|Title of Invention||
"A MOBILE STATION AND A NETWORK SELECTION METHOD THEREOF"
|Abstract||Methods and apparatus for providing manual selection of a communication network for a mobile station are described. A plurality of communication networks are identified by scanning a coverage area within which the mobile station is operating. A plurality of network identifiers corresponding to the plurality of communication networks are then retrieved from memory of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) in accordance with an Enhanced Operator Name String (EONS) protocol. Preferably, each network identifier is retrieved based on a Mobile Country Code (MCC), a Mobile Network Code (MNC), and a Location Area Code (LAC). The plurality of network identifiers are visually displayed for user selection, and at least two of the network identifiers may b...|
|Full Text||BACKGROUND Field of the Technology
The present application relates generally to mobile stations and network selection methods employed thereby, and more particularly to manual selection of commumcation networks by mobile stations
Description of the Related Art
Wireless communication devices, such as mobile stations, have the ability to communicate with other devices (e g telephones, servers, personal computers (PCs), etc) through wireless communication networks A wireless communication network includes a plurality of base stations, each of which provides near-exclusive communication coverage within a given geographic area However, more than one wireless network is typically available in many, if not most, geographic regions m a competing fashion Typically, an end user contracts with and pays to receive communication services exclusively from a single wireless network for a limited period of time (e g one year)
Although different networks are available, a mobile station automatically selects and registers with the contracted or preferred network for operation The name of the network within which the mobile station is operating (e g "Cingular" or "AT&T Wireless") is typically displayed on its visual display This name may be obtained and displayed in accordance with what is known as an "Operator
Named String" (ONS) procedure The mobile station typically receives a Mobile Country Code (MCC) and a Mobile Network Code (MNC) from the network that it registers with, and retrieves and displays a network identifier name from memory of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) which corresponds to the unique MCC and MNC combination A SIM is one type of "smart card" which includes a small processor and memory, and is connected to the mobile station for customization and for identifying the end user
In addition to this automatic network selection method, a mobile station may provide a method which allows the end user to manually select an available network Here, the mobile station scans to identify a plurality of communication networks m a coverage area within which the mobile station is operating, retrieves a plurality of network identifiers corresponding to the plurality of communication networks from memory of the SIM, visually displays the plurality of network identifiers, and awaits entry of the manually selected network by the end user
Although exclusive service agreements typically exist between the subscriber and the network, competing wireless networks have established relationships whereby mobile stations can receive services through other networks when necessary or desired For example, when a mobile station is located in a geographic region where the contracted wireless network has not established any infrastructure, the mobile station may receive services and communicate through a different (and perhaps competing) network Network relationships are basically arranged in one of two ways (1) competitive but
necessary, or (2) cooperative and desirable In a more competitive network relationship, the subscriber is likely to incur additional service charges (eg "roaming" charges) for the above-scenario In a more cooperative network relationship, however, the subscriber is likely to incur standard charges for the above-scenario
Consider the scenario where two different networks have a cooperative agreement as described above and little or no additional charges are incurred by use of the other's network Per ONS, a network name different from the contracted network name may be displayed on the mobile station This is often confusing to a subscriber who may believe that, for example, roaming charges are being incurred when m fact they are not Recently there has been a shift to provide an alternative network naming method for automatic network selection, referred to as "Enhanced Operator Named String" (EONS) procedure One purpose of this relatively new procedure is to reduce network naming confusion created m scenarios like the one described above Instead of displaying a network name that is different from the contracted network name for the above-scenario, the same or substantially similar network name may be displayed even though a different network is actually being used
However, there is no known procedure described for manual network selection Continued use of ONS for manual selection may be preferred from the standpoint of identifying the actual network which provides better services On the other hand, subscribers often prefer transparency and simphficafaon of operation and desire to understand when additional service charges may be
incurred Accordingly, there is a resulting need for improved methods and apparatus of providing manual selection of a communication network for a mobile station.
Methods and apparatus for providing a manual selection of a communication network for a mobile station are described In one illustrative embodiment, a plurality of communication networks are identified by scanning a coverage area within which the mobile station is operating A plurality of network identifiers corresponding to the plurality of communication networks are then retrieved from memory of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) in accordance with an Enhanced Operator Name String (EONS) procedure Preferably, each network identifier is retrieved based on a Mobile Country Code (MCC), a Mobile Network Code (MNC), and a Location Area Code (LAC) The plurality of network identifiers are then simultaneously visually displayed for user selection, where at least two of the network identifiers are substantially identical The user selected communication network is registered with and the network identifier associated with this network, retrieved m accordance with EONS, is visually displayed Advantageously, EONS-based identifiers which reflect pre-arranged network agreements are displayed for end user manual network selection, providmg consistency and awareness of which networks may or may not be subject to additional charges
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Embodiments of present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to attached figures, wherein
FIG 1 is a block diagram of a commumcation system which includes a wireless commumcation device for communicating in a wireless communication network,
FIG 2 is a more detailed example of a wireless communication device for use in the wireless commumcation network,
FIG 3 is a particular structure of a system for communicating with the wireless commumcation device,
FIG 4 is a flowchart for describing a method of providing manual selection of a commumcation network in a mobile station m accordance with the present application,
FIG 5 is an illustration of a visual display of a mobile station, showmg a plurahty of network identifiers for a plurahty of commumcation networks identified by scanning a coverage area within which a mobile station operates in accordance with the present application, and
FIG 6 is an illustration of the visual display of FIG 5, showmg a network identifier of a manually selected communication network according to the present application
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG 1 is a block diagram of a commumcation system 100 which includes a wireless commumcation device 102 which communicates through a wireless
communication network 104 Wireless communication device 102 preferably includes a visual display 112, a keyboard 114, and perhaps one or more auxiliary user interfaces (UI) 116, each of which are coupled to a controller 106 Controller 106 is also coupled to radio frequency (RF) transceiver circuitry 108 and an antenna 110
In most modern communication devices, controller 106 is embodied as a central processmg unit (CPU) which runs operating system software in a memory component (not shown) Controller 106 normally controls overall operation of wireless device 102, whereas signal processing operations associated with communication functions are typically performed m RF transceiver circuitry 108 Controller 106 interfaces with device display 112 to display received information, stored information, user inputs, and the like Keyboard 114, which may be a telephone type keypad or full alphanumeric keyboard, is normally provided for entering data for storage m wireless device 102, information for transmission to network 104, a telephone number to place a telephone call, commands to be executed on wireless device 102, and possibly other or different user inputs
Wireless device 102 sends communication signals to and receives communication signals from network 104 over a wireless link via antenna 110 RF transceiver circuitry 108 performs functions similar to those of base station 120, including for example modulation/demodulation and possibly encoding/decoding and encryption/decryption It is also contemplated that RF transceiver circuitry 108 may perform certam functions m addition to those performed by base station 120 It will be apparent to those skilled m art that RF
transceiver circuitry 108 is adapted to particular wireless network or networks m which wireless device 102 is intended to operate
Wireless device 102 includes a battery interface 134 for receiving one or more rechargeable batteries 132 Battery 132 provides electrical power to most, if not all, electrical circuitry in wireless device 102, and battery interface 132 provides for a mechanical and electrical connection to the battery 132 Battery interface 132 is coupled to a regulator 136 which regulates power for the device When wireless device 102 is fully operational, an RF transmitter of RF transceiver circuitry 108 is typically keyed or turned on only when it is sending to network,
1 and is otherwise turned off to conserve resources Such intermittent operation of transmitter has a dramatic effect on power consumption of wireless device 102 Similarly, an RF receiver of RF transceiver circuitry 108 is typically periodically turned off to conserve power until it is needed to receive signals or information, if at all, during designated time periods
Wireless device 102 may consist of a single unit, such as a data communication device, a cellular telephone, a multiple-function communication device with data and voice communication capabilities, a personal digital assistant (PDA) enabled for wireless communication, or a computer incorporating an internal modem Alternatively, wireless device 102 may be a multiple-module
unit comprising a plurality of separate components, including but in no way limited to a computer or other device connected to a wireless modem In particular, for example, in the wireless device block diagram of FIG 1, RF transceiver circuitry 108 and antenna 110 may be implemented as a radio modem
unit that may be inserted into a port on a laptop computer In this case, the laptop computer would include display 112, keyboard 114, one or more auxiliary UIs 116, and controller 106 embodied as the computer's CPU It is also contemplated that a computer or other equipment not normally capable of wireless communication may be adapted to connect to and effectively assume control of RF transceiver circuitry 108 and antenna 110 of a single-unit device such as one of those described above Such a wireless device 102 may have a more particular implementation as described later in relation to wireless device 202 of FIG 2
Wireless device 102 operates using a Subscnber Identity Module (SIM) which is connected to or inserted in wireless device 102 at a SIM interface 142 SIM 140 is one type of a conventional "smart card" used to identify an end user (or subscnber) of wireless device 102 and to personalize the device, among other things Without SIM 140, the wireless device is not fully operational for communication through wireless network 104 By inserting SIM 140 into wireless device 102, an end user can have access to any and all of his/her subscribed services In order to identify the subscnber, SIM 140 contains some user parameters such as an International Mobile Subscnber Identity (IMSI) In addition, SIM 140 is typically protected by a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) which is stored therein and known only by the end user An advantage of using SIM 140 is that end users are not necessarily bound by any smgle physical wireless device Typically, the only element that personalizes a wireless device terminal is a SIM card Therefore, the user can access subscribed services using any wireless device equipped to operate with the user's SIM
SIM 140 generally includes a processor and memory for storing information SIM and its interfacing standards are well known. For interfacing with a standard GSM device having SIM mterface 142, a conventional SIM 140 has six (6) connections A typical SIM 140 stores all of the following information (1) an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), (2) an individual subscriber's authentication key (Ki), (3) a ciphering key generating algorithm (A8) - with Ki and RAND it generates a 64-bit key (Kc), (4) an authentication algorithm (A3) ~ with Ki and RAND it generates a 32-bit signed response (SRED), (5) a user PIN code (1 & 2), (6) a PUK code (1 & 2) (this is also referred to as the SPIN), (7) a user phone book, (8) stored Short Message Service (SMS) messages, and (9) a preferred network list SIM 140 may store additional user information for the wireless device as well, including datebook (or calendar) information and recent call information As apparent, some of the information stored on SIM 140 (eg address book information and SMS messages) is initially received at wireless device 102 over wireless network 104 through its RF transceiver arcuitry 108, or received from the end user through keyboard 114
Some information stored on SIM 140 (e g address book and SMS messages) may be retrieved and visually displayed on display 112 Wireless device 102 has one or more software applications which are executed by controller 144 to facilitate the information stored on SIM 140 to be displayed on display 112 Controller 144 and SIM mterface 142 have data and control lines 144 coupled therebetween to faahtate the transfer of the information between controller 144 and SIM mterface 142 so that it may be visually displayed An end user enters
user input signals at keyboard 114, for example, and in response, controller 144 controls SIM interface 142 and SIM 140 to retrieve the information for display The end user may also enter user input signals at keyboard 114, for example, and, in response, controller 144 controls SIM interface 142 and SIM 140 to store information on SIM 140 for later retrieval and viewing Preferably, the software applications executed by controller 106 include an application to retrieve and display address book information stored on SIM 140, and an application to retrieve and display SMS message information stored on SIM 140
In addition, SIM 140 includes information and files for Enhanced Operator Named String (EONS) EONS requires that two files be stored on SIM 140 The first file includes a list of address pointers corresponding to combinations of Mobile Country Code (MCC), Mobile Network Code (MNC), and Location Area Code (LAC) The address pointers are used to locate network names or identifiers stored m a list m the second file EONS is described in, for example, 3GPP 51001 Specifications of the SIM-ME Interface R4 (v4 2 0 or later)
Wireless device 102 communicates m and through wireless communication network 104 In the embodiment of FIG 1, wireless network 104 is a Global Systems for Mobile (GSM) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) network Wireless network 104 mcludes a base station 120 with an associated antenna tower 118, a Mobile Switching Center (MSC) 122, a Home Location Register (HLR) 132, a Serving General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) Support Node (SGSN) 126, and a Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) 128 MSC 122 is coupled to base station 120 and to a landlme network, such as a Public Switched Telephone
Network (PSTN) 124 SGSN 126 is coupled to base station 120 and to GGSN 128, which is in turn coupled to a public or private data network 130 (such as the Internet) HLR132 is coupled to MSC122, SGSN 126, and GGSN 128
Base station 120, including its associated controller and antenna tower 118, provides wireless network coverage for a particular coverage area commonly referred to as a "cell" Base station 120 transmits communication signals to and receives communication signals from wireless devices within its cell via antenna tower 118 Base station 120 normally performs such functions as modulation and possibly encoding and/or encryption of signals to be transmitted to the wireless
1 device in accordance with particular, usually predetermined, communication protocols and parameters, under control of its controller Base station 120 similarly demodulates and possibly decodes and decrypts, if necessary, any communication signals received from wireless device 102 within its cell Communication protocols and parameters may vary between different networks For example, one network may employ a different modulation scheme and operate at different frequencies than other networks
The wireless link shown m communication system 100 of FIG 1 represents one or more different channels, typically different radio frequency (RF) channels, and associated protocols used between wireless network 104 and wireless device
» 102 Those skilled in art will appreciate that a wireless network in actual practice may include hundreds of cells, each served by a distinct base station 120 and transceiver, dependmg upon desired overall expanse of network coverage All
base station controllers and base stations may be connected by multiple switches and routers (not shown), controlled by multiple network controllers
For all wireless device's 102 registered with a network operator, permanent data (such as wireless device 102 user's profile) as well as temporary data (such as wireless device's 102 current location) are stored m HLR 132 In case of a voice call to wireless device 102, HLR 132 is queried to determine the current location of wireless device 102 A Visitor Location Register (VLR) of MSC 122 is responsible for a group of location areas and stores the data of those wireless devices that are currently m its area of responsibility This includes parts of the permanent wireless device data that have been transmitted from HLR 132 to the VLR for faster access However, the VLR of MSC 122 may also assign and store local data, such as temporary identifications Optionally, the VLR of MSC 122 can be enhanced for more efficient co-ordination of GPRS and non-GPRS services and functionality (e g paging for circuit-switched calls which can be performed more efficiently via SGSN 126, and combmed GPRS and non-GPRS location updates)
Being part of the GPRS network, Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) 126 is at the same hierarchical level as MSC 122 and keeps track of the individual locations of wireless devices SGSN 126 also performs security functions and access control Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) 128 provides interworking with external packet-switched networks and is connected with SGSNs (such as SGSN 126) via an IP-based GPRS backbone network SGSN 126 performs authentication and cipher setting procedures based on the same algorithms, keys, and criteria as in existmg GSM In conventional operation, cell selection may be
performed autonomously by wireless device 102 or by base station 120 instructing wireless device 102 to select a particular cell Wireless device 102 informs wireless network 104 when it reselects another cell or group of cells, known as a routing area
In order to access GPRS services, wireless device 102 first makes its presence known to wireless network 104 by performing what is known as a GPRS "attach" This operation establishes a logical link between wireless device 102 and SGSN 126 and makes wireless device 102 available to receive, for example, pages via SGSN, notifications of incoming GPRS data, or SMS messages over GPRS In order to send and receive GPRS data, wireless device 102 assists m activating the packet data address that it wants to use This operation makes wireless device 102 known to GGSN 128, interworking with external data networks can thereafter commence User data may be transferred transparently between wireless device 102 and the external data networks using, for example, encapsulation and tunneling Data packets are equipped with GPRS-specific protocol information and transferred between wireless device 102 and GGSN 128
As apparent from the above/ the wireless network includes fixed network components mdudmg RF transceivers, amplifiers, base station controllers, network servers, and servers connected to network Those skilled in art will appreciate that a wireless network may be connected to other systems, possibly mdudmg other networks, not explicitly shown m FIG 1 A network will normally be transmitting at very least some sort of pagmg and system information on an ongoing basis, even if there is no actual packet data exchanged
Although the network consists of many parts, these parts all work together to result in certain behaviours at the wireless link.
FIG 2 is a detailed block diagram of a preferred wireless communication device 202 Wireless device 202 is preferably a two-way communication device having at least voice and data communication capabilities, including the capability to communicate with other computer systems Depending on the functionality provided by wireless device 202, it may be referred to as a data messaging device, a two-way pager, a cellular telephone with data messaging capabilities, a wireless Internet appliance, or a data communication device (with or without telephony capabilities) Wireless device 202 may be a mobile station, as it is in a preferred embodiment
If wireless device 202 is enabled for two-way communication, it normally incorporates a communication subsystem 211, which includes a receiver 212, a transmitter 214, and associated components, such as one or more (preferably embedded or internal) antenna elements 216 and 218, local oscillators (LOs) 213, and a processmg module such as a digital signal processor (DSP) 220 Communication subsystem 211 is analogous to RF transceiver circuitry 108 and antenna 110 shown in FIG 1 As will be apparent to those skilled in field of communications, particular design of communication subsystem 211 depends on the communication network in which wireless device 202 is mtended to operate
Network access requirements will also vary depending upon type of network utilized In GPRS networks, for example, network access is associated with a subscriber or user of wireless device 202 A GPRS device therefore requires
a Subscriber Identity Module, commonly referred to as a "SIM" card 256, in order to operate on the GPRS network. Without such a SIM card 256, a GPRS device will not be fully functional Local or non-network communication functions, if any, may be operable, but wireless device 202 will be unable to carry out its full range of functions involving communications over the network SIM 256 includes those features described m relation to FIG 1 In particular, SIM 256 includes information and files for Enhanced Operator Named String (EONS) As described earlier, EONS requires that two files be stored on SIM 256 The first file includes a list of address pointers corresponding to combinations of Mobile Country Code (MCC), Mobile Network Code (MNC), and Location Area Code (LAC) The address pointers are used to locate network names or identifiers stored in a list in the second file EONS is described m, for example, 3GPP 51 001 Specifications of the SM-ME Interface R4 (v4 2 0 or later)
Wireless device 202 may send and receive communication signals over the network after required network registration or activation procedures have been completed Signals received by antenna 216 through the network are input to receiver 212, which may perform such common receiver functions as signal amplification, frequency down conversion, filtering, channel selection, and like, and m example shown m FIG 2, analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion A/D conversion of a received signal allows more complex communication functions such as demodulation and decoding to be performed in DSP 220 In a similar manner, signals to be transmitted are processed, mcludmg modulation and encoding, for example, by DSP 220 These DSP-processed signals are input to
transmitter 214 for digital-to-analog (D/A) conversion, frequency up conversion, filtering, amplification and transmission over communication network via antenna 218 DSP 220 not only processes communication signals, but also provides for receiver and transmitter control For example, the gains applied to communication signals m receiver 212 and transmitter 214 may be adaphvely controlled through automatic gam control algorithms implemented m DSP 220
Wireless device 202 includes a microprocessor 238 (which is one implementation of controller 106 of FIG 1) which controls overall operation of wireless device 202 Communication functions, including at least data and voice communications, are performed through communication subsystem 211 Microprocessor 238 also interacts with additional device subsystems such as a display 222, a non-volatile memory 224, a random access memory (RAM) 226, auxiliary input/output (I/O) subsystems 228, a serial port 230, a keyboard 232, a speaker 234, a microphone 236, a short-range communications subsystem 240, and other device subsystems generally designated at 242 Data and control lines 260 extend between SIM interface 254 and microprocessor 238 for communicating data therebetween and for control Some of the subsystems shown in FIG 2 perform communication-related functions, whereas other subsystems may provide "resident" or on-device functions Notably, some subsystems, such as 1 keyboard 232 and display 222, for example, may be used for both communication-related functions, such as entering a text message for transmission over a communication network, and device-resident functions such as a calculator or task list Operating system software used by microprocessor 238 is preferably
stored m a persistent store such as the non-volatile memory 224, which may, for example, be a flash memory, a battery backed-up RAM or similar storage element Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the operating system, specific device applications, or parts thereof, may be temporarily loaded into a volatile store such as RAM 226
Microprocessor 238, in addition to its operating system functions, preferably enables execution of software applications on wireless device 202 A predetermined set of applications which control basic device operations, including at least data and voice communication applications (such as a network re-estabhshment scheme), will normally be installed on wireless device 202 during its manufacture A preferred application that may be loaded onto wireless device 202 may be a personal information manager (PIM) application having the ability to organize and manage data items relating to user such as, but not limited to, e-mail, calendar events, voice mails, appointments, and task items Naturally, one or more memory stores are available on wireless device 202 and SIM 256 to facilitate storage of PIM data items and other information.
The PIM application preferably has the ability to send and receive data
items via the wireless network In a preferred embodiment, PIM data items are
seamlessly integrated, synchronized, and updated via the wireless network, with
the wireless device user's corresponding data items stored and/or assoaated with
a host computer system thereby creating a mirrored host computer on wireless
device 202 with respect to such items This is especially advantageous where the
host computer system is the wireless device user's office computer system
dditional applications may also be loaded onto wireless device 202 through network, an auxiliary I/O subsystem 228, serial port 230, short-range communications subsystem 240, or any other suitable subsystem 242, and installed by a user in RAM 226 or preferably the non-volatile memory 224 for execution by microprocessor 238 Such flexibility in application installation increases the functionality of wireless device 202 and may provide enhanced on-device functions, communication-related functions, or both For example, secure commumcation applications may enable electronic commerce functions and other such financial transactions to be performed using wireless device 202
In a data commumcation mode, a received signal such as a text message or web page download is processed by communication subsystem 211 and input to microprocessor 238 Microprocessor 238 preferably further processes the signal for output to display 222 or alternatively to auxiliary I/O device 228 A user of wireless device 202 may also compose data items, such as e-mail messages or short message service (SMS) messages, for example, using keyboard 232 in conjunction with display 222 and possibly auxiliary I/O device 228 Keyboard 232 is preferably a complete alphanumeric keyboard and/or telephone-type keypad These composed items may be transmitted over a commumcation network through commumcation subsystem 211
For voice communications, the overall operation of wireless device 202 is
substantially similar, except that the received signals would be output to speaker
234 and signals for transmission would be generated by microphone 236
Alternative voice or audio I/O subsystems, such as a voice message recordmg
ubsystem, may also be implemented on wireless device 202 Although voice or audio signal output is preferably accomplished primarily through speaker 234, display 222 may also be used to provide an indication of the identity of a calling party, duration of a voice call, or other voice call related information, as some examples
Serial port 230 in FIG 2 is normally implemented in a personal digital assistant (PDA)-type cornmunication device for which synchronization with a user's desktop computer is a desirable, albeit optional, component Serial port 230 enables a user to set preferences through an external device or software application and extends the capabilities of wireless device 202 by providing for information or software downloads to wireless device 202 other than through a wireless communication network The alternate download path may, for example, be used to load an encryption key onto wireless device 202 through a direct and thus reliable and trusted connection to thereby provide secure device communication
Short-range communications subsystem 240 of FIG 2 is an additional optional component which provides for communication between wireless device 202 and different systems or devices, which need not necessarily be similar devices For example, subsystem 240 may include an infrared device and associated circuits and components, a Bluetooth™ communication module, or an 80211 communication module to provide for communication with similarly-enabled systems and devices Bluetooth™ is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc Those skilled in the art will appreciate that "Bluetooth" and "80211"
refer to sets of specifications, available from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), relating to wireless personal area networks and wireless local area networks, respectively
Wireless device 202 also includes a battery mterface (such as that described in relation to FIG 1) for receiving one or more rechargeable batteries Such a battery provides electrical power to most if not all electrical circuitry in wireless device 202, and the battery mterface provides for a mechanical and electrical connection for it The battery interface is coupled to a regulator which regulates power to all of the circuitry
FIG 3 shows a particular system structure for commumcatmg with a wireless communication device In particular, FIG 3 shows basic components of an IP-based wireless data network, such as a GPRS network A wireless device 100 communicates with a wireless packet data network 145, and may also be capable of commumcatmg with a wireless voice network (not shown) The voice network may be assoaated with IP-based wireless network 145 similar to, for example, GSM and GPRS networks, or alternatively may be a completely separate network The GPRS IP-based data network is unique in that it is effectively an overlay on the GSM voice network As such, GPRS components either extend existmg GSM components, such as base stations 320, or rely on additional components, such as an advanced Gateway GPRS Service Node (GGSN) as a network entry pomt 305
As shown in FIG 3, a gateway 140 may be coupled to an internal or external address resolution component 335 and one or more network entry points
305 Data packets are transmitted from gateway 140, which is source of information to be transmitted to wireless device 100, through network 145 by setting up a wireless network tunnel 325 from gateway 140 to wireless device 100 In order to create this wireless tunnel 325, a unique network address is associated with wireless device 100 In an IP-based wireless network, however, network addresses are typically not permanently assigned to a particular wireless device 100 but instead are dynamically allocated on an as-needed basis It is thus preferable for wireless device 100 to acquire a network address and for gateway 140 to determine this address so as to establish wireless tunnel 325
Network entry point 305 is generally used to multiplex and demultiplex amongst many gateways, corporate servers, and bulk connections such as the Internet, for example There are normally very few of these network entry points 305, since they are also intended to centralize externally available wireless network services Network entry points 305 often use some form of an address resolution component 335 that assists in address assignment and lookup between gateways and wireless devices In this example, address resolution component 335 is shown as a dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) as one method for providing an address resolution mechanism
A central internal component of wireless data network 345 is a network router 315 Normally, network routers 315 are proprietary to the particular network, but they could alternatively be constructed from standard commercially available hardware The purpose of network routers 315 is to centralize thousands of base stations 320 normally implemented in a relatively large
network into a central location for a long-haul connection back to network entry point 305 In some networks there may be multiple hers of network routers 315 and cases where there are master and slave network routers 315, but in all such cases the functions are similar Often network router 315 will access a name server 307, m this case shown as a dynamic name server (DNS) 307 as used in the Internet, to look up destinations for routing data messages Base stations 320, as described above, provide wireless links to wireless devices such as wireless device 100
Wireless network tunnels such as a wireless tunnel 325 are opened across wireless network 345 m order to allocate necessary memory, routing, and address resources to dehver IP packets In GPRS, such tunnels 325 are established as part of what are referred to as "PDP contexts" (I e data sessions) To open wireless tunnel 325, wireless device 100 uses a specific technique associated with wireless network 345 The step of opening such a wireless tunnel 325 may require wireless device 100 to indicate the domain, or network entry point 305 with which it wishes to open wireless tunnel 325 In this example, the tunnel first reaches network router 315 which uses name server 307 to determine which network entry point 305 matches the domain provided Multiple wireless tunnels can be opened from one wireless device 100 for redundancy, or to access different gateways and services on the network Once the domain name is found, the tunnel is then extended to network entry point 305 and necessary resources are allocated at each of the nodes along the way Network entry point 305 then uses the address resolution (or DHCP 335) component to allocate an IP address for
wireless device 100 When an IP address has been allocated to wireless device 100 and communicated to gateway 140, information can then be forwarded from gateway 140 to wireless device 100
Wireless tunnel 325 typically has a limited life, depending on wireless device's 100 coverage profile and activity Wireless network 145 typically tear down wireless tunnel 325 after a certain period of inactivity or out-of-coverage period, m order to recapture resources held by this wireless tunnel 325 for other users The mam reason for this is to reclaim the IP address temporarily reserved for wireless device 100 when wireless tunnel 325 was hrst opened Once the IP address is lost and wireless tunnel 325 is torn down, gateway 140 loses all ability to initiate IP data packets to wireless device 100, whether over Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or over User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
In this application, an "IP-based wireless network" (one specific type of wireless commumcation network) may mclude but is not limited to (1) a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network, (2) a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) network for use m conjunction with Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network, and (3) future third-generation (3G) networks like Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) It is to be understood that although particular IP-based wireless networks have been described, the schemes of the present application could be utilized in any suitable type of wireless network
The infrastructure shown and described in relation to FIG 3 may be representative of each one of a number of different communication networks
which are provided and available in the same geographic region One of these communication networks is selected by the wireless device, either in an automatic or manual fashion, for communications
FIG 4 is a flowchart for describing a method of providing manual selection of a communication network for a mobile station Such a method may be employed in connection with components shown and described above in relation toFIGs 1-3 FIG 4 relates particularly to a method employed by a mobile station which operates in a wireless communication network within a given coverage area The flowchart of FIG 4 will be described m combination with wireless device 202 of FIG 2
Initially, an end user of wireless device 202 uses keyboard 232 (or other user interface device) of wireless device 202 to navigate through a menu of features displayed on visual display 222 The end user finds and selects a "manual network selection feature" provided by wireless device 202 Beginning at a start block 402 of FIG 4, in response to the end-user's selection of the manual network selection feature, wireless device 202 scans the coverage area to identify a plurality of communication networks which are available to operate with wireless device 202 (step 404) From each available network, wireless device 202 receives a Mobile Country Code (MCC), a Mobile Network Code (MNC), and a Location Area Code (LAC) Network identifiers for these communication networks, which are stored on SIM 256, are retrieved in accordance with an Enhanced Operator Named String (EONS) procedure (step 406) At least two of these network identifiers may be the same or substantially identical, which may represent a
cooperative relationship between the two different communication networks The network identifiers for the communication networks are simultaneously visually displayed on display 222 (step 408) Mobile station 202 then prompts the subscriber to manually select a network through which to operate
Referring briefly now to FIG 5, a visual display 502 of a mobile station is illustrated as displaying a plurality of network identifiers 504 per steps 404 - 408 of FIG 4 In particular, there are four (4) network identifiers shown in the example display 502 of FIG 5, including "PROVIDER ABC-1", "PROVIDER ABC-2", "PROVIDER WXY", and "PROVIDER EFG" Service provider ABC is represented by the network identifier "PROVIDER ABC-1" "PROVIDER ABC-2" represents a network that is owned and operated separately from service provider ABC, although a cooperative relationship exists between these two otherwise different networks As apparent, these first two network identifiers "PROVIDER ABC-1" and "PROVIDER ABC-2" are substantially identical The other network identifiers are different from each other In a typical scenario, the subscriber will incur the same standard charges whether PROVIDER ABC-1 or PROVIDER ABC-2 is selected A visually displayed cursor prompt 506 or other mechanism is used to provide feedback to the subscriber on which network will be selected
Referring back to the flowchart of FIG 4, mobile station 202 receives a user input selection of a desired cornmunication network through its user mterface (eg keyboard 232) (step 410) In response, mobile station 202 uses its microprocessor '238 and communication subsystem 211 to register with the communication network corresponding to the selected network identifier (step
412) Mobile station 202 may perform any other conventional task(s) required to operate as desired within the selected network Finally, mobile station 202 visually displays the network identifier of the selected communication network m visual display 222 (step 414) In step 414, mobile station 202 may merely copy the network identifier already obtained via step 408, or alternatively may retrieve it again from memory of SIM 256 per EONS using the parameters previously described Mobile station 202 then operates m the selected communication network in a steady-state idle mode
Referring briefly now to FIG 6, visual display 502 is illustrated as displaying the selected network identifier corresponding to the network manually selected per steps 410 - 414 of FIG 4 In particular, the network identifier shown is "PROVIDER ABC-2" In this particular example, network services are not actually provided by service provider ABC but rather by a separately owned and operated network which has a cooperative relationship therewith In a typical scenario, the subscnber incurs standard charges with use of PROVIDER ABC-2, the same as with PROVIDER ABC-1 In the most preferred operation, EONS is also used by mobile station 202 for automatic network selection
Thus, methods and apparatus for manually selecting a communication network m a mobile station have been described In one illustrative example, the inventive method mcludes the acts of scannmg to identify a plurality of communication networks in a coverage area within which the mobile station is operating, retrieving, from memory of a Subscnber Identity Module (SIM), a pluralit) of network identifiers corresponding to the plurahty of communication
networks in accordance with an Enhanced Operator Name String (EONS) protocol, wherein each network identifier is retrieved based on a Mobile Country Code (MCC), a Mobile Network Code (MNC), and a Location Area Code (LAC), simultaneously visually displaying the plurality of network identifiers, including at least two network identifiers that are substantially identical, receiving a user input selection of one of the communication networks after visually displaying the plurality of network identifiers, registering with the selected communication network, and visually displaying the network identifier associated with the selected communication network
An inventive mobile station includes a transceiver operative to scan to identify a plurality of communication networks m a coverage area within which the mobile station is operating, a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) interface configured to receive a SIM, a processor operative to retrieve, through the SIM interface, a plurality of network identifiers corresponding to the plurality of communication networks in accordance with an Enhanced Operator Name String (EONS) protocol, the processor bemg further operative to retrieve each network identifier based on a Mobile Country Code (MCC), a Mobile Network Code (MNC), and a Location Area Code (LAC), a visual display operative to simultaneously visually display the plurality of network identifiers, the processor bemg further operative to receive a user input selection of one of the communication networks after visually displaying the plurality of network identifiers, the transceiver bemg further operative to register with the selected communication network, and the visual display bemg further operative to
visually display the network identifier corresponding to the selected communication network
Advantageously, EONS-based identifiers which reflect pre-arranged network agreements are displayed for end user manual network selection, providmg consistency and awareness of which networks may or may not be subject to additional charges In addition, location-based name retrieval provides a more accurate assessment of the actual network available
The above-described embodiments of invention are intended to be examples only Alterations, modifications, and variations may be effected to particular embodiments by those of skill in art without departing from scope of invention, which is defined solely by claims appended hereto
1. A mobile station, comprising:
- a transceiver operative to scan to identify a plurality of communication networks in a coverage area within which the mobile station is operating;
- a processor operative to retrieve a plurality of network identifiers corresponding to the plurality of communication networks in accordance with an Enhanced Operator Name String protocol, abbreviated as EONS protocol;
- a visual display operative to visually display the plurality of network identifiers;
- the processor being operative to receive a user input selection of one of. the communication networks after visually displaying the plurality of network identifiers; and
- the transceiver being operative to register with the selected communication network.
2. The mobile station as claimed in claim 1, wherein the processor is operative to retrieve each network identifier based on a country code, a region code, and a cell number.
3. The mobile station as claimed in claim 1, wherein the processor is operative to retrieve each network identifier based a Mobile Country Code, abbreviated as MCC, a Mobile Network Code, abbreviated as MNC, and a Location Area Code, abbreviated as LAC.
4. The mobile station as claimed in claim 1, wherein the processor and the visual display are operative to retrieve and visually display, respectively, at least two network identifiers that are substantially the same.
5. The mobile station as claimed in claim 10, wherein;
- a Subscriber Identity Module interface, abbreviated as SIM interface, through
which the processor is operative to retrieve the plurality of network identifiers
6. The mobile station as claimed in claim 1, wherein the visual display is operative to visually display the network identifier corresponding to the selected communication network.
7. The mobile station as claimed in claim 6, wherein the processor is operative to retrieve each network identifier based a Mobile Country Code, abbreviated as MCC, a Mobile Network Code, abbreviated as MNC, and a Location Area Code, abbreviated as LAC.
8. The mobile station as claimed in claim 1, wherein:
- a Subscriber Identity Module interface, abbreviated as SIM interface, through
which the processor is operative to retrieve the plurality of network identifiers
wherein the processor is operative to retrieve each network identifier through the SIM interface based a Mobile Country Code, abbreviated as MCC, a Mobile Network Code, abbreviated as MNC, and a Location Area Code, abbreviated as LAC; and
wherein the visual display is operative to visually display the network identifier corresponding to the selected communication network.
9. The mobile station as claimed in claim 1, which is compatible with Global System
for Mobile communications, abbreviated as GSM, and General Packet Radio
Service, abbreviated as GPRS.
10. A method of selecting a communication network by a mobile station as claimed in
claim 1, the method comprising the acts of:
- scanning to identify a plurality of communication networks in a coverage area within which the mobile station is operating by the R F transceiver 108;
- retrieving a plurality of network identifiers corresponding to the plurality of communication networks in accordance with an Enhanced Operator Name String protocol, abbreviated as EONS protocol by the R F transceiver 108;
- visually displaying the plurality of network identifiers; at the display 112;
- receiving a user input selection of one of the communication networks after visually displaying the plurality of network identifiers through the keyword 114; and
- registering with the selected communication network by the R F transceiver 108.
11. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the act of retrieving comprises retrieving each network identifier based on a country code, a region code, and a cell number.
12. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the act of retrieving comprises retrieving each network identifier based on a Mobile Country Code, abbreviated as MCC, a Mobile Network Code, abbreviated as MNC, and a Location Area Code, abbreviated as LAC.
13. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the plurality of network identifiers comprises at least two network identifiers that are substantially the same.
14. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the act of retrieving comprises retrieving from memory of a Subscriber Identity Module, abbreviated as SIM.
15. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the network identifier corresponding to the selected communication network is displayed
16. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the act of retrieving comprises retrieving from memory of a Subscriber Identity Module, abbreviated as SIM, based on a Mobile Country Code, abbreviated as MCC, a Mobile Network Code, abbreviated as MNC, and a Location Area Code, abbreviated as LAC, the method wherein the network identifier corresponding to the selected communication network is displayed.
17. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the mobile station is compatible with Global System for Mobile communications, abbreviated as GSM, and General Packet Radio Service, abbreviated as GPRS.
18. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein an automatic network selection method based on the EONS protocol is provided.
3569-delnp-2005-complete specification (as files).pdf
3569-delnp-2005-complete specification (granted).pdf
|Indian Patent Application Number||3569/DELNP/2005|
|PG Journal Number||5/2010|
|Date of Filing||11-Aug-2005|
|Name of Patentee||See attached documents|
|Applicant Address||See attached documents|
|PCT International Classification Number||H04Q 7/32|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/CA2003/000210|
|PCT International Filing date||2003-02-13|