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WIRELESS NETWORK USING MULTIPLE
CHANNEL ASSIGNMENT MESSAGES AND
METHOD OF OPERATION
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention is directed, in general, to wireless networks and, more specifically, a wireless network that transmits multiple Channel Assignment messages (CAMs) to a mobile station.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The radio frequency (RF) spectrum is a limited commodity. Only a small portion of the spectrum can be assigned to each communications industry. The assigned spectrum, therefore, must be used efficiently in order to allow as many frequency users as possible to have access to the spectrum. Multiple access modulation techniques are some of the most efficient techniques for utilizing the RF spectrum. Examples of such modulation techniques include time division multiple access (TDMA), frequency division multiple access (FDMA), and code division multiple access (CDMA).
 Whenever possible, wireless service providers enhance the reliability and performance of the wireless networks they operate in order to attract and retain subscribers. One of the key performance parameters of any wireless networks is call set-up. When a new call is initiated by a mobile station (e.g., cell phone) or is directed to a mobile station by a base station, a series of call set-up messages are wirelessly transmitted between a mobile station and a base station of a wireless network. All of these messages must be successfully received by either the base station or mobile station in order for the mobile station to successfully access the wireless network and transmit and receive on a traffic channel. If one of the control messages is not received, either due to noise or an obstruction, a call may be dropped during set-up and must be reinitiated. This wastes bandwidth and ties up system resources.
 For example, in a conventional wireless networks, such as a CDMA wireless network operating according to the IS-95 standard or the IS-2000 standard, a single pointto-point Channel Assignment message (CAM) is transmitted in a paging channel from a base station to a mobile station. The CAM comprises a number of data fields that contain information about the assigned channel, such as Walsh code, frame offset, power, CDMA frequency and the like. Due to noise, obstructions or another unforeseen situation, a call may not be completed if the mobile station fails to receive the CAM during a required time period set forth by the applicable standard. If the resulting access failure rate or system failure rate in the forward link is relatively high, the required system performance cannot be guaranteed.
 Therefore, there is a need in the art for improved systems and methods for setting up a call between a base station and a mobile station in a wireless network. In particular, there is a need for an improved wireless network that can transmit a Channel Assignment message to a mobile station with a high probability of success.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention provides a base station that transmits a plurality of Channel Assignment messages
(CAMs) during a defined interval, thereby providing improved system performance improvement over conventional wireless networks that transmit only a single Channel Assignment message (CAM). The present invention has no impact or a minimum impact, at most, on system capacity while incurring only the minimal cost of modifying the associated blocks for Layer-2 communications in a base station. The present invention has no impact on mobile stations.
 The present invention provides the structure and call flow of a multi-CAM system. The present invention also provides a new function, called transmission priority, for the prevention of potential capacity overload or high call blocking probability. The invention may provide multiple Channel Assignment messages (multi-CAM) in IS-95B systems, IS-2000 systems, and future systems in wireless communications.
 To address the above-discussed deficiencies of the prior art, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved base station for use in a wireless network capable of communicating with mobile stations located in a coverage area of the wireless network. According to an advantageous embodiment of the present invention, the base station is capable of transmitting to a first mobile station a first channel assignment message (CAM) assigning the first mobile station to a selected traffic channel during a call, wherein the base station is further capable of transmitting to the first mobile station at least a second channel assignment message assigning the first mobile station to the selected traffic channel.
 According to one embodiment of the present invention, the base station automatically transmits the at least a second channel assignment message to the first mobile station without regard to whether the first mobile station received the first channel assignment message.
 According to another embodiment of the present invention, the base station transmits the at least a second channel assignment message to the first mobile station only if the first mobile station did not receive the first channel assignment message.
 According to still another embodiment of the present invention, the base station transmits the at least a second channel assignment message to the first mobile station if the base station fails to receive from the first mobile station an acknowledgment message associated the first channel assignment message.
 The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features and technical advantages of the present invention so that those skilled in the art may better understand the detailed description of the invention that follows. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter that form the subject of the claims of the invention. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they may readily use the conception and the specific embodiment disclosed as a basis for modifying or designing other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. Those skilled in the art should also realize that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.
 Before undertaking the DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION below, it may be advantageous
to set forth definitions of certain words and phrases used throughout this patent document: the terms "include" and "comprise," as well as derivatives thereof, mean inclusion without limitation; the term "or," is inclusive, meaning and/or; the phrases "associated with" and "associated therewith," as well as derivatives thereof, may mean to include, be included within, interconnect with, contain, be contained within, connect to or with, couple to or with, be communicable with, cooperate with, interleave, juxtapose, be proximate to, be bound to or with, have, have a property of, or the like; and the term "controller" means any device, system or part thereof that controls at least one operation, such a device may be implemented in hardware, firmware or software, or some combination of at least two of the same. It should be noted that the functionality associated with any particular controller may be centralized or distributed, whether locally or remotely. Definitions for certain words and phrases are provided throughout this patent document, those of ordinary skill in the art should understand that in many, if not most instances, such definitions apply to prior, as well as future uses of such defined words and phrases.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like numbers designate like objects, and in which:
 FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary wireless network according to one embodiment of the present invention;
 FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary paging channel cycle according to one embodiment of the present invention;
 FIG. 3 is a message flow diagram illustrating the transmission of multiple Channel Assignment messages according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
 FIG. 4 illustrates paging channel message assignments in an exemplary paging channel cycle according to one embodiment of the present invention; and
 FIG. 5 illustrates CAM assignments in an exemplary time slot in the paging channel cycle in FIG. 4 according to one embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
 FIGS. 1 through 5, discussed below, and the various embodiments used to describe the principles of the present invention in this patent document are by way of illustration only and should not be construed in any way to limit the scope of the invention. Those skilled in the art will understand that the principles of the present invention may be implemented in any suitably arranged wireless network.
 FIG. 1 illustrates exemplary wireless network 100 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Wireless network 100 comprises a plurality of cell sites 121-123, each containing one of the base stations, BS 101, BS 102, or BS 103. Base stations 101-103 communicate with a plurality of mobile stations (MS) 111-114 over, for example, code division multiple access (CDMA) channels. Mobile stations 111-114 may be any suitable wireless
devices, including conventional cellular radiotelephones, PCS handset devices, personal digital assistants, portable computers, or metering devices. The present invention is not limited to mobile devices. Other types of access terminals, including fixed wireless terminals, may be used. However, for the sake of simplicity, only mobile stations are shown and discussed hereafter.
 Dotted lines show the approximate boundaries of the cell sites 121-123 in which base stations 101-103 are located. The cell sites are shown approximately circular for the purposes of illustration and explanation only. It should be clearly understood that the cell sites may have other irregular shapes, depending on the cell configuration selected and natural and man-made obstructions.
 As is well known in the art, cell sites 121-123 are comprised of a plurality of sectors (not shown), each sector being illuminated by a directional antenna coupled to the base station. The embodiment of FIG. 1 illustrates the base station in the center of the cell. Alternate embodiments position the directional antennas in corners of the sectors. The system of the present invention is not limited to any one cell site configuration.
 In one embodiment of the present invention, BS 101, BS 102, and BS 103 comprise a base station controller (BSC) and one or more base transceiver subsystem(s) (BTS). Base station controllers and base transceiver subsystems are well known to those skilled in the art. A base station controller is a device that manages wireless communications resources, including the base transceiver stations, for specified cells within a wireless communications network. A base transceiver subsystem comprises the RF transceivers, antennas, and other electrical equipment located in each cell site. This equipment may include air conditioning units, heating units, electrical supplies, telephone line interfaces, and RF transmitters and RF receivers. For the purpose of simplicity and clarity in explaining the operation of the present invention, the base transceiver subsystem in each of cells 121, 122, and 123 and the base station controller associated with each base transceiver subsystem are collectively represented by BS 101, BS 102 and BS 103, respectively.
 BS 101, BS 102 and BS 103 transfer voice and data signals between each other and the public switched telephone network (PSTN) (not shown) via communication line 131 and mobile switching center MSC) 140. BS 101, BS 102 and BS 103 also transfer data signals, such as packet data, with the Internet (not shown) via communication line 131 and packet data serving node (PDSN) 150. Line 131 also provides the connection path that transfers control signals between MSC 140 and BS 101, BS 102 and BS 103 used to establish connections for voice and data circuits between MSC 140 and BS 101, BS 102 and BS 103.
 Communication line 131 may be any suitable connection means, including a Tl line, a T3 line, a fiber optic link, a network packet data backbone connection, or any other type of data connection. Line 131 links each vocoder in the BSC with switch elements in MSC 140. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the connections on line 131 may provide a transmission path for transmission of analog voice band signals, a digital path for transmission of voice signals in the pulse code modulated (PCM) format, a digital path for transmission of voice signals in an Internet Protocol (IP)
format, a digital path for transmission of voice signals in an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) format, or other suitable connection transmission protocol. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the connections on line 131 may provide a transmission path for transmission of analog or digital control signals in a suitable signaling protocol.
 MSC 140 is a switching device that provides services and coordination between the subscribers in a wireless network and external networks, such as the PSTN or Internet. MSC 140 is well known to those skilled in the art. In some embodiments of the present invention, communications line 131 may be several different data links where each data link couples one of BS 101, BS 102, or BS 103 to MSC 140.
 In the exemplary wireless network 100, MS 111 is located in cell site 121 and is in communication with BS 101. MS 113 is located in cell site 122 and is in communication with BS 102. MS 114 is located in cell site 123 and is in communication with BS 103. MS 112 is also located close to the edge of cell site 123 and is moving in the direction of cell site 123, as indicated by the direction arrow proximate MS 112. At some point, as MS 112 moves into cell site 123 and out of cell site 121, a hand-off will occur.
 As is well known, the hand-off procedure transfers control of a call from a first cell site to a second cell site. As MS 112 moves from cell 121 to cell 123, MS 112 detects the pilot signal from BS 103 and sends a Pilot Strength Measurement Message to BS 101. When the strength of the pilot transmitted by BS 103 and received and reported by MS 112 exceeds a threshold, BS 101 initiates a soft hand-off process by signaling the target BS 103 that a handoff is required as described in TIA/EIAIS-95 or TIA/EIAIS-2000.
 BS 103 and MS 112 proceed to negotiate establishment of a communications link in the CDMA channel. Following establishment of the communications link between BS 103 and MS 112, MS 112 communicates with both BS 101 and BS 103 in a soft handoff mode. Those acquainted with the art will recognize that soft hand-off improves the performance on both forward (BS to MS) channel and reverse (MS to BS) channel links. When the signal from BS 101 falls below a predetermined signal strength threshold, MS 112 may then drop the link with BS 101 and only receive signals from BS 103. The call is thereby seamlessly transferred from BS 101 to BS 103. The above-described soft hand-off assumes the mobile station is in a voice or data call. An idle hand-off is a hand-off of a mobile station, between cells sites, that is communicating in the control or paging channel.
 The mobile stations (i.e., MS 111-MS 114) access a traffic channel in wireless network 100 using a number of control channels to set up a call connection. The control channels include the pilot channel, synchronization channel, paging channel, and access channel. For example, if a new call is initiated by MS 111 or is directed to MS 111 by BS 101, a series of call set-up messages are wirelessly transmitted between MS 111 and BS 101 of wireless network 100. These messages include Channel Assignment messages (CAMs) transmitted in the paging channel (PCH) that must be successfully received by MS 111 in order for MS 111 to successfully access wireless network 100. The present invention provides an improved base station that transmits a plurality of Channel Assignment messages (CAMs) during a
defined interval. This is accomplished by modifying the Layer-2 communications software protocol in exemplary BS 101 to cause BS 101 to transmit multiple CAMs.
 It is noted that the duration or time limit for the transmission of one CAM is not defined in the IS-95-B and IS-2000 standards. The IS-95-B and/or IS-2000 standards specify the following:
 1) Per IS-95-B, the period in which two messages received by the mobile station on the same paging channel (PCH) and carrying the same sequence numbers are considered duplicates is 2.2 seconds. Although this specification is not explicitly stated in IS-2000, it is assumed that IS-2000 supports this specification in order to maintain backward compatibility from IS-2000 to IS-95-B.
 2) The maximum period between subsequent transmissions of an overhead message on the paging channel by the base station is 1.28 seconds.
 3) The maximum time to receive a valid paging channel message is three (3) seconds.
 4) A base station may not send any message which is not completely contained within two consecutive paging channel slots, unless the processing requirements for the message explicitly specify a different size limitation.
 It can be seen from 1) through 4) above that the transmission of multiple CAMs may be completed in three (3) seconds without loss of generality. The present invention proposes that if a message is assigned in a paging channel slot, the same type of message, such as overhead messages or re-transmitted messages, may not be assigned in the following paging channel slot. Thus, in an exemplary system that implements 80 millisecond (msec.) paging channel time slots, Channel Assignment messages transmitted to the same mobile station must be spaced 160 milliseconds (i.e., 2 time slots) apart. As a result, there are no more than eighteen Channel Assignment messages (=3 sec/160 msec.) available in a three (3) second period, since each slot has a duration of 80 milliseconds.
 However, the maximum paging cycle, M, is equal to 16(2L), where i is the maximum slot index as received in the System Parameters Message on the paging channel. FIG. 2 illustrates exemplary paging channel cycle 200 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Paging channel cycle 200 comprises sixteen (16) time slots, including exemplary times slots 205A and 205B. The time slots are sequentially labeled Slot 0, Slot 1, Slot 2, Slot 14 and Slot 15. Slot 16 is the first slot of the paging channel cycle immediately following paging channel cycle 200. Slot 2047 is the last slot of the paging channel cycle immediately preceding paging channel cycle 200. The example assumes there are 128 paging channel cycles, each 1.28 seconds long.
 As noted, there are sixteen slots available in each paging cycle, assuming the maximum slot index is 0. The total duration of a paging cycle is 1.28 seconds (i.e., 16x80 msec.) as shown in FIG. 2. In an advantageous embodiment of the present invention, the base station transmits no more than eight Channel Assignment messages (i.e., 1.28 sec/160 msec). Each CAM may be periodically re-transmitted every 160 msec.