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Publication numberUSH1881 H
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/026,486
Publication dateOct 3, 2000
Filing dateFeb 19, 1998
Priority dateFeb 19, 1998
Publication number026486, 09026486, US H1881 H, US H1881H, US-H-H1881, USH1881 H, USH1881H
InventorsJames M. Davis, Scott Arthur Kooy, H. John Lohn, III
Original AssigneeDsc/Celcore, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System and method for forming circuit connections within a telecommunications switching platform
US H1881 H
Abstract
A system and method for forming circuit connections within a telecommunications switching platform that uses tables of logical identifiers for resources and information channels being handled by the platform to allow dynamic addressing of components and provide significant flexibility over prior-art systems.
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Claims(52)
What is claimed is:
1. A telecommunications switching platform comprising:
a plurality of telecommunications channel inputs;
a plurality of telecommunications channel outputs;
an applications processor operable to manage the switching platform and to control the connection of selected ones of said channel inputs to selected ones of said channel outputs through end-to-end switching requests; and
a switching module in electrical communication with said applications processor and operable to perform switching functions to effect said end-to-end switching requests from said applications processor, said switching module comprising a switch and a configuration table in which a first address is translated into a second address to determine the connection of said pluralities of channel inputs and channel outputs to said switch.
2. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 1 wherein said switching module receives at least one digital signal that is divided into multi-bit, periodically-repeating frames, and wherein said frames are further subdivided into a plurality of timeslots, each timeslot being one or more bits that are consistently transmitted at a certain time within each frame whereby each of said timeslots represents an information channel on said digital signal.
3. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 2 wherein at least one of said information channels is a telecommunications control channel.
4. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 2 wherein at least one of said information channels is one of said plurality of telecommunications channel inputs and outputs.
5. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 2 wherein each timeslot of said digital signal is represented by a first and second address in said configuration table.
6. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 1 wherein said switching module receives a plurality of digital signals divided into multi-bit, periodically-repeating frames having a plurality of timeslots wherein timeslots of each digital signal are represented by first and second addresses and wherein said switch is operable to switch signals between at least one timeslot of one of said plurality of digital signals to another timeslot of one of said plurality of digital signals.
7. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 1 and further comprising a switching module responsible for creating said configuration table and for translating said first addresses into said second addresses via said configuration table.
8. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 7 and further comprising a plurality of resource processors wherein at least one of said first addresses uniquely identifies at least one of said plurality of resource processors such that said identifying address is a logical identifier of said resource processor.
9. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 8 wherein at least one of said plurality of resource processors is a signal-processing module having a plurality of a digital signal processors operable to perform signal processing on telecommunications channels being switched by said switching platform.
10. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 9 wherein each of said plurality of digital signal processors is uniquely identified by one of said first addresses.
11. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 8 wherein at least one of said resource processors is a telephony-support module responsible for providing call-related functions.
12. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 8 and further comprising an interface module responsible for terminating spans between the telecommunications switching platform and external telecommunications systems.
13. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 1 wherein said configuration table permits the formation of semi-permanent connections between said plurality of telecommunications input and output channels and resources within the telecommunications switching platform.
14. A telecommunications switching platform comprising:
a plurality of telecommunications channel inputs;
a plurality of telecommunications channel outputs;
an applications processor operable to manage the switching platform and to control the connection of selected ones of said channel inputs to selected ones of said channel outputs through end-to-end switching requests; and
a switching module in electrical communication with said applications processor and operable to perform switching functions to effect said end-to-end switching requests from said applications processor, said switching module, said switching 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 transmit a primary heartbeat message as a part of said communication with said other elements and to receive a primary heartbeat response sent by said other elements in response to said primary heartbeat message.
15. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 14 wherein said primary heartbeat response includes data sufficient to identify the other element in said telecommunications switching platform from which said heartbeat response was transmitted.
16. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 15 and further comprising a memory in which said switching module is operable to store a table of resources known to exist in the telecommunications switching platform.
17. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 16 wherein said controller is further operable to compare said data sufficient to identify said other element to said table of known resources to determine whether the existence of said element had previously been detected by a previous heartbeat response.
18. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 17 wherein said controller is operable to add the identity of said identified other element to said table of known resources if said identity is not already registered within said table.
19. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 17 wherein said controller is further operable to check said table of known resources to determine if other previously-known resources failed to respond to said heartbeat message.
20. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 19 wherein said controller is further operable to update said table of known resources to indicate whether there was a response by a previously-known resource.
21. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 14 wherein said control bus is a pair of redundant control buses.
22. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 21 wherein said primary heartbeat message and said primary heartbeat response are transmitted and received through one of said pair of redundant control buses and wherein said switching module is further operable to transmit through said control bus interface a secondary heartbeat message, which is transmitted by said control bus interface through the other of said pair of redundant control buses.
23. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 21 wherein said switching module communicates with a plurality of other elements in the telecommunications switching platform, and wherein said switching module sends primary heartbeat messages to and receives primary heartbeat responses from a first group of said plurality of other elements over a first bus of said pair and primary heartbeat messages to and primary heartbeat responses from a second group of said plurality of other elements over a second bus of said pair.
24. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 23 wherein said switching module is operable to send and receive secondary heartbeat messages and responses to and from said second group of said plurality of other elements over said first bus and to send and receive secondary heartbeat messages and responses to and from said first group of said plurality of other elements over said second bus.
25. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 24 wherein at least one of said secondary heartbeat messages contains addressing information sufficient to particularly identify the element within said telecommunications switching platform for which said secondary heartbeat message is intended.
26. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 25 wherein said switching module sends a plurality of said secondary heartbeat messages, thereby periodically, individually addressing a plurality of other elements within said telecommunications switching platform.
27. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 25 wherein said secondary heartbeat messages are sent to one of said other elements in said telecommunications switching platform when said switching module has failed to receive a primary heartbeat response from said other element.
28. A telecommunications switching platform comprising:
a plurality of telecommunications channel inputs;
a plurality of telecommunications channel outputs;
an applications processor operable to manage the switching platform and to control the connection of selected ones of said channel inputs to selected ones of said channel outputs through end-to-end switching requests; and
a switching module in electrical communication with said applications processor and operable to perform switching functions to effect said end-to-end switching requests from said applications processor, said switching module, said switching module comprising:
a control bus interface connected to a redundant pair of control buses within said telecommunications switching platform; 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 transmit primary heartbeat messages to a first group of a plurality of other elements within the telecommunications switching platform over a first bus of said redundant control buses and to receive primary heartbeat responses from said first group over said first bus; to transmit primary heartbeat messages to a second group of said plurality of other elements over a second bus of said redundant control buses and receive primary heartbeat responses from said second group over said second bus.
29. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 28 wherein said control bus interface is further operable to transmit secondary heartbeat messages to and receive secondary heartbeat responses from said first group over said second bus and to transmit secondary heartbeat messages to and receive secondary heartbeat responses from said second group over said first bus.
30. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 29 wherein each of said primary heartbeat responses and said secondary heartbeat responses contain information sufficient to identify from which of the other elements within the telecommunications switching platform said responses have originated, and wherein said switching module is operable to parse such information from said responses.
31. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 30 wherein said switching module is operable to compare the identities parsed from said primary and secondary heartbeat responses and compare said identities to a table of known resources to determine whether the existence of the other elements from which said responses originated had previously been known within said telecommunications switching platform.
32. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 31 wherein said controller is operable to add the identity of said identified other element to said table of known resources if said identity is not already registered within said table.
33. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 30 wherein said controller is further operable to check said table of known resources to determine if other previously-known resources failed to respond to said heartbeat message.
34. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 33 wherein said controller is further operable to update said table of known resources to indicate that there was no response from a previously-known resource.
35. The telecommunications switching platform of claim 29 wherein said secondary heartbeat messages comprise addressing sufficient to identify to which of said other elements in said telecommunications switching platform said secondary heartbeat messages are intended and wherein said controller sends a plurality of said secondary heartbeat messages, thereby periodically, individually addressing each of said plurality of resources.
36. A method for configuring a telecommunications switching platform, said platform comprising a controller, a switching module, system resources, and at least one shared communication path, and a plurality of telecommunications channel inputs and outputs for receiving and transmitting information channels to and from external telecommunications systems, the method comprising:
building a configuration table comprising logical identifiers for said system resources, wherein said logical identifier determines over which portion of said at least one shared communications path said system resource will communicate;
building a connection table in which a logical identifier is assigned to at least one of said telecommunications channel inputs and outputs, whereby said logical identifier determining over which portion of said at least one shared communication path the information channel associated with said assigned telecommunications channel input and output will be carried.
37. The method of claim 36 wherein said configuration table and said connection table are the same table.
38. The method of claim 36 and further comprising the step of polling at least one system resource to receive a registration from such system resource and determining a logical identifier for such system resource.
39. The method of claim 36 whereby said telecommunications switching platform further comprises a control bus, and wherein said telecommunication platform further comprises a controller connected to said control bus, said controller operable to communicate with other elements in said telecommunications switching platform through said control bus, and further comprising the steps of:
transmitting primary heartbeat messages to a first group of a plurality of other elements within the telecommunications switching platform over a first bus of said redundant control buses; and
receiving primary heartbeat responses from said first group over said first bus.
40. The method of claim 39 and further comprising the steps of:
transmitting primary heartbeat messages to a second group of said plurality of other elements over a second bus of said redundant control buses; and
receiving primary heartbeat responses from said second group over said second bus.
41. The method of claim 39 and further comprising the steps of:
transmitting secondary heartbeat messages to said first group over said second bus; receiving secondary heartbeat responses from said first group over said second bus;
transmitting secondary heartbeat messages to said second group over said first bus; and
receiving secondary heartbeat responses from said second group over said first bus.
42. The method of claim 41 wherein each of said primary heartbeat responses and said secondary heartbeat responses contain information sufficient to identify from which of the other elements within the telecommunications switching platform said responses have originated, and further comprising the step of parsing such information from said responses.
43. The method of claim 42 wherein said telecommunications switching platform further comprises a table of known resources within the platform and further comprising the step of comparing the identities parsed from said primary and secondary heartbeat responses to said table to determine whether the existence of the other elements from which said responses originated had previously been known within said telecommunications switching platform.
44. The method claim 43 and further comprising the step of adding the identity of newly-identified elements to said table.
45. The method of claim 42 wherein said telecommunications switching platform further comprises a table of known resources within the platform and further comprising the step of checking said table to determine if other previously-known resources failed to respond to said primary and secondary heartbeat messages.
46. The method claim 45 and further comprising the step of updating said table to indicate that there was no response from a previously-known resource.
47. The method of claim 41 wherein said secondary heartbeat messages comprise addressing sufficient to identify to which of said other elements in said telecommunications switching platform said secondary heartbeat messages are intended and further comprising the step of sending a plurality of said secondary heartbeat messages, thereby periodically, individually addressing each of said plurality of resources.
48. A resource shelf for a telecommunications switching platform, said resource shelf comprising:
a switching module for switching information channels borne on telecommunications signals connected to said telecommunications switching platform, said switching module connected to an applications processor in said telecommunications switching platform;
a plurality of resource modules connected to said switching module for providing resources to the telecommunications switching platform, said resource modules operable to communicate with said applications processor through said switching module.
49. The resource shelf of claim 48 wherein said resource modules are selected from the group consisting of telephony-support modules, signal-processing modules, and interface modules.
50. A method for setting up conference calls in a telecommunications switching platform, the method comprising the steps of:
assigning a logical identifier to be used for conferences being handled by the telecommunications switching platform, the conference logical identifier containing information concerning which resources have been allocated in the switching module to provide the conference connections;
assigning traffic channels to connect to the conference by requesting connection to the logical identifier assigned to the conference.
51. A switching module for use in a telecommunications switching platform having an applications processor another switching module and at least one resource processor, said switching module comprising:
an arbitration bus connected to said another switching module whereby said switching module and said another switching module are operable to negotiate over which of said modules will be an active module and which of said modules will be an inactive module;
a network connection to said applications processor; and
a local communications connection to said at least one resource processor whereby said switching module is operable to pass communications between said applications processor and said at least one resource processor.
52. The switching module of claim 51 and further comprising conferencing circuits operable to connect multiple two-way traffic channels into a single conference.
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. 09/026,485 designated by DSC Case No. 847-00 and Attorney Docket No. 24194000.192, entitled "Span Interface 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. 09/026,488 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; and (f) 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.

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 operate to connect incoming communication channels to selected outgoing communication channels. This switching is generally done in response to phone numbers dialed by the users or subscribers of the company operating the telecommunications system, or by others who are calling these subscribers. For example, the caller enters a phone number and signaling is sent along with or over the communication channel and the telecommunication system attempts to establish an end-to-end communications link to the destination number that the caller has dialed.

An end-to-end communications channel is established through a switch within the telecommunications switching platform. This switch is typically a non-blocking matrix switch, which is operable to connect the incoming channel to one of many outgoing channels. The switch operates under control of a processor within the telecommunications switching platform. The processor supplies information that the switch uses to connect one information channel to another through the switch. Typically, the switch receives a number of time-multiplexed input signals and provides a number of time-multiplexed output signals. There are also typically a number of resources within the switching platform. These resources may be connected to each other or to an information channel through the switch. For example, if the caller seeks to initiate a call to a busy number, the caller must receive a busy signal; this busy signal is provided by a resource within the telecommunications switching platform, and the familiar busy tone is passed through the switch and received by the caller.

In conventional telecommunications systems, the applications processor (e.g., the call processor) keeps track of the addresses assigned to the various incoming and outgoing communications channels, as well as the various resources that are addressed within the telecommunications switching platform. This is done through hard wiring or a large table of fixed addresses corresponding to these communication channels and resources. Thus, for example, traffic channels are processed through an assigned digital signal processor (DSP) and if the DSP fails, the associated traffic channels are not available until the DSP is repaired or replaced due to the inability of the telecommunications to dynamically reallocate DSPs to traffic channels.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An embodiment of the present invention uses tables of logical identifiers for resources and information channels being handled by the platform to allow dynamic addressing of components and provide significant flexibility over prior-art systems. Specifically, the applications processor of the telecommunications switching platform no longer has to maintain large tables of information concerning physical details within the switching platform. The applications processor maintains smaller tables of the logical identifiers of the telecommunications channel inputs and outputs to the switching platform itself. The applications processor can request that end-to-end connections be formed by specifying the logical identifiers of two sets of telecommunications channel inputs and outputs.

Thus, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, switching modules operating beneath the applications processor make connections between information channels by translating logical identifiers into specific switching information. The switching module receives end-to-end switching instructions from the applications processor, and proceeds to form these end-to-end connections in a manner transparent to the applications processor. By storing in a configuration table certain additional information associated with the various communications channels and resources within the system, the switching module can independently call upon resources and make intermediate connections within the switching module without further direction from the applications processor.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the telecommunications switching platform has an applications processor that manages the switching platform and controls the connection of telecommunications channel inputs to selected telecommunications channel outputs through end-to-end switching requests. The platform has a switching module that performs switching functions to carry out these end-to-end switching requests. The switching module in turn has a switch to connect telecommunications channels to each other and to resources within the platform. The switching module instructs the switch to make these connections in accordance with its translation of the logical identifiers.

Preferably, the switching module receives a number of digital signals or spans. Each span carries a number of separate telecommunications channel inputs to (and outputs from) the platform. Each span is divided into multi-bit, periodically-repeating frames. Each frame, in turn, is further subdivided into a plurality of timeslots, with each timeslot being one or more bits that are consistently transmitted at a certain time within each frame. Each of these timeslots represents an information channel on said digital signal. These information channels can include LAP-D signaling channels, voice or data traffic channels, and PSTN-trunk DSO channels. The switch within the switching module is preferably capable of connecting any telecommunications input channel on any timeslot of any digital signal to any telecommunications output channel.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the telecommunications switching platform maintains a configuration table by which semi-permanent connections can be "nailed-up" between the telecommunications input and output channels and resources within the telecommunications switching platform.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a method for configuring a telecommunications-switching platform is described. The platform in this embodiment includes a controller, a switching module, system resources, and at least one shared communication path. The platform receives channel inputs and outputs from external telecommunications systems. The method described includes building a configuration table with logical identifiers for the platform's system resources and information channel inputs and outputs. A system resource's logical identifier determines over which timeslot of the shared communications path the resource will communicate. The method also includes the step of polling at least one system resource to receive a registration from such system resource and determining a logical identifier for such system resource. The method also includes the step of building a connection table in which a logical identifier is assigned to the telecommunications channel inputs and outputs. For a particular communications channel, the logical identifier determines over which portion of the shared communication path the information channel will be carried. The configuration table and the connection table may be the same table or different tables.

In another embodiment of the invention, logical identifiers are maintained for conferences being handled by the telecommunications switching platform. The conference logical identifier contains information concerning which resources have been allocated in the switching module to provide the conference connections. When a higher-level application, such as the call processor, wants to provide a conference connection, it will request a set of conference logical identifiers. If conference resources are available, then the application will be able to make 1-way or 2-way connections to the logical identifiers assigned to the conference. Normally 2-way connections will be assigned to these conference logical identifiers, although in certain circumstances, one-way connections may be assigned.

A database of configuration data for resources in the switching platform is built at initialization of the telecommunications system, including the construction of logical components identifiers for the resources in the switching platform that can be used as indices to the database, allowing for the dynamic remapping of resources by dynamically updating the configuration database.

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 timing diagram for several high-speed buses, illustrating the switching task performed by the switching module of the telecommunications switching platform;

FIG. 6 is a task flow diagram illustrating the interfaces to a configuration task;

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of the steps taken by the upon startup of the telecommunications switching platform;

FIG. 8 is a block diagram of the switching module of FIGS. 1-2;

FIG. 9 is a block diagram of the interface module of FIGS. 1-2;

FIG. 10 is a block diagram of the telephony-support module of FIGS. 1-2;

FIG. 11, is a block diagram of the signal-processing module of FIGS. 1-2;

FIGS. 12A-12B illustrate a configuration table used to store Logical Component Identifiers (LCIs) and other information concerning system resources and information channels; and

FIGS. 13A-13D illustrate an exemplary flow diagram of the steps taken in translating and interpreting logical identifiers according to an embodiment of the present invention.

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"; 09/026,485 (Docket No. 24194000.192), entitled "Span Interface Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform"; 09/026,488 (Docket No. 24194000.193), entitled "Signal-Processing Module for a Telecommunications Switching Platform"; and 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 T1 or E1 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 DS0 information channel. The telecommunications switching platform 10 connects the 64 kbps DS0 channel from the BTS 44 to a signal-processing module 22 so that the signal-processing module 22 can convert this DS0 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 tone generation or tone 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, which are operational at an exemplary data rate of 8.192 megabits per second ("Mbps"), 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. 8 provides an exemplary block diagram of the switching module 16. In this embodiment, the switching module 16 provides functions such as, for example, switching (SWTH task 70, see FIG. 6); conferencing; data communication; local communications (LCOM task 74, see FIG. 6); remote LAP-D communications (RLPD task 66, see FIG. 6); and an Ethernet interface.

FIG. 8 shows the switching module 16 from a hardware perspective. The switch 43 in this embodiment is, for example, a 2048-by-2048 memory timeslot, non-blocking switch implementation. The switch 43 may be, for instance, a Time-Slot Interchange Random Access Memory (TSIRAM). The switch 43 operates to receive and transmit over a number of high-speed buses 25, making timeslot cross connections from one timeslot of one high-speed bus 25 to a different timeslot within the same high-speed bus 25 or another high-speed bus 25, as was discussed with respect to FIG. 3. It is possible to accomplish this function using, for example, four SIEMENS Memory Time Switch Large (MTSL-16) components, although other components may provide the same function. All timeslot cross connections preferably take place within this switch 43. This will provide capacity for sixteen high-speed buses 25 (e.g., 8.192 Mbps buses) to interconnect modules on the backplane along internal components of the switching module 16. Each 8.192 Mbps bus 25 provides one hundred and twenty-eight 64 kbps timeslots.

Still referring to FIG. 8, the Local Communications Function 74 preferably comprises a point-to-multipoint control bus link 24 between the switching module 16 and the resource processors 18,20,22. This function is preferably provided by a LCOM controller 155, which may, for example, be a SIEMENS Enhanced Serial Communications Controller (ESCC2), although other components are commercially available to serve this local communication function. A second link 24 is provided for redundancy. This bus 24 provides part of the communication path between the applications processor 12 and modules local to the backplane 16,18,20,22. The switching module 16 completes the path to the applications processor through local communication network 28. The switching module uses this same network 28 for its communication path to the application processor 12. The local communication (LCOM) software task 74 is represented on FIG. 6, and is executed on the switching module 16.

The network 28 is preferably an Ethernet LAN, connected through a 10BaseT connector on the front of the switching module 16 which is implemented, for example, using a MOTOROLA Enhanced Ethernet Transceiver (EET) and an Ethernet controller that is integrated into the switching module controller 156. The controller 156 additionally provides supervisory control of all the tasks that execute on the switching module 16. Additionally provided, either integrated within the controller 156 or as components connected thereto (as shown in FIG. 8), are a memory 158 and a nonvolatile memory 160. The memory 158 preferably stores run-time code and data, and is preferably a Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) having a capacity of at least 4 Megabytes. The nonvolatile memory 160 preferably stores a non-volatile backup copy of the run-time memory and is preferably a FLASH memory having at least 2 Megabytes storage. The nonvolatile memory 160 may contain hardware write-protected blocks of code for boot up. The runtime code can be downloaded and upgraded remotely, whereas preferably the boot code can be upgraded only after on-site removal of the hardware boot-- block-- protection feature. This protection is implemented in this way to protect the reliability of operation of the switching 16 module in the event of power failure during runtime code updates. A temperature monitor 162 may be provided to alarm upon ambient temperature thresholds being exceeded.

With further reference to FIG. 8, the switching module 16 contains previously-described external connections, which are the redundant control buses 24, the high-speed buses 25, and the network connection 17. The switching module 16 also contains an internal address and data bus 163, through which the switching module controller 156 can access the memories 158,160 that are internal to the switching module 16. The switching module 16 also contains two internal high-speed buses 164, which may, for instance, be used to implement conferencing and LAPD functionality through communications with the conferencing unit 150 and the bus multiplexer 154. The bus multiplexer 154 may in turn be connected to the network interface controllers 152 through high-speed buses 166. These high-speed buses 166 are preferably high-speed serial LAP-D buses, although these buses may also be implemented with a lower data rate than is used in the other high speed data bases 25,164.

A block diagram of exemplary interface module 20 is provided in FIG. 9. 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 180. Depending on the ability to integrate the functions of the line interface circuit 180, 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 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. 9, a span interface controller 182 provides control of the interface module 20. The span interface controller 182 communicates with other components within the interface module 20 through span interface address and data bus 184. 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. The LCOM controller 186 is provided to implement the communications protocol by which this communication is carried out. Associated with the LCOM controller 186 is a nonvolatile memory 188 in which this interface module 20 can maintain its operating code in a nonvolatile fashion. Preferably, this nonvolatile memory 188 is a FLASH memory, whereby although the code is stored a nonvolatile fashion, it can still be changed with minimal effort. Another memory 189, a DRAM for example, is also provided for storage of the controller's 182 real-time executable code and data. A bus multiplexer 190 is provided so that in this embodiment the four telecommunications spans 40 can be multiplexed into a single high-speed bus 25 and transmitted to the switching module 16.

With reference now to FIG. 10, a block diagram of the telephony-support module 18 is shown. Depending upon system needs, there could be a single telephony-support module 18, or there could be provided a redundant support module 18. If a redundant setup were used, the telephony-support modules 18 would be placed on a single high-speed bus 25 as shown in FIG. 2. Like the interface module 20, the telephony-support module 18 comprises a controller 220 for managing the functions provided by the telephony-support module 18. Also like interface module 20, there is provided a memory 221 for real-time executable code storage and a nonvolatile memory 222 for storage of, for example, the telephony-support module's boot code or other nonvolatile code. Another purpose served by the nonvolatile memory 222 within the telephony-support module 18 could be for storage of voice messages when voice messaging is a function supported by the telephony switching platform 10. Again, like the interface module 20, the telephony-support module 18 includes an LCOM controller 224 that is operable to communicate with the other resource processors 18,20,22, and particularly with the switching module 16 through the redundant control buses 24.

Functions that may be provided by the switching platform 10 include conferencing, voice messaging, and telephony support functions such as busy signals, ring signals, trunk busy signals and other functions. For example, when a telephone subscriber wishes to place a call, the phone number is entered by pressing numbers on the keypad of his phone. The phone or, in the case of mobile telephony, the BTS 44 generates signaling tones that identify each number that is pressed. These tones are passed over an information channel associated with the calling subscriber. The switching platform 10 processes these tones by switching them to one of the resource processors, i.e. the telephony-support module 18, which decodes the tones. Once these tones have been decoded, the call processor 12 seeks to make a connection in accordance with the entered phone number. The call processor 12 determines which information channel should be connected through to the subscriber. As the switching platform 10 seeks to make a connection to the number sought by the subscriber, tones are provided by the telephony-support module 18 to the subscriber's assigned information channel. These tones would include busy signals and ring signals. Throughout the establishment of a connection, the switching module 16 is continually making and breaking new connections between the subscriber's assigned information channel and various resources within the switching platform 10.

With further reference to FIG. 10, the function of generating and interpreting tones that are carried over the information channels is called upon when the switching platform 10 is attempting to establish connections between a subscriber and the party that the subscriber has dialed. The telephony-support module 18 interprets the tones corresponding to the connection phone number dialed by the subscriber, and provides either a busy signal, a ring signal, or some other signal, as the switching platform 10 attempts to make a connection to the called party. The DSPs 226 are responsible for this tone interpretation and generation.

A bus multiplexer 228 is provided to make the appropriate connections between information channels that have been routed to the telephony-support module 18 and to the appropriate resources within the telephony-support module 18. Specifically, under the direction of a controller 220, the bus multiplexer places incoming tones signals on the appropriate timeslot to be interpreted by one of the DSPs 226, and will read signals from the DSPs 226 and place them on that high-speed bus 25 in the appropriate timeslot. Also, under direction of the controller 220, voice messages will be played back from the nonvolatile memory 222 or stored therein. Again, the bus multiplexer 228, under the controller's 220 direction, will extract the incoming voice channels from the appropriate timeslots of the high-speed bus 25 and direct them to the appropriate address within the nonvolatile memory 222. In the reverse direction, the bus multiplexer 228 will read the stored messages from the nonvolatile memory 222 and place these messages in the appropriate timeslot on the high-speed bus 25.

Other functions that may be provided by the switching platform 10 include conferencing, voice messaging, and telephony support functions such as busy signals, ring signals, trunk busy signals and other functions. For example, when a telephone subscriber wishes to place a call, he will enter the phone number by pressing numbers on the keypad of his phone. The phone generates tones that identify each number that is pressed. These tones are passed over an information channel associated with the calling subscriber. The switching platform 10 processes these tones by switching them to one of the resource processors, i.e. the telephony-support module 18, which decodes the tones. Once these tones have been decoded, the call processor 12 seeks to make a connection in accordance with the entered phone number. The call processor 12 determines which information channel should be connected through to the subscriber. As the switching platform 10 seeks to make a connection to the number sought by the subscriber, tones are provided by the telephony-support module 18 to the subscriber's assigned information channel. These tones would include busy signals and ring signals. Throughout the establishment of a connection, the switching module 16 is continually making and breaking new connections between the subscriber's assigned information channel and various resources within the switching platform 10.

With reference now to FIG. 11, a block diagram of an embodiment of the signal-processing module 22 is shown. The signal-processing module 22 is designed for rate-adapting the 16 Kbps GSM-encoded information channels 49 to and from the 64 Kbps PCM-encoded information channels 48 (see FIG. 4). This function is carried out, for example, by digital signal processors ("DSPs") 240. To allow flexible provisioning in this embodiment, the DSPs 240 are housed on daughter-boards 242. Up to four daughter-boards may be installed on the main module, although fewer daughter boards can be used if a full complement of daughter boards 242 is not required. In this embodiment, the daughter-boards 242 are configured to hold at least two DSPs each. Assuming, for example, that each DSP can process four GSM-encoded voice channels 49, the signal-processing module 22 thus provides up to 32 GSM ports in eight-port increments.

The bus multiplexer 254 in the signal-processing module 22 is responsible for connecting, under control of the controller 252, information channels from the PCM high-speed bus 25 to the DSP 240 signal processing resources. In addition to performing a rate adaptation, the DSPs 240 can be called upon to perform echo canceling when that function is required, particularly when the switching platform 10 is handling GSM-encoded voice channels 49. The novel integrated rate adaptation and echo cancellation functions used in the preferred embodiment telecommunications switching platform 10 are described in greater detail in U.S. Patent Application No. 09/026,229 (Docket No. 24194000.186), entitled, "System and Method for Dynamically Mapping Components Within a Telecommunications Switching Platform," filed on Feb. 19, 1998, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein. For maximum timeslot flexibility, in a preferred embodiment, two 32-timeslot highways are available to each daughter-board 240. Thus, a fully populated signal-processing module 22 would occupy slightly less than one third of a 128 channel, 8.192 Mbps high-speed data bus 25. Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 2, each signal-processing module 22 can share its high-speed data bus 25 with two other signal-processing modules 22.

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 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 DS0 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 module 20 and are then transmitted to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

A GSM caller may also call another GSM mobile telephone. 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.

FIG. 5 is a diagram showing the switching task that is accomplished by the switch 43 within the switching module 16. On the left-hand side of the figure, three exemplary bus inputs and outputs (high-speed buses 25) are shown. In the embodiments described above, there are twelve such high-speed buses 25 that pass through the switch 43. The switch is capable of receiving all of these buses and switching a timeslot from any position on any input bus 25 to any position on any output bus 25. For example, in this figure the data from timeslot 1 of input bus 1 (B1--1) is placed in timeslot 2 of output bus 1, as indicated by the arrow drawn between these positions. Similarly, the data from timeslot 2 of bus 1 (B1--2) is placed in timeslot 0 of output bus 2 (B2--0), and so on. For illustration purposes, a number of other channel connections are illustrated in this figure. In the preferred embodiment, the switch 43 is capable of connecting in this manner any of 128 timeslots on any of the twelve input buses 25 to any of 128 timeslots on any of twelve output buses 25.

FIG. 6 is a task flow diagram illustrating interfaces to a configuration task ("CNFG") 50, which preferably executes in the switching module 16 and is responsible for all physical-configuration-related aspects within the platform (e.g., monitoring the number and type of boards, the backplane configuration, which connections have been "nailed-up," etc.). To maintain the platform database 52, which preferably includes a configuration table, messages containing configuration information are routed through CNFG 50. Upon receiving a message, CNFG 50 updates the database 52 as needed. If the message was destined for the switching module 16, CNFG 50 provides a response if needed. If the message was destined for one of the resource processors 18,20,22, CNFG 50 forwards the message to the appropriate resource processor 18,20,22.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, logical component identifiers (LCIs) are used as an addressing scheme to, for example, facilitate connections being made by the switching module 16. According to an embodiment of the present invention, an LCI is, for example, a 32-bit number that identifies the shelf, slot and board type by the upper 16 bits, the lower 16 bits of the LCI being context dependent as a function of the board type. LCIs can be made by any component needing to generate an LCI using, for example, a macro or function call that can take the underlying data, such as the shelf, slot, board type, etc. and put the data into the LCI 32 bit format. For example, LCIs can be generated by the call processor 12 for each of the spans 40 to identify to the switching module 16 the traffic channels and LAP-- D channels that are to be added, as well as to make and break connections. Similarly, the switching module 16 can generate LCIs to establish nailed-up connections, the various LCIs generated representing, for example, the DSPs allocated to each nailed-up connection as well as the physical or logical circuits allocated to a traffic channel. In addition, the LCIs generated according to an embodiment of the present invention can be used as indices to the CNFG database 52 illustrated in detail in FIGS. 12A and 12B and discussed below.

The CNFG task 50 provides an interface to translate LCIs into high-speed bus 25 and timeslot 46 data for a SWTH task 70. The SWTH task establishes connections in the switch 43. These logical identifiers serve as indices to configuration database 52 that provides physical connection information to the CNFG task 50. CNFG task 50 passes the connection information to the switch 43 to make the appropriate connections between information channels on the high-speed buses 25. The CNFG task 50 will determine certain LCIs at system start-up.

An example of the building of a LCI is during system startup, at which time the switching module 16 receives description data from each installed resource processor 18,20,22, for example in the form of a registration message. When the registration information is received by the switching module 16, the CNFG task 50 utilizes the registration information (e.g., shelf, slot, board type) and builds a board LCI for each resource processor 18,20,22. The call processor 12 can also build LCIs. For example, the call processor 12 includes initial information on the components of the system (e.g., based on information manually provided by an operator during installation of the system), such as span configuration and the configuration of individual timeslots. Thus, the information known by the call processor 12 as well as registration information provided from the switching module 16 to the call processor 12 at startup of the switching module 16 can be used by the call processor 12 to build LCIs for spans 40 on each interface module 20. The CNFG task 50 in the switching module 16 or the call processor 12 can use, for example, macros to build and manipulate each LCI. For example, MAKE macros can be used to put the data into the proper fields of the LCI while the macros can be used to allow retrieval of the particular fields of interest in the LCI.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, LCIs are 32 bits although all of the bits may not be used for each LCI. For example, when addressing IOSS Platform boards 27, the LCI is constructed using the shelf, slot, and interface fields. Any remaining fields will be set to NONE. All boards within the IOSS Platform 27 (e.g., resource processors 18,20,22) are addressable in this manner. The below table demonstrates Board LCI 0x0054FFFF, residing at slot 5 on shelf 0 and is a board type 4, which is an arbitrarily selected designation for an interface module 20 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

______________________________________                                   LogicalShelf  Slot    Board Type Span Type                             Span  circuit______________________________________4 bits 8 bits  4 bits     4 bits  4 bits                                   8 bits0x0    0x5     0x4        0xF     0xF   0xFF______________________________________

Preferably, the upper or most significant 16 bits of the above exemplary 32-bit logical identifiers or LCIs consistently provide the same types of information, i.e., shelf, slot, and board type. The lower 16 bits are preferably context-sensitive, depending upon the type of resource or communication channel that is being identified.

To make the LCI, the shelf, slot, and board-- type data is preferably provided to a MAKE-- BOARD-- LCI macro, which would then generate the properly-formatted LCI. For example, to create a LCI for a span 40 on an interface module 20, a trunk LCI would be used to address individual circuits (e.g., DS0s) on an interface module 20. When the specified span being addressed is configured as a land span (e.g., a PSTN span), the physical circuits are used to construct the LCI, as each timeslot (DS0) on the span carries a PSTN traffic channel. However, if the specified span is configured as an air span (e.g., a GSM span), then logical circuits are used to do the mapping to the air traffic channel, as each physical timeslot (e.g., a 64 kbps DS0) carries four air traffic channels (e.g., 4 16 kbps GSM traffic channels). Thus, a single span carries 32 physical timeslots addressed by a physical circuit, each physical timeslot supporting four air traffic channels resulting in 128 air traffic channels that can be addressed via a logical circuit. When nailing up a connection for an air span, however, logical circuits cannot be used because a single DSP supports one physical circuit and four logical circuits. Thus, the nailed-up connection for four air channels uses the same DSP and thus the nailed-up connection for the four air traffic channels must use the physical timeslot of the DSP. Thus, according to an embodiment of the present invention, an air span LCI can contain a force physical bit that when set causes the appropriate physical circuit to be used for the nailed-up connection, the force physical bit then being not set so that the logical circuits are used for call processing. Therefore, when specifying a trunk connection to the platform 27, LCIs for trunks may, for example, be constructed as follows:

______________________________________                                   LogicalShelf  Slot    Board Type Span Type                             Span  circuit______________________________________4 bits 8 bits  4 bits     4 bits  4 bits                                   8 bits00     0x5     0x4        0x0     0x0   0x07______________________________________

The above example is for a land circuit (also known as a PSTN trunk) having an LCI of 0x00540007. The first five fields are preferably fixed for all the field in a particular span. The last field, "logical circuit," maps differently based on the interface and circuit type. In this example, the interface is an El standard land span, indicated by "0x0" in the span type field, and is assigned to timeslot 7 on the span (because of the "0x7" in the logical circuit field). An air span would have been a different span type and the logical circuit field would contain a number between 0 and 127 (decimal). For any DS0 that has been allocated for a LAP-D channel, a group of four logical circuit numbers will be allocated, but only the first will be used to access the LAP-D signaling channel.

When addressing spans 40, the LCI is constructed using all of the fields, except for the logical circuit field. The logical circuit field is preferably set in this circumstance to 0xFF. Spans 40 are preferably addressable via the interface modules 20. Both the Span LCIs and the Channel LCIs (e.g., the last field of an LCI) refer to an interface module 20. Accordingly, the range of permissible values for "Slot" would be the same for either a Span LCI or a Channel LCI-specifically, the permissible range would be those slots where an interface module 20 could be placed on the shelf. Further the Board Type would be the same for either, specifically "4" in this exemplary embodiment, referring to an interface module 20. The Span Type and Span for Channel LCIs and Span LCIs would also have the same range of values, as when identifying a particular Channel LCI, one must first identify the span 40 on which that channel is being carried. The Channel LCI contains the additional, final field that identifies the time slot 46 of the information channel within a particular span 40. For land-based spans having 64 kbps PCM information channels, there will be 32 timeslots (or Channel LCIs) per Span LCI. Since GSM-based voice channels are encoded at 16 kbps, when the span 40 carries nothing but GSM-encoded voice channels there will be 128 timeslots or Channel LCIs per Span LCI (4 channels within each 64 kbps timeslot).

DSP LCIs are used when accessing signal processing module 22 or telephone support module 18 resources. DSP LCIs can be used to identify individual DSPs. The LCI below illustrates a DSP LCI.

______________________________________Shelf  Slot    Board Type  unused DSP   Channel______________________________________4 bits 8 bits  4 bits      4 bits 4 bits                                   8 bits0x0    0x0     0x2 or 0x3  0xF    0x0   0xFF          (PSM or SPM)______________________________________

For a DSP LCI on a signal-processing module 22, the DSP field ranges from 0-8 (i.e., there are up to eight DSPs on a preferred embodiment signal-processing module 22) and individual DSPs are addressed 1-8 with 0 indicating a broadcast message. For a DSP LCI on a telephony-support module 18, the DSP field ranges from 0-6 (i.e., there are six DSPs on a preferred-embodiment telephony-support module 18), and individual DSPs are addressed 1-6 with 0 indicating a broadcast message. While a DSP LCI for a signal-processing module 22 identifies an individual DSP, the Channel field identifies one of the decoded DSP connections 49 or one of the four decoded DSP connections 49. For a telephony-support module 18, the channel field represents the resource provided by the module 18, for example a tone generated by the module 18.

According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, when forming connections, the application layer, which is comprised of the call processor 12, for example via a resource manager within the call processor 12, provides the LCIs for the two endpoint information channels that the call processor 12 wishes to connect. The IOSS platform 27 forms all intermediate connections through the switch 43, including any connections that may be required through the signal processing modules 22 in a manner that is transparent to the call processor 12 and the resource manager.

This method and system for providing logical identifiers for components and communications channels provides a way to identify, preferably throughout the entire platform, all elements and channels to be connected and to make connections between those elements. A standard format is provided that builds up a LCI in a building block manner that can also be used as indices to a database of configuration information to allow dynamic updating of the database and remapping of connections without involving the call processor. In addition, the LCIs according to an embodiment of the present invention can be built as needed by various components thereby reducing the burden on the call processor to track an entire set of connections and allowing alternate connection paths to be established without invoking call processor logic. This provides significant flexibility over prior-art systems in which incoming lines, outgoing lines, and platform resources are identified in a single list or database that is generally accessed by a single process that is responsible for managing the formation of these connections.

The CNFG task 50 provides a function to translate LCIs into the high-speed bus 25 and timeslot 46 information. This function preferably translates one or two LCI values with one operation. In an embodiment of the present invention, there are, for example, three parameters to this function: count; lci-- xlate-- ptr; and phys-- xlate-- ptr. The count parameter will specify the number of LCI values to translate. The preferred range is 1 or 2. The lci-- xlate-- ptr points to a 32-bit array maintained by the function requesting the translation containing the LCI values to translate. The phys-- xlate-- ptr points to an array of structures that will contain the translated line and slot data for each of the input LCI values, which is also established by the function requesting the translation. This function returns a zero value, unless an error is encountered. LCIs that identify individual communications paths (timeslots on spans) will be translated to physical circuits within the IOSS Platform 27. Additionally, the CNFG task 50 (see FIG. 6) maintains the look-up tables needed to translate LCIs (see FIGS. 12A-12B).

Also, CNFG task 50 provides interfaces to report alarms and software errors. Alarms caused by the switching module 16 are considered local alarms, while alarms generated by resource processors 18,20,22 are considered remote alarms. In any case, both types of alarms are passed to the CNFG task 50 for processing. Operationally, this task 50 maintains and controls physical platform configuration information, hardware fail-overs, and process "hot-removal" and "hot-insertion" of resource processor or other boards. The CNFG task 50 also manages the state of the switching module 16 and monitors the status of the resource processors 18, 20, 22 within the switching platform 10. CNFG 50 maintains a table of state information for each resource processor 18,20,22 and for the redundant switching modules 16.

As shown in FIG. 6, the CNFG task 50 interfaces with the resource manager software modules running on the call processors 12 and many of the other tasks executing within the IOSS platform 27. These interfaces may be implemented, for example, by the use of message queues. CNFG 50 interfaces with each task's command mailbox. The CNFG 50 task accepts commands through its message queue, Cnfg-- Qid 54. In an embodiment of the present invention, the messages arriving in the queue 54 via MSGI task 56 originated in the Resource Manager.

After processing startup initialization functions, this CNFG task 50 is driven by, for example, an event flag. The event flag indicates that a message has been placed in CNFG's message queue, Cnfg-- Qid 54. Preferably, all configuration-related messages pass through CNFG 50. The CNFG task 50 may be commanded by the Resource Manager to issue state-change commands (e.g., ONLINE, OFFLINE) to boards residing within the IOSS platform 27. Also, board additions and removals are preferably detected and reported to this task. Finally, in addition to maintaining platform configuration, this task effects redundant fail-overs when necessary.

All objects required by the CNFG task 50 are preferably available at startup. The CNFG task 50 starts by initializing itself and resetting all configuration tables. During startup, the task reads a system information and status register on the switching module 16. The results of this read are then made available to the other tasks within the IOSS platform 27. This information is also preferably made available in a global data structure. Information that may be included in this global data structure include, for example, the following fields:

______________________________________write-- protect:       Indicates whether the bootstrap portion       of the IOSS platform 27 is write       protectedhelf address:       Indicates on which shelf of a       telecommunications rack the IOSS platform       residesslot-- id:       Indicates in which slot of a       telecommunications rack shelf a module       has been placedhardware info:       may be used to provide model and revision       information for the rack backplane and/or       module PCB______________________________________

On startup, code within the switching module verifies the above fields, and generates an error if information contained in these fields is incorrect or not within the range of possible values. To enable the switching module 16 to initialize itself, it preferably contains a boot-only version of its operation code which is stored in, for example, a write-protected portion of the switching-module's nonvolatile memory 160 (not shown, see FIG. 8). This boot-only code would contain, for example, a minimal system to allow loading of run-time code into the switching module 16. It would be burned into the boot-block of the nonvolatile memory 160, preferably during the manufacturing process. The boot-only code comprises the following IOSS tasks:

______________________________________ROOT              Root taskMSGI 56           Message router inMSGO 62           Message router outLDER 86           Code loaderCNFG 50           Configuration______________________________________

The tasks mentioned are preferably logically identical to their operational counterparts; the only difference being their data tables. The boot-only executable version contains minimal functionality, while the operational version contains full system functionality. The Boot-only version of Root starts MSGI 56, MSGO 62, CNFG 50, and LDER 86 and then also allows at least some communications to the Resource Manager.

The operational version of the code contains the functionality included in the boot-only version plus, for example, switching functionality and built -in test and fault isolation test (BIT/FIT) capability. Additional IOSS software includes the following tasks:

______________________________________BIT 82      Built In TestCNFG 50     ConfigurationLCOM 74     Local CommuicationsRLPD 66     Remote LAP-DSWTH 70     SwitchTSIG 78     Trunk Signalling/PCM Message supportSYNC 90     Redundancy control______________________________________

The run-time version of the root task first creates the objects required by the run-time tasks using table driven functions. Root provides global object ID's that each task may use to access the objects. Then, Root will create and start all of the tasks described below. Upon completion, Root will suspend itself.

The Message Router In 56/Message Router Out 62 (MSGI/MSGO) tasks is one point of communication between the IOSS platform 27 and the Resource Manager, and is preferably implemented through a pNA socket interface. MSGI 56 reads from a socket and routes the messages to the proper destination within the IOSS platform 27. Messages may be delivered locally to other tasks executing on the switching module 16, over a remote LAP-D link to the BTS 44, or over the LCOM link 24 to various resource processors 18,20,22. MSGI 56 blocks on socket reads if data is not available. MSGO 62 preferably uses one input message queue, blocks on a read from the queue, and delivers the messages to the proper destination.

The Loader (LDER) task 86 performs downloads to nonvolatile memory 160 and is the file handler for downloads to the resource processors 18,20,22. Download messages are received from Resource Manager (RM) via the MSGI task 56. The download messages may indicate boot block loads, executable loads, or loads to Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) in the resource processors 18,20,22 or switching module 16. For each of the three downloadable entities managed by LDER 56, there is a known file name that LDER 56 will use. These files preferably reside on a disk that is capable of being NFS-mounted and accessed directly by LDER 56. The results of the download will be sent up to the Resource Manager through MSGO 62.

The Built-In Test (BIT) task 82 will, under normal operation, periodically execute a list of built-in diagnostic tests. The BIT task 82 is described generally below, and in detail in U.S. patent application No. 09/026,467, entitled "Fault Testing in a Telecommunications System," (Docket No. 24194000.185), filed on Feb. 19, 1998, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

To maintain the platform configuration information, CNFG task 50 handles resource processor 18,20,22 board insertions and extractions. The removal of any resource processor 18,20,22 is preferably detected at run-time by LCOM 74 and reported to CNFG 50. The Resource Manager detects the removal of a switching module 16 at run-time. CNFG 50 reports the board removal (except for switching module 16 removal) to the Resource Manager and adjusts the database 52 to reflect the new hardware status. Additionally, CNFG 50 generates disconnect commands for SWTH 70 if the board removed was currently in use.

If a switching module 16 is hot-inserted into the IOSS platform 16, it will automatically become the off-line switching module 16. The SYNC task 90 ensures that the newly-inserted switching module 16 is synchronized as quickly as possible with the existing switching module 16 in case a failover is necessary. If a telephony-support module 18 is hot-inserted into a system, it automatically becomes an off-line slave.

Any signal processing modules 22 added to the IOSS platform 27 at run-time are also detected by LCOM 74 and reported to CNFG 50. CNFG 50 reports the board addition to the Resource Manager and adjusts the configuration database 52 to reflect the new hardware status. SWTH 70 does not need to be told about signal-processing module 22 additions. Adding a signal-processing module 22 will increase the pool of DSPs 240 (see FIG. 11) available to the IOSS platform 27.

With continued reference to FIG. 6, any interface modules 20 added to the IOSS platform 27 at run-time are detected by LCOM 74 and reported to CNFG 50. In this embodiment, CNFG 50 reports the board addition to the Resource Manager and then adjusts the database 52 to reflect the addition. CNFG 50 preferably will not by itself place the new spans 40 into service. If spans 40 are connected, TSIG 78 receives a message indicating that the span 40 is active. The Resource Manager then requests that the specified span 40 be brought into service.

The Local Communications (LCOM) task 74 establishes and maintains a point-to-multipoint connection and connectivity to the resource processors 18,20,22 within the IOSS platform. In one embodiment, each resource processor 18,20,22 within the IOSS platform uses its slot id as its identifier. by LCOM 74 identifies resource processors 18,20,22 that are currently active in the IOSS platform 27 and periodically poll unused slots to determine if a board has entered the system. LCOM 74 recognizes and reports when resource processors 18,20,22 are no longer communicating or when one of the links has failed.

Still referring to FIG. 6, the Remote LAP-D (RLPD) task 66 provides communications to the BTS 44. RLPD is accessed via special messages from Resource Manager to establish connections, pass messages to the BTS 44 and release connections.

The Switch (SWTH) 70 task services the Resource Manager. SWTH 70 receives messages from the Resource Manager, via MSGI 56. Based on the received message, SWTH 70 makes the necessary connections through the switch 43. The results of commanded actions will be sent to the Resource Manager through MSGO 62. Another function of SWTH 70 is to service BIT 82 requests to establish connections to perform testing. SWTH 70 maintains a table indicating current timeslot connections and status (operational, BIT, unused, etc.).

Preferably, all of the connections in the interface modules 20, signal-processing modules 22, and telephony-support modules 18 will be "nailed-up" connections 47, so that real-time switching occurs primarily in the switching module 16. The resource processors 18,20,22 can be initialized to their "nailed-up" connections 47, but will also respond to run-time commands requesting connections or disconnections.

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of the steps taken by the CNFG task 50 upon startup of the IOSS platform 27. In this embodiment, there are redundant switching modules 16. At step 100, the states of these switching modules 16 are unknown. Since the switch modules 16 have nonvolatile memory, which is used to store the switch module executable code, upon start-up it is not known whether the switching modules 16 have executable code stored in their memory or not. The CNFG task 50 running on each of the redundant a switch modules 16 perform an initialization which includes executing a power-up self-test suite. Upon successful completion of self-test, the switching module 16 firmware determines if run-time executable code is present in nonvolatile memory 160 (see FIG. 8). If a run-time version is present, it is preferably copied from nonvolatile memory 160 to memory (preferably DRAM or SRAM) 158 and control is passed to the RAM version. The loaded run-time software preferably starts the operating system and the IOSS tasks. Each switching module 16 will assert its bus ready line and try to become the master. Once the executable is running from RAM, the FLASH can be reprogrammed.

After initialization of the switching module 16, the CNFG task 50 builds up empty configuration tables in step 112 based on its read of the system information and status register (e.g., stored in a hardware register of the switching 16), and described further with regard to FIGS. 12A and 12B. If the CNFG task 50 executes successfully, it sends a "Ready" message to the Resource Manager indicating that the switching module 16 has had a successful power-up 102. At that point, the switching module 16 is in a state called a "Reset" 104. Next, the CNFG task 50 determines whether there is valid executable code in the nonvolatile memory 160 of the switching module 16 (step 106). If the CNFG task 50 determines that there is no valid executable code in the nonvolatile memory, it calls to the LDER 86 (see FIG. 6). At step 108, then, LDER 86 loads executable code into memory 158 from an external data base, for example, or from a transmission from a higher-level application within the telecommunications switching platform 10.

If the power-up self-test suite fails for any reason, the failure may be reported by at least two methods. First, a message can be written to an RS-232 maintenance port on the switching module (which may or may not have a terminal connected), then an error code may be flashed on the switching module 16 front panel. Dependent upon what point in the power-up test sequence a failure is detected, the operating system may or may not be started. If the operating system is active, then an error message will also be sent to Resource Manager. Also, at this point, the switching module 16 will not have asserted the bus ready line and will therefore not attempt to become a master. If a run-time executable is not present in nonvolatile memory 160, the boot version will be copied from nonvolatile memory 160 to memory 158 and restarted. Now that the operating system is running, the Root task will be started and will eventually request a download from Resource Manager. A switching module 16 that does not contain a run-time executable will not assert the bus ready signal, and will not attempt to become a master. It will instead preferably flash a fatal error code.

Still referring to FIG. 7, once the executable code has successfully been loaded into each of the redundant switching modules 16, the platform determines which of the switching modules 16 will be ONLINE and which of the switching modules 16 will be OFFLINE. This is resolved in step 110, where each of the switching modules 16 attempts to seize control as master of the control bus 24. Once bus ownership has been resolved at step 110, the CNFG task 50 builds the configuration table 52 at step 112. The configuration table 52 is initially constructed in step 112 as an empty table whose size and fields are determined by what the CNFG task 50 has read from the information and status register of the switching module 16. Once the empty configuration table 52 has been constructed in step 112, at step 114 each switching module 16 sends a "Ready" message to the Resource Manager.

Each switching module 16 at this time also reports its state, i.e., one of the switching modules 16 is ONLINE while the other switching module 16 is OFFLINE. The switching module 16 that is ONLINE then begins at step 116 to receive configuration information from each resource processor 18,20,22 that is in communication with the switching module 16. Also at step 116, the switching module 16 continues after updating the configuration table 52 and provides the Resource Manager with this configuration information so that the Resource Manager can keep its system configuration database current. FIGS. 12A and 12B further illustrate the building of database 52.

The CNFG task 50 continues at step 118 in which the switching modules 16 receive a SET-- CLOCK message from the Resource Manager. Both the ONLINE and the OFFLINE switching module 16 receive the SET-- CLOCK message, so both of the switching modules 16 can be synchronized with the Resource Manager. For those resource processors 18,20,22 that are in the reset state, executable code is preferably loaded therein.

In step 120, the Resource Manager issues LOAD messages for each resource processor 18,20,22 that is in the RESET state.

The LDER task 86 (see FIG. 6) within the switching module 16 is responsible for processing these downloads to the resource processors 18,20,22.

With further reference to FIG. 7, the call processors 12 along with the switching modules 16 begin the task of assigning resources to traffic channels 49, and control and signaling (e.g., LAPD protocol in this embodiment) channels 48. This occurs at step 122, where the Resource Manager generates and sends ADD-- TCH and ADD-- LAPD messages to the CNFG task 50. At step 122, for each "add" message, the CNFG task 50 will establish "nailed-up" connections 47 through the necessary interface modules 20 and signal-processing modules 22 and will send appropriate connection commands to the SWTH task 70. Still at step 122, for all ADD-- TCH messages, CNFG 50 will attempt to locate and assign (by issuing the nailed-up connection request to the SWTH task 70, see FIG. 6) signal-processing module 22 resources. For all ADD-- LAPD messages, CNFG 50 will locate and assign (by issuing a nailed-up connection request to the SWTH task 70, see FIG. 6) LAPD controller resources within the switching module 16. Once these steps have been completed, the CNFG task is at step 124, and the IOSS platform 27 is ready to place calls.

FIGS. 12A and 12B illustrate an exemplary configuration table 52 used to store individual board configuration information and information used to translate Logical Identifiers or LCIs into switch 43 high-speed bus 25 and timeslot 46 information. The CNFG task 50 creates and maintains a global configuration table 260. The table 260 contains the necessary platform configuration data and will be modified by the CNFG task 50, but will be read by one or more tasks within the switching platform 10. The table 260 is preferably statically configured, assuming all slots used, with recommended board layouts but is by dynamically updated as needed. The fields, field types, and comments for table 260 are shown below. When the switching module 16 starts up, each resource processor 18,20,22 connected to the switching module 16 checks in as described previously via a registration message. CNFG task 50 then updates the database 52. For example, the fields in table 260 can be updated as each board checks in. In particular, field 278 is an array field that is updated for each board (e.g., there are up to twenty entries of board data, one for each board). The contents of field 278 are shown at table 300 in FIG. 12A and described below.

______________________________________Field Name Field Type     Comments______________________________________Pcm-- bus-- state      UINT1          Indicates which of the(262)                     redundant switching                     modules is ONLINE                     and owning the high-                     speed buses 25.Lock-- ind (264)      UINT1          Indicates lock state of                     switching module 16:                     CNFG-- CMD-- LOCK or                     ˜CNFG-- CMD-- LOCKShelf (266)      UINT1          Identifies whether the                     current shelf is shelf 0 or                     shelf 1Slot (268) UINT1          Identifies the slot in                     which the switching                     module 16 is:                     SDM-- SLOT-- A or                     SDM-- SLOT-- BClock-- source      UINT4          Identifies the current(270)                     clock source, e.g.,                     INTERNAL-- CLOCK,                     CLOCK-- 1, CLOCK-- 2,                     CLOCK-- 3, or                     CLOCK-- 4Clock-- source-- rate      UINT4          Indicates the current(272)                     clock source rate:                     SPAN-- TYPE-- E1 or                     SPAN-- TYPE-- T1Online-- psm-- slot      UINT1          Identifies the slot of the(274)                     ONLINE telephony-                     support module 18.Stats (276)      CNFG-- PLATFORM--                     Is a structure 276      STAT-- TYPE                     containing counts of                     installed hardware                     components.Board [ ] (278)      CNFG-- BOARD--                     Is an array 278 of      TYPE           specific board-related                     data. This array is                     preferably sized to                     be one greater than the                     largest number of boards                     that may residue in the                     switching platform 10.                     The extra slot is used                     for cross-connects.______________________________________

As the resource processors 18,20,22 check in with the switching module 16, the registration information is used by CNFG task 50 to update the stats field 276, which contains, for example, information concerning the number and type of boards installed in the switching platform 10, along with the total number and allocated number of various system resources.

The stats field 276 contains, for example, the field names and types set forth below.

______________________________________Field Name   Comments______________________________________Ist-- sdm (282)        UINT4     The bit position indicates                  the card-rack slot and the                  number of bits sets indicate                  boards.Inst-- psm (284)        UINT4     Same as aboveInst-- qsm (286)        UINT4     Same as aboveInst-- spm (288)        UTIN4     Same as aboveTotal-- spans (290)        UINT2     Total number of span                  interfaces known to the                  platformLand-- spans (292)        UINT2     Number of spans 40 allocated                  to land circuitsAir-- spans (294)        UINT2     Number of spans 40 allocated                  to air circuitsCur-- bp-- slots        UINT1     Current number of backplane(298)                  slots______________________________________

The land-spans field 292 and air-spans field 294 define the number of spans 40 allocated to land and air circuits. For example, there will be a defined number of radios associated with a particular switching platform 10 and thus there exists a defined number of air traffic channels to be assigned by the call processor 12. As the equipment associated with the switching platform 10 is known to the application processor 12, the application processor, at the time of system initialization, can determine the allocation of spans 40 between land and air.

The board field 278 of the configuration database 260 is, for example, an array field and contains board-related information and is dimensioned to have an array size of one more than the largest number of boards ("n") that may reside in the switching platform 10. Backplane slots are numbered 1 to n. The resource processors 18,20,22 report their slot numbers to CNFG 50 when the resource processors check in with the switching module 16. Array 278 thus contains information concerning each resource processor 18,20,22 currently registered with the switching module 16. The registration information provided to switching module 16 in combination with the configuration information known by the call processor 12 and provided to the switching module 16 allows the CNFG task 50 to update tables 260,280,300, including building board LCIs to be stored in field 302 (e.g., the upper 16 bits of the LCI - shelf, slot, board type).

Array 278 will also be used to translate LCI values to switch 43 high-speed bus 25 and timeslot 46 information, also described with respect to FIGS. 13A and 13B. Board types for every slot will start in table 300 as NO-- BOARD in field 304, and are updated as boards register. Board states will start as UNKNOWN and are updated as boards register. The config-- ptr field 324 is then cast to an appropriate board type, based on the type field. For example, a signal processing module 22 board would cause field 324 to be set to the signal processing board type and would provide a pointer to, for example, table 346 shown in FIG. 12B. As long as the type field is NO-- BOARD, no attempt is made to access this pointer. During CNFG's 50 initialization, the config-- ptr field 324 of each array element will be set to the address of a statically-allocated structure of the recommended board type for each slot, based on backplane type. Once set, this field 324 will preferably not change unless a system reset is performed.

______________________________________Field Name     Field Type               Comments______________________________________LCI (302) UINT4     Board LCI value.Type (304)     UINT1     Board type: NO-- BOARD,               BOARD-- SDM, BOARD-- SPM,               BOARD-- PSM, BOARD-- QPM-- E1,               BOARD-- QPM-- T1State (306)     UINT1     Board state: UNKNOWN-- ST,               RESET-- ST, OFFLINE-- ST,               ONLINE-- ST, ERROR-- ST,               IN-- TEST-- ST, LOADING-- STPrev-- state (308)     UINT1     see state field aboveCode-- version [ ]     CHAR1     An array of(310)               CODE-- VERSION-- LENGTH bytes               used to contain the code version for a               specific board.Boot-- version [ ]     CHAR1     An array of(312)               CODE-- VERSION-- 0 LENGTH bytes               used to contain the boot version for a               specific board.Fgpa-- version [ ]     CHAR1     An array of(314)               VERSION-- LENGTH bytes used to               contain the FPGA version of a specific               board.Dsp-- version [ ]     CHAR1     An array of(316)               CODE-- VERSION--  LENGTH bytes               used to contain the FGPA version for a               specific signal-processing module 22 or               telephony-support module 18.Vm-- time [ ]     CHAR1     An array of(318)               CODE-- VERSION--  LENGTH bytes               used to contain the voice message               version for a specific telephony-               support module 18.Tone-- version [ ]     CHAR1     An array of(320)               CODE-- VERSION--  LENGTH bytes               used to contain the tone version for a               specific telephony-support module 18.Rev-- number     UINT2     Hardware revision of board.*config-- ptr     VOID      Cast to appropriate type, based on(324)               specified type field. No attempt to cast               is made if type = NO-- BOARD.               Valid casts:               SDM-- BD -               CNFG-- SDM-- BOARD-- TYPE               SPM-- BD -               CNFG-- SPM-- BOARD-- TYPE               PSM-- BD -               CNFG-- PSM-- BOARD-- TYPE               QSM-- E1-- BD -               CNFG-- QSM-- E1-- BOARD-- TYPE               QSM-- T1-- BD -               CNFG-- QSME-- T1-- BOARD--______________________________________               TYPE

At this point, the registered hardware in the switching platform is ready to begin operation and the resource manager can send messages to the switching module 16 is to add traffic channels or LAP-D channels. For each message to add a LAP-- D channel, the CNFG task 50 will process the add message by locating and assigning a LAP-D control resource via issuing a nailed-up connection request to the SWTH task of the CNFG task 50. Table 330 is accessed as shown below and in FIG. 12B, and table 330 contains field 332, which is an array of telecommunications control channels used to communicate with a BTS 44. Field 332 is accessed via the config-- ptr 324 field of the configuration database 260.

______________________________________Field Name Field Type    Comments______________________________________BTS-- Control [ ]      CNFG-- BTS-- CON                    An array of(332)      TROL-- TYPE                    (NUM-- BTS--                    CONTROL--  CHAN)                    elements containing BTS--                    control channel assignment                    data.______________________________________

BTS-- Control channels (sometimes specifically referred to as MUNICH channels because of the SIEMENS-proprietary Munich integrated circuits used in an embodiment of the present invention) are used to communicate with the BTS 44. This communication path is provided, for example, through an Abis interface and implemented with a LAP-D protocol. Each BTS-- CONTROL channel may be associated with one timeslot 46 of a high-speed bus 25. The contents of field array 332 is shown below and as table 380 in FIG. 12B.

______________________________________Field Name   Field Type    Comments______________________________________LCI     UINT4         LCI of the interface module 20(382)                 trunk connected to this                 BTS-- CONTROL channel.Sapi    UINT2         Initial SAPI used by the LAP-D(384)                 task to establish the control                 link.Tei     UINT2         Initial TEI used by the LAP-D(386)                 task to establish the control                 link.Timeslot   UINT2         Physical timeslot 46 associated(388)                 with the LCICon     PHYS-- CKT-- TYPE                 MTSL line & slot information for(390)                 the PCM timeslots associated                 with this BTS--                 CONTROL channel.______________________________________

If a signal processing module 22 checks in with the switching module 16 and, for example, a traffic channel is added, then the CNFG task 50 updates table 340 shown below and in FIG. 12B. Each signal-processing module 22 preferably contains 1 to 4 daughter boards 242, with each daughter board 242 containing two DSPs 240. The DSPs 240 are used to provide GSM encoding and are mapped into, for example, GSM-- ABIS traffic channel circuits. Each DSP 240 is individually controllable. CNFG task 50 will statically allocate space for the maximum number of these structures needed. The table 340 is accessed through the config-- ptr field 324 of the configuration database 260.

______________________________________Field Name    Field Type    Comments______________________________________Dsp-- mask    UINT1         Mask indicating which DSPs(342)                  240 are installed.Tot-- installed    UINT1         Total number of DSPs 240-- dsps (344)     installed on this signal-                  processing module 22 board.Free-- dsps    UINT1         Number of DSPs 240(346)                  remaining to be used.Faulted-- dsps    UINT1         Number of faulted DSPs 240.(348)Dsp [ ] (350)    CNFG-- DSP-- RESO                  A two dimensional array    URCE-- TYPE                  350 used to access the DSPs 240                  [MAX-- SPM--                  DAUGHTER-- BDS]                  [MAX-- DSP-- PER--                  DAUGHTER-- BD]______________________________________

Each DSP 242 is indexed in the table 340 via dsp[] field 350. Thus, field 350 would have eight array entries, one for each DSP 242 on the signal processing module 22, the organization and content of the array for each DSP 242 shown below as table 400 and in FIG. 12B. As shown in table 400, for each DSP 242, a LCI is generated by the CNFG task 50 and stored in field 402. As each DSP utilizes five timeslots, five physical address locations on a pcm bus are stored in fields 408 and 410. For example, field 408 contains the physical circuit assigned to the DSP connection handling GSM encoded channels 49 and field 410 provides an array of the physical circuits assigned to the DSP connection handling the four resultant PCM encoded lines channels 48. Also shown in table 400 is field 406, which contains the span 40 that has been nailed-up to the DSP 242 when a traffic channel was added. Field 406 contains the LCI of the appropriate span 40.

______________________________________Field Name     Field Type    Comments______________________________________DSP-- lci (402)     UINT4         Provides the LCI of the                   particular DSP 242.State (404)     UINT1         DSP-- ALLOCATED,                   DSP-- INSTALLED,                   DSP-- TEST,                   DSP-- FAILED,                   DSP-- NOT-- PRESENTQSM-- trunk-- lci     UINT4         QSM trunk that has been(406)                   `NAILED-UP` to                   this DSP 242.GSM-- ckt     PHYS-- CKT-- TYPE                   High-speed bus 25(408)                   and timeslot information for                   the GSM-encoded timeslot                   associated with the                   particular DSP 242.PCM-- ckt [ ]     PHYS-- CHT-- TYPE                   An array 410 of(410)                   MAX-- TCH-- ENCODED--                   PER-- DSP (4)                   elements 440 containing high-                   speed bus 25 and timeslot                   information for the PCM                   timeslots associated with the                   DSP.______________________________________

When a telephony support module 18 registers with the switching module 16, the CNFG task 50 maintains the pcm-- line that is associated with the module 18 as shown below in table 360 and in FIG. 12B. CNFG 50 will statically allocate space for the maximum number of these structures needed. Table 360 is accessed through the config-- ptr 324 field of the configuration database 260.

______________________________________Field Name Field Type Comments______________________________________PCM-- line      UINT1      High speed bus 25 used by this(362)                 board.______________________________________

The resources provided by the telephony support modules 18 are further identified by LCIs according to an embodiment of the present invention. For instance, a LCI would be provided for a dial tone, which would be a resource provided by the one of the DSPs 226 (see FIG. 10). As before, this LCI identifies a timeslot 46 that exists on the high-speed bus 25 to which the telephony support module 18 is connected. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the high-speed bus 25 that is dedicated to the telephony-support modules 18 is bus 1. More than one of the traffic channels being switched by the switching platform 10 may need to be connected to a particular resource. For example, more than one of the traffic channels may need to hear a busy signal or ring signal at a particular time. Accordingly, the switch 43 is operable to connect the time slot carrying such signals to multiple traffic channels as instructed by the switching module controller 156.

Other resources provided by the telephony support module 18 include resources for decoding and transmitting signaling information that is used to form connections between information channels. The DSPs 226 of the telephony support module 18 will preferably provide a pool of such resources on various timeslots 46 of the high-speed bus 25 between the switch 43 and the telephony support module 18. These resources will be dynamically assigned, based on availability, to the traffic channels needing such resources.

When an interface module 10 registers with the switching module 16, the field 324 will be cast to field 372, as shown in FIG. 12B, and CNFG task 50 will update field 372, which is an array of spans (e.g., Els) contained in an interface module 20 (e.g., there are four spans on each module 20). Also, there will be a table 370 for each interface module 20. The span interface modules 20 preferably interface to standard spans 40. An interface module 20 preferably contains 1 to 4 spans 40, with each span 40 being individually controllable.

______________________________________Field Name    Field Type    Comments______________________________________span [ ] (372)    CNFG-- SPAN-- TYPE                  This field is an array 372 of                  CNFG-- SPAN-- TYPE,                  containing MAX-- QSM--                  SPANS-- BD (4) elements                  420.______________________________________

The CNFG task 50 can support, for example, land spans 40 and GSM air spans 40. The content of each array field 372 is shown in table 420 below and in FIG. 12B. As shown in the table 420, each span 40 has a unique logical identifier or "LCI" field 422, type field 424, state field 426, physical circuit array 428, and logical circuit array (air circuits only) 428. Defined types 424 comprise, for example: SPAN-- NONE, SPAN-- GSM-- ABIS, or SPAN-- PSTN. SPAN-- NONE, indicates no physical connection to a interface module 20 for a particular span input. A span's state 426 may be ENABLED, DISABLED, or FAULTED. The state of a single span 40 does not affect other spans on the same board 40.

Air spans 40 (e.g., GSM-- ABS) use both the logical and physical circuit arrays. Air span circuits map 4 to 1 within one of the timeslots of an exemplary high-speed bus 25. Thus, the logical circuit array 428 is preferably an array containing 128 entries 440. These logical LCI entries 440 are referenced by the Resource Manager. The physical circuit array 430 preferably contains 32 entries and is used for interface module 20 to DSP 242 mapping. This array 430 is used to translate LCI values from the Resource Manager to high-speed bus 25 and timeslot 46 information. Land spans (e.g., PSTN spans) preferably map directly to physical circuits, in which case only the physical circuit array 430 is needed. These LCI entries are referenced by the Resource Manager. This array 430 is used to translate LCI values from the Resource Manager to high-speed bus 25 and timeslot 46 information.

______________________________________Field Name    Field Type    Comments______________________________________LCI (422)    UINT4         LCI that idensitifes the                  particular span 40.Type (424)    UINT1         Span types:                  SPAN-- NONE                  SPAN-- PSTN                  SPAN-- GSM-- ABISState (426)    UINT1         ENABLES - span 40 is present                  at the interface module 20 and is                  ready for use.                  DISABLED- spa 40 is present,                  but disabled.                  FAULTED - span 40 is present,                  but faultedLogical-- ckt [ ]    CNFG-- PHYS-- CKT                  An array 426 of(426)    -- TYPE  MAX-- GSM-- ENCODED--                  TIMESLOTS elements 440                  representing the logical                  4 to 1 mapping of air                  circuits. Not used for land                  circuits.phys-- ckt [ ]    CNFG-- PHYS-- CKT                  An array 428 of MAX-- 2M--(428)    -- TYPE  TIMESLOT elements 440                  representing the physical                  timeslots for this span 40.Dsp-- lci [ ]    UINT4         An array 430 of MAX-- 2M--(430)                  TIMESLOT elements 440,                  indicating the LCI of the                  DSP 442 "nailed" to                  this timeslot. Preferably, this                  field is only used for GSM                  spans.______________________________________

Still referring to FIG. 12B, tables 440 are used as the lowest level in which the configuration database 52 and provide the PCM bus values. For example, each table 440 provides the high-speed bus 25 and timeslot a specified circuit is mapped to.

______________________________________Field Name Field Type  Comments______________________________________Line (442) UINT1       High-speed bus 25 number,                  preferred range is 0-15.Slot (444) UINT1       Timeslot number within a                  particular high-speed us 25,                  preferred range is 0-127.Type (446) UINT1       circuit type.______________________________________

FIG. 13 is an exemplary flow chart describing how LCIs according to an embodiment of the present invention are used to configure communications within the telecommunications switching platform 10. The process begins at step 460, where, for example, the resource manager provides a LCI to the SWTH task, which in turn calls the Cnfg-- Lci-- Xlation process of the CNFG task 50. At step 462, the switching module 16 uses the LCI to extract the slot, span, and board-- type that is associated with the LCI, for example, using the GET macro described previously.

At decision step 464, if the slot provided within the LCI exceeds the maximum number of slots in the backplane of the telecommunications switching platform, then the switching module 16 would note that this is an invalid slot and would return that result at step 466 (INVALID SLOT). If, however, the slot number was in the permissible range for of a particular telecommunications switching platform, the switching module 16 at step 468 compares the provided board-- type from the LCI to the table of board-- types that are in use in that particular telecommunications switching platform. If the board-- type provided in the LCI is not a board-- type used in the particular telecommunications switching platform 10, the process at step 470 returns that result from the process (INVALID BOARD).

Now, if the board-- type was one of the permissible types of boards for that particular telecommunications switching platform, the process proceeds to follow different paths depending on which type of board was identified by the particular LCI. At step 472, if the board-- type corresponds with that for a telephony support module 18 (sometimes referred to as a PCM-Support Module or "EISM"), then the process will continue at step 474. If, on the other hand, the board-- type corresponds to an interface module 20, the process at step 480 will proceed to step 500, which is identified by the "A" branch (see FIG. 13B). If the board-- type is neither the telephony-support module 18 or an interface module 20, the process proceeds to step 482, where the board-- type is checked to see whether it corresponds with a switching module 16. If the board-- type indicates a switching module 16, the process continues to step 550, which is designated by "B," which is shown again at the top of FIG. 13C. If the board-- type is neither a telephony support module 18, nor an interface module 20, nor a switching module 16, then the process continues to step 484, where it is determined whether the board-- type corresponds to that associated with signal processing module 22. If the board-- type does corresponds to a signal processing module 22, the process continues to step 600, which is identified by "C" and is shown again at the top of FIG. 13D.

Since the board-- type was tested for validity at step 468, the board-- type should always be able to be identified by one of the decision blocks 472, 480, 482, 484, or a new decision block for a new type of board not specifically described herein. Step 486 is nonetheless provided as a default to return an INVALID BOARD message if for whatever reason the process proceeds from all the known board-- type decision blocks without branching to the handler for that particular type of board type.

Returning to the manner in which LCIs are handled for each of the particular board-- types, if the board-- type was that of a telephony support module 18, the process continues at step 474. At step 474, the switching module 16, using the LCI, extracts the circuit identifier, for example using a GET macro. At step 476, the switching module 16 looks to the configuration table 52 to find the telephony support module's assigned high speed bus 25 (sometimes referred to as a PCM-line). At step 478, the process returns a high speed bus 25 identifier and the particular slots used by the telephony support module 18. For example, the circuit identifier extracted from the LCI would be used as an index into database 260 illustrated in FIG. 12A to navigate through to the database table 360, which identifies the PCM line used by the module 18.

If the board-- type was that of an interface module 20, the process continues at step 500 (FIG. 13B) . At step 502, the span identifier within the LCI is extracted and tested to see if it is within the range of 0-3. This is because in the embodiment of the present invention, the interface module 20 handles no more than four spans by itself. If the span identifier is outside this permissible range, the process returns an INVALID SPAN message at step 504. If, on the other hand, the span identifier is within the permissible range, the process creates a pointer to a data set that associated with the particular span, and extracts the span-- type that is associated with this particular span 40 from the data structure at step 506. At decision blocks 508 and 510 it is determined from the span-type information within the configuration table 52 whether the particular span 40 is a land-based span or an air span. For example, table 420 for each interface module 20 includes span type information in field 424. Land-based spans are sometimes specifically referred to as PSTN spans and air spans are sometimes specifically referred to as GSM or PCS spans. If at step 508 it is determined that the span is a land-based span, the process sets the circuit-- pointer to point to the physical circuit array in the configuration table at step 514 (see field 430 of table 420 in FIG. 12B).

If at step 508 it was determined that the span was not a land-based span, the process would continue to step 510, where the span-- type would be tested to see whether the span is a GSM-- ABIS air span. In the present configuration, if the span was neither of these types, the process returns an INVALID SPAN message at step 512. If, on the other hand, it was determined at step 510 that the circuit was an air span, then at step 511 it would be determined if a force physical bit in the span LCI was set. If the force physical bit was set, the ckt-- ptr would be set to the physical circuit in step 513 because this would indicate that the nailed-up connection for the span was not yet established and the physical circuit associated with the span should be used to establish the nailed-up connection between the span and its allocated DSP.

If the force physical bit is not set, then at step 518 the process sets a pointer to the logical circuit in the configuration table 52 for the desired traffic channel. Once the pointer has been properly set at step 513, 514 or step 518, the process continues at step 516 to extract the circuit identification from the LCI. If the circuit is within a permissible range for circuits within that particular telecommunications switching platform (step 518), the process returns that circuit's line and slot information at step 522. If the circuit is outside the range of permissible circuits, the process returns an INVALID CIRCUIT message at step 520.

If the board-- type corresponds with that for the switching module 16, the process continues at step 550 (FIG. 13C). Here, switching module 16 extracts the circuit identification from the LCIs at step 552. If the circuit identification is within the range of valid control channels, which are sometimes referred to as MUNICH32 channels, the process will access at step 556 the configuration table 52 to get to the line and slot information associated with that particular circuit. For example, the switching module 16 LCI would be used to index through database 260 to table 330 down to the line and slot fields for the circuit contained in table 440, as shown in FIG. 12B.

If, on the other hand, the circuit is outside the range of valid MUNICH32 channels, then at step 560 the circuit is checked to see whether it is within the range of valid conference circuits. If it is, at step 562, the slot is set to "circuit"and the line is set to 0. This line and slot information will be returned from the process at step 558. If the circuit was outside the range of valid MUNICH32 channels and valid conference circuits, in this embodiment the process returns an INVALID CIRCUIT message at step 564.

If the board-- type corresponds with that for a signal processing module 22, which is sometimes referred to as an SPM, the process continues at step 600 (see FIG. 13D). At step 602, the DSP information is extracted from the LCI. If at step 604 it is determined that the DSP is within the range of permissible DSPs for the switching platform, (e.g., numbered between 1 and 8) the process at step 608 creates a pointer to this SPM board using the DSP look-up line and slot data from the configuration table 52. This line and slot information is return from the process at step 610. If at step 604 the DSP had been outside the range of permissible DSP use, the process will return an INVALID CIRCUIT message at step 606.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the interaction of LCIs, the CNFG task 50 and the CNFG database 52 is now described. When an air traffic channel is added (e.g., in response to an ADD-- TCH message to make a nailed-up connection), the call processor 12 provides a span LCI and a physical timeslot to be used for the connection. From this information, a logical timeslot can be determined. For example, if the call processor 12 sends a command, for example via a resource messenger to the switching module 16, to add a traffic channel to timeslot 1, a span LCI is provided (which provides the shelf, slot, board type, span (air or land) and a span number) and a physical timeslot, e.g., 1. With this information, CNFG task 50 locates a free DSP for the nailed-up connection by going into the CNFG table, illustrated in FIGS. 12A and 12B, and reading field 346 to find a free DSP. For example, CNFG task 50 searches the configuration database 52 for all signal-processing modules 22. For each signal-processing module 22 identified, the CNFG task 50 reads field 346 to determine if a free DSP exists, and would then search array field 350 for each free DSP on the module 22.

The DSP array 350 for the free DSP also includes fields 402-410 as shown in FIG. 12B. Field 408 identifies the encoded GSM connection of the DSP, e.g., the pcm bus line and slot contained in fields 442-446 as shown in FIG. 12B, for the nailed-up connection. Field 410 includes an array of the decoded GSM connections of the DSP namely the pcm line and slot for each connection of the free DSP that provides a DSP for a single voice connection. Thus, the line and slot for the encoded GSM connection for the free DSP provides one connection point on the switching module 16, the other connection point being the LCI of the span provided by the call processor 12. Accordingly, a nailed-up connection is made between these points.

As shown in FIG. 12B, the LCI of the span for the nailed-up connection to the free DSP is inserted into field 406 (which is in table 400 for the free DSP now assigned to the nailed-up connection) and represents the span and physical timeslot the DSP is connected to. Similarly, the span array 372 contains fields 422-432 for each span. Field 432 contains the LCI of the free DSP now being used for the nailed-up connection to the span. Field 430 in the span array 372 represents the physical timeslot used for the nailed-up connection that is connected via the switching module 16 into the physical circuit identified in field 408 of the DSP table 400, thus providing the nailed-up connection. If the nailed-up connection is for a land span, then field 430 provides the physical timeslot used to process a call through the switching platform 10. However, if the nailed-up connection is for an air span, indicated in field 424, then for call processing on the span, the physical timeslot field 430 is used only for establishing the nailed-up connection and actual call processing (e.g., the voice connection for a call) uses the logical timeslot field 428.

The tables 440 including fields 442-446 contain the pcm bus values and are based, for example, on the hardware layout information stored in a table in the switching module 16 that associates the pcm line and slot data with the component assigned to the timeslot. Fields 442-446 are initially set to a null value for the logical timeslots until air traffic channels are added, which are added four at a time. When the air channels are added, the line and slot for each logical circuit stored in array field 428 correspond to the four decoded GSM connection for the associated DSP stored in array field 410 of DSP table 400 for the particular DSP.

Once a nailed-up connection is established, the nailed-up DSP LCI from dsp-- lci field 402 goes in the dsp-- lci array field 432 for the span of the nailed-up connection (e.g., each timeslot on a span could be a traffic channel assigned a unique DSP). Similarly, the LCI of the span of the nailed-up connection is put in field 406 of the DSP table 400, as shown in FIG. 12B.

If a DSP is to be reallocated because, for example, the DSP has failed (e.g., the board detects that a DSP is not responding to a polling signal), the board containing the DSP has been removed from the system or a test such as built in test (BIT) determines that the DSP is bad, then the DSP can be replaced by an operational DSP via a remapping operation according to an embodiment of the present invention. The remapping can be done as long as there is an available DSP to assume the functions of the failed or missing DSP. For example, to remap a DSP (or any other component that may have spare components available) according to an embodiment of the present invention, the resource manager, and thus the call processors, are told by, for example, the switching module 16 that a particular DSP is out of service. As explained earlier, the LCI of the span connected to the bad DSP to can be provided to the resource manager by the CNFG task 50. This LCI would include the span and the physical timeslot used for the nailed-up connection, which identifies the GSM-encoded connection to the DSP (e.g., the physical circuit identified in field 408 of table 400 for the DSP) from within the four traffic channels (e.g., the decoded GSM connections of the DSP identified in array field 410 in table 400 for the DSP) can be identified. With this information, the resource manager informs the call processor 12 that the four traffic channels allocated to the failed DSP are out of service. Once the traffic channels are out of service, the switching module 16 will attempt to locate a free DSP. For example, the CNFG task 50 will read field 346 of the DSP table 340 to determine if there is a free DSP and then determine the LCI of the free DSP as explained previously. If a free DSP cannot be located, no further action is taken to remap the connections to the failed DSP and the affected traffic channels remain out of service.

However, if a free DSP is located, a MOVE TCH message is sent to the SWTH task, which takes the LCI of the span connected to the bad DSP, the LCI of the bad DSP and the LCI of the new DSP and moves the connection in the switching module 16 of the affected span to the new DSP and will then break the connection between the affected span and the bad DSP. Once the new connection is established, the resource manager is then told that the affected traffic channels are now available, the resource manager informing the call processor 12 that the traffic channels are back in service. The MOVE TCH message involves, for example, the following changes to the CNFG database 52 illustrated in FIGS. 12A and 12B. The qsm-- trunk-- lci field 406 in the DSP table 400 for the new DSP will be updated to contain the LCI of the span (e.g., the span does not change and the LCI of the span is put in the database for the remapped DSP). Correspondingly, the dsp-- lci[] field 432 in the span table 420 for the span will be updated with the LCI of the new DSP. In addition, as a new DSP has been mapped to the span, the new LCIs for the physical circuit connection to the new DSP and the logical circuits (e.g., four for every physical circuit) must be provided to the configuration database 52 for the span. Accordingly, the decoded DSP pcm line and slot data for the new DSP of field 410, contained in fields 442-446 of field 440 of the new DSP, will be copied into the logical-- ckt array 428 of the affected span, e.g., the four traffic channels associated with the four logical circuits in the affected span will be replaced with the circuits of the new DSP that will handle the traffic channels.

Therefore, the failed DSP has been dynamically remapped to allow a new DSP to assume the functions of the failed DSP and further, all of the changed connections remained transparent to the call processor 12. For example, the LCIs of the spans were not changed nor were the traffic channels assigned to each span and thus no additional processing was required by the call processor 12 due to the remapping process.

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), 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 El or Ti 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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Classifications
U.S. Classification370/458
International ClassificationG06F9/445, H04Q11/04, H04Q3/545
Cooperative ClassificationG06F8/67, H04Q3/545, H04Q11/0414, H04Q3/5455
European ClassificationG06F8/67, H04Q11/04C1, H04Q3/545M1, H04Q3/545
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 19, 1998ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:DAVIS, JAMES M.;KOOY, SCOTT A.;LOHN, H. JOHN III;REEL/FRAME:009021/0655
Effective date: 19980219
Owner name: DSC/CELCORE, INC., TENNESSEE