Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060203841 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/075,981
Publication dateSep 14, 2006
Filing dateMar 9, 2005
Priority dateMar 9, 2005
Also published asUS7957411, US8451858, US20070036170, US20110205924
Publication number075981, 11075981, US 2006/0203841 A1, US 2006/203841 A1, US 20060203841 A1, US 20060203841A1, US 2006203841 A1, US 2006203841A1, US-A1-20060203841, US-A1-2006203841, US2006/0203841A1, US2006/203841A1, US20060203841 A1, US20060203841A1, US2006203841 A1, US2006203841A1
InventorsMatthew Fischer
Original AssigneeFischer Matthew J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Coordination of multiple protocols using a shared communication medium
US 20060203841 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a method and apparatus for coordinating multiple protocols using a shared communication medium. Such a method and apparatus includes processing that begins by determining, by a first protocol module, that a second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium, wherein the second protocol module operates in accordance with a second protocol. The processing continues by transmitting, by the first protocol module, at least a segment of a frame, wherein the at least the segment of the frame includes an indication of a duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed, wherein the frame is in accordance with a first protocol. The processing continues by handing-off, by the first protocol module, access of the shared communication medium to the second protocol module for at least a portion of the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed such that the second protocol module has access to the shared communication medium with negligible interference from devices of the first protocol.
Images(10)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(20)
1. A method for coordinating multiple protocols using a shared communication medium, the method comprises:
determining, by a first protocol module, that a second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium, wherein the second protocol module operates in accordance with a second protocol;
transmitting, by the first protocol module, at least a segment of a frame, wherein the at least the segment of the frame includes an indication of a duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed, wherein the frame is in accordance with a first protocol; and
handing-off, by the first protocol module, access of the shared communication medium to the second protocol module for at least a portion of the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed such that the second protocol module has access to the shared communication medium with negligible interference from devices of the first protocol.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the determining that the second module desires access to the shared communication medium comprises at least one of:
receiving a communication from the second protocol module indicating the desire to access the shared communication medium;
determining, on a periodic basis, that the second protocol module desires access based on an application supported by the second protocol module;
receiving from another protocol module that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium; and
determining, on a random basis, that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium.
3. The method of claim 1 comprises:
the transmitting the at least the segment of the frame including:
generating a preamble in accordance with the first protocol;
generating a header in accordance with the first protocol to include a frame length indication, wherein the frame length indication includes length of a data section of the frame; and
transmitting the preamble and the header as the at least the segment of the frame; and
the handing-off access to the shared communication medium including:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
4. The method of claim 1 comprises:
the transmitting the at least the segment of the frame including:
transmitting a preamble, a header, and a request-to-send as the at least the segment of the frame to an access point in accordance with the first protocol;
receiving a second preamble, a second header, and a clear-to-send from the access point in accordance with the first protocol, wherein at least one of the request-to-send and the clear-to-send includes a network allocation vector that identifies the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed and an indication of time sharing of the duration between the first protocol module and the second protocol module;
transmitting a third preamble and a third header, wherein the third header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the time sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module;
the handing-off the access to the shared communication medium including:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
5. The method of claim 1 comprises:
the transmitting the at least the segment of the frame including:
receiving a preamble, a header, and a contention-free-poll from an access point in accordance with the first protocol, wherein the contention-free-poll includes a network allocation vector that identifies the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed and an indication of time sharing of the duration between the first protocol module and the second protocol module;
transmitting a second preamble and a second header, wherein the second header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the time sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module;
the handing-off the access to the shared communication medium including:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
6. The method of claim 1 comprises:
the shared communication medium including at least one of: a wired network connection and a wireless network connection; and
each of the first and second protocols including a version of at least one of: Ethernet, SONET, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), frame relay, TCP/IP, advanced mobile phone services (AMPS), digital AMPS, global system for mobile communications (GSM), code division multiple access (CDMA), local multi-point distribution systems (LMDS), multi-channel-multi-point distribution systems (MMDS), Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 (b), IEEE 802.11 (g), and IEEE 802.11 (n).
7. A multiple protocol communication device comprises:
transceiving module operably coupled to convert outbound signals into transmit signals and to convert receive signals into inbound signals in accordance with at least one of a first protocol and a second protocol, wherein the transmit signals and the receive signals are conveyed via a shared communication medium;
a first protocol module operably coupled to the transceiving module; and
a second protocol module operably coupled to the first protocol module and to the transceiving module, wherein the first protocol module functions to:
determine that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium, wherein the second protocol module operates in accordance with a second protocol;
generate the outbound signals to include at least a segment of a frame, wherein the at least the segment of the frame includes an indication of a duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed, wherein the frame is in accordance with a first protocol; and
hand-off access of the shared communication medium to the second protocol module for at least a portion of the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed such that the second protocol module has access to the shared communication medium with negligible interference from devices of the first protocol.
8. The multiple protocol communication device of claim 7, wherein the first protocol module determines that the second module desires access to the shared communication medium comprises at least one of:
receiving a communication from the second protocol module indicating the desire to access the shared communication medium;
determining, on a periodic basis, that the second protocol module desires access based on an application supported by the second protocol module;
receiving from another protocol module that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium; and
determining, on a random basis, that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium.
9. The multiple protocol communication device of claim 7, wherein the first protocol module further functions to:
generate the outbound signals by:
generating a preamble in accordance with the first protocol;
generating a header in accordance with the first protocol to include a frame length indication, wherein the frame length indication includes length of a data section of the frame; and
transmitting the preamble and the header as the at least the segment of the frame; and
hand-off access to the shared communication medium by:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
10. The multiple protocol communication device of claim 7, wherein the first protocol module further functions to:
generate the outbound signals by:
generating a preamble, a header, and a request-to-send as the at least the segment of the frame to an access point in accordance with the first protocol;
receiving a second preamble, a second header, and a clear-to-send from the access point in accordance with the first protocol, wherein at least one of the request-to-send and the clear-to-send includes a network allocation vector that identifies the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed and an indication of time sharing of the duration between the first protocol module and the second protocol module;
generating a third preamble and a third header, wherein the third header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the time sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module;
hand-off the access to the shared communication medium by:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
11. The multiple protocol communication device of claim 7, wherein the first protocol module further functions to:
generate the outbound signals by:
receiving a preamble, a header, and a contention-free-poll from an access point in accordance with the first protocol, wherein the contention-free-poll includes a network allocation vector that identifies the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed and an indication of time sharing of the duration between the first protocol module and the second protocol module;
generating a second preamble and a second header, wherein the second header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the time sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module;
hand-off the access to the shared communication medium by:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
12. The multiple protocol communication device of claim 7 comprises:
the shared communication medium including at least one of: a wired network connection and a wireless network connection; and
each of the first and second protocols including a version of at least one of: Ethernet, SONET, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), frame relay, TCP/IP, advanced mobile phone services (AMPS), digital AMPS, global system for mobile communications (GSM), code division multiple access (CDMA), local multi-point distribution systems (LMDS), multi-channel-multi-point distribution systems (MMDS), Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 (b), IEEE 802.11 (g), and IEEE 802.11 (n).
13. The multiple protocol communication device of claim 7, wherein the transceiving module comprises:
a first transceiving module operably coupled to the first protocol module; and
a second transceiving module operably coupled to the second protocol module.
14. An integrated circuit comprises:
transceiving module operably coupled to convert outbound signals into transmit signals and to convert receive signals into inbound signals in accordance with a first protocol, wherein the transmit signals and the receive signals are conveyed via a shared communication medium; and
a first protocol module operably coupled to the transceiving module, wherein the first protocol module includes an interface to a second protocol module and wherein the first protocol module functions to:
determine that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium, wherein the second protocol module operates in accordance with a second protocol;
generate the outbound signals to include at least a segment of a frame, wherein the at least the segment of the frame includes an indication of a duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed, wherein the frame is in accordance with a first protocol; and
hand-off access of the shared communication medium to the second protocol module for at least a portion of the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed such that the second protocol module has access to the shared communication medium with negligible interference from devices of the first protocol.
15. The integrated circuit of claim 14, wherein the first protocol module determines that the second module desires access to the shared communication medium comprises at least one of:
receiving a communication from the second protocol module indicating the desire to access the shared communication medium;
determining, on a periodic basis, that the second protocol module desires access based on an application supported by the second protocol module;
receiving from another protocol module that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium; and
determining, on a random basis, that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium.
16. The integrated circuit of claim 14, wherein the first protocol module further functions to:
generate the outbound signals by:
generating a preamble in accordance with the first protocol;
generating a header in accordance with the first protocol to include a frame length indication, wherein the frame length indication includes length of a data section of the frame; and
transmitting the preamble and the header as the at least the segment of the frame; and
hand-off access to the shared communication medium by:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
17. The integrated circuit of claim 14, wherein the first protocol module further functions to:
generate the outbound signals by:
generating a preamble, a header, and a request-to-send as the at least the segment of the frame to an access point in accordance with the first protocol;
receiving a second preamble, a second header, and a clear-to-send from the access point in accordance with the first protocol, wherein at least one of the request-to-send and the clear-to-send includes a network allocation vector that identifies the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed and an indication of time sharing of the duration between the first protocol module and the second protocol module;
generating a third preamble and a third header, wherein the third header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the time sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module;
hand-off the access to the shared communication medium by:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
18. The integrated circuit of claim 14, wherein the first protocol module further functions to:
generate the outbound signals by:
receiving a preamble, a header, and a contention-free-poll from an access point in accordance with the first protocol, wherein the contention-free-poll includes a network allocation vector that identifies the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed and an indication of time sharing of the duration between the first protocol module and the second protocol module;
generating a second preamble and a second header, wherein the second header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the time sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module;
hand-off the access to the shared communication medium by:
indicating, by the first protocol module, to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame.
19. The integrated of claim 14 comprises:
the shared communication medium including at least one of: a wired network connection and a wireless network connection; and
each of the first and second protocols including a version of at least one of: Ethernet, SONET, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), frame relay, TCP/IP, advanced mobile phone services (AMPS), digital AMPS, global system for mobile communications (GSM), code division multiple access (CDMA), local multi-point distribution systems (LMDS), multi-channel-multi-point distribution systems (MMDS), Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 (b), IEEE 802.11 (g), and IEEE 802.11 (n).
20. The integrated circuit of claim 14 comprises:
the second protocol module; and
the transceiving module including:
a first transceiving module operably coupled to the first protocol module; and
a second transceiving module operably coupled to the second protocol module.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to communication systems and more particularly to coordinating access to a shared medium by multiple protocols of one or more communication systems.

2. Description of Related Art

Communication systems are known to support wireless and wire lined communications between wireless and/or wire lined communication devices. Such communication systems range from national and/or international cellular telephone systems to the Internet to point-to-point in-home wireless networks. Each type of communication system is constructed, and hence operates, in accordance with one or more communication standards. For instance, wireless communication systems may operate in accordance with one or more standards including, but not limited to, IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, advanced mobile phone services (AMPS), digital AMPS, global system for mobile communications (GSM), code division multiple access (CDMA), local multi-point distribution systems (LMDS), multi-channel-multi-point distribution systems (MMDS), and/or variations thereof.

Depending on the type of wireless communication system, a wireless communication device, such as a cellular telephone, two-way radio, personal digital assistant (PDA), personal computer (PC), laptop computer, home entertainment equipment, et cetera communicates directly or indirectly with other wireless communication devices. For direct communications (also known as point-to-point communications), the participating wireless communication devices tune their receivers and transmitters to the same channel or channels (e.g., one of the plurality of radio frequency (RF) carriers of the wireless communication system) and communicate over that channel(s). For indirect wireless communications, each wireless communication device communicates directly with an associated base station (e.g., for cellular services) and/or an associated access point (e.g., for an in-home or in-building wireless network) via an assigned channel. To complete a communication connection between the wireless communication devices, the associated base stations and/or associated access points communicate with each other directly, via a system controller, via the public switch telephone network, via the Internet, and/or via some other wide area network.

For each wireless communication device to participate in wireless communications, it includes a built-in radio transceiver (i.e., receiver and transmitter) or is coupled to an associated radio transceiver (e.g., a station for in-home and/or in-building wireless communication networks, RF modem, etc.). As is known, the receiver is coupled to the antenna and includes a low noise amplifier, one or more intermediate frequency stages, a filtering stage, and a data recovery stage. The low noise amplifier receives inbound RF signals via the antenna and amplifies then. The one or more intermediate frequency stages mix the amplified RF signals with one or more local oscillations to convert the amplified RF signal into baseband signals or intermediate frequency (IF) signals. The filtering stage filters the baseband signals or the IF signals to attenuate unwanted out of band signals to produce filtered signals. The data recovery stage recovers raw data from the filtered signals in accordance with the particular wireless communication standard.

As is also known, the transmitter includes a data modulation stage, one or more intermediate frequency stages, and a power amplifier. The data modulation stage converts raw data into baseband signals in accordance with a particular wireless communication standard. The one or more intermediate frequency stages mix the baseband signals with one or more local oscillations to produce RF signals. The power amplifier amplifies the RF signals prior to transmission via an antenna.

For both wireless and wireline communication systems, there are many standards that provide protocols as to how audio, text, video, data, and/or any other type information is to be conveyed within the system. Communication devices that are designed to be compliant with a particular standard (e.g., Ethernet 10Base-T, IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth) are able to communication with any other communication device within the communication system that is compliant with the same standard. For example, wireless communication devices that are compliant with IEEE 802.11b can communicate with each other, provided they are properly registered to the same communication system.

As is known, differing standards sometimes use the same communication medium (e.g., allocated radio frequency spectrum, wired connections, etc.) due to a finite amount of communication medium. For example, both Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11b use the 2.4 GHz spectrum. As long as communication systems that are compliant with differing standards that share a communication medium do not physically overlap, the systems operate without interference from each other. However, if the communication systems do physically overlap, they will interfere with each other, degrading the performance of both systems. For example, if a Bluetooth pico net physically overlaps with an IEEE 802.11b local area network, simultaneous use of the 2.4 GHz spectrum will cause interference that will most likely cause both transmissions to fail.

To help reduce this problem, communication devices have been developed to be compliant with multiple standards that have different protocols for a share communication medium. For example, wireless communication devices have been developed that are compliant with both Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11(a), (b), and/or (g). In such devices, the Medium Access Control (MAC) layer of one protocol communications with the MAC layer of another protocol to avoid simultaneous use of the shared communication medium.

While this substantially reduced simultaneous use of a shared communication medium on a device-by-device basis, it does little to reduce simultaneous use on a communication system level. For example, if a first communication device desires to use the shared communication medium in accordance with a first protocol, it will block its use of a second protocol for the duration of the use per the first protocol, however, a second communication device may concurrently desire to use the shared communication medium in accordance with the second protocol. Since the protocols are different, the first device will obtain access of the share communication medium in accordance with the first protocol and the second device will obtain access of the shared communication medium in accordance with the second protocol. With both devices concurrently accessing the shared communication medium, their transmissions will interfere with each other, causing at least one of the transmissions to fail.

Therefore, a need exists for a method and apparatus for coordinating multiple protocols using a shared communication medium.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to apparatus and methods of operation that are further described in the following Brief Description of the Drawings, the Detailed Description of the Invention, and the claims. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention made with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a wireless communication system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of a wireline communication system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of a LAN, BSS, and/or IBSS in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of a wireless communication device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a logic diagram of a method for coordinating multiple protocols using a shared communication medium in accordance with the present invention;

FIGS. 6-8 are logic diagrams of various embodiments of transmitting a frame, or portion thereof, and handing-off access of the shared communication medium of the method of FIG. 5; and

FIGS. 9A-9E are diagrams of various examples of coordinating multiple wireless protocols using a shared communication medium in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an example of a wireless communication system 10 that includes a plurality of base stations and/or access points 12, 16, a plurality of wireless communication devices 18-32 and a network hardware component 34. Note that the network hardware 34, which may be a router, switch, bridge, modem, system controller, et cetera provides a wide area network connection 42 for the communication system 10. Further note that the wireless communication devices 18-32 may be laptop host computers 18 and 26, personal digital assistant hosts 20 and 30, personal computer hosts 24 and 32 and/or cellular telephone hosts 22 and 28. The details of the wireless communication devices will be described in greater detail with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4.

Wireless communication devices 22, 23, and 24 are located within an independent basic service set (IBSS) area and communicate directly (i.e., point to point). In this configuration, these devices 22, 23, and 24 may only communicate with each other. To communicate with other wireless communication devices within the system 10 or to communicate outside of the system 10, the devices 22, 23, and/or 24 need to affiliate with one of the base stations or access points 12 or 16.

The base stations or access points 12, 16 are located within basic service set (BSS) areas 11 and 13, respectively, and are operably coupled to the network hardware 34 via local area network connections 36, 38. Such a connection provides the base station or access point 12 16 with connectivity to other devices within the system 10 and provides connectivity to other networks via the WAN connection 42. To communicate with the wireless communication devices within its BSS 11 or 13, each of the base stations or access points 12-16 has an associated antenna or antenna array. For instance, base station or access point 12 wirelessly communicates with wireless communication devices 18 and 20 while base station or access point 16 wirelessly communicates with wireless communication devices 26-32. Typically, the wireless communication devices register with a particular base station or access point 12, 16 to receive services from the communication system 10.

Typically, base stations are used for cellular telephone systems and like-type systems, while access points are used for in-home or in-building wireless networks (e.g., IEEE 802.11 and versions thereof, Bluetooth, and/or any other type of radio frequency based network protocol). Regardless of the particular type of communication system, each wireless communication device includes a built-in radio and/or is coupled to a radio.

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of an example of a wireline communication system 40 that includes two local area networks (LAN) 42 and 44 and network hardware 46. Each of the LANs 42 and 44 includes a server 54, 56 and a plurality of communication devices 58-62 and 64-68, which are connected to the network hardware 46 via LAN connections 48 and 50. Note that the network hardware 46, which may be a router, switch, bridge, modem, system controller, et cetera provides a wide area network connection 52 for the communication system 40. Further note that the communication devices 58-62 and 64-68 each include a network card to communicate with the network hardware 46 and may be a laptop computer 58, 64, a personal digital assistant 60, 68, or a personal computer 62, 66. The details of the communication devices will be described in greater detail with reference to FIG. 3.

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of an example of a LAN, BSS, and/or IBSS 9, 11, 13, 42, or 44 that includes personal area networks 70 and 72 and a shared communication medium 102. Each of the personal area networks 70 and 72 includes a multiple protocol communication device 74, 76 (which may be any one of the wireless communication devices 18-32 of FIG. 1 or the wireline communication devices 58-68 of FIG. 2) and a plurality of personal devices 90-94 and 96-100. The personal devices 90-100 may be any peripheral device affiliated with the communication device 72, 74 including, but not limited to, a headset, a keyboard, a mouse, a printer, a monitor, a fax machine, a scanner, a digital camera, a digital camcorder, a digital audio playback device, or a video playback device. The shared communication medium 102 may be a shared twisted pair connection, a shared optical connection, a shared coaxial connection, or a shared frequency spectrum.

Each of the multiple protocol communication devices 74 and 76 includes a first protocol module 80, 84, a second protocol module 82, 88, and a transceiving module 78, 84. In one embodiment, the first protocol module 80, 84 is configured to support a first protocol that enables the communication device 74, 76 to communicate at a local area network level and/or wide area network level using the shared communication medium 102, while the second protocol module is configured to support a second protocol that enables the communication device 72, 74 to communicate with the personal devices 90-94, 96-100 within its personal area network 70, 72 using the shared communication medium 102. For instance, the first and second protocols may be one or more of a past, current, or future version of Ethernet, SONET, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), frame relay, TCP/IP, advanced mobile phone services (AMPS), digital AMPS, global system for mobile communications (GSM), code division multiple access (CDMA), local multi-point distribution systems (LMDS), multi-channel-multi-point distribution systems (MMDS), Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11(a), (b), (g), (n), any other wireline standard or any other wireless standard.

The first and second protocol modules 80, 82, 84, 86 may be implemented using a processing module and associated memory. The processing module may be a single processing device or a plurality of processing devices. Such a processing device may be a microprocessor, micro-controller, digital signal processor, microcomputer, central processing unit, field programmable gate array, programmable logic device, state machine, logic circuitry, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or any device that manipulates signals (analog and/or digital) based on operational instructions. The associated memory may be a single memory device or a plurality of memory devices. Such a memory device may be a read-only memory, random access memory, volatile memory, non-volatile memory, static memory, dynamic memory, flash memory, cache memory, and/or any device that stores digital information. Note that when the processing module implements one or more of its functions via a state machine, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or logic circuitry, the memory storing the corresponding operational instructions may be embedded within, or external to, the circuitry comprising the state machine, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or logic circuitry. In general, the memory stores, and the processing module executes, operational instructions corresponding to at least some of the steps and/or functions illustrated in FIGS. 3-9E. In addition, the memory may store data produced by the processing module.

The transceiving modules 78, 84 may be a wireless transceiver and/or a wireline transceiver. In one embodiment, a wireline transceiver is a network card or multiple network cards that enable the communication device 74, 76 to communicate within the LAN and outside of the LAN and also to communicate with the personal devices 90-94, 96-100. In another embodiment, a wireless transceiver enables the communication device 74, 76 to wirelessly communicate within the LAN and outside of the LAN and also to communicate with the personal devices 90-94, 96-100.

In operation, when a multiple protocol communication device 74, 76 desires to communicate with one of the personal devices 90-94 or 96-100, the first protocol module 80, 86 generates a frame, or segment thereof, 106 in accordance with the first protocol and includes an indication of the duration for which the device 74, 76 desires to use the shared communication medium 102. The device 74, 76 transmits the frame 106 to other devices in the system, to an access point, to a base station, to a server, etc. The other devices will process the frame 106 in accordance with the first protocol and, upon proper interpretation, will not use the shared communication medium 102 for the time period indicated in the frame 106.

After transmitting the frame 106, the first protocol module 80, 86 hands-off access of the shared communication medium 102 to the second protocol module 82, 88. For the duration of access to the shared communication medium 102, or a portion thereof, the second protocol module 82, 88 conveys data, audio, video, and/or text information with one or more personal devices 90-94, 96-100 in frames 104, 108 via the shared communication medium 102 and in accordance with the second protocol. Since the other communication devices in the system know that the shared communication medium 102 is being accessed, they will not attempt to access the shared communication medium 102 until it becomes available, again, according to the time period indicated in the frame 106, thus avoiding collisions from other devices while a different protocol is accessing the shared communication medium 102.

FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of a wireless communication device 74 that includes the first protocol module 80, the second protocol module 82, the transceiving module 78, and antenna structures 116 and 124. Each of the antenna structures 116 and 124 may be a single antenna or an array of antennas. The first protocol module 80 includes a Medium Access Control (MAC) module 110 in accordance with a first protocol (e.g., a version of IEEE 802.11) and a Physical Layer Convergence Procedure (PLCP) module 112 in accordance with the first protocol. The second protocol module 82 includes a MAC module 118 in accordance with the second protocol (e.g., a version of Bluetooth) and a PLCP module 120.

The transceiving module 78 includes a first physical layer (PHY) module 114 coupled to the first protocol module 80 and a second PHY module 122 coupled to the second protocol module 82. Each of the PHY modules 114 and 122 includes a transmit section and a receive section coupled to the corresponding antenna structure 116, 124 such that each PHY module 114, 122 converts outbound baseband data into outbound RF signals and converts inbound RF signals into inbound baseband signals. As one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, the PHY modules 114 and 122 may share at least a portion of the antenna structures 116 or 124 and may share common components such as the low noise amplifier, power amplifier, RF bandpass filters, direct conversion mixers, etc.

In operation, when a multiple protocol communication device 74 desires to communicate with one of its personal devices 90-94, the MAC module 110 generates a frame, or segment thereof, 106 in accordance with the first protocol (e.g., a version of the IEEE 802.11 standard) and includes an indication of the duration for which the device 74 desires to use the shared communication medium 102. The MAC module 110 provides the frame 106 to the PLCP module 112, which in turn provides the frame 106 to the PHY module 114 for RF transmission to other devices in the system, to an access point, to a base station, to a server, etc. The other devices will process the frame 106 in accordance with the first protocol and, upon proper interpretation, will not use the shared communication medium 102 for the time period indicated in the frame 106.

In addition, the MAC module 110 communicates with the MAC module 118 to indicate the duration for which the MAC module 118 will have access to the shared network. The MAC module 110 also hands-off control of the shared communication medium to the MAC module 118 for transmitting and/or receiving communications in accordance with the second protocol.

FIG. 5 is a logic diagram of a method for coordinating multiple protocols using a shared communication medium that begins at step 130 where the first protocol module determines that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium, wherein the second protocol module operates in accordance with a second protocol. The determination may be made in a plurality of ways including, but not limited to, receiving a communication from the second protocol module indicating the desire to access the shared communication medium; determining, on a periodic basis, that the second protocol module desires access based on an application supported by the second protocol module (e.g. the second protocol module is supporting a headset function polling); receiving from another protocol module that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium (e.g., from a higher layer which knows that a particular program (e.g., a voice program) is active and access is needed); and determining, on a random basis, that the second protocol module desires access to the shared communication medium (e.g., polling).

The process then proceeds to step 132 where the first protocol module transmits at least a segment of a frame to other devices in the system. The frame, or portion thereof, which is in accordance with a first protocol, includes an indication of a duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed. This will be described in greater detail with reference to FIGS. 6-9E.

The process then proceeds to step 134 where the first protocol module hands-off access of the shared communication medium to the second protocol module for at least a portion of the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed such that the second protocol module has access to the shared communication medium with negligible interference from devices of the first protocol. This will be described in greater detail with reference to FIGS. 6-9E.

FIGS. 6-8 are logic diagrams of various embodiments of transmitting a frame, or portion thereof, and handing-off access of the shared communication medium of the method of FIG. 5. In FIG. 6, the processing begins at step 132-1 where the first protocol module generates generating a preamble in accordance with the first protocol. For example, if the first protocol corresponds to IEEE 802.11(b), the first protocol module generates the preamble to include a short training sequence and a long training sequence. The process then proceeds to step 132-2 where the first protocol module generates a header in accordance with the first protocol to include a frame length indication, wherein the frame length indication includes length of a data section of the frame. Continuing with the IEEE 802.11(b) example, the header includes a signal field and a service field, either of which may contain a frame length indication.

The process then proceeds to step 132-3 where the first protocol module transmits the preamble and the header as the at least the segment of the frame to the transceiving module, which, in turn, converts the frame into an RF signal that is sent to other communication devices in the system. With the other devices in the system knowing that the shared communication medium will be accessed for the duration corresponding to the frame length they will not attempt to access it. Thereby avoiding inter-protocol interference (i.e., the devices operable in accordance with first protocol will not access the shared communication medium while a device operable in accordance with the second protocol is accessing the share communication medium.)

The process then proceeds to step 134-1 where the first protocol module indicates to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame. This may be accomplished by providing a message, or a signal, from the first protocol module to the second protocol module directly or through a baseband processing module.

FIG. 7 includes processing that begins at step 132-4 where the first protocol module transmits a preamble, a header, and a request-to-send as the at least the segment of the frame to an access point in accordance with the first protocol, which is done via the transceiving module. The processing then proceeds to step 132-5 where the first protocol module receives a second preamble, a second header, and a clear-to-send from the access point in accordance with the first protocol. The request-to-send and/or the clear-to-send include a network allocation vector that identifies the duration that the shared communication medium will be accessed following the successful exchange of the request-to-send and/or clear-to-send frames and hence, an indication of the duration of the opportunity for medium sharing between the first protocol module and the second protocol module.

The process then proceeds to step 132-6 where the first protocol module transmits a third preamble and a third header, wherein the third header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the available opportunity for medium sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module, which is conveyed to the system via the transceiving module. The process then proceeds to step 134-2 where the first protocol module indicates to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the third frame, or a portion thereof.

FIG. 8 includes processing that begins at step 132-7 where the first protocol module receives a preamble, a header, and a contention-free-poll from an access point in accordance with the first protocol. The contention-free-poll includes a network allocation vector that identifies the maximum duration that the shared communication medium is allowed to be accessed by the receiving node which is addressed in the contention-free-poll frame and hence, an indication of the duration of the opportunity for medium sharing between the first protocol module and the second protocol module. The processing then continues at step 132-8 where the first protocol module transmits a second preamble and a second header, wherein the second header includes length of a data section of the frame that corresponds to the available opportunity for medium sharing of the duration allocated to the second protocol module, which is relayed to the access point via the transceiving module. The processing then proceeds to step 134-3 where the first protocol module indicates to the second protocol module that the shared communication medium is accessible for the duration corresponding to the length of the data section of the frame, or a portion thereof.

FIGS. 9A-9E are diagrams of various examples of coordinating multiple wireless protocols using a shared communication medium via a fake PSDU and/or NAV-based indication. In general, the fake PSDU approach operates in a communication device that contains both an 802.11 LAN function and a Bluetooth master node function, or an 802.11 LAN function and the timing master of some other communication protocol function which is dissimilar to the 802.11 LAN function. The mechanism may also be applied to a case wherein the other protocol is also an 802.11 LAN function, such as when a more distant 802.11 LAN device desires access to the shared medium, but is generally unable to communicate with the other devices in the LAN because of, for example, distance limitations, but is able to communicate with the device containing the first 802.11 LAN function. To facilitate this approach, a communication channel exists between the 802.11 LAN function and the Bluetooth Master function within the common device. Such a communication channel may consist of a single signal which acts as a transmit/receive permission signal to the Bluetooth Master function. In one embodiment, the assertion of the signal indicates that the Bluetooth Master function is free to engage in transmit and receive activity according to the Bluetooth protocol. This is the Bluetooth permission channel.

In such an embodiment, the Bluetooth master node obeys the communication channel signaling strictly in order to create the desired coordination. In another embodiment, the 802.11 LAN function instructs the Bluetooth Master function to remain idle (i.e. refrain from transmit and receive activity) while the 802.11 LAN function is active. Accordingly, the 802.11 LAN function acts as the master of the Bluetooth function and will dictate the times when the Bluetooth function may become active.

When the 802.11 LAN function determines that a Bluetooth activity period should begin, the 802.11 LAN function gains control of the 802.11 LAN network (and therefore, the shared medium) and then secures uncontested access to the medium by sending an 802.11 preamble plus physical layer PLCP header which indicates that it is about to transmit a physical layer service data unit (PSDU). However, the PLCP indication is an intentional misdirection to the other 802.11 devices operating in the vicinity. Instead of sending a PSDU, the 802.11 LAN function immediately after sending the PLCP header information, passes control of the shared medium to the Bluetooth Master function through the Bluetooth permission channel. The Bluetooth Master function, through a prior frequency and duration requirements agreement, uses the medium for transmissions and receptions, directing other Bluetooth devices to transmit and receive according to the previously described frequency and duration agreements. (The PLCP header information contains encoded length information which signals to the other 802.11 LAN devices that a PSDU is to be received, and those devices then remain in a receive mode for the duration of time indicated by that length information, regardless of whether an actual PSDU is sent or not.) The length information transmitted in the “fake PSDU” corresponds to the desired Bluetooth activity duration.

At the end of the agreed upon duration of time which was granted to the Bluetooth Master function for the purpose of transmission and reception activity, the 802.11 LAN function de-asserts the Bluetooth permission signal, thereby disallowing any further Bluetooth function activity. As per the outstanding agreement, the Bluetooth Master function should have completed its current activity on the shared medium. Shortly after the removal of the Bluetooth permission signal, the end of the length of time as was indicated in the PLCP header should occur, allowing the normal 802.11 LAN medium access process to resume.

Because of the possible existence of hidden nodes, and as a measure to deal with the generally uncontrolled nature of the RF medium (especially when operating in unlicensed bands) and the resulting possible loss of the “fake PSDU”'s PLCP header information, the proxy TXOP mechanism supports additional optional transmissions which serve to offer redundant protection against 802.11 LAN use of the medium. Specifically, protective NAV values can be established around the “fake PSDU” transmission through additional, normal 802.11 LAN protocol mechanisms such as RTS/CTS.

The transmission of the “fake PSDU” does not require a preceding transmission or reception or succeeding transmission or reception, although such is not precluded. In general, the use of the “fake PSDU” allows a secondary LAN function to operate in a coordinated fashion with the primary, controlling LAN function.

In the NAV-based indication approach, function, or an 802.11 LAN function, the timing master of some other communication protocol function is dissimilar to the 802.11 LAN function. In this embodiment, a communication channel exists between the 802.11 LAN function and the Bluetooth Master function within the common device.

When the 802.11 LAN function determines that a Bluetooth activity period should begin, the 802.11 LAN function gains control of the 802.11 LAN network (and therefore, the shared medium) and then secures uncontested access to the medium by sending frames that are intended to cause a Network Allocation Vector (NAV) to become set in the other participating LAN devices. However, the NAV indication is an intentional misdirection to the other 802.11 devices operating in the vicinity. Instead of using the allocated time for additional 802.11 LAN frame exchanges, as would naturally be assumed by the other 802.11 LAN devices which received the NAV-setting frames, the 802.11 LAN function instead passes control of the shared medium to the Bluetooth Master function through the Bluetooth permission channel.

The Bluetooth Master function, through a prior frequency and duration requirements agreement, uses the medium for transmissions and receptions, directing other Bluetooth devices to transmit and receive according to the previously described frequency and duration agreements. The NAV duration information transmitted in the earlier 802.11 LAN messages corresponds to the desired Bluetooth activity duration. At the end of the agreed upon duration of time which was granted to the Bluetooth Master function for the purpose of transmission and reception activity, the 802.11 LAN function de-asserts the Bluetooth permission signal, thereby disallowing any further Bluetooth function activity. As per the outstanding agreement, the Bluetooth function should have completed its current activity on the shared medium.

Shortly after the removal of the Bluetooth permission signal, the end of the length of time as was indicated in the NAV duration information should occur, allowing the normal 802.11 LAN medium access process to resume. It is possible that the NAV duration information exceeds the allotment of time required by the Bluetooth Master function—this may be intentionally done in order to allow the device's 802.11 LAN function to perform 802.11 activity within the same shared medium access period. It is also possible that the original NAV setting operation was preceded by other of this device's 802.11 activity, and that following the original NAV setting operation, but preceding any Bluetooth activity, this device's 802.11 LAN function engaged in 802.11 activity.

The transmission of the NAV information does not require a preceding transmission or reception or succeeding transmission or reception, although it may include such transmission or reception. In general, the use of some of the time which has been secured by the 802.11 LAN function through the NAV mechanism is to be used by the secondary LAN function to operate in a coordinated fashion with the primary, controlling LAN function. Best practices suggest the use of preceding transmissions and/or receptions in order to provide further/redundant guarantees that the other devices of the same type as the controlling LAN function have temporarily ceased their attempts to use the shared medium.

FIG. 9A is a diagram of a frame 140 generated by the first protocol module, which in this example, is compliant with a version of IEEE 802.11. The frame 140 includes a preamble 142, a header 144, and a fake PDSU 146. The preamble 142 and header 144 are implemented in accordance with a version of IEEE 802.11 and the header 144 includes a frame length indication. The fake PDSU 148 corresponds to the data field of a normal IEEE 802.11 compliant frame. However, in this instance, the data field is empty, meaning that the transmitter sends no energy during this period of time, and access permission to the shared communication resource is asserted 150 such that the second protocol module may transmit and/or receive communications 148 via the shared resource. When the frame 140 ends, the first protocol module de-asserts 152 the second protocol module's permission to access the shared medium.

FIG. 9B is a diagram of a frame 160 generated by the first protocol module, which in this example, is compliant with a version of IEEE 802.11. The frame 160 includes a preamble 162, a header 164, and a request to send (RTS) field 166. In the RTS field portion of frame 160, a RTS duration 168 is provided to other devices within the communication system. In response to frame 160, the first protocol module 160 receives a preamble 170, a header 172, and a clear to send (CTS) field 174. The header 172 and/or within the CTS field 174 include a CTS duration 178.

In response to the CTS field 174, the first protocol module generates another preamble 178 and another header field 180. In this embodiment, the header field 180 includes a PLP length 182, which is allocated to the second protocol module for second protocol transmissions 188 via assertion of permission 184 and a subsequent de-assertion of permission 186. In this example, the shared communication medium is still allocated to the first protocol module after de-assertion of access to the second protocol module such that the first protocol module may transmit 190 because the time allocated to the second protocol module and indicated in the PLCP length 182 was less than the time indicated in the CTS field 174.

FIG. 9C is similar to FIG. 9B, with the exception that the entire duration of access to the shared communication medium as indicated in the CTS field 174 is granted to the second protocol module.

FIG. 9D illustrates a variation to the allocation of access to the shared communication medium. In FIG. 9D, the first protocol module has access to the shared communication medium prior to access being passed to the second protocol module.

FIG. 9E illustrates another frame 200 that includes a preamble 202, a header 204, and a poll field 206. This field may be constructed in accordance with a version of IEEE 802.11 and include an indication of a CF (contention free)+Poll duration 208, which provides an indication of a maximum allowed opportunity for shared medium use on the part of the recipient. In this embodiment, the first protocol module of another transmitter which may or may not contain a second protocol function may transmit 210-1 followed by the transmission of another preamble 212 and a header 214 by the device which contains the first and second protocol functions. The header 214 indicates a PLCP length 182, during which access to the shared communication medium is provided to the second protocol module for transmissions 188. After the PLCP length 182 has ended, the first protocol module of the first transmitter may transmit 210-2 which may occur before the completion of the CF+POLL duration 208 time, provided that the recipient of the 210-1 has not employed all of the possible time allotted for transmissions by either the first or second protocol.

As one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, the term “substantially” or “approximately”, as may be used herein, provides an industry-accepted tolerance to its corresponding term and/or relativity between items. Such an industry-accepted tolerance ranges from less than one percent to twenty percent and corresponds to, but is not limited to, component values, integrated circuit process variations, temperature variations, rise and fall times, and/or thermal noise. Such relativity between items ranges from a difference of a few percent to magnitude differences. As one of ordinary skill in the art will further appreciate, the term “operably coupled”, as may be used herein, includes direct coupling and indirect coupling via another component, element, circuit, or module where, for indirect coupling, the intervening component, element, circuit, or module does not modify the information of a signal but may adjust its current level, voltage level, and/or power level. As one of ordinary skill in the art will also appreciate, inferred coupling (i.e., where one element is coupled to another element by inference) includes direct and indirect coupling between two elements in the same manner as “operably coupled”. As one of ordinary skill in the art will further appreciate, the term “compares favorably”, as may be used herein, indicates that a comparison between two or more elements, items, signals, etc., provides a desired relationship. For example, when the desired relationship is that signal 1 has a greater magnitude than signal 2, a favorable comparison may be achieved when the magnitude of signal 1 is greater than that of signal 2 or when the magnitude of signal 2 is less than that of signal 1.

The preceding discussion has presented a method and apparatus for coordinating multiple protocols using a shared communication medium. As one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, other embodiments may be derived from the teachings of the present invention without deviating from the scope of the claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8068478 *Dec 17, 2004Nov 29, 2011The Regents Of The University Of CaliforniaResource sharing broadband access system, methods, and devices
US8165102Sep 29, 2011Apr 24, 2012Ozmo, Inc.Apparatus and method for integrating short-range wireless personal area networks for a wireless local area network infrastructure
US8270378 *Sep 29, 2009Sep 18, 2012Texas Instruments IncorporatedAdaptive transmissions in wireless networks
US8462792 *Feb 28, 2011Jun 11, 2013Lantiq Deutschland, GmbHNetworks having plurality of nodes
US8599814Jul 27, 2012Dec 3, 2013Omega Sub Holdings, Inc.Apparatus and method for integrating short-range wireless personal area networks for a wireless local area network infrastructure
US8666315 *Aug 19, 2005Mar 4, 2014Telecom Italia S.P.A.Managing anonymous communications between users based on short-range wireless connection identifiers
US20090209202 *Aug 19, 2005Aug 20, 2009Giovanni MartiniManaging anonymous communications between users based on short-range wireless connection identifiers
US20100085946 *Sep 29, 2009Apr 8, 2010Texas Instruments IncorporatedAdaptive transmissions in wireless networks
US20110149785 *Feb 28, 2011Jun 23, 2011Lantiq Deutschland GmbhNetworks Having Plurality of Nodes
US20110274080 *Jul 20, 2011Nov 10, 2011Mediatek Inc.Systems and methods for activity coordination in multi-radio terminals
EP2098015A1 *Dec 14, 2007Sep 9, 2009Nokia Corp.Wireless non-cellular network
WO2013097962A1 *Oct 29, 2012Jul 4, 2013Robert Bosch GmbhCommunications system with control of access to a shared communications medium
Classifications
U.S. Classification370/461, 370/465, 370/443
International ClassificationH04J3/22, H04B7/212, H04L12/43, H04J3/16
Cooperative ClassificationH04L69/18, H04W48/08, H04W48/02, H04W74/02, H04W16/14, H04W84/12, H04W80/00, H04W88/06
European ClassificationH04W16/14, H04L29/06K, H04W88/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 5, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: BROADCOM CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FISCHER, MATTHEW JAMES;REEL/FRAME:015860/0422
Effective date: 20050307