Comcast Tackles Dropped Calls for Mobile Product

As Comcast prepares to launch a new mobile phone service that will rely on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks, engineers at the nation’s largest cable MSO are working on ways to reestablish calls that are dropped occasionally when mobile phone users move between multiple Wi-Fi and cell sites.

Comcast hasn’t yet announced a launch date for its mobile product. One of its biggest challenges is ensuring that a hybrid Wi-Fi / cellular service can compete with the reliability that AT&T, Verizon and other major wireless carriers tout in their marketing campaigns.

As part of a spectrum deal Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks signed with Verizon in 2012, the cable MSOs secured rights to sign MVNO [Mobile Virtual Network Operator] agreements with Verizon which could see Comcast route calls over Verizon’s 4G LTE network when subscribers aren’t within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot.

On Tuesday, Comcast won a U.S. patent for an invention titled, “Callback tokens for dropped calls.”

The patent doesn’t address how to reduce the number of calls that are dropped. Instead, it focuses on how to quickly reestablish dropped connections.

“Some terminals may allow calls to be routed over other modulation types, other carriers, or other interfaces such as WiFi and Bluetooth. By having more options, the terminals may be more likely to re-establish the dropped call or another data transmission,” Comcast states in the patent application. Principal engineer Ross Gilson is named as the inventor on the patent.

Abstract: A method and system that support re-establishing a dropped call or communication is disclosed. A terminal may publish its parameters to other terminals through in-band or out-of-band signaling. Token values may then be determined by a weighted sum of parameters, where the terminal having the largest weighted sum possesses the token. If the call or communication drops, the terminal possessing the token then initiates communication to the other terminals. In addition, a plurality of tokens may be used when there are more than two terminals in a call. The terminals may be partitioned into groups, where one of the terminals in each group possesses a token.

Patent

Claims

  1. A method comprising: establishing, at a first terminal, a call with a second terminal; calculating, at the first terminal, a first token value based on a first set of parameters related to the first terminal and a second token value based on a second set of parameters related to the second terminal; receiving, at the first terminal, a first network parameter and a second network parameter; combining, at the first terminal, the first network parameter with the first set of parameters to obtain a modified first set of parameters and the second network parameter with the second set of parameters to obtain a modified second set of parameters; determining, at the first terminal, a modified first token value based on the modified first set of parameters and a modified second token value based on the modified second set of parameters; determining, at the first terminal, that the modified first token value is greater than the modified second token value; determining, at the first terminal, that the call has dropped; and re-establishing, at the first terminal, the call.

 

  1. The method of claim 1 further comprising: determining, at the first terminal, whether the call should be re-established.

 

  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: including a third terminal in the call.

 

  1. The method of claim 3, further comprising: receiving, at the first terminal, a third set of parameters related to the third terminal; determining, at the first terminal, a third token value based on the third set of parameters; and determining, at the first terminal, that the modified first token value is greater than the third token value.

 

  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: communicating with a callback proxy in a communications system to receive the second set of parameters.

 

  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: publishing, at the first terminal, the first set of parameters.

 

  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving, at the first terminal, the second set of parameters.

 

  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: publishing, at the first terminal, a first updated parameter when one of the first set of parameters changes.

 

  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving, at the first terminal, a second updated parameter when one of the second set of parameters changes.

 

  1. A first apparatus comprising: a processor; and a memory having stored therein computer executable instructions, that when executed by the processor, cause the first apparatus to perform: establishing a call with a second apparatus; detecting that the call has dropped; calculating a first token value based on a first set of parameters related to the first apparatus and a second token value based on a second set of parameters related to the second apparatus; receiving a first network parameter and a second network parameter; combining the first network parameter with the first set of parameters to obtain a modified first set of parameters and the second network parameter with the second set of parameters to obtain a modified second set of parameters; determining a modified first token value based on the modified first set of parameters and a modified second token value based on the modified second set of parameters; determining that the modified first token value is greater than the modified second token value; and re-establishing the call with the second apparatus.

 

  1. The first apparatus of claim 10, wherein the first apparatus further performs: receiving the second set of parameters from the second apparatus.

 

  1. The first apparatus of claim 10, wherein the first apparatus further performs: determining whether the call should be re-established based on at least one parameter from the first set of parameters and the second set of parameters.

 

  1. A method comprising: establishing, at a network device, communications between a first apparatus and a second apparatus; detecting, at the network device, that the communications has terminated; calculating a first token value based on a first set of parameters related to the first apparatus and a second token value based on a second set of parameters related to the second apparatus; combining a first network parameter with the first set of parameters to obtain a modified first set of parameters and a second network parameter with the second set of parameters to obtain a modified second set of parameters; determining a modified first token value based on the modified first set of parameters and a modified second token value based on the modified second set of parameters; determining that the modified first token value is greater than the modified second token value; and facilitating re-establishing of the communications between the first apparatus and the second apparatus.

 

  1. The method of claim 13, further comprising: publishing, at the network device, the first set of parameters.

 

  1. The method of claim 13, receiving, at the network device, the second set of parameters.

 

  1. The method of claim 13, further comprising: publishing, at the network device, a first updated parameter when one of the first set of parameters changes.

 

  1. The method of claim 13, further comprising: receiving, at the network device, a second updated parameter when one of the second set of parameters changes.