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1. (WO2000068862) A COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK ACCESS METHOD AND SYSTEM
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

CLAIMS:

1. An access system including:
connection means for connecting a computer device and establishing a connection session for accessing a public communications network:
switch means having a plurality of access states, one of the access states being assigned to the session for at least part of the session, each access state determining network traffic receivable by the computer device; and
session managing means for managing the session and assigning at least one of the access states during the session based on connection data for the session and access requests from the computer device.

2. An access system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the session managing means is adapted to dynamically assign and adjust the access states during the session.

3. An access system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the access states are defined by rules which determine locations of the network accessible by the computer device.

4. An access system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the switch means is adapted to redirect the computer to a predetermined network location based on the access state for the session.

5. An access system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the session is a TCP/IP session and the connection data includes an IP address for the session and/or profile data stored in the system for a user of the computer device.

6. An access system as claimed in claim 5, wherein the access requests include requests for TCP/IP data, such as web pages, streaming audio and video, interactive chat sessions, e-mail or FTP sites, and the access state determines whether the computer device can receive the requested TCP/IP data.

7. An access system as claimed in claim 1. wherein data available on the public communications network is partitioned based on the access states, and the session managing means is adapted to allocate the access states to different sessions handled by the switch means simultaneously and dynamically during each session.

8. An access system as claimed in claim 7, wherein the session managing means includes a connection manager to manage connection and disconnection of each session, a session coordinator to establish a session manager for each session, and session managers for each session to process the access requests collected by the access system and assign access states for the sessions.

9. An access system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the access states include an affiliate access state that restricts access to locations on the network affiliated to a provider of the access system.

10. An access system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the access states include a portal state that connects the computer device to a predetermined portal page.

11. An access system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the access states include a login state, a registration state, a general browsing state which allows access to all locations on the network, and an allow state which allows access to all locations on the network without the user of the computer device providing authentication data.

12. An access system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the session managing means is adapted to allocate a number of the access states at respective times during the session.

13. An access system as claimed in claim 1 1 , wherein on disconnection of the session, the switch means reverts to the login access state.

14. An access system for a public communications network, such as the Internet, including: means for connecting a computer device and establishing a TCP/IP session for access to the network;
switch means having a plurality of access states, the access states determining the sites and pages which can be accessed by the computer device during the session; and
means for managing the session to allocate at least one of the access states during the session.

15. A communications network access system, including:
connection means for receiving a request from a computer device to connect to the network and for connecting the computer device to the network in response to the request; sending means for sending login data to the computer device after it is connected to the network, the login data being adapted to generate a login display on the computer device which allows entry of unique authentication data by a user of the device; and
login means for receiving the unique authentication data entered by the user and for allowing the user to access the network using the computer device on determining that the authentication data is valid.

16. A communications network access system as claimed in claim 15, wherein the connection means includes a switch having a set of access states encoded therein and the login means accesses profile data for the user to control access to the network using the switch and the profile data to determine one of the access states for the switch.

17. A communications network access system as claimed in claim 16, wherein the connection means includes a RAS.

18. A communications network access svstem as claimed in claim 17, wherein the sending means and login means includes a web server and a user database.

19. A communications network access method, including: establishing a TCP/IP session with a computer device; and
assigning access stated' during the session, the access states determining TCP/IP data received by the computer device.

20. A communications network access method, including:
connecting a computer device to a communications network;
accessing data from affiliate locations on the network without an access charge; and accessing data from other locations on the network with an access charge.

21. A communications network access method, including:
receiving a request from a computer device to connect to the network;
connecting the computer device to the network in response to the request;
sending login data to the computer device after the connecting step, the login data being adapted to generate a login display on the computer device allowing entry of unique authentication data by a user of the device;
receiving the unique authentication data entered on the computer; and
allowing the user to access the network using the computer device when the authentication data is validated.

22. A communications network access method as claimed in claim 21 , including accessing profile data for the user and controlling access to the network using the profile data.

23. A communications network access method as claimed in claim 22, wherein the profile data determines one of a set of access states encoded in a switch connecting the computer device to the network.

24. A communications network access method as claimed in claim 23, wherein the login display includes links to locations on the communications network for which entry of the authentication data is not required.

25. A communications network access method, including:
sending a request from a computer device to connect to a communications network, and being connected to the network in response to the request;
receiving login data after being connected;
generating a login display on the computer device, based on the login data, the display allowing entry of unique authentication data;
sending unique authentication data entered on the computer device to the network: and obtaining access to the network after the authentication data is validated.

26. Computer software including code for executing the steps of the method as claimed in any one of claims 19 to 25.