Title of Invention

CLUSTER FILTERING

Abstract Methods and systems are provided for filtering digital data formatted in packets. A filter module contains a plurality of filters and is coupled to a filter mapping module. The filter mapping module receives the identification of clusters of discrete segments of a packet and selects a group of fixed length filters to filter the clusters.
Full Text

CLUSTER FILTERING
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to data filtering. More particularly, the invention relates to systems and methods for filtering packets of data.
DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART
Digital data is typically transported from one location to another in packets having well-defined segments. Figure 1, for example, illustrates a DVB DSM-CC Private Data Section MPE (Multiprotocol Encapsulation) packet 100 that may be used to transport audio, video or other data. Packet 100 includes several distinct segments that are defined by a protocol. For example, the MAC address is formed from different segments of packet 100.
Components that are configured to filter packets read information found in the different segments within the packet. For example, a digital video broadcast (DVB) receiver may read the information found in table id segment section 102, MAC address 1 segment 104, MAC address 2 segment 106 and MAC address 5 segment 108. Conventional hardware based filters are configured to read contiguous segments of data. When the desired data is found in clusters and is not contiguous, resources are wasted when excessively large filters are utilized to filter the clusters of data. Cluster is a generic term and may include a contiguous segment or a set of contiguous data within a packet or a segment of a packet With respect to packet 100, table id 102 and MAC address segment 5 108 are found in non-contiguous segments or clusters. When a single filter is utilized to filter bits 0-40, the desired clusters are filtered along with several bits of unneeded data. As a result, the size of the filter is unnecessarily large.

Devices that incorporate fixed filters that are designed to filter data in predetermined segments of packets transmitted in predetermined protocols provide limited flexibility. Initially, the filters may be sized and configured in an optimal manner for a given application. However, when the device attempts to filter data that this transmitted in a slightly different protocol, the size and configuration of filters may not be optimized.
Some conventional devices utilize small fixed length filters and filter segments of packets in consecutive stages. As the number of consecutive filter stages increases, the time required to process the data also increases.
Therefore, there exists a need in the art for packet filtering systems and methods that provide flexibility to designers, optimize the use of filter components and minimize the number of consecutive filtering stages that are required to filter data.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
One or more of the above-mentioned needs in the art are satisfied by the disclosed systems and methods for processing packetized digital data. The hardware and software modules may be utilized to match filter components to data to be filtered.
In a first embodiment of the invention, a device for filtering data is provided. The data is formatted in a packet having discrete segments. The device includes a filter module comprising a plurality of fixed length filters, A mapping module contains control logic for performing steps including receiving the identification of at least two clusters of the discrete segments of data; and selecting at least two of the plurality of fixed length filters to filter the at least two clusters.
In another embodiment of the invention, a method of generating a map for use by a filter module to filter clusters of data found in a packet of data is provided. The method includes the steps of receiving the identification of at least two clusters of the discrete segments of data; and selecting at least two of a plurality of fixed length filters to filter the at least two clusters.

In other embodiments of the invention, computer-executable instructions or control logic for implementing the disclosed methods are stored on computer-readable media or implemented with hardware modules.
Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent with reference to the following detailed description and the figures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention is illustrated by way of example and not limited in the accompanying figures in which like reference numerals indicate similar elements and in which:
Figure 1 shows a conventional DVB DSM-CC Private Data Section MPE (Multiprotocol Encapsulation) packet;
Figure 2 illustrates a system for filtering clusters of data found in packets, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 2a illustrates a relationship between network layers and software modules, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 3 illustrates the operation of a cluster filter module, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 4 illustrates an arrangement of discrete packet segments, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 5 illustrates a multistage cluster filter in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; and
Figure 6 shows a flowchart including steps that may be performed by a cluster mapping module, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Figure 2 illustrates a system for filtering clusters of data found in packets, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As used herein, the term "packet" encompasses any digital data formatted in a protocol having discrete segments. Moreover, a packet may include data formatted in a first protocol that has been encapsulated or framed according to one or more additional protocols, for example Internet protocol (EP) packets encapsulated for transmission across a DVB network. A client system 202 transmits filter parameters to a cluster mapping module 204. Client system 202 maybe implemented with software and/or hardware components that include: a DVB receiver, user interface, mobile terminal, or any other hardware or software component that processes clusters of data found in digital packets. The filter parameters may include the identification of clusters of data located in segments of packets having a known protocol. For example, client system 202 may indicate that it desires to process table id 102 and MAC address sections 1-6 (shown in figure 1). In another example, client system 202 may indicate that it desires to filter a DVB-T interface for an IPv6 address. Cluster mapping module 204 may then create a cluster map from the filter parameters received from client system 202. The cluster map may then be transmitted to a cluster filter module 208.
The cluster map may include information such as a number of filters that will be utilized, the offset values of each of the filters, a filter mask and combinatory logic functions for each filter. An offset value identifies a point, from the beginning of a packet, at which a given filter will begin filtering operations. A filtering services and protocol database 206 may be included to store filtering and protocol information. The formats of any number of protocols and the locations of sections of data within the protocols may be stored in database 206. Cluster maps may also be stored in database 206 to reduce the processing steps performed when a filter map has previously been created for a set of filter parameters. Instead of creating a new cluster map, the previously created cluster map maybe retrieved from database 206.

Cluster filter module 208 includes six two-byte filters 2O8a-208f. In some embodiments of the invention, multiple identical filters are utilized because of the relative ease with which multiple identical filters maybe implemented in hardware. In alternative embodiments, the cluster filter module may include filters having a variety of different sizes and offset values. The sizes and offset values may be selected to correspond to predetermined applications and/or predetermined protocols by cluster mapping module 204. Figure 2 shows that filter 208a has an offset value of 0 bytes, that filter 208b has an offset value of x bytes and that filter 208c has an offset value of y bytes. The offset values are measured from the beginning of a packet. Figure 2 shows an embodiment in which filters 208a-208f overlap. In other embodiments, filters 208a-208f may be formed so that some or none of filters 208a-208f overlap to conserve resources.
Figure 2a illustrates a relationship between the components shown in figure 2 and an IP stack of a user device 210 and operating system network layers 212, Client system 202 passes filter parameters to cluster mapping module 204 that may be native to its own environment For example, the filter parameters could come from a typical filter request such as an IGMP join message, which could pass only details of an IP destination address and a port Cluster mapping module 204 may also interpret the request for the detailed filter parameters of a specific network interface. For example, if the interface were DVB, cluster mapping module 204 may map the IP address and port to one or more of: PID, table id, Section MAC address segments and IP address.
The following description of the formation and use of a cluster map is made with reference to the cluster filter module 304 shown in figure 3. A packet stream 302 includes packets 302a-302h. Filter cluster module 304 includes a pool of filter elements 304a-304L Filters 304a-304d are 1 byte filters, filters 304e-304h are 2 byte filters, filters 304i and 304j are 3 byte filters and filters 304k and 3041 are 4 byte filers. Of course any number of filters and any combination of filter sizes may be included in cluster filter module 304. In operation, one or more of filters 304a-3041 are selected for a filtering operation. A cluster map generated by cluster mapping

module 204 may include the number of filters used, individual offset values, filter masks with desired filter values, applicable combinatory logic for each filter element, and applicable combinatory logic for all the filter elements of a specific filter request (mapped filters).
Combinatory logic may be used as an optimization for certain application cases. A first case of this is where two or more filter parameters (or parts of) allow fewer filters to be used - i.e. filter resource optimization. For example, if the only difference between two sets of filter parameters from two filter requests from client system 202 to cluster mapping module 204 is in the last bit of an IP address (e.g. last bytes are 10000011 and 10000010) then at least two optimizations are possible. In a first optimization, all other filters (not for this one address segment) may be shared (e.g. only a single filter is operating on the highest address bits as they are the same in both cases). In a second optimization, only a single filter is needed for both of the segments by optimizing the mask (e.g. a single 100000 Ix bit mask). A second case of combinatory logic is where a plurality of physical filters of cluster filter module 204 are used in a plurality of filter requests.
Combinatory logic may also be used to combine the result of these physical filters to calculate the result for the complete filter request For example, if filter request A requires that the results of physical filter X is true and the result of physical filter Y is true, then some combinatory logic can be employed to calculate the result of filter request A. In another example, filter request B may require that physical filter X is true and physical filter Z is false. One skilled in the art will recognize that OR, XOR, AND, NOR, other functions and any combinations of these may be employed in embodiments of the present invention. Moreover, one skilled in the art will also recognize that combinatory logic could be multi-stage, including hierarchical schemes of producing a filter result from several combinatory stages.
Aspects of the present invention may be applied to multistage filtering devices-Figure 5 illustrates a multistage filter embodiment. A packet 502 having six data sections arrives at a cluster filter module 504, Cluster filter module 504 includes

three two byte filters 504a-504c. One skilled in the art will appreciate that any number of filter elements maybe included within cluster filter module 504 and that the filter elements may have a variety of different sizes and offset values. In the embodiment shown, the first three sections of packet 502 are filtered by filters 504a-504c in the manner described above. The fourth through sixth sections of packet 502 are received at a buffer 504d. Filters 504a-504c filter the first three sections of data in a first stage. In a second stage, filters 504a-504c receive and filter the fourth through sixth sections of data. The fourth through sixth sections of data are received from buffer 504d. Multistage filtering may be utilized in applications in which it is desirable to minimize the number of filter elements within the cluster filter module and when the particular application allows for a relatively longer time period to filter the data.
Figure 6 illustrates a method that may be implemented by cluster mapping module 204 to generate a cluster map, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The filter module filters clusters of data found in a packet of data. First, in step 602, the identification of at least two clusters of discrete sections of data is received. Client system 202 may transmit the identification of clusters to cluster mapping module 204. Next, in step 604, individual fixed length filters are selected. The selection may be based on factors such as the sizes and locations of the clusters. In step 606, the offset values are selected. Offset values have been described above and may be selected so that filter resources are optimized. The offset values may be selected to correspond to the beginning of the clusters of discrete sections of data. For example, if a cluster of data consists of sections 108 and 110 of packet 100 (shown) in figure 1, an offset value of 24 bits may be selected to prevent filtering unneeded bits.
In step 608, a filter mask that identifies segments of the selected filters is generated. For example, if the cluster filter module includes two 2 two byte filters, the mask could be 11111111 00000000 11110000 11111111 (binary). The mask indicates that in the first fixed 2 byte filter, only the higher byte is utilized in the filtering. In the second 2 byte filter, the 4 highest bits and the lower byte are utilized in the filtering.

Next, in step 610, the filter values are provided. In one embodiment, the filter values are received from client system 202. As an example, a filter value corresponding to the above filter mask could be 10111001 xxxxxxxx lOlOxxxx 11001010 (binary). The filter value means that the value of the filtered data should be 10111001 for the higher byte in the first fixed filter. The value of the lower byte is ignored in the first fixed filter. In the second fixed filter the filter value could be OOllxxxx 10100000. The value x corresponds to a "don't care" value and is set by the mask value. Finally, in step 612, combinatory rules may be generated for combining the filtered data.
One skilled in the art will also appreciate that filtering may include the process of: analyzing data to match certain criteria (including any combination of analysis), and then either passing through data to a next stage or dropping it. In some embodiments, the analyzed data and passed data share some commonality. For example, a layer 2 header and a layer 3 packet may be filtered by analyzing the layer 2 head and the layer 3 packet and only passing the layer 3 packet In alternative embodiments, the analyzed data and the passed data may have no commonality. For example, a layer 2 header may be analyzed and a layer 3 packet may be passed.
While the invention has been described with respect to specific examples, those skilled in the art will appreciate that there are numerous variations and permutations of the above described systems and techniques that fall within the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. For example, the disclosed methods may be implemented as computer-executable instructions recorded on a computer readable medium such as a floppy disk or CD-ROM or as specified hardware, such as an ASIC or FPGA. The invention could be used for other network interfaces than DVB, for example, IP packets in Ethernet frames.


We Claim:
1. A device for filtering data, wherein the data is formatted in a packet having discrete
segments, the device comprising:.
a mapping module that contains control logic for performing steps comprising:
(a) receiving the identification of at least two clusters of the discrete segments
of data; and
(b) selecting at least two of a plurality of fixed length filters to filter the at
least two clusters.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the plurality of fixed length filters have a common length.
3. The device of claim 2, wherein each of the plurality of fixed length filters is 2 bytes.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the plurality of fixed length filters is configured so that each of the plurality of fixed length filters has an offset value corresponding to one of the discrete segments of the packet
5. The device of claim 4, wherein at least one of the plurality of fixed length filters has an offset value of 0.
6. The device of claim 1, wherein a first one of the at least two clusters of data is formatted in accordance with a first protocol and a second one of the at least two clusters of data is formatted in accordance with a second protocol different than the first protocol.

7. The device of claim 1, further including a filter module comprising the plurality of fixed length filters.
8. The device of claim 7, wherein the filter module contains control logic for performing the steps comprising:
receiving the at least two clusters of the discrete segments of data; and

filtering the at least two clusters of the discrete segments of data with the at least two of a plurality of fixed length filters.
9: The device of claim 1, wherein (a) comprises:
receiving an identification of a protocol of the data and a value.
10. The device of claim 1, wherein the protocol comprises DVB-T and the value comprises an IP address.
11. The device of claim 9, wherein the mapping module contains further control logic for performing the step of:
mapping the identification of the protocol of the data and the value to the at least two clusters of the discrete segments of data.
12. A method of generating a map for use by a filter module to filter clusters of data found in
a packet of data, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) receiving the identification of at least two clusters of the discrete segments of
data;
and
(b) selecting at least two of a plurality of fixed length filters to filter the at least two
clusters.
13. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of:
(c) generating a filter mask that identifies segments of the at least two of a plurality
of fixed length filters.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising the step of:
(d) providing filter values.
15. The method of claim 13, further comprising the step of:

(d) generate at least one rules for combining data filtered by the at least two of a plurality of fixed length filters.
16. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of:
(c) selecting offset values for the at least two of the plurality of fixed length filters.
17. The method of claim 12, wherein a first one of the at least two clusters of data is formatted in accordance with a first protocol and a second one of the at least two clusters of data is formatted in accordance with a second protocol different than the first protocol.
18. A computer-readable medium containing computer-executable instructions for causing a mapping module to generate a map for use by a filter module to filter clusters of data found in a packet of data, the computer-executable instructions cause the mapping module to perform the steps comprising:
(a) receiving the identification of at least two clusters of the discrete segments of
data;
and
(b) selecting at least two of a plurality of fixed length filters to filter the at least two
clusters.
19. The computer-readable medium of claim 18, further including computer-executable
instructions for causing the mapping module to perform the step of:
(c) generating a filter mask that identifies segments of the at least two of a plurality
of fixed length filters.
20. The computer-readable medium of claim 19, further including computer-executable
instructions for causing the mapping module to perform the step of:
(d) providing filter values.

21. The computer-readable of claim 19, further including computer-executable instructions
for causing the mapping module to perform the step of:
(d) generate at least one rules for combining data filtered by the at least two of a plurality of fixed length filters.
22. The computer-readable of claim 18, further including computer-executable instructions
for causing the mapping module to perform the step of:
(c) selecting offset values for the at least two of the plurality of fixed length filters.

23. A device for filtering data substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
24. A computer readable medium substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.


Documents:

1330-chenp-2004 amended pages of specification 27-10-2010.pdf

1330-chenp-2004 amended claims 27-10-2010.pdf

1330-chenp-2004 examination report reply recieved 27-10-2010.pdf

1330-chenp-2004 other patent document 27-10-2010.pdf

1330-chenp-2004 amended pages of specification 01-04-2011.pdf

1330-chenp-2004 amended claims 01-04-2011.pdf

1330-chenp-2004 form-3 27-10-2010.pdf

1330-CHENP-2004 POWER OF ATTORNEY 01-04-2011.pdf

1330-CHENP-2004 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 01-04-2011.pdf

1330-CHENP-2004 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 12-04-2010.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-claims.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-correspondnece-others.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-correspondnece-po.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-description(complete).pdf

1330-chenp-2004-drawings.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-form 1.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-form 26.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-form 3.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-form 5.pdf

1330-chenp-2004-pct.pdf


Patent Number 247472
Indian Patent Application Number 1330/CHENP/2004
PG Journal Number 15/2011
Publication Date 15-Apr-2011
Grant Date 11-Apr-2011
Date of Filing 15-Jun-2004
Name of Patentee NOKIA CORPORATION
Applicant Address KEILALAHDENTIE 4 FIN-02150 ESPOO FINLAND
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 WALSH, ROD MAENTAKUSENKATU 17 A 3 FIN-33710 TAMPERE FINLAND
2 HAKKARAINEN, TOMI RISTIKATU 2-4 A 2 FIN-37100 NOKIA FINLAND
3 LUOMA, JUHA-PEKKA SAMMONKATU 8 C 36 FIN-33540 TAMPERE FINLAND
PCT International Classification Number G06F 15/16
PCT International Application Number PCT/IB02/05382
PCT International Filing date 2002-12-13
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 10/027,048 2001-12-20 U.S.A.