WO2000059159A1 - Method and system for baseband delay compensation - Google Patents

Method and system for baseband delay compensation Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2000059159A1
WO2000059159A1 PCT/GB2000/001044 GB0001044W WO0059159A1 WO 2000059159 A1 WO2000059159 A1 WO 2000059159A1 GB 0001044 W GB0001044 W GB 0001044W WO 0059159 A1 WO0059159 A1 WO 0059159A1
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WO
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Prior art keywords
data portion
network
control
terminal
transmit
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PCT/GB2000/001044
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French (fr)
Inventor
John David Porter
Walter Charles Vester
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Adaptive Broadband Ltd.
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W52/00Power management, e.g. TPC [Transmission Power Control], power saving or power classes
    • H04W52/04TPC [Transmission power control]
    • H04W52/06TPC algorithms
    • H04W52/10Open loop power control
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W56/00Synchronisation arrangements
    • H04W56/004Synchronisation arrangements compensating for timing error of reception due to propagation delay

Abstract

Subscriber turnaround time in a subscriber terminal which forms part of a time division duplex network can be reduced by providing a bi-directional signal path, or alternatively a separate transmit and receive signal path, within the subscriber terminal modem. This will allow received demodulated data to be processed concurrently with data to be subsequently sent, thus reducing the baseband processing delay.

Description

Method and System for Baseband Delay Compensation

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a method and system for baseband delay compensation for use in network nodes in a data communications network.

More particularly, the present invention relates to a method and system for baseband delay compensation which can be integrated with a method and system for compensating for signal propagation delay, or with a method and system for controlling network node transmit power levels and which is of particular use in a data communications network where fast transmit turnaround between receive and transmit modes is required. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Data networks can be classified in many ways, but for the purpose of the present invention, it is useful to classify them by their means of accessing the medium over which data is communicated. The relevant classifications are broadcast and non-broadcast

An existing type of data network is Ethernet. Ethernet uses broadcast medium access. All network nodes sharing the network medium hear all traffic being passed over the medium. Traffic is directed to individual network nodes via physical layer addresses that are attached to the data packets being sent over the medium. When multiple network nodes attempt to transmit data simultaneously, there is the possibility for contention among the nodes for access to the medium.

A modification to the broadcast network is the broadcast network with hidden terminals. In this network, all terminals share the same medium, however it cannot be guaranteed that all teiminals can hear each other. All that can be guaranteed is that all terminals can hear the central network node, referred to herein as the access point. For this reason, it is not enough for each terminal simply to monitor the channel in order to detect contentions. Feedback on success or failure of network contention must also be communicated back to the network terminals by the access point.

In contrast to the above, in a non-broadcast network, the medium that connects a network node to the rest of the network can only be accessed by two devices: the network node itself, and the network switch to which it is attached. The medium itself is full duplex, so there is no possibility for contention.

A variation on the contention broadcast network is the time slotted network. In such a network fixed time slots are assigned to all nodes of the network, and the transmissions of each node are restricted to its particular assigned time slot. An example of such an arrangement of the prior art would be a Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) network.

The present invention may be employed in a data network of almost any type where a network must switch operation quickly between a receive mode and a transmit mode, and especially where the data transmitted in the transmit mode is dependent upon the data received in the immediately preceding receive mode. The present invention is particularly suited to a TDMA network with dynamic time slot assignment, as described later. Furthermore, the present invention is suitable for use in either wired or wireless networks.

The time delay between a network node receiving a signal and the node transmitting a subsequent signal is known as the turnaround time. Channel utilisation can be improved by reducing the turnaround time. The turnaround time is dominated by the propagation time of baseband signals through the network terminal's modem.

Figure 2 shows the usual time sequence of bursts in a prior art network terminal that doesn't use baseband delay compensation. Here the downstream burst (80) is received at the antenna and takes some time propagating through the RF hardware before arriving at the modem. This is the source of delay Dl. Then the signal is processed by the modem (82), which is the source of delay D2. When the symbols appear at a Network layer controller (84), it processes them and assembles an upstream burst (86). This controller processing time is the source of delay D3. Once the symbols comprising the upstream burst have been assembled, they are passed through the transmit path of the modem (88), which is the source of delay D4. Finally, there is propagation time through the transmit RF path (90), which is the source of delay D5. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The method and system of the present invention improve upon the above described arrangement by providing a bi-directional signal path within the modem. By using a bi-directional signal path, or alternatively a separate transmit and receive signal path, then turnaround time can be miαimised. According to the present invention, there is provided a method of baseband delay compensation for use in a data communications network terminal, said method comprising the steps of:- a) demodulating a first data portion received at the network terminal from RF to baseband; b) processing said demodulated first data portion in a receive path of the network terminal; c) assembling a second data portion in a transmit path of the network terminal; and d) modulating the second data portion from baseband to RF for transmission from the network terminal; wherein said method steps b) and c) are performed substantially concurrently whereby a time delay from receipt of the first data portion to transmission of the second data portion may be reduced.

The first data portion may include a control data portion, the control data portion indicating to the network terminal the expected content of the second data portion. The control data portion may be located at or near to the start of the first data portion, so that the control data is processed before any other data.

The processing step may comprise the steps of: filtering the first data portion in a receive filter path of a modem; and processing the filtered first data portion in a network control means, said network control means providing higher- layer network functions; wherein said receive filter path of the modem and the network control means together comprise the receive path of the network terminal. The assembling step may comprise the steps of: assembling the second data portion in the network control means, said network control means providing higher-layer network functions; and filtering the second data portion in a transmit filter path of the modem; wherein said control means and said transmit filter path of the modem together comprise the transmit path of the network terminal. The method may be used in a network comprising a central control node and one or more remote subscriber nodes. In such a network, the central control node may control all data traffic on the network.

The method of the present invention may be used integrally in combination with any one of or a combination of a method of compensating for signal propagation delay between network nodes, and/or a method for controlling the transmit power of network nodes.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system for baseband delay compensation for use in a data communications network terminal, said system comprising:- a) demodulation means for demodulating a first data portion received at the network terminal from RF to baseband; b) a receiver signal path means in the network terminal in which said demodulated first data portion is processed; c) a transmit signal path means in the network terminal in which a second data portion is assembled; d) modulation means for modulating the second data portion from baseband to RF for transmission from the network terminal; wherein said receive signal path means and said transmit signal path means perform their respective operations substantially concurrently, whereby a time delay from receipt of the first data portion to transmission of the second data portion may be reduced.

The receive signal path means may further include: a receiver filter path of a modem, for filtering the first data portion; and network control means in which the first filter data portion is processed, said network control means providing higher-layer network functions.

The transmit signal path means may comprise: said network control means; and a transmit filter path of the modem for filtering the second data portion; wherein said network control means are common to said receive signal path means and said transmit signal path means.

The network terminal may be a node in a network comprising a central control node and one or more remote subscriber nodes. In such a network, all data traffic on the network may be controlled by the central control node. The system of the present invention may be used integrally in combination with any one of or a combination of a system for compensating for signal propagation delay between network nodes, and/or a system for controlling the transmit power of network nodes.

The present invention has the advantage that turnaround time is minimised, and hence channel utilisation and efficiency is increased. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description of a specific embodiment thereof, in which: - Figure 1 shows a typical network deployment in which the method and system of the present invention may be used;

Figure 2 shows network terminal operation without baseband delay compensation;

Figure 3 shows a signal frame structure used in an implementation of the present invention;

Figure 4 shows the structure of a control data sub-frame used in the present invention;

Figure 5 illustrates the structure of another signal sub-frame used in the present invention;

Figure 6 illustrates network terminal operation with baseband delay compensation;

Figure 7 demonstrates network operation without propagation delay compensation; Figure 8 demonstrates the operation of the signal propagation delay method and system.

Figure 9 illustrates the sequence of messages used in the signal propagation delay method and system. DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A specific implementation of the present invention will now be described.

The method and system of the present invention are chiefly although not exclusively for use within a wireless access network deployed in a cellular configuration. Within the present particularly preferred embodiment each cell consists of a central access point and multiple subscriber units. Subscriber units communicate to the network only through the access points, making the network a point-multi point architecture. The access point is the centre of all wireless network communication for the particular cell, and thus is the locus of control of access to the wireless medium for the cell. A typical network deployment of this type is shown in Figure 1.

Communication can occur on the wireless medium in both directions, and hence a means of duplexing the wireless medium is required. Two common methods are frequency division duplexing (FDD) and time division duplexing (TDD). In the case of FDD, the medium is broken into a downstream (data originating from the access point) frequency band and an upstream frequency band (data originating at the subscriber unit). TDD breaks a single frequency band into downstream time slots and upstream time slots. The network to which the present invention is applied uses TDD. For the purpose of understanding the present invention, it is useful to view the network to which the invention is applied as consisting of multiple switches. On one end, corresponding to the access point, there is a switch with a single physical wired data port, and multiple wireless data ports. Disbursed throughout the cell are two port switches, each located at a subscriber terminal. Each subscriber terminal has a single wireless port and a single physical wired port.

In order to initiate communications over the network, a subscriber terminal must first register with an access point. During the registration process, a subscriber terminal negotiates with an access point to be assigned a temporary port identifier, referred to as a subscriber unit access identification (SU_AID). Once a subscriber terminal has been granted an SU_AID, it is capable of proceeding with higher layer signalling to gain access to the network medium.

Following registration, access of the subscriber terminals to the wireless medium is controlled through central control of the subscriber terminals by the access point. In order to achieve this the access point is provided with a medium access controller (MAC) which administers the medium control. Similarly, each remote subscriber terminal is also provided with a compatible medium access controller for responding to the central MAC in a master-slave manner: the subscriber terminals request access to the medium and the access point has the ability to grant access or fail to grant access based on the current level of network utilisation. Access to the network is granted in the form of time slots - when a subscriber terminal is granted the ability to access the wireless network medium, it is granted one or more time slots in which it can transmit. Within the granted time slot the entire medium capacity is available to the subscriber node to transmit its payload data. By referring to a medium access controller, it is to be understood that either a hardware or software based control means is envisaged and that reference to a controller as such implicitly includes reference to those control means required at both the central access point and at the subscriber terminals. In this respect, the medium access controller (MAC) therefore corresponds to those network means, whether hardware or software based, that would approximate to the Network-level and Data-level of the ISO Open Systems Interconnection 7-layer Reference Model. As an example, a suitable hardware implementation of the MAC can be achieved using a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA).

The MAC operates by controlling transmissions on the medium by the definition of a MAC frame, being the framework in which data transmissions take place. In order to fully understand the various features and advantages of the present invention as applied to this implementation, it is necessary to first describe the constituent parts of a MAC frame, followed by a description of the various data structures used in the MAC. This will be performed by reference to Figures 3 through 5

Figure 3 shows the overall structure of a single MAC frame. The MAC frame consists of a downstream portion, generated by the access point and broadcast to all subscriber terminals, and an upstream portion, which consists of a contention interval and all data bursts being sent from subscriber terminals back to the access point.

The downstream portion consists first of a preamble (102). The preamble is a Physical layer synchronization sequence of fixed length, used for frame acquisition and channel estimation. Only one preamble may occur per MAC frame. The power control method described later relies on the preamble for measuring the received signal strength of transmissions from the access point. Immediately following the preamble is the frame descriptor header (FDHDR) (104). The FDHDR describes the complete contents of the remainder of the MAC frame. The size of the FDHDR may vary. The FDHDR contains a map of all traffic, upstream and downstream, to occur within the MAC frame. After achieving bit synchronisation on the MAC frame via the preamble, subscriber terminals demodulate the FDHDR and from that gain complete knowledge of the traffic that will occur within the remainder of the frame. Only one FDHDR may occur per MAC frame. The method of the present invention relies on this knowledge, as will become apparent later. The precise contents of the FDHDR are shown in Figure 4 and described in detail in Table 1 below.

Field Tag Description SYNC Short 4 symbol sync burst.

BD cnt Bursts Downstream Count. Number of subscriber units having payload data sent to them in this MAC frame

BU_cnt Bursts Upstream Count. Number of subscriber units that will be sending payload data in this MAC frame.

AP_ID Access Point ID. Identifies the access point that originated the frame descriptor header.

RRA_cnt Reservation Request Acknowledgment Count. Number of acknowledgments being sent in response previous requests. DA_cnt Downstream Acknowledgment Count. Number of upstream cell acknowledgements being sent downstream in this MAC frame.

Downstream Identifies the subscriber unit being sent cells, the number of cells to

Map be sent, and the traffic type being sent.

RR_cnt Reservation Request count. Total number of reservation request slots that will be made available in this MAC frame.

UA_cnt Upstream Acknowledgment count. Total number of downstream cell acknowledgments being sent upstream in this MAC frame. Upstream Identifies the subscriber units that have been granted reservations,

Map the number of cells to be sent by each, and the traffic type allowed. Field Tag Description

CRC Cyclic Redundancy Check. Allows each subscriber terminal to verify correct receipt of the frame descriptor.

SU ID Subscriber Unit ID. Identifies the subscriber unit acting as the data source or sink in the burst.

Cell Cnt Cell Count. Total number of ATM cells to be sent in this particular burst.

Tr ype Traffic Type. Defines the type of traffic that the subscriber unit is allowed to send or will be receiving during the current frame.

Table 1 : Frame Descriptor Header (FDHDR) Structure

Following the FDHDR is the reservation request acknowledgement (RRA) portion 106. The RRA acknowledges a request by a subscriber for upstream time slots and can also communicate signal propagation delay. There is a single RRA for each reservation request that was made during the contention interval from the previous MAC frame, although in the case where no reservation requests were made in the previous MAC frame, then no acknowledgements will be sent. The precise contents of the RRA are shown in Figure 5 and described in detail in Table 2 below.

Field Tag Description

Sync 8 bit framing synchronization sequence SU_ID ID of the subscriber unit that originated the reservation request, and to which the reservation request acknowledgment is directed.

RTRN Return Code. Communicates reservation status to SUs and SU AID status to SUs performing registration.

DELAY Delay compensation bits. These bits are assigned during subscriber unit registration and cause a shift in subscriber unit timing.

CRC Cyclic Redundancy Code. Used by the subscriber unit to verify that the frame has been received error free. Table 2 : Reservation Request Acknowledgement (RRA) Structure

The DELAY field is particularly pertinent to the method of propagation delay compensation, as described later.

Following the RRA comes the Downstream Acknowledgement (DACK) portion 108 containing DACK cells. Each DACK cell contains a downstream ack or nack of a single upstream burst from a previous MAC frame. There is a single DACK cell for each upstream burst from the previous MAC frame, although in the event that there were no previous upstream bursts then no DACKs will be sent. Following the DACK portion comes the Downstream Burst (109).

The MAC operates on a principle of cell bursts for communicating payload data between the access point and the subscriber terminals by allowing multiple cells of data to be sent to or from a particular subscriber unit at a time. A burst must always consist of at least one cell. In upstream bursts, this single cell must be an upstream cell with reservation request (UCELLR) (118). Additional cells in the upstream burst are in the format of a UCELL - an upstream cell without reservation request (120). Upstream cells are discussed in more detail later. Downstream bursts can also consist of multiple cells, but there is only one type - the downstream cell (DCELL) 110. There can be many DCELLs - either several directed to a single subscriber terminal, or several directed to several subscriber terminals. Each DCELL contains one ATM cell of payload data. Currently the MAC allows bursts to have a maximum size of six cells, although more or less cells may be designated per burst if required in a future implementation without departing from the scope of the present invention. The downstream burst concludes the downstream portion transmitted by the access point and received at all subscriber terminals. There then follows a slight delay due to subscriber turnaround time (STT) 112. The STT varies with distance to the farthest subscriber unit. A typical maximum distance to a subscriber unit could be, for example, 5km, although this obviously depends on the network configuration and the size of each network cell. Miiiimisation of the STT is the purpose of the present invention.

Following the STT comes the Upstream Portion of the MAC frame, being data transmitted from the subscriber units to the access point. The entire expected structure of the upstream portion has already been communicated to each and every subscriber terminal in the FDHDR transmitted in the downstream portion. Therefore, each subscriber terminal knows whether or not it is permitted to transmit in the upstream portion, what data it is to transmit, and when it is to transmit this data. In this way absolute control of the contents of the upstream portion can be controlled by the access point. With such a mechanism, however, it becomes necessary to define a period in which subscriber terminals can first communicate a request for transmission permission to the access point, without which no subsequent permission would ever be granted. This period forms the first part of the upstream portion, being the subscriber reservation request (SRR) portion 114. The SRR is a contention based reservation request interval. If a subscriber terminal has been sitting idle with empty data queues, the arrival of a burst of data on its physical port will force it to request a time slot reservation from the access point. Because the subscriber terminal has no active reservations, and because it is believed that at any given time the number of terminals making initial bandwidth requests will be small, it is reasonable to force the subscriber terminals to contend for reservations. This contention window is kept as small as possible while still allowing reasonable success probability by employing a novel implementation of aloha contention control schemes. Once the subscriber terminal's reservation request has been acknowledged by the access point, the subscriber terminal ceases requesting bandwidth in the contention slots, allowing other teraiinals access to the contention interval. The number of SRR' s that may occur in one MAC frame is communicated to the subscriber terminals in the FDHDR. Multiple slots can be made available during times of heavy request traffic. Furthermore, the start of the contention interval can be calculated by the subscriber terminals by virtue of the FDHDR indicating to each terminal the number of RRAs, DACKs and the structure of the downstream burst in the subsequent downstream portion of the MAC frame. The contention interval then begins immediately after the end of the downstream burst, allowing for the STT. Following the contention interval comes the upstream acknowledgement portion 116, containing upstream acknowledgement (UACK) cells of each downstream burst received during the downstream portion. Each UACK indicates upstream ack or nack of a single downstream burst from a previous MAC frame. As many UACKs may be transmitted in each upstream acknowledgement portion as there were downstream bursts in the downstream portion.

Following the upstream acknowledgement portion comes the upstream burst portion 122, containing cell bursts from subscriber units which were granted permission in the FDHDR to transmit payload data to the access point. The FDHDR from the downstream portion contains the instructions to the subscriber terminals on when to transmit a burst in the upstream burst portion, and what the burst is expected to contain. Each upstream burst contains one or more data cells with the same traffic type being sent from a particular subscriber terminal. Each upstream burst made in the upstream burst portion may be from a different subscriber unit, or alternatively may be from the same subscriber unit, depending upon the channel allocations granted to the subscriber units. In this way channel allocations can be dynamically arranged between the subscriber terminals from MAC frame to MAC frame, depending on the network traffic loading and the traffic priority. As mentioned earlier, each upstream burst must contain a single upstream cell with reservation request (UCELLR) 118, and zero or more upstream cells without reservation request (UCELL) 120. The condition that a burst must contain a UCELLR allows a subscriber terminal to maintain its channel reservation until all of its payload data has been sent, thus meaning that the subscriber teπninal need not transmit again during the contention interval to request channel allocation to transmit the remainder of its data. This combination of the reservation maintenance request and the upstream cell into one message allows a single downstream acknowledgement to serve as both reservation maintenance request acknowledgement and payload cell acknowledgement, thus improving bandwidth efficiency.

Having described the full contents of the MAC frame, the baseband delay compensation method and system of the present invention will now be more fully described.

As mentioned earlier, the downstream portion of the MAC frame includes the frame descriptor header, which describes completely the contents of the entire MAC frame. Each network terminal that demodulates the frame map knows where and when in the upstream burst it must transmit its burst. As such, it is possible for each network terminal to prepare its upstream bursts in advance of the time at which they are to go over the air. Signal propagation time through the transmit portion of the modem is dominated by delay through the FIR pulse shaping filter. By using a separate transmit and receive path through the network terminal modem and sending the transmit symbols through the modem early, it is possible to have filtered baseband signal present at the RF modulator input precisely at the time the transmitter has stabilized.

Figure 6 demonstrates the operation of a network terminal using such compensation. The same reference numerals as in Figure 2 are used to demonstrate the order and timing in which the identical operations of Figure 2 are performed using the present method of baseband compensation. With reference to Figure 6, the upstream burst is assembled (86) before the complete downstream burst has arrived at the MAC (84). This is possible because the network teπninal has received a frame descriptor header, which has informed the network terminal far in advance exactly what to transmit and when. The network terminal starts the upstream burst through the transmit processing chain far enough in advance so that it passes through the RF portion (90) of the terminal just at the time the RF portion has stabilized in switching from receive to transmit operation. This allows the network terminal to operate with the minimum turnaround delay time of TT, equal to the receive-to-transmit switching time of the RF portion An open-loop transmission power control method and system will now be described, which can be used integrally in combination with the above described method and system of the present invention.

Strictly speaking, a wireless network does not require a power control mechanism in order to function. The access point receiver could use Automatic Gain Control (AGC) and a wide dynamic range receiver to receive each burst. However, this would require a long period of energy at the front of each upstream burst, used strictly for AGC loop stabilization. An alternative power control scheme could use the access point receiver to measure the received signal strength from each subscriber terminal, then send a power control message to each network terminal to increase or decrease its power. However, this scheme suffers from closed loop dynamics, plus reduces network bandwidth efficiency slightly. It also suffers from startup power control loop transients, since the first time the subscriber teπninal transmits, it has not yet received any power control information. The method and system of open loop power control to be described herein works on the following principle. The power level of the downstream burst arriving from the access point is measured and used to set the upstream transmit power of the network subscriber terminal, before the subscriber terminal has ever first transmitted. The advantage of this scheme is that, because it is not closed loop, the control scheme is instantly stable. Furthermore, because the subscriber terminal measures the received power on each downstream burst, it is capable of tracking rapid changes in signal propagation as the rate at which downstream bursts are sent is greater than the fading rate of the channel. Moreover, because the subscriber terminal measures the received signal power of a downstream burst before ever transmitting, there are no initial transients in the power control scheme. The first time the subscriber terminal transmits, it does so at the proper power level.

In addition to the above, the access point's tolerance of adjacent channel interferers is improved, since A/D dynamic range in the receiver is not spent on accommodating wide variations in received signal power. Furthermore, since the network terminal dynamically tracks the signal propagation conditions, transmit power of the network terminal can be reduced to the minimum necessary for acceptable error rates at the access point. This enables efficient power usage at the network terminals, which enables battery powered terminals. Finally, power estimation is done quickly enough to track dynamic fading channel conditions.

As stated before, the sync burst of the MAC frame (the PREAMBLE) is used for open loop power control. The network terminal measures the total energy of the downstream burst, then uses it as an index into a lookup table of transmit power attenuator settings. The indexed value in the lookup table is selected, and the transmitted power is attenuated by the value in the transmission circuitry. By doing so, the network terminal is able to make the received signal strength of the upstream bursts, as seen by the access point, match to within 3 dB of the received signal strength of the downstream bursts as seen at the subscriber terminal. When the subscriber terminal is not actively transmitting, it is searching the channel for the downstream synchronization burst of the MAC frame. Therefore the subscriber terminal is constantly monitoring the channel and thus is always able to transmit at the proper power level, even in dynamic channels. Because this scheme uses a simple lookup table, it is easy to implement in a high speed network, and provides the numerous advantages listed earlier.

A method and system for compensating for signal propagation delay between network nodes will now be described, which can be integrally combined with the method and system of the present invention.

The distribution of subscriber terminals throughout the cell can cause a problem due to the fact that as terminals may be located anywhere within the coverage area of the cell, upstream bursts from the teraiinals may be offset by an unknown amount of time and will arrive at the access point at an unknown signal power level. In this situation, a guard time equal to twice the maximum propagation time over the cell radius must separate each burst, since the network has no knowledge from where in space each burst will originate. The problem will be illustrated further with reference to Figures 1 and 7

Within Figure 1, a central access point 2 provides access to a wide area network (not shown) for a number of subscriber terminals 4. The subscriber terminals may be scattered throughout the access point cell coverage area. The cell coverage area may further be split into sectors 3 and 5 wherein each sector is covered by a different frequency. Now consider one sector containing subscriber terminals 6, 8, and 10, each respectively further from the access point than the last. With reference to Figure 7, it is apparent that each particular upstream burst slot 20 must have allotted an amount of time coπesponding to the sum of a guard time 21 and a burst time 23. The first upstream burst slot 20 follows immediately from the downstream burst 25, allowing for RF turnaround time 27. As the access point does not know how far away the terminal which has been allotted that particular upstream burst slot is, the guard time must be provided to allow for the maximum signal propagation delay across the cell. For example, if burst slot 20 has been allotted to terminal 6, then the burst 14 from terminal 6 begins to arrive only a little after the start of the guard time, as shown by the arrow 302. However, if the burst slot 20 is allotted to terminal 10, then the signal propagation delay from terminal 10 to the access point causes the upstream burst 18 from terminal 10 to begin to arrive at the end of the guard time, as shown by the arrow 304. Where the subsequent burst slot 22 is then allotted to a different terminal (e.g. terminal 6), there is the possibility that signals from the first burst slot (i.e. from terminal 10) and the subsequent burst slot (i.e. from terminal 6) could arrive at the access point concuπently, thus corrupting each signal. In order to avoid this, guard times must be provided between burst. This clearly reduces overall transmission efficiency, as a significant portion of each upstream burst slot must be vacant.

The method and system to be described overcomes this problem by providing a method and system which compensates for the differences in signal propagation delay by causing each subscriber terminal to artificially simulate being at the same distance from the access point as every other subscriber terminal. This eliminates the need for guard times between each subsequent slot, as the propagation delays are simply forced to be the same for every subsequent transmission. In this manner, only one guard time is required at the start of the very first upstream burst slot to allow for the very first propagation delay. Subsequent burst slots then do not require guard times as the delay is always the same. The removal of the requirement for guard times means that channel efficiency is improved.

The method and system have the advantage that time delay compensation is achieved without using any additional network bandwidth. The control loop is also open, and as such has no unwanted dynamics or transients.

There is a further advantage in that the method of time delay compensation maximizes the network's bandwidth efficiency, since the guard times between upstream bursts can be eliminated. Figure 9 illustrates the sequence of messages passed between the access point (70) and a particular subscriber terminal (72) during network terminal registration, which is the period in which both power control and delay compensation are performed. At the front of the downstream portion of the MAC frame is the frame synchronization burst (the PREAMBLE). The access point transmits the downstream portion (71) of the MAC frame periodically, even when there is no traffic to be sent within the network. When the network terminal is first powered on, it searches for this burst. The subscriber teπninal uses the preamble of the downstream burst to synchronise with the burst, and then receives and de-modulates the FDHDR to locate the upstream contention interval. The method of open-loop power control described earlier is then performed, to ensure that all subsequent signals are transmitted back to the access point at a suitable power level so as not to saturate the access point's receiver, nor at such a low power level that the bit error rate is unacceptable. Following power control, the terminal transmits back a bandwidth reservation request (73) for network bandwidth within the contention window of the upstream portion of the current frame.

This first reservation request 73 transmitted by the subscriber terminal will be compensated in power level but uncompensated in time delay. The access point MAC starts a countdown timer at the beginning of the contention interval, whose purpose is to measure the amount of compensation needed by any subscriber terminal that may transmit within the contention interval. When the subscriber terminal's transmission 73 arrives, the compensation value is taken directly from the countdown timer and placed in the DELAY field of the reservation request acknowledgement 75 sent back to the terminal.

The terminal receives the RRA and reads the delay value from the DELAY field. The terminal then continues to monitor the downstream bursts. Some time later, the access point sends the terminal a reservation grant by including the terminal's SU_ID in the upstream burst map of the FDHDR. The teπninal therefore now knows that it is permitted to transmit in the upstream burst of the present MAC frame. However, when doing so the subscriber terminal now delays its transmission by the measured value previously communicated to it in the DELAY field, so that the burst arrives at the access point aligned in time with other upstream bursts. Figure 8 illustrates how the various delays achieve time alignment.

With reference to Figure 8, it will be seen that following a downstream burst 25 and RF turnaround time 27, a first time slot 20 is defined which consists of a single guard time 21 and a upstream burst slot 23. A second upstream burst slot 24 then immediately follows the slot 23, with no guard time in between. In order for respective upstream bursts 12 and 18 from subscriber teπninals 6 and 10 (c.f. Figure 1) to arrive at the access point in consecutive time alignment with the allotted upstream burst slots, each subscriber terminal must apply a single delay to its transmission coπesponding to its respective measured delay value. An example with reference to Figure 8 will make this clearer.

In Figure 8, assume that the terminal 6 has been allocated the first upstream burst slot 23, and teπninal 10 has been allocated the second upstream burst slot 24. As terminal 6 is relatively close to the access point, the propagation delay from the terminal to the access point is small and hence a large delay 62 is applied before transmission to cause the upstream burst 12 to arrive at the access point at the end of the guard time 21 and hence in time-alignment with the first burst slot 23. If the first burst slot 23 had been assigned to terminal 8, then a smaller delay 4 would have been applied before transmission, as the terminal 8 is further from the access point than terminal 6. If the first burst slot 23 had been assigned to the terminal 10 located near the cell edge 29, then no delay would be applied, as the propagation delay from teπninal 10 to the AP is equal to the guard time 21.

Now consider the upstream burst 18 from terminal 10, which has been allocated the second upstream burst slot 24. Terminal 10 must transmit the burst 18 at an appropriate time to arrive at the AP precisely after the upstream burst 12 has arrived from terminal 6. Now, recalling that each terminal in the network has full knowledge of all the upstream cell bursts to be transmitted from every other terminal in the cell during the present MAC frame, terminal 10 will know the duration of the preceding burst slot 23 for terminal 6, and hence will be able to transmit its own upstream burst 18 at the appropriate time to arrive at the AP at the start of the slot 24. As terminal 10 is on the cell edge, it does not apply any delay prior to measuring the preceding slot 23 and transmitting its own burst 18 to arrive in time-alignment with slot 24. If, for example, teπninal 8 had been allocated slot 24, then the delay 64 would have been applied before starting to measure the preceding slot 23 and the subsequent transmission of its own burst 14. Similarly, terminal 6 would apply the delay 62 in the same manner. In this way precise time ahgnment can be achieved from burst to burst, whilst allowing for the differences in signal propagation delay between each terminal and the access point.

It will thus be apparent that only one delay need be applied per MAC frame for each subsequent upstream burst in the upstream portion of the present MAC frame to arrive at the AP in time-alignment with their respective allocated slots. The respective delays for each terminal must always be applied at the very start of each overall upstream burst portion 122 (c.f. Figure 3) in each MAC frame.

The delay compensation scheme as described herein presents very little network overhead. Since the network terminal must pass the bandwidth request to the network teπninal anyway, the delay compensation scheme is implemented using very little additional bandwidth. The only additional bandwidth required is the DELAY field of the reservation request acknowledgement downstream burst.

The method and system of the present invention may be integrally combined with either or both of the above described methods of open-loop transmit power control or signal propagation delay compensation.

The detailed description of the particularly preferred embodiment of the present invention presented above has refeπed to various of the data cells, and in particular various of the data payload cells as being ATM cells. It is to be understood that the data cells need not be ATM cells exclusively, but may instead be data cells of a different structure which still satisfy and support ATM quality of service requirements. In this case, such data cells of a different structure are ATM compatible data cells.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A method of baseband delay compensation for use in a data communications network terminal, said method comprising the steps ofi- a) demodulating a first data portion received at the network terminal from RF to baseband; b) processing said demodulated first data portion in a receive path of the network terminal; c) assembling a second data portion in a transmit path of the network terminal; and d) modulating the second data portion from baseband to RF for transmission from the network terminal; wherein said method steps b) and c) are performed substantially concuπently whereby a time delay from receipt of the first data portion to transmission of the second data portion may be reduced.
2. A method according to claim 1 wherein said first data portion includes a control data portion, said control data portion indicating to the network terminal the expected content of the second data portion.
3. A method according to claim 2, wherein said control data portion is located at or near to the start of said first data portion, whereby said control data portion is processed at step b) substantially before the remainder of the first data portion is received and processed.
4. A method according to claim 3, wherein said second data portion is assembled at step c) in response to the control data portion, and wherein said assembling step c) commences after said control data portion has been processed, so that said assembling step c) is performed concurrently with the processing of that remainder of the first data portion located within said first data portion after the control data portion.
5. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said processing step b) comprises the steps ofi- a) filtering the first data portion in a receive filter path of a modem; and b) processing the filtered first data portion in a network control means, said network control means providing higher-layer network functions ; wherein said receive filter path of the modem and the network control means together comprise the receive path of the network terminal.
6. A method according to any of the preceding claims wherein said assembling step c) comprises the steps ofi- a) assembling the second data portion in the network control means, said network control means providing higher-layer network functions; and b) filtering the second data portion in a transmit filter path of the modem; wherein said control means and said transmit filter path of the modem together comprise the transmit path of the network terminal.
7. A method according to any of the preceding claims wherein said network terminal is a node in a network comprising a central control node and one or more remote subscriber nodes.
8. A method according to claim 7, wherein all data traffic on said network is controlled by the central control node.
9. A method according to any of the preceding claims, in combination with a method of compensating for signal propagation delay between network nodes.
10. A method according to any of the preceding claims in combination with a method of transmit power control.
11. A system for baseband delay compensation for use in a data communications network teπninal, said system comprising: - a) demodulation means for demodulating a first data portion received at the network terminal from RF to baseband; b) a receiver signal path means in the network terminal in which said demodulated first data portion is processed; c) a transmit signal path means in the network terminal in which a second data portion is assembled; d) modulation means for modulating the second data portion from baseband to RF for transmission from the network terminal; wherein said receive signal path means and said transmit signal path means for their respective operations substantially concurrently, whereby a time delay from receipt of the first data portion to transmission of the second data portion may be reduced.
12. A system according to claim 11 wherein said first data portion includes a control data portion, said control data portion indicating to the network terminal the expected content of the second data portion.
13. A system according to claim 12, wherein said control data portion is located at or near to the start of said first data portion, whereby said receive signal path means processes said control data portion substantially before the remainder of the first data portion.
14. A system according to claim 13, wherein said second data portion is assembled by said transmit signal path means in response to the control data portion and wherein said assembling commences after said control data portion has been processed by said receive signal path means, so that said assembling is performed concurrently with the processing of that remainder of the first data portion located within said first data portion after the control data portion.
15. A system according to any of claims 11 to 14 wherein said receive signal path means further comprises :- a) a receiver filter path of a modem, for filtering the first data portion; and b) network control means in which the first filter data portion is processed, said network control means providing higher- layer network functions.
16. A system according to claim 15 wherein said transmit signal path means further comprise:- a) said network control means; and b) a transmit filter path of the modem for filtering the second data portion; wherein said network control means are common to said receive signal path means and said transmit signal path means.
17. A system according to any of claims 11 to 16 wherein said network terminal is a node in a network comprising a central control node and one or more remote subscriber nodes.
18. A system according to claim 17, wherein all data traffic on said network is controlled by the central control node.
19. A system according to any of claims 11 to 18 in combination with a system for compensating for signal propagation delay between network nodes.
20. A system according to any of claims 11 to 19 in combination with a system for controlling transmit power levels of network nodes.
PCT/GB2000/001044 1999-03-31 2000-03-21 Method and system for baseband delay compensation WO2000059159A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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GB9907486A GB2348582B (en) 1999-03-31 1999-03-31 Method and system for baseband delay compensation

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WO1989010044A1 (en) * 1988-04-14 1989-10-19 Motorola, Inc. Paging system with interleaved acknowledge back capability
EP0529269A2 (en) * 1991-08-23 1993-03-03 International Business Machines Corporation Battery efficient operation of scheduled access protocol
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GB2348582A (en) 2000-10-04 application
GB9907486D0 (en) 1999-05-26 grant
GB2348582B (en) 2004-03-03 grant

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