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RADIO FREQUENCY PLANNING WITH
CONSIDERATION OF INTER-BUILDING
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
Further aspects of the instant system will be more readily appreciated upon review of the detailed description of the preferred embodiments included below when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/734,845, entitled "Interference-Aware RF Planning System for Campus-Wide Wireless Networks", filed in the name of Dundar et al. on Nov. 8, 2005, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
Radio frequency (RF) planning is frequently a part of plans to deploy a large-scale wireless local area network (LAN). The purpose of RF planning is to ensure an adequate quality of RF signal coverage across the area in which the wireless LAN is to be deployed. Data to be considered for RF planning includes signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and signal-to-noiseplus-interference ratio (SINR).
Conventional RF planning efforts generate data that indicates the locations of building features, relevant objects, and planned and/or existing sources of RF signals within a building. However, conventional RF planning may fail to take into account potential for interference from RF sources in other buildings.
The present invention generally relates to planning and/or management of wireless communication networks. In particular, apparatus and methods are presented for a system for RF planning and/or communication system management across a campus that includes a plurality of buildings.
According to some embodiments, a method, an apparatus and an article of manufacture that includes a computer usable medium containing computer readable program code are provided. The method steps and/or the steps performed by the apparatus and/orthe steps called for by the computer readable program code include providing or receiving a first set of location data using a first coordinate system that corresponds to a first building, and providing or receiving a second set of location data using a second coordinate system that corresponds to a second building. The second coordinate system is different from the first coordinate system and the second building is different from the first building. The method steps and/or the steps performed by the apparatus and/or the steps called for by the computer readable program code include generating a third set of location data from the first and second sets of location data by: (a) converting the first set of location data from the first coordinate system to a third coordinate system, and (b) converting the second set of location data from the second coordinate system to the third coordinate system. The third coordinate system is different from the first and second coordinate systems.
In some embodiments, the first location data includes data indicative of a location in the first building of at least one source of RF signals, and the second location data includes data indicative of a location in the second building of at least one source of RF signals. The third set of location data may be used as an input to an RF planning function. The RF planning function may effectively be performed across a campus that includes the first and second buildings.
FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of a campus for which RF planning is to be performed; 10 FIG. 2 is a functional block diagram of a system for performing RF planning and/or network management in accordance with some embodiments;
FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a computer that may form at least a part of the system of FIG. 2; 15 FIG. 4 is a flow chart that illustrates a process that may be performed, in accordance with some embodiments, in the system of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 5 is a schematic representation of an RF network management process that may be performed in some embodi20 ments.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC
25 According to some embodiments, RF planning information is collected building-by-building in the buildings of an office park campus or the like. The building-by-building information is then integrated together by conversion from individual building coordinate systems to a campus-wide
30 coordinate system. The resulting RF planning information that has been converted to the campus-wide coordinate system may then be used as an input to an RF planning process that is able to take inter-building interference into account. In addition or alternatively, the information in the campus-wide
35 coordinate system may be used for real-time management of a wireless LAN or other wireless communication system that extends from building to building within the campus.
FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of a campus 100 for which RF planning is to be performed. The campus 100 includes
40 buildings indicated by reference numerals 102,104,106. (In other examples, the campus may have just two buildings or may have four or more buildings.) The campus may be a campus of corporate buildings, government buildings, medical center buildings, not-for-profit institution buildings, or a
45 college or university campus. Each of the buildings has a respective building coordinate system used for collecting and/or defining RF planning data relevant to the particular building. In particular, building 102 has coordinate system 108, building 104 has coordinate system 110, and building
50 106 has coordinate system 112. Each building coordinate system includes an origin point and a set of three mutually orthogonal axes that pass through the origin point. The axes may consist of two horizontal axes ("x" and "y") at right angles to each other and a vertical (height) "z" axis. (In the
55 drawing, the vertical/height "z" axis is not shown.) Although the building coordinate systems are shown slightly spaced from their respective buildings for purposes of illustration, in practice the origin point of each building coordinate system may coincide with a corner of the respective building, and
60 each of the horizontal ("x" and "y") axes may coincide with an outer surface of a wall of the respective building. The building coordinate systems may be selected and/or established in accordance with conventional practices for generating RF planning data within a building.
65 In addition, in accordance with some embodiments, a campus-wide or "plant" coordinate system 114 may be established. The plant coordinate system 114 includes a plant
origin point and a set of three mutually orthogonal axes that pass through the plant origin point. The axes of the plant coordinate system include two horizontal axes "x_p" and "y_p" at right angles to each other and a vertical (height) "z_p" axis which is not shown. In some cases the plant coor- 5 dinate system may be selected to coincide with one of the building coordinate systems.
FIG. 2 is a functional block diagram of a system 200 for performing RF planning and/or network management in accordance with some embodiments. Block 202 represents a 10 source of RF planning data collected on an intra-building basis for each of the buildings 102, 104, 106 of the campus 100. The intra-building RF planning data may be collected in a conventional manner and may include locations, relative to the respective building coordinate system, of each RF source 15 or planned RF source (e.g., access points) within each building. The intra-building RF planning data may also include, in accordance with conventional practices, the location and composition of walls and other features of the building in question. 20
Block 204 represents a source of data that indicates a spatial relationship between each building coordinate system and the plant coordinate system. Block 206 represents processing which is performed to convert the intra-building RF 25 planning data to the plant coordinate system, based on the intra-building RF planning data from 202 and the building coordinate to plant coordinate data from 204. Block 208 represents processing to perform at least one of campus-wide RF planning and campus-wide real-time network manage- 3Q ment, based in each case on the RF planning data in the plant coordinate system, as derived by the building data conversion block 206. If real-time network management is performed, block 208 may receive real-time network performance data, asindicatedat210, and may control real-time operation of RF 35 sources 212, such as access points (not separately shown) located at various points in the buildings 102,104,106 and the campus 100.
FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a computer 300 as provided in accordance with some embodiments. The computer 300 may, 40 for example, implement some or all of the functions of blocks 206, 208 of FIG. 2. The computer 300 may, in some embodiments, be entirely conventional in terms of its hardware aspects. For example, the computer 300 may, in its hardware aspects and some of its software, be a conventional personal 45 computer. As indicated in this paragraph and discussed further below, software may be provided to control the computer 300 in accordance with aspects of the present invention, and data may be stored and manipulated in the computer 300 in accordance with aspects of the present invention. 50
The computer 300 may include one or more processors 301, which may be a conventional microprocessor or microprocessors. Also included in computer 300 are memory 302, one or more communication interfaces 304, and input/output devices 306, all of which are in communication with the 55 processor 301. The memory 302 may be, in some embodiments, one or more of RAM, ROM, flash memory, etc., and may serve as one or more of working memory, program storage memory, etc. The communication interfaces 304 allow the computer 300 to exchange data with data sources 60 (FIG. 2). (In addition or alternatively, some or all of the intra-building data and the building coordinate system to plant coordinate system data may be provided to the computer 300 via one or more storage devices such as floppy disks, CD-ROMs, etc.) The I/O devices 306 may include one or 65 more conventional devices such as displays, printers, keyboards, a mouse, a trackball, etc.
Also included in the computer 300, and in communication with the processor 301, is a mass storage device 308. Mass storage device 308 may be constituted by one or more magnetic storage devices, such as hard disks, one or more optical storage devices, and/or solid state storage. The mass storage 308 may store software 310 which controls the computer 300 to store and manage RF planning and/or network management data, in some or all of the building coordinate systems and the plant coordinate system. The mass storage 308 may also store software 312 to convert intra-building RF planning data provided by source 202 (FIG. 2) to the plant coordinate system, in a manner to be described further below. The mass storage 308 may also store software 314 which enables the computer 300 to perform RF planning functions and/or realtime RF network management. In addition, other software, which is not represented in the drawing, may be stored in the mass storage 308, including operating system software and/ or other applications that allow the computer 300 to perform other functions in addition to building data conversion and/or RF planning/network management. In practice the functions described herein may all be performed in one computer or may be divided among two or more computers that may be in communication with each other and/or may exchange data via removable memory devices such as floppy disks, CDROMs, etc. It will be appreciated that all of the software referred to above may be temporarily stored in memory 302 and fetched instruction-by-instruction by the processor 301 to program the processor 301. The software may also be referred to as "program instructions" or "computer readable program code".
Still further, the mass storage 208 may store intra-building RF planning/management data 316 and campus-wide (plant coordinate system) RF planning/management data 318.
FIG. 4 is a flow chart that illustrates a process that may be performed, in accordance with some embodiments, in the system 200 of FIG. 2 and/or at least partially in the computer 300 of FIG. 3.
At 402 in FIG. 4, the intra-building RF planning data (also referred to as "location data") may be provided as an input to the system 200 and/or the computer 300. The intra-building RF planning data may have been gathered building-by-building in accordance with conventional practices and on the basis of the individual building coordinate systems for each building. In some embodiments, the intra-building RF planning data may be gathered using one or more portable computing devices (e.g., a notebook computer or computers) and may be uploaded to the computer 300 for further processing. Thus, such portable computing device or devices (which are not otherwise shown) may constitute the source 202 (FIG. 2) of intra-building RF planning data.
Continuing to refer to FIG. 4, at 404 data is gathered or provided that indicates the spatial relationship between the plant coordinate system 114 (FIG. 1) and each of the building coordinate systems 108,110,112. This data may be gathered/ sourced/provided in a number of different ways. For example, this data may be included in and/or derived from a map of the campus 100. The campus map may be available in the form of a CAD (computer aided design) drawing, one or more satellite images and/or cartographic map data. Such data may be communicated to the computer 300 and/or loaded into the computer 300 on a storage medium.
Alternatively, or in addition, operations may be performed to generate the building-to-plant location data. Such operations may utilize a hand-held GPS (global positioning system) enabled device to generate GPS (longitude/latitude/ height) data indicative of the points of origin and direction of axes (as indicated, e.g., by unit vectors) for each of the coor