CableLabs Invention Could Propel Comcast MVNO

CableLabs has won another U.S patent for an invention that could help Comcast and other major MSOs compete with wireless carriers.

Alberto Campos
Alberto Campos

Principal architects Alberto Campos and Jennifer Andreoli-Fang are named as inventors on the patent, titled, “Optimizing network access.” CableLabs filed the patent, which was published on Tuesday, in April 2013.

Abstract: A network access optimization strategy where mobile device may be directed to access particular networks depending on operation requirements and characteristic. The optimization strategy may rely on a traveling speed of the mobile to device to broadly prioritize a network type suitable for the given traveling speed.

Patent

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Fang
Jennifer Andreoli-Fang

Claims: 

1. A method for use with a wireless device to optimize access to wireless signaling available from cellular and wireless networks, the method comprising: identifying a traveling speed of the wireless device; implementing a mobility mode in the event the traveling speed is greater than a speed threshold, the mobility mode instructing the wireless device to prioritize access to cellular networks over access to wireless networks when at least one cellular network and at least one wireless network are simultaneously operable to facilitate wireless signaling with the wireless device; implementing a portability mode in the event the traveling speed is less than the speed threshold, the portability mode instructing the wireless device to prioritize access to wireless networks over access to cellular networks when at least one cellular network and at least one wireless network are simultaneously operable to facilitate wireless signaling with the wireless device; identifying a geographical location of the wireless device; instructing the wireless device to prioritize access to a first type of cellular network over a second type of cellular network in the event the geographical location is a first location and both of the first and second types of cellular networks are operable to facilitate wireless signaling with the wireless device; and instructing the wireless device to prioritize access to the second type of cellular network over a third type of cellular network in the event the geographical location is a second location and both of the second and third types of cellular networks are operable to facilitate wireless signaling with the wireless device.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein: the first location is a rural area and the second location is a sub-urban area, the rural area being less populated with people than the sub-urban area; and the first type is a macro cell, the second type is a micro cell and the third type is at least a pico cell, the macro cell having greater signaling strength than the micro cell and the micro cell having greater signaling strength than the pico cell.

3. The method of claim 2 further comprising, when implementing the mobility mode while the geographical location of the wireless device is of the first type and the wireless device is accessing one of the first type of cellular networks and the signaling power is above the desired power threshold, instructing the wireless device to continue accessing the one of the first type of cellular networks when one of the second type of cellular network having greater signaling power is available.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising, when implementing the portability mode, instructing the wireless device to prioritize the first type of wireless network over the second type of wireless network, the first type of wireless network being a private network and the second type of wireless network being a public network, the private network requiring the wireless device to establish a level of trust prior to access greater than the a level trust needed to access the public network.

5. The method of claim 1 further comprising instructing the wireless device to implement the mobility mode in the event the traveling speed is less than the speed threshold if: the wireless device is positioned in a street; the wireless device is positioned within a vehicle; and the traveling speed is less than the speed threshold for less than a predefined period of time.

6. The method of claim 1 further comprising instructing the wireless device to communicate through a wireless antenna when accessing wireless networks and a separate, cellular antenna when accessing cellular networks.

7. The method of claim 1 further comprising when at least two cellular networks and at least two wireless networks are operable with the wireless device: implementing the mobility mode such that the wireless device at least attempts to access each operable cellular network before attempting to access any available wireless network; and implementing the portability mode when at least two cellular networks and at least two wireless networks are operable within the wireless device such that the wireless device at least attempts to access each operable wireless network before attempting to access any available cellular network.

8. A method for use with a mobile device to arbitrate signaling between cellular and wireless networks, the mobile device having a wireless device operable to support signaling with wireless networks and a cellular device operable to support signaling with cellular networks, the method comprising: determining an operating state of the mobile device to be one of a mobility state and a portability state depending on a traveling speed of the mobile device; instructing the mobile device to connect to wireless networks using the wireless device in the event the portability state is determined; instructing the mobile device to connect to cellular networks using the cellular device in the event the mobility state is determined; and determining the operating state to be one of the mobility state and the portability state without assessing bandwidth.

9. The method of claim 8 further comprising determining the mobility state in the event the traveling speed is equal to or greater than a speed threshold and the portability state in the event the traveling speed is less than the speed threshold.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising determining the speed threshold to be slightly above an average walking speed.

11. The method of claim 9 further comprising overriding the portability state and instead determining the operating state to be the mobility state when the traveling speed is less than the threshold if wirelessly connected to a vehicle.

12. The method of claim 9 further comprising determining the operating state to be one of the mobility state and the portability state without assessing signal strength.

13. The method of claim 10 further comprising: determining the average walking speed based on historical usage associated with the mobile device; and preventing the wireless device from searching for wireless networks when operating according to the mobility mode; and preventing the wireless device from searching for cellular networks when operating according to the portability mode.

14. A computer-readable medium having stored thereon a plurality of non-transitory instructions including instructions which, when executed by a processor operating on a mobile device when at least two cellular networks and at least two wireless networks are operable with the with the mobile device, cause the processor to: instruct the mobile device to operate according to one of a mobility mode and a portability mode depending on a traveling speed of the mobile device, including: i) prioritizing access to cellular networks instead of available wireless networks when operating according to the mobility mode unless operable cellular networks are unavailable; ii) prioritizing access to wireless networks instead of available cellular networks when operating according to the portability mode unless operable wireless networks are unavailable; iii) instruct the mobile device to attempt access each of the at least two cellular networks before attempting to access any of the at least two wireless networks when operating according to the mobility mode; and iv) instruct the mobile device to attempt access each of the at least two wireless networks before attempting to access any of the at least two cellular networks when operating according to the portability mode.

15. The computer-readable medium of claim 14 having instructions which cause the processor to: determine a geographical area of the mobile device to be at least one of a first location and a second location when operating according to the mobility mode, the first location being less populated than the second location; and prioritize access to at least a first, a second and a third type of the cellular networks based on the geographical area when each of the first, second and third type of cellular networks operate at differing signaling strengths, including i) instructing the mobile device to prioritize access to the first type of the cellular networks over the second type of cellular network in the event the geographical location is the first location; and ii) instructing the wireless device to prioritize access to the second type of cellular network over the third type of cellular network in the event the geographical location is the second location.

16. The computer-readable medium of claim 14 having instructions which cause the processor to: instruct the wireless device to operate according to the mobility mode if: i) the mobile device is positioned in a street while the traveling speed is less than a speed threshold and the mobile device is not typically kept in the street; ii) the mobile device is positioned within a vehicle while the traveling speed is less than the speed threshold; and iii) the traveling speed is less than the speed threshold for less than a predefined period of time; and instruct the wireless device to operate according to the portability mode if: i) the wireless device is wirelessly connected to a device having a fixed location while the traveling speed is greater than the speed threshold; and ii) the traveling speed fails to be greater than the speed threshold for more than a predefined period of time.

17. The computer-readable medium of claim 14 having instructions which cause the processor to: disable a wireless device of the mobile device used to access wireless networks when operating according to the mobility mode, thereby preventing the wireless device from polling for wireless networks; and disable a cellular device of the mobile device used to access cellular networks when operating according to the portability mode, thereby preventing the cellular device from polling for cellular networks.