WO2001022715A1 - Method and apparatus for linking multiple modems through a single access point - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for linking multiple modems through a single access point Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001022715A1
WO2001022715A1 PCT/US2000/010623 US0010623W WO0122715A1 WO 2001022715 A1 WO2001022715 A1 WO 2001022715A1 US 0010623 W US0010623 W US 0010623W WO 0122715 A1 WO0122715 A1 WO 0122715A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
modem
computer
computer system
slave
gateway
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2000/010623
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Jonathan J. Howard
Original Assignee
Legerity, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US40168499A priority Critical
Priority to US09/401,684 priority
Application filed by Legerity, Inc. filed Critical Legerity, Inc.
Publication of WO2001022715A1 publication Critical patent/WO2001022715A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M11/00Telephonic communication systems adapted for combination with other electrical systems
    • H04M11/06Simultaneous speech and telegraphic or other data transmission over the same conductors
    • H04M11/062Simultaneous speech and telegraphic or other data transmission over the same conductors using different frequency bands for speech and other data

Abstract

The present invention provides for a method and an apparatus for networking a plurality of computer systems. A gateway modem (120) is coupled to a first computer system (210). A first slave modem (130) is electronically coupled to the gateway modem (120) and coupled to a second computer system (250). The first computer (210) is capable of accessing the second computer system (250). A second slave modem (140) is electronically coupled to the gateway modem (120) and coupled to a third computer system (260). The first computer (210) is capable of accessing the third computer system (260).

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR LINKING MULTIPLE MODEMS THROUGH A SINGLE ACCESS POINT

TECHNICAL FIELD This invention relates generally to telecommunications using computer systems, and, more particularly, to linking multiple modem connections through one access point.

BACKGROUND ART Advancements in telecommunications technology and computer technology have facilitated developments of new methods for combining the two technologies. Computer technology can be used to enhance telecommunication applications. Particularly, advancements in digital technology applications for telecommunications have created the need for innovative methods of implementing telecommunications solutions using computers. One development that allows the implementations of computer technology in telecommunications is the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) concept. Digital Subscriber Line technology comes in many different flavors (xDSL). Modems, which are integral parts of computer systems, have been adapted to use traditional and xDSL telephone technologies for computer communications.

The Plain Old Telephone System (POTS), which was designed primarily for voice communication, provides an inadequate data transmission rate for many modern applications. To meet the demand for high-speed communications, designers have sought innovative and cost-effective solutions that take advantage of the existing network infrastructure. Several technological advancements have been proposed in the telecommunications industry that make use of the existing network of telephone wires. One promising technology is the xDSL technology. xDSL is making the existing network of telephone lines more robust and versatile. Once considered virtually unusable for broadband communications, an ordinary twisted pair equipped with DSL interfaces can transmit video, television, and very high-speed data. The fact that more than six hundred million telephone lines exist around the world is a compelling reason to use these lines as the primary transmission conduits for at least several more decades. Because DSL utilizes telephone wiring already installed in virtually every home and business in the world, it has been embraced by many as a promising and viable option.

There are now at least four popular versions of DSL technology, namely Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), Integrated Services Digital Network Digital Subscriber Line (IDSL), Very High-Speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL), and Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL). Although each technology is generally directed to different types of users, they all share certain characteristics. For example, all four DSL systems utilize the existing, ubiquitous telephone wiring infrastructure, deliver greater bandwidth, and operate by employing special digital signal processing. Because the aforementioned technologies are well known in the art, they will not be described in detail herein. DSL technologies and POTS can co-exist in one line (e.g., also referred to as "subscriber line").

Traditional analog voice band interfaces use the same frequency band, 0-4 Kilohertz (KHz), as telephone service, thereby preventing concurrent voice and data use. A DSL interface, on the other hand, operates at frequencies above the voice channels, from 100 KHz to 1.1 Megahertz (MHz). Thus, a single DSL line is capable of offering simultaneous channels for voice and data. DSL systems use digital signal processing (DSP) to increase throughput and signal quality through common copper telephone wire. It provides a downstream data transfer rate from the DSL Point-of-Presence (POP) to the subscriber location at speeds of up to 1. 5 Megabits per second (MBPS). The transfer rate of 1.5 MBPS, for instance, is fifty times faster than a conventional 28.8 kilobits per second (KBPS) transfer rate.

Although modems have been adapted to utilize the POTS and xDSL communication schemes, multiple modem communication systems have yet to be adequately refined. Furthermore, substantial improvements are needed so that telecommunication technology can adequately support efficient computer system networking. New, lower cost methods of computer system networking can improve quality and efficiency of computer usage. New systems that efficiently handle teleconferencing, video conferencing, etc., through DSL, POTS, and computer network lines, would greatly benefit the telecommunication industry and all other entities that rely on telecommunications. The present invention is directed to overcoming, or at least reducing the effects of, one or more of the problems set forth above.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

In one aspect of the present invention, a method is provided for networking a plurality of computer systems. A first modem is configured as a gateway modem. A second modem is configured as a slave modem and the second modem is electronically coupled to the first modem. A third modem is configured as a slave modem and the third modem is electronically coupled to the first modem. A first computer system is electronically coupled to the first modem. A second computer system is electronically coupled to the second slave modem. A third computer system is electronically coupled to the third slave modem. Data from the first computer system is routed to at least one of the second and third computer systems through the first modem and at least one of the second and third slave modes, respectively. Data is routed to the first computer system from at least one of the second and third computer systems through at least one of the second and third slave modems, respectively, and the first modem.

In another aspect of the present invention, an apparatus is provided for networking a plurality of computer systems. The apparatus provided by the present invention comprises: a gateway modem coupled to a first computer system; a first slave modem electronically coupled to the gateway modem and coupled to a second computer system, wherein the first computer is capable of accessing the second computer system; and a second slave modem electronically coupled to the gateway modem and coupled to a third computer system, wherein the first computer is capable of accessing the third computer system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention may be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:

Figure 1 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention: an inter-link between a POTS/xDSL communication system, a gateway modem, and other slave modems;

Figure 2 illustrates a block diagram of the many sources and communication paths of signals that are transmitted and received using the principles of the present invention;

Figure 3 illustrates a communications link, using the principles of the present invention, between three separate buildings within an organization, such as a corporation with multiple office-locations;

Figure 4 illustrates the computer network communication link described in Figure 3 in further detail; and Figure 5 illustrates the internal network communications system link described in Figure 3 in further detail. While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

MODE(S) FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. In the interest of clarity, not all features of an actual implementation are described in this specification. It will of course be appreciated that in the development of any such actual embodiment, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which will vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.

The use of telecommunication systems in the field of computer technology has improved computer usage and computer communications. Implementing computer-related solutions for telecommunication technology can result in improvements in the quality and efficiency of communication applications. The present invention provides for a method of linking POTS communication with computer systems. Modems are generally used with computers for data communications. The present invention provides for the concept of a gateway modem that facilitates the interconnection of multiple modems for computer network-like communications between multiple computers. The present invention allows for modem communications over POTS communication systems and xDSL communication systems, to be used for networking. The methods described by the present invention may be implemented through software, hardware, of firmware technologies. The methods described by the present invention may also be implemented by any combination of software, hardware, and firmware technologies.

Turning now to Figure 1, one embodiment of the present invention is illustrated. Communication signals from a POTS communication system 110 are sent to a gateway modem 120, which is configured as a master modem. The gateway modem 120 is electrically connected to a first slave modem 130, a second slave modem 140, a third slave modem 150, and an Nth slave modem 160. The first through Nth slave modems 130, 140, 150, 160 respond to data protocols from the gateway modem 120. The gateway modem 120 communicates with the slave modems 130, 140, 150, 160 through normal modem protocols that are known by those skilled in the art. Communications from the POTS communication system 110 to several computers (not shown) can take place through the gateway modem 120. A more detailed embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in Figure 2.

Turning now to Figure 2, a communications link between a first computer system 210, a central switching office 230, and a gateway modem 120 is shown. The first computer system 210 is coupled with a first modem 220. In one embodiment, the first computer system 210 through the Nth computer system 280 may be comprised of a Macintosh system, a UNIX system, a PC system, a VAX system, a Workstation system, or any other system employed by those skilled in the art. Communications from the computer system 210 is sent and received through the first modem 220. The first modem 220 is connected through a telecommunication line to the central switching office 230. A gateway modem 120, which is a master modem, is connected to a communication line connected to the central switching office 230. In one embodiment, the first modem 220 and the gateway modem 120 are POTS signal modems, and the communication line connected to the central switching office 230 is capable of carrying POTS signals. In an alternative embodiment, the first modem 220 and the gateway modem 120 are xDSL modems, and the communication line connected to the central switching office 230 is capable of carrying xDSL signals.

The gateway modem 120 is capable of communicating with the first, second, third, and Nth slave modems 130, 140, 150, 160. In one embodiment, the gateway modem 120 communicates with the first slave modem 130 through the Nth slave modem 160 through a computer network 240. The computer network 240, in one embodiment, is the world Internet system. The gateway modem 120 can communicate with the first slave modem 130 through the Nth slave modem 160 through the computer network 240 by addressing schemes that are known by those skilled in the art and have the benefit of the disclosure of the present invention.

The first computer system 210 communicates with the second, third, fourth, and Nth computer systems 250, 260, 270, 280 through the gateway modem 120, which communicates with the slave modems 130, 140, 150,

160. In one example, the first computer 210 can upload a computer file to the third computer system 260 by addressing the third computer system 260 using an addressing protocol known by those skilled in the art. The first computer system 210 will "dial-up" the third computer system 260. The computer file is then sent through the first modem 220 and onto the communication line connected to the central switching office 230. The data then travels through the central switching line 230 to the gateway modem 120. In one embodiment, the communication between the first computer system 210 and the gateway modem 120 may be completed in an xDSL format, or, in an alternative embodiment, it may be completed in a POTS format.

The gateway modem 120 then addresses the second slave modem 140 and sends the data file that is to be stored in the third computer system 260 to the second slave modem 140 through the computer network 240. The communication between the gateway modem 120 and the second slave modem 140, in one embodiment, is an out- of-band communication. In other words, the transfer of data signals between the gateway modem 120 and the second slave modem 140 is completed in a frequency band that is neither a POTS signal band nor an xDSL band, such as high-speed data transfer. The data file is then transferred from the second slave modem 140 to the third computer system 260, which was the intended recipient of the data file. The third computer system 260 can then send a confirmation data signal or another data file back to the first computer system 210 through the second slave modem 140, the computer network 240, the gateway modem 120, the central switching office 230, the first modem 220, and finally, to the first computer system 210. The first computer system 210 can also send and receive files to and from the third, fourth, and the Nth computer systems 260, 270, 280. The two-way communications between the first computer system 210 and the second through Nth computer systems 250, 260, 270, 280 amount to network style communications, without using normal network protocol, such as communications through network PC cards. Computer networking using telecommunications eliminates many expensive network devices and equipment, such as network PC cards, special network wiring, and networking software.

One example of an application of the present invention is illustrated in Figure 3. In one embodiment of the present invention, inter-organization communications between multiple locations can be achieved using a computer network 240. Turning now to Figure 3, a communications link between three separate buildings within an organization, such as a corporation with multiple office locations, is illustrated. A computer network 240, such as an Internet link, may be utilized as a medium of signal transmission between building-A 310, building-B 320, and building-C 330. One embodiment of the communication link described in Figure 3 is illustrated in further detail in Figure 4. Turning now to Figure 4, computer communications from a computer system-A 410 is sent through a modem-A 420 into the computer network 240. In one embodiment, the computer network 240 is the Internet. In an alternative embodiment, the computer network 240 is an internal network. The modem-A 420 is a gateway modem that facilitates communications with multiple buildings through a modem-B 430 and a modem-C 450. The computer system-A 410, in conjunction with the modem-A 420, facilitates communications between the building-

A 310 and the building-B 320, through a computer system-B 440 and a modem-B 430. Communications between the building-A 310 and the building-C 330 is facilitated by the computer system-A 410, in conjunction with the modem-A 420, through a computer system-C 460 and a modem-C 450. In one embodiment, the modems-A, B and C 420, 430, 450 are xDSL modems and the computer network 240 is capable of carrying xDSL signals. In an alternative embodiment, the modems-A, B and C 420, 430, 450 are POTS modems and the computer network 240 is capable of carrying POTS signals.

Data from the computer system-A 410 is transmitted to the building-B 320 and the building-C 330 through the modem-A 420. The modem-A 420 is also capable of receiving data from the modem-B 430 and the modem-C 450. Therefore, an operator using the computer system-A 410 will have access to the computer system- B 440 and the computer system-C 460 through the modems-A, B and C 420, 430, 450. The computer systems-B and C 440, 460 can also be programmed to utilize their respective modems, the modems-B and C 430, 450, as gateway modems. Therefore, an operator using the computer system-B 440 or the computer system-C 460 will be able to gain access to other interconnected computers. Thus, using the concept of the gateway modem, the building-A 310, the building-B 320, and the building-C 330 are interconnected for communication purposes. Similarly, the gateway modem concept can be adapted to interconnect other locations using wireless or wired communications.

Another example of an embodiment of the communication link described in Figure 3 is illustrated in Figure 5. Turning now to Figure 5, inter-organization communications between multiple locations can be achieved using a server based internal network 510. A communications link between three separate buildings within an organization, such as a corporation with multiple office locations, is illustrated in Figure 5. A server based internal network 510 may be utilized as a medium of signal transmission between the building-A 310, the building-B 320, and the building-C 330. The concept of the gateway modem taught by the present invention can be utilized to interconnect the building-A 310, the building-B 320, and the building-C 330. The computer system-A 410, in conjunction with the modem-A 420, facilitates communications between the building-A 310 and the building-B 320, through the computer system-B 440 and the modem-B 430. Communications between the building-A 310 and the building-C 330 is facilitated by the computer system-A 410, in conjunction with the modem-A 420, through the computer system-C 460 and the modem-C 450.

Information from the computer system-A 410 is transmitted to the building-B 320 and the building-C 330 through the server based internal network 510. Data from the computer system-A 410 is sent to the modem-A 420 and transmitted to a first server modem 520 located in the server based internal network 510. The data from the computer system-A 410 is then sent to the building-B 320 and the building-C 330 through the second server modem 530. Data from the second server modem 530 is transmitted to the modem-B 430 and the modem-C 450. Therefore, an operator using the computer system-A 410 will have access to the computer system-B 440 and the computer system-C 460 through the modems-A, B and C 420, 430, 450. Similarly, the computer systems-B and C 440, 460 can also be programmed to utilize their respective modems, the modems-B and C 430, 450, as gateway modems. Therefore, an operator using the computer system- B 440 or the computer system-C 460 will be able to gain access to other interconnected computers. Thus, using the concept of the gateway modem in the present example, the building-A 310, the building-B 320, and the building-C 330 are interconnected for communication purposes. Computer operators using computer systems in various buildings of an organization can have access to other computers that are interconnected through modems. Using the gateway modem concept described in the present invention, modems can be utilized as networking tools to interconnect multiple computer systems. Using modems and computer network systems such as the Internet, networking between remote locations can be achieved in an efficient and low-cost manner.

The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the protection sought herein is as set forth in the claims below.

Claims

1. A method for networking a plurality of computer systems, comprising: configuring a first modem (120) as a gateway modem; configuring a second modem (130) as a slave modem, electronically coupled to said first modem (120); configuring a third modem (140) as a slave modem, electronically coupled to said first modem (120); coupling electronically, a first computer system (210) to said first modem (120); coupling electronically, a second computer system (250) to said second slave modem (130); coupling electronically, a third computer system (260) to said third slave modem (140); routing data from said first computer system (210) to at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) through said first modem (120) and at least one of said second and third slave modems (130, 140), respectively; and routing data to said first computer system (210) from at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) through at least one of said second and third slave modems (130, 140), respectively, and said first modem (120).
2. The method, as described in claim 1, wherein said act of routing data from said first computer system (210) to at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) further comprises downloading data from said first computer (210) onto at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260).
3. The method, as described in claim 1, wherein said act of routing data to said first computer system (210) at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) further comprises uploading data onto at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) from said first computer (210).
4. An apparatus for networking a plurality of computer systems characterized in that said apparatus comprises: a gateway modem (120) coupled to a first computer system (210); a first slave modem (130) electronically coupled to said gateway modem (120) and coupled to a second computer system (250), wherein said first computer (210) is capable of accessing said second computer system (250); and a second slave modem (140) electronically coupled to said gateway modem (120) and coupled to a third computer system (260), wherein said first computer (210) is capable of accessing said third computer system (260).
5. The apparatus described in claim 4, wherein said first slave modem (130) is coupled to said gateway modem (120) through an out-of-band communication line.
6. The apparatus described in claim 4, wherein said second slave modem (140) is coupled to said gateway modem (120) through an out-of-band communication line.
7. The apparatus described in claim 4, wherein said gateway modem (120) is coupled to said first computer system (210) through a third modem (220) and an xDSL communication line.
8. A computer program for networking a plurality of computer systems, comprising: configuring a first modem (120) as a gateway modem; configuring a second modem (130) as a slave modem, electronically coupled to said first modem (120); configuring a third modem (140) as a slave modem, electronically coupled to said first modem (120); coupling electronically, a first computer system (210) to said first modem (120); coupling electronically, a second computer system (250) to said second slave modem (130); coupling electronically, a third computer system (260) to said third slave modem (140); routing data from said first computer system (210) to at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) through said first modem and at least one of said second and third slave modems (130, 140), respectively; and routing data to said first computer system (210) from at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) through at least one of said second and third slave modems (130, 140), respectively, and said first modem (120).
9. The computer program, as described in claim 8, wherein said act of routing data from said first computer system (210) to at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) further comprises downloading data from said first computer (210) onto at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260).
10. The computer program, as described in claim 8, wherein said act of routing data to said first computer system (210) at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) further comprises uploading data onto at least one of said second and third computer systems (250, 260) from said first computer (210).
PCT/US2000/010623 1999-09-23 2000-04-19 Method and apparatus for linking multiple modems through a single access point WO2001022715A1 (en)

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US40168499A true 1999-09-23 1999-09-23
US09/401,684 1999-09-23

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Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4726017A (en) * 1985-05-21 1988-02-16 Fla. Multidrop data concentrator communication network
US5852655A (en) * 1996-03-29 1998-12-22 Cisco Systems, Inc. Communication server apparatus having distributed switching and method

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4726017A (en) * 1985-05-21 1988-02-16 Fla. Multidrop data concentrator communication network
US5852655A (en) * 1996-03-29 1998-12-22 Cisco Systems, Inc. Communication server apparatus having distributed switching and method

Non-Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
SAUNDERS S: "BETTER REMOTE LINKS FOR APPLETALK", DATA COMMUNICATIONS,US,MCGRAW HILL. NEW YORK, vol. 23, no. 2, 21 January 1994 (1994-01-21), pages 69 - 70, XP000418332, ISSN: 0363-6399 *

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