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System and method for providing a mesh network using a plurality of wireless access points (waps)

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System and method for providing a mesh network using a plurality of wireless access points (waps)


A first access point located in a first cell may be coupled to a second access point located in a second cell. Service may be initially provided to an access device by the first access point cell. The access device may subsequently be serviced by a second access point whenever a signal for the access device falls below a specified threshold level. The second cell may be a neighboring cell, which may be located adjacent to the first cell. A first signal may be transmitted from a first beamforming antenna coupled to the first access point, to the second access point via an uplink channel. Similarly, a second signal may be transmitted from a second beamforming antenna coupled to the second access point, to the first access point via a downlink channel. The uplink and downlink channels may be a backhaul channel.
Related Terms: Wireless Access Point Access Point Uplink Antenna Backhaul Beamforming Downlink Wireless Mesh Network

Browse recent Broadcom Corporation patents - Irvine, CA, US
USPTO Applicaton #: #20130329676 - Class: 370329 (USPTO) - 12/12/13 - Class 370 
Multiplex Communications > Communication Over Free Space >Having A Plurality Of Contiguous Regions Served By Respective Fixed Stations >Channel Assignment

Inventors: Jeyhan Karaoguz, Nambirajan Seshadri

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130329676, System and method for providing a mesh network using a plurality of wireless access points (waps).

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

/INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/606,565 filed Jun. 26, 2003, which in turn makes reference to, claims priority to, and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/433,094 entitled “Method and System for Providing Bandwidth Allocation and Sharing in a Hybrid Wired/Wireless Network” filed on Dec. 13, 2002; and U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/435,984 entitled “Communication System and Method in a Wireless Local Area Network” filed on Dec. 20, 2002.

The above stated applications are filed concurrently herewith, and are all incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present application relate generally to hybrid wired/wireless networking, and more particularly to a method and system for providing a mesh network using a plurality of wireless access points.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model promulgated by the International standards organization (ISO) was developed to establish standardization for linking heterogeneous computer and communication systems. The OSI model describes the flow of information from a software application of a first computer system to a software application of a second computer system through a network medium. FIG. 1a is a block diagram 100 of the OSI model. Referring to FIG. 1a, the OSI model has seven distinct functional layers including layer 7, an application layer 114; layer 6, a presentation layer 112; layer 5, a session layer 110; layer 4, a transport layer 108, layer 3, a network layer 106; layer 2: a data link layer 104; and layer 1, a physical layer 102. The physical layer 102 may further include a physical layer convergence procedure (PLOP) sublayer 102b and a physical media dependent sublayer 102a. The data link layer 104 may also include a Medium access control (MAC) layer 104a.

In general, each OSI layer describes certain tasks which are necessary for facilitating the transfer of information through interfacing layers and ultimately through the network. Notwithstanding, the OSI model does not describe any particular implementation of the various layers. OSI layers 1 to 4 generally handle network control and data transmission and reception, generally referred to as end-to-end network services. Layers 5 to 7 handle application issues, generally referred to as application services. Specific functions of each layer may vary depending on factors such as protocol and/or interface requirements or specifications that are necessary for implementation of a particular layer. For example, the Ethernet protocol may provide collision detection and carrier sensing in the physical layer. Layer 1, the physical layer 102, is responsible for handling all electrical, optical, opto-electrical and mechanical requirements for interfacing to the communication media. Notably, the physical layer 102 may facilitate the transfer of electrical signals representing an information bitstream. The physical layer 102 may also provide services such as, encoding, decoding, synchronization, clock data recovery, and transmission and reception of bit streams.

The PLOP layer 102b may be configured to adapt and map services provided by the physical layer 102 to the functions provided by the device specific PMD sublayer 102a. Specifically, the PLOP layer 102b may be adapted to map PHY sublayer service data units (PDSUs) into a suitable packet and/or framing format necessary for providing communication services between two or more entities communicating via the physical medium. The PMD layer 102a specifies the actual methodology and/or protocols which may be used for receiving and transmitting via the physical medium. The MAC sublayer 104a may be adapted to provide, for example, any necessary drivers which may be utilized to access the functions and services provided by the PLOP sublayer 102b. Accordingly, higher layer services may be adapted to utilize the services provided by the MAC sublayer 104a with little or no dependence on the PMD sublayer 102a.

802.11 is a suite of specifications promulgated by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which provide communication standards for the MAC and physical (PHY) layer of the OSI model. The 801.11 standard also provides communication standards for wired and wireless local area networks (WLANs). More specifically, the 802.11 standard specifies five (5) types of physical layers for WLANs. These include, frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS), infrared (IR) communication, high rate direct sequence spread spectrum spread spectrum (HR-DSS) and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM). The 802.11 standard also provides a PLOP frame format for each of the specified PHY layers.

Over the past decade, demands for higher data rates to support applications such as streaming audio and streaming video, have seen Ethernet speeds being increased from about 1-2 megabit per second (Mbps), to 10 Mbps, to 100 Mbps, to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to 10 Gbps. Currently, there are a number of standards in the in the suite of specifications, namely 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g which have been adapted to facilitate the demands for increased data rates. The 802.11g standard for example, provides a maximum data rate of about 54 Mbps at a transmitter/receiver range of 19 meters (m) in a frequency range of 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz. The 802.11b standard for example, provides a maximum data rate of about 11 Mbps at a transmitter/receiver range of 57 meters (m) in a frequency range of 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz. Finally, the 802.11a standard for example, may be adapted to provide a maximum data rate of about 54 Mbps at a transmitter/receiver range of 12 meters (m) in a 300 MHz segmented bandwidth ranging from 5.150 GHz to 5.350 GHz and from 5.725 GHz to 5.825 GHz.

The 802.11 standard forms the basis of the other standards in the suite of specifications, and the 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g standards provide various enhancements and new features to their predecessor standards. Notwithstanding, there are certain elementary building blocks that are common to all the standards in the suite of specifications. For example, all the standards in the suite of specifications utilize the Ethernet protocol and utilize carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA) for distribution coordination function (DCF) and point coordination function (PCF).

CSMA/CA utilizes a simple negotiation scheme to permit access to a communication medium. If a transmitting entity wishes to transmit information to a receiving entity, the transmitting entity may sense the communication medium for communication traffic. In a case where the communication medium is busy, the transmitting entity may desist from making a transmission and attempt transmission at a subsequent time. In a case where the communication transmission is not busy, then the transmitting entity may send information over the communication medium. Notwithstanding, there may be a case where two or more transmission entities sense that the communication medium is not busy and attempt transmission at the same instant. To avoid collisions and retransmissions, CSMA/CA or a ready to send (RTS) and clear to send (CTS) messaging scheme may be employed, for example. Accordingly, whenever a transmitting device senses that the communication medium is not busy, then the transmitting device may send a ready to send message to one or more receiving device. Subsequent to the receipt of the ready to send message, the receiving device may send a clear to send message. Upon receipt of the clear to send message by the transmitting device, the transmitting device may initiate transfer of data to the receiving device. Upon receiving packets or frames from the transmitting device, the receiving device may acknowledge the received frames.

The 802.11b standard, commonly called Wi-Fi, which represents wireless fidelity, is backward compatible with its predecessor standard 802.11. Although 802.11 utilizes phase-shift keying (PSK) as a modulation scheme, 802.11b utilizes a hybrid PSK scheme called complementary code keying (CCK). CCK permits higher data rate and particularly less susceptible to interference effects such as multipath-propagation interference, the PSK.

The 802.11a standard provides wireless asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) support and is typically utilized in access hubs. 802.11a utilizes orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation/encoding scheme, which provides a maximum data rate 54 Mbps. Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing is a digital modulation technique which splits a signal into several narrowband channels, with each channel having a different frequency. Each narrowband channel is arranged so as to minimize the effects of crosstalk between the channels and symbols in the data stream.

Since equipment designed to provide support for 802.11a operates at frequencies in the ranges 5.150 GHz to 5.350 GHz and from 5.725 GHz to 5.825 GHz, 802.11a equipment will not interoperate with equipment designed to operate with the 802.11b standard which defines operation in the 2.4 to 2.4835 GHz frequency band. One major drawback is that companies that have invested in 802.11b equipment and infrastructure may not readily upgrade their network without significant expenditure.

The 802.11g standard was developed as an extension to 802.11b standard. The 802.11g standard may utilize a similar OFDM modulation scheme as the 802.11a standard and delivers speeds comparable with the 802.11a standard. Since 802.11g compatible equipment operates in the same portion of the electromagnetic spectrum as 802.11b compatible equipment, 802.11g is backwards compatible with existing 802.11b WLAN infrastructures. Due to backward compatibility of 802.11g with 802.11b, it would be desirable to have an 802.11b compliant radio card capable of interfacing directly with an 802.11g compliant access point and also an 802.11g compliant radio card capable of interfacing directly with an 802.11b compliant access point.

Furthermore although 802.11g compatible equipment operates in the 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz frequency range, a typical transmitted signal utilizes a bandwidth of approximately 22 MHz, about a third or 30% of the total allocated bandwidth. This limits the number of non-overlapping channels utilized by an 802.11g access point to three (3). A similar scenario exists with 802.11b. Accordingly, many of the channel assignment and frequency reuse schemes associated with the 802.11b standard may be inherent in the 802.11g.

RF interference may pose additional operational problems with 802.11b and 802.11g equipment designed to operate in the 2.4 GHz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The 2.4 GHz portion of the spectrum is an unlicensed region which has been utilized for some time and is crowded with potential interfering devices. Some of these devices include cordless telephone, microwave ovens, intercom systems and baby monitors. Other potential interfering devices may be Bluetooth devices. Accordingly, interference poses interference problems with the 802.11b and 802.11g standards.

802.11a compatible equipment utilizes eight non-overlapping channels, as compared to three non-overlapping channels utilized by 802.11b. Accordingly, 802.11a access points may be deployed in a more dense manner than, for example 802.11b compatible equipment. For example, up to twelve access points each having a different assigned frequency may be deployed in a given area without causing co-channel interference. Consequently, 802.11a may be particularly useful in overcoming some of the problems associated with channel assignment, especially in areas that may have a dense user population and where increased throughput may be critical. Notwithstanding, the higher operating frequency of 802.11a along with its shorter operating range, may significantly increase deployment cost since a larger number of access points are required to service a given service area.

In hybrid wired/wireless network systems that may utilize one or more protocols in the 802.11 suite of protocols, the mobility of access devices throughout the network may pose additional challenges for conventional switches and switching equipment. Since access devices are continuously changing their point of access to the network, conventional switches may not have the capability to control other network devices and/or entities to provide seamless communication throughout the network. Allocation and de-allocation of certain network resources can be challenging in a network in which the traffic dynamics are continuously changing. Moreover, particularly in network systems that may handle large volumes of access device traffic, providing adequate coverage while access devices are mobile within the network may be critical.

Further limitations and disadvantages of conventional and traditional approaches will become apparent to one of skill in the art, through comparison of such systems with some aspects of the present invention as set forth in the remainder of the present application with reference to the drawings.

BRIEF

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

Aspects of the invention provide a system and method for providing a mesh network using a plurality of access points. A method for providing a mesh network using a plurality of access points may include the step of coupling a first access point located in a first cell to at least a second access point located in a second cell. Service may be initially provided to an access device by a first access point located in the first cell. The access device may be serviced by a second access point located in a second cell whenever a signal for the access device falls below a specified threshold level. The second cell may be a neighboring cell, which may be located adjacent to the first cell.

A first signal may be transmitted from a first beamforming antenna to the second access point. The first beamforming antenna may be coupled to the first access point. Similarly, a second signal may be transmitted from a second beamforming antenna to the first access point. The second beamforming antenna may be coupled to the second access point. A path for facilitating transmission of the first signal between the first beamforming antenna and the second beamforming antenna may be an uplink channel. Also, a path for facilitating transmission of the second signal between the second beamforming antenna and the first beamforming antenna may be a downlink channel. The uplink channel and the downlink channel may be a backhaul channel.

The first access point located in a first cell may be coupled to a third access point located in the first cell. Accordingly, an access device may be serviced by a third access point located in the first cell whenever a signal level of the access device falls below a specified threshold level. Either of the first access point and the access device may be configured to determine when the signal of an access device falls below a specified threshold level.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130329676 A1
Publish Date
12/12/2013
Document #
13966883
File Date
08/14/2013
USPTO Class
370329
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
04W72/04
Drawings
11


Wireless Access Point
Access Point
Uplink
Antenna
Backhaul
Beamforming
Downlink
Wireless
Mesh Network


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