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1. (WO2018137777) METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INDICATING AND USING RADIO ACCESS TECHNOLOGY PREFERENCES IN A WIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORK
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method (600) of operation in a wireless communication device (12), the method (600) comprising:

performing (602) signal quality measurements for two or more Radio Access

Technologies, RATs (66-1, 66-2) that are associated with a wireless communication network (60) and are candidates for use in serving the wireless communication device (12);

determining (604) RAT preferences with respect to the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), based on evaluating the signal quality measurements and further based on evaluating one or more operational attributes associated with operating the wireless communication device (12) according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2); and

indicating (606) the RAT preferences to the wireless communication network (60), to influence a RAT selection decision made by the wireless communication network (60) for the wireless communication device (12).

2. The method (600) of claim 1, wherein indicating (606) the RAT preferences comprises indicating at least one of: a preferred RAT indication to bias the RAT selection decision towards a preferred RAT, a non-preferred RAT indication to bias the RAT selection decision away from a non-preferred RAT, and an infeasible RAT indication to prevent selection of an infeasible RAT.

3. The method (600) of claim 1 or 2, wherein indicating (606) the RAT preferences comprises explicitly indicating the RAT preferences to the wireless communication network (60).

4. The method (600) of claim 1 or 2, wherein indicating (606) the RAT preferences comprises implicitly indicating the RAT preferences to the wireless communication network (60).

5. The method (600) of claim 1 or 2, wherein indicating (606) the RAT preferences comprises explicitly or implicitly indicating the RAT preferences in a signal quality

measurement report sent by the wireless communication device (12) to the wireless

communication network (60) for the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

6. The method (600) of claim 5, wherein explicitly indicating the RAT preferences comprises including one or more explicit indicators in the signal quality measurement report and wherein implicitly indicating the RAT preferences comprises biasing one or more signal quality measurements indicated in the signal quality measurement report, said biasing reflecting the RAT preferences.

7. The method (600) of any of claims 1-3, 5, and 6, wherein indicating (606) the RAT preferences comprises indicating a degree of preference or non-preference for one or more of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

8. The method (600) of any of claims 1-3, 5, and 6, wherein indicating (606) the RAT preferences comprises sending one or more flags, each flag corresponding to one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), and each flag signifying that the corresponding RAT is one of:

preferred, non-preferred, and infeasible.

9. The method (600) of any of claims 1-8, wherein the one or more operational attributes correspond to relative costs or benefits for the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

10. The method (600) of any of claim 1-9, wherein the one or more operational attributes comprise a power consumption of the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

11. The method (600) of any of claims 1-10, wherein the one or more operational attributes comprise at least one of:

a level of activity or computational complexity required of the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2),

radio configurations or capabilities of the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), quality-of-service requirements associated with any ongoing or planned communications by the wireless communication device (12), and

a state of charge of a battery used to power the wireless communication device (12).

12. A method (500) of operation by a network node (10) in a wireless communication network (60), the method comprising:

receiving (502) an indication of Radio Access Technology, RAT, preferences of a

wireless communication device (12), the RAT preferences relating to two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) that are associated with the wireless communication network (60) and are, at least ostensibly, candidates for use in serving the wireless communication device (12); and

making (504) a RAT selection decision for the wireless communication device (12), wherein the RAT selection decision comprises selecting one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), based at least in part on the RAT preferences.

13. The method (500) of claim 12, wherein receiving (502) the indication of the RAT preferences comprises receiving one or more explicit indicators and determining the RAT preferences from the one or more explicit indicators.

14. The method (500) of claim 12 or 13, wherein the indication of the RAT preferences indicates a degree of preference or non-preference for one or more of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), and wherein the method (500) includes controlling an extent to which the RAT preferences influence the RAT selection decision in dependence on the indicated degree of preference or non-preference.

15. The method (500) of claim 12 or 13, wherein selecting one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), based at least in part on the RAT preferences, comprises:

receiving a measurement report from the wireless communication device (12) that

indicates measured signal levels or qualities for respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2);

obtaining adjusted signal levels or qualities by adjusting one or more of the measured signal levels or qualities, according to the RAT preferences; and

making the RAT selection decision based on the adjusted signal levels or qualities;

wherein the RAT preferences comprise one or more signal level or signal quality offset values, each such offset value being used to adjust a corresponding one of the measured signal levels or qualities.

16. The method (500) of any of claims 12-15, wherein receiving (502) the indication of RAT preferences comprises receiving at least one of the following indications for at least one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2): an indication of preference, an indication of non-preference, and an indication of infeasibility.

17. The method (500) of claim 16, further comprising excluding from consideration in the RAT selection decision any RAT for which an indication of infeasibility is received.

18. The method (500) of any of claims 12-17, wherein selecting one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), based at least in part on the RAT preferences, comprises making an initial RAT selection and conditionally adjusting the initial RAT selection in dependence on the RAT preferences.

19. The method (500) of any of claims 12-17, wherein selecting one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), based at least in part on the RAT preferences, comprises adjusting one or more values used to make the RAT selection decision, as a function of the RAT preferences, and evaluating the one or more values after the adjusting.

20. The method (500) of any of claims 12-19, wherein receiving (502) the indication of the RAT preferences comprises receiving the indication of the RAT preferences in a measurement report sent by the wireless communication device (12) for the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

21. The method (500) of any of claims 12-20, wherein selecting one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), based at least in part on the RAT preferences, comprises performing a biased evaluation by biasing, based on the RAT preferences, an evaluation of relative costs or benefits for the wireless communication network (60) regarding use by the wireless communication device (12) of respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), and making the RAT selection decision in dependence on the biased evaluation.

22. The method (500) of any of claims 12-20, wherein selecting one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), based at least in part on the RAT preferences, comprises performing an unbiased evaluation of relative costs or benefits for the wireless communication network (60) regarding use by the wireless communication device (12) of respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), making an initial RAT selection decision in dependence on the unbiased evaluation, and conditionally modifying the initial RAT selection decision as a function of the RAT preferences.

23. A wireless communication device (12) comprising:

communication circuitry (40) configured for communicating with a wireless

communication network (60); and

processing circuitry (42) operatively associated with the communication circuitry (40) and configured to:

perform signal quality measurements for two or more Radio Access

Technologies, RATs (66-1, 66-2) that are associated with the wireless communication network (60) and are candidates for use in serving the wireless communication device (12);

determine RAT preferences with respect to the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), based on evaluating the signal quality measurements and further based on evaluating one or more operational attributes associated with operating the wireless communication device (12) according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2); and

indicate the RAT preferences to the wireless communication network (60), to influence a RAT selection decision made by the wireless communication network (60) for the wireless communication device (12).

24. The wireless communication device (12) of claim 23, wherein the processing circuitry (42) is configured to indicate the RAT preferences by indicating at least one of: a preferred RAT indication to bias the RAT selection decision towards a preferred RAT, a non-preferred RAT indication to bias the RAT selection decision away from a non-preferred RAT, and an infeasible RAT indication to prevent selection of an infeasible RAT.

25. The wireless communication device (12) of claim 23 or 24, wherein the processing circuitry (42) is configured to indicate the RAT preferences by explicitly indicating the RAT preferences to the wireless communication network (60).

26. The wireless communication device (12) of claim 23 or 24, wherein the processing circuitry (42) is configured to indicate the RAT preferences by implicitly indicating the RAT preferences to the wireless communication network (60).

27. The wireless communication device (12) of claim 23 or 24, wherein the processing circuitry (42) is configured to indicate the RAT preferences by explicitly or implicitly indicating the RAT preferences in a signal quality measurement report sent by the wireless communication device (12) to the wireless communication network (60) for the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

28. The wireless communication device (12) of claim 27, wherein the processing circuitry (42) is configured to explicitly indicate the RAT preferences by including one or more explicit indicators in the signal quality measurement report and wherein the processing circuitry (42) implicitly indicates the RAT preferences by biasing one or more signal quality measurements indicated in the signal quality measurement report, said biasing reflecting the RAT preferences.

29. The wireless communication device (12) of any of claims 23-25, 27, and 28, wherein the processing circuitry (42) indicates the RAT preferences by indicating a degree of preference or non-preference for one or more of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

30. The wireless communication device (12) of any of claims 23-25, 27, and 28, wherein the processing circuitry (42) indicates the RAT preferences by sending one or more flags, each flag corresponding to one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), and each flag signifying that the corresponding RAT is one of: preferred, non-preferred, and infeasible.

31. The wireless communication device (12) of any of claims 22-30, wherein the one or more operational attributes correspond to relative costs or benefits for the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

32. The wireless communication device (12) of any of claim 23-31 , wherein the one or more operational attributes comprise a power consumption of the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

33. The wireless communication device (12) of any of claims 23-32, wherein the one or more operational attributes comprise at least one of:

a level of activity or computational complexity required of the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2),

radio configurations or capabilities of the wireless communication device (12) when operating according to respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), quality-of-service requirements associated with any ongoing or planned communications by the wireless communication device (12), and

a state of charge of a battery used to power the wireless communication device (12).

34. A computer program product (46) comprising program instructions that, when executed by processing circuitry of a wireless communication device (12) configured for operation in a wireless communication network (60), configure the wireless communication device (12) to: perform the method of any of claims 1-11.

35. A network node ( 10) comprising :

communication circuitry (20); and

processing circuitry (22) operatively associated with the communication circuitry (20) and configured to:

receive, via the communication circuitry (20), an indication of Radio Access

Technology, RAT, preferences of a wireless communication device (12), the RAT preferences relating to two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) that are associated with the wireless communication network (60) and are candidates for use in serving the wireless communication device (12); and

make a RAT selection decision for the wireless communication device (12), wherein the RAT selection decision comprises selecting one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), based at least in part on the RAT preferences.

36. The network node (10) of claim 35, wherein the processing circuitry (22) is configured to receive one or more explicit indicators, as said indication of RAT preferences, and determine the RAT preferences from the one or more explicit indicators.

37. The network node (10) of claim 35 or 36, wherein the indication of the RAT preferences indicates a degree of preference or non-preference for one or more of the two or more RATs (66-1 , 66-2), and wherein the processing circuitry (22) is configured to control an extent to which the RAT preferences influence the RAT selection decision in dependence on the indicated degree of preference or non-preference.

38. The network node (10) of claim 35 or 36, wherein, to select one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), the processing circuitry (22) is configured to:

receive a measurement report from the wireless communication device (12) that indicates measured signal levels or qualities for respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2);

obtain adjusted signal levels or qualities by adjusting one or more of the measured signal levels or qualities, according to the RAT preferences; and

make the RAT selection decision based on the adjusted signal levels or qualities;

wherein the RAT preferences comprise one or more signal level or signal quality offset values, each such offset value being used to adjust a corresponding one of the measured signal levels or qualities.

39. The network node (10) of any of claims 35-38, wherein the processing circuitry (22) is configured to receive the indication of RAT preferences by receiving at least one of the following indications for at least one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2): an indication of preference, an indication of non-preference, and an indication of infeasibility.

40. The network node (10) of claim 39, wherein the processing circuitry (22) is configured to exclude from consideration in the RAT selection decision any RAT for which an indication of infeasibility is received.

41. The network node (10) of any of claims 12-17, wherein, to select one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), the processing circuitry (22) is configured to make an initial RAT selection and conditionally adjust the initial RAT selection in dependence on the RAT preferences.

42. The network node (10) of any of claims 12-17, wherein, to select one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), the processing circuitry (22) is configured to adjust one or more values used to make the RAT selection decision, as a function of the RAT preferences, and evaluate the one or more values after the adjustment.

43. The network node (10) of any of claims 12-19, wherein the processing circuitry (22) is configured to receive the indication of the RAT preferences in a measurement report sent by the wireless communication device (12) for the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2).

44. The network node (10) of any of claims 12-20, wherein, to select one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), the processing circuitry (22) is configured to perform a biased evaluation by biasing, based on the RAT preferences, an evaluation of relative costs or benefits for the wireless communication network (60) regarding use by the wireless communication device (12) of respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1 , 66-2), and make the RAT selection decision in dependence on the biased evaluation.

45. The network node (10) of any of claims 12-20, wherein, to select one of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2) for use by the wireless communication device (12), the processing circuitry (22) is configured to perform an unbiased evaluation of relative costs or benefits for the wireless communication network (60) regarding use by the wireless communication device (12) of respective ones of the two or more RATs (66-1, 66-2), make an initial RAT selection decision in dependence on the unbiased evaluation, and conditionally modify the initial RAT selection decision as a function of the RAT preferences.

46. A computer program product (26) comprising computer program instructions that, when executed by processing circuitry (22) of a network node (10) configured for operation in a wireless communication network (60), configures the network node (10) to perform the method of any of claims 12-22.