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United States Patent [w]
Yee et al.
US006151497A [ii] Patent Number: 6,151,497  Date of Patent: Nov. 21,2000
 SATELLITE BASED HIGH BANDWIDTH DATA BROADCAST
 Inventors: David Moon Yee, Scottsdale; Robert Henry Bickley, Paradise Valley; Philip John Zucarelli, Glendale; Theodore W. Keller; Jeff S. Osman, both of Scottsdale; Randall K. Derr, Phoenix, all of Ariz.
 Assignee: Motorola, Inc., Schaumburg, 111.
 Appl. No.: 09/022,828  Filed: Feb. 12, 1998
 Int. C I. II04Q 7 20
 U.S. CI 455/430; 455/427; 455/12.1
 Field of Search 455/430, 427,
455/12.1; 370/316; 380/49, 21
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
5,448,206 9/1995 Newhall 332/103
5,448,623 9/1995 Wiedeman et al 455/430
5,689,568 11/1997 Laborde 380/49
5,724,345 3/1998 Guarneri et al 370/316
5,889,861 3/1999 Ohashi et al 380/21
5,990,928 11/1999 Sklar et al 348/8
5,999,526 11/1999 Garland et al 370/352
Primary Examiner—Lee Nguyen
Assistant Examiner—Isaak R. Jama
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Bradley J. Botsch  ABSTRACT
A satellite based broadcast data communications service for a satellite communications system is presented which allows a data information service provider (40) to send large blocks of data information to mobile subscriber units (50). A satellite gateway (30) is coupled to a service provider (40) via a ground link (42) and to a satellite communications network (10) via a gateway link (36). A mobile subscriber unit (50) is coupled to the satellite communications network (10) via both a message link (56) and a high-speed highbandwidth downlink (58). The mobile subscriber unit sends a data request for requested data information to service provider (40) via message link (56), satellite communications network (10), gateway link (36), gateway (30), and ground link (42). Service provider (40) responds by retrieving and sending the requested data information to the requesting subscriber unit (50) via ground link (42), gateway (30), gateway link (36), satellite communications network (10), and high-speed high-bandwidth downlink (58). Service provider (40) sends a set of standard data information to the satellite communications network (10) to be broadcast over the high-speed high-bandwidth downlinks (58). Each subscriber unit 50 receives the broadcast standard data information, preferably only those portions for which the subscriber unit (50) has access authorization. The satellite based broadcast data communications service provides for data requests, data delivery, data access control, delivery priority, and billing for use of the system.
11 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
SATELLITE BASED HIGH BANDWIDTH
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention pertains to satellite 5 communications, and, more particularly, to a satellite based broadcast data communications service for a satellite communications system for allowing a data information service provider to send large blocks of data information to mobile subscriber units.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Data communication services are essential in present day network communications systems. While many services, 15 such as networked applications sharing common files and internet web browsers, generally require a bidirectional communication interface, many data services operate for the most part as a uni-directional service. Examples of such services are file transfers of large blocks of data such as 20 weather map information, position, vector and course information from other mobile users, airport ground information, and audiovisual entertainment.
A critical point in providing or receiving data services is the ability to connect to the network. In present day network 25 systems, it is not necessary for each user to connect directly to the network. Rather, users typically connect remotely to the network via modem by dialing a conventional telephone number of an access point. The access point is typically a switch owned by a network service provider through which 30 remote callers are authenticated as authorized users and then connected to the network. One difficulty in present networked systems is the ability to maintain a network connection, either directly or remotely, when a user is mobile. Most local communications networks are ground 35 based and use line of sight (LOS) communications links. These types of communication systems work well when each node in the communication network is stationary. However, if a network node is mobile, as for example an airborne aircraft or a mobile ground equipment vehicle, the 40 ability to maintain a connection to a communications network becomes more difficult, especially where the mobile user travels far distances or across several geographical boundaries. This occurs because the mobile user moves in and out of range of any single ground based communication 45 system. Furthermore, even in cellular radiotelephone communications system, which provide communication links for moving subscriber units, the ground based switching centers, or "cells", must each be in communication and are required to conduct a lengthy subscriber authentication 50 processing order to service a "roaming" subscriber unit that is out of range of its "home" cell but which is within the range of control of a "visited" cell. This results because only the home cell of a subscriber has full access to its authentication information (e.g, the subscriber unit identifier (ID) 55 which uniquely identifies the subscriber unit from other subscriber units). Accordingly, the overhead involved in sending a message is quite high, impractical, and even impossible when the subscriber moves out of range of any cell in the cellular network. Furthermore, subscriber units of 60 cellular based communication systems are not set up to handle large blocks of incoming data at high speeds. In addition, in order to send data from one node in a communication network to another, the location of the destination network node must be known. Where a subscriber travels in 65 and out of the range of communication of several ground based communication systems, the location of the subscriber
unit is always changing and hence not necessarily known. Accordingly, it is very difficult to send data, and especially large blocks of high-speed high-bandwidth data, to mobile users in a communication system.
What is needed is a system and method for providing timely delivery of large blocks of digital data on a one-way as-needed basis from a data information service provider to a mobile user.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
The invention will be better understood from a reading of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawing in which like reference designators are used to designate like elements, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagram of a system in accordance with the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating the functionality of each of the nodes of the system of FIG. 1.
The present invention provides a satellite based broadcast data communications service which allows ground based service providers to broadcast high bandwidth data information to mobile users. Data information suitable for broadcasting by the satellite based broadcast data communications service of the invention includes weather map information, position, vector and course information from other mobile users, airport ground information, and audiovisual entertainment. In accordance with the invention, the satellite based broadcast data communications system can be configured by the system's users to target a particular individual user or group of users with high bandwidth data according to an addressing scheme defined by a communications link protocol. Users, hereinafter "subscribers", subscribe to service providers to obtain particular data services. The satellite based broadcast data communications service allows subscribers to access only the information which they subscribe to or are registered for. Additional services can be accessed by requesting information from the service provider. Individual mobile subscribers or subscriber applications request downloads of particular digital information through data messages transmitted over a lower bandwidth data channel. The requested high bandwidth data is broadcast via satellite over a one-way high-bandwidth downlink. The satellite based broadcast data communications service is also configurable to collect system usage information for use in possible collection of fees from system subscribers. The satellite based data broadcast communications service of the invention allows data information service providers to provide data information to mobile subscribers across different geographic regions.
In accordance with the invention, there is provided a low-orbit global-coverage satellite network through which digital data information is transmitted and received. Further in accordance with the invention, mobile subscribers are supplied with a satellite communications subscriber unit which has the capability of sending data requests and receiving requested high-bandwidth data information from a satellite network over a high bandwidth downlink.
An illustrative embodiment of the satellite based broadcast data communications service is described herein in the context of an avionic communications system. However, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the principles of the invention extend to any communications system having mobile subscribers.