WO2008082309A2 - Methods and systems for transmission between an r.f. unit and at least one r.f. base station - Google Patents

Methods and systems for transmission between an r.f. unit and at least one r.f. base station

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Publication number
WO2008082309A2
WO2008082309A2 PCT/NO2007/000460 NO2007000460W WO2008082309A2 WO 2008082309 A2 WO2008082309 A2 WO 2008082309A2 NO 2007000460 W NO2007000460 W NO 2007000460W WO 2008082309 A2 WO2008082309 A2 WO 2008082309A2
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
unit
communication
base station
characterised
disclosed
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/NO2007/000460
Other languages
French (fr)
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WO2008082309A3 (en )
Inventor
Knut Arve Hauknes
Larsen Tomas Rudberg
Original Assignee
Knut Arve Hauknes
Larsen Tomas Rudberg
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W48/00Access restriction; Network selection; Access point selection
    • H04W48/18Selecting a network or a communication service
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W48/00Access restriction; Network selection; Access point selection
    • H04W48/16Discovering, processing access restriction or access information

Abstract

A method and a system for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/ receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one of several possible networks of base stations which are available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located. The r.f. unit monitors automatically and continuously what base station or base stations in said network are at any given time available for communication, and, at the time for an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission. The r.f. unit's selection is made on the basis of at least one of several decision parameters that are prestored in the r.f. unit. It is also made possible to automatically select the one or ones of the available base stations that for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in the r.f. unit for the type of communication message that is to be transmitted. Furthermore, there is also facilitated the overlaying of each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message. The r.f. unit may be in communicative connection with at least one r.f. slave unit which in terms of equipment and operation corresponds to or is comparable with the r.f. unit.

Description

Methods and systems for transmission between an r.f. unit and at least one r.f. base station

The present invention relates to methods and systems for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one or more possible networks of base stations available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located, as disclosed in the preambles of respective claims 1, 6 and 33 and claims 39, 44 and 70.

As an illustration of the prior art, reference is made to EP 801354 which relates to technology for establishing a connection between data processors, where one of them is portable and is position-determined. US 2005/0179526 relates to a vehicle tracker which can be controlled to a low power mode when, for example, the vehicle motor is not running. US 2004/0212503 relates to a communications architecture for a security network, especially with regard to problems associated with battery-operated detectors/transmitters in a domestic installation, and where intermediate stations are established. US 2003/0206100 relates to aspects of real time security systems and encryption procedures. US 2002/0036566 is related to a vehicle theft alarm system which operates via the vehicle's own telephony system and can override it. US 2002/0154036 relates to a vehicle control system, including a vehicle tracking unit, where the remote control of vehicle functions is permitted. US 5223844 relates to a tracking and security system based on the structure of a mobile telephone system, and where transmission takes place only where reception coverage is present. GPS is used to identify the position of the vehicle in the message sent out, which in addition contains other alarm details.

As further elucidation of the prior art, reference is made to WO 03/100647 which is related to being able to select networks dynamically on the basis of location, and where the system will recommend the same prioritised order of networks for all units positioned at the same geographical position. Thus, selection of network on the basis of position (GSM) and hence previously detected networks with associated parameters is preferred. If position data is not found or is not available, the relevant unit will search for networks until one capable of use responds. The units must therefore endeavour to select the same network at the same location on return visits. EP 1460873 is based on being able centrally to determine the best selection of network and function for a mobile unit (for example, PDA, PC mobile telephone) based on previously collected data and associated network information from mobile units from the same geographical position. Collected data is stored in a common server which then computes best suited networks at given geographical positions and automatically offers this data to other mobile units. EP 0980190 discloses that a predefined priority table can be used to then derive extracts thereof based on the signal strength of available networks. WO 2005/060209 relates to the use of radio quality and load or use factor as criteria for the selection of available networks, and also predetermined user-experienced quality and lastly transmission speed. Measurement of transmission quality is also used as parameters for "handover" (transmission between available networks during communication).

Today, it is known that many alarm systems use telephone networks to provide notification of the location of, for example, boats/cars that have been stolen, where the system uses just one telecommunications network. In the event of theft, it is as a rule necessary for planes/helicopters to launch searches using special receiving equipment /direction finding equipment in order to find the stolen article. R.f. -based tracking is done in this way today without the properties of a telecommunications network being accorded importance for the functionality of the tracking equipment. This means that this type of tracking has not become as widespread as the need for the protection of valuables would seem to call for. "TrackGuard" from Guard Systems is one example of today's one-dimensional r.f. -based tracking technology, where the solution is basically made to report location to a computer system over one telecommunications network. In addition, this known equipment may have sensors which provide warning in the event of, for example, water leakages or excessively high temperature. Normally, this known equipment and similar equipment solutions are permanently connected to the network that is suitable for the most critical/sensitive situation of use, and employs this network for all messages. For example, the message burglary is sent over the same network that transmits an "Everything ok" message. This is an inadvisable solution.

In other cases, it is desired to warn of, for example, an emergency situation, in the mountains or at sea, and usually the only equipment at hand then is equipment for being able to select one computer system/telecommunications network.

In other cases, it is desirable, for example, to communicate a normal state for equipment, buildings, processes and the like. In the cases where the state is normal, the message will have less importance and be less vulnerable to manipulation than in the cases where damage is in the process of being done or damage has occurred (alarm state). It is also known that certain networks are more power-consuming than others where the transmission of data is concerned, and also that some networks are more expensive to use than others (costs per message).

There is therefore a substantial need for technology where location and condition can be read for a unit that is located far from the user of the data. The transport sector, agriculture, the elderly/infirm, the insurance business and the Armed Forces represent five major segments of a plurality of user segments.

As mentioned, tracking systems exist that can locate, for example, boats and cars in a satisfactory way.

Similarly, community alarms work in a satisfactory manner for the elderly and the infirm.

Thus, strong brand name products and technical solutions that are related to the different and specific client segments have been established.

As indicated above, the tracking systems on the market today all have, on closer analysis, a major weakness, namely that they are tailored to the needs of a respective user segment as formulated when the tracking system was procured.

This static and limited functionality means that r.f. -based tracking is costly and inflexible. For this reason, r.f. tracking based on existing technology has not become as widespread as client needs would seem to call for.

Ih the last decade a substantial development in the number of telecommunications networks for public and private use has been observed. These telecommunications networks are optimal for different situations. For example, a test in Skøyen Business Park in Oslo in May 2006 revealed that there were 26 available networks. Among other things, it was observed that the network named "Kaffehuset" was free of charge, open and without security, transmitted data quickly and required high power consumption, whilst the network "Netcom GSM" was closed to everyone apart from Netcom' s subscribers, it was encrypted, transmitted data slowly and required relatively little power. Another way of looking at this is from a user's position. The primary priority of one user is that the equipment lasts as long as possible without a service, whilst the primary priority of another user is to transmit signals as quickly as possible. With today's solutions, the two users must purchase different equipment — which makes volume production difficult, but the biggest problem encountered by the user of today' s technology is when his priorities change over time. The user must then, with today's known technology, replace his equipment.

For example, known tracking equipment is not capable of using such widely different characteristics associated with telecommunications networks.

There has therefore long been a need to be able to make active use of the different properties of telecommunications networks and completely different end user products, even though a central part of the equipment constitutes uniform technology, i.e., that the one and the same hardware covers the needs of different users as they first were formulated, whilst the central part will cover the users' needs as these develop over time.

One of the objects of the present invention is therefore to remedy the obvious drawbacks associated with being dependent upon many special solutions, and to provide more universal methods and systems which, in the event of the need for transmission, take into account what types of available networks are present, the properties of the respective networks as regards data transmission rate, data security, necessary signal strength, the network's price structure and not least the energy (power requirement) that will be required for message transmission. In some cases, the GSM network may be the most suitable, in other cases WLAN, and on other occasions, for example, VHF or other frequency ranges or available networks. As described below, satellite-based networks or LAN networks may also be relevant networks, although also other network types may be conceivable.

A further object of the invention is to be able to provide equipment which permits connection of sensors adapted to the intended end uses, whether they be motion sensors, satellite-based location determining sensors (for example, GPS -based), positioning sensors, temperature sensors, cameras etc. By using the different properties of the networks, the aim is to create a new functionality in the form of increased battery duration, greater data security and better flexibility and functionality. According to a first aspect of the method mentioned above, the said method is characterised in

- that the r.f. unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication; - that the r.f. unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission; and

- that the r.f. unit's selection is made on the basis of at least one of several decision parameters prestored in the r.f. unit.

According to a second aspect of the method mentioned above, the said method is characterised in

- that the r.f. unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication; and

- that the r.f. unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one or ones of the available base stations that for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in the r.f. unit for the type of communication message that is to be transmitted.

According to a third aspect of the method mentioned above, the said method is characterised in

- that the r.f. unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication and itself automatically selects at least one of them for transmission of a communication message; and

- that the r.f. unit overlays each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.

Further embodiments of these three aspects of the method according to the invention are set forth in related subsidiary claims 2 - 5, 7 - 32 and 34 - 38.

According to a first aspect of the system mentioned above, the said system is characterised by

- a monitoring device in the r.f. unit, which monitoring device is designed to continuously monitor what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication; - an automatic selector in the r.f. unit, which selector, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically either selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission; and - a storage unit in the r.f. unit, wherein at least one or more decision parameters for the selector are prestored to form a criterion for the selector's automatic selection.

According to a second aspect of the system mentioned above, the said system is characterised by - a monitoring device in the r.f. unit, which monitoring device is designed to continuously monitor what base station or base stations in the network are at any given time available for communication; and

- an automatic selector in the r.f. unit, which selector, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, is designed itself to automatically select the one or ones of the available base stations that for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in the r.f. unit for the type of communication message that is to be transmitted.

According to a third aspect of the system mentioned above, the said system is characterised by

- a monitoring device in the r.f. unit, which monitoring device continuously monitors what base station or base stations in the network are at any given time available for communication;

- a selector in the r.f. unit which itself automatically selects one of these base stations for transmission of a communication message; and

- a counter device in the r.f. unit, which counter device is designed to overlay each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.

Further embodiments of these three aspects of the system according to the invention are set forth in related subsidiary claims 40 - 43, 45 - 69 and 71 - 84.

Unlike the prior art, in the present invention dynamic selections of network are made on the basis of states/values in sensors belonging to the r.f. unit and hence the type of communication messages that are to be transmitted. The prioritised orders for optimal selection of network for an r.f. unit are related to changes in the dynamic states in the r.f. unit's sensors, and are not affected by any other previously observed options/ collected data regarding geographical positions. For example, a message that is to be sent when the battery capacity is low will have a different prioritised order of selection of available networks than if the battery were fully charged (LPR - Least Power Routing), whilst there will be another prioritising if the message has the status "high importance" (for example, alarm situations such as generation of smoke, overheating, break-in or intrusion detection etc.). The invention also provides the possibility of choosing another order if the communication message to be transmitted contains sensitive data or requires encryption, or that the message is so long that another prioritised order is recommended. The r.f. unit can also choose to postpone transmission of a message if sufficient preconditions are not present. It is the sensors' values, read at any given time, in relation to limit values which form the basis for the decisions. In principle, it is the case that the r.f. unit contains a number of tables for prioritised selection of available networks, where the sum of the states from sensors forms the basis for table selection. Moreover, the r.f. unit does not seek to maintain communication via a selected optimal network beyond the duration of the message. The frequency of a desire for communication is also determined by the states of the sensor, so that an abnormal state (alarms etc.) will be able to trigger more frequent transmissions of messages that a normal state that describes "everything is fine".

The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to, inter alia, the attached drawings, wherein:

Fig. 1 is a schematic illustration of an r.f. unit according to the invention with connected, optional external equipment;

Fig. 2 is a schematic illustration of a system in which one or more r.f. units may be included in communication with a base station that is a part of one or more possible networks; and

Fig. 3 is a schematic illustration of communication paths from the r.f. chip to alternative base stations.

Fig. 4 is a schematic illustration of how a serial number can be assigned to communication messages.

Fig. 1 shows an r.f. unit 1 having at least one transmitter/receiver 2 and associated antenna 3. The r.f. unit 1 includes a monitoring device 4. As shown in Fig. 2, there may be one r.f. unit and optionally at least one r.f slave unit 1', 1" communicating with it. Although Fig. 2 shows only two slave units, it will be understood that there may be just one slave unit or three or more slave units.

It will also be understood that the use of slave units in many cases is not necessary or even not desirable/expedient. In some cases, it is therefore conceivable that within a geographical area instead of one r.f. unit with associated r.f. slave units, a plurality of independent r.f. units are used.

Although in the following description reference is at times made to the use of at least one r.f. slave unit, this should be understood as merely being a non-limiting example for the invention.

Upon reading what follows, it will be seen that if r.f. slave units are used, they will basically have a structure similar to that of the r.f. unit. This means that, for example, said at least one slave unit 1 ' ; 1 " may contain all of or a substantial number of the functional devices included in the r.f. unit 1, and may in addition be connected to one or more of the external functional devices, as is also shown and described in connection with Fig.1 in particular.

The monitoring device 4 is designed to continuously monitor what base station or base stations 5'; 6'; 7' in the respective network 5; 6; 7 are at any given time available for communication. Although three networks are shown here, it will be understood that there may be present, for example, just one network, two networks or at least four networks. There may of course also be one or more base stations connected to the respective network.

It will be understood that in the cases where communication takes place between an r.f. unit and a base station, or between an r.f. slave unit and a base station, and where the communication is via a cable connection, for example LAN, there will be no need for the antenna 3.

In the r.f. unit 1 there is in addition an automatic selector 8 which at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station 5'; 6'; 7' itself automatically either selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission. Furthermore, there is in the r.f. unit 1 a storage device 9, where at least one or more selection parameters for the selector are prestored to form a criterion for the selector's automatic selection.

It is of course possible to allow one or more of the slave units to have a separate monitoring device, 4, selector 8 and storage device 9.

In the cases where a slave unit or units are present, the r.f. unit 1 and said at least one r.f. slave unit 1'; 1" will be configured to communicate with each other at lower transmitting power than the transmitting power normally required for communication to said base station(s) 5' ; 6' ; 7' . This communication between the r.f. unit 1 and at least one r.f. slave unit 1'; 1", or between the r.f. slave units may be effected either wirelessly or via cabling/data bus. In the case that there are at least two r.f. slave units, the r. f. unit 1 and its r.f. slave units 1', 1" and/or the slave units between themselves are configured to communicate at lower transmitting power than the transmitting power normally required for communication to said base station(s).

In the system according to the invention, it is possible to allow at least one of the r.f. slave units to be configured to communicate directly with the base station(s) 5'; 6'; 7' independent of the r.f. unit 1 or simultaneously with the r.f. unit 1.

When using the monitoring device 4 and the selector 8, it is possible to configure the selector itself to select automatically, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station 5'; 6'; 7', the one or ones of the available base stations that for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in the r.f. unit 1 (optionally in said at least one r.f. slave unit 1' ; 1") for the type of communication message to be transmitted.

The selector device 8 in the r.f. unit 1 is designed in addition to automatically make other selections on the basis of at least one of several parameters that are prestored in a storage device in the r.f. unit. The decision parameters that such a selector 8 can use for its selection may be one or more of the following: base station(s) measured as active by the r.f. station; communication parameters of active base station(s); subscription conditions of active base station(s); communication type; transmission security and/or transmission requirement; encryption facility and/or encryption requirement; communication stability; necessary signal power; signal/noise ratio; volume of data to be transmitted; need for broadband transmission and broadband availability; communication costs related to the base station; lowest transmission costs; time necessary for the communication; available power supply to the r.f. unit; available battery capacity; transmission occurrence requirement; the transmission priority of the actual communication message type in a priority table; the need to interrupt ongoing communication that has lower transmission priority; need for or advisability of storing data for transmission at a later time; authentication data for the base station(s) in question; transmission technical data stored in the r.f. unit for the network which includes the base station or for the base station in question; and the identity and operating parameters of the signalling unit(s).

It is of course possible to conceive of other decision parameters than those mentioned here, optionally such parameters in combination with one or more of those just mentioned.

As an example of a priority table, reference is made to the table below in which a higher figure indicates higher priority than a lower figure:

Figure imgf000012_0001

Table I

The r.f. unit 1, on detecting an available base station or base stations 5'; 6'; 7' in at least one network 5; 6; 7, will be designed to download from this base station or these base stations basic data or possible updates related to one or more of: the network's communication technical parameters; the network's authentication data; the network's general availability and/or subscription requirements; encryption keys related to the network; parameters for signalling units recently connected to the r.f . unit, and parameters for signalling units connected to the r.f. unit and which have recently been modified. These downloads are important for ensuring that the said at least one r.f. station 1; 1'; 1" is at all times updated with regard to operating parameters internally and parameters associated with externally connected equipment.

As shown in Fig.1 , one or more signalling units 10; 11 which represent a respective communication type may be connected to the r.f. unit 1. At least one signalling unit may be selected from the group: location position sensor, e.g., GPS sensor; fire detection sensor; break-in or intrusion sensor; motion sensor; pressure sensor; temperature sensor; gas sensor; fluid leakage sensor; vibration sensor; assault sensor; emergency signal generator; operating parameter recorder; microphone; and computer output for communication messages that are written and/or are images or graphics.

The r.f. unit 1 contains a central processing unit (CPU) 12 which is configured to a) dynamically activate the signalling unit or units 10; 11 for which there are active base stations 5' ; 6' ; 7' which are capable of handling the related communication message type and with the aid of the selector's 8 selection based on one or more of the previously mentioned decision parameters, and/or b) dynamically deactivating the signalling unit or units for which there are no active base stations that are capable of handling the related communication message type and with the aid of the selector's selection based on one or more of said decision parameters.

Inside the r.f. unit 1 there are advantageously internal sensors 13, 14 which may be of a type as mentioned in connection with the external signalling units 10; 11. By way of example, mention may be made of signalling units selected from the group: location position sensors, e.g., a GPS sensor; motion sensor; pressure sensor; temperature sensor; gas sensor; fluid leakage sensor; vibration sensor; operating parameter recorder; and power supply sensor.

The selector 8 is designed to cooperate with the central processing unit 12 to effect storage in the storage device 9 of data from the signalling unit(s) and to effect transmission of such data at a later time based on at least one of the following criteria: power consumption in the r.f. unit related to transmission occurence requirement; power consumption in the r.f . unit related to remaining battery capacity; transmission costs in relation to available base station or available network(s); temporary unavailability of broadband transmission facility; lack of facility for encrypted transmission to a base station, and the data represent normal state, i.e., not an alarm state.

The selector 8 is in addition designed to cause the central processing unit 12 to transmit data from the signalling unit(s) 11 - 14 based on at least one of the following criteria: required transmitting power and necessary transmission time for the communication message type; security required by the communication message type for transmission reception at at least one base station, and remaining battery capacity.

The r.f. unit 1 is preferably equipped with battery 15, preferably of a chargeable type or of a type with large battery capacity. It is also possible to have a power supply 16 that is externally based and connected to the r.f. unit. This power supply 16 is in this case to be regarded as a supplement to operation based on power supply from the battery 15. The power supply 16 may be connected to the outside of the r.f. unit 1 via a fluid-proof connection 16', for example of the standard plug and socket type of an inductive type.

Power supply is also conceivably delivered from an optional, externally located power source 17, for example a solar power panel or POE (Power Over Ethernet), where the power supply takes place via a data bus 19. Furthermore, the battery 15 may be chargeable by a charger 18. Charging can be done via a conventional fluid-proof connection or via the data bus 19. The data bus serves to provide connection/communication between all the devices included in the r.f. unit 1.

An external display 20 will be advantageous for observing, for example, the operating parameters and operation processed in the central processing unit 12.

As a security aspect, the r.f. unit 1 may be designed to receive from a base station in a network other than the network to which transmission took place, data concerning a receipt for correctly transmitted and received communication message or possible check sum errors in the transmission of the communication message. As a practical, non- limiting example, the r.f. unit 1 may transmit to the base station 5' in the network 5. A receipt is then received in the r.f. unit 1, for example, from the base station 6' in the network 6, optionally that the base station 7' in the network 7 transmits to the slave unit 1 ' or 1 ' ' (if such slave unit are used), which then in turn delivers the receipt message to the r.f. unit 1. This means that when a server 21 that is connected to a database 22 receives via a central network 23, for example, Internet or other telecommunications network, communication from, for example, the r.f. unit 1, the server 21 will select the transmission path for the receipt signal back to the r.f. unit 1.

To be able to analyse the receipt signal, a check sum control device 24 is advantageously connected to the central processing unit 12. The check sum control device 24 will, in the event of reported check sum errors in the receipt signal received from the base station, initiate that the r.f. unit retransmits the communication message by transmitting to a base station, for example, the base station 6' in another network 6 than the network 5 to which transmission of the message took place before.

According to the invention, the r.f. unit includes a counter device 25 that is designed to overlay each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message. The counter device 25 is advantageously configured to generate said serial number 261 - 26n continuously and independent of message start time from the time the counter device 25 is first set in operation. This is shown is a purely schematic manner in Fig. 4. For example, the time serial number 265 = 1000 may indicate that the chip is 1000 time units after start-up of the counter device and the r.f. unit 1; 1' ; 1". The counter device constitutes the time determination of the r.f. unit (virtual clock) in cooperation with the receiving station. The counter begins to run at, for example, a rate of about 10Hz (counts up about every tenth of a second) as soon as the battery is put in and the r.f. unit is started. The value on the counter unit as a measurement is made (sampling) is added to measurement data from the sensors on transmission of data to the receiving apparatus 5, 6, 7, 21-23. The receiving apparatus adds a time stamp which establishes the time for received data. After two transmissions have been received by the receiving apparatus, with respective counter from the r.f. unit and clock stamp, the time unit is calibrated for the counter and is stored in the database in the receiving apparatus for this r.f. unit. The counter in the r.f. unit now constitutes a calibrated time interval and can be used for relative time indication. If a value from the counter of the receiving apparatus shows a lower value than previous, recorded values, which indicates change of battery or start/stop for some other reason, the calibration process is restarted. Setting of the clock for each r.f. unit is thus unnecessary because this process is fully automatic. Nor will there be any requirement of accuracy in crystal which is to give a counting frequency as each r.f. unit operates with its own calibrated, relative time indication. A firewall means, expediently in software or firmware form, is associated with the central processing unit 12 to prevent unauthorised access from a network to the r.f. unit.

The central processing unit 12 is designed for control of the functions of the r.f. unit and/or the r.f. slave units. As indicated by the dotted line, at least the central processing unit 12, but also advantageously the said r.f. unit related parts 2 - 4, 8, 9, 13 -16; 24, 25 are placed in a closed, preferably sealed chamber 27. In connection with this chamber 27 there is at least one sensor 28, connected to the central processing unit 12, for detection of at least one of the following states: unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a physical key; unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a data signal-based key; change of gas pressure in the chamber; change of gas mixture in the chamber; and the exceeding of set temperature limits in the chamber. The sensor 28 may thus be understood as a manipulation or tampering sensor.

It will be understood that the transmitter/receiver device 2, the antenna 3, the monitoring device 2, the selector 8, the central processing unit 12, the check sum control device 24, the counter device 25 and the storage device 9 are advantageously placed in the chamber. In addition, said sensors 13, 14 may be placed in the chamber, i.e., sensors which especially are related to, for example, GPS-based location position, temperature in the chamber, abnormal movement of the r.f. unit, pressure in the chamber and power supply state. Furthermore, the battery 15 in the form of a chargeable battery and/or non-chargeable battery, and also external connectable power supply 16 may be placed in the chamber 27.

For communication of, for example, video signals and largish volumes of data, a broadband connection will normally be required. On battery operation, this can be prohibitive if no suitable data communication connection is present. It is known that WLAN requires more power consumption per message than, for example, GSM, so that on battery operation of equipment, GSM may be preferred, although its use is more expensive, whilst in equipment that has a power grid connection and where data security is not a primary requirement, WLAN, for example, may be chosen. In other words, the r.f. unit 1 will have logic functions associated with, inter alia, the central processing unit 12, the selector 8 and the monitoring device 9. These functions are necessarily predefined, where parameters as, for instance, data transfer security, power consumption, transmission price, necessary transmitting power, the overriding of existing unprioritised conversations/unprioritised communication etc., as mentioned, are taken into account when selecting the most suitable network. This is a possibility which to date has not been present, as, for example, multiband mobile telephones, for instance, triple band 900MHz, 1800MHz and 1900MHz, as a rule select the frequency that is most readily available without any regard to what the communication will cost per minute and what power consumption it will require etc. In some cases, it will be possible for a user himself to manually select a network, but in certain situations this is awkward, insecure and not least requires valuable time.

It is also envisaged that the r.f. unit 1; 1'; 1" will be suitable for operation using multiband transmitter equipment, so that selective transmission on a selected frequency or selected frequencies related to several frequency ranges will be possible. For marine use, it is conceivable that transmitter equipment can be wirelessly or cable connected to the vessel's VHF equipment, or be connected to signalling equipment that is triggered by radar sweeps of other vessels and which is therefore able to send back an alarm signal together with the radar echo. This is also per se known in connection with identification systems for aircraft and vessels (IFF = Identification of Friend or Foe), but not, for example, to automatically warn of an emergency situation.

Furthermore, it is conceivable to allow the r.f. unit and/or the r.f. slave units to cause a message to be sent not only to one network, but to several networks sequentially or simultaneously if the transmitter equipment has the facility therefor (for example, both via GSM, CDMA, VHF, satellite communication (may be relevant on board ships).

It will be understood that a primary aspect of the invention is linked to security with regard to data delivery to the individual network, i.e., encryptability and/or the possibility of the manipulation by others of the data en route, and then the load that the network will require with regard to power consumption, and also the price structure of the network.

The present invention provides solutions that contribute to increased knowledge about, for example, the location and state of an article. The invention thus provides a highly attractive and innovative solution which in a dynamic way will efficiently use the large and increasing number of available telecommunications networks, and the extremely dissimilar properties of the telecommunications networks, to actively create functionality within the area of r.f. -based location and condition tracking.

The invention thus has a technical system where a functional matrix is composed of n sensors * m telecommunications networks. With the growth of ever new telecommunications networks, this increases the user's options and benefits compared with known systems which have a functionality matrix based on n sensors * 1 (one) telecommunications network.

As described above, greater availability of telecommunications networks, here "m" telecommunications networks compared with one telecommunications network will contribute to the development of new parameters in, inter alia, r.f .-based tracking, such as different loads on a battery from networks; unique data security in networks; different security for data delivery in networks; and different price structure for networks.

The solutions according to the invention enable the selector 8, in cooperation with the monitoring device 4, the storage device 9 and central processing unit 12, to select from among the m different networks based on different criteria. In the event of burglary, this is considered not to be price-sensitive, whilst this message is sensitive for tapping and manipulation. Consequently, with the method and the system according to the invention, an expensive and encrypted GSM telecommunications network will be selected in connection with the message burglary. A less reliable and free WLAN telecommunications network can instead be selected for "everything ok" status messages.

Although the methods and systems according to the invention may have the same areas of application as the said "TrackGuard" and similar known systems, they also pave the way for completely new areas of use where r.f. based tracking cannot be implemented with today' s technology. Selection of network cannot be made a part of the known r.f. unit's active functionality with today's technology. The known solutions, for example, the GSM-based solutions are partly network-controlled, i.e., that a network is proposed to the user and he must either accept this network or try to find another one. When making such selections it is impossible to assess, inter alia, data security, transmission costs, transmission security and power consumption, whilst with the present invention, the r.f. unit and optional r.f. slave units are intelligent as regards finding the base station or stations in at least one network that will give the most satisfactory communication in view of the data that is to be transmitted and the operative state or states that exist in or at the sensors.

With the solution according to the invention testing has shown that the system with its operative method could operate with a very low telecommunications cost structure during ordinary operations, a cost structure that is scaled up to a high and in a crisis situation acceptable cost for telecommunications. This example shows how the invention paves the way for r.f. based tracking in connection with the low end market, such as, for example, bicycles and prams, and construction plants/tools, where the operational message "Everything OK" cannot be allowed to generate costs.

Selection of transmission type may, as indicated above, be done on the basis of access to a power supply. In the event of little access to power, the network technology that is least power-consuming is selected. For the present system, this results in optimal battery duration. It may pave the way for the use of r.f. based tracking in situations where the power supply unit cannot be charged or in some other way be connected to a power source. For example, it is conceivable that the r.f. unit is embedded in a bicycle frame or in a chassis or a structural part of another vehicle. With the invention, it is then made possible to save energy by using the network which is least power- consuming at any given time. In this way, the r.f. unit can obtain optimal lifetime, even when the power supply is only based on battery operation.

As mentioned above, m networks can be used, wherein m = 2, 3, 4, 5...., i.e., multiband technology. Multiband as a technical solution, as known, for example, from Qtek's GSM and WLAN telephone, or in Telenor' s product "MobileOffice" is not directly applicable in r.f. based tracking equipment. The message "The network is insecure - do you still want to connect to the network?" is well known to everyone who has used a wireless PC with Microsoft system. The PC user thus chooses whether he/she considers that this network connection level is acceptable for his/her planned data exchange.

In contrast to the known technology that is based on interaction between a user and a network, where the user must ultimately decide, the system according to the invention will take the same decisions as the PC user without interaction with a human. Automated processes are absolutely necessary in the area of r.f. based tracking as according to the invention it is not possible intentionally to gain access to manual control of the system. This is quite important for rapid and secure transmission.

This automated process that takes place in the system according to the invention has a wide potential range. A large and secondary area of use connected to fields in telecommunication is, inter alia, conceivable where the user of the communication equipment today is faced with technological choices that are difficult for the user to deal with. For example, a sensor is conceivable which reads through a document and looks for words and expressions which make the document sensitive, as, for example, a "glossary" sensor. This sensor would be able to contain words to give the status "Sensitive data" (for example, the words: state of health, budget and confidential). If an e-mail, an SMS or an MMS that the user wishes to send over a telecommunications network contains one of these words, the system can choose a secure telecommunications network for this type of transmission. This active selection, based on available telecommunications networks, is done in the system, without interaction with the user of the telecommunications unit.

It will be understood that the system's access to networks is dependent upon the networks being open for communication with, for example, the r.f. unit 1. This means that any subscribers connected to the networks must be pre-established and that any upgrades take place on a continuously repeated basis. This may especially be the case if parts of the system are changed or if the operating parameters of a relevant network alter. However, it is quite conceivable that typical emergency messages, for example, fire on board a ship and general SOS signals could be received and confirmed without any form of subscription obligation.

An interesting side of the invention is that it enables power-consuming equipment such as external sensors to be disconnected if information from such equipment is in any case impossible to send to a base station, for example, because the information requires broadband connection whilst only narrow band is available at that instant, or that important information from such equipment is temporarily stored until transmission of the information is possible, i.e., that when broadband is available, data requiring broadband is transmitted from the storage device 9. It is also possible to let the system reject broadband requiring data from sensors if only narrow band is available. The system thus has an extensive possibility to select the data which can in fact be transmitted to a base station and thus also the possibility for activation/deactivation of, for example, sensors.

The system may also include the use of authentication data and possible encryption keys for secure data transmission, and such aids may be prestored in the storage unit 9 and retrieved from this unit, thereby providing the possibility for more network access. In the storage device 9 there will be information regarding the transmission technical properties of the individual networks. The central processing unit 12 will at given intervals check the status of the sensors. Available networks, battery status and sensor data decide whether transmission of data to the receiving station should be initiated, based on whether any of the sensors report a type of alarm system. An algorithm which sets up a priority list, cf. Table 1, of available networks is also an input parameter with regard to whether data should or should not be sent. In a chosen example of use, the r.f. unit can, if no sensors report an alarm situation, send a minimum message regarding geographical position and the counter device with preconfigured intervals.

If external power supply 18 is available, the charger 18 will report this and ensure that the battery 15 is fully charged.

Each time the RF unit retrieves sensor data, it is stored in the storage device which operates as a ring buffer. This is to protect the system against overflow if there should be an abnormally large amount of untransmitted data in the storage unit either because of an extremely long time between two transmissions or alarm situations which generate large amounts of data. A plurality p of last stored data is always sent in connection with each transmission, p being an adjustable integer constant.

The transmitter(s)/receiver(s) 2 is/are the actual communication link with the surrounding world. They also function as sensors that report about detected networks to the monitoring device. As mentioned, an r.f. unit has at least one transmitter/receiver, but it can be equipped with more to be able to tackle the transmission frequencies and protocols of different networks. The antenna 3 may optionally be a multiband antenna or may consist of several individual antennae adapted to dedicated frequencies at the respective transmitters/receivers.

Fig. 3 shows that the location position determining sensor 14 (for example, GPS-based) causes a definition of geographical position for the r.f. unit, and that in reality there is a possibility of transmitting to m number of networks or fewer networks 33, and where communication can take place, for example, via satellite network 29, 29', mobile network 30, for example, a GSM network, a GPRS network or a 3G network; a WLAN network 31 or a LAN network 32, in addition to communication in a location position determining network 33, 33', for example, a GPS based network. The number of available networks can, as mentioned, be in the range of 1 to m. The reference numeral 34 indicates software that is available in the r.f. unit for use for the central processing unit 12.

Claims

P a t e n t c l a i m s
1.
A method for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one or more possible networks of base stations available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication; - that the r.f. unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission; and
- that the r.f. unit's selection is made on the basis of at least one of several decision parameters prestored in the r.f. unit.
2.
A method as disclosed in claim 1, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit communicates with at least one r.f. slave unit; - that the r.f. slave unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication;
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission; and
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit's selection is made on the basis of at least one of several decision parameters prestored in the r.f. slave unit or in the r.f. unit.
3. A method as disclosed in claim 2, characterised in that communication between the r.f. unit and its said at least one r.f. slave unit takes place at lower transmitting power than normally required transmitting power to said base station(s).
4. A method as disclosed in claim 2, characterised in that there are at least two r.f. slave units, and that communication between the r.f. unit and its r.f. slave units and/or between the r.f . slave units takes place at lower transmitting power than normally required transmitting power to said base station(s).
5. A method as disclosed in claims 2, 3 or 4, characterised in that at least one of the r.f. slave units is designed to communicate directly with a base station or stations independent of the r.f. unit or simultaneously with the r.f. unit.
6. A method for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one or more possible networks of base stations available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication; and
- that the r.f. unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one or ones of the available base stations that for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in the r.f. unit for the type of communication message that is to be transmitted.
7.
A method as disclosed in claim 6, characterised in that
- that the r.f. unit communicates with at least one r.f. slave unit;
- that the r.f. slave unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication;
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one or ones of the available base stations that for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in the r.f. unit for the type of communication message that is to be transmitted.
8.
A method as disclosed in claim 7, characterised in that communication between the r.f. unit and its said at least one r.f. slave unit takes place at lower transmitting power than normally required transmitting power to said base station(s).
9.
A method as disclosed in claim 7, characterised in that there are at least two r.f. slave units, and that communication between the r.f. unit and its r.f. slave units and/or between the r.f. slave units takes place at lower transmitting power than normally 5 required transmitting power to said base station(s).
10.
A method as disclosed in claims 8 or 9, characterised in that at least one of the r.f. slave units is designed to communicate directly with a base station or stations independent ofo the r.f. unit or simultaneously with the r.f. unit.
11.
A method as disclosed in claim 6, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit's selection in addition is made on the basis of at least one of several5 decision parameters that are prestored in a storage unit in the r.f. unit.
12.
A method as disclosed in claim 7, characterised in
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit's selection in addition is made on the basis of at0 least one of several decision parameters that are prestored in a storage unit in said at least one r.f. slave unit.
13.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 1 - 12, 5 characterised in
- that said decision parameters are one or more of the following:
- base station(s) measured as active;
- communication parameters of active base station(s);
- subscription conditions of active base station(s); o - communication type;
- transmission security and/or transmission security requirement;
- encryption facility and/or encryption facility requirement;
- communication stability;
- necessary signal power; 5 - signal/noise ratio;
- volume of data to be transmitted;
- need for broadband transmission and broadband availability; - communication costs related to the base station;
- lowest transmission costs;
- time necessary for the communication;
- available power supply; - available battery capacity;
- transmission occurence requirement;
- the transmission priority of the actual communication message type in a priority table;
- the need to interrupt ongoing communication that has lower transmission priority;
- the need for or advisability of storing data for transmission at a later time; - authentication data for the base station(s) in question;
- transmission technical data stored in the r.f. unit for the network which includes the base station or for the actual base station; and
- the identity and operating parameters of the signalling unit(s).
14.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 1 - 13, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit, on detecting an available base station or base stations in at least one network, downloads from this base station or these base stations basic data or optionally updates related to one or more of:
- the network's communication technical parameters;
- the network's authentication data;
- the network's general availability and/or subscription requirements;
- encryption keys related to the network; - parameters for signalling units recently connected to the r.f. unit; and
- parameters for signalling units connected to the r.f. unit and which have recently been modified.
15. A method as disclosed in any one of claims 2 - 13, characterised in
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit with which the r.f. unit communicates, on detecting an available base station or base stations in at least one network, downloads from this base station or these base stations basic data or optional updates related to one or more of:
- the network's communication technical parameters;
- the network's authentication data; - the network's general availability and/or subscription requirements;
- encryption keys related to the network;
- parameters for signalling units recently connected to the r.f. unit; and
- parameters for signalling units connected to the r.f. unit and which have recently been modified.
16.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 1 - 15, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit is connected to one or more signalling units that are assigned a respective communication type:
- that the r.f. unit dynamically activates the signalling unit or units for which there are active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and by selection based on one or more of said decision parameters; and/or
- that the r.f. unit dynamically deactivates the signalling unit or units for which there are no active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and by selection based on one or more of said decision parameters.
17.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 2 - 15, characterised in - that said at least one r.f. slave unit is connected to one or more signalling units that are assigned a respective communication type;
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit dynamically activates the signalling unit or units for which there are active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and by selection based on one or more of said decision parameters; and/or - that said at least one r.f. slave unit dynamically deactivates the signalling unit or units for which there are no active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and by selection based on one or more of said decision parameters.
18.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 1 - 17, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit chooses to store data from the signalling unit or units and to transmit such data at a later time based on at least one of the following criteria:
- power consumption in the r.f. unit related to transmission frequency requirement;
- power consumption in the r.f. unit related to remaining battery capacity;
- transmission costs in relation to available base station or available network(s); - temporary unavailability of broadband transmission facility;
- lack of facility for encrypted transmission to a base station; and
- the data represent normal state, i.e., not an alarm state.
19.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 2 - 18, characterised in
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit chooses to store data from the signalling unit(s) and to transmit such data at a later time based on at least one of the following criteria:
- power consumption in said at least one r.f. slave unit related to transmission frequency requirement;
- power consumption in said at least one r.f. slave unit related to remaining battery capacity;
- transmission costs in relation to available base station or available network(s);
- temporary unavailability of broadband transmission facility; - a lack of facility for encrypted transmission to a base station; and
- the data represent normal state, i.e., not an alarm state.
20.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 1 - 19, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit chooses to transmit data from the signalling unit(s) based on at least one of the following criteria:
- required transmitting power and necessary transmission time for the communication message type; - security required by the communication message type for transmission reception at at least one base station; and
- remaining battery capacity.
21. A method as disclosed in any one of claims 2 - 19, characterised in
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit chooses to transfer data from the signalling unit(s) based on at least one of the following criteria:
- required transmitting power and necessary transmission time for the communication message type;
- security required by the communication message type for transmission reception at at least one base station; and - remaining battery capacity.
22.
A method as disclosed in any one of claims 16 - 21, characterised in that at least one of the signalling units is selected from the group:
- location position sensor, e.g., GPS sensor;
- fire detection sensor;
- break-in sensor; - motion sensor;
- pressure sensor;
- temperature sensor;
- gas sensor;
- fluid leakage sensor; - vibration sensor;
- assault sensor;
- emergency signal generator;
- operating parameter recorder;
- microphone; and - computer output for communication messages that are written and/or are images or graphics.
23.
A method as disclosed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in
- that the r.f . unit is designed to receive from a base station in a network other than the network to which the transmission took place, data concerning a receipt for correctly transmitted and received communication message or possible check sum error in the transmission of the communication message.
24.
A method as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 2 - 23, characterised in
- that said at least r.f. slave unit is designed to receive from a base station in a network other than the network to which the transmission took place, data concerning a receipt for correctly transmitted and received communication message or possible check sum error in the transmission of the communication message.
25.
A method as disclosed in claims 23 or 24, characterised in
- that in the event of a reported check sum error, the communication message is retransmitted by transmitting to a base station in a network other than the network to which the message was transmitted previously.
26.
A method as disclosed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in
- that each communication message is overlaid with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.
27. A method as disclosed in claim 26, characterised in
- that said serial number is generated continuously and independent of message start time from the time that a counter device connected to a central processing unit in the r.f . unit is first put in operation.
28.
A method as disclosed in claim 26, characterised in
- that said serial number is generated continuously and independent of message start time from the time that a counter device connected to a central processing unit in said at least one r.f. slave unit is first put in operation.
29.
A method as disclosed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit uses a firewall means to prevent unauthorised access from a network to the r.f. unit.
30.
A method as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 2 - 29, characterised in - that said at least one r.f. slave unit uses a firewall means to prevent unauthorised access from a network to said at least one r.f. slave unit.
31.
A method as disclosed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit comprises a central processing unit for controlling its functions, the central processing unit being enclosed in a chamber, and
- that the central processing unit in the r.f. unit is connected to at least one sensor for detection of at least one of the following states:
- unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a physical key;
- unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a data signal based key;
- change of gas pressure in the chamber;
- change of gas mixture in the chamber; and
- the exceeding of set temperature limits in the chamber.
32.
A method as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 2 - 31, characterised in
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit comprises a central processing unit for controlling its functions, the central processing unit being enclosed in a chamber, and - that the central processing unit in said at least one r.f. slave unit is connected to at least one sensor for detection of at least one of the following states:
- unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a physical key;
- unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a data signal based key; - change of gas pressure in the chamber;
- change of gas mixture in the chamber; and
- the exceeding of set temperature limits in the chamber.
33. A method for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one or more possible networks of base stations available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication and itself automatically selects at least one of them for transmission of a communication message; and - that the r.f . unit overlays each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.
34. A method as disclosed in claim 33, characterised in that the r.f. unit communicates with at least one r.f. slave unit, that the r.f. slave unit continuously monitors what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication and itself automatically selects at least one of them for transmission of a communication message, and said at least one r.f. slave unit overlays each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.
35.
A method as disclosed in claim 33, characterised in - that said serial number is generated continuously and independent of message start time from the time that a counter device connected to a central processing unit in the r.f. unit is first put in operation.
36. A method as disclosed in claim 34, characterised in
- that said serial number is generated continuously and independent of message start time from the time that a counter device connected to a central processing unit in said at least one r.f. slave unit is first put in operation.
37.
A method as disclosed in claim 33, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one of the available base stations that is best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted.
38.
A method as disclosed in claim 34, characterised in
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically selects the one of the available base stations that is best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted.
39.
A system for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one or more possible networks of base stations available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located, characterised by
- a monitoring device in the r.f. unit, which monitoring device is designed to continuously monitor what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication;
- an automatic selector in the r.f. unit, which selector, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically either selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission; and
- a storage device in the r.f. unit, wherein at least one or more of the decision parameters are prestored to form a criterion for the selector's automatic selection.
40.
A system as disclosed in claim 39, characterised in that the r.f. unit is designed to communicate with at least one r.f. slave unit, and that the r.f. slave unit comprises: - a monitoring device that is designed to continuously monitor what base station or base stations in relevant networks are at any given time available for communication;
- an automatic selector which, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, itself automatically either selects the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted, or postpones the transmission; and
- a storage device in which at least one or more of the decision parameters are prestored to form a criterion for the selector's automatic selection.
41. A system as disclosed in claim 40, characterised in that the r.f. unit and its said at least one r.f. slave unit are configured to communicate with each other at lower transmitting power than the transmitting power normally required for communication to said base station(s).
42.
A system as disclosed in claim 40, characterised in that there are at least two r.f. slave units, and that the r.f. unit and its r.f. slave units and/or the r.f. slave units between themselves are configured to communicate with each other at lower transmitting power than the transmitting power normally required for communication to said base station(s).
43.
A system as disclosed in claims 41 or 42, characterised in that at least one of the r.f. slave units is designed to communicate directly with a base station or stations independent of the r.f. unit or simultaneously with the r.f. unit.
44.
A system for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one or more possible networks of base stations available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located, characterised by - a monitoring device in the r.f. unit, which monitoring device is designed to continuously monitor what base station or base stations in the network are at any given time available for communication; and
- an automatic selector in the r.f. unit, which selector, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, is designed itself to automatically select the one or ones of the available base stations that for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in the r.f. unit for the type of communication message that is to be transmitted.
45. A system as disclosed in claim 44, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit is designed to communicate with at least one r.f. slave unit, and that the slave unit comprises:
- a monitoring device which is designed to continuously monitor what base station or base stations in the network are at any given time available for communication; and - an automatic selector which, at the time of an actual need for communication with a base station, is designed itself to automatically select the one or ones of the available base stations which for transmission require least transmitting power and/or power consumption in said at least one r.f. slave unit for the type of communication message that is to be transmitted.
46.
A system as disclosed in claim 45, characterised in that the r.f. unit and its said at least one r.f. slave unit are configured to communicate with each other at lower transmitting power than the transmitting power normally required for communication to said base station(s).
47.
A system as disclosed in claim 45, characterised in that there are at least two r.f. slave units, and that the r.f. unit and its r.f. slave units and/or the r.f. slave units between each other are configured to communicate at lower transmitting power than the transmitting power normally required for communication to said base station(s).
48.
A system as disclosed in claims 46 or 47, characterised in that at least one of the r.f. slave units is designed to communicate directly with a base station or stations independent of the r.f. unit or simultaneously with the r.f. unit.
49.
A system as disclosed in claim 44, characterised in - that the selector is designed in addition to automatically make further selections on the basis of at least one of several decision parameters that are prestored in a storage unit in the r.f. unit.
50. A system as disclosed in claim 45, characterised in
- that the selector is designed in addition to automatically make further selections on the basis of at least one of several decision parameters that are prestored in a storage unit in said at least one r.f. slave unit.
51.
A system as disclosed in any one of claims 39 - 50, characterised in
- that said decision parameters used by the selector to make its selection are one or more of the following: - base station(s) measured as active;
- communication parameters of active base station(s);
- subscription conditions of active base station(s); - communication type;
- transmission security and/or transmission security requirement;
- encryption facility and/or encryption facility requirement;
- communication stability; - necessary signal power;
- signal/noise ratio;
- volume of data to be transmitted;
- need for broadband transmission and broadband availability;
- communication costs related to the base station; - lowest transmitting costs;
- time necessary for the communication;
- available power supply;
- available battery capacity;
- transmission occurrence requirement; - the transmission priority of the actual communication message type in a priority table;
- the need to interrupt ongoing communication that has lower transmission priority;
- the need for or advisability of storing data for transmission at a later time;
- authentication data for the base station(s) in question;
- transmission technical data stored in the r.f. unit for the network which includes the base station or for the actual base station;
- the identity and operating parameters of the signalling unit(s).
52.
A system as disclosed in any one of claims 39 - 51, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit, on detecting an available base station or base stations in at least one network, is designed to download from this base station or these base stations basic data or optionally updates related to one or more of:
- the network's communication technical parameters; - the network's authentication data;
- the network's general availability and/or subscription requirements;
- encryption keys related to the network;
- parameters for signalling units recently connected to the r.f. unit; and
- parameters for signalling units connected to the r.f. unit and which have recently been modified.
53.
A system as disclosed in any one of claims 40 - 52, characterised in
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit with which the r.f. unit communicates, on detecting an available base station or base stations in at least one network, is designed to download from this base station or these base stations basic data or optional updates related to one or more of:
- the network's communication technical parameters;
- the network's authentication data; - the network's general availability and/or subscription requirements;
- encryption keys related to the network;
- parameters for signalling units recently connected to the r.f. unit; and
- parameters for signalling units connected to the r.f. unit and which have recently been modified.
54.
A system as disclosed in any one of claims 39 - 53, characterised by
- one or more signalling units of a respective communication type being connected to the r.f. unit;
- a central processing unit in the r.f. unit that is configured to a) dynamically activate the signalling unit or units for which there are active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and with the aid of the selector's selection based on one or more of said decision parameters, and/or b) dynamically deactivate the signalling unit or units for which there are no active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and with the aid of the selector's selection based on one or more of said decision parameters.
55. A system as disclosed in any one of claims 40 - 54, characterised by
- one or more signalling units having a respective communication type is connected to said at least one r.f. slave unit;
- a central processing unit in said at least one r.f. slave unit that is configured to a) dynamically activate the signalling unit or units for which there are active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and with the aid of the selector's selection based on one or more of said decision parameters, and/or b) dynamically deactivate the signalling unit or units for which there are no active base stations capable of handling the related communication message type and with the aid of the selector's selection based on one or more of said decision parameters.
56.
A system as disclosed in any one of claims 39 - 55, characterised in
- that the selector is designed to store, in cooperation with the central processing unit, data from the signalling unit or units and to transmit such data at a later time based on at least one of the following criteria:
- power consumption related to transmission frequency requirement;
- power consumption related to remaining battery capacity;
- transmitting costs in relation to available base station or available network or network; - temporary unavailability of broadband transmission facility;
- a lack of facility for encrypted transmission to a base station; and
- the data represent normal state, i.e., not an alarm state.
57. A system as disclosed in any one of claims 39 - 55, characterised in
- that the selector is designed to cause the central processing unit to transmit data from the signalling unit or units based on at least one of the following criteria:
- required transmitting power and necessary transmission time of the communication message type; - security required by the communication message type for transmission reception at at least one base station; and
- remaining battery capacity.
58. A system as disclosed in any one of claims 54 - 57, characterised in that at least one of the signalling units is selected from the group:
- location position sensor, e.g., GPS sensor;
- fire detection sensor; - break-in sensor;
- motion sensor;
- pressure sensor; - temperature sensor;
- gas sensor;
- fluid leakage sensor;
- vibration sensor; 5 - assault sensor;
- emergency signal generator;
- operating parameter recorder;
- microphone;
- computer output for communication messages that are written and/or areo images or graphics.
59.
A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 39 - 58, characterised in s - that the r.f. unit is designed to receive from a base station in a network other than the network to which the transmission took place, data concerning a receipt for correctly transmitted and received communication message or possible check sum error in the transmission of the communication message. 0 60.
A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 40 — 59, characterised in
- that said at least r.f. slave unit is designed to receive from a base station in a network other than the network to which the transmission took place, data concerning a receipt5 for correctly transmitted and received communication message or possible check sum error in the transmission of the communication message.
61.
A system as disclosed in claim 59, characterised by o - a check sum control device connected to the central processing unit in the r. f. unit, which check sum control device, in the event of a reported check sum error received from a base station, initiates that the r. f . unit retransmits the communication message by transmitting to a base station in a network other than the network to which the message was transmitted previously. 5
62.
A system as disclosed in claim 60, characterised by - a check sum control device connected to the central processing unit in said at least one r. f. slave unit, which check sum control device, in the event of a reported check sum error received from a base station, initiates that the r. f. slave unit retransmits the communication message by transmitting to a base station in a network other than the network to which the message was transmitted previously.
63
A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 39 - 62, characterised by
- a counter device in the r.f. unit, which counter device is designed to overlay each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.
64. A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 40 - 63, characterised by
- a counter device in said at least one r.f. slave unit, which counter device is designed to overlay each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.
65.
A system as disclosed in claim 63 or 64, characterised in
- that the counter device is configured to generate said serial number continuously and independent of message start time from the time that the counter device connected is first put in operation.
66.
A system as disclosed any one of preceding claims 39 - 65, characterised in - that a firewall means is associated with the central processing unit in the r.f. unit to prevent unauthorised access from a network to the r.f. unit.
67.
A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 40 — 66, characterised in
- that a firewall means is associated with the central processing unit in said at least one r.f. slave unit to prevent unauthorised access from a network to the r.f. slave unit.
68.
A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 39 - 66, characterised in - that in the r.f. unit there is included a central processing unit for controlling its functions,
- that the central processing unit is enclosed in a chamber, and
- that the r.f. unit is connected to at least one sensor for detection of at least one of the following states: - unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a physical key;
- unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a data signal based key;
- change of gas pressure in the chamber;
- change of gas mixture in the chamber; and - the exceeding of set temperature limits in the chamber.
69.
A method as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 40 - 67, characterised in - that in said at least one r.f. slave unit there is included a central processing unit for controlling its functions,
- that the central processing unit is enclosed in a chamber, and
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit is connected to at least one sensor for detection of at least one of the following states: - unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a physical key;
- unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a data signal based key;
- change of gas pressure in the chamber;
- change of gas mixture in the chamber; and - the exceeding of set temperature limits in the chamber.
70.
A system for transmission between an r.f. unit including transmitter/receiver equipment and at least one selectable r.f. base station including transmitter/receiver equipment, the base station being a part of one or more possible networks of base stations available for communication in an area in which the r.f. unit is located, characterised by - a monitoring device in the r.f. unit, which monitoring device continuously monitors what base station or base stations in the network are at any given time available for communication;
- a selector in the r.f. unit which itself automatically selects one of these base stations for transmission of a communication message; and
- a counter device in the r.f. unit, which counter device is designed to overlay each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.
71.
A system as disclosed in claim 70, characterised in
- that the r.f. unit is designed to communicate with at least one r.f. slave unit, and
- that said at least one r.f. slave unit comprises:
- a monitoring device which continuously monitors what base station or base stations in the relevant networks are at any given time available for communication;
- a selector which itself automatically selects one of these base stations for transmission of the communication message; and
- a counter device which is designed to overlay each communication message with a message serial number that is generated at fixed time intervals during transmission of the message.
72.
A system as disclosed in claim 70, characterised in
- that the counter device is configured to generate said serial number continuously and independent of message start time from the time that the counter device connected is first put in operation and is connected to a central processing unit in the r.f. unit.
73.
A system as disclosed in claim 71, characterised in - that the counter device is configured to generate said serial number continuously and independent of message start time from the time that the counter device connected is first put in operation and is connected to the central processing unit in the r.f. slave unit.
74. A system as disclosed in claims 70, 71, 72 or 73, characterised in
- that the selector is configured itself to automatically select, at the time for an actual need for communication with a base station, the one or ones of the available base stations that are best suited for the type or types of communication message to be transmitted.
75.
5 A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 39 - 74, characterised in that in the r.f. unit there is included at least one transmitter/receiver device and an antenna belonging thereto.
io 76.
A system as disclosed in any one of preceding claims 40 - 75, characterised in that in said at least one r.f. slave unit there is included at least one transmitter/receiver device and an antenna belonging thereto.
15
77.
A system as disclosed in claim 70 or 71, characterised in that said monitoring device and selector are included in a central processing unit.
20 78.
A system as disclosed in claim 77, characterised in that the counter device is connected to the central processing unit or is a part thereof.
79.
25 A system as disclosed in claim 77 or 78 , characterised in that a storage device is connected to the central processing unit or is a part thereof.
80.
A system as disclosed in claims 75 - 79, characterised in that the transmitter/receiver 30 device, the antenna, the monitoring device, the selector, the central processing unit, the counter device and the storage device are located in a closed, preferably sealed chamber.
81. 35 A system as disclosed in any one of claims 75 - 80, characterised in that in the r.f unit there is also included at least one of the following: at least one sensor connected to the central processing unit and designed to give warning of attempted tampering of the r.f. unit when it is installed in a closed chamber, where the sensor is of a type suitable for detection of at least one of: unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a physical key, unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a data signal based key, change of gas pressure in the chamber, change of gas mixture in the chamber, the exceeding of set temperature limits in the chamber; at least one sensor inside said chamber and connected to the central processing unit to indicate at least one of the following parameters: position location, temperature in the chamber, abnormal motion of the r.f. unit, pressure in the chamber and power supply state; chargeable battery; non-chargeable battery; and - externally connectable power supply.
82.
A system as disclosed in any one of claims 76 — 81, characterised in that in said at least one r.f. slave unit there is also included at least one of the following: at least one sensor connected to the central processing unit and designed to give warning of attempted tampering of the r.f. slave unit when it is installed in a closed chamber, where the sensor is of a type suitable for detection of at least one of: unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a physical key, unauthorised opening of the chamber without the use of a data signal based key, change of gas pressure in the chamber, change of gas mixture in the chamber, the exceeding of set temperature limits in the chamber; at least one sensor inside said chamber and connected to the central processing unit to indicate at least one of the following parameters: position location, temperature in the chamber, abnormal motion of the r.f. unit, pressure in the chamber and power supply state; chargeable battery; non-chargeable battery; and - externally connectable power supply. A system as disclosed in any one of claims 75 - 82, characterised in that to the r.f. unit there is connected external equipment selected from the group consisting of: - location position sensor, e.g., GPS sensor;
- fire detection sensor;
- burglary sensor;
- motion sensor;
- pressure sensor; - temperature sensor;
- gas sensor;
- fluid leakage sensor;
- vibration sensor;
- assault sensor; - emergency signal generator;
- operating parameter recorder;
- microphone;
- keyboard and/or keypad;
- display; - printer;
- signalling units of optical and/or acoustic type;
- solar panel as power supply for operation and/or battery charging;
- charger; and
- computer output for communication messages that are written and/or are images or graphics.
84.
A system as disclosed in any one of claims 76 - 82, characterised in that to said at least one r.f. slave unit there is connected external equipment selected from the group consisting of:
- location position sensor, e.g., GPS sensor;
- fire detection sensor;
- burglary sensor; - motion sensor;
- pressure sensor;
- temperature sensor; - gas sensor;
- fluid leakage sensor;
- vibration sensor;
- assault sensor; - emergency signal generator;
- operating parameter recorder;
- microphone;
- keyboard and/or keypad;
- display; - printer;
- signalling units of optical and/or acoustic type;
- solar panel as power supply for operation and/or battery charging;
- charger; and
- computer output for communication messages that are written and/or are images or graphics.
PCT/NO2007/000460 2006-12-29 2007-12-21 Methods and systems for transmission between an r.f. unit and at least one r.f. base station WO2008082309A3 (en)

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