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1. WO2010073143 - TECHNIQUES FOR PERFORMING EFFICIENT LINK ADAPTATION IN WIRELESS PERSONAL NETWORKS

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

TECHNIQUES FOR PERFORMING EFFICIENT LINK ADAPTATION IN WIRELESS PERSONAL NETWORKS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/140,801 filed on December 24, 2008.

The invention generally relates to a WiMedia medium access control (MAC) protocol, and more particularly to MAC link adaptation techniques.

The WiMedia specification, version 1.0, for ultra-wideband (UWB) systems defines a fully distributed medium access control (MAC) protocol for wireless personal area networks (WPANs). A WPAN is designed to permit communication between devices within a very short range (e.g., about 10 meters). The WiMedia MAC protocol provides a mechanism for concurrent communications between devices of the network.

The WiMedia specification supports a number of different transmission (channel) rates, including 53.3Mbps, 80Mbps, 106.7Mbps, 160Mbps, 200Mbps, 320Mbps, 400Mbps, and 480Mbps. A new generation of WiMedia specification, version 1.5, is being developed to allow more transmission rates of up to 1Gbps.

The bandwidth available on the UWB and the supported transmission rates can be utilized to enable advanced applications, e.g., real-time multimedia streaming and medical applications. However, such applications have strict quality of service (QoS) and latency requirements, which cannot be fulfilled when a fixed transmission rate is utilized to transfer data over a wireless link between two devices. Furthermore, the quality of a wireless link dynamically changes according to conditions and could be significantly degraded if moving objects are around the link. For example, people walking or standing in the line-of-sight between two devices reduce the quality of a wireless link between the devices.

To this end, the WiMedia MAC implements a link adaptation technique enabling a receiver (i.e., a device receiving data) to select optimal transmission parameters, such as a rate, taking into account current link conditions and forwarding these transmission parameters to a transmitter (i.e., a device transmitting data). The transmitter, in turn, can modify its transmission parameters accordingly. However, as the receiver cannot derive exact information about traffic pattern/load and QoS requirements of an incoming data stream, the receiver may not be able to select the optimal parameters.

Moreover, the current WiMedia MAC protocol provides a limited support for link adaptation. Specifically, there is only a link feedback information element designed to support the link adaptation. A receiver can use the link feedback information element to provide the suggested transmission rate and power to the transmitter. There is no way to adapt other transmission parameters, such as a physical layer packet size, which may greatly affect the overall performance of a WiMedia network.

Therefore, it would be advantageous to provide an efficient link adaptation technique to be utilized by a WiMedia MAC protocol.

Certain embodiments herein include a method for performing link adaptation of wireless links between a transmitter and at least one receiver. The method comprises generating a first enhanced link adaptation (ELA) information element by the transmitter; sending the first ELA information element to at least one receiver; upon reception of a second ELA information element at the transmitter, determining optimal transmission parameters for the transmitter, wherein the second ELA information element is generated and sent by the at least one receiver in response to the first ELA information element.

Certain embodiments herein further include a device operable in a wireless network and capable of forming a frame structure of an ELA information element for transmission over the wireless network. The ELA information element includes an element identification field, a length field for designating the size of the ELA information element, and a plurality of link fields for providing a link adaptation feedback mechanism between the transmitter and the receiver, wherein each of the plurality of link fields includes a Target device address (DevAddr) subfield designating an address of a target device, a control subfield for at least designating an operation mode, a data stream mode, an immediate feedback mode of the link field, a stream bitmap subfield, a link quality information subfield for including link quality measures of a wireless link between the receiver and the transmitter, a non-acknowledged (Non-ACK) subfield for at least designating a number of correctly received data packets for each data stream designated in the stream bitmap subfield.

The subject matter that is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating a structure of an enhanced link adaptation (ELA) information element in accordance with an embodiment.

Figure 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating a structure of a link field of the ELA information. Figure 3 is a flowchart illustrating a feedback link adaptation technique in accordance with an embodiment.

It is important to note that the embodiments disclosed are only examples of the many advantageous uses of the innovative teachings herein. In general, statements made in the specification of the present disclosure do not necessarily limit any of the various claimed inventions. Moreover, some statements may apply to some inventive features but not to others. In general, unless otherwise indicated, singular elements may be in plural and vice versa with no loss of generality. In the drawings, like numerals refer to like parts through several views.

In accordance with certain principles, a link adaptation technique performed by a WiMedia MAC protocol is provided. The disclosed technique is based on a new information element, referred to hereinafter as "enhanced link adaptation" or (ELA) information element and a feedback process implemented by the receiver and transmitter. Accordingly, the receiver feedbacks link quality information to the transmitter and the transmitter selects its transmission parameters (e.g., rate and power) based on requirements of a data stream to be transmitted and the link quality information. Information utilized as part of the feedback process is encapsulated in the ELA information element which is schematically illustrated in Figure 1.

The ELA information element 100 includes the following fields: an element identifier (ID) 110 for designating the ID assigned to the ELA information element 100, a length 120 for designating the length of the ELA information element 100, preferably as a number of octets, and a number of N LINK fields 130-1 through 130-N (where N is an integer number equals or greater than 1 ) and hereinafter referred to as a LINK field 130 individually. A LINK field 130 corresponds to a target device, which may be either a receiver or transmitter and has a variable length. Thus, when the ELA information element includes multiple LINK fields 130, each may be directed to a different target device. The ELA information element 100 can be transmitted in the beacon period of a device to perform periodic link adaptation or be transmitted as a probe command frame to enable a transmitter to initiate the link adaptation.

An exemplary and non-limiting diagram of a LINK field 130 is provided in Figure 2. The LINK field 130 includes the following subfields: Target device address (DevAddr) 210, control 220, stream bitmap 230, link quality information (LQI) 240, non-acknowledged (Non-ACK) 250. The Target DevAddr 210 designates the address of the device to which the LINK field 130 should be transmitted.

The control subfield 220 designates the operation mode of the LINK field 130, which may be either a request or respond mode. In the request mode the LINK field 130 is initiated to request a target device specified in the Target DevAddr 210 to send the required adaptation link information. This information includes the link quality information and the number of non-acknowledged packets to be included in the subfields LQI 240 and Non-ACK 250, respectively. In the respond mode, the LINK field 130 is a response to a previously received LINK field request. The control subfield 220 also designates a data stream mode of the LINK field 130, which may be either enabled or disabled. When the data stream mode is disabled, the LINK field 130 does not include the subfields stream bitmap 230 and Non-ACK 250.

In accordance with one embodiment, when the LINK field 130 is set to a respond mode, the data stream mode should be set as in its corresponding LINK field 130 request previously received from the target device. When the data stream mode is enabled, the stream bitmap subfield 230 is included, and at least one bit of the subfield 230 is set to 1. In that case, if the i-th bit of the stream bitmap subfield 230 is set to 1 , it specifies the number of received packets in a previous superframe of the i-th data stream between the current device and the target device being requested (in the request mode) or reported (in the respond mode). As will be described below the number of correctly received packets of a respective data stream is indicated in the Non-ACK subfield 250. This information can be used by, for example, a MAC layer link adaptation mechanism, to further improve the performance.

The control subfield 220 also indicates whether or not an immediate feedback is requested. An immediate feedback is typically requested when the ELA information element 100 is transmitted in a probe command frame and not during the beacon period. In a request mode, when an immediate feedback is requested, the receiver responds immediately with a probe command frame, including an ELA information element, to feedback the required link quality information to the transmitter. If a LINK field 130 is set to the request mode and the immediate feedback is not requested, the receiver responds with an ELA information element 100 transmitted in its beacon period no later than X (where X is a constant number) superframes to feedback the required link quality information to the transmitter. It should be noted that when the ELA information element 100 includes multiple LINK fields 130 targeted to different devices, each may be set with a different operation mode (i.e., request or respond), data stream mode, and feedback policy.

The LQI subfield 240 is used to feedback the link quality information. Such information is produced by the receiver and may include but, is not limited to, an average signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of a received signal, a received signal strength indicator (RSSI), or any other link quality parameters, or combination thereof. The link quality information is utilized by the receiver to perform a link adaptation. The LQI subfield 240 is included in a LINK field 130 if it is set to a respond mode.

The Non-ACK subfield 250 contains the number of correctly received data packets corresponding to each data stream designated in the stream bitmap subfield 230. That is, for each i-th bit set to 1 in the subfield 230, the Non-ACK subfield 250 designates the number of correctly received data packets for i-th data stream. For example, if the stream bitmap subfield 230 includes K (K equal or greater than 1 ) bits set to 1 and their corresponding bit indices are denoted as βk > ... > β2 >ei, then the length of the Non-ACK subfield 250 is equal to ceil (WK/8) octets, where ceil(.) is a ceiling function. Accordingly, the bits bwι-i-bwι-w in the subfield 250 include the number of correctly received data packets of the e,-th data stream as received by the receiver. The parameter W is an integer greater than 1 , and in a preferred embodiment equals to 10.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the Non-ACK subfield 250 may include recommended values for the transmission parameters or any other data stream specific parameters corresponding to each data stream designated in the stream bitmap subfield 230. The Non-ACK subfield 250 is included when the LINK field 130 is set to a respond mode and the data stream mode is enabled.

Figure 3 shows a non-limiting and exemplary flowchart 300 describing the link adaptation feedback method in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The method will be described with a reference to a specific but non-limiting example, where the transmission parameters are selected to provide optimal transmission over a wireless link between a transmitter and a single receiver. The receiver and transmitter are neighboring devices in a wireless network. The transmitter may initiate the link adaptation feedback process through a beacon frame or a probe command frame. It should be noted that the method can be utilized to perform the link adaptation feedback of wireless links of any number of neighboring devices in a wireless network. Furthermore, the method can be performed by a MAC protocol as defined in the

WiMedia specification or any other MAC protocol designed to support communication in WPANs.

At S310, a first ELA information element (e.g., ELA information element 100) is generated by the transmitter. Specifically, the first ELA information element is constructed to include an element ID field (e.g., field 110) and its value, a length field (e.g., field 120) and its value, and LINK fields (e.g., field 130) according to the number of target devices. As mentioned above, this method is described with reference to an exemplary embodiment when only a single receiver is the target device. Thus, the first ELA information element includes only one LINK field. At S320 the subfields of the LINK field are set. Specifically, the Target DevAddr subfield (e.g., subfield 210) is set to the MAC address of the receiver, the control subfield (e.g., subfield 220) is set to the operation mode, data stream mode, and immediate feedback mode predetermined for the transmitter. Particularly, as the transmitter should know the link quality, the operation mode is set to a request mode and the LINK field is constructed without the LQI and Non-ACK subfields. At S330 the first ELA information element is transmitted to the receiver either as part of a periodic beacon or a probe command frame. The transmission is scheduled according to the selected immediate feedback mode.

At S340, upon reception of the first ELA information element, the receiver measures the quality of the wireless link between the two devices. As mentioned above, the measurements may include, but are not limited to, a SNR, a RSSI, and the like. At S350, a second ELA information element is constructed by the receiver to include an element ID field, a length field, and a LINK field. The LINK field is set to include the address of the transmitter in the Target DevAddr. An operation mode of the control subfield is set to a respond mode, and the data stream and immediate feedback modes are selected according to a policy predetermined for the receiver. If the data stream mode is enabled, the LINK field of the second ELA information element is constructed to include the number of correctly received data packets in the Non-ACK subfield for each data stream designated in the stream bitmap subfield. Furthermore, the LINK field includes the LQI subfield to specify the measured link quality values. At S360, the second ELA information element is transmitted to the transmitter either as part of a periodic beacon or a probe command frame. The transmission is scheduled according to the selected immediate feedback mode.

At S370, upon reception of the second ELA information element, the transmitter determines the optimal transmission parameters (including at least rate and power) based on the requirements of a data stream to be transmitted, as well as the link quality information embedded and/or the number of received packets embedded in the received second ELA information. The data stream requirements may include QoS, type of data, latency, etc.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention the optimal transmission parameters are determined using a look-up table utilized to estimate a packet error rate (PER) for each data rate mode and each possible packet size option based on the received link quality information (e.g., SNR or RSSI). The values of the look-up table may be predetermined based on simulations or field measurements. Based on the requirements of a data stream, the transmitter can calculate a PER threshold (PER_TH), which is the maximum allowed PER to meet all the requirements of the data stream. The transmitter may compare the estimated PER with the PER_TH and select a highest data rate with a large packet size among all the options that can achieve PER performance better than PER_TH.

In accordance with another exemplary embodiment the optimal transmission parameters may be determined by estimating a real PER value by the transmitter. As the transmitter knows the number of transmitted packets and the number of correctly received packets (designated in the Non-ACK subfield), it may estimate the real PER value (PER_e) based on the ratio between the number of correctly received packets and the number of transmitted packets.

If PER_e is less than or equal to PER_TH, the transmitter may maintain or reduce its transmission power. If PER_e is greater than PER_TH, the transmitter may increase its transmission power to improve performance.

The feedback process described herein can be performed periodically or on-demand when, for example, the quality of the link is degraded. In accordance with another embodiment, the receiver can also initiate the link adaptation feedback method when, for example, the receiver detects that the quality of the link is changed. In this embodiment, the receiver generates an ELA information element to include at least one of the measured link information and the number of correctly received packets. Thereafter, the ELA information is sent to the transmitter which determines the transmission parameters, as described in detail above. The foregoing detailed description has set forth a few of the many forms that the invention can take. It is intended that the foregoing detailed description be understood as an illustration of selected forms that the invention can take and not as a limitation to the definition of the invention. It is only the claims, including all equivalents that are intended to define the scope of this invention. Most preferably, the principles of the invention are implemented as any combination of hardware, firmware and software. Moreover, the software is preferably implemented as an application program tangibly embodied on a program storage unit or computer readable medium. The application program may be uploaded to, and executed by, a machine comprising any suitable architecture. Preferably, the machine is implemented on a computer platform having hardware such as one or more central processing units ("CPUs"), a memory, and input/output interfaces. The computer platform may also include an operating system and microinstruction code. The various processes and functions described herein may be either part of the microinstruction code or part of the application program, or any combination thereof, which may be executed by a CPU, whether or not such computer or processor is explicitly shown. In addition, various other peripheral units may be connected to the computer platform such as an additional data storage unit and a printing unit.