US20160227496A1 - Synchronization of device to device communication - Google Patents

Synchronization of device to device communication Download PDF

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Publication number
US20160227496A1
US20160227496A1 US15/022,893 US201415022893A US2016227496A1 US 20160227496 A1 US20160227496 A1 US 20160227496A1 US 201415022893 A US201415022893 A US 201415022893A US 2016227496 A1 US2016227496 A1 US 2016227496A1
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Prior art keywords
device
synchronization
synchronization signal
circuitry
signal
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Abandoned
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US15/022,893
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Sergey Panteleev
Mikhail Shilov
Alexey Khoryaev
Debdeep CHATTERJEE
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Intel IP Corp
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Intel IP Corp
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Priority to US201361898425P priority Critical
Application filed by Intel IP Corp filed Critical Intel IP Corp
Priority to PCT/US2014/057895 priority patent/WO2015065631A1/en
Priority to US15/022,893 priority patent/US20160227496A1/en
Publication of US20160227496A1 publication Critical patent/US20160227496A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
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Abstract

A wireless communication device is configured to perform synchronization of device-to-device (D2D) communication. Device-to-device communication circuitry in the wireless communication device searches for a synchronization signal and determines if a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal metric. A synchronization signal for D2D communication is broadcast depending upon a result of the search. Radio resource information circuitry is configured to broadcast information about D2D radio resources. Other embodiments may be described and claimed.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/898,425, filed 31 Oct. 2013, entitled “ADVANCED WIRELESS COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNIQUES”, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • Embodiments described herein generally relate to the field of communications, and more particularly, to device-to-device (D2D) or peer-to-peer communication in wireless communication networks.
  • BACKGROUND
  • It is known in wireless communication systems to provide data communication services such as Internet access and local services through license exempt radio resource bandwidths using wireless local-area network (WLAN) technologies such as Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, which are based on Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standards or using wireless personal area network (WPAN) technologies such as Bluetooth and Ultra Wideband technologies. WLAN and WPAN technologies allow for higher data rates and lower energy consumption by exploiting short distances between a transmitter and receiver. However, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are susceptible to sources interference from other communications in the unlicensed band and there is no network-based interference management available for these technologies. In the third generation partnership project (3GPP) long term evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) licensed radio band, femtocells, picocells and relays also make use of short distances between transmitter and receiver to perform efficient communication with user equipments (UEs), but these systems require that the data communications pass through the picocell/femtocell base station or relay rather than passing directly between transmitting and receiving UEs and they also require a backhaul connection to an LTE or LTE-A eNodeB of a wireless cellular system. D2D communications utilizing the LTE/LTE-A spectrum offer the possibility of extending the maximum transmission distance (possibly up to around 1000 m) relative to technologies such as Bluetooth (10-100 m approximate range) and Wi-Fi direct (200 m approximate range) and can reduce the costs and scalability problems potentially associated with the backhaul connection required for picocell/femtocell/relay infrastructure-based networks. D2D communications according to the present technique may also comprise Peer-to-Peer (P2P) communications involving direct communication between network entities or wireless equipment(s) at the same hierarchical level of the wireless network, for example direct communications between picocells, femtocells and relays as well as direct communications between wireless devices such as UEs. A wireless equipment includes at least a UE, a picocell, a femtocell and a relay node, but is in no way limited to these examples.
  • D2D/P2P communications allow offloading of some network traffic, but there is a need to carefully manage interference arising from the D2D layer to protect both cellular and D2D communication links from in-band emission interference. In-band emission interference corresponds to leakage in a given transmitter within the channel bandwidth, and the resulting leakage can interfere with other transmitters. Out-of-band interference originates from a neighboring transmitter configured to transmit in a different frequency bandwidth, but which still produces energy in the frequency bandwidth of the given transmitter. One of the many potential applications of D2D wireless communication is in public safety scenarios when cellular infrastructure may be partially or completely damaged or dysfunctional. In such public safety scenarios it is desirable for D2D communication to be maintained when UEs are out of network coverage, although they should still be able to take advantage of cellular network control when the cellular infrastructure remains intact. There is a need for out-of-coverage D2D communication techniques that provide for effective interference management, and which promote energy efficiency.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Embodiments described herein are illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements:
  • FIG. 1 schematically illustrates a wireless communication network implementing D2D/P2P communication;
  • FIG. 2 schematically illustrates a wireless communication system capable of out-of-coverage D2D transmission;
  • FIG. 3 schematically illustrates voice data transmission/reception using a D2D link between two UEs;
  • FIG. 4 is a flow cart schematically illustrating hierarchical synchronization source assignment as implemented by a D2D-enabled device such as a UE;
  • FIG. 5 is a signal timing diagram schematically illustrating how two different UE pairs in different partially overlapping transmission regions establish synchronization;
  • FIG. 6 schematically illustrates time and frequency resources allocated to a pair of D2D transmitters deriving synchronization timing from an independent synchronization source;
  • FIG. 7 schematically illustrates a block diagram of radio frame resources corresponding to an uplink or downlink LTE radio frame structure;
  • FIG. 8 schematically illustrates time-frequency resource allocation of a pair of D2D transmitters deriving timing from a master synchronization source and a pair of D2D transmitters deriving timing from a subsidiary synchronization source;
  • FIG. 9 schematically illustrates a time-frequency resource grid for D2D resource allocations for transmissions controlled a master synchronization source and five surrounding transmission ranges controlled by respective subsidiary synchronization sources;
  • FIG. 10 schematically illustrates how frequency division multiplexing may be applied between two different Independent Synchronization Sources having no common synchronization timing;
  • FIG. 11 illustrates an example system according to some embodiments; and
  • FIG. 12 shows an embodiment in which the system of FIG. 11 implements a wireless device such as UE.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
  • Illustrative embodiments of the present disclosure include, but are not limited to, methods, systems and apparatuses for performing wireless device-to-device communication.
  • FIG. 1 schematically illustrates a wireless communication network 100 implementing D2D/P2P communication both in and out of cellular wireless network coverage from a cellular network such as an LTE or LTE-A network. The network 100 comprises a node 110 and UEs 132, 134, 136, 138. In 3GPP radio access network (RAN) LTE and LTE-A systems, the node 110 can be an Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN) Node B (also commonly denoted as an evolved Node B, enhanced Node B, eNodeB, or eNB) or a combination of a node and one or more Radio Network Controllers (RNCs), The node/eNB 110 communicates with one or more wireless device, known as a user equipment (UE). Examples of a UE include a mobile terminal, a tablet computer, a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a machine-type communication (MTC) device. The downlink (DL) transmission can be a communication from the node (or eNB) to the wireless device (or UE), and the uplink (UL) transmission can be a communication from the wireless device to the node.
  • A first D2D cluster 130 comprises a first UE 132 and a second UE 134, which are each within network coverage because they are both located in a cell 120 associated with the eNB 110. A cluster may include more than two UEs. A direct communication path 141 exists between the first UE 132 and the second UE 134, allowing data to pass between a transmitting UE and a receiving UE without being routed via the eNB 110. However, in this embodiment, control of the D2D data path, Ud, 141 is performed via the eNB 110 using cellular communication paths 143 and 145. Thus data passes directly between the transmitting and receiving UEs 132, 134 whereas control of the D2D link is performed via the eNB 110. The eNB 110 performs setup control, radio bearer control and resource control of the D2D communication 141. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, both UEs 132, 134 of the first D2D cluster 130 are in direct communication with the eNB 110, but in alternative embodiments only a subset of at least one UE in a D2D cluster may be in direct communication with the eNB 110 while other UEs of the cluster are capable of performing D2D communication with other cluster devices without having a direct cellular communication link to the eNB 110.
  • In such alternative embodiments, one UE having contact with the eNB 110 may serve as a D2D coordinator of the cluster 130. A UE that performs D2D coordination within a cluster may be denoted a “Peer Radio Head” (PRH) or “cluster head”. The D2D cluster 130 corresponds to an in-coverage D2D communication scenario, where at least one UE 132, 134 has connectivity to the wireless cellular infrastructure via the eNB 110 for control of the D2D communications. For the in-coverage D2D cluster 130, cellular spectrum (e.g. LTE or LTE-A spectrum) can be used for both the D2D link 141 and the cellular links 143, 145. In some embodiments communication may be configured in “underlay” mode, where D2D links and cellular links dynamically share the same radio resources and in other embodiments in “overlay” mode may be used, where D2D communication links are allocated dedicated cellular wireless resources.
  • A further D2D cluster 150 comprising a third UE 136 and a fourth UE 138 corresponds to an out-of-coverage D2D cluster, in which neither of the UEs 136, 138 is able to form a connection with an eNB of the wireless cellular infrastructure. In this out-of-coverage D2D communication cluster 150, the UEs themselves should be configured to perform peer discovery, interference management and power control without network support. In public safety scenarios it is likely that D2D clusters will have network support prior to any public safety incident and thus some network pre-configuration of UEs may be performed, but after a public safety incident there could be partial or no network coverage as illustrated in the second D2D cluster 150 of FIG. 1.
  • In the first D2D cluster 130, which is in-coverage, the two UEs 132, 134 of the cluster pair are synchronized with the eNB 110 and they acquire frequency synchronization from the eNB 110 and also slot and frame timing. The in-coverage UEs 132, 134 also have access to system parameters such as cyclic prefix length and duplexing mode and are synchronized to each other before a D2D radio bearer is established. Synchronization of a D2D communication link in time and frequency between the UEs can thus be performed by each UE 132, 134 repeatedly synchronizing with the serving eNB 110 or alternatively using reference signals in every timeslot similar to LTE demodulation reference signals (DMRS).
  • Performing D2D communications as shown in FIG. 1 allows for reuse of radio resources between D2D communications and cellular communications. The D2D communication link 141 uses a single hop between UEs 132, 134, unlike a cellular link between the UEs 132, 134 that would require a two-hop link (the first hop being from transmitting UE to eNB and the second hop being from eNB to receiving UE) for data transfer via the eNB 110. There is a proximity gain due to the close proximity between UEs 132, 134 with potentially favorable propagation conditions allowing for higher peak data rates than might be achieved when data is routed via the more distant eNB 110. Latency can also improve by implementing a D2D link rather than a cellular link between the UEs 132, 134, because processing performed by the eNB is effectively bypassed.
  • For in-coverage data communication as illustrated in FIG. 1, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can be used to communicate voice data in real-time. As shown in FIG. 1, the eNB 110 has access to a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) server 160, which is in communication with an IP Multimedia subsystem (IMS) 162. The SIP server 160 and IMS 162 manage VoIP connections and separate data bearers with different Quality-of-Service (QoS) specifications are used for the SIP signaling and voice information. As shown in FIG. 1, the eNB 110 also provides the UE with access to the Internet 164 via a Packet Data Network (PDN) gateway 166. Thus VoIP for the in-coverage scenario of FIG. 1 requires support both in the UE and from the cellular network. By way of contrast, for the UEs 136, 138 belonging to the out-of-coverage cluster 150, voice services have to be fully supported by the UEs themselves. FIG. 3, described below, schematically illustrates processing performed by two out-of-coverage UEs to support communication of voice data on a D2D communication link.
  • Setting up D2D communication may be considered to include two stages: proximity discovery, and subsequent initialization and initiation of the D2D communication. Proximity discovery may be achieved, for example, based on positioning information using e.g., Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) or Assisted-GPS information. The second stage includes allocation of network resources (e.g. bandwidth) to the D2D communication.
  • Most D2D schemes can be classified as belonging to one of two types, termed normal (commercial) D2D and public safety D2D. Some devices may be arranged to operate according to both schemes, while other devices may be arranged to operate according to only one of these schemes.
  • According to normal D2D, the D2D-enabled UEs (i.e. UEs that support proximity-based discovery and communication) are able to communicate directly with each other only within commercial cellular LTE/LTE-A network coverage, i.e. with the help of network elements such as eNBs, mobility management entities (MME), serving gateways (S-GW), etc. This scheme allows the eNB (or other elements of the core network) to exercise control over the network resources that are used during the D2D communication, to minimize interference with nearby devices, for example.
  • In contrast, public safety D2D is intended to be usable when commercial and/or public safety infrastructure based (cellular) network coverage is not available, e.g. when a network is suffering from outage (due to natural disaster, power outage, network energy saving, incomplete network deployment, etc.). The public safety D2D-enabled UEs (i.e. UEs that support proximity-based discovery and communication within public safety or both commercial and public safety cellular LTE/LTE-Advanced network coverage) can communicate with each-other even when the infrastructure based network elements are not available to participate in the setup of the D2D communication.
  • The following lists summarize scenarios in which D2D communication is to be enabled or disabled.
  • A. Normal (commercial) D2D
  • A1. Enabling D2D for new communication
      • Establishing D2D direct path
  • A2. Enabling D2D for ongoing communication
      • Switching from cellular path to D2D direct path
  • A3. Disabling D2D while session is active (for ongoing communication)
      • Switching from D2D direct path to cellular path
  • A4. Disabling D2D at the end of session
      • Ongoing direct communication is completed.
      • Network should be made aware of this (e.g. for charging purposes)
      • Network should update resource inventory.
  • B. Public Safety D2D
  • B1. Enabling D2D for new communication
      • Establishing D2D direct path with and without network coverage
      • Ability of autonomous discovery in absence of network coverage
      • Ability of autonomous communication in absence of network coverage
  • B2. Enabling D2D for ongoing communication
      • Switching from cellular path to D2D direct path with and without network coverage
      • Ability of autonomous fail-safe and seamless switching in absence of network coverage
  • B3. Disabling D2D while session is active (for ongoing communication)
      • Switching from D2D direct path to cellular path within network coverage
      • Switching from D2D direct path to cellular path when network is available again after outage
  • B4. Disabling D2D at the end of session
      • Ongoing direct communication is completed.
      • Network should be made aware of this for charging purposes
      • Network should update resource inventory
      • D2D coordinator, if exists, should be made aware for updating resources inventory
  • B5. Enabling/disabling D2D due to route modification/rediscovery
      • For public safety D2D supporting multi-hop communication.
      • For UE mobility
      • Direct switching from D2D to D2D path.
  • There are similarities between the normal and public safety scenarios, with differences being mainly due to the (possible) lack of network support in public safety scenario (e.g. in the event of network outage). Scenarios B2 and B3 can be applied to transitions between D2D communication and cellular communication due to network failure/recovery.
  • According to some embodiments, an enabling (admission) decision for normal D2D direct path communication should be made by the network (e.g., by the eNB if both UEs are served by the same eNB, or by MME/S-GW if the UEs belong to different eNBs). For public safety D2D communication, the eNB may perform some pre-configuration of D2D communications whilst the UEs are still in coverage. This pre-configuration may be performed, for example, by the network layer.
  • Embodiments may improve broadcast D2D communication for public safety use cases in out of network coverage scenarios based on, for example, LTE technology. One of the major requirements for public safety communication is to support Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services over large transmission ranges. According to one proposed D2D evaluation methodology, receivers interested in reception of the VoIP traffic from the transmitter may be located in up to, for example, a 135 decibels (dB) transmission range. Moreover, a number of the associated receivers are likely to have a low pathgain to the transmitter (i.e. are far from the broadcasting transmitter of interest).
  • In a given geographical area there may be several transmitters that may want to transmit the VoIP traffic. In order to allow distant receivers to be reached by transmitted signals, each transmitter may have to transmit VoIP packets in a narrow part of the spectrum (i.e. several Physical Resource Blocks (PRBs)) over multiple sub-frames in order to accumulate energy per information bit and to reach a signal quality metric, such as, for example, a 2% Block Error Rate (BLER) at 135 dB maximum coupling loss. Analysis has shown that transmission over two to three PRBs and at least four Transmission Time Intervals (TTIs) may be appropriate to achieve a target maximum coupling loss. In LTE one TTI corresponds to one millisecond (ms), which is one subframe or two timeslots of a 10 ms radio frame. LTE resources are allocated on a per-TTI basis.
  • However the following issues may be addressed to improve the efficiency of D2D wireless broadcasts in public safety scenarios:
  • 1) Transmitters, if not synchronized, may often collide with each other leading to an asynchronous type of interference, which can degrade performance.
    2) Transmitters can be synchronized and orthogonalized in time and frequency in order to avoid co-channel interference.
    3) Even synchronized transmitters may cause significant interference issues at the receiver side when they transmit simultaneously on orthogonal resources in frequency due to unavoidable (or at least difficult to avoid) in-band emissions. The in-band emission effect may significantly degrade performance if several transmitters occupy the same time slot.
  • The combination of these effects may significantly degrade performance of VoIP Public Safety services in out of network coverage scenarios especially taking into account the broadcast nature of D2D operation and no physical layer feedback from the receivers.
  • In-band and out-of-band interference arise as a result of transmitter imperfections. Out-of-band (or adjacent channel) interference can be controlled by a spectral shaping filter. However, the shaping filter cannot control in-band interference corresponding to leakage in a given transmitter within the channel bandwidth, and the resulting leakage can interfere with other transmitters. The effects of in-band interference are likely to be more pronounced when a resource block allocation size associated with a communication link is small, and when the interfering signal is received at a higher power spectral density.
  • FIG. 2 shows a wireless communication system 200 capable of out-of-coverage D2D transmission. The system comprises a first UE 210 having an associated first transmission range 212 and a second UE 220 having an associated second transmission range 222. In this embodiment, the first and second UEs 210, 220 are cluster heads, which coordinate D2D communications within their respective transmission ranges, but in other embodiments there are no cluster heads. The cluster heads 210, 220, may have some radio resource scheduling responsibilities. The two UEs 210, 220 are arranged to transmit substantially simultaneously using orthogonal frequency resources. The first transmission range 212 and the second transmission range 222 partially overlap such that there is an intersection 230 of transmission ranges.
  • All receiving UEs located within the intersection 230 will receive transmissions from both the first UE 210 and the second UE 220. However, the quality of a received signal from the first UE 210 is likely to diminish on a periphery of the first transmission range 212. Similarly, the quality of a received signal from the second UE 220 is likely to diminish on a periphery of the second transmission range 212. Accordingly, even if the first UE 210 and the second UE 220 are transmitting using different frequency resources, in-band interference corresponding to a signal from the second UE 220 can be comparable in strength at the location of a UE 242, which is on the periphery of the first transmission range 212, to a communication signal received at the UE 242 from the first UE 210. Accordingly, in-band interference effects are likely to be more pronounced when a UE is located such that it is receiving a weak signal from one transmitter and a strong signal from another transmitter.
  • All UEs in the intersection 230 of the transmission ranges will receive transmission from both first and second UEs 210, 220 but a subset of those UEs located in the intersection 230 will be able to effectively receive a signal from only one of the first and second UEs 210, 220 due to the adverse effects of in-band emission interfering with the weaker of the two transmitted signals. The UEs 242, 244, 246, 248 and 250 in FIG. 2 each have difficulty in receiving signals from both first and second UEs 210, 220. Note that receiving UEs should ideally be capable of receiving and discriminating between signals transmitted from each and every transmitter of which they are in range. This is because when the signals are received in the physical layer, the UE has no knowledge of which transmission a user seeks to tune in to. Thus all signals should be received in the physical layer and only in the upper layers upon decoding of the received signals will the payloads become apparent to the UE.
  • In-band emission can be harmful for broadcast communication when receivers (UEs) attempt to process signals from multiple transmitters, transmitting in the same time resource. FIG. 2, as described above, illustrates the problem of in-band emission when transmission ranges of two UEs are partially overlapped.
  • The following observations can be made assuming simultaneous transmissions on orthogonal frequency resources:
      • In the case of non-overlapping transmission areas, transmitters have disjoint sets of associated receivers. Receivers can successfully receive data from corresponding transmitters within a respective transmission range.
      • In case of fully overlapping transmission areas, transmitters have almost the same set of associated receivers. Due to proximity of the transmitters to the UEs in the transmission range, there may be no significant de-sensing problems and a majority of associated receivers within the transmission range may successfully receive data from both transmitters. De-sensing is the effect of a strong signal from a transmitter on the detection of a weak signal by a receiver.
      • In case of partially overlapping areas as illustrated in FIG. 2, there may be UEs interested in reception from both transmitters (UEs 210, 220) but are able to receive a signal only from one transmitter because of in-band emission and de-sensing problems.
  • Accordingly, when two substantially simultaneous D2D transmissions derive from UEs that are either sufficiently distant that their transmission ranges do not overlap or are sufficiently close that their transmission ranges fully overlap, in-band interference effects are not likely to be problematical when the two transmitters are transmitting in the same time resource. However, for partially overlapping transmission ranges where transmitters are using orthogonal frequency resources but the same time resources, in-band interference can interfere with signal reception.
  • Accordingly, a mechanism is proposed to effectively manage in-band emission interference by establishing synchronization.
  • The basic principle to avoid or at least ameliorate an in-band emission issue is to transmit in orthogonal time resources. Therefore synchronization between UEs such as, for example, public safety terminals operating in out of coverage scenarios using D2D communication needs to be established first. Once synchronization is established, several “nodes” (not cellular network nodes), in this case UEs acting as D2D public safety coordinators, periodically transmit synchronization signals and the public safety terminals (other D2D enabled UEs) associate to one of these synchronization sources based on, for example, a maximum received power or other signal quality criteria or signal metric. The synchronization sources are synchronized with each other and each “owns” (i.e. reserves or is dynamically allocated) a part of the time resources of an LTE frame and/or other radio resources. Any UE transmitter that wants to broadcast the data should select one or be assigned by a D2D public safety coordinator to one of the frequency channels and transmit on the time resources that are indicated by the given synchronization source, to which the UE has “camped-on” (i.e. derives timing from).
  • Embodiments implement at least one of the following technical features:
      • Hierarchical synchronization reference propagation from a master (I-SS) to a subsidiary synchronization source (G-SS) to maximize or at least expand a synchronous area
      • Time division multiplexing between derived synchronization references (i.e. between different UEs or peer devices in a peer-to-peer communication, each of which is broadcasting a synchronization signal)
      • Frequency division multiplexing on the bounds of synchronous areas (e.g. where received power of synchronization signals falls below a predetermined threshold) to avoid strong co-channel asynchronous collisions.
  • Previously-known solutions to the problem of out-of-coverage D2D communication are either not synchronous or do not take into account the in-band emission effect because they transmit in the whole bandwidth and thus are limited by transmission range or co-channel interference. Other communication technologies allowing for short distance communication between transmitter and receiver, such as WiFi, use collision detection type schemes such as Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) for data communication and do not use a transmitting/receiving terminal such as a UE as a synchronization source for direct communication.
  • FIG. 3 schematically illustrates voice data transmission/reception using a D2D link between two UEs. LTE/LTE-A uses OFDMA on the DL and SC-FDMA on the UL. OFDMA is not typically used on the UL due to its associated high peak-to-average power-ratio which corresponds to loss of efficiency. SC-FDMA has a lower peak-to-average power-ratio and yet offers similar multipath protection to that offered by OFDMA. For D2D communications according to embodiments either OFDMA (DL) or SC-FDMA (UL) radio resources can be used. SC-FDMA and OFDMA use very similar transmitter and receiver architecture and have a virtually identical radio frame structure (see FIG. 7). The FIG. 3 embodiment assumes that an UL LTE channel is used for a D2D VoIP communication, but this is only one of many possible channel types. A transmitting UE 310 sends voice data to a receiving UE 350 via a D2D channel 390. An incoming bit stream is passed to a VoIP codec and compression module 312 where the voice data is encoded and compressed. The encoded and compressed data is supplied to a packetiser 314 and then to a modulation unit 316.
  • The modulated packet data is then supplied to a Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) module 318 which converts time domain single carrier symbol blocks into discrete frequencies. Output from the DFT module 318 is supplied to a subcarrier mapping module 320 which maps DFT output frequencies to specified subcarriers for transmission. An Inverse DFT (IDFT) module 322 converts the mapped subcarriers back into the time domain for transmission. The subcarrier mapping module 320 performs a mapping to LTE radio resources (or alternative radio resources) depending upon how the D2D channel 390 is configured. Output from the IDFT module 322 is supplied to a cyclic prefix and pulse shaping module 324, which prepends a cyclic prefix to the composite SC-FDMA symbol to provide multipath immunity and pulse shaping is performed to prevent spectral regrowth (out-of-band interference). An RF front end 326 converts from a digital to an analogue signal and up converts to a radio frequency for transmission.
  • In the receiver side chain the process is reversed, with received data being processed in turn by: an RF front end 352; a cyclic prefix removal module 354; a DFT module 356; an equalization module 358; an Inverse Discrete Fourier Transform (IDFT) module 360, a demodulation unit 362; a de-packetiser 364; and a VoIP decompression and decoding module 366. According to the present technique, the subcarrier mapping module 320 maps the D2D payload and control data to a particular subset of radio resources depending upon which synchronization source the transmitting and receiving UEs 310, 350 are relying upon to synchronize the D2D communication link 390. The synchronization signal itself may be received by the transmitting UE 310 from another UE serving as a synchronization source. Alternatively, the transmitting UE 310 may itself serve as a synchronization source for other UEs in the vicinity (synchronization signal transmission range). The synchronization signal according to the present technique may be included in the LTE/LTE-A radio frames similarly to the Primary Synchronization Signal (PSS) and the Secondary Synchronization Signal (SSS) specified as part of the LTE standard 3GPP TS 36.211 V11.4.0 (see section 6.11), published September 2013. The LTE PSS and SSS are described in more detail below.
  • When UEs are in-coverage and have access to the cellular network, network-assisted synchronization of D2D communications can be performed using an eNB. In such network-assisted scenarios, the two UEs of a D2D pair are synchronized with an eNB such that radio slot and frame timing as well as frequency synchronization are acquired. The UEs are also configured to store other system parameters such as duplexing mode and cyclic prefix length. The UEs can repeatedly synchronize with their serving eNB and the D2D pair are synchronized to each other prior to D2D radio bearer establishment. However, in out-of-coverage scenarios, the eNB cannot be used as a synchronization source, but in order to achieve synchronization, according to the present technique a common timing may be established among multiple terminals (such as UEs) with independent oscillators. This is a departure from a CSMA type scheme for out-of-coverage short distance communication, as implemented by WIMAX or WiFi, for example. Multiple approaches may be used to achieve synchronization in time for out-of-coverage D2D communication.
  • One of the solutions is to use a distributed synchronization approach in which terminals periodically transmit synchronization signals and adjust their timing. Such approaches can have a large convergence time. An alternative solution, as implemented by at least some embodiments, is to use a hierarchical approach for synchronization of D2D communications such as out-of-coverage D2D communications. In this approach one of the terminals may autonomously take the role of Independent Synchronization Source (I-SS) generating an independent synchronization source signal—these terminals that serve as synchronization sources may alternatively be denoted “Peer Radio Heads” (PRHs). Other terminals can scan the air and synchronize to the independent synchronization source which periodically broadcast D2DSS signals as illustrated in the flow chart of FIG. 4. The Peer Radio Head is independent at least because it does not derive the timing for transmission of D2D signals from any other synchronization source operating using LTE/LTE-A cellular network air interface. However, the PRH may derive synchronization timing from other external sources, such as, for example, Global Positioning Satellites (GPS).
  • Once the Peer Radio Head has started transmission of synchronization signals the common timing is established among neighborhood devices, synchronized to this PRH within synchronization range that is up to, for example, −135 dB in pathgain if Primary Synchronization Signals and Secondary Synchronization Source Signals (PSS and SSS) are used as Device-to-Device Synchronization Signals (D2DSS).
  • With further regard to the type of signals to be used for the D2DSS, in LTE, there are two types of physical signals: reference signals used to determine a channel impulse response and synchronization signals which convey network timing information. Physical signals use assigned radio resource elements of the LTE radio frame. A specified reference signal is assigned to each cell within a network and acts as a cell-specific identifier. Physical channels convey information to/from higher layers but physical signals, such as synchronization signals do not. Synchronization signals use pseudo-random orthogonal sequences.
  • There are two types of synchronization signals in LTE: PSS and SSS. The PSS is broadcast twice during every radio frame and both transmissions are identical, so the UE cannot detect which is the first and which is the second. This means that the PSS cannot be used to achieve radio frame synchronization. However, the PSS is used to obtain sub-frame, slot and symbol synchronization in the time domain. The SSS is also broadcast twice within every radio frame, but the two transmissions are different allowing the UE to discriminate between the first and the second SSS. The SSS is used to achieve radio frame synchronization.
  • The resource elements used to broadcast the PSS and SSS in LTE differ depending upon whether FDD mode or TDD mode of LTE is used. In FDD mode two separate RF carriers (different frequency bands) are used for UL and DL transmission. In TDD mode, the same RF carriers are used for UL and DL, but the UE and eNB cannot transmit substantially simultaneously. An LTE radio frame has twenty timeslots (see FIG. 7), which can be sequentially labeled as slot 0 to slot 19. In the case of FDD mode, the PSS is broadcast using the central 62 subcarriers of the last symbol of timeslots 0 and 10 and the SSS is broadcast in the 62 central subcarriers of the penultimate symbol of timeslots 0 and 10. In the case of TDD mode the PSS is broadcast using the central 62 subcarriers of the third symbols of timeslots 2 and 12. Timeslots 2 and 12 correspond respectively to sub-frame 1 and sub-frame 6. The SSS is broadcast using the central 62 subcarriers of the last symbols of timeslots 1 and 11. Timeslots 1 and 11 correspond to sub-frames 0 and 5 respectively. In FDD the PSS and SSS are in adjacent symbols of timeslots 0 and 10 whereas in TDD mode the PSS and SSS, are not allocated to adjacent symbols and occupy adjacent time slots, rather than the same time slot.
  • According to the present technique, the physical structure of LTE PSS and SSS signals may be used for the D2DSS in out-of coverage and in-coverage scenarios, but the timeslots allocated to the PSS SSS may differ from the LTE timeslot allocation for the out-of-coverage implementation. In particular, according to some embodiments, more than one synchronization source (e.g. different UEs or different picocells) is likely to be used and it may be convenient to allocate different radio frame time slots to different synchronization sources. Different SC-FDMA/OFDMA codes and/or frequencies may also be allocated to different synchronization sources. In alternative embodiments, the D2DSS is defined differently from the LTE PSS and SSS, at least for the purposes of out-of-coverage D2D communications.
  • A further task that may be accomplished by the PRH (I-SS) is to find or instantiate additional sources of synchronization signals that derive timing from the PRH and further propagate the timing of the I-SS over a geographical area of a public safety accident. The master synchronization source may be denoted an Independent Synchronization Source (I-SS) or Master synchronization source (M-SS). The new sources of D2DSS signals, which derive signal timing from the I-SS are here denoted as Gateway Synchronization Sources (G-SS) or subsidiary synchronization sources and they correspond to propagated or replicated versions of the master synchronization source. In some embodiments, selection of these new Gateway Synchronization Sources may be done in a distributed way, based on a distributed protocol for synchronization source selection (which may be implemented independently of network control) or, alternatively, can be directly assigned by the independent synchronization source (PRH). For example, synchronization source gateways may scan the spectrum resources in order to detect the D2DSS signals and/or PD2DSCH (Physical D2D Synchronization Channel), which is a broadcast channel transmitted by an I-SS and the gateways may start transmitting their own synchronization signals and channels when the received power from the I-SS or from another G-SS is below a predetermined threshold. Alternatively, the G-SSs may be directly assigned by a PRH that serves as an I-SS. The I-SS may be considered to be a primary or master synchronization source.
  • These new gateways (G-SS) may also transmit D2DSS synchronization signals periodically and may also keep synchronization with the independent synchronization source (PRH I-SS) in order to keep synchronous operation in given geographical area. The D2DSSs transmitted by independent synchronization source (PRH I-SS) and synchronization source gateway (PRH G-SS) may be carried on orthogonal time resources so that they can receive synchronization and process synchronization signals from each other. Alternatively, D2DSS muting patterns may be defined to allow processing of the D2DSS signals between synchronization sources, which means that the same radio resources can be used for synchronization signals broadcast by the I-SS and G-SS. In general, the I-SS may use a different synchronization signal (e.g. different symbols and/or timeslots of the LTE radio frame) compared to the G-SS. In some embodiments, the I-SS may use the LTE PSS and SSS radio resource allocation. The use of time division multiplexing for the I-SS and G-SS means that the G-SS can detect and predict where or when the I-SS is transmitting and occupy, for example, the subsequent time intervals (e.g. time slots) for its own transmission.
  • Alternatively, an additional synchronization channel can be transmitted jointly with synchronization signal. Recall that a channel conveys payload information to higher layers whereas a signal does not. This synchronization channel may carry, for example, information about hop count used by the corresponding synchronization source. In some embodiments the hop count=0 could be used to denote the I-SS, whilst a hop count=1 could be used to denote a synchronization source deriving timing directly from the I-SS and so on. The G-SS can derive the hop count information by decoding the synchronization channel of a received synchronization signal. In alternative embodiments, the hop count may be used as a signal to uniquely identify a synchronization signal, similarly to the use of an LTE reference signal as a cell-specific identifier. In this case when a device such as a UE synchronizes to synchronization source (i.e. detects and camps on to a particular synchronization signal) it derives information about hop count.
  • The other terminals (UEs) surrounding the PRH I-SS and PRH G-SS may track synchronization signals from these nodes/devices and select the best node/device for synchronization. A criterion that can be used to select a synchronization source (via a signal metric) is to select the one that results in the maximum received power. In many cases, this criterion will result in selection of the best and closest synchronization source. Following this procedure the synchronization should be established among all public safety terminals (UEs or other wireless devices) in the geographical area of accident. In a general case, more than two-hop timing propagation may be established by selecting additional PRHs that derive synchronization timing from the PRH G-SSs rather than directly from the I-SS. However in the majority of the cases two hop timing propagation may be sufficient.
  • This hierarchical synchronization using a D2D device as an I-SS to establish common synchronization with nearby devices and extending the physical area of common synchronization using one or more G-SS, which propagate the same timing as the G-SS is a first step in gaining control over interference effects such as in-band interference. A next step in order to minimize (or at least ameliorate) the in-band emission effect is to assign different time slots to different PRHs (I-SS and G-SS) for data transmission. For example, different time and/or frequency resources of the LTE radio frames may be allocated for transmission of voice data using VoIP.
  • It will be appreciated that D2D communication is not limited to communication of voice data, but may include one or more of a number of different data types although communications involving a single UE, such as Internet browsing, are not typically suitable for D2D communication. D2D data may include user files such as image files or contact information, game data, voice/video data relating to a phone call or text/chat data associated with a messaging service. The D2D connection may support one-way data transfer such as a file transfer as well as two-way data transfer such as a voice call. In public safety scenarios, voice data is likely to be a common payload.
  • Where D2D radio resource allocation is recommended for a corresponding synchronization source, the UEs that are associated with the particular PRH (e.g. UEs within a transmission range of the particular PRH and camped-on to that PRH as a synchronization source) can preferentially use the allocated time and/or frequency resources for data transmission. However, use of the recommended time-frequency resources corresponding to a given synchronization source is not mandatory. The use of additional radio resources outside the recommended resources may sometimes be permitted to meet, for example, particular QoS requirements for a high data rate for a requested D2D connection. Thus time-division multiplexing of payload data transmission for UEs associated with different synchronization sources may not be performed in certain circumstances, but is recommended to reduce interference.
  • FIG. 4 is a flow cart schematically illustrating hierarchical synchronization source assignment as implemented by a D2D-enabled device such as a UE. The method begins at process element 410. At process element 412 the UE performs proximity detection to detect any other D2D-capable devices currently in a D2D transmission range of the given device. For in-coverage scenarios, the eNB may control peer device discovery by controlling a UE that has requested to initiate a D2D communication to transmit a discovery beacon using a given time/frequency/power resource and may also specify a recipient UE for the discovery beacon. Alternatively, the eNB may periodically broadcast radio resources to be used for discovery beacons.
  • In the case of out-of-coverage D2D, peer device discovery may be performed without network support by a UE broadcasting a discovery beacon on preconfigured radio resources. Also at process element 412, D2D functionality of the UE is switched on, but a synchronization source should be identified prior to any D2D data transmission.
  • Next, at process element 414, the given device scans the radio resources in search of an existing synchronization signal. If the device is in-coverage then a PSS signal and an SSS signal from an eNB will be detected and these signals can be used for synchronization of subsequent D2D communications with other devices camped-on to the same eNB. However, where the given device (e.g. UE) is out-of-coverage, there will be no eNB synchronization signal, although there may be an existing synchronization signal broadcast by another device in the proximity. If at process element 414, no synchronization signal is detected by scanning the radio spectrum resources, the process proceeds to process element 416, where the given device assumes the role of a master synchronization source (I-SS) and broadcasts a master synchronization signal, which derives its timing independently from any synchronization source corresponding to the LTE/LTE-A air interface. The I-SS may derive timing independently of an eNB for example. The master synchronization signal in some embodiments may use the radio resources typically allocated to the PSS or SSS by the cellular network. In other embodiments different radio resources may be allocated to the master synchronization signal.
  • The master synchronization signal is broadcast periodically, for example, at least twice per radio frame. Broadcast of the master synchronization signal having been established at process element 416, the device which has assumed the role of the I-SS also broadcasts at process element 418, radio resources recommended for any D2D communications that derive synchronization from the I-SS. The D2D communications concerned may, but need not necessarily involve the given device as a transmitter/receiver, but may be D2D communications between a different pair or cluster of D2D devices that are within a transmission range of the master synchronization signal and that are camped-on to the master synchronization signal. The given device may be preconfigured with the D2D resource information to broadcast. This pre-configuration could, for example, be performed by the cellular network whilst the device is still in coverage. Alternatively the resource information corresponding to the I-SS could be dynamically allocated by the device depending upon, for example, channel conditions and/or interference measurements.
  • Returning to process element 414, if it is determined that there is in fact an existing synchronization signal on the air interface then the process proceeds to process element 420, where each received candidate synchronization signal is checked against a synchronization signal quality metric to see if the signal quality metric is satisfied. It will be appreciated that the signal quality metric could be any type of signal metric, but in some embodiments, the signal quality metric comprises at least one of: a received synchronization signal power; a synchronization signal hop count; a received signal arrival time and a Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINR). In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the signal metric used is a synchronization signal power threshold, Pthr. If the received synchronization signal has a power greater than or equal to Pthr, then the process proceeds to process element 422. The same happens if more than one synchronization signal satisfying the signal quality metric is encountered at process element 420.
  • However, if it is determined at process element 420 that the received synchronization signal, whilst present, does not satisfy the signal quality metric, meaning in this example that the received signal power is less than Pthr, then the process proceeds to process element 430, whereupon the given device performing the scanning assumes the role of a G-SS and broadcasts a propagated or replicated version of the received synchronization signal. The propagated/replicated synchronization signal derives its timing from the received synchronization signal. In this embodiment, the G-SS synchronization is broadcast using different time resources of the radio frame relative to the resources used for the received (sub-threshold power) synchronization signal. This means that there is time division duplexing performed between synchronization signals corresponding to different geographical regions.
  • At process element 432, the given device, having been designated as a G-SS, is triggered to broadcast radio resource information recommending to devices using its broadcast synchronization signal as a synchronization source, radio resources to be used for D2D communications such as VoIP voice calls, file transfers, text messaging and such like. In this embodiment the radio resources recommended for use by the G-SS are orthogonal in at least time to the radio resources recommended for use by the I-SS and/or the synchronization source corresponding to the received synchronization signal. Note that at process element 430, the hop count of the given device may be determined based upon hop count information corresponding to the received synchronization signal, which may be encoded in the signal itself or may be derived from a separate synchronization channel. The received synchronization signal need not itself correspond to an I-SS (hop count 0), but may correspond to a G-SS (hop count 1 or greater). In some embodiments the hop count increases successively each time an I-SS is replicated by a further device.
  • Returning to process element 420, if at least one received synchronization signal does in fact satisfy the power threshold condition, indicating that its signal strength is acceptable, then the process proceeds to process element 422, where the given device camps-on to the best candidate synchronization signal. The best signal is determined with reference to the particular signal metric. In this embodiment the device camps on to the highest power received synchronization signal at process element 422. The process of camping-on proceeds to process element 424, where a radio resource allocation associated with the selected received synchronization signal is determined by the given device. The radio resource allocation may be a recommendation of a set of radio resources available for use by any D2D communications adopting the corresponding synchronization signal as a synchronization reference. In this embodiment, the given device establishes a D2D connection (e.g. a voice call) with a proximal device using the synchronization signal, to which it has camped-on for radio frame synchronization and sub-frame, slot and symbol synchronization in the time domain. The device also uses at least a subset of the corresponding recommended radio resource allocation for the synchronization source.
  • FIG. 5 is a signal timing diagram schematically illustrating how two different UE pairs in different transmission regions of the partially overlapping transmission regions illustrated in FIG. 2 establish synchronization and set up respective D2D communication channels. It is assumed that a first D2D pair 510, 512 (shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 5) camp-on to a synchronization signal broadcast by the first synchronization source UE 210. A second D2D pair 520, 522 (also shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 5) are located outside the transmission range of the first cluster head UE 210, but achieve synchronization by camping on to a second synchronization source UE 220. The first synchronization source UE 210 derives its timing independently of any LTE synchronization source and independently of any other UE in the wireless communication network and thus corresponds to an I-SS according to the present technique and broadcasts, at signal timing element 550, a master synchronization signal to the first UE 510 and the second UE 512, which are both in its transmission range 212 and which require establishment of a D2D connection between them.
  • The second synchronization source UE 220, although capable of receiving the master synchronization signal broadcast by the first synchronization source 210, determines at timing element 552 that this received synchronization signal does not satisfy a signal metric, which may be used to control in-band interference between substantially simultaneous D2D communications. In particular, the second synchronization source UE 220 determines that the master synchronization signal upon receipt has a power that is less than a predetermined threshold power. At timing element 554, the UE 220 assumes the role of a G-SS by broadcasting to UEs in its own transmission region, a second (propagated) synchronization signal deriving timing from the master synchronization signal. The second synchronization signal is received by a third UE 520 and a fourth UE 522, which are both located in the transmission region of the G-SS 220, and which have requested establishment of a D2D communication between them. Prior to setting up a D2D communication channel between the first and second UEs 510, 512, the I-SS sends D2D resource allocation information 556 and 558 to each of the two UEs 510, 512. Similarly, after the third UE 520 and the fourth UE 522 have camped-on to the G-SS, the G-SS sends D2D resource allocation information to each of the third UE 520 and the fourth UE 522.
  • Note that although the G-SS may also be broadcasting resource information within its transmission region prior to the UEs 520, 522 camping on to the G-SS, the UEs need only utilize this radio resource information after camping on as shown in FIG. 5. In some embodiments only the transmitting UE of a D2D pair has access to the D2D resource information of the corresponding synchronization source. The G-SS UE 220 is configured to broadcast a D2D radio resource allocation that is orthogonal in time to the D2D resource allocation currently being used by the I-SS. The fact that the I-SS and the G-SS have synchronization signals based on the same timing (i.e. the hierarchical synchronization) make it possible to implement the orthogonality in time for the two D2D channel communications. Establishing temporal orthogonality may be implemented dynamically by the synchronization sources, or alternatively they may be pre-configured to allocate temporally orthogonal radio resources.
  • FIG. 6 schematically illustrates time and frequency resources allocated to a pair of D2D transmitters deriving synchronization timing from an I-SS. A UE 602 and a UE 604 derive synchronization timing from an I-SS UE 612. The I-SS 612 periodically broadcasts D2D synchronization signals (D2DSS) and in addition broadcasts information about spectrum resources to be used for data transmission (e.g. recommended/advertised time transmission interval). The recommended Time Transmission Interval (TTI) may be composed from a set of LTE subframes, e.g. four TTIs. The UEs 602, 604 camp-on to the I-SS 612, since the D2DSS received signal power exceeds an inter synchronization source received power threshold SSTHR. The UEs 602, 604 utilize information about recommended/advertised spectrum resources broadcast by the I-SS 612 and use these resources if there are no transmit data rate and/or half-duplex constraints (or alternative constraints) that override the use of the advertised spectrum resources.
  • A further UE 622 represents a G-SS and it broadcasts D2DSS and propagates the timing of the I-SS 612, because its D2DSS received power is measured as being below the inter synchronization source received power threshold. The G-SS 622 selects and advertises/broadcasts recommended spectrum resources not occupied by other proximate synchronization sources (e.g. time transmission intervals and/or frequency resources that do not overlap with those used by proximate synchronization sources).
  • FIG. 6 also shows a time-frequency resource grid 660 in which the two UEs 602, 604 within the same synchronization group (using the same synchronization source) transmit in the same time resources but on different frequency sub-channels. A time/frequency allocation corresponding to a row of the time frequency resource grid when frequency is represented on the vertical grid axis and time is represented on the time grid axis, represents a “frequency sub-channel” 670 that can be composed from different LTE physical resource blocks (PRBs) and frequency hopping can be applied from one transmission index to another transmission index (i.e. from one transmitting UE to another transmitting UE), where each transmission index corresponds to a different UE deriving synchronization from the I-SS 612.
  • The I-SS 612 has recommended spectrum resources corresponding to two distinct time resources 672, 674 as shown on the time-frequency resource grid 660. A time resource 672 or 674 in this example is assumed to correspond to a TTI. Considering the TTI 672, a first resource unit 682 a corresponds to the UE (TX1) 604 and a second resource unit 684 a corresponds to the UE (TX2) 602. Additional spectrum resource units 682 b and 684 b are allocated respectively to the UE (TX1) 604 and the UE (TX2) 602 in a subsequent TTI 674. The resource units 682 a, 682 b allocated to the UE 604 are in the same frequency sub-band as each other but in different TTIs 672, 674. The resource units 684 a, 684 b allocated to the UE 602 are in the same frequency sub-band as each other but in different TTIs 672, 674 from each other. The UE (TX1) 602 is allocated resource units 682 a, 682 b in a different frequency sub-band from the resource units allocated to the UE (TX2) 684 a, 684 b. The recommended allocation may be periodic. The radio resources may be configured in a number of different ways and each resource unit 682, 684 may comprise a single LTE physical resource block or may alternatively comprise a plurality of LTE resource blocks. The radio resources may be unlicensed and/or unused radio resources and is not limited to LTE radio resources.
  • FIG. 7 schematically illustrates a block diagram of radio frame resources corresponding to an uplink or downlink LTE radio frame structure according to some embodiments. In LTE, downlink communications use OFDMA whereas uplink communications use SC-FDMA. A radio frame 700 has a duration of 10 milliseconds and is composed of twenty contiguous 0.5 millisecond slots. A subframe 710 is formed from two adjacent slots and thus has a one millisecond duration. FIG. 7 shows slot #18, which is the penultimate slot of the frame, in more detail. A single resource block 730 can be seen to comprise a number of OFDM/SC-FDMA symbols Nsymbol=7 on a time axis 752 and a plurality of subcarriers NSC RB=12 on a frequency axis 754. Each OFDM/SC-FDMA symbol occupies a shorter time duration (seven symbols per timeslot) within the 0.5 ms slot 720 of the radio frame 700. The resource block 730 comprises a total of Nsymbol×NSC RB constituent resource elements.
  • A single resource element 740 is characterized by a single subcarrier frequency and a single OFDM/SC-FDMA symbol. In FIG. 7, although only one complete resource block 230 is shown, a plurality of resource blocks NBB are associated with each of the twenty slots of the radio frame 700. The resource block 730 in the FIG. 7 example is mapped to eighty-four resource elements 740 (12 subcarriers times 7 symbols) using short or normal cyclic prefixing. In one alternative arrangement (not shown) the resource block is mapped to seventy-two resource elements using extended cyclic prefixing.
  • Each resource element 740 can transmit a number of bits depending upon the particular type of modulation scheme employed for the channel with which the resource element is associated. For example, where the modulation scheme is quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK), each resource element 740 can transmit two bits. For a 16 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) or 64 QAM more bits can be transmitted per resource element. However, for binary phase shift keying (BPSK), a single bit is transmitted in each resource element. The resource block 730 can be configured either for downlink transmission from the eNodeB to the UE or for uplink transmission from the UE to the eNodeB. As mentioned earlier, LTE DL transmission used OFDMA whereas UL transmission used SC-FDMA. SC-FDMA differs from OFDMA in that in the SC-FDMA subcarriers are not independently modulated whereas the OFDMA subcarriers are independently modulated. According to some embodiments, resource elements 740 of the LTE physical resource block 730 for particular sub-carriers can be used to convey a D2D synchronization signal, similarly to the LTE PSS SSS synchronization signal. However, the OFDMA/SC-FDMA symbols and/or timeslots used may differ for different D2D synchronization sources (I-SSs and G-SSs) and may differ from those used by the LTE PSS and SSS synchronization signals. Furthermore, physical resource blocks of the LTE radio frames can be allocated to D2D communications such as voice calls.
  • FIG. 8 schematically illustrates time-frequency resource allocation on a time-frequency resource grid 802 to a pair of D2D transmitters that are camped-on to an I-SS and to a pair of D2D transmitters that are camped-on to a G-SS having a partially overlapped transmission range with the I-SS. As shown in FIG. 8, an I-SS 810 controls D2D transmission timing of a first UE (TX1) 812 and a second UE (TX2) 814. A G-SS 820 controls D2D transmission timings of a third UE (TX3) 822 and a fourth UE (TX4) 824. The first UE (TX1) 812 is allocated a radio resource unit 852 a in a first time resource of the grid 802 and is allocated a radio resource unit 852 b in a subsequent time resource. Similarly, the second UE (TX2) 814 is allocated a radio resource unit 854 a in the first time resource of the grid 802 and a radio resource unit 854 b in the subsequent time resources. Thus the first and second UEs 812, 814 are allocated radio resources occupying the same time resources but different frequency sub-channels of the time-frequency resource grid 802.
  • FIG. 8 shows a TTI 860 that is the second column from the left of the time-frequency grid 802 and this TTI 860 is the recommended time resource corresponding to the G-SS 820. The first column of the time-frequency resource grid 802, which contains the resource units 852 a, 852 b is a TTI recommended for the I-SS 810. The third UE 822 has an associated recommended a resource unit 856 a in the TTI 860 and the fourth UE 824 has an associated resource unit 856 a in the same TTI 860. This pattern is repeated in a subsequent TTI associated with the G-SS 820, which shows a recommended allocation of resource units 856 b and 858 b for the third UE 822 and the fourth UE 824 respectively. Thus the third and fourth UEs 822, 824 are allocated adjacent (thus different) time resources to the first and second UEs 812, 814 in the example time-frequency grid 802 of FIG. 8 and also occupy different frequency sub-channels from each other in the recommended allocation. D2D communications under control of the G-SS 820 are both time division multiplexed (occupy a different recommended transmission time interval) and orthogonal in sub-channel frequencies relative to D2D communications controlled by the I-SS 810. The D2D transmitter UEs 822, 824 camp-on to the G-SS 820 according to a synchronization source selection rule (e.g. maximum D2DSS received power) and they utilize information about recommended spectrum resources (e.g. time transmission interval) broadcast by the G-SS 820. The recommended resources are used for establishing D2D communication links if there are no constraints on transmission data rate and/or half-duplex constraints that preclude using the recommended resource allocation.
  • FIG. 9 schematically illustrates a time-frequency resource grid 900 for D2D resource allocations for an I-SS 912 and five surrounding G-SSs 922, 932, 942, 952, 962 having synchronization source transmission ranges 920, 930, 940, 950, 960 respectively, each of which is partially overlapping with an I-SS transmission range 910 centered on the I-SS 912. Each of the six distinct transmission ranges 910, 920, 930, 940, 950, 960 corresponds to a different time resource of the time-frequency resource grid as shown in FIG. 9. In particular the I-SS 912 and its associated transmission range 910 are allocated a TTI 916 a and a subsequent TTI 916 b. The G-SS 922 and its associated transmission range 920 are allocated a TTI 926 a and a subsequent TTI 926 b. The G-SS 932 and its associated transmission range 930 are allocated a TTI 936 a and a subsequent TTI 936 b. The G-SS 942 and its associated transmission range 940 are allocated a TTI 946 a and a subsequent TTI 946 b. The G-SS 952 and its associated transmission range 950 are allocated a TTI 956 a and a subsequent TTI 956 b. The G-SS 962 and its associated transmission range 960 are allocated a TTI 936 a and a subsequent TTI 936 b. Different transmitters deriving synchronization from the same synchronization source (the I-SS or one of the five G-SSs) have recommended resource allocations corresponding to different frequency sub-channels.
  • For example, a transmitter (TX1) 911 occupies a first frequency sub-channel 981 and a transmitter (TX4) 923 that is camped-on to the G-SS 922 occupies a second frequency sub-channel 984. The transmitter (TX1) 911 and a transmitter (TX2) 913, which are both camped-on to the I-SS 912 occupy different frequency sub-channels within the same TTI 916 a. Similarly, a transmitter (TX3) 921 and the transmitter (TX4) 923, which are both camped-on to the G-SS 922, occupy different frequency sub-channels within the TTI 926 a as shown. In alternative embodiments, the time resource of the time-frequency grid 900 may have a different duration from a TTI.
  • Each of the G-SSs 922, 932, 942, 952 is a UE selected as a derived or propagated (i.e. non-master) synchronization source because the I-SS, which serves as a master synchronization signal, although received at the given UE, has failed to satisfy the signal quality metric that would allow the UE to camp-on to the I-SS 912.
  • FIG. 10 schematically illustrates how frequency division multiplexing may be applied between two different I-SSs that are asynchronous (i.e. have no common synchronization timing), but which implement frequency division multiplexing between the independently synchronized regions. A first region having a first synchronization timing comprises a synchronization area 1011 of a first I-SS 1010 and synchronization areas 1013, 1015 associated respectively with a G-SS 1012 and a G-SS 1014 deriving timing from the first I-SS. A second region having a second synchronization timing, different from the first synchronization timing, comprises a second I-SS 1020 and an associated synchronization area 1021 together with a G-SS 1022, a G-SS 1024 and their associated synchronization areas 1023, 1025.
  • A time-frequency resource grid 1000 in FIG. 10 schematically illustrates how a bandwidth 1070, allocated to a D2D channel, comprises a first frequency sub-channel 1080 comprising time resources allocated to the first I-SS 1010 and the corresponding two G-SSs 1012, 1014. A second frequency sub-channel 1082 of the bandwidth 1070 is allocated to the second I-SS 1020 and its two associated G-SSs 1022, 1024.
  • Resource units of the first frequency sub-channel 1080 are time division multiplexed between the I-SS 1010, the G-SS 1012 and the G-SS 1014. Each resource unit along the time axis in FIG. 10 may correspond to a TTI. Similarly, resource units of the second frequency sub-channel 1080 are time division multiplexed between the I-SS 1020, the G-SS 1022 and the G-SS 1024. In the first frequency sub-channel 1080, a first resource unit 1052 is allocated to the I-SS 1010, a subsequent resource unit 1054 is allocated to the G-SS 1012 and an adjacent resource unit on the time axis is allocated to the G-SS 1014, whereupon a repeating sequence returns to allocating to the I-SS 1010 again and so on. In the second frequency sub-channel 1082, a first resource unit 1062 is allocated to the I-SS 1020, a subsequent resource unit 1064 is allocated to the G-SS 1022 and an adjacent resource unit on the time axis is allocated to the G-SS 1024, whereupon the repeating sequence returns to allocating to the I-SS 1020 again and so on. The two frequency sub-channels 1080, 1082 have no common synchronization timing so the time boundaries of the radio frames and timeslots are asynchronous for the two different I-SSs.
  • In practice multiple accidents may happen in close geographical areas. In order to avoid global propagation of synchronization timing, asynchronous operation may be considered. In this case, frequency division multiplexing may be applied between different independent synchronization sources I-SSs 1010, 1020 that are not synchronous with each other. The first I-SS 1010 and the second I-SS 1020 may achieve orthogonality in frequency by performing scanning of the radio resources to detect other synchronization signals and implementing frequency orthogonality where appropriate. For example if the UE that becomes the second I-SS 1020 scans the radio resources and detects a synchronization signal from I-SS 1010, it can switch to a new carrier or select an orthogonal frequency resource in the same carrier frequency band. The carriers and shift in frequency may be preconfigured or may be dynamically assigned.
  • The proposed synchronization techniques may improve D2D communication performance such as VoIP performance in, for example, out of coverage public safety specific use cases and can allow multiple receivers to receive VoIP traffic from multiple active transmitters.
  • FIG. 11 illustrates an example system 1100 according to some embodiments. System 1100 includes one or more processor(s) 1140, system control logic 1120 coupled with at least one of the processor(s) 1140, system memory 1110 coupled with system control logic 1120, non-volatile memory (NVM)/storage 1130 coupled with system control logic 1120, and a network interface 1160 coupled with system control logic 1120. The system control logic 1120 may also be coupled to Input/Output devices 1150.
  • Processor(s) 1140 may include one or more single-core or multi-core processors. Processor(s) 1140 may include any combination of general-purpose processors and dedicated processors (e.g., graphics processors, application processors, baseband processors, etc.). Processors 1140 may be operable to carry out the above described methods, using suitable instructions or programs (i.e. operate via use of processor, or other logic, instructions). The instructions may be stored in system memory 1110, as system memory portion (D2D module) 1115, or additionally or alternatively may be stored in (NVM)/storage 1130, as NVM instruction portion (D2D module) 1135. D2D modules 1115 and/or 1135 may include program instructions to cause a processor 1140 to generate a synchronization signal and/or broadcast radio resource information for D2D communications deriving timing from the generated synchronization signal. D2D module 1115 and/or 1135 may form part of a communication section, including circuitry to cause broadcast of a D2D new synchronization signal having independent timing, a propagated synchronization signal adopting timing from a received synchronization signal and radio resource information recommending radio resources to be used for a D2D communication such as a voice call.
  • Processors(s) 1140 may be configured to execute the embodiments of FIGS. 2-10. The processor(s) may comprise scanning circuitry 1142 and synchronization signal circuitry 1144, configured to generate and trigger broadcast of a D2D synchronization signal either independently or deriving timing from a received synchronization signal. The processor(s) may also comprise resource information circuitry 1146 for storing and/or dynamically allocating radio resources for recommendation to D2D devices within the transmission range of the device. A transceiver module 1165 also comprises scanning circuitry 1166 configured to search the air interface for synchronization signals and broadcasting circuitry 1168 configured to broadcast a D2D synchronization signal and/or radio resources recommended for allocation to D2D communications deriving timing from the associated synchronization source. It will be appreciated that the scanning, synchronization signal generation/broadcast and resource allocation information broadcast functionality may be distributed or allocated in different ways across the system involving one or more of the processor(s) 1140, transceiver module 1165, system memory 1110 and NVM/Storage 1130.
  • System control logic 1120 for one embodiment may include any suitable interface controllers to provide for any suitable interface to at least one of the processor(s) 1140 and/or to any suitable device or component in communication with system control logic 1120.
  • System control logic 1120 for one embodiment may include one or more memory controller(s) to provide an interface to system memory 1110. System memory 1110 may be used to load and store data and/or instructions, for example, for system 1100. System memory 1110 for one embodiment may include any suitable volatile memory, such as suitable dynamic random access memory (DRAM), for example.
  • NVM/storage 1130 may include one or more tangible, non-transitory computer-readable media used to store data and/or instructions, for example. NVM/storage 1130 may include any suitable non-volatile memory, such as flash memory, for example, and/or may include any suitable non-volatile storage device(s), such as one or more hard disk drive(s) (HDD(s)), one or more compact disk (CD) drive(s), and/or one or more digital versatile disk (DVD) drive(s), for example.
  • The NVM/storage 1130 may include a storage resource physically part of a device on which the system 1100 is installed or it may be accessible by, but not necessarily a part of, the device. For example, the NVM/storage 1130 may be accessed over a network via the network interface 1160.
  • System memory 1110 and NVM/storage 1130 may respectively include, in particular, temporal and persistent copies of, for example, the instructions portions 1115 and 1135, respectively. Instructions portions 1115 and 1135 may include instructions that when executed by at least one of the processor(s) 1140 result in the system 1100 implementing a one or more of methods of any embodiment, as described herein. In some embodiments, instructions 1115 and 1135, or hardware, firmware, and/or software components thereof, may additionally/alternatively be located in the system control logic 1120, the network interface 1160, and/or the processor(s) 1140.
  • The transceiver module 1165 provides a radio interface for system 1100 to communicate over one or more network(s) (e.g. wireless communication network) and/or with any other suitable device. The transceiver 1165 may perform the various communicating; transmitting and receiving described in the various embodiments, and may include a transmitter section and a receiver section. In various embodiments, the transceiver 1165 may be integrated with other components of system 1100. For example, the transceiver 1165 may include a processor of the processor(s) 1140, memory of the system memory 1110, and NVM/Storage of NVM/Storage 1130. Network interface 1160 may include any suitable hardware and/or firmware. Network interface 1160 may be operatively coupled to a plurality of antennas to provide a multiple input, multiple output radio interface. Network interface 1160 for one embodiment may include, for example, a network adapter, a wireless network adapter, a telephone modem, and/or a wireless modem. For example, where system 1100 is an eNB, network interface 1160 may include an Ethernet interface, an S1-MME interface and/or an S1-U interface. The system 1100 of FIG. 11 may be implemented in a UE, but may alternatively be implemented in a station such as a picocell, femtocell or relay node for the purposes of implementing peer-to-peer communication and synchronization.
  • For one embodiment, at least one of the processor(s) 1140 may be packaged together with logic for one or more controller(s) of system control logic 1120. For one embodiment, at least one of the processor(s) 1140 may be packaged together with logic for one or more controllers of system control logic 1120 to form a System in Package (SiP). For one embodiment, at least one of the processor(s) 1140 may be integrated on the same die with logic for one or more controller(s) of system control logic 1120. For one embodiment, at least one of the processor(s) 1140 may be integrated on the same die with logic for one or more controller(s) of system control logic 1120 to form a System on Chip (SoC). Each of the processors 1140 may include an input for receiving data and an output for outputting data.
  • In various embodiments, the I/O devices 1150 may include user interfaces designed to enable user interaction with the system 1100, peripheral component interfaces designed to enable peripheral component interaction with the system 1100, and/or sensors designed to determine environmental conditions and/or location information related to the system 1100.
  • FIG. 12 shows an embodiment in which the system 1100 implements a wireless device 1200, such as user equipment (UE), a mobile station (MS), a mobile wireless device, a mobile communication device, a tablet, a handset, or other type of wireless device. The wireless device can include one or more antennas 1210 configured to communicate with a node, macro node, low power node (LPN), or, transmission station, such as a base station (BS), an evolved Node B (eNB), a baseband unit (BBU), a remote radio head (RRH), a remote radio equipment (RRE), a relay station (RS), a radio equipment (RE), or other type of wireless wide area network (WWAN) access point. The wireless device can be configured to communicate using at least one wireless communication standard including 3GPP LTE, WiMAX, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. The device is capable of performing D2D communication with other proximal wireless devices both when in-coverage and out-of-coverage with respect to the wireless cellular network. The wireless device can communicate using separate antennas for each wireless communication standard or shared antennas for multiple wireless communication standards. The wireless device can communicate in a wireless local area network (WLAN), a wireless personal area network (WPAN), and/or a WWAN.
  • The wireless device 1200 of FIG. 12 also provides an illustration of a microphone 1290 and one or more speakers 1230 that can be used for audio input and output from the wireless device. In various embodiments, the user interfaces could include, but are not limited to, a display 1240 (e.g., a liquid crystal display, a touch screen display, etc.), a speaker 1230, a microphone 1290, one or more cameras 1280 (e.g., a still camera and/or a video camera), a flashlight (e.g., a light emitting diode flash), and a keyboard 1270.
  • In various embodiments, the peripheral component interfaces may include, but are not limited to, a non-volatile memory port, an audio jack, and a power supply interface.
  • In various embodiments, the sensors may include, but are not limited to, a gyro sensor, an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, and a positioning unit. The positioning unit may also be part of, or interact with, the network interface 1260 to communicate with components of a positioning network, e.g., a global positioning system (GPS) satellite.
  • In various embodiments, the system 1200 may be a mobile computing device such as, but not limited to, a laptop computing device, a tablet computing device, a netbook, a mobile phone, etc. In various embodiments, system 1200 may have more or less components, and/or different architectures.
  • In embodiments, the implemented wireless network may be a 3rd Generation Partnership Project's (3GPP) long term evolution (LTE) advanced wireless communication standard, which may include, but is not limited to releases 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, or later, of the 3GPP's LTE-A standards.
  • Various techniques, or certain aspects or portions thereof, may take the form of program code (i.e., instructions) embodied in tangible media, such as floppy diskettes, CD-ROMs, hard drives, non-transitory computer readable storage medium, or any other machine-readable storage medium such that when the program code is loaded into and executed by a machine, such as a computer, the machine becomes an apparatus for practicing the various techniques according to the above described embodiments. In the case of program code execution on programmable devices such as a UE or a wireless device, the computing device may include a processor, a storage medium readable by the processor (including volatile and non-volatile memory and/or storage elements), at least one input device, and at least one output device. The volatile and non-volatile memory and/or storage elements may be a RAM, EPROM, flash drive, optical drive, magnetic hard drive, or other medium for storing electronic data.
  • One or more programs that may implement or utilize the various techniques described herein may use an application programming interface (API), reusable controls, and the like. Such programs may be implemented in a high level procedural or object oriented programming language to communicate with a computer system. However, the program(s) may be implemented in assembly or machine language, if desired. In any case, the language may be a compiled or interpreted language, and combined with hardware implementations.
  • It should be understood that the functional units described in this specification have been labeled as modules, to highlight their implementation independence. Note that a module may be implemented, for example, as a hardware circuit comprising custom VLSI circuits or gate arrays, off-the-shelf semiconductors such as logic chips, transistors, or other discrete components. A module may also be implemented in programmable hardware devices such as field programmable gate arrays, programmable array logic, programmable logic devices or the like.
  • Modules may also be implemented in software for execution by various types of processors. An identified module of executable code may, for instance, comprise one or more physical or logical blocks of computer instructions, which may, for instance, be organized as an object, procedure, or function. Nevertheless, the executables of an identified module need not be physically located together, but may comprise disparate instructions stored in different locations which, when joined logically together, comprise the module and achieve the stated purpose for the module.
  • Indeed, a module of executable code may be a single instruction, or many instructions, and may even be distributed over several different code segments, among different programs, and across several memory devices. Similarly, operational data may be identified and illustrated herein within modules, and may be embodied in any suitable form and organized within any suitable type of data structure. The operational data may be collected as a single data set, or may be distributed over different locations including over different storage devices, and may exist, at least partially, merely as electronic signals on a system or network. The modules may be passive or active, including agents operable to perform desired functions.
  • Where functional units have been described as circuitry, the circuitry may be general purpose processor circuitry configured by program code to perform specified processing functions. The circuitry may also be configured by modification to the processing hardware. Configuration of the circuitry to perform a specified function may be entirely in hardware, entirely in software or using a combination of hardware modification and software execution. Program instructions may be used to configure logic gates of general purpose or special-purpose processor circuitry to perform a processing function.
  • Reference throughout this specification to “an example” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the example is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, appearances of the phrases “in an example” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.
  • As used herein, a plurality of items, structural elements, compositional elements, and/or materials may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary. In addition, various embodiments may be referred to herein along with alternatives for the various components thereof. It is understood that such embodiments, examples, and alternatives are not to be construed as de facto equivalents of one another, but are to be considered as separate and autonomous representations of the embodiments.
  • Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. In the following description, numerous specific details are provided, such as examples of layouts, distances, network examples, etc., to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that embodiments can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, layouts, etc. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the embodiments.
  • While the forgoing examples are illustrative of the principles of embodiments in one or more particular applications, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications in form, usage and details of implementation can be made without the exercise of inventive faculty, and without departing from the principles and concepts of embodiments.
  • Embodiments provide a convenient and efficient way of managing in-band interference in D2D communications, particularly where the communicating devices are out-of-coverage of the cellular network. Alternative short distance communication technologies such as WiFi and WIMAX typically implement a collision detection data transmission policy such as Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) and do not rely upon a common synchronization signal in the physical layer. D2D communications can conveniently control transmission timing using eNB control when the wireless devices performing the D2D communication are in-coverage (i.e. in communication with the eNB), but for out-of coverage D2D communication, control of the D2D communications cannot rely upon network control.
  • Interference, such as in-band emission interference is likely to be stronger when a wireless receiver receives one comparatively strong signal and one comparatively weak signal i.e. where there is a discrepancy in received signal strengths. This potentially problematical interference scenario is likely to arise where two transmitters have partially overlapping transmission ranges. In this case, UEs located in the intersection of the two transmission ranges that are able to receive both transmissions, and which are also located close to the periphery of one of the transmission ranges are likely to be most susceptible to the effects of in-band emission interference on the D2D communication. If the two transmitters are in close proximity to each other with substantially coincident transmission ranges then the signals from the two different transmitters should be of comparable strength and thus easy to distinguish from interference. Similarly, if the two transmitters are sufficiently far apart that there is no overlap in their transmission ranges then interference between signals from the two transmitters should not occur.
  • Embodiments may implement a check of whether or not a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal metric and this can be used to identify indirectly if partial overlap between two or more different transmission regions currently exists. For example, if a received synchronization signal is detected, but evaluation of the signal metric by the scanning circuitry detects that the synchronization signal has a power or signal quality below a certain threshold (or at or above a threshold depending upon the system configuration), this indicates that the receiving UE is likely to have a transmission area that partially overlaps with the source of the received synchronization signal. Accordingly, evaluation of the synchronization signal metric can be used to indirectly determine when a receiving UE is likely to be susceptible to in-band emission interference.
  • In embodiments, the in-band emission interference can be ameliorated by designating as gateway synchronization sources devices determined via the signal metric to be likely to be in a partial overlap scenario. The gateway synchronization sources may propagate the same timing the master synchronization signal, resulting in a higher power signal in the vicinity of the source of the gateway synchronization signal. Furthermore, radio resources of the master synchronization sources and gateway synchronization sources can be adapted to reduce the effects of in-band emission interference, for example, by time division multiplexing radio resources for D2D transmissions corresponding to neighboring synchronization sources.
  • Furthermore D2D communications can be directed, via appropriate radio resource allocation such that the transmissions are in a subset of the full available bandwidth, for example, 1 MHz (one LTE PRB has around 180 kHz bandwidth) rather than a full 10 MHz bandwidth. This allows the UE power to be focused upon a subset of the frequency spectrum rather than being distributed across a wider frequency bandwidth. According to some embodiments, devices can be configured to become new synchronization sources propagating timing of other synchronization sources enabling common synchronization over a larger geographical area than would be possible using a single synchronization source. Furthermore, a synchronization signal metric implemented by the scanning circuitry may optionally be preconfigured or dynamically adapted to compensate for interference such as in-band emission interference.
  • EXAMPLES
  • The following examples pertain to further embodiments.
  • Example 1 is device-to-device communication circuitry, for use in a device of a wireless communication network, the device being configured to transmit and receive device-to-device communications, the circuitry comprising:
      • scanning circuitry configured to search for a device-to-device synchronization signal and to determine if a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal quality metric;
      • synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry configured to broadcast, depending upon a result of the search performed by the scanning circuitry, a synchronization signal for synchronizing data communication on at least one device-to-device communication link between any transmitting device and any receiving device within a synchronization range of the device-to-device communication circuitry; and
      • radio resource information circuitry, configured to broadcast information about radio resources for device-to-device operation.
  • Example 2 may be the subject matter of example 1, wherein optionally the radio resource information circuitry is configured to recommend at least a subset of wireless radio resources for allocation to the at least one device-to-device communication link.
  • Example 3 may be the subject matter of example 1 or example 2, wherein optionally the radio resource information circuitry indicates a subset of recommended wireless radio resources comprising a subset of time resources.
  • Example 4 may be the subject matter of example 2 or example 3, wherein optionally the radio resource information circuitry indicates a subset of a full frequency bandwidth of the wireless radio resources.
  • Example 5 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 2 to 4 wherein optionally the radio resource information circuitry is one of: (i) preconfigured to store the recommended subset of wireless radio resources; and (ii) configured to dynamically allocate the subset of wireless radio resources depending upon the result of the scanning circuitry search.
  • Example 6 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 1 to 5 wherein optionally the synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry is configured to trigger broadcast of an independent synchronization signal if no received device-to-device synchronization signal is detected by the scanning circuitry.
  • Example 7 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 1 to 6, wherein optionally the synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry is configured to suppress broadcast of the synchronization signal if the scanning circuitry determines that at least one received synchronization signal satisfies the signal quality metric.
  • Example 8 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 1 to 7, wherein optionally, when the scanning circuitry determines that an existing synchronization signal which fails to satisfy the signal quality metric is present without a synchronization signal that satisfies the signal quality metric also being present, the synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry is configured to establish a gateway synchronization source by broadcasting a propagated synchronization signal, the propagated synchronization signal deriving timing from the existing synchronization signal.
  • Example 9 may be the subject matter of example 8 wherein optionally the propagated synchronization signal provides synchronization for device-to-device communications between devices in a secondary synchronization range different from a primary synchronization range corresponding to the existing synchronization signal.
  • Example 10 may be the subject matter of example 8 or example 9, wherein optionally the gateway synchronization source is configured to broadcast the propagated synchronization signal on radio resources orthogonal in time to radio resources used to convey the existing synchronization signal.
  • Example 11 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 8 to 10, wherein optionally the radio resource information circuitry is configured to recommend for device-to-device communications that derive synchronization from the gateway synchronization source, a set of time resources different from an existing set of time resources currently recommended for to device-to-device communications that derive synchronization from the existing synchronization signal.
  • Example 12 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 8 to 11, wherein optionally the radio resource information circuitry of the gateway synchronization source is configured to recommend for device-to-device communications that derive synchronization from the gateway synchronization source, a set of frequency resources different from an existing set of frequency resources currently recommended for to device-to-device communications deriving synchronization from the existing synchronization signal.
  • Example 13 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 1 to 12, wherein optionally the received signal metric comprises at least one: of synchronization hop count, received signal power, received signal arrival time and Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINR), taken jointly and severally in any and all combinations.
  • Example 14 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 1 to 13, wherein optionally the scanning circuitry is configured such that when a plurality existing synchronization signals are present, the scanning circuitry selects one of the existing synchronization signals to camp-on to depending upon the signal metric and suppresses broadcast of the synchronization signal by the synchronization signal broadcast circuitry.
  • Example 15 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 1 to 14, wherein optionally the scanning circuitry is configured to compare a received synchronization signal with a threshold corresponding to the signal quality metric and wherein broadcast of the synchronization signal depends upon the threshold comparison.
  • Example 16 may be the subject matter of example 15, wherein optionally the scanning circuitry is configured to set the threshold for the synchronization signal quality metric depending on at least one of: pre-configured settings and an interference estimate providing an indication of in-band interference on at least one device-to-device communication link of the wireless communication network.
  • Example 17 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 8 to 16, wherein optionally the synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry of the gateway synchronization source is configured to broadcast to other devices a synchronization hop count providing an indication of a hierarchical level of the gateway synchronization source relative to a master synchronization source.
  • Example 18 is one of a UE, a picocell, a femtocell and a relay node comprising the device-to-device communication circuitry of any one of examples 1 to 17.
  • Example 19 is a method of performing synchronization of peer-to-peer communication signals between wireless equipment at the same hierarchical level of a wireless communication network, the method comprising:
      • searching at a wireless equipment for receipt of a peer-to-peer synchronization signal and determining if a received synchronization signal satisfies a required signal characteristic;
      • broadcasting from the wireless equipment a synchronization signal having a timing derived independently from any synchronization signal corresponding to an eNB, the broadcast synchronization signal defining a common timing for peer-to-peer communications between any transmitting wireless equipment and any receiving wireless equipment within a synchronization range of the broadcasting wireless equipment and wherein broadcasting of the synchronization signal is suppressed depending upon whether a received signal satisfying the required signal characteristic is found during the search.
  • Example 20 may be the subject matter of example 19 optionally comprising broadcasting a derived synchronization signal when a received synchronization signal not satisfying the required signal characteristic is detected in the absence of detection of a received synchronization satisfying the required signal characteristic, the derived synchronization signal deriving synchronization timing from the received synchronization signal.
  • Example 21 may be the subject matter of example 20, wherein optionally the derived synchronization signal uses different time resources from time resources occupied by the received synchronization signal.
  • Example 22 may be the subject matter of example 20 or example 21, optionally comprising broadcasting a preferred radio resource allocation for peer-to-peer data communications that utilize the derived synchronization signal, the preferred radio resource allocation being orthogonal in time to radio resources corresponding to peer-to-peer communication links that utilize the received synchronization signal.
  • Example 23 may be the subject matter of example 22, wherein optionally the peer-to-peer communications comprise Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications.
  • Example 24 may be the subject matter of any one of examples 19 to 23, wherein the wireless equipment comprises one of: a UE, a picocell, a femtocell and a relay node.
  • Example 25 is computer program product embodied on a non-transitory computer-readable medium comprising program instructions configured such that when executed by processing circuitry cause the processing circuitry to implement the method of any one of examples 19 to 24.
  • Example 26 is device-to-device communication circuitry, for use in a device of a wireless communication network, the device being configured to transmit and receive device-to-device communications, the circuitry comprising:
      • means for searching for a device-to-device synchronization signal and to determine if a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal quality metric;
      • means for synchronization signal broadcasting, configured to broadcast, depending upon a result of the search performed by the scanning circuitry, a synchronization signal for synchronizing data communication on at least one device-to-device communication link between any transmitting device and any receiving device within a synchronization range of the device-to-device communication circuitry; and
      • means for broadcasting information about radio resources for device-to-device communication.
  • Example 27 may be the subject matter of example 26, wherein optionally the means for broadcasting information is configured to indicate a subset of recommended wireless radio resources for allocation to D2D communications comprising a subset of time resources.
  • Example 28 is UE for use in a wireless communication network, the UE comprising:
      • a touchscreen configured to receive input from a user for processing by the UE;
      • a transceiver module configurable to enable device-to-device communication;
      • a scanning module configured to search for a device-to-device synchronization signal and to determine if a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal quality metric;
      • a synchronization signal broadcasting module configured to broadcast, depending upon a result of the search performed by the scanning circuitry, a synchronization signal for synchronizing data communication on at least one device-to-device communication link between any transmitting device and any receiving device within a synchronization range of the device-to-device communication circuitry; and
      • a radio resource information module, configured to broadcast information about radio resources for device-to-device operation.
  • Example 29 may be the subject matter of example 28, wherein optionally the synchronization signal broadcasting module is configured to broadcast the synchronization signal using radio resources orthogonal in time to a received synchronization signal corresponding to a different synchronization source.
  • Example 30 is a computer readable medium comprising instructions, which, when executed, cause a processor to carry out the method of any one of examples 19 to 24.
  • Example 31 may be the subject matter of example 30, the medium optionally being one of a storage medium and a transmission medium.
  • Example 32 is device-to-device communication circuitry substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • Example 33 is a device-to-device communication method substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • Example 34 is a UE substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Claims (25)

1. Device-to-device communication circuitry, for use in a device of a wireless communication network, the device being configured to transmit and receive device-to-device communications, the circuitry comprising:
scanning circuitry configured to search for a device-to-device synchronization signal and to determine if a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal quality metric;
synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry configured to broadcast, depending upon a result of the search performed by the scanning circuitry, a synchronization signal for synchronizing data communication on at least one device-to-device communication link between any transmitting device and any receiving device within a synchronization range of the device-to-device communication circuitry; and
radio resource information circuitry, configured to broadcast information about radio resources for device-to-device operation.
2. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 1, wherein the radio resource information circuitry is configured to recommend at least a subset of wireless radio resources for allocation to the at least one device-to-device communication link.
3. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 2, wherein the radio resource information circuitry indicates a subset of recommended wireless radio resources comprising a subset of time resources.
4. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 2, wherein the radio resource information circuitry is one of: (i) preconfigured to store the recommended subset of wireless radio resources; and (ii) configured to dynamically allocate the subset of wireless radio resources depending upon the result of the scanning circuitry search.
5. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 1, wherein the synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry is configured to trigger broadcast of an independent synchronization signal if no received device-to-device synchronization signal is detected by the scanning circuitry.
6. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 1, wherein when the scanning circuitry determines that an existing synchronization signal, which fails to satisfy the signal quality metric, is present without a synchronization signal that satisfies the signal quality metric also being present, the synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry is configured to establish a gateway synchronization source by broadcasting a propagated synchronization signal, the propagated synchronization signal deriving timing from the existing synchronization signal.
7. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 6, wherein the gateway synchronization source is configured to broadcast the propagated synchronization signal on radio resources orthogonal in time to radio resources used to convey the existing synchronization signal.
8. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 6, wherein the radio resource information circuitry is configured to recommend for device-to-device communications that derive synchronization from the gateway synchronization source, a set of time resources different from an existing set of time resources currently recommended for to device-to-device communications that derive synchronization from the existing synchronization signal.
9. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 6, wherein the radio resource information circuitry of the gateway synchronization source is configured to recommend for device-to-device communications that derive synchronization from the gateway synchronization source, a set of frequency resources different from an existing set of frequency resources currently recommended for to device-to-device communications deriving synchronization from the existing synchronization signal.
10. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 1, wherein the received signal metric comprises at least one: of synchronization hop count, received signal power, received signal arrival time and Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINK), taken jointly and severally in any and all combinations.
11. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 1, wherein the scanning circuitry is configured such that when a plurality existing synchronization signals are present, the scanning circuitry selects one of the existing synchronization signals to camp-on to depending upon the signal metric and suppresses broadcast of the synchronization signal by the synchronization signal broadcast circuitry.
12. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 1, wherein the scanning circuitry is configured to compare a received synchronization signal with a threshold corresponding to the signal quality metric and wherein broadcast of the synchronization signal depends upon the threshold comparison.
13. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 12, wherein the scanning circuitry is configured to set the threshold for the synchronization signal quality metric depending on at least one of: pre-configured settings and an interference estimate providing an indication of in-band interference on at least one device-to-device communication link of the wireless communication network.
14. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 6, wherein the synchronization signal broadcasting circuitry of the gateway synchronization source is configured to broadcast to other devices a synchronization hop count providing an indication of a hierarchical level of the gateway synchronization source relative to a master synchronization source.
15. One of a UE, a picocell, a femtocell and a relay node comprising the device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 1.
16. A method of performing synchronization of peer-to-peer communication signals between wireless equipments at the same hierarchical level of a wireless communication network, the method comprising:
searching at a wireless equipment for receipt of a peer-to-peer synchronization signal and determining if a received synchronization signal satisfies a required signal characteristic;
broadcasting from the wireless equipment a synchronization signal having a timing derived independently from any synchronization source corresponding to an eNB, the broadcast synchronization signal defining a common timing for peer-to-peer communications between any transmitting wireless equipment and any receiving wireless equipment within a synchronization range of the broadcasting wireless equipment and wherein broadcasting of the synchronization signal is suppressed depending upon whether a received signal satisfying the required signal characteristic is found during the search.
17. The method of claim 16, comprising broadcasting a derived synchronization signal when a received synchronization signal not satisfying the required signal characteristic is detected in the absence of detection of a received synchronization satisfying the required signal characteristic, the derived synchronization signal deriving synchronization timing from the received synchronization signal.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the derived synchronization signal uses different time resources from time resources occupied by the received synchronization signal.
19. The method of claim 17, comprising broadcasting a preferred radio resource allocation for peer-to-peer data communications that utilize the derived synchronization signal, the preferred radio resource allocation being orthogonal in time to radio resources corresponding to peer-to-peer communication links that utilize the received synchronization signal.
20. The method of claim 16, wherein the wireless equipment comprises one of: a UE, a picocell, a femtocell and a relay node.
21. A computer program product embodied on a non-transitory computer-readable medium comprising program instructions configured such that when executed by processing circuitry cause the processing circuitry to implement the method of claim 16.
22. Device-to-device communication circuitry, for use in a device of a wireless communication network, the device being configured to transmit and receive device-to-device communications, the circuitry comprising:
means for searching for a device-to-device synchronization signal and to determine if a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal quality metric;
means for synchronization signal broadcasting, configured to broadcast, depending upon a result of the search performed by the scanning circuitry, a synchronization signal for synchronizing data communication on at least one device-to-device communication link between any transmitting device and any receiving device within a synchronization range of the device-to-device communication circuitry; and
means for broadcasting information about radio resources for device-to-device communication.
23. The device-to-device communication circuitry of claim 22, wherein the means for broadcasting information is configured to indicate a subset of recommended wireless radio resources for allocation to D2D communications comprising a subset of time resources.
24. A UE for use in a wireless communication network, the UE comprising:
a touchscreen configured to receive input from a user for processing by the UE;
a transceiver module configurable to enable device-to-device communication;
a scanning module configured to search for a device-to-device synchronization signal and to determine if a received synchronization signal satisfies a signal quality metric;
a synchronization signal broadcasting module configured to broadcast, depending upon a result of the search performed by the scanning circuitry, a synchronization signal for synchronizing data communication on at least one device-to-device communication link between any transmitting device and any receiving device within a synchronization range of the device-to-device communication circuitry; and
a radio resource information module, configured to broadcast information about radio resources for device-to-device operation.
25. The UE of claim 24, wherein the synchronization signal broadcasting module is configured to broadcast the synchronization signal using radio resources orthogonal in time to a received synchronization signal corresponding to a different synchronization source.
US15/022,893 2013-10-31 2014-09-26 Synchronization of device to device communication Abandoned US20160227496A1 (en)

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US15/730,287 Active US9999063B2 (en) 2013-10-31 2017-10-11 Resource allocation for D2D discovery in an LTE network
US15/862,181 Active US10075966B2 (en) 2013-10-31 2018-01-04 Signaling extended EARFCN and E-UTRA bands in UMTS networks
US15/942,974 Active US10251187B2 (en) 2013-10-31 2018-04-02 Resource allocation for D2D discovery in an LTE network
US15/994,154 Pending US20180317237A1 (en) 2013-10-31 2018-05-31 User equipment and methods of bearer operation for carrier aggregation
US16/003,019 Active US10397935B2 (en) 2013-10-31 2018-06-07 Radio link failure handling for dual connectivity
US16/444,416 Pending US20190306868A1 (en) 2013-10-31 2019-06-18 Wireless local area network (wlan) connectivity option discovery

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