell site and the increase in signal power received from the second cell site causes initiation of handoff of a call from the first cell site to the second cell site. In cases where there is no second cell site to handoff to, the call may be maintained by the first cell site power until it is attenuated to a threshold where it is no longer feasible to maintain the call. At the point where the power reaches or falls below this threshold, the call may drop and any related call resources may be relinquished. In a home and/or office environment, it may be desirable to have a second network to which the call may be handed off to.

As an illustration, a user may be on their way home and as the user approaches their home, the signal may fall below a minimum signal power threshold that is required to maintain a call. However, instead of dropping the call, the call may be handed off to, for example, a PAN or a wireless local area network (WLAN) that may be located within the user's home or an unlicensed wireless access system that may be located in the user's home. For example, with reference to FIG. 1, as access device 126 migrates from the vicinity of the serving cell site 114 a in GSM network 114 towards the wireless interface 120 in the first location 102, the call may be handed off from the cell site 114 a GSM network 114 to the wireless interface 120 coupled to the gateway (GW) 118 at the first location 102. Accordingly, instead of the call being dropped, the call has been seamlessly handed off and is now being handled by the gateway 118 via the wireless interface 120. The resulting wireless data may then be communicated to the GSM network 114 via the broadband connection to the BAP 106 which is connected to the broadband wireless local area network controller (BWC) 114 c.

In this illustration, the user is handed off to their PAN, WLAN, or other network located within their home. However, the user could also have been handed off to another network system such as a neighbor's network. In any case, a gateway coupled to the wireless interface which is providing service to the user may communicate at least a portion of the data to, for example, the cable or DSL BAP 106, the GSM network 114, CDMA network 112, other broadband access service provider 144, other cellular/PCS service provider 146 and central control and management block 148. The user may be provided with a notification that indicates the presence of the PAN, WLAN, or other unlicensed network. For example, an icon representative of a personal area network may be displayed on the screen of the access device 126 once a soft or hard handoff is achieved from a serving cell site in GSM network 114 to the-wireless interface 120 at the first location 102. A special tone or other audio alert may also be utilized to indicate that the call has switched to the wireless interface 120.

In instances where the gateway 118 detects a compatible access device that may be within the range of the wireless interface 120, the gateway 118 may immediately advertise its available services to the access device. In this regard, the gateway 118 may be adapted to transmit service advertisements to the access device in order to alert a user of the access device of the types of services that are being offered by the gateway 118. Signals containing icons representative of the services may be transmitted to and displayed on a screen of the access device and/or audio alerts may be utilized to notify the user of these services.

In another embodiment of the invention, quality of service (QoS) may also be advertised by the gateway 118. For example, when a user is being serviced by the wireless interface 120, the gateway 118 may advertise that stereo audio is available.

Access devices may be pre-registered so that when they are within the range of the wireless interface 120, the gateway 118 may automatically recognize them. For the pre-registration, an administrator of the gateway 118 at the first location 102 may register access devices that are allowed to access the gateway 118 when they are within the range of the wireless interface 120. Pre-registration may be done prior to the access device accessing the gateway 118. During pre-registration, an administrator or owner of the gateway 118 may enter registration or configuration information such as device IDs of access devices belonging to friends and/or family member's into a registration database associated with the gateway 118. As a result, these devices will be allowed to access at least a portion of the services offered by the gateway 118 whenever they attempt to access the gateway 118 by pressing a single button, for example. Opportunistic registration permits a user of an access device to register with the gateway 118 automatically with little or no effort on the part of the user. In this regard, registration information may be sent to the gateway 118 from an access device during an initial access and the gateway 118 may chose to accept or deny the registration. The registration information may be automatically or manually sent to the gateway 118.

In certain instances, an access device may not have been pre-registered to access the network. In this case, one button access may be provided. A single button such as a hard coded button or software-enabled button on an access device may be programmed to transmit identifying information from the access device to the gateway 118. The gateway 118 may utilize this transmitted identifying information to grant or deny access to its services. For example, one button may be programmed to contain access device identifying information related to accessing the services provided by gateway 118 at the first location 102. The gateway 118 may also be adapted to utilize digital certificates to authenticate access devices.

An interactive process may also be provided, whereby the gateway 118 may prompt or request particular information, for example a password from an access device requiring network access. If the particular information is received, then access to at least some of the services provided by the gateway 118 may be granted and if not, the access to at least some of the gateway's services may be denied.

In another embodiment of the invention, the one button access may be provided via software-enabled button (soft button) or hardware-enabled button (hard button). In this regard, the software button may be displayed on a screen of an access device. A “walled garden” approach may be utilized to provide access to the services that may be offered by a particular gateway, for example, gateway 118. Under the walled garden approach, when an access device first registers or is identified, a basic set of services may be provided by the serving gateway 118 to the access device 124. The basic services offered may vary among each gateway. At least some of the basic services that are provided by a gateway such as gateway 118, may be offered without authenticating the access device 124. However, other services may only be offered if an access device such as access device 124 is properly authenticated. These services that are offered may be services that were advertised by the gateway 118.

In an aspect of the invention, access to additional services may be granted based on, for example, user identity, access device identity and or user input. The services offered to an access device by a gateway may be arranged in a hierarchical structure such as a tier. For example, in a first tier, a user may be prompted to enter membership information such as a member identification number. Upon authentication of the membership identification number, the first tier may provide restricted access with pop-up advertisements that may not be disabled. In a second tier, for example, a user may be prompted to enter a password. Upon authentication of the password, second tier information may provide restricted access to gateway services without pop-up advertisements. In a third tier, for example, entering billing information such as an account number or credit card or check card number may provide unlimited and/or unrestricted access to all the services offered by a gateway. A fourth tier may provide only operating instruction and information for guests.

An administrator of the gateway may establish the type of access provided by the walled garden. For example, if the first location 102 is a hotspot at a Café, the provider of the gateway may establish the service access levels or tiers that may be provided by the gateway 118.

When an access device is within the range of the gateway 118, wireless service is handed off from a serving cell site 114 a in the GSM network 114 to the gateway 118. The access device may be authenticated by the gateway 118 and permitted to access at least some of the services offered by the gateway 118. Once the access device is authenticated, at least a portion of the information on the access device may be made available as a networked resource via the gateway 118. A user of the access device may chose whether information on the access device may be made available to the gateway and if so, that information which will be made available, and that information which will be unavailable to the gateway 118. In this regard, where information is made available, the gateway 118 may maintain a list of the resources that may be available on access devices that may be coupled to the gateway 118. For example, a list of contact information, calendar information, audio files, video file and/or data files stored on the access device may be sent to the gateway 118.

The resources that are available on the access device may also be advertised to other access devices that may be in communication with the gateway 118. Advertisement of the resources that may be available on an access device may be restricted to, for example, a list of particular devices, a particular type of devices or to a particular user. Accordingly, a user may have to be properly authenticated prior to certain information being made available to the user. Additionally, advertisement of the resources may cause certain icons representative of the resources to be displayed on other access devices. In a similar manner, icons representative of the resources that may be available on these other access devices may also be presented on the access device.

An access device may be provided with a welcoming screen that may allow a user of a device to sign up for either free or paid services. Once the signup is complete, subsequent access by the user may be authenticated by the gateway 118 utilizing the signup information. Whenever an access device registers with and/or is authenticated by the gateway 118, information on the access device may be updated and/or synchronized with information that may be on the gateway 118.

Devices within the location of the gateway 118 may be configured to register certain portions of their data content with the gateway 118 through a gateway registration process. Once data for these devices is registered to the gateway 118, the gateway may maintain a database, which keeps track of the data that is available, and its location. Accordingly, if the data previously stored in the database is no longer available, then information representative of the previously stored data may be removed from the database. Data from devices coupled to the gateway 118 such as on laptops, CD players, digital video disk (DVD) players, TIVO, personal video recorders (PVRs), personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other devices, may be registered with the gateway 118. This data may comprise audio, video, still pictures, and/or text.

At least a portion of the registered data may be made available to other network access devices via the gateway 118. In an aspect of the invention, the gateway 118 may be adapted to maintain a searchable list of data that may be available via the gateway. In this regard, the gateway may comprise a search engine that may be utilized to locate and distribute data that may be made available through the gateway 118. In another aspect of the invention, data may be made available to access devices via advertising by the gateway 118. Access devices may be configured to seek out particular data that may be of interest. Accordingly, an access device may be adapted to receive and process only those gateway advertisements may fit particular criteria. Those advertisements that may not fit the particular criteria may be discarded or ignored.

When an access device is within the range of the gateway 118, wireless service may be handed off from a serving cell site 114 a in the GSM network 114 to the gateway 118. The access device may be authenticated by the gateway 118 and permitted to access at least some of the services offered by the gateway 118. Once the access device is authenticated, a user of the access device may have a desire to locate a particular video presentation. The user may access the search engine, which may have been advertised to the user's access device by the gateway 118. The search engine may appear on the display of the user's access device as an icon. The user may then activate a search by selecting the search engine icon, inputting a name of the video presentation and executing the search.

In another embodiment of the invention, the gateway may be adapted to classify information based on a given criterion. This classification may assist with locating information based on a particular criterion. In this regard, a user of the access device may be presented with a list of classifications and may select one, which may be of interest based on a particular criterion. This may narrow the focus of a search.

The gateway may also be utilized to facilitate seamless synchronization of data between devices that may be wired or wirelessly coupled to the gateway 118. For example, audio files located in a music folder on a PC coupled to the gateway 118 may be synchronized with a wireless media player coupled to a hot spot in an airport while a user of the wireless access media player waits to board a flight. In this regard, the gateway may determine what files need to be synchronized and control how the synchronization is accomplished. The same is true for files that may be downloaded from the PC to the wireless access media player, and for files that may be uploaded from the wireless access media player to the PC. Calendar and/or contact information may also be updated and/or synchronized with a mobile multimedia handset in a similar manner utilizing the gateway 118.

A location-aware service determines an approximate location of a network device and adapts delivery of a particular service application and/or content according to a quality of service criterion. The delivery of location-aware services may be controlled by the gateway 118. For example, a user of an access device may request playback of an audio clip via the gateway 118. After receiving the request for playback of the audio clip, the gateway 118 may determine that a channel between the gateway 118 and the user's access device may only be capable of maintaining a reduced playback rate. As a result, instead of sending 128 kbps encoded audio data, then the gateway may send 96 kbps data. Hence, in a case where the audio data was originally stored in 128 kbps sampled audio data, then the gateway 118 may transcode the 128 kbps sampled data to 96 kbps audio data.

In another illustrative embodiment of the invention, while the GSM network 114 is servicing the access device, lower compression rates may be utilized to provide service to the access device. However, when the access device roams within range of the wireless interface 120 and is being served by the gateway 118 through wireless interface 120, higher compression rates may be utilized. For example, audio data sampled at a data rate of 64 kbps may be utilized for playback on an MP3 enabled telephone while the phone is being serviced by a cell site 114 a in the GSM network 114. However, once the MP3 enabled telephone is within the operating range of the wireless interface 120 and is being serviced by the gateway 118, the gateway 118 may automatically adapt to a higher data rate of, for example, 92 kbps or 128 kbps.

Automatic format conversion by the gateway 118 may include converting data from a first format to at least a second format suitable for delivery and/or display on an access device. This may permit data that would otherwise be incompatible with a first access device to be played on that first access device. For the location-aware services based on QoS, data was converted from a first format 128 kbps to a second format 96 kbps to achieve and/or maintain a particular QoS, but the data type remained the same. In this case, the audio format and/or its data type may be different. For example, if the audio format was MP3, then after the conversion, the format remained WAV and/or the sampling rate may have decreased from 128 kbps top 96 kbps.

In conventional wired caller ID systems, a name and/or directory number (DN) of a calling party may be transferred either in-band or out-of-band to a called party and may be displayed on the called party's caller ID display when a call is answered. In these conventional systems, the caller ID information is limited to a callers name, directory number (DN), general location and/or time of call. In wireless telephone systems, in order to save on bandwidth, only a caller's directory number is transferred and displayed to a calling party. However, if the calling party's directory number and name is stored in the called party's phone, then the stored name and stored directory number will be presented on a display of the called party's terminal. In this case, the stored directory number is compared with the transferred caller's directory number, and if a match occurs, then a name corresponding to the matching directory number is also displayed on the called party's terminal.

In accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the gateway 118 is adapted to determine the appropriate caller ID information that may be displayed in a called and/or calling party's caller ID. In this case, reverse caller ID information may be displayed on both a calling and a called parties terminal by the gateway 118.

If a called and/or calling device is a mobile multimedia handset and/or laptop, for example, contact or other personal information may be displayed the caller's and/or calling party's directory number. The level or amount of information that may be displayed may be varied. Certain sensitive information relating to either the called or calling party may be restricted from being displayed.

In current cellular communication systems, over the air (OTA) programming is utilized to program a cellular telephone during the provisioning process. In some instances, cellular providers have established websites that may be utilized or OTA programming. In this regard, a cellular subscriber may access the website and enter information such as the assigned directory number and the electronic serial number of the cellular telephone being programmed.

In accordance with a representative embodiment of the invention, an access device may be registered using over the air programming via the gateway 118. A user of an access device may send access device information to the gateway 118 using, for example, a default interface that may be presented to and displayed on a screen of the access device when the access device first enters the service area of the wireless interface 120. During registration, the capabilities of an access devices may be sent to the gateway 118 and may be shared with devices that may be coupled to the gateway 118.

Since the gateway acts as a registrar of information for all the access devices that may be wired or wirelessly coupled to it, the gateway may function as a personal digital assistant for any of these access devices. In an illustrative example, a first device, a first PC and a second PC are being serviced by the gateway 118. The first access device receives a call and the caller ID information shows the callers name, home directory number and home address. However, the first PC contains the business address for the caller and the second PC contains the monthly calendar information for the caller. Assume that the caller had a desire to setup a business meeting. In accordance with an aspect of the invention, the gateway 118 may be adapted to provide the business address of the caller to the first access device and also provide the caller's calendar to the first access device. In this manner, the network centrally provides all the information necessary for scheduling the meeting. In this example, the first PC may belong to the user of the first access device and the second PC may belong to the caller.

This concept may be extended to a look-up or 411 directory assistance on the Internet. The lookup may also be location dependent. In this regard, if a user is located in Hollywood and requests a hotel location, the gateway 118 may only cause the hotels that are located in Hollywood to be displayed to the user.

The gateway 118 may also be adapted to create profile information based on data usage. These created profiles may be utilized to create social networks for people having common interests. Accordingly, users may be permitted to post their interests and also select those people having similar interests based on the created profile. Based on the created profile information and the posted user interests, the gateway 118 may also generate a list of those people who have similar interest and also those users that may potentially have similar interests.

Given the capability to seamlessly operate an access device as one migrates from outside the home into the home, it is desirable to have a single device that may be adapted to control at least some of the devices that may be found within the home. In addition to its normal voice or data communication operating mode, an access device may be configured to operate as a universal remote that may be utilized to remotely control a plurality or other devices such as a TV, DVD, CD, Stereo, display monitor, or a combination thereof. Most access devices currently have an IR transmitter, which may be adapted to communicate with other IR receiver devices.

The access device may be used for wireless communication and for remotely controlling an electronic device with as a TV, CD/DVD recorder/player, or other device. The access device may also include at least one soft-button that may be enabled through the gateway 118 and may be utilized to control any other device that may be coupled to the gateway 118.

The gateway 118 is adapted to virtually aggregate data that may be visible from a plurality of access devices or other network devices. Although the gateway 118 may be adapted to store some service and content related information, the gateway 118 does not actually store copies of data that resides the access devices and/or other network devices that may be wired or wirelessly coupled to it. However, the gateway 118 may store, for example, metadata information that may be utilized to locate and access the information stored on the access devices and/or other network devices. The gateway is therefore adapted to function as a registrar of both service and content related information.

Whenever an access device registers with and/or is authenticated by the gateway 118, information may be collected from the access device and related metadata information may be updated and/or synchronized with information that may be currently stored on the gateway 118. Additionally, when a device is no longer being serviced by the gateway 118, associated information may be released from the gateway 118. In this regard, the virtual aggregations function performed by the gateway 118 guarantees that the most current information is accessible from the access devices.

FIG. 2 shows a block diagram illustrating an exemplary communication system 100, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention. The communication system 100 shown in FIG. 2 comprises a wireless interface 120, a gateway (GW) 118 with a modem 116, a printer 103, a stereo receiver 105, a laptop 117 and a wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) 119, at location 102. The communication system 100 of FIG. 2 also comprises an access device 124 that may correspond, for example, to the access devices 122, 124, 126 of FIG. 1. A second location 104 within communication system 100 comprises a router 130 with a modem 132, and a plurality of wireless access devices. The plurality of wireless access devices at the second location 104 may comprise a personal computer (PC) 138, a laptop 136, and a wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) 134. A peripheral such as, for example, a digital camera 142 may be coupled to the personal computer 138. Other peripherals such as, for example, printers, digital scanners, speakers, and the like, that are not shown in FIG. 2, may also be coupled to the personal computer 138 and/or laptop 136. The wireless interface 120 may comprise a plurality of interfaces such as, for example, a Bluetooth interface, a cellular interface, and any combination of an IEEE 802.11 a, b, g, and/or n interface, and/or an IEEE 802.15.3a ultrawideband interface. Although the following discussion refers frequently to the capabilities and actions of the gateway 118 and wireless interface 120, the same may be said of the router 130 with the modem 132 of FIGS. 1 and 2, for example, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

In accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention, a wireless access device such as access device 124 may be mobile, and may move between the personal area network/wireless local area network coverage provided by wireless interface 120 at location 102, the wide area network coverage provided by, for example, GSM network 114, and the coverage provided by the router 130 and modem 132 at location 104. The location 102 may, for example, be the home of the user of the access device 124, the home of a friend or relative of the user of access device 124, or an office, business, etc., where the user of access device 124 may travel. The location 104 may, for example, be a second home of the user of access device 124, the home of a friend or relative, an office, or may have no personal or business relationship with the user of access device 124. In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the gateway 118 may comprise, for example, a set top box that may be coupled in a wireless or wired fashion to access devices such as, for example, a laptop computer or television, such as the laptop 117 and the television 115 of FIG. 2. Access to the communication bandwidth of a broadband network as previously described may be provided by the gateway 118 and the modem 116 to wired or wireless access devices in the vicinity of location 102, and via router 130 and modem 132 to wired or wireless access devices in the vicinity of location 104, as shown in FIG. 2. This architecture may provided extended access to wireless networks such as, for example, the GSM network 114, CDMA network 112, other cellular/PCS service provider 146, Internet 140 and public switched telephone network 108, of FIG. 1. The modem 116 is shown connected to a broadband access provider (BAP) 106 via a broadband connection 107. The broadband connection 107 may comprise, for example, a digital subscriber line (DSL) connection, a cable network connection, a satellite connection, a T1 or T3 network connection, or similar broadband communication link. The modem 116 is compatible with the broadband connection 107, and may be, for example, a DSL modem, a DOCSIS-compliant cable modem, a satellite service modem, or T1 or T3 compatible modem-type device. The broadband connection may provide access through BAP 106 to location 104, and via transport network 110 to, for example, GSM network 114.

In the example illustration of FIG. 2, a user of the access device 124 may or may not be engaged in communication with another system or subscriber accessible via the GSM network 114, or other wide area network of FIG. 1. Although the present example of FIG. 2 shows a GSM network 114, a representative embodiment of the present invention may be employed with respect to other wide area networks such as, for example, the CDMA network 112 and other cellular/PCS service provider 146, shown in FIG. 1.

In a representative embodiment of the present invention, an access device such as, for example, the access device 124 of FIG. 2 may be pre-registered with a gateway or a router such as the gateway 118 or the router 130, of FIG. 2, for example, for access to multimedia information and media services via the personal area networks supported by access device 124, wireless interface 120, and router 130. An operator of the gateway 118 or the router 130, for example, may establish registration and/or configuration information corresponding to a particular access device. The registration and/or configuration information may enable that particular access device to access the services that may be available through the gateway or router. For example, in one representative embodiment of the present invention, the operator and/or owner of the gateway 118 may interact with the gateway 118 via a second access device in direct communication with the gateway 118. The same may occur for router 130 of FIG. 2, using an access device in communication with the router 130. The operator and/or owner may configure a gateway such as gateway 118 using an access device such as, for example, the laptop 117 or the PDA 119. In another representative embodiment, the operator or owner of gateway 118 may interact with gateway 118 via an intermediary such as the central control and management block 148. This may take place, for example, via the BAP 106 from location 104, or via the Internet 140 from virtually anywhere.

FIG. 3A shows an illustration of an exemplary screen 300 of an access device such as, for example, the laptop 117 or the PDA 119 of FIG. 2, showing information for potential users of a broadband access gateway such as, for example, the gateways 118 or routers 130 of FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention. The screen 300 of FIG. 3A is characterized by a tabular format, although in other representative embodiments of the present invention, other formats may be used. As shown, the screen 300 comprises a user ID column 310, an access device ID column 312, and an allowed accesses column 314 representing the services to which access is allowed from the access device having the associated access device ID. In the example of FIG. 3A, the user ID column 310 may contain text or other information for identifying a user of an access device. The access device ID column 312 may contain, for example, an electronic serial number, a media access control (MAC) address, or other unique identifier of an access device that may receive services via the wireless or wired networks supported by a broadband access gateway or router such as gateway 118 or router 130 of FIG. 2. Additional access-related information may be associated with each of the entries in the screen 300, and may be used to authenticate access by an access device such as access device 124. The allowed accesses column 314 may represent the set of services accessible to the access device of the identified user. The screen 300 of FIG. 3A shows a number of entries including an entry for the access device of the operator of the gateway 118, Ted 316, an entry for the access device of his wife, Carol 318, an entry for the access device of Ted's father, Dad 320, Ted's son, Bobby 322, Ted's uncle, Uncle Jim 324, and Ted's friend, Fred 326. In addition, an “unknown” entry 328 is shown that specifies the services accessible to a user of an unregistered access device who's identity is unknown. Although the access device ID column 312 and other authentication, configuration or registration information are described herein as being associated with a device and/or a user, such information may also be described as being associated with an access right or privilege, and may be portable across a number of access devices through manual entry, or via an electronic means such as, for example, an integrated circuit card, smart card, or an electronic token that may be coupled to the access device.

Each of the entries shown in screen 300 may permit a broadband access gateway such as gateway 118 to identify the service/multimedia information access permissions associated with an access device. Although the entries in the access device ID column 312 are all the same length, and all numeric in nature, the present invention is not limited in this fashion. In addition, a different complement of columns of information than that shown in FIG. 3A may be employed without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

FIG. 3B shows an exemplary new user registration screen 300 that may be employed to enter user registration information such as, for example, that shown in the illustration of FIG. 3A for the registration of users and/or access devices, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention. The new user registration screen 300 of FIG. 3B may be displayed on and modified using an access device such as, for example, the access device 124 or the laptop 117 at location 102, or the PC 138 or wireless PDA 134 at location 134. The new user registration screen 300 comprises a user identifier (ID) field 312, an access device identifier (ID) field 316, and an allowed accesses portion 318. The user ID field 310 may comprise, for example, an easily recognized textual identifier of a user. The access device ID field 316 may comprise, for example, a dialable telephone number, an Internet protocol (IP) address, an electronic serial number, a media access control (MAC) address, or any of a number of other forms of access device identification. As shown in the example of FIG. 3B, the allowed accesses portion 318 comprises multiple check boxes 320, 322, 324, 326, 328, 330 that permit an authorized user of the new user registration screen 300 to select the services to be made available to the user identified in the user ID field 310, or an access device having the value shown in the access device ID field 316. Authentication using the entry in the user ID field 310 and/or the access device ID field 316 may be performed by a broadband access gateway such as, for example, the gateway 118 or the router 130 of FIG. 2. In the example illustration of FIG. 3B, the check boxes displaying an “X” indicate that the user with a user ID field 312 value of “Bobby”, having an access device ID field 316 value of “5266377896” has been enabled (via check box 324) to access the stereo entertainment service, and (via check box 328) to access the printer service.

Information shown in the new user registration screen 300 of FIG. 3B may be entered/modified using an access device such as, for example, the access device 124 or the laptop 117 of FIG. 2 via the personal area/wireless wide area network supported by a broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 of FIG. 2, or from any location having access to the gateway 118, for example. In one representative embodiment of the present invention, the new user registration screen 300 may be available as a web page accessible via the Internet 140 of FIG. 1, permitting access from virtually anywhere in the world. The information represented in the new user registration screen 300 may, for example, reside in a broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 of FIG. 2, or in a central control and management function such as the central control and management function 148. It should be noted that although a particular user interface is shown in the example new user registration screen 300 shown in FIG. 3B, other arrangements of textual and graphical elements, and other information items may be employed without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows an illustration of a display 400 that may be visible on an exemplary access device upon entering the coverage area of a wireless gateway with which it has been pre-registered, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention. The display 400 may, for example, correspond to a display of an access device such as the access device 124 of FIGS. 1 and 2. The display 400 comprises a network indicator 410, a network services indicator area 412, a battery life indicator, a time of day indicator, and a day and date indicator. The display 400 also comprises a display area 420 to allow an access device to present graphical or textual information for a variety of reasons and from a number of sources.

The access device having the display 400 of FIG. 4 may, for example, correspond to an access device that has been pre-registered using the entry for Dad 320 on screen 300 of FIG. 3A. Upon entering the coverage area of a wireless broadband access gateway configured as in FIG. 3A, an access device in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention may share information identifying the access device with the gateway. The display 400 of the access device may then immediately indicate the available access to media-related services, and may require minimal additional action by the user of the access device. For example, in the illustration of FIG. 4, the network indicator 410, and the text message 430 in the display area 420 may be updated to indicate that a personal area network has been detected, and that the access device has been pre-registered for access to the associated gateway. In addition, in the example of FIG. 4, the network services indicator area 412 has been updated to comprise an Internet protocol (IP) phone service icon 415, a printer service icon 416, a stereo entertainment icon 417, and a pay music service icon 418, showing those services advertised by the wireless broadband access gateway as being available to the pre-registered user of the access device. Further details concerning the advertising of media services by a broadband access gateway may be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled “Method And System For Extended Network Access Services Advertising Via A Broadband Access Gateway” (Attorney Docket No. 15723US02 BU3607.2), filed Dec. 23, 2004, the complete subject matter of which is hereby incorporate herein by reference, in its entirety. The services indicated in the network services indicator area 412 may correspond to those which the pre-registered user, Dad, has been given access. In the example of FIG. 4, the services match those shown in the entry for Dad 320 in the screen 300 of FIG. 3A. Access to a greater or lesser number of media services may be conveyed by the gateway, and represented on the screen of an access device, depending upon the registration, configuration, and authentication information provisioned for a broadband access gateway and/or the access device. In another representative embodiment of the present invention, a press of a single user-defined or pre-defined button may permit access to the services and networks available via a broadband access gateway. An access device in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention may, for example, furnish a digital certificate to the broadband access gateway as proof or authentication of entitlement to access the services of a gateway or router. This may be in place of, or in combination with, the registration information shown in the exemplary screen 300 of FIG. 3A.

FIG. 5 shows an illustration of an exemplary display 500 that may, for example, correspond to the display of an access device such as, for example, the access device 124 of FIGS. 1 and 2, upon entering the coverage area of a wireless gateway with which it has not been pre-registered, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention. The display 500 of FIG. 5 comprises a network indicator 510, a network services indicator area 512, a battery life indicator, a time of day indicator, and a day and date indicator. The display 500 also comprises a display area 520 to allow the access device having display 500 to show graphical or textual information for a variety of reasons and from a number of sources.

In the example of FIG. 5, the access device having the display 500 may not have been pre-registered with the broadband access gateway of whose coverage area it has entered. Such an access device may be authenticated for service by a broadband access gateway via a personal area network, using the user ID entry “unknown” 328, in the screen 300 of FIG. 3A. Upon entering the coverage area of a wireless broadband access gateway configured as in FIG. 3A, the display 500 of an access device in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention may immediately indicate the presence of a personal area network by displaying the network indicator 510 shown in FIG. 5. As defined by the information shown on screen 300 of FIG. 3A, the services available to an unknown or “unregistered” access device are limited to only the pay music service, if no additional action is taken by the user of the access device. This is also indicated by the pay music service icon 518 shown on the display 500 of FIG. 5. The user of the access device may, however, choose to register the access device and/or their identity, in order to gain access to addition services. For example, as shown in the text message 530 in the display area 520 of FIG. 5, the user may register with the broadband access gateway by pressing “OK”. This “impromptu” or “opportunistic” form of registration may permit a user of an access device to gain access to additional services. In a representative embodiment of the present invention, a press of a single user-defined or pre-defined button may transmit identifying information that permits access to the services and networks available via the broadband access gateway. The information transmitted to the wireless broadband access gateway or router for registration may, for example, comprise the same information items shown in columns of the screen 300 of FIG. 3A, and may be stored within the access device for later use. As part of this process, an access device in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention may, for example, furnish a digital certificate to the broadband access gateway as proof or authentication of entitlement to access the services of a gateway or router. This may be in place of, or in combination with, the registration information shown in the exemplary screen 300 of FIG. 3A.

FIG. 6A shows an illustration of an exemplary display 600 that may correspond to the display of an access device such as, for example, the access device 124 of FIGS. 1 and 2, upon entering the coverage area of a wireless broadband access gateway with which it has not been pre-registered, in accordance with another representative embodiment of the present invention. The display 600 of FIG. 6A comprises a network indicator 610, a network services indicator area 612, a battery life indicator, a time of day indicator, and a day and date indicator. The display 600 also comprises a display area 620 to allow the access device having display 600 to show graphical or textual information for a variety of reasons and from a number of sources.

In the example of FIG. 6A, the display 600 may be part of an access device that has not been pre-registered, and that does not have stored within it the information used to register for access to the services of a gateway. Such an access device may be authenticated for service by a broadband access gateway using, for example, the entry for an unknown or unregistered access device such as, for example, the user entry “unknown” 328 in the screen 300 of FIG. 3A. Upon entering the coverage area of a broadband access gateway configured as in FIG. 3A, the display 600 of an access device in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention may indicate the presence of a personal area network by displaying the network indicator 610 shown in FIG. 6A. As shown in FIG. 3A, the availability of services for an unknown access device is limited to only the pay music service, if no additional action is taken by the user of the access device. This is shown by the pay music service icon 618 in the network services indicator area 612. The user of the access device may, for example, choose to register their access device and/or their identity, in order to gain access to addition services. As shown in the exemplary text message 630 in the display area 620 of FIG. 6A, because the information used for registration is not present in the access device, the user may be prompted to enter user ID and password information such as, for example, the User ID 635 (i.e., identity) and password 640 information of FIG. 3A, and to initiate registration and/or authentication by pressing “OK” on the keypad or display 600 of the access device. If successful, this interactive form of registration may permit a user of an access device in communication with a gateway in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention to gain access to services that would otherwise be inaccessible.

It should be noted that the information items shown in the display area 620 of FIG. 6A are for illustrative purpose only, as the information items used for the admittance of a new access device and/or user may be selected from a number of possible identifiers. For example, the User ID 635 may comprise a name, a social security number, an electronic serial number, an account number for a credit or debit card, and a media access control (MAC) address, to name only a few possibilities. The password 640 may comprise a user-selected password, a personal identification number (PIN) such as that provided with a credit or debit card, and may in the future represent, for example, the results of a fingerprint or retinal scan using a scanning device built into the access device. In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the information transmitted to the gateway or router may, for example, comprise some of the same information items shown in columns of the screen 300 of FIG. 3A.

In a representative embodiment of the present invention, a designated user such as, for example, the owner/operator of and/or subscriber responsible for a broadband access gateway may be notified when an unregistered user/access device attempts to access the gateway. Such notification may be in the form of, for example, an email message, a short message service (SMS) message, a multimedia messaging service (MMS), a form of instant messaging (IM), a graphical indicator or icon, or other form of communication received at an access device such as, for example, the access device 124, the laptop 117, the wireless PDA 134, or the television 115 of FIG. 2. The user designated to receive such notifications may be identified to a broadband access gateway such as, for example, the gateway 118 using a telephone number, an Internet protocol address, a media access control address, an electronic serial number, or any of a number of other forms of device or user identifiers/addresses. Upon receiving notification of an access attempt, the designated user may approve the access by, for example, acknowledging the received email, SMS message, etc., or by visiting a web site and enabling access using a mechanism such as that shown in FIG. 3B, for example.

FIG. 6B shows an illustration of a display 600 with an exemplary access notification message screen 620 that may be displayed by an access device such as, for example, the access device 124 of FIG. 2 upon receiving notification of an access attempt at a broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 of FIG. 2, by an unregistered access device, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention. The display 600 may, for example, correspond to a display of an access device such as the access device 124 or the laptop 117 of FIG. 2. Similar information about the access attempt may be presented on other access devices including, for example, the television 115 or the PDA 134. The display 600 comprises a network indicator 610, a network services indicator area 612, a battery life indicator, a time of day indicator, and a day and date indicator. The network services indicator 612 comprises an Internet protocol (IP) phone service icon 615, a printer service icon 616, a stereo entertainment icon 617, and a pay music service icon 618, to indicate those services available to the user of the access device. The display 600 also comprises a display area 620 to allow an access device to present graphical or textual information for a variety of reasons and from a number of sources.

In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the owner/operator of a residential gateway such as the gateway 118 of FIG. 2 may identify or designate the the user to be the recipient of such notices. In the example of FIG. 6B, the access notification message screen 620 provides to the designated user an access identifier (ID) 630 and a user identifier (ID) 640 of the access device attempting entry, to enable the designated user to recognize the person attempting to access the associated broadband access gateway. The response instruction 650 indicates to the designated user that access to the gateway may be granted by pressing “1” on the displaying access device. The information delivered in the example of FIG. 6B may be presented in terms of a number of different forms including, for example, an email message, a short message service message, a multimedia messaging service message, an instant message (IM), or a pop-up window on a web page, to name only a few.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart 700 of an exemplary method of registering an access device for access to available services using a broadband access gateway such as, for example, the gateway 118 and router 130 of FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with a representative embodiment of the present invention. The following description of the method illustrated in FIG. 7 makes reference to the elements of FIGS. 1 and 2. The actions of the method of FIG. 7 begin at the start (710) when a broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 is activated. The gateway may first initialize communication via any broadband network connections (712). Initializing communication may comprise, for example, establishing physical and higher layer connectivity to network resources, servers, and other entities. At some later time, the gateway may detect the presence of an access device (714). The access device may be in communication with the gateway via, for example, a wired or wireless connection. Identifying information may be received by the gateway (716), and may be used to determine whether the device is pre-registered (718). If the access device is not pre-registered, access to the information and services available via the broadband access gateway may be denied (722), and the method may end (724). If the access device is pre-registered, access to the information and services available via the broadband access gateway may immediately be permitted without further input by the user of the access device (720). The method of FIG. 7 then ends (724).

FIG. 8 is a flowchart 800 of an exemplary method of registering an access device with a wireless broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 and router 130 of FIGS. I and 2, in accordance with another representative embodiment of the present invention. The following description of the method illustrated in FIG. 8 makes reference to the elements of FIGS. 1 and 2. The actions of the method of FIG. 8 begin at the start (810) when a broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 is activated. The gateway may initialize communication via any broadband network connections (812). Initializing communication may comprise, for example, establishing physical and higher layer connectivity to network resources, servers, and other entities. At some later time, the gateway may detect the presence of an access device within range of the personal area network of the gateway (814), and may receive an access device ID (816). The gateway may then determine whether the access device is pre-registered (818). This may be performed using information such as, for example, the information shown in the screen 300 of FIG. 3A. If the access device is pre-registered, immediate access to the multimedia information and services available via the broadband access gateway may be permitted (824) as in the example of FIG. 7, and the method may end (830). If, however, the access device is not pre-registered, the user may at some later time decide to register, to gain access to the services and multimedia information available via the broadband access gateway. The user may then cause the registration information to be sent wirelessly to the broadband access gateway. Registration information may include, for example, user identification information, proof of ability to pay, and other factors. The registration information may, for example, be stored within the memory of the access device, or within a device such as an integrated circuit or smart card coupled to the access device, and may be transmitted to the gateway upon user activation of a soft (re-definable) or hard (physical) button on the access device. The gateway then receives the registration information (820). The registration information from the access device may then be verified by the gateway (822). If the registration information is verified successfully, access to the services of the broadband access gateway may be permitted (824), and the method of FIG. 8 ends (830). If the registration information cannot be verified successfully, access to the services of the broadband access gateway may be denied (826), and the method of FIG. 8 ends (830).

FIG. 9 shows a flowchart 900 of an exemplary method of registering an access device with a wireless broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 and router 130 of FIGS. 1 and 2 using an interactive process, in accordance with another representative embodiment of the present invention. The following description of the method illustrated in FIG. 9 makes reference to the elements of FIGS. 1 and 2. The actions of the method of FIG. 9 begin at the start (910) when a broadband access gateway such as the gateway 118 is activated. The gateway may then initialize communication via any broadband network connections (912). Initializing communication may comprise, for example, establishing physical and higher layer connectivity to network resources, servers, and other entities. At some later time, the gateway may detect the presence of an access device within range of the personal area network of the gateway (914), and may receive an access device ID (916). The gateway may then determine whether the access device is pre-registered (918). This may be performed using information such as, for example, the information shown in the screen 300 of FIG. 3A.

If the access device is pre-registered, access to the services of the broadband access gateway may immediately be permitted (920), and the method may end (930). If the access device is not pre-registered, the user may be prompted to provide, for example, a user ID and password information (922). The user ID may, for example, comprise personal identification information such as a social security number, a credit or debt card number, an identifier of a digital certificate, or other forms of user-specific information. A password may include, for example, a personal identification number, a password for the gateway, a public or private key, or other information. The user may then cause the user ID and password information to be sent wirelessly to the broadband access gateway. Although in the example of FIG. 9 two pieces of information are requested of the user, a different number of items, and/or a different complement of items may be involved in the interactive exchange between the user and the broadband access gateway, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In FIG. 9, the gateway then receives the user ID and password information (924), and a check is made whether the received password information matches with that expected (926). If the password information matches that expected from the user of the access device, access to the broadband access gateway services and networks is then permitted (920), and the method of FIG. 9 ends. If the password information fails to match that expected, restricted access to the services and networks available via the broadband access gateway may be permitted (928). The method of FIG. 9 then ends (930).

In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the wireless local area networks may include data networks such as, for example, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE) 802.11 a/b/g/n compliant wireless networks such as those located in homes, hot spots or an office. Such local area networks may operate in unlicensed radio frequency spectrum such as in, for example, the 2.4 and 5 gigahertz regions. Examples of wide area networks may include cellular digital packet data (CDPD), voice and data networks such as public switched telephone networks (PSTN), Global System For Mobile Communication (GSM), GSM General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), GSM Short Message Service (SMS), GSM Enhanced Data Rates For Global Evolution (EDGE), North American Time Division Multiplex Access (TDMA), iDEN, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and CDMA2000 1xRT, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) network, to name only a few.

A personal area network (PAN) may be formed by a plurality of wireless communication access devices such as, for example, mobile multimedia handsets, PDAs, telephones, and computers. Other elements of such a network may, for example, include computer peripherals such as digital scanners, digital cameras, printers, headphones, and pointing devices, that may be located within the immediate proximity of a person. A PAN may be an ad-hoc network of such communication devices. In a representative embodiment of the present invention, access devices within the PAN may communicate with other access devices within the PAN and also with other access devices that are located in other networks accessible via the PAN. The personal area networks may include data networks such as, for example, a Bluetooth compliant network, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE) 802.15.3a compliant wireless networks. Such personal area networks may operate in unlicensed radio frequency spectrum such as, for example, the 2.4 and 5 gigahertz regions. Details of one example of a personal area network are provided in the document “Bluetooth Core Specification V1.2”, Nov. 5, 2003, from Bluetooth SIG, Inc., the complete subject matter of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference, in its entirety. For example, in a Bluetooth® wireless PAN, a first Bluetooth®-enabled wireless access device may communicate with a second Bluetooth®-enabled wireless access device within the PAN. Additionally, either of the first and second Bluetooth®-enabled wireless access devices may communicate with the Internet or another LAN or WAN via the Bluetooth® wireless PAN.

In a representative embodiment of the present invention, a gateway may be adapted to provide seamless and transparent communication between a plurality of access devices and a plurality of networks. The functionality of the gateway may be divided, for example, into application content functionality, and configuration and management functionality. The application content functionality may, for example, deal with the types of applications that may be supported by the gateway as well as the various types of data that may be received, processed and/or transmitted by the gateway. In this regard, application content functionality may also include the manner in which other devices and/or systems may utilize data from the gateway.

Content and application services are important because all the information coming into and leaving the home from either the WAN side (i.e., the broadband connection side), or from the PAN side (i.e., the access device side) converges at the gateway. The PAN side may comprise Bluetooth, wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n), IEEE 802.15.3a ultrawideband, or cellular, for example. Notwithstanding, the gateway may be adapted to convert, for example, wirelessly received GSM-formatted information into, for example, Internet protocol (IP)-formatted information and in reverse, converts IP-formatted information into wireless GSM-formatted information suitable for over-the-air transmission. Support for other wireless communication protocols such as TDMA, CDMA, and UMTS may also be provided. In a representative embodiment of the present invention, the gateway may comprise suitable circuitry, logic and/or code that may be adapted to receive and process MPEG related data, which may be suitable for display on a screen. The gateway in an embodiment of the present invention functions as a focal point where data converges from a plurality of wired and wireless services. Although, in a particular embodiment of the present invention the gateway may do very little in terms of actual content aggregation, there is virtual aggregation of data. The converged data may be integrated and or otherwise utilized to offer unique opportunities for launching various content and application services from a single strategic location. Since the gateway in an embodiment of the present invention is the focal point where data converges, one or more protocol stacks may be employed for launching the various content and application services.

The gateway in a representative embodiment of the present invention may be adapted to route calls based on established rules that may be programmed into the gateway. For example, the gateway may be governed by a rule which states that local calls are to be routed to an incumbent local exchange carrier (iLEC), while long distance calls are to be handled by Long Distance Carrier Company. Accordingly, when a call originates at the gateway and it is determined that the call is a local call, the gateway may be adapted to route the call to the iLEC. However, if the gateway determines that the call is a long distance call, then the gateway may be adapted to route the call to Long Distance Carrier Company.

A representative embodiment of the present invention may leverage existing broadband infrastructure that is commonly found in many homes and businesses today. Because a consumer is already paying for the use of the broadband infrastructure in their home or office, leveraging the use of the existing broadband infrastructure for communication with wide area networks results in minimal or no communication costs. The broadband infrastructure may be, for example, a cable or DSL infrastructure.

The wireless interface function provided by the gateway located within a home, for example, may be utilized to route or communicate a great deal of traffic to a wired network such as a broadband network or a wireless network such as a GSM or CDMA network via a broadband connection. In other words, the wireless gateway infrastructure provided by a representative embodiment of the present invention provides a scalable network infrastructure that rides on an existing access infrastructure already supplied by a broadband service provider to a home, office or business. Additionally, the scalable infrastructure provided by the gateway also solves the problems associated with signal penetration and propagation, thereby providing improved quality of service (QoS). From a market perspective, a wireless service provider may now have access to the necessary infrastructure to provide improved wireless services to users within a home or office. Accordingly, in order to rapidly increase their growth, wireless service providers may now target that portion of the in-home landline or plain old telephone system (POTS) business, which have traditionally been handled by incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) or other LECs.

The unlicensed mobile access gateway described above may possess a significant amount of processing power. The gateways of existing systems fall short of realizing the full potential of the merged wired and wireless communication network that is enabled by a representative embodiment of the present invention. Numerous basic and enhanced communication services may be enabled or provided by the gateway. Support for access devices such as, for example, mobile multimedia handsets and PDAs may be involved in order to utilize these basic and enhanced communication services enabled by the new wave of digital technologies. Current and/or proposed mobile access gateway systems, however, do not provide the range of support needed for their use by the everyday consumer.

The present invention may be realized in hardware, software, or a combination of hardware and software. The present invention may be realized in a centralized fashion in at least one computer system, or in a distributed fashion where different elements are spread across several interconnected computer systems. Any kind of computer system or other apparatus adapted for carrying out the methods described herein is suited. A typical combination of hardware and software may be a general-purpose computer system with a computer program that, when being loaded and executed, controls the computer system such that it carries out the methods described herein.

The present invention may also be embedded in a computer program product, which comprises all the features enabling the implementation of the methods described herein, and which when loaded in a computer system is able to carry out these methods. Computer program in the present context means any expression, in any language, code or notation, of a set of instructions intended to cause a system having an information processing capability to perform a particular function either directly or after either or both of the following: a) conversion to another language, code or notation; b) reproduction in a different material form.

While the present invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the present invention without departing from its scope. Therefore, it is intended that the present invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the present invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification455/414.1, 455/435.1
International ClassificationH04M3/42, H04M1/56, H04W88/16, H04W92/02, H04M1/2745, H04M1/253, H04L12/26, H04J3/14, G01R31/08, H04L1/00, G06F11/00, H04M1/725, G08C15/00, H04M1/57, H04J1/16, H04L12/66, H04L29/06, H04L12/56, H04L12/28, H04N5/44, H04W74/00, H04W88/08, H04W60/00, H04W12/06
Cooperative ClassificationH04L65/1036, H04L65/1026, H04N2005/4412, H04L63/0823, H04M11/007, H04M2250/02, H04M3/42068, H04L12/281, H04M1/56, H04L12/282, H04M11/062, H04W12/06, H04M1/72547, H04M1/575, H04W74/00, H04M1/576, H04L12/2812, H04L2012/285, H04L2012/2841, H04N21/4126, H04L29/06027, H04L2012/2849, H04M1/72522, H04L12/2803, H04W60/00, H04M2250/60, H04M1/274508, H04W88/08, H04M1/2535, H04W88/16, H04W92/02, H04L12/2818, H04M1/72502, H04M2250/06, H04L67/16, H04L65/103, H04L65/104
European ClassificationH04N21/41P5, H04M1/725C, H04M1/56, H04L12/28H, H04M1/725F1, H04M1/57P, H04W88/16, H04W92/02, H04M1/57P1, H04L12/28H3A, H04L12/28H3B, H04L29/06C2, H04W88/08, H04L29/06M2N2S2, H04L29/06M2N2S4, H04L29/06M2N2M2, H04L29/06M2N2M4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 29, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: BROADCOM CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KARAOGUZ, JEYHAN;ABRAMS, MARC;SESHADRI, NAMBIRAJAN;REEL/FRAME:015968/0561
Effective date: 20050323