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Smart antenna for interference rejection with enhanced tracking

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20140099946 patent thumbnailZoom

Smart antenna for interference rejection with enhanced tracking


A smart antenna system is provided for communicating wireless signals between a mobile device and a plurality of different fixed base stations using one or more channels and one or more beams. The smart antenna system includes a control subsystem, a radio transceiver and an antenna subsystem coupled to each other and adapted to perform scanning of one or more combinations of base stations, channels and beams using one or more test links established with one or more of the fixed base stations where the test links use at least some of the channels and the beams. A first combination of base station, channel and beam is selected based on the scanning; and a first operating link is established for transmitting a wireless signal to the selected base station using the selected channel and beam.
Related Terms: Base Station Rejection Antenna Transceiver Wireless G Link Smart Antenna

Browse recent Redline Communications Inc. patents - Markham, CA
USPTO Applicaton #: #20140099946 - Class: 455434 (USPTO) -
Telecommunications > Radiotelephone System >Zoned Or Cellular Telephone System >Control Or Access Channel Scanning



Inventors: Octavian Sarca, Serban Cretu, Aurel Picu

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20140099946, Smart antenna for interference rejection with enhanced tracking.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of and claims priority to U.S. application Ser. No. 13/899,787, filed May 22, 2013, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 13/682,540, filed Nov. 20, 2012, now allowed, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 13/644,852, filed Oct. 4, 2012, now allowed, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed towards antenna systems for mobile devices.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Wireless communication is extensively used in mobile or nomadic applications.

In a typical mobile/nomadic application, a mobile or nomadic wireless device or mobile station will try to establish a link with a fixed base station, so as to transmit information to the base station. To achieve coverage of the desired area, multiple base-stations must be used. FIG. 1 shows an example of a system used to support a mobile application. Mobile station 111 will try to establish a link with one of base stations 121 and 122, as it travels along path 131.

Typical solutions for mobile or nomadic wireless devices use omnidirectional antennas that are isotropic or have similar properties, for example gain, in all directions of interest.

While mobile/nomadic devices use omnidirectional antennas, strict separation between base-stations covering adjacent areas is required to avoid harmful self-interference. Separation can be achieved through: Time, that is, the base stations do not transmit and receive at the same time, Frequency, that is, the base stations transmit and receive on different frequencies, or Code, that is, the base stations transmit and receive using different codes.

All these methods reduce the total system capacity.

FIG. 2 shows an example of the coverage 403 for base-station 401 and the coverage 404 for the base-station 402 when both base-stations use the same frequency channel, and the three mobile/nomadic devices 406, 407 and 408 use omnidirectional antennas. This assumes there are no other time or code methods used to reduce interference between the two base-stations 401 and 402. As can be seen, much of the area of interest 405 is not adequately covered. Mobile device 406 receives coverage, that is, it can establish an operating link with better than threshold signal quality from base station 401 in area 403. Similarly mobile device 407 receives coverage from base station 402 in area 404. However, mobile device 408 cannot receive coverage from either base station 401 or 402 because the signal quality is not good enough. This is because the omnidirectional antenna captures signals from the two base-stations 401 and 402 and needs to be very close to one of them and very far from the other to obtain the needed signal quality.

In order to solve the problem shown in FIG. 2, there is a need for a system that has omnidirectional coverage, but is able to focus on one sector so as to optimize signal quality to enable communications with the highest reliability. Until now, systems have focused on optimizing signal strength, which may not result in enabling communications with the highest reliability.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one embodiment, a smart antenna system for communicating wireless signals between a mobile device and a plurality of fixed base stations using one or more channels and one or more beams, said smart antenna system comprising a control subsystem, a radio transceiver and an antenna subsystem coupled to each other and adapted to perform scanning of one or more combinations of base stations, channels and beams using one or more test links established with one or more of the fixed base stations and the test links use at least some of the channels and the beams. A first combination of base station, channel and beam is selected based on data obtained during scanning, and a first operating link is established for transmitting a wireless signal to the currently selected base station using the currently selected channel and beam. After establishment of the first operating link, scanning is continued using one or more test links established with the currently selected base station, using one or more beams different from the currently selected beam and the currently selected channel, or with one or more combinations of base stations, channels and beams. The continued scanning is performed aperiodically, and the interval between consecutive continued scanning operations is pseudo-random.

In one implementation, before the continued scanning is performed, said control subsystem inserts a downtime and the continued scanning is performed during the downtime.

In one implementation, the control subsystem calculates the duration of the downtime before inserting the downtime.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 shows an example of a system used to support a mobile application.

FIG. 2 shows example coverage of a given area for a mobile/nomadic device or station with an omnidirectional antenna.

FIG. 3 shows a smart antenna system.

FIG. 4 shows a radiation pattern for beam 200.

FIG. 5 shows an example radiation pattern for arrangement 300.

FIG. 6 shows a flowchart of the process when the smart antenna system 100 becomes active.

FIG. 6A shows one embodiment for determining the operating channel and the best-performing beam from a candidate set of channels and beams.

FIG. 6B is the flowchart of the process for another embodiment when the smart antenna system 100 becomes active.

FIG. 6C shows a sequence of steps for the tracking process.

FIG. 6D shows a situation where mobile device 904 uses beam 906 to connect to base station 901 to maximize signal to interference and noise ratio (SINR)

FIG. 6E shows a situation where after travelling in direction 907, mobile device 904 changes to beam 905 to connect to base station 901 to maximize signal to interference and noise ratio (SINR)

FIG. 6F shows a situation where after further travel in direction 907, mobile device 904 changes to beam 906 to maximize signal to interference and noise ratio (SINR)

FIG. 6G shows beams 915A-915E produced by mobile device 904.

FIG. 6H shows a sequence where tracking downtimes are inserted between data transmissions to allow switching between beam-channel combinations to occur.

FIG. 7 shows an illustrative example of the advantage of making selections of base station, operating channel and beam based on signal quality over signal strength.

FIG. 8 shows example coverage of a given area for a mobile/nomadic device or station with a smart antenna with the same base stations and the same area of interest as in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

Although the invention will be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to those particular embodiments. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalent arrangements as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Turning now to the drawings and referring first to FIG. 3, FIG. 3 shows a smart antenna system 100 consisting of radio transceiver 101 to transmit over a wireless link; an antenna subsystem 102; and a control subsystem 103. Information can be passed between the radio transceiver 101, antenna subsystem 102 and control subsystem 103. For example, the control subsystem 103 can receive information, including, but not limited to wireless link quality information; and other information such as base station operating capacity and base station load/utilization; from either or both of the radio transceiver 101 and the antenna subsystem 102. The control subsystem 103 can process this information and command either or both of the radio transceiver 101 and antenna subsystem 102 accordingly. The smart antenna system 100 is designed to be installed in, for example, a mobile/nomadic device or station which establishes a wireless link to a base station.

The radio transceiver 101 performs several different functions, including but not limited to, for example, transmitting and receiving information on the available operating channels; obtaining data to compute signal quality measures such as signal to noise ratio (SNR), signal to interference and noise ratio (SINR) and bit error rate (BER); and computing these measures either by itself or together with the control subsystem 103. In one embodiment, the operating channel to be used for transmitting and receiving is set by the control subsystem 103. The radio transceiver can transmit on more than one channel. This allows the smart antenna system to have “background” operation. For example, while transmitting and receiving on a channel used in a current operating link in the foreground, the control subsystem 103 can direct the radio transceiver 101 to transmit and receive on other channels used in, for example, test links which have been set up in the background.

In another embodiment, in addition to the signal quality measures described above, link quality measurements can also be computed. These include, for example, packet error rate (PER), packet jitter and throughput.

The antenna subsystem 102 provides multiple beams that can be selected by the control subsystem 103. The multiple beams can be produced by independent antennas, by beam-steering or by beam-forming. These techniques are well known to one having skill in the art.

Each beam provides nulls (directions in which signal is strongly attenuated) that can be used to eliminate interference. FIG. 4 shows an example radiation pattern of such a beam 200, where the main lobe 201 of the beam covers the 90° sector between lines 201-A and 201-B, while the lateral lobes 202 and 203 provide some attenuation and the back-lobe 204 provides very strong attenuation.

The sum of the coverage of all beams provides omnidirectional coverage. FIG. 5 shows an example radiation pattern for such an arrangement 300, where the beam 200 of FIG. 4, with only main lobe 201 shown for simplicity, is repeated 8 times as beams 301-308 at 45° intervals for 360° coverage. Beams 301-308 are overlapping to ensure low ripple in omnidirectional coverage. The ripple 310 is the difference between maximum gain and the minimum gain obtainable using all available beams.

The ability of the antenna subsystem 102 to provide multiple beams allows for “background” operation on other beams. This, together with the ability of the radio transceiver 101, to transmit and receive on other channels, means that the control subsystem 103 can establish test links in the background on different channels and beams, to the channel and beam used by the current operating link running in the foreground.

The control subsystem 103 is the controller of the smart antenna system 100. The control subsystem 103 commands, controls, co-ordinates and manages the operation of the antenna subsystem 102 and radio transceiver 101. As explained previously, the control subsystem 103 can receive information, such as wireless link status from either or both of the radio transceiver 101 and the antenna subsystem 102. When link status is active, the control subsystem 103 can collect information related to, for example, signal quality; and other information such as base station operating capacity and base station load/utilization; from the radio transceiver 101, or both the radio transceiver 101 and antenna subsystem 102.

The control subsystem 103 can process this collected information and send commands and control instructions to either or both of the radio transceiver 101 and antenna subsystem 102 accordingly.

As previously explained, the control subsystem 103 collects information related to signal quality. Various measures of signal quality can then be calculated. These measures include signal to noise ratio (SNR), signal to interference and noise ratio (SINR) and bit error rate (BER). As explained previously, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 collects this information, and then together with the radio transceiver 101 calculates measures such as SNR, SINR and BER. In another embodiment, the radio transceiver 101 calculates these measures on its own. In a further embodiment, the control subsystem 103 together with the radio transceiver calculates a signal quality score for each base station based on a function which takes in one or more of signal quality measures such as SNR, SINR and BER as inputs, and produces the score as the output. For example, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 calculates a weighted average based on SNR and SINR. In another embodiment, a weighted average is first calculated, then compared against a threshold, and used to calculate a performance score. The control subsystem 103 can store also store historical signal quality information, and other information for future use.

In another embodiment, in addition to the signal quality measures described above, as previously explained, link quality measurements can also be calculated. These measures include, for example, packet error rate (PER), packet jitter and throughput. Similar to signal quality, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 collects this information, and then together with the radio transceiver 101 calculates measures such as PER, jitter and throughput. In another embodiment, the radio transceiver 101 calculates these measures on its own. In a further embodiment, the control subsystem 103 together with the radio transceiver calculates a link quality score for each base station based on a function which takes in one or more of link quality measures such as PER, jitter and throughput as inputs, and produces the score as the output. For example, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 calculates a weighted average based on PER and jitter. In another embodiment, a weighted average is first calculated, then compared against a threshold, and used to calculate a performance score. The control subsystem 103 can store also store historical link quality information, and other information for future use.

In one embodiment, the control subsystem 103 is an independent module. In another embodiment, the control subsystem 103 is integrated with the other radio transceiver 101 control functions. The control subsystem 103 can be implemented in hardware, software, or some combination of hardware and software. In another embodiment, the control subsystem 103 is installed as software on, for example, the radio transceiver 101.

When the smart antenna system becomes active, for example, when it is: powered up; returned from sleep; or turned active by the user; the control subsystem 103 then performs scanning of combinations of base stations, channels and beams, that is, it establishes test links to base stations with different channels and beams using the radio transceiver 101 and the antenna subsystem 102, and performs analysis of results obtained from these test links to select the best combination of base station, channel and beam.

FIG. 6 shows a flowchart of the process when the smart antenna system 100 becomes active. In optional step 601, the control subsystem 103 selects a subset of the available beams and channels before the commencement of the scanning process, and then performs scanning using the selected subset. In one embodiment, control subsystem 103 selects the subset based on historical signal quality. As previously explained, signal quality can be measured by, for example, one of SNR, SINR and BER. As explained previously, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 together with the radio transceiver 101 calculates measures such as SNR and SINR. In another embodiment, the radio transceiver 101 calculates these measures on its own. In a further embodiment, the control subsystem 103 together with the radio transceiver 101 calculates a signal quality score for each base station based on a function which takes in one or more of signal quality measures such as SNR and SINR as inputs, and produces the score as the output. For example, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 calculates a weighted average based on SNR and SINR. In another embodiment, a weighted average is first calculated, then compared against a threshold, and used to calculate a performance score.

In another embodiment, in addition to the signal quality measures described above, as previously explained, link quality measurements can also be calculated. These measures include, for example, packet error rate (PER), packet jitter and throughput. Similar to signal quality, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 collects this information, and then together with the radio transceiver 101 calculates measures such as PER, jitter and throughput. In another embodiment, the radio transceiver 101 calculates these measures on its own. In a further embodiment, the control subsystem 103 together with the radio transceiver calculates a link quality score for each base station based on a function which takes in one or more of link quality measures such as PER, jitter and throughput as inputs, and produces the score as the output. For example, in one embodiment the control subsystem 103 calculates a weighted average based on PER and jitter. In another embodiment, a weighted average is first calculated, then compared against a threshold, and used to calculate a performance score.

In another embodiment, in optional step 601, the control subsystem 103 uses geo-location information, for example, the location of the mobile/nomadic device relative to the base-stations, to select the subset of the available channels and beams. In yet another embodiment, positional/motion information obtained, for example, from sensors in the mobile/nomadic device are used by the control subsystem 103 in optional step 601 to select the subset of the available channels and beams. Examples of positional/motion information include velocity of the device, acceleration of the device, direction of travel of the device, orientation of the device, angular velocity of the device, angular acceleration of the device and altitude of device. In yet another embodiment, the subset of the available channels and beams is selected by control subsystem 103 based on user input and instructions.

In yet another embodiment, the subset of the available channels and beams is selected in optional step 601 based on at least one of historical signal quality, geo-location information, user input/instructions and positional/motion information.

In yet another embodiment, in optional step 601 the control subsystem 103 uses the fact that the beams are overlapping to select a subset of beams to perform scanning

Steps 602-604 detail the scanning process. In step 602, the control subsystem 103 determines the best-performing combination of base station, channel and beam. It does so by attempting to establish wireless test links to base stations, using a set of candidate channels and beams comprising at least some of the one or more available channels, and some of the one or more available beams. In one embodiment, the candidate set is all available channels and beams. In another embodiment, the candidate set is the subset of channels and beams selected using one of the methods outlined above.

For each wireless test link that the control subsystem 103 successfully establishes with a base station, the control subsystem 103 collects information relating to signal quality of the test link. As previously explained, signal quality can be measured by SNR, SINR or BER. In another embodiment, the control subsystem 103 uses the test link to collect information including, but not limited to, link quality, base station operating capacity; and base station load/utilization.

The control subsystem 103 then measures the performance for the combination of base station, channel and beam. In one embodiment, performance is measured by signal quality. As previously explained, signal quality can be measured by SNR, SINR or BER. In one embodiment the control subsystem 103 together with the radio transceiver 101 calculates SNR, SINR and BER. In another embodiment, the radio transceiver 101 calculates these measures on its own. In an alternative embodiment, the control subsystem 103 together with the radio transceiver 101 further calculates a signal quality score based on a function which takes in one or more of signal quality measures such as SNR and SINR as inputs, and produces the score as the output. One example of such a function is a weighted average. Another example of such a function is where a weighted average is first calculated, then compared against a threshold, and used to calculate a performance score.

In another embodiment, performance can be measured by calculating a score for each combination based on a function which takes in one or more of signal quality measures such as SNR and SINR; link quality measures such as PER, jitter and throughput, base station operating capacity; and base station load/utilization as inputs, and produces the score as an output. For example, in one embodiment, the control subsystem 103 calculates a weighted average based on SINR, base station operating capacity; and base station load/utilization; and selects the base station with the best weighted average. In another embodiment, the control subsystem 103 first calculates the weighted average, then compares against a threshold, and uses the comparison to calculate a final performance score.

FIG. 6A shows one embodiment to perform step 602 for a candidate set of channels and beams. In FIG. 6A, control subsystem 103 scans all channels in the candidate set, and for each channel, all available beams in the candidate set. In step 620, control subsystem 103 selects a first channel and a first beam from the candidate set. In step 621, control subsystem 103 attempts to establish a test link to a base station using the first channel and the first beam in the candidate set. If this is successful, (step 622) then in step 623 the control subsystem 103 records performance for every base station, channel and beam for which a test link is successfully established.

In step 624, the control subsystem 103 checks to see if all beams have been used. If not, then, in step 625, the control subsystem 103 selects the next beam in the candidate set and returns to step 621. If all beams have been used, then in step 626 the control subsystem 103 checks to see if all channels have been used. If not, then in step 627, the control subsystem selects the next channel in the candidate set and returns to step 621. If all channels have been used, the control subsystem 103 then moves to step 603.

In another embodiment in step 602, the control subsystem 103 scans beams in the candidate set, and for each beam, it scans all channels in the candidate set.

Once this is complete, then in step 603 the control subsystem 103 builds a list showing performance for all combinations of base station, channel and beam.

In step 604 the control subsystem 103 selects the best performing combination of base-station, channel and beam based on the information it collected in steps 602 and 603.

At the end of the scanning process, in step 605, the control subsystem 103 then establishes an operating link to the selected base-station using the selected operating channel and beam. Communication over the operating link is carried out in step 606. In a further embodiment, if the operating link is not successfully established in step 605, then the control subsystem 103 establishes an operating link to the next best combination of base station, operating channel and beam, and communication over the operating link is carried out in step 606.

In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6B, in step 610, when the smart antenna system 100 becomes active, the control subsystem 103 configures the radio transceiver 101 first, and then the antenna subsystem 102 to connect with the base station and establish an operating link on the channel and with the beam on which an operating link was last established. If operating link establishment fails (step 610A), then control subsystem 103 performs steps 612-616, which are similar to steps 602-606 described above. In one embodiment, similar to as described previously for step 601, control subsystem 103 may optionally perform step 611, which is selecting a subset of the available channels and beams for the candidate set in step 612.

In one embodiment, after the operating link is established the base station, channel and beam selection remain fixed until the operating link is lost. Once the operating link is lost, the control subsystem 103 performs steps 602-606 of FIG. 6. In one embodiment, similar to as described previously, control subsystem 103 additionally performs step 601.

In another embodiment, after the operating link is established, the control subsystem 103 performs tracking, that is, the control subsystem 103 continues to search for a better combination of base station, channel and beam than the currently selected combination of base station, operating channel and beam. In one embodiment, the control subsystem 103 performs tracking in the background; while communication over the currently established operating link is ongoing.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20140099946 A1
Publish Date
04/10/2014
Document #
13970756
File Date
08/20/2013
USPTO Class
455434
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
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Drawings
15


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Telecommunications   Radiotelephone System   Zoned Or Cellular Telephone System   Control Or Access Channel Scanning