WO2008015627A1 - Method and system for configuring a network and network management device - Google Patents

Method and system for configuring a network and network management device Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2008015627A1
WO2008015627A1 PCT/IB2007/052999 IB2007052999W WO2008015627A1 WO 2008015627 A1 WO2008015627 A1 WO 2008015627A1 IB 2007052999 W IB2007052999 W IB 2007052999W WO 2008015627 A1 WO2008015627 A1 WO 2008015627A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
network
plurality
management device
body
components
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Application number
PCT/IB2007/052999
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Francesco Gallo
Heribert Baldus
Karin Klabunde
Original Assignee
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Philips Intellectual Property & Standards Gmbh
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 EP06118183 priority Critical
Priority to EP06118183.0 priority
Application filed by Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., Philips Intellectual Property & Standards Gmbh filed Critical Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Publication of WO2008015627A1 publication Critical patent/WO2008015627A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B13/00Transmission systems characterised by the medium used for transmission, not provided for in groups H04B3/00 - H04B11/00
    • H04B13/005Transmission systems in which the medium consists of the human body
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W76/00Connection management
    • H04W76/10Connection setup
    • H04W76/12Setup of transport tunnels
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W84/00Network topologies
    • H04W84/18Self-organising networks, e.g. ad-hoc networks or sensor networks

Abstract

A system is disclosed, which comprises a plurality of network components (2-5) and a network management device (16). Each network component (2-5) comprises a wireless short-range communication interface (12-15) and a body-coupled communication interface (22-25). The network management device (16) comprises a body-coupled communication interface (26) and is designed to configure the plurality of network components (2-5) by means of the body-coupled communication interfaces (22-26) to form a network (1, 71, 72), in which the individual network components (2-5) communicate with each other utilizing the wireless short-range communication interfaces (12-15).

Description

Method and system for configuring a network and network management device

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a method and system for configuring a network and to a network management device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Currently, people may have several short-range wireless devices, such as Bluetooth devices, connected together to form a network, for instance, an ad-hoc Personal Area Network (PAN). Such networks may comprise an audio player, for example an MP3- player, a wireless headset, and a mobile phone, which can be used in combination with the headset.

Configuring such a network is not only relatively cumbersome, but it may happen that a first device is already connected to a second device, which is also needed to be connected to a third device. Then, a reconfiguration of the network is necessary. An example of such a scenario is the use of the audio player with the headset. Then, the person wearing the headset can listen to music over the headset. When the person, for instance, receives a telephone call and wants to use the headset for this telephone call, then he/she has to connect the mobile phone to the headset. In order to connect the mobile phone to the headset, the Bluetooth connection between the headset and the audio player has to be disconnected first, and the network has to be reconfigured. This configuration may be relatively cumbersome and time consuming.

Published U.S. application for patent US 2004/0152440 A2 discloses a portable terminal which transmits to and receives from a displaying apparatus instrument identification information through a person's body when the person touches body communication sections of the portable device and the displaying apparatus. After that, a communication between the portable device and the displaying apparatus is established through communication means other than the human body, for instance, through radiation, Bluetooth, wireless LAN, wired LAN, or the Internet.

OBJECT AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the invention to provide a method of configuring a network, which method allows a relatively user- friendly configuration of a short-range wireless network.

Another object of the invention is to provide a corresponding system for configuring a short-range wireless network.

A further object of the invention is to provide a network management device which allows a relatively user- friendly configuration of a short-range wireless network.

The object of the invention is achieved by means of a method of configuring a network which is comprised of a plurality of network components communicating with each other by means of wireless short-range communication, the method comprising the step of configuring the plurality of network components to form the network by means of a network management device and based on body-coupled communication.

The network to be configured is comprised of the plurality of network components which communicate via wireless short-range communication, for instance via Bluetooth protocols. In order to set up such a network, the individual network components have to be configured accordingly. Instead of manually configuring the network components, they are configured by the network management device by means of body-coupled communication.

Body-coupled communication, which is also referred to as near- field intra-body communication as is known from the published U.S. application for patent US 2004/0152440 A2 mentioned in the introduction, is a wireless technology that allows electronic devices on and near the human body to exchange information through near-field electrostatic coupling. Information is transmitted by modulating electric fields and electrostatic (capacitive) coupling currents to the human body. The body conducts this current, which is in the range of a few dozen pico amps to body mounted receivers. The environment (the air and ground) provides a return path for the transmitted signal. Thus, the network, which may be a Personal Area Network and particularly a piconet when Bluetooth technology is used, is automatically configured by the network management device.

The network management device may comprise a plurality of configuration parameters, which the network management device transmits to the network components by means of body-coupled communication. As a result, the parameters do not have to be input manually into the network components to form the configured network.

The network management device may be pre-configured with the plurality of configuration parameters, which may comprise the Bluetooth addresses of the network components if the network is based on Bluetooth technology, and supported profiles. Alternatively or additionally, the network management device may be configured to receive the plurality of configuration parameters from the network components via body-coupled communication. This can be done, for instance, during a collecting step which may be performed periodically or when the network management device is turned on. It is also possible for the network management device to receive automatically configuration parameters from a network component as soon as they are available.

The plurality of configuration parameters may include information about a priority to connect two predefined network components from the plurality of network components if a conflict occurs which of the network components from the plurality of components are to be connected together. When connecting different network components, a conflict may occur, if, for example two network components are supposed to be connected to a further network component and the further network component can only be connected to one of the other components. Then, the connection is automatically established according to the information about the priority.

In one embodiment of the inventive method, the following further steps are carried out: receiving, at the network management device, from a further network component by means of body coupled communication, a request to be connected to at least one of the network components; and configuring the further component and at least one of the network components by means of the network management device and based on body-coupled communication in order to obtain an updated network comprising the further network component and at least one of the network components.

The further network component is, for instance a mobile phone which receives an incoming telephone call. The person who has the mobile phone may currently listen to music utilizing an audio device, such as an MP3 -player or a CD-player, and a headset which can also be connected wirelessly to the mobile phone. Thus, according to this variant of the inventive method, the mobile phone can send to the network management device a request to be connected to the headset in response to the incoming telephone call and by means of body- coupled communication. In response to the received request, the network management device contacts the relevant network devices to establish a connection between the mobile phone and the headset by, for instance, transmitting the required configuration parameters to the headset and the mobile phone and may, if necessary, disconnect existing short-range wireless connections.

In a further embodiment of the inventive method, the following additional steps are carried out: detecting, by means of the network management device and by means of body- coupled communication, which network components from the plurality of network components are available; and configuring the network based on the network components which are detected. According to this variant of the inventive method, the network management device searches for active network components by, for instance, sending polling messages by means of body-coupled communication to the network components. The polling may be done once, when the network management device is turned on, or periodically. In response to the detected network components, the network management device configures the detected network components by means of body-coupled communication. Then, if a new network component is detected, the configuration of the network can easily be updated automatically.

The object of the invention is also achieved by means of a system, comprising: a plurality of network components, each comprising a wireless short-range communication interface and a body-coupled communication interface; and a network management device comprising a body-coupled communication interface; the network management device being configured to configure the plurality of network components, by means of the body-coupled communication interfaces, to form a network in which the individual network components communicate with each other utilizing the wireless short-range communication interfaces. The inventive system is thus configured to carry out the inventive method.

The network management device may configure the further network component by means of the body-coupled communication interfaces to be connected to the requested network component by means of the wireless short-range communication interfaces in response to a request from a further network component to be connected to at least one of the network components.

The network management device may also search for network components being in range within the body-coupled communication interfaces and configures detected network components to form the network dependent on the detected network components.

The object of the invention is also achieved by means of a network management device, comprising: a memory, in which a plurality of configuration parameters are stored; the plurality of configuration parameters being related to a plurality of network components each having a body-coupled communication interface and each having a wireless short-range communication interface; and a body-coupled communication interface to transmit parameters from the plurality of configuration parameters to the body-coupled communication interfaces from the plurality of network components so that the plurality of network components form a configured network in which the network components communicate by means of their wireless short-range communication interfaces. The inventive network management device may be pre-configured with the plurality of configuration parameters, which may comprise the Bluetooth addresses of the network components if the network is based on Bluetooth technology, and supported profiles. Alternatively, or additionally, the inventive network management device may be configured to receive the plurality of configuration parameters from the network components via body- coupled communication. This can be done, for instance, by sending a broadcast message which is received by available network components, which respond to the inventive network management device by transmitting relevant configuration parameters. The broadcast message may be sent periodically or when the inventive network management device is turned on.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be described in greater detail hereinafter, by way of non- limiting examples, with reference to the embodiments shown in the drawings.

Fig. 1 is a person having a piconet close to his/her body; Fig. 2 is a scatternet;

Figs. 3 to 6 are tables;

Fig. 7 illustrates the configuration of Bluetooth devices;

Figs. 8 to 10 are flow charts illustrating the configuration of the Bluetooth devices of Fig. 7; and Fig. 11 are two piconets.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Fig. 1 shows a piconet 1 as an example of a computer network comprised of devices communicating by means of short-range wireless communication. A piconet is an ad- hoc computer network of devices using Bluetooth technology protocols. One of the devices is a master device and the remaining devices are slave devices. The master device interconnects with up to seven active slave devices.

For the exemplary embodiment, the piconet 1 comprises a PDA 2, a headset 3 and an MP3-player 4 as Bluetooth devices. The PDA 2 and the headset 3 are slave devices and the MP3-player 4 is the master device. Furthermore, the PDA 2 comprises a Bluetooth interface 12, the headset 3 comprises a Bluetooth interface 13, and the MP3-player 4 comprises a Bluetooth interface 14, so that the PDA 2 can communicate with the MP3- player 4 via a Bluetooth link 6 and the MP3-player 4 can communicate with the headset 3 via a Bluetooth link 7. Fig. 1 furthermore shows a person 8, who has the PDA 2, the headset 3 and the

MP3-player 4 close to his/her body. Thus, the person 8 can listen to audio data, such as music, stored on the MP3-p layer 4 utilizing the headset 3.

Fig. 1 shows also a mobile phone 5 with a Bluetooth interface 15. The mobile phone 5 is close to the person's 8 body and not connected to the piconet 1. If, for instance, the person 8 wants to listen to an incoming telephone call utilizing the headset 3, the mobile phone 5 has to be connected to the headset 3 in order to forward an audio stream received by the mobile phone 5 to the headset 3. Thus, a scatternet being comprised of the piconet 1 and a piconet 11, as is depicted in Fig. 2, has to be established. The piconet 11 of the scatternet is comprised of the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5, which are connected via a Bluetooth link 9. In general, a scatternet is set of piconets through sharing devices. For the exemplary embodiment, the sharing device is the headset 3. Alternatively, the headset 3 has to be disconnected from the MP3-player 4 and the headset 3 has to be connected to the mobile phone 5.

When disconnecting the headset 3 from the MP3 -player 4 and afterwards connecting the mobile phone 5 to the headset 3, the following steps have to be performed: Disconnecting the headset 3 from the MP3-player 4, paging performed by the mobile phone 5 and page scan performed by the headset 3, and

PIN insertion in the mobile phone 5, if a pairing between the mobile phone 5 and the headset 3 has never been done before.

For the exemplary embodiment, these steps are performed using body-coupled communication between the PDA 2, the MP3-player 4, the headset 3, the mobile phone 5 and a network management device 16, which is integrated with a wrist watch 17 worn by the person 8 for the exemplary embodiment. In order to establish body-coupled communication links between these devices, the PDA 2 comprises a body-coupled communication interface 22, the MP3-player 4 comprises a body-coupled communication interface 24, the headset 3 comprises a body-coupled communication interface 23, the mobile phone 5 comprises a body-coupled communication interface 25 and the network management device 16 comprises a body-coupled communication interface 26. Thus, a body-coupled link 18 can be established between the headset 3 and the network management device 16, a body-coupled link 19 can be established between the MP3-player 4 and the network management device 16, a body-coupled link 20 can be established between the PDA 2 and the network management device 16, and a body-coupled link 21 can be established between the mobile phone 5 and the network management device 16. The body-coupled links 18-21 can be established, as long as the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4, the mobile phone 5 and the network management device 16 are in contact with or in close proximity to the person's 8 body.

The purpose of the network management device 16 is to establish Bluetooth connections between the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4, and the mobile phone 5. For this reason, the network management device 16 comprises a memory 28, in which certain information about the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4 and the mobile phone 5 is stored. For the exemplary embodiment, this information includes the Bluetooth address (BD ADDR) and supported profiles (UUID) of the Bluetooth devices 2-5.

Additionally, the network management device 16 comprises a microprocessor 27 for the exemplary embodiment. The microprocessor 27 controls and manages connecting and disconnecting the Bluetooth links 6, 7, 9 between the Bluetooth devices 2-5. The information about the required Bluetooth connections between the Bluetooth devices 2-5 is stored in tables 31-34, which are stored in the memory 26 and are depicted in Figs. 3-6 for the exemplary embodiment. For the exemplary embodiment, table 31 of Fig. 3 comprises for each relevant

Bluetooth profile, such as the so-called Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Headset Profile (HSP), Audio Video Distribution Profile (AVDP), Audio Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), Personal Area Network Profile (PAN), Object Push Profile (OPP, and File Transfer Profile (FTP) a fixed priority according to which a certain Bluetooth link 6, 7, 9 between two of the Bluetooth devices 2-5 has to be established if a conflict occurs, which of the Bluetooth devices 2-5 are to be connected for a wanted network configuration.

For the exemplary embodiment, table 32 of Fig. 4 is a list of supported profiles and supported Service Class IDs for each of the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4, and the mobile phone 5. The Service Class ID indicates for each profile the specific part of the profile that is supported, as is defined by the Bluetooth specifications and the related Service Discovery Protocol. For instance, according to the Headset Profile, the headset 3 can either be used as a headset 3 to communicate with the MP3 -player 4 (audio source) or the headset 3 can be used as a headset (mobile phone 5 can be an audio gateway) to communicate with the mobile phone 5. For the exemplary embodiment, table 33 of Fig. 5 comprises information on the current connections between the Bluetooth devices 2-5 and the active profiles together with the Service Class IDs, i.e. table 33 comprises information about which of the Bluetooth links 6, 7, 9 are currently established. For the exemplary embodiment, table 33 is related to the Bluetooth connections wherein the PDA 2, the headset 3 and the MP3-player 4 form the piconet 1 and the mobile phone 5 is not connected to any of these Bluetooth devices 2-4. Table 33 also comprises information on the Bluetooth addresses (BD ADDR) of each Bluetooth device 2-5.

For the exemplary embodiment, table 34 of Fig. 6 shows time periods used for the connections. Now, the procedure how the network management device 16 collects the information from the Bluetooth devices 2-5 for the exemplary embodiment is described: First, the network management device 16 sends a broadcast message over the body-coupled communication link, which message can be received by the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4 and the mobile phone 5 if they are close to or in contact with the body. The broadcast message is called BT_Dev_Info_Req(). The network management device 16 may send the broadcast messages only once when turned on or may send the broadcast messages periodically, for instance every 1 to 120 seconds, to check which of the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4 or the mobile phone 5 is still in range within body- coupled communication, i.e. is still in close proximity to the person's 8 body and is still active, and in response to the detected Bluetooth devices 2-5 updates their configuration.

In response to the broadcast messages, the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3- player 4 and the mobile phone 5 send a response message back to the network management device 16. These messages are called BT_Dev_Info_Resp(*) for the exemplary embodiment, wherein "*" represents the relevant Bluetooth address (BD ADDR) of the corresponding Bluetooth device 2-5.

For the exemplary embodiment, each of the Bluetooth devices 2-5 sends its response message when it is turned on and after it has received the broadcast message. The Bluetooth devices 2-5 can also send their respective response messages periodically with, for instance, a period of between 1 to 120 seconds after being turned on and having received a broadcast message.

For the exemplary embodiment, each response message BT_Dev_Info_Resp(*) comprises the relevant Bluetooth address (BD ADDR) and the Supported Service Class IDs from a Service Discovery Protocol Database (SDDB) of the relevant Bluetooth device 2-5. These data are also stored in the memory 26 of the network management device 16. The Service Class IDs to be sent are generally referred to as ServiceClass 0 in the ServiceClassIDList of each service record in the SDDB. In other words, for each service record in the SDDB the most specific Service Class IDs in the ServiceClassIDList are sent to the network management device 16.

Fig. 7 illustrates an example how the network management device 16 reconfigures the Bluetooth connections between the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4 and the mobile phone 5. Figs. 8-10 are corresponding flow charts. Fig. 8 is related to the mobile phone 5, Fig. 9 to the network management device 16, and Fig 10 to the headset 3.

For the exemplary embodiment, initially there are Bluetooth connections between the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4 and the mobile phone 5 as shown in Fig. 1, i.e. the PDA 2 is connected to the MP3-player 4 via the Bluetooth link 6 and the headset 3 is connected to the MP3-player 4 via the Bluetooth link 7. The mobile phone 5 has no Bluetooth connection to the remaining Bluetooth devices 2-4.

For the exemplary embodiment, the mobile phone 5 receives an incoming telephone call 61 (step Sl of Fig. 8). In response to the incoming telephone call 61, the mobile phone 5 sends a connection request 62 "Conn_Req(HS) " to the network management device 16 via the body-coupled communication link 21 (step S2 of Fig. 8). The connection request 62 specifies only the Service Class ID (HS, the UUID of the headset 3 specified by the Bluetooth Headset Profile) for the exemplary embodiment.

For the exemplary embodiment, the network management device 16 receives the connection request 62 / step S2 at step S91 of Fig. 9. If the mobile phone 5 does not receive a connection response, and a predefined time, which is stored in table 34 and is referred to as "ConnRespTO" has lapsed (steps S3, S3a of Fig. 8), then no reconfiguration is performed (step S4 of Fig. 8).

In response to the received connection request 62, the network management device 16 checks whether the connection request 62 is executable (step S92/S93 of Fig. 9), i.e. the network management device 16 looks up table 32 of Fig. 4 for the Bluetooth supported profiles.

If the connection request 62 is not executable, i.e. the network management device 16 does not find the relevant supported profile (step S93), then the network management device 16 sends a message to the mobile phone 5 that no connection can be established (step S94) and the reconfiguration is aborted (step S4).

If the mobile phone 5 receives the message that the connection is not possible (step S5 of Fig. 8), then the reconfiguration is aborted (step S4). Otherwise, if the network management device 16 finds that there is the requested Bluetooth device listed (headset 3) supporting the Service Class ID Headset (HS), step 93, then the network management device 16 looks up table 33 of Fig. 5 and discovers that the headset 3 is currently connected to the MP3-player 4 and is a Bluetooth slave device utilizing the related active profile A2DP (ASNK) and AVRCP (AVRC) stored in table 33.

After that, the network management device 16 checks the profile priorities stored in table 31 of Fig. 3 and compares the priority between A2DP, AVRCP, and HSP (the profile to which the Service Class ID headset 3 belongs), step S95.

If the Headset Profile does not have priority, then, at step S 105, the network management device 16 checks whether the headset 3 is a master device with fewer than seven slave devices. If this is the case, then a message to start the PageScan is sent to the headset 3 (step S96) as the mobile phone 5 can be connected as an additional slave to the headset 3.

Since the priority of the Headset Profile is higher than the priority of the Audio Video Remote Control Profile, which is related to the connection MP3-player 4 / headset 3 for the exemplary embodiment, the network management device 16 sends (step S96) a message 63 including all necessary parameters for connection set-up (like e.g. PIN) to the headset 3 utilizing the body-coupled link 18 to request the headset 3 to perform the PageScan procedure, which includes a pairing between the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5 utilizing the specified PIN number stored in the memory 26 of the network management device 16. The message 63 is "Page_Scan_Req(PIN, PscanTO)", which enables the page scan in the headset 3 for a predefined time period, step S9 of Fig. 10. Time periods, such as the time for the page scan "PscanTO", are summarized in table 34 shown in Fig. 6.

After having received the message 63 (step Si l l of Fig. 10), the headset 3 determines if it is a Bluetooth master device with fewer than seven Bluetooth slave devices (step Sl 12). If the answer is yes, then the headset 3 sends a message 64 to the network management device 16 utilizing the body-coupled communication link 18 (step

Sl 14). The message 64 is "Page_Scan_Resp(OK, PIN) " specifying the status (OK, command in process) and the PIN number for pairing in case the headset 3 supports a fixed one. For the exemplary embodidment, the headset 3 is not a Bluetooth master device and thus the headset 3 closes the Bluetooth link 7 between the headset 3 and the MP3-player 4 (step Sl 13). For this reason, a message "DisconnectQ " 66 is sent to the MP3-player 4 utilizing the Bluetooth link 7.

If the network management device 16 does not receive the message 64 in a predefined time ( "PageScanRespTO"), then the reconfiguration is aborted (steps S97, S98, S94, S4). If the message 64 is received in time (step S97) and the status of the received message 64 is OK (step S99), then the network management device 16 sends a message 65 to the mobile phone 5 utilizing the body coupled communication link 21 (step SlOO). The message 65 is "Conn_Resp(OK, Page BD ADDR HS, PIN, PageTO) " specifying the status, the Bluetooth address to page (BD ADDR HS, Blueooth address of the headset 3), the PIN number for the pairing (PIN), and for how long the page should be done (PageTO in msec). The mobile phone 5, after checking the status (step S5 in Fig. 8), extracts the information from this message 65 (step S6 in Fig.8) and starts to page the headset 3 at its Bluetooth address (step S 7).

Then, the headset 3 starts a page scan (step Sl 15 in Fig. 10) by sending a message 67 to the mobile phone 5 utilizing the Bluetooth interfaces 13, 15 of the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5. In step S8 of Fig. 8 / Fig.10 a check is performed if the Bluetooth connection between the mobile phone 5 and the head set 3 is established. If a predetermined time period for the paging ( "page timeout") has expired (step S9 of Fig. 8 / Fig.10), the mobile phone 5 sends a message "Conn Status (BD ADDR, PageTOExpired" 68 to the network management device 16 (step SlO), and the attempt to set up the connection is aborted (step S4 of Fig. 8 / Fig.10).

If the network management device 16 does not receive the message 68 within the time "ConnStatusT O expire ", then the reconfiguration is aborted in the network management device 16 as well (steps SlOl, S 102, S4). If the Bluetooth connection between the mobile phone 5 and the headset 3 is established, then the pairing (Sl 1 in Fig. 8/10) between the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5 starts utilizing the Bluetooth address "BD ADDR HS" and the PIN number which had been provided by the network management device 16 to both components.

If the pairing is not successful (steps S 12 in Fig. 8), the mobile phone 5 sends a message "Conn Status (BD ADDR, PairingFailed) " 68 (step S 13) to the network management device 16 and the reconfiguration is aborted (step S4 in Fig. 8). Accordingly, the reconfiguration is also aborted in the network management device 16 (step S 103 in Fig. 9)

If the Bluetooth link 9 is established between the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5, then the pairing was successful and the mobile phone 5 sends a message 68 to the network management device 16 utilizing the body-coupled link 21. The message 68 is "Conn_Status(BD_ADDR_HS, OK) " (step S14 of Fig.8). The parameter BD ADDR HS of message 68 indicates to which Bluetooth address BD ADDR the connection has been established and "OK" indicates that the Bluetooth link 9 in Fig. 2 has been established successfully. In response to the received message 68, the network management device 16 updates table 33 to reflect the current connections between the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-p layer 4 and the mobile phone 5 (step S 104). Fig. 11 shows the resulting connections between the PDA 2, the headset 3, the MP3-player 4 and the mobile phone 5. For the exemplary embodiment, the PDA 2 and the MP3 -player 4 form a piconet 71 and the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5 form a piconet 72.

When the telephone call 61 is finished, then the Bluetooth connection 9 between the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5 is disconnected. This information is transmitted, via the body-coupled interfaces 23, 25 of the headset 3 and the mobile phone 5 to the body-coupled interface 26 of the network management device 16. Then the network management device 16 reestablishes automatically the Bluetooth connection 7 between the headset 3 and the MP3- player 4 utilizing the body-coupled interfaces 24, 26 of the MP3-p layer 4 and the network management device 16.

Finally, it should be noted that the above-mentioned embodiments illustrate rather than limit the invention, and that those skilled in the art will be capable of designing many alternative embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. In the claims, any reference signs placed in parentheses shall not be construed as limiting the claims. The words "comprising" and "comprises", and the like, do not exclude the presence of elements or steps other than those listed in any claim or the specification as a whole. The singular reference of an element does not exclude the plural reference of such elements and vice versa. In a device claim enumerating several means, several of these means may be embodied by one and the same item of software or hardware. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A method of configuring a network, which is comprised of a plurality of network components (2-5) communicating with each other by means of wireless short-range communication, the method comprising the step of: configuring the plurality of network components (2-5) to form the network (1, 71, 72) by means of a network management device (16) and based on body- coupled communication.
2. The method of claim 1 , further comprising the steps of: receiving, at the network management device (16), from a further network component (5) by means of body coupled communication, a request to connect said further network component (5) to at least one of the network components (3); and configuring the further component (5) and at least one of the network components (3, 4) by means of the network management device (16) and based on body- coupled communication in order to obtain an updated network (72) comprising the further network component (5) and the at least one network component (3).
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: detecting, by means of the network management device (16) and by means of body-coupled communication which network components from the plurality of network components (2-5) are available; and configuring the network based on the network components which are detected.
4. The method of claim 1 , comprising the step of transmitting parameters of a plurality of configuration parameters stored in the network management device (16) to the network components (2-5) in order to configure the network (1, 71, 72).
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the plurality of configuration parameters include information about a priority of connecting two predefined network components (3, 5) from the plurality of network components (2-5) if a conflict occurs which of the network components (3, 4, 5) from the plurality of components are to be connected to the network.
6. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of receiving the plurality of configuration parameters from each available network component (2-5) by means of body- coupled communication.
7. The method of claim 1 , wherein the wireless short-range communication is a
Bluetooth communication.
8. A system, comprising: a plurality of network components (2-5), each comprising a wireless short-range communication interface (12-15) and a body-coupled communication interface (22-25); and a network management device (16) comprising a body-coupled communication interface (26); the network management device (16) being designed to configure the plurality of network components (2-5), by means of the body-coupled communication interfaces (22- 26), to form a network (1, 71, 72), in which the individual network components (2-5) communicate with each other utilizing the wireless short-range communication interfaces (12-15).
9. The system of claim 8, wherein the network management device (16) is designed to configure, in response to a request from a further network component (5) to connect it to at least one of the network components (3) by means of the wireless short-range communication interfaces (13, 15), the further network component (5) by means of the body-coupled communication interfaces (25, 26); and/or the network management device (16) is designed to search for network components (2-5) being in range within the body-coupled communication interfaces (22-26) and to configure detected network components to form the network dependent on the detected network components.
10. The system of claim 8, wherein the network management device (16) comprises a memory (28) for storing a plurality of configuration parameters, and wherein the network management device (16) is designed to transmit parameters from the plurality of configuration parameters by means of its body-coupled communication interface (26) to the network components (2-5) in order to form the network (1, 71, 72).
11. The system of claim 10, wherein the plurality of configuration parameters include information about a priority of connecting two predefined network components (3, 5) from the plurality of network components (2-5) if a conflict occurs which of the network components (3, 5) from the plurality of components are to be connected for the network, and/or wherein the wireless short-range communication interfaces are Bluetooth interfaces (12-15).
12. A network management device, comprising: a memory (28), for storing a plurality of configuration parameters are; the plurality of configuration parameters being related to a plurality of network components (2-5) each having a body-coupled communication interface (22-25) and each having a wireless short-range communication interface (12-15); and a body-coupled communication interface (26) designed to transmit parameters from the plurality of configuration parameters to the body-coupled communication interfaces (22-25) from the plurality of network components (2-5) so that the plurality of network components (2-5) form a configured network (1, 71, 72), in which the network components (2-5) communicate by means of their wireless short-range communication interfaces (12-15).
13. The network management device of claim 12, being designed to configure, in response to a request from a further network component (5) to connect it to at least one of the network components (3) by means of the wireless short-range communication interfaces (13, 15), the further network component (5) by means of the body-coupled communication interfaces (25, 26); and/or being designed to search for network components (2-5) being in range within the body-coupled communication interfaces (22-26) and to configure detected network components (2-5) to form the network dependent on the detected network components.
14. The network management device of claim 12, wherein the plurality of configuration parameters include information about a priority of connecting two predefined network components (3, 5) from the plurality of network components (2-5) if a conflict occurs which of the network components from the plurality of components are to be connected for the network, and/or wherein the wireless short-range communication interfaces are Bluetooth interfaces (12-15).
15. The network management device of claim 12, being configured to receive the plurality of configuration parameters from the plurality of network components (2-5) via the body-coupled communication interfaces (22-26).
PCT/IB2007/052999 2006-07-31 2007-07-30 Method and system for configuring a network and network management device WO2008015627A1 (en)

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