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Publication numberUSH1804 H
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/026,485
Publication dateSep 7, 1999
Filing dateFeb 19, 1998
Priority dateSep 26, 1997
Publication number026485, 09026485, US H1804 H, US H1804H, US-H-H1804, USH1804 H, USH1804H
InventorsMark D. Browning, Cecil W. Johnson, Jr., Scott A. Kooy, H. John Lohn, III, R. Timothy Wallace
Original AssigneeBrowning; Mark D., Johnson, Jr.; Cecil W., Kooy; Scott A., Lohn, Iii; H. John, Wallace; R. Timothy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Span interface module for a telecommunications switching platform
US H1804 H
Abstract
An interface module capable of responding to heartbeat messages and identifying itself as operational over one bus or both buses of a redundant-pair control bus. The module also has a reprogrammable, nonvolatile memory associated with it from which the module can run its operating code. The module can also transfer the operating code into another memory, allowing it to make updates to the operating code stored in the nonvolatile memory without interrupting its execution of its run-time operating code.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. An interface module for use in a telecommunications switching platform for switching information channels borne on telecommunications signals connected to said interface module, said interface module comprising:
a control bus interface connected to a control bus within said telecommunications switching platform;
a controller connected to said control bus interface, said controller operable to communicate with other elements in said telecommunications switching platform through said control bus interface, said controller further operable to receive a primary heartbeat message as a part of said communication with said other elements and to transmit a primary heartbeat response upon receipt of said primary heartbeat message.
2. The interface module of claim 1 wherein said primary heartbeat response includes data sufficient to identify said interface module such that said telecommunications switching platform can compare said data to a table of known resources to determine whether the existence of said interface module had previously been detected by said telecommunications switching platform.
3. The interface module of claim 1 wherein said control bus is a pair of redundant control buses comprising a primary control bus and a secondary control bus.
4. The interface module of claim 3 wherein said interface module is further operable to receive through said control bus interface a secondary heartbeat message, which is received by said control bus interface from said secondary control bus.
5. The interface module of claim 4 wherein said interface module is one of a plurality of resources in the telecommunications switching platform, and wherein a first group of said plurality of resources is operable to use one of the redundant control buses as a primary bus and a second group of said plurality of resources is operable to use the other of the redundant control buses as a primary bus, and wherein said interface module is operable to determine which of said primary heartbeat messages are intended for said interface module.
6. The interface module of claim 5 wherein said control bus interface is operable to determine within said interface module which of said primary heartbeat messages are intended for the group to which said interface module belongs.
7. The interface module of claim 5 wherein said controller is operable to determine within said interface module which of said primary heartbeat messages are intended for the group to which said interface module belongs.
8. The interface module of claim 4 wherein said secondary heartbeat message is addressed to only one interface module.
9. The interface module of claim 8 wherein said control bus interface is operable to determine whether said secondary heartbeat message is addressed to said interface module.
10. The interface module of claim 8 wherein said controller is operable to determine whether said secondary heartbeat message is addressed to said interface module.
11. An interface module for use in a telecommunications switching platform for switching information channels borne on telecommunications signals connected to said interface module, said interface module comprising:
a control bus interface connected to a redundant pair of control buses within said telecommunications switching platform, said redundant pair of control buses comprising a primary control bus and a secondary control bus; and
a module controller connected to said control bus interface, said module controller operable to communicate with other elements in said telecommunications switching platform through said control bus interface, said module controller further operable: to receive a primary heartbeat message, which was received by said control bus interface from said primary control bus; to transmit a primary heartbeat response upon receipt of said primary heartbeat message; to receive a secondary heartbeat message, which was received by said control bus interface from said secondary control bus; and to transmit a secondary heartbeat response upon receipt of said secondary heartbeat message.
12. The interface module of claim 11 wherein each of said primary heartbeat response and said secondary heartbeat response is sufficient to identify said interface module such that said telecommunications switching platform can compare said data to a table of known resources to determine whether the existence of said interface module had previously been detected by said telecommunications switching platform.
13. An interface module for use in a telecommunications switching platform for switching information channels borne on telecommunications signals connected to said interface module, said interface module comprising:
a nonvolatile memory;
another memory;
a local communications controller operable to communicate with other elements in said telecommunications switching platform through a control bus; and
a module controller connected to said nonvolatile memory, said another memory, and said local communications controller, said module controller operable to control the operation of said interface module, said module controller further operable: to perform operations according to instructions stored in said nonvolatile memory; to effect the transfer of instructions from said nonvolatile memory to said another memory; to perform other operations according to instructions stored in said another memory; and to effect the loading of new operating instructions from the telecommunication switching platform's higher-level applications into said nonvolatile memory through said local communications controller.
14. The interface module of claim 13 wherein said module controller is operable to effect said loading of new operating instructions at substantially the same time as said module controller is performing said other operations according to instructions stored in said another memory.
15. The interface module of claim 14 wherein said module controller is operable to effect said loading of new operating instructions substantially without interruption of its operation according to instruction stored in said another memory.
16. An interface module for use in a telecommunications switching platform for switching information channels borne on telecommunications signals connected to said interface module, said interface module comprising:
a plurality of line interfaces for connection to telecommunication signals connected to said telecommunication switching platform;
a bus multiplexer connected to said plurality of line interfaces, said bus multiplexer operable to time-multiplex said telecommunication signals onto a high-speed bus;
a nonvolatile memory;
another memory;
a local communications controller operable to communicate with other elements in said telecommunications switching platform through a control bus; and
a module controller connected to said bus multiplexer, said nonvolatile memory, said another memory, and said local communications controller, said module controller operable to control the operation of said interface module, said module controller further operable: to perform operations according to instructions stored in said nonvolatile memory; to effect the transfer of instructions from said nonvolatile memory to said another memory; to perform other operations according to instructions stored in said another memory; and to effect the loading of new operating instructions from the telecommunication switching platform's higher-level applications into said nonvolatile memory through said local communications controller.
17. The interface module of claim 16 wherein said module controller is operable to effect said loading of new operating instructions at substantially the same time as said module controller is performing said other operations according to instructions stored in said another memory.
18. The interface module of claim 17 wherein said module controller is operable to effect said loading of new operating instructions substantially without interruption of its operation according to instruction stored in said another memory.
19. The interface module of claim 18 wherein said new operating instructions are downloaded from higher-level elements in the telecommunications switching platform and wherein said operating,instructions are uniquely identified by the format of the download of said operating instructions.
20. The interface module of claim 19 wherein said download of said operating instructions includes a header identifying the module and process within the telecommunications switching platform on which said operating instructions are to run.
Description
CLAIM OF PRIORITY

The instant patent application claims priority from the U.S. provisional patent application designated with Ser. No. 60/060,107, entitled "Cellular Communication System," naming Anthony G. Fletcher and Scott D. Hoffpauir as inventors, and which was filed on Sep. 26, 1997.

RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

The instant patent application is related to the following patent applications: (a) the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/026,467 designated by DSC Case No. 840-00 and Attorney Docket No. 24194000.185, entitled "Fault Testing in a Telecommunications System," naming H. John Lohn III and Sarvesh Asthana as inventors, and which was filed concurrently with the instant application; (b) the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/026,229 designated by DSC Case No. 841-00 and Attorney Docket No. 24194000.186, entitled "System and Method for Dynamically Mapping Components Within a Telecommunications Switching Platform," naming H. John Lohn III as inventor, and which was filed concurrently with this application; (c) the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/025,740 designated by DSC Case No. 846-00 and Attorney Docket No. 24194000.191, entitled "Switching Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform," naming Mark D. Browning, James M. Davis, Cecil W. Johnson, Jr., Scott A. Kooy, H. John Lohn III, and R. Timothy Wallace as inventors, and which was filed concurrently with this application; (d) the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/026,488 designated by DSC Case No. 848-00 and Attorney Docket No. 24194000.193, entitled "Signal-Processing Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform," naming Mark D. Browning, Cecil W. Johnson, Jr., Scott A. Kooy, H. John Lohn III, and R. Timothy Wallace as inventors, and which was filed concurrently with this application; (e) the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/026,321 designated by DSC Case No. 849-00 and Attorney Docket No. 24194000.194, entitled "Telephony-Support Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform," naming Mark D. Browning, Cecil W. Johnson, Jr., Scott A. Kooy, H. John Lohn III, Shawn W. Vines, and R. Timothy Wallace as inventors, and which was filed concurrently with this application; (f) the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/026,486 designated by DSC Case No. 851-00 and Attorney Docket No. 24194000.196, entitled "System and Method for Forming Circuit Connections within a Telecommunications Switching Platform," naming James M. Davis, Scott A. Kooy, and H. John Lohn III as inventors, and which was filed concurrently with this application.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to telecommunications systems and more particularly to mobile and land-based telecommunications switching platforms.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Telecommunications switching platforms commonly interface to telecommunications spans and switch control and information channels on those spans, forming cross connections between different input and output information channels. The telecommunications switching platforms typically interface to the telecommunications spans using E1 or T1 protocol interfaces.

In the event that an interface to a telecommunication span fails, or an interface is added or removed from the system while the system is operating, prior-art systems have failed to detect such failure or insertion or extraction. Thus, such systems are unable to be easily configured or reconfigured.

In prior-art telecommunications switching platforms a number of processors or controllers may be implemented to perform the numerous functions of the platforms. In such cases, each of the processors typically has an operating code associated with it. Prior-art systems have typically required that the operating code be downloaded into volatile memory from a high-level operating system, which might have its own associated nonvolatile semiconductor memory or hard disk drive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the problems associated with prior-art systems by providing a system and method for determining when an interface module has failed or been removed or inserted into an operating telecommunications switching platform. The present invention also provides for a system and method in which each of the interface modules has a reprogrammable, nonvolatile memory associated with it that has the interface module operating code stored in it.

A system in current operation is sometimes referred to as "hot," and thus the removal or reinsertion of one of these interface modules may be referred to herein as a "hot removal" or a "hot insertion." Interface modules connect externally to telecommunication signals or spans, which are most commonly industry-standard T1 or E1 spans each carrying a number of information channels as specified by the particular standard. These information channels may be traffic channels or control channels.

The interface modules communicate with other elements of the telecommunication switching platform through a control bus, which preferably comprises a pair of redundant control buses. Communications over the control bus is through a Local COMmunication (LCOM) protocol.

To monitor for, among other things, interface module failures, "hot insertions," and "hot removals," the LCOM protocol provides for a heartbeat messaging scheme. In one embodiment, this messaging scheme provides that one group of interface modules will use one of the redundant control buses as a primary bus, and that the other group of interface modules will use the other of the redundant control buses as a primary bus. Whichever group of interface modules uses one of these redundant buses as a primary bus will use the other of the redundant buses as a secondary bus.

An LCOM controller, within a first time period, sends a primary heartbeat message over both of the redundant control buses. The buses are individually addressed by use of an LCOM header. Supposing that one of the buses is referred to as Bus A and the other as Bus B, then there will be a "broadcast A" value placed in the LCOM header of the LCOM heartbeat message intended to be broadcast over Bus A and a "broadcast B" value placed in the LCOM header of the LCOM heartbeat message intended to be broadcast over Bus B. This process is preferably referred to herein as "primary heartbeat messaging."

The LCOM controller also preferably performs a type of heartbeat messaging known as "secondary heartbeat messaging." With the secondary heartbeat messaging, the LCOM controller preferably cycles through all known interface modules in the switching platform, by placing certain "slot IDs" in the LCOM header of each secondary heartbeat message. The LCOM controller then cycles through the known slots of the platform, making sure that each interface module is also capable of communicating over its secondary bus.

To allow for more efficient system power-up, the interface modules of the present invention preferably have their operating codes stored in a nonvolatile memory that can be reprogrammed without removing it from the system. For instance, the nonvolatile memory might be an Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) or it might be a battery-backed Static Random Access Memory (SRAM), or it might another type of nonvolatile, reprogrammable memory. By keeping the operating code in a nonvolatile memory associated with the interface module, the preferred embodiment platform eliminates the need for a time-consuming download of operating codes into a large number of volatile memories associated with the interface modules in the platform. Instead, each interface controller powers-up ready-to-operate with its own operating code. Then, if necessary, perhaps while the platform is already up and operating, new operating code can be downloaded and programmed into the nonvolatile memory of the interface modules without interruption to the system or delay in the system power-up.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an embodiment of the claimed telecommunications switching platform;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of lower-level functional elements within the telecommunications switching platform of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a timing diagram illustrating the multiplexing of telecommunications channels upon the high-speed buses of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a system-level block diagram illustrating how connections may be formed through the telecommunications switching platform of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of the interface module of FIGS. 1-2;

FIG. 6 is a software block diagram of the control framework, communications buffering, and software resources operating on the switching module of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of Primary Heartbeat Messaging function; and

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of the Secondary Heartbeat Messaging function.

All of these drawings are drawings of certain embodiments of the invention. The scope of the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated in the drawing and described below. Instead, the scope of the invention is set forth in the claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an embodiment of the present invention. This block shows the overall telecommunications-switching platform 10. This switching platform 10 includes redundant call processors 12 and Network Management System ("NMS") servers 14, as well as switching modules 16 and resource processors 18,20,22 that carry out a number of the lower-level tasks to be accomplished by the switching platform 10. Resource processors include, for example, a telephony-support module 18, an interface module 20, and a signal-processing module 22. The resource processors are described below, and are described in further detail in U.S. patent application Nos.: 09/025,740 (Docket No. 24194000.191), entitled "Switching Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform"; 09/026,488 (Docket No. 24194000.193), entitled "Signal-Processing Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform"; 09/026,321 (Docket No. 24194000.194, entitled "Telephony-Support Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform," all of which were filed on Feb. 19, 1998 and are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

The switching modules 16 and resource processors 18,20,22 communicate with each other through, for example, a control bus 24. Data is passed between these same elements over high-speed data buses 25, which are preferably time-multiplexed serial data buses. The operation of these high-speed data buses 25 will be described in greater deal in FIGS. 2-3 and the text accompanying these figures.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the switching modules 16 preferably communicate with higher-level functional elements (the call processors 12, for example) within the platform 10 through communication hubs 26. In an embodiment of the present invention, logical communication paths are made between the resource processors 18,20,22 and the higher-level functional elements via the switching module 16 through, for example, TCP/IP sockets through the communication hubs 26. The higher-level functional elements are described in greater detail in U.S. patent application No. 60/060,107, entitled "Cellular Communication System," naming Anthony G. Fletcher and Scott D. Hoffpauir as inventors, and which was filed on Sep. 26, 1997, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

The communication hubs 26 connect the call processors 12 to the switching modules 16 and the NMS servers 14. Preferably, there are two distinct LANs 28,30 within the call processor 12. The first LAN 28 connects the redundant call processors 12 to the redundant NMS servers 14 and redundant switching modules 16 through redundant communication hubs 26. The second LAN 30 can connect the redundant NMS servers 14 to local NMS clients 32 and/or remote NMS clients 34. Connection to remote NMS clients 34 is preferably performed through a router 36 and a modem 38. Since there is no direct NMS client access to the first LAN 28 on which the call processors 12, the switching modules 16, or the resource processors 18,20,22 operate, the NMS servers 14 may serve as "firewalls" against hacker intrusion into the switching platform 10.

With further reference to FIG. 1, the interface modules 20 connect externally to telecommunication spans 40 (see FIG. 2), which are, for example, industry-standard Tl or El spans each carrying a number of information channels as specified by the particular standard. These information channels may be telecommunications traffic channels or telecommunications control channels, as will be discussed below. Connection to the spans are made through span signal paths 41 from the interface modules to a span connector panel 42, which is the point at which the telecommunication spans 40 (see FIG. 2) physically connect to the switching platform 10.

Collectively, the switching modules 16, resource processors 18,20,22, control buses 24, high-speed buses 25, span signal paths 41, and span connector panel 42 are referred to as the Input/Output Sub-System ("IOSS") platform 27. In one embodiment of the present invention, the IOSS platform 27 resides on a single shelf within a telecommunications equipment rack and performs the lower-level functions within the telecommunications switching platform 10

Control bus 24 preferably comprises a pair of redundant control buses 24, over which the various resource processors 18,20,22 communicate using, for example, a Local COMmunication (LCOM) protocol. Although the high-speed data buses 25 are sometimes referred to as PCM buses, where PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation, which is a digital voice encoding standard, the data carried on them may include control information, signaling information, data information, and voice information encoded using other standards. For example, voice information that has been encoded by a Global Standard for Mobile Communication (GSM) system are encoded using a certain type of Linear Predictive Coding (LPC).

Communication hubs 26 are preferably Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN) communication hubs, although the hubs 26 may be hubs for other local networking protocols such as, for example, Token Ring or StarLAN. The communication hubs 26 and protocols may operate using either wired or wireless connection schemes. Although the resource processors 18,20,22 preferably communicate with higher-level functional elements in the system through the switching module 16 via Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol ("TCP/IP") sockets through the communication hubs 26, other networking protocols are possible. It is also possible, for example, to have such resource processors 18,20,22 directly connected to the higher-level elements in the system such that they will be directly addressed by these high-level elements using data and address buses.

"Lower-level" functions, which are described above as being performed by the IOSS platform 27 might be defined, for instance, as all functions within the Open System Interconnection ("OSI") framework as being below the Session Layer (Layer 4). Under such a division, the IOSS platform 27 would be responsible for communications routing and end-to-end delivery of information, including error recovery and flow control.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of lower-level functional elements within a telecommunications switching platform 10. At the center of this block diagram are the redundant switching modules 16, which connect to the higher-level functional elements in the platform 10 through the communication hubs 26. In this embodiment, all communications between the higher-level functionality and the resource processors 18,20,22 are routed through, for example, the active, or ONLINE, switching module 16 instead of the inactive or OFFLINE one of the redundant switching modules 16.

The switching module 16 performs a number of functions. For example, one function of the switching module 16 is switching the telecommunication information channels arriving into the platform 10 through the telecommunications spans 40. As shown in FIG. 2, telecommunication spans 40 are connected to the interface modules 20. Information channels are transmitted within the spans 40 through, for example, time division multiplexing. The switching module 16 contains switches 43, which are responsible for making the connections between information channel inputs and information channel outputs according to commands from the higher-level functionality within the platform such as the call processor 12. The software function within the call processor 12 that controls switching of the information channels at the applications layer may be called the Resource Manager.

The switching platform 10 is also operable to, for example, receive from and transmit to GSM-standard mobile phones. Under the GSM standard, wireless voice channels are transmitted at 16 kbps ("kbps"), using LPC coding, whereas under many land-based telephony standards voice channels are transmitted at 64 kbps using PCM coding. Thus, in order to connect a mobile caller to a land-based called party, it is necessary to adapt the rate of the 16 kbps GSM voice channel to the land-based 64 kbps standard. This rate conversion is accomplished by, for example, a signal processing module 22.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, a GSM Base Transceiver Station (BTS) 44 (see FIG. 4) transmits four GSM voice channels on a 64 kbps DSO information channel. The telecommunications switching platform 10 connects the 64 kbps DSO channel from the BTS 44 to a signal-processing module 22 so that the signal-processing module 22 can convert this DSO information channel into four discrete 64 kbps PCM-encoded channels. These four 64 kbps information channels are then switched to four different information channels. The final switching of four channels to four different channels will accomplish the end-to-end switching, or will connect one or more of the GSM voice channels to one of the telephony support functions (such as dial tones or signaling tone generation and decoding).

Since voice connections are bi-directional or full-duplex, the connection process described above is carried out in the reverse order to receive signals from the land-based information channels. Thus, the switching module 16 connects one 64 kbps DSO channel to the signal-processing module 22, then connects the four 64 kbps channels outputs from the signal-processing module 22 to four different 64 kbps information channels, and these connections are duplicated in the reverse direction, for a total of 10 switch connections.

Still referring to FIG. 2, connection is made between the information channels and the resource processors 18,20,22 and the switching modules 16 through a series of high-speed buses 25. As shown in FIG. 2, there are a total of 12 such buses used in this embodiment. For future capacity expansion, spare high-speed buses 25 may be included within the telecommunications rack and switch 43 may be configured to switch information channels on these additional buses. This embodiment includes four such spares, for a total of 16 high-speed buses. Each of these buses 25 operate at an exemplary data rate of 8.192 megabits per second ("Mbps"), which gives each bus 25 a capacity for 4 E1 spans, each E1 span having a bit rate of 2.044 Mbps. Each of these buses 25 is logically subdivided into 128 timeslots 46 (see FIG. 3). Each of these 128 timeslots 46 may be, for example, a 64 kbps channel. To share each of these buses between the various resources within the telecommunications switching platform 10, each resource or incoming information channel is assigned a certain position or timeslot within the buses 25 to which they are attached. The present invention, as set forth in certain of the claims hereinbelow, includes a novel method for assigning, maintaining, and utilizing the assignment of these timeslots 46 (see FIG. 3) to the various resources and information channels within the platform 10.

The switching module 16 uses a switch 43 to make connections between a timeslot 46 on one bus 25 to a different timeslot 46 on that same bus 25 or another bus 25. In an embodiment of the present invention, the switching module 16 is capable of connecting any of 2048 inputs to 2048 outputs. All of these connections can preferably be maintained simultaneously. The resources used within the switching platform 10 may be dynamically assigned based on system needs. As mentioned, the interface modules 20 form the entry and exit points for telecommunications spans 40 that are connected to the switching platform 10. Each of these interface modules 20 is capable of handling, for example, four E1 spans 40. Each E1 span may be comprised of 32 channels including 30 voice channels transmitted at 64 kbps, one 64 kbps framing channel, and one 64 kbps signaling channel. There are a total of six interface modules 20 shown in FIG. 2, each of which is preferably capable of handling four spans 40.

The switch 43 is preferably a Time-Space-Time switch, which is a space switch (i.e., a matrix switch) interposed between two time switches.

FIG. 3 shows how telecommunications channels may be multiplexed onto a single high-speed bus 25. In this embodiment, 128 traffic and/or information channels are multiplexed together to form a single frame that repeats every 125 μs. Each of the timeslots 46, which are numbered 1 through 128 in FIG. 3 and begin repeating again after 128 timeslots, preferably comprises a group of eight contiguous bits occurring every 125 μs. These repeating groups of bits are designated in the exemplary timeslot 1 (as shown by the break-out figure for that timeslot) as B0 through B7.

FIG. 4 illustrates how connections may be formed through a telecommunications switching platform 10. In this embodiment, four GSM mobile phones are shown in wireless communication with a BTS 44. By the time the GSM-encoded voice signals are transmitted from the BTS 44 to the switch platform 10, they form a 64 kbps DSO information channel 49, which would preferably be transmitted within a telecommunications span 40 as discussed above. The span 40 is then received by the interface module 20 and is passed from there to the switching module 16. Because there is no reason to change the assignment of this GSM-encoded information channel 49 into the switching module 16, and because the GSM-encoded information channels 49 will preferably always have to be rate-adapted by the signal-processing module 22, it is advantageous to semi-permanently connect and assign the information channel to the signal-processing module 22. This semi-permanent connection is referred to as an "nailed-up" connection 47. In accordance with this designation, the addressing information required to maintain this connection through the switch 43 is stored in a configuration table within the switching module 16. The addressing information is maintained there until the system is reconfigured or until an error occurs such as a component failure or a board is removed--which would require the connections to be reconfigured.

Still referring to FIG. 4, within the signal-processing module 22, a DSO channel comprising four 16 kbps GSM voice channels is expanded into four PCM-encoded information channels 48. This expansion is shown within the Transcoder Rate Adaptation Unit ("TRAU") functional block of the signal-processing module 22. These four PCM-encoded voice channels are then passed again back through the switching module 16. Since these various voice channels are switched in real time so that the GSM telephone users can make and receive phone calls to different individuals, the switching module 16 makes real-time switching assignments or connections 19 for these PCM-encoded voice channels 48. Thus, the switching module 16 dynamically updates the connection information describing how the circuits will be switched through the switch 43. In this example, the four PCM-encoded voice channels 48 are all passed through the same or a different interface modules 20 and are then transmitted to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Instead of connecting GSM callers to other parties through the PSTN, a GSM caller may call another GSM mobile telephone also connected to the same telecommunications switching platform. In that circumstance, one of the PCM-encoded voice channels 48 would be re-routed through the switch 43 to another channel of a signal-processing module 22 to be rate-adapted back to a 16 kbps GSM-encoded information channel 49 and then passed again through the switching module 16 and through the original or another interface module 20 to the same or another BTS 44. Again, the routing involved in such an end-to-end connection through the switching platform 10 can be very complex.

A block diagram of the exemplary interface module 20 is provided in FIG. 5. The interface module 20 is the point at which the telecommunications spans 40 enter the switching platform 10. These connections are shown where the four spans 40 enter the interface module 20 and are connected to four line interface circuits 80. Depending on the ability to integrate the functions of the line interface circuit 80, these functions could be implemented in a single integrated component or in a greater number of components. Also, although interface module 20 is shown having four span connections, more or less of the spans 40 could be handled by a single module 20, depending on the state of the technology used and the complexity of the functions provided in a particular module.

With further reference to FIG. 5, a span interface controller 82 provides control of the interface module 20. The span interface controller 82 communicates with other components within the interface module 20 through span interface address and data bus 84. The interface module 20 communicates with other components in the IOSS platform 27, particularly with the switching module 16, through the redundant control buses 24. A Local COMmunications or "LCOM" controller 86 is provided to implement the communications protocol by which this communication is carried out. The LCOM controller 86 is operable to communicate with the switching module 16 through the redundant control buses 24.

Associated with the LCOM controller 86 is a nonvolatile memory 88 in which this interface module 20 can maintain its operating code in a nonvolatile fashion. Preferably, this nonvolatile memory 88 is a FLASH memory, whereby although the code is stored a nonvolatile fashion, it can still be changed with minimal effort. Another memory 89, a DRAM or SRAM for example, is also provided for storage of the controller's 182 real-time executable code and data. A bus multiplexer 90 is provided so that in this embodiment the four telecommunications spans 40 can be multiplexed onto a single high-speed bus 25 and transmitted to the switching module 16.

As mentioned, and with further reference to FIG. 5, the interface module 20 comprises a controller 82 for managing the functions provided by the interface module 20. The memory 89 preferably provides data and real-time executable code storage, while the nonvolatile memory 88 preferably provides storage of the interface module's boot code or other nonvolatile code.

To allow for more efficient system power-up, the interface modules 20 of the present invention preferably have their operating codes stored in the nonvolatile memory 54, which can be reprogrammed without removing it from the system. For instance, the nonvolatile memory 88 might be an Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) or it might be a battery-backed Static Random Access Memory (SRAM), or it might another type of nonvolatile, reprogrammable memory. By keeping the operating code in a nonvolatile memory 88 associated with the interface module 20, the preferred embodiment platform 10 eliminates the need for a time-consuming download of operating code into a large number of volatile memories 88 associated with the interface modules 20 in the platform 10. Instead, each controller 82 powers-up ready-to-operate with its own operating code. Then, if necessary, perhaps while the platform is already up and operating, new operating code can be downloaded and programmed into the nonvolatile memories 88 of the interface modules 20 without interruption to the system or delay in the system power-up.

The download of the operating code from the high-level elements in the system preferably comprises the access of a hard disk drive connected to the call processors 12. Within the hard drive is stored a number of files containing the operating code for various processors on the switching modules 16 and resource processors 18,20,22 in the telecommunication switching platform 10. For example, a number of files might be assigned as follows according to the particular module in the switching platform and the resources operating on the modules:

______________________________________Module Names        SDM    PSM     SPM      QSM______________________________________P    Boot Code     X        X     X      Xr    Operating Code              X        X     X      Xo    R2 Signaling Code      X            Xc    FPGA Code     X        X     X      Xe    Voice Message          Xs    Codes    DSP Code               X     X______________________________________

Thus, for each cell in the above table that is marked with an "X", the call processor 12 and its associated hard drive (or other storage device) preferably will maintain a file containing operating code for the indicated process. If a resource processor wakes up already having valid operating code stored in it, the resource processor will begin operating from that code. If, on the other hand, a resource processor does not contain valid operating code on start-up, it will have to wait until at least some of these files are downloaded to it before it can begin operating. Also, when file updates are made to these operating code files, the Resource Manager level of the call processor can request that these file updates be made to the various resource processors 18,20,22 and switching modules 16.

The download of each of the files will preferably have a particular format that will identify the type of file that is being downloaded. Particularly, the file will have a file signature that identifies the generation of switching platform on which the file is to reside, the particular module, and the type of code within the particular module. The format of the file will preferably be as follows:

______________________________________FILE HEADER - 32 BYTES FILE   END-OF-FILE                         & CRCJUMP  FILE       VERSION  LENGTH FILE EOF + CRC SIGNATURE______________________________________

In the above file format, the first two bytes are preferably a JUMP code, which are preferably used only for the controller in the resource processor. Files not intended for the controller might include a false jump code such as, for example, "00." The "EOF" code is optional and preferably not needed in the file format, since there is a "LENGTH" field.

The bus multiplexer 90 is provided to make the appropriate connections between information channels that have been routed to the interface module 20 and the appropriate telecommunications span 40. Specifically, under the direction of the controller 82, the bus multiplexer 90, places incoming information channels from the telecommunications spans 40 onto their designated position or timeslot on the high speed bus 25. Correspondingly, the bus multiplexer also places outgoing information channels from their timeslots on the high speed bus 25 onto the appropriate timeslot on one of the outgoing telecommunication spans 40.

Still referring to FIG. 5, the high-speed bus 25 comprises 128 transmit timeslots and 128 receive timeslots; as each of these timeslots is preferably a 64 kbps information channel, the high-speed bus 25 is preferably an 8.192 Mbps Time-Division-Multiplexed (TDM) bus. Preferably, the high-speed bus 25 shown in FIG. 5 is dedicated exclusively to the interface module 20.

The bus multiplexer 90, which is preferably a Siemens MUSAC integrated circuit although other commercially-available multiplexers may be used, preferably switches these transmit and receive timeslots to the four line interfaces 80. In this embodiment, there are four line interfaces 80, each of which is connected to a single telecommunications span 40. It would be possible, however, to handle different numbers of telecommunications spans than four using a given interface module 20. Depending on the speed of the high-speed bus 25 and other resources within the interface module 20, more or less telecommunications spans 40 might be accommodated by a single interface module 20. In one embodiment of the invention, a unique logical identifier is assigned to each information channel that is carried within the attached telecommunications spans 40. Each of these information channels is thereby assigned a timeslot 46 on the high-speed bus 25.

In addition to effecting connections between information channels on the high-speed bus 25 and on the telecommunications spans 40, the controller 82 also effects communication with the switching module 16 through the LCOM controller 86. A unique protocol has been adapted for communications among the switching module 16 and the resource processors 18,20,22 over the control bus 24. The LCOM protocol has driver software that is compiled to run on the controller for the switching module 16, as well as the controllers for the resource processors 18,20,22. The LCOM protocol also has an applications layer or applications software, which operates at the higher level above the driver software.

The LCOM driver is capable of managing the redundant control buses 24, which are preferably two ESCC2 synchronous serial buses operating at up to 2 Mbps each, and in one preferred embodiment operate at 256 kbps. The LCOM driver comprises an interrupt service routine and receive and transmit queues.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the LCOM driver in the switching module 16 utilizes two tasks, LCOM 124 and LCMR 128, to provide routing to and from the driver software.

The driver transmits and receives one message per frame. In one embodiment, the message has the following format:

______________________________________LCOM-- HEADER - 4 BYTESUINT1       UINT1      UINT2      any type______________________________________

The first four bytes of the message is the LCOM-- HEADER, which is available only to the LCOM software.

On the switching modules 16 and resource processors 18,20,22, there are preferably two transmit queues, one for each transmit bus 24. A message is placed in a transmit queue with a LcomSendMessage call 122. LcomSendMessage 122 has the following format:

UINT1 LcomSendMessage (UINT1 processor-- id, UINT1 process id,

UINT2 length, void FAR *msg)

The "processor-- id" field is the slot id of the desired destination board. The slot id is simply the slot in which the desired destination board is located. There are two exceptions to using the slot id: BID-- SDM is used in place of the slot id to send to the switching module 16; BID-- PSM is used in place of the slot id to send to the on-line telephony-support module 18.

The "process-- id" field preferably identifies either a task on the switching module 16, such as the tasks 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140 or a pseudo-task on the resource processors 18,20,22.

The "length" field is the length of the raw message. This length does not include the length of the LCOM-- HEADER, which is preferably four bytes.

The "msg" field is any data of any data type, although the message's length is preferably limited by a constant known to the software.

The type of message preferably determines which queue the message is placed in. On the resource processors 18,20,22, if the message is a normal traffic message, it is placed in the queue that serves the primary bus 24. If it is an LCOM application message, the message is placed on either a primary or a secondary bus 24. On the switching module 16, if the message is a normal traffic message, a Heartbeat Table (described below) determines in which queue the message is placed. If it is an LCOM application message, the message may be placed on either of the buses.

Referring now to FIG. 7, the LCOM application software for the resource processors 18,20,22 consists of two message functions, which handle all LCOM heartbeat messages: Primary Heartbeat Messaging and Secondary Heartbeat Messaging.

Primary Heartbeat Messaging. Primary heartbeat messaging is the ONLINE switching module's 16 mechanism for detecting and responding to hot insertions, hot removals, and primary LCOM bus 24 failures. "Hot" insertions and removals refer to insertions and removals that are performed when the switching platform 10 is powered-on and operating. A Heartbeat Table is provided on the switching module to monitor the status of the various resources in the telecommunications switching platform. The Heartbeat Table is kept at a lower applications level in the system than is the Configuration Table, and these tables are preferably separate. Other embodiments are, however, possible in the present invention; specifically, the status information could be maintained in real-time in the configuration table, and the below-mentioned updates to the Heartbeat Table could be made instead to the Configuration Table.

Periodically, at step 152, the switching module 16 broadcasts a heartbeat message on both control buses 24. Each resource processor 18,20,22 responds at step 154 to the broadcasted message received on its primary bus 24. For each resource processor 18,20,22 that responds to a primary heartbeat message, the Heartbeat Table is checked at step 156 to determine if the resource processor 18,20,22 was previously registered therein. This is done for each responding RP, as can be seen by decision block 160. If a newly inserted resource processor 18,20,22 responds to the broadcasted message, the switching module 16 registers this slot as a hot insertion at step 158. If an existing resource processor 18,20,22 fails to respond, (at step 162,) in the next heartbeat cycle the switching module 16 board tries transmitting a Heartbeat Message over the secondary bus 24 (at step 164). If the resource processor still fails to respond over the secondary bus 24, according to the test at step 166, then the switching module 16 registers either a hot removal or a board failure for that resource processor 18,20,22 at step 168. The switching module 16 makes this registration by removing the resource processor 18,20,22 from the Heartbeat Table and updating the Cnfg-- Platform-- Config table 102 (see FIG. 6).

Still referring to FIG. 7, more detailed embodiments will be discussed below. In one embodiment, at step 152, the LCMH task clears the response number and response bus fields of the Heartbeat Table and broadcasts the heartbeat message on both buses 24 in an alternating fashion. In other words, the LCMH will transmit a heartbeat message first over one of the buses (Bus A) and then will transmit a heartbeat message on the other bus (Bus B). Bus A may be a primary bus for some resource processors 18,20,22 and may be a secondary bus for the others. Bus B may be a primary bus for those buses for which Bus A was the secondary bus and may be a secondary bus for the others. The LCMH task sends the broadcast heartbeat message, which is preferably of the following format:

______________________________________PROCESSOR ID   PROCESS ID  LENGTH   BUS-- ID______________________________________UINT1          UINT1       UINT2    UINT1Either         PID-- LCOM--                      0x0001   BUSABROADCAST-- ADDR-- A or          HEARTBEAT            OrBROADCAST-- ADDR-- B      BUSB______________________________________

BROADCAST-- ADDR-- A is used for broadcasting to those resource processors 18,20,22 that have Bus A as their primary bus 24. BROADCAST-- ADDR-- B is used for broadcasting to those resource processors 18,20,22 that have bus B as their primary bus 24. The Bus-- Id corresponds to the primary bus 24 of the resource processor 18,20,22.

Each resource processor 18,20,22 is preferably configured to receive a broadcast heartbeat message on its primary bus 24, so each resource processor 18,20,22 receives and responds at step 154 to only one of the broadcasted heartbeats. Upon reception, a message distributor within the resource processor 18,20,22 sends it to the PidCmnLcomHeartbeat message function. This message function performs actions depending on the resource processor 18,20,22 state and then responds at step 154 to the switching module 16 by sending a heartbeat response message on its primary bus 24. An exemplary format for the heartbeat response message is defined below:

__________________________________________________________________________PROCESSOR  PROCESS    LCOM MESSAGEID     ID    LENGTH             TYPE     SLOT ID                            BUS-- ID__________________________________________________________________________UINT1  UINT1 UINT2             UINT1    UINT1 UINT1BID-- SDM  LCMH-- ID        0x0003             0x01     Slot ID of                            ESCC2-- BUSA                      the resource                            or                      processor                            ESCC2-- BUSB                      18,20,22__________________________________________________________________________

The LCMH ID is the process-- id of the LCMH-- ID task. The Bus-- Id represents the primary bus 24 of the resource processor 18,20,22.

When the switching module 16 receives a heartbeat response message from a resource processor 18,20,22, it is distributed to the LCMH task, which at step 158 updates the Heartbeat Table for that particular resource processor 18,20,22. The Heartbeat Table is updated to indicate the new valid response count and the new bus 24 on which the response was received.

After one second has elapsed since the broadcast, the LCMH task updates the Heartbeat Table state fields based on the responses collected in the response number and response bus fields of the Heartbeat Table. The LCMH task then performs actions based on the state of each resource processor 18,20,22 in the Heartbeat Table.

The following sections describe how the heartbeat mechanism detects hot insertions, hot removals, and primary LCOM bus 24 failures.

Hot Insertions. The following method for detecting hot insertions accounts for the switching module 16 or the resource processor 18,20,22 powering up first, and allows for new resource processors 18,20,22 to attempt connection on both buses 24 in case the board has only one good bus 24. Also, this method eliminates the need for CNFG task to ping all slots at startup. The CNFG task is described in greater detail in U.S. patent application No. 09/026,486 (Docket No. 24194000.196), entitled "System and Method for Forming Circuit Connections within a Telecommunications Switching Platform," filed on Feb. 19, 1998, which is incorporated by reference herein.

When a resource processor 18,20,22 has finished booting and initializing, it goes into registration mode. In an attempt to balance the message load, the board initially sets its broadcast address and primary bus 24 based on its slot number. In one embodiment, if a resource processor 18,20,22 is located on a telecommunications rack slot having an odd slot number, its initial primary bus 24 will be Bus B. If it is in a slot having an even slot number, its initial primary bus 24 will be Bus A. This helps in load sharing and reducing the number of collisions on the control buses 24.

Although the buses 24 are preferably wired-OR buses, upon which collisions are possible, the buses 24 may be other types of buses or the resource processors 18,20,22 might be connected to each other using local area network connections. In any case, even if collisions cannot happen on the buses 24, the load-sharing by division of resource processors 18,20,22 between two communications media is still advantageous in balancing the traffic load therebetween.

The switching module 16 receives the heartbeat response, and after one second has elapsed since sending the heartbeat message, updates the Heartbeat Table to indicate that the new board is ON-LINE. And then sends a PID-- CHANGE-- BROADCAST-- ADDR message to the resource processor 18,20,22 (note this message is mainly used to swap broadcast addresses). The PID-- CHANGE-- BROADCAST-- ADDR message has the following format:

______________________________________PROCESSOR ID     PROCESS ID     LENGTH   BUS-- ID______________________________________UINT1     UINT1          UINT2    UINT1Slot ID of the     PID-- CHANGE                    0x0001   eitherresource processor     BROADCAST-- ADDR   ESCC2-- BUSA18,20,22                          or                             ESCC2-- BUSB______________________________________

When the resource processor 18,20,22 receives the PID-- CHANGE-- BROADCAST-- ADDR message, it leaves registration mode, and goes into normal operation mode. The resource processor 18,20,22 is then able to transmit all messages.

If the resource processor 18,20,22 does not receive a heartbeat message from the switching module 16, the transmission bus 24 and broadcast address are changed to the other bus 24. If there is no heartbeat message within a second time period, the transmission bus 24 and broadcast address are changed back to the original bus 24, and so on. This bus switching allows the resource processor 18,20,22 to attempt connection on both buses 24 in case one is bad.

Bus and Board Failure Detection. The following bus failure detection method detects individual resource processor 18,20,22 primary bus 24 failure within one time period and individual resource processor 18,20,22 failure within two time periods. A time period is preferably one second, but these time periods can be shortened to any desired time period by increasing the rate of the heartbeat messages from the switching module 16. In one embodiment, the LCOM protocol only assumes board failure, but cannot determine between resource processor board 18,20,22 failure and hot removal.

Thus, when a resource processor 18,20,22 stops responding on both buses according to the test at step 16, LCOM sends CNFG a BOARD-- NOT-- RESP message at step 168. CNFG must determine if a board has failed or has been removed based on the ONLINE or OFFLINE state of the resource processor 18,20,22.

If the switching module 16 receives responses from all existing resource processors 18,20,22 within a first period, it proceeds assuming that all is well at step 170. But if the switching module 16 does not receive a response from an already-existing resource processor 18,20,22, the switching module 16 assumes that, at the least, that the unresponsive resource processor 18,20,22 has a bad transmit or receive bus driver of its primary bus 24. The Heartbeat Table is updated accordingly at step 164. If the secondary bus 24 is also known bad, a BOARD-- NOT-- RESP is sent to CNFG at step 168 since no communication with the resource processor 18,20,22 is possible. If the secondary bus 24 is known to be good, the process proceeds to step 169. At step 169, a minor alarm message is sent to the CNFG task on the switching module 16. Also at step 169, a set broadcast address message is sent from the switching module 16 to the unresponsive resource processor 18,20,22 on the secondary bus 24 so that resource processor is communicated with over its secondary bus 24.

If the resource processor 18,20,22 receives the set broadcast address command, the Change Broadcast Address message function will set the broadcast address according to the Bus-- Id field of the message. This also swaps the primary and secondary bus 24 (and queue) so that the new primary bus 24 is the old secondary bus 24, and the new secondary bus 24 is the old primary bus 24. This will allow the resource processor 18,20,22 to receive and respond to heartbeats on the known good bus 24.

In cases when the resource processor 18,20,22 is not able to respond to heartbeat messages within the prescribed heartbeat period, preferably one second, the LcomStopResponding function is called. This puts the resource mprocessor 18,20,22 back in registration mode, and sends an LCOM stop responding message to the switching module 16. This tells the switching module 16 to ignore any unresponsiveness of a board. In other words, if the switching module 16 does not get a heartbeat response from the resource processor 18,20,22, no alarms are sent to the CNFG task. The LCOM stop responding message has the following format:

______________________________________                       LCOMPROCESSOR    PROCESS            MESSAGEID       ID        LENGTH   TYPE    SLOT ID______________________________________UINT1    UINT1     UINT2    UINT1   UINT1BID-- SDM    LCMH-- ID              0x0003   0x02    Slot ID of                               the resource                               processor                               18,20,22______________________________________

Once the unresponsive state has been reached, the switching module 16 behaves as if the resource processor 18,20,22 is not present. Then, when the resource processor 18,20,22 receives and processes an LCOM heartbeat, the resource processor and the switching module 16 behave as if the resource processor 18,20,22 was a hot insertion.

Secondary Heartbeat Messaging. Referring now to FIG. 8, secondary heartbeat messaging is the ONLINE switching module 16 mechanism for detecting a bad secondary bus 24 on a resource processor 18,20,22. This mechanism is important so CNFG can be warned that the secondary bus 24 is bad, so no attempt is made to use this as a primary bus 24. Instead, an operator can then force the suspect board into OFFLINE mode and replace it with another without losing any messages. The secondary bus 24 failure method detects bus failure of secondary buses 24, preferably within twenty heartbeat periods in an embodiment where twenty resource processors 18,20,22 exist on the IOSS platform 27.

During each heartbeat period, the switching module 16 sends a secondary heartbeat message at step 182. This heartbeat message is in addition to the primary heartbeat message, but it is only addressed for one registered resource processor 18,20,22. In one embodiment, the secondary heartbeat message is always sent on the secondary bus 24. Preferably, the secondary heartbeat message has the same format as the primary heartbeat message, which was described above.

At step 184, the resource processor 18,20,22 responds to the secondary heartbeat message the same way it responds to a primary heartbeat message, but it responds on the secondary bus 24. In this embodiment, this is the only message that is sent on the secondary bus 24 from a resource processor 18,20,22. The format of the secondary heartbeat response message is preferably the same as the format of the primary heartbeat response described above.

The switching module 16 preferably responds to the secondary heartbeat response message the same way it responds to a primary heartbeat response message. When the switching module 16 receives a valid heartbeat response message from a resource processor 18,20,22 according to the test step 186, it is distributed to the LCMH task, which updates the Heartbeat Table. The Heartbeat Table is updated at step 188 to indicate the new valid response count and the new bus 24 on which the response was received.

If, after the heartbeat period elapses, the switching module 16 does not receive a response from the resource processor 18,20,22, it is assumed that the unresponsive resource processor 18,20,22 has, at the least, either bad transmit or receive bus 24 driver on its secondary bus 24. Then, at step 190, the Heartbeat Table is updated accordingly and a minor alarm message is sent to CNFG, since communication with the resource processor 18,20,22 is still possible on the primary bus 24.

According to step 192, each period, a different registered resource processor 18,20,22 is addressed until they all have been addressed. When a secondary heartbeat message has been sent to all registered boards, the cycle starts over.

OFFLINE Heartbeat Response Reception. OFFLINE heartbeat response reception is the OFFLINE switching module 16 mechanism for detecting a bad bus 24 on the OFFLINE switching module 16. This mechanism is important so the CNFG task can be warned that a OFFLINE switching module 16 bus is bad, so it will never attempt to use it. The switching module 16 board can then be replaced by an operator without losing any messages. OFFLINE heartbeat response reception allows detection of OFFLINE switching module 16 bus error, preferably within twenty seconds. The OFFLINE Heartbeat Response Reception is also a passive mechanism. No messages are sent to resource processors 18,20,22 from the OFFLINE switching module 16. Instead, the OFFLINE switching module 16 utilizes the resource processors 18,20,22 responses to the ONLINE switching module 16 to determine bus status.

Preferably, within twenty heartbeat periods, the OFFLINE switching module 16 should receive twenty complete sets of primary heartbeat response messages and one or more sets of secondary heartbeat response messages. When the OFFLINE switching module 16 receives a heartbeat response, it is distributed to the LCMH task, which updates the Heartbeat Table.

After the preferred twenty heartbeat periods, the Heartbeat Table is checked. If the table indicates at least one reception of a heartbeat response on bus A and bus B, all is well. The OFFLINE heartbeat response reception begins another cycle, but if the table indicates no receptions on a particular bus 24, then that bus is assumed bad. A warning alarm is sent to the CNFG task to inform it of the bad bus 24.

Heartbeat Table Operation; ONLINE Switching Module 16 Operation. When the switching module 16 becomes ONLINE, if either bus 24 is known bad, the switching module 16 will send a set broadcast address message to all boards using the good bus 24. The set broadcast address message is defined above. This ensures that each resource processor 18,20,22 uses the only good bus as its primary bus 24.

Next all response number fields of the Heartbeat Table are initialized to LCOM-- NO-- CARD. As responses start coming in, the state will change to indicate the primary bus 24 of each board.

After initialization, the LCMH task periodically resets the Heartbeat Table response number fields to zero and the Heartbeat Table response bus fields to ESCC2-- NO-- BUS for each resource processor 18,20,22. When a valid heartbeat response message is received from a resource processor 18,20,22, the Heartbeat Table response number field for that board is incremented, indicating a valid reception. The Heartbeat Table bus response field is also updated according to the bus 24 on which the heartbeat response message is received.

The Heartbeat Table state field is updated according to the values of the Heartbeat Table response number and response bus fields.

The Heartbeat State Table holds the heart beat state value for each slot of the system. There are dynamic states which are transient states having a duration of one period and there are static states changing only upon certain events. The following lists possible static and dynamic heartbeat states and descriptions:

______________________________________STATIC HEARTBEAT STATE             DESCRIPTION______________________________________LCOM FIRST A      A is primary bus, B is goodLCOM FIRST B      B is primary bus, A is goodLCOM-- SECOND-- A-- P             A is primary bus, B is bad due to             primary bus failureLCOM-- SECOND-- B-- P             B is primary bus, A is bad due to             primary bus failureLCOM-- SECOND-- A-- S             A is primary bus, B is bad due to             secondary bus failureLCOM-- SECOND-- B-- S             B is primary bus, A is bad due to             secondary bus failureLCOM-- NO-- CARD                                         No card is connected in             this slot             (Initialized to this at boot)______________________________________DYNAMIC HEARTBEAT STATE             DESCRIPTION______________________________________LCOM-- GOTO-- SECOND-- A-- P             A becomes primary bus because no             response on previous primary bus             B. Sends AlarmLCOM-- GOTO-- SECOND-- B-- P             B becomes primary bus because no             response on previous primary bus             A. Sends AlarmLCOM-- GOTO-- SECOND-- A-- S             A remains primary bus, but             detected secondary bus failure             on B. Sends Alarm.LCOM-- GOTO-- SECOND-- B-- S             B remains primary bus, but             detected secondary bus failure             on A. Sends AlarmLCOM-- GOTO-- FIRST-- A-- P              A remains primary bus, but bus B             which previously had a bus A             primary failure is now working.             Send clear AlarmLCOM-- GOTO-- FIRST-- B-- P              B remains primary bus, but bus A             which previously had a bus A             primary failure is now working.             Send clear AlarmLCOM-- GOTO-- FIRST-- A-- S              A remains primary bus, but bus A             which previously had a bus B             secondary failure is now working.             Send clear AlarmLCOM-- GOTO-- FIRST-- B-- S              A remains primary bus, but bus A             which previously had a bus B             secondary failure is now working.             Send clear AlarmLCOM-- FAILING                                                   Failing because             of no response on             A or B. Sends BOARD NOT             RESP.LCOM-- GOTO-- FIRST                                      Received first response from             card             since boot______________________________________

Each slot of the Heartbeat Table state field is preferably updated every heartbeat period. The following events within the heartbeat period induce a change: reception of a Primary Heartbeat Response Message; reception of a Secondary Heartbeat Response Message; no reception of Primary Heartbeat Response Message; and no reception of a Secondary Heartbeat Response Message.

The following state table shows the next state that results from an event occurring during the current state.

__________________________________________________________________________  PRIMARY         NO PRIMARY                 SECONDARY                        NO SECONDARYCURRENT  HEARTBEAT         HEARTBEAT                 HEARTBEAT                        HEARTBEATSTATE  RECEPTION         RECEPTION                 RECEPTION                        RECEPTION__________________________________________________________________________FIRST-- A  FIRST-- A         GOTO--                 FIRST-- A                        GOTO--         SECOND-- B-- P                        SECOND-- A-- SFIRST-- B  FIRST-- B         GOTO--                 FIRST-- B                        GOTO--         SECOND-- A-- P                        SECOND-- B-- SSECOND-- A-- P  SECOND-- A-- P         FAILING GOTO--                        SECOND-- A-- P                 FIRST-- A-- PSECOND-- B-- P  SECOND-- B-- P         FAILING GOTO--                        SECOND-- B-- P                 FIRST-- B-- PSECOND-- A-- S  SECOND-- A-- S         FAILING GOTO--                        SECOND-- A-- S                 FIRST-- A-- SSECOND-- B-- S  SECOND-- B-- S         FAILING GOTO--                        SECOND-- B-- S                 FIRST-- B-- SNO CARD  GOTO-- FIRST         NO-- CARD                 NO-- CARD                        NO-- CARD__________________________________________________________________________

The following states cause the following responses, and preferably immediately advance to another state:

______________________________________CURRENT STATE        RESPONSE        NEXT STATE______________________________________GOTO-- SECOND-- B-- P        Send an alarm to CNFG                        SECOND-- B-- P        that bus A has a primary        failure, and send a set        broadcast address message        to the resource processor        18,20,22.GOTO-- SECOND-- A-- P        Send an alarm to CNFG                        SECOND-- A-- P        that bus B has a primary        failure, and send a set        broadcast address message        to the resource processor        18,20,22.GOTO-- SECOND-- B-- S        Send an alarm to CNFG                        SECOND-- B-- S        that bus A has a        secondary failure.GOTO-- SECOND-- A-- P        Send an alarm to CNFG                        SECOND-- A-- S        that bus B has a        secondary failure.GOTO-- FIRST-- B-- P        Send an alarm clear to                        FIRST-- B        CNFG that bus A has a        primary failure.GOTO-- FIRST-- A-- P        Send an alarm clear to                        FIRST-- A        CNFG that bus B has a        primary failure.GOTO-- FIRST-- B-- S        Send an alarm clear to                        FIRST-- B        CNFG that bus A has a        secondary failure.GOTO-- FIRST-- A-- S         Send an alarm clear to                        FIRST-- A        CNFG that bus B has a        secondary failure.FAILING                                        NO-- CARD                                                     BOARD--        NOT-- RESP        to CNFG that resource        processor 18,20,22.GOTO-- FIRST                        FIRST-- A oret broadcast        address message to the                        FIRST-- B        resource processor                                                     18,20,22. The        new address        corresponds to the bus in        Heartbeat Table.______________________________________

Heartbeat Table Operation; OFFLINE Switching Module 16 Operation. After a period, preferably every twenty seconds, the LCMH task resets the OFFLINE switching module 16 fields of the Heartbeat Table. The Heartbeat Table response number field is set to 0, and the Heartbeat Table response bus field is set to ESCC2-- NO-- BUS. Then, within preferably twenty periods, when a valid primary or secondary heartbeat response message has not been received from a resource processor 18,20,22 and the Bus-- Id of the response does not match the previous Bus-- Id, the Heartbeat Table is updated to indicate the new valid response count and the new bus 24 on which the response was received.

Again, after a period, the OFFLINE switching module 16 slot of the Heartbeat Table is updated based on the Heartbeat Table response number and response bus fields. If a bus 24 fails, an alarm is sent to the CNFG task. If both buses 24 fail, a BOARD-- NOT-- RESP message is sent to the CNFG task. The following shows the state of this entry based on the responses indicated by the latter tables:

______________________________________RESPONSES RECEIVED STATE______________________________________Responses on bus A and B              LCOM-- OFF-- NO-- FAILResponse on bus A only              LCOM-- OFF-- B-- FAILResponse on bus B only              LCOM-- OFF-- A-- FAILNo response        LCOM-- OFF-- ALL-- FAIL______________________________________

Also, for each bus 24 with no response, an alarm message is sent to the CNFG task, warning it of existing bad OFFLINE switching module buses.

Described above are a system and method for providing telecommunications span interface functions in a telecommunications switching platform. As such, an interface module has been described that is capable of responding to heartbeat messages and identifying itself as operational over one bus or both buses of a redundant-pair control bus. The module also has a reprogrammable, nonvolatile memory associated with it from which it can run its operating code. The module can also transfer the operating code into another memory, allowing it to make updates to the operating code stored in the nonvolatile memory without interrupting its execution of its run-time operating code.

A few preferred embodiments have been described in detail hereinabove. It is to be understood that the scope of the invention also comprehends embodiments different from those described, yet within the scope of the claims.

For example, the terms "controller," "processing circuitry," and "control circuitry" comprehend ASICs (application specific integrated circuits), PAL (programmable array logic), PLAs (programmable logic arrays), decoders, memories, non-software based processors, or other circuitry, or digital computers including microprocessors and microcomputers of any architecture, or combinations thereof. Memory devices include SRAM (static random access memory), DRAM (dynamic random access memory), pseudo-static RAM, latches, EEPROM (electrically-erasable programmable read-only memory), EPROM (erasable programmable read-only memory), FLASH memory, registers, or other memory devices known in the art. Words of inclusion are to be interpreted as nonexhaustive in considering the scope of the invention.

Aspects of the claimed invention may be applied to switching systems for GSM mobile switches, PCS mobile switches, or in switches primarily used for switching land-based circuits. The telecommunications circuits described in the preferred embodiment were generally E1 or T1 spans, but aspects of the invention could be applied to platforms that switch lower- or higher-bandwidth circuits such as T-2, T-3, or SONET. Also, aspects of the invention could be applied to switch circuits of bandwidths generally equivalent to E1 or T1 but having different framing formats.

Implementation is contemplated in discrete components or fully integrated circuits in silicon, gallium arsenide, or other electronic materials families, as well as in optical-based or other technology-based forms and embodiments. It should be understood that various embodiments of the invention can employ or be embodied in hardware, software or microcoded firmware.

While this invention has been described with reference to illustrative embodiments, this description is not intended to be construed in a limiting sense. Various modifications and combinations of the illustrative embodiments, as well as other embodiments of the invention, will be apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description. It is therefore intended that the appended claims encompass any such modifications or embodiments.

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10 *GlobalHub Mobility Manager Enables One Number PCS Service Via Motorola PPS Residential Products pp. 1 2, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee. 1996.
11 *GlobalHub pp. 1 10, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee. 1996.
12 *ICs Communications Multichannel Network Interface Controller for HDLC Munich32 Jan. 1996, pp. 1 252, Version 3.2, Siemens AG, Munchen, Germany.
13 *ICs for Communication Multipoint Switching and Conferencing Unit Attenuation MUSAC A Feb. 1996, pp. 1 68, Version 1.2, Siemens AG, Munchen, Germany.
14 *ICs for Communications Memory Time Switch Large MTSL Mar. 1995, pp. 1 15, Version 2.1, Siemens AG, Munchen. Germany.
15 *Information pamphlet, Feb. 1997, pp. 1 7, Version 1.0, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.
16Information pamphlet, Feb. 1997, pp. 1-7, Version 1.0, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.
17 *IS 41 Network Hub The Mobility Manager for GlobalSystem pp. 1 2, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee. 1996.
18John Scourias, "Overview of the Global System for Mobile Communications", Mar. 27, 1996, pp. 1-16, John Scourias.
19 *John Scourias, Overview of the Global System for Mobile Communications , Mar. 27, 1996, pp. 1 16, John Scourias.
20Martin A. Iroff & Steve Chen, "A distributed GSM Architecture for Low-Traffic Density Markets", Mobile Communications International, Oct. 1996, pp. 1-3, IBC Business Publishing, London, England.
21 *Martin A. Iroff & Steve Chen, A distributed GSM Architecture for Low Traffic Density Markets , Mobile Communications International , Oct. 1996, pp. 1 3, IBC Business Publishing, London, England.
22Steve Chen, "Hybrid MicroSystems: The Ultimate Flexibility in Cellular Applications", 1996, pp. 1-16, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.
23 *Steve Chen, Hybrid MicroSystems: The Ultimate Flexibility in Cellular Applications , 1996, pp. 1 16, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.
24 *Unique Solutions to Complex Challenges of Wireless Carriers pp. 1 9, Celcore, Inc., Memphis, Tennesses. 1997.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6779176 *Dec 13, 1999Aug 17, 2004General Electric CompanyMethods and apparatus for updating electronic system programs and program blocks during substantially continued system execution
US8200803 *Jun 28, 2011Jun 12, 2012International Business Machines CorporationMethod and system for a network management framework with redundant failover methodology
US20050080925 *Sep 28, 2004Apr 14, 2005International Business Machines CorporationMethod of establishing communications between processing units
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Feb 19, 1998ASAssignment
Owner name: DSC/CELCORE, INC., TENNESSEE
Effective date: 19980219
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BROWNING, MARK D.;JOHNSON, CECIL W., JR.;KOOY, SCOTT A.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:009021/0410