|Title of Invention||
"METHOD FOR ACTIVATING NON LICENCED MODUL AMONG A PLURALITY OF MODULES
|Abstract||The invention relates to a method for activating non-licensed modules among a plurality of modules stored in a computer-controlled switching device (1) a switching device (1) for which a license database is used in which the software modules and respective license information associated therewith are stored, and wherein a configuration of at least one of these software modules triggers an interaction (9) between the license database and a computer-readable data carrier 910), thereby generating hardware characteristic information (13). Said hardware characteristic information and the license information of the at least one software module are transmitted (6) by the switchboard computer via a communication link to a license manager (2). Said license manager generates a license confirmation information and retransmits the same to the switchboard computer (7, 8) . The license confirmation information in the switchboard computer decides on the authorization of the at least one software module.|
|Full Text||The invention relates to a method for activating non-licensed modules among a plurality of modules stored in a computer-controlled switching device.
In a communication network, such as the telephone network for example, the connection between geographically remote communication subscribers is made by defining sections of a transmission path one at a time. The path selection is the central task of computer-controlled switching devices. These types of switching devices are also known as switching processors, call processors or node processors.
In current private branch exchange networks, computer controlled switching devices are operated as both conventional telecommunication systems and also as pure IP systems. It is usual to have systems in different size categories, i.e. small private branch exchanges with up to 15 extensions up to large private branch exchange systems with a tens of thousands of extensions. The function and services of ISDN private branch exchange systems are defined in the international standards of the ITU.
Each private branch exchange access line has a range of functions predetermined by service features, which are predetermined in the assigned switchboard computer by configuration or administration of software modules. This configuration or administration can be instigated by the
operator of the private branch exchange network or undertaken by operators themselves by using administration commands of the control to activate software modules in a switching device.
Services features are divided up in accordance with the type of traffic into service features for incoming traffic, for outgoing traffic, for routing, for Internet traffic, for charge data recording, for call diversion, interception, for different multilingual text outputs, ISDN service features etc. Each of these service features corresponds in the switching device to a specific function component, which is mostly implemented by a software module.
The currently available functionality of a switching device is determined by the software modules activated. As a rule the operator of the private branch exchange network obtains a license from the manufacturer of the switching device to use these software modules.
Since requirements imposed on a communication system must be oriented to the predetermined demands of the communication user, it is necessary from time to time to reconfigure or administer the capacity stage of switching devices in the network. Thus for example it can be necessary to increase the maximum possible number of communication users of a private branch exchange, or to offer new, improved service features. This adaptation can be achieved by loading new software modules into the database of the switching device and adapting the usage license of the operator accordingly. The loading of new software models is however associated with a corresponding outlay so that manufacturers of the switching devices have gone over to delivering the devices with a full range of application software, but with the application software only
being able to be used within the framework of a licensing agreement made between the device manufacturer and the network operator. The manufacturer of switching devices makes every effort in such cases to ensure, by means of protection mechanisms, that the actual scope of usage only varies within the framework of this licensing agreement and that misuse of the arrangement is largely excluded.
Various protection mechanisms for software products are known from computer technology. With personal computers it is usual nowadays to use what are known as dongles. A dongle is an additional hardware part and contains unique and immutable characteristic information. When the software to be protected is started the program interrogates the dongle to ensure that the corresponding characteristic information is stored in it. If it is, the software can run on the personal computer, if not the execution is not permitted. A dongle can also used for a specific software product on a another processor unit provided the hardware and the operating system match. If a number of software products are used on a computer system they each require the corresponding dongle.
The use of dongles in the configuration or administration of switching devices is cumbersome and problematic as regards security since there is no provision for storing digital keys wi t.h a dongle.
Presentation of the invention
The underlying object of the invention is to simplify the licensing and/or access authorization for software modules in a computer-controlled switching device and to allow flexible adaptation to changing demands.
The object is achieved by the features of claim 1. The
subclaims relate to advantageous embodiments of the invention.
The main aspect of the inventive solution proposed consists of making software modules which are already kept with the full range of functions in a switching device scalable, i.e. only able to be used within a predetermined licensing framework.
In accordance with the invention there is provision for use of a licence database in which a all those software modules are stored with the full range of functions which are necessary for a full capacity stage of the switching device. The license database can for example be implemented by conventional disk storage, a hard disk. License information is assigned to each software module on this hard disk. If, as a result of a configuration or administration, at least one of these software modules is activated, in a first step an interaction is initiated between the licence database and a computer-readable data carrier. The aim of this interaction is to check the unique relationship between the hard disk used for the database and secret information stored on a computer-readable data carrier. This identity checking can for example be undertaken by comparing the hard disk identification number and a secret key stored on the computer-readable data carrier. The result of this identity checking is hardware characteristic information which provides information about whether the key and the storage hardware match each other. In a further step this hardware characteristic is now transferred together with the license information of the at least one software module from the switching computer via a communication connection to a license manager geographically remote from the exchange. The licence manager decides about the authorization of the at least one software module to be configured by generating licence confirmation information which it sends back to the switching device. Communication
between the switching device and a licence manager can for example be undertaken via a telephone or fax connection or can be established by computer communication Since the licence manager has access on the one hand to information about the identity of the hardware platform and on the other hand to information about the scope of usage of software modules operated on it, the licensing or access authorization to software modules is possible in a simple manner.
To largely exclude misuse a cryptographic algorithm is used in the interaction between the licence database and the computer readable data carrier.
It is preferred that an asymmetric encryption method which is known per se is used in the interaction between the licence database and the computer-readable data carrier.
Preferably the computer-readable data carrier is embodied as a portable data carrier. This means that in the case of a hardware failure a main circuit board can simply be replaced and the portable data carrier can continue to be used on the new main circuit board. The switching device does not have to be completely reconfigured. This is of decisive importance since the downtimes of a switching device can be significantly reduced in this way.
The portable data carrier can advantageously be embodied as a smart card, a chip card or a Secure Digital/MultiMedia Card. Compared to a software dongle the above cards are more cost effective. These cards are used and handled in much the same way as the SIM cards used in mobile telephones. These are plug-in cards and can thus continue to be used in a new switching device.
As regards data security it is useful for the hardware characteristic information and the licensing information to be transferred by the switching computer to the licence manager in encrypted form. The security level is scalable through the functional scope of the above-mentioned cards.
According to an embodiment of the invention a method for activating non-licensed software modules among a plurality of software modules resident in a computer-controlled switching device within a communications network, comprising: providing a switching device including a system •database comprising a storage device; installing a license database in the switching device, the license database including both one or more non-licensed software modules and licensed software modules and license information, the license information resident in the switching device pertaining to each of the software modules; connecting a computer-readable data carrier to the switching device and initiating an interaction between the license database and the computer-readable data carrier with a cryptographic algorithm to ' determine whether the storage device and the computer-readable data carrier each include matching hardware identification information; next transmitting determined matching hardware identification information and license information pertaining to at least one software module over communication link from the switching device to a license manager, the license manager then determining whether license authorization exists for the switching device to use the at least one software module; the license manager then generating a license confirmation via license reference database having licenses for software modules purchased for the switching device; and sending the license confirmation to the switching device thereby permitting use of the software module, wherein the license manage is remotely located from the switching device.
In a preferred embodiment the licence manager is implemented as a server which is administered by the manufacturer of the switching device. The server features a licence reference database This contains, in the form of reference information, the licences which have been purchased by an operator.
In this case it is recommended that the licence manager, when it generates the license confirmation information, uses a lLcence reference database in which reference information is stored containing reference information assigned to operators of switching devices in each case. This not only facilitates the administration of licences but also makes it possible for large customers to administer licences in a licence pool for example. This means that licences in the licence pool which have been paid for it but are not being used can be flexibly assigned to the actual requirements of the customer.
In a preferred embodiment there is provision for the licensing information of a software module to be configured to be contained in the licences purchased by the operator, for licensing confirmation information to be generated which authorizes the continuous operation of the software module in the switching device.
In a further preferred embodiment there is provision, in the case in which the licence information of a software module to be configured is not contained in the licences purchased by the operator, for licensing confirmation information to be generated which authorizes test operation of the software module in the switching device over a predetermined period of lime.
12. Method in accordance with one of the claims 1 to 11, characterized in that the communication connection between he switching device and the licence manager is routed via a circuit-switched and/or packet-switched communication network.
1 3. Method for licensing and/or authorizing access to software modules in a computer-controlled switching device, substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
1. A method for activating non-licensed modules among a plurality of modules stored in a computer-controlled switching device (1) within a communications network, wherein a license database (4) is used in which the modules and the license information assigned to each of the said modules are stored comprising the steps of:
setting up in a switching device (1), a license database (4) and an activation of at least one said module which is made available in the license database (4) but not used initiating an interaction between the license database(4) and a portable computer readable data medium (3) assigned to the switching device (1), with hardware identification information being generated;
transmitting by the switching processor (1) via a communication link (6) to a license manager (2) the hardware identification information and the license information of at least one of the said module located at a geographical distance from the switching centre (1);
generating by the license manager (2), the license confirmation information and transmitting it back to switching processor(1), in which the license manager (2), when generating the license confirmation information(8), uses a license reference database in which the licenses for the said modules purchased in
each case, by an operator of a switching device (1) are stored; and
deciding by the license confirmation information in the switching processor (1) on the authorization of the at least one module.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the computer-readable dat£ carrier is a card (10) selected from the group consisting of smart card, chip card and SD/Multimedia card.
3. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hardware identification information is created from a identification number of the license database (4) and information stored on the card.
4. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hardware identification information and the license information transmitted from the switching device (1) to the license manger(2) are encrypted.
5. A method as claimed in claim 4, wherein the license manager (2) is a server and is networked with the switching device (1) via a communication network.
6. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the communication-connection between the switching device (1) and the license manager(2) is routed via a circuit-switched or a packet switch communication network.
7. A method as claimed in any of the claims 1 to 6,
wherein in the event that the licenses information of
a module that is to be configured is contained in the
licenses purchased by the operator, license
conformation information is generated which authorizes
continuous operation of the at least one module in the
switching device (1).
8. A method as claimed in any of the preceding claims
wherein the communications link (6,7,8) between
the switching device (1) and the license
manager (2)is routed via a circuit-switching and/or
packet-switching communication network.
9. A method as claimed in any of the preceding claims
wherein the interaction between the license database
(4) and the computer-readable medium (3) is carried out with cryptographic algorithm.
|Indian Patent Application Number||1294/DELNP/2006|
|PG Journal Number||45/2011|
|Date of Filing||09-Mar-2006|
|Name of Patentee||SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT|
|Applicant Address||A GERMAN COMPANY, OF WITTELSBACHERPLATZ 2, 80333 MUNCHEN, GERMANY.|
|PCT International Classification Number||H04L 12/24|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/EP2004/009154|
|PCT International Filing date||2004-08-16|