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1. (WO2017096034) SWITCH MATRIX WITH ACTIVE AND SPARE SECOND PORTS AND CONNECTION OF A FIRST PORT FROM AN ACTIVE SECOND PORT TO A SPARE SECOND PORT ON REDUCED PERFORMANCE ON THE SECOND ACTIVE PORT
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WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A communication apparatus comprising:

a first M by N radio frequency (RF) switch matrix comprising N first-side RF ports and M second-side RF ports, wherein

N is at least 2, and

each of the first-side RF ports may be selectively coupled to at least one of two or more of the second-side RF ports, such that RF signals are carried between selectively coupled ports; and

a controller configured to:

issue one or more signals to the first RF switch matrix which control coupling and uncoupling of RF ports included in the first RF switch matrix,

identify one or more of the second-side RF ports as active ports, the active ports including a first active port,

cause the first RF switch matrix to couple the first active port to a first signal port included in the first- side RF ports,

obtain a first indication of reduced performance for a first piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the first active port, and

cause, in response to the first indication, the first RF switch matrix to couple the first signal port to a first spare port, wherein the first spare port is included in the second- side RF ports and is not included in the active ports.

2. The communication apparatus of claim 1, wherein the controller is further configured to:

identify two or more of the second-side RF ports as spare ports, wherein the spare ports do not include any of the active ports;

select, in response to the first indication, one of the spare ports as the first spare port.

3. The communication apparatus of claim 1, wherein the controller is further configured to cause, in response to the first indication, the first RF switch matrix to uncouple the first signal port and the first active port.

4. The communication apparatus of claim 3, wherein the controller is further configured to:

obtain first performance information for the first piece of RF communication equipment; obtain second performance information for a second piece of RF communication equipment, that is different from the first piece of RF communication equipment, that is coupled to a second active port included in the active ports and being different from the first active port; generate the first indication based on the first performance information being worse than the second performance information;

reidentify, in response to the first indication, the first spare port as one of the active ports; and

reidentify, in response to the first indication, the first active port as a spare port.

5. The communication apparatus of claim 1, wherein the controller is further configured to:

obtain operating parameters for the first piece of RF communication equipment; and cause, in response to the first indication, a second piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the first spare port to utilize the operating parameters.

6. The communication apparatus of claim 1, where the controller is further configured to cause, in response to the first indication, a second piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the first spare port to enter active service.

7. The communication apparatus of claim 2, wherein the controller is further configured to:

obtain a second indication of reduced performance for a second piece of RF

communication equipment coupled to a second active port included in the active ports and being different from the first active port;

cause, prior to the second indication, the first RF switch matrix to couple the second active port to a second signal port included in the first-side RF ports, and the first RF switch matrix to couple a second spare port, included in the spare ports and being different from the first spare port, to the second signal port, such that the second active port and the second spare port become simultaneously coupled to the second signal port; and

cause, in response to the second indication, the first RF matrix to uncouple the second active port from the second signal port.

8. The communication apparatus of claim 7, wherein the controller is further configured to:

obtain performance information for a respective piece of RF communication equipment coupled to each active port, including first performance information for the first piece of RF equipment; and

select, prior to causing the first RF switch matrix to couple the second spare port to the second signal port, the second signal port to be coupled to the second spare port based on the first performance information being the worst of the obtained performance information.

9. The communication apparatus of claim 1, wherein

the causing the first RF switch matrix to couple the first signal port to the first spare port results in the first signal port being simultaneously coupled to the first active port and the first spare port; and

the controller is further configured to:

obtain, while the first signal port is coupled to the first active port and after obtaining the first indication, a second indication of reduced performance for the first equipment coupled to the first active port, and

cause, in response to the second indication, the first RF switch matrix to uncouple the first signal port and the first active port.

10. The communication apparatus of claim 1, wherein the controller is further configured to:

obtain a bit error rate (BER) for the first equipment,

generate the first indication of diminished performance based on the bit error rate.

11. The communication apparatus of claim 2, wherein

the active ports include a second active port that is different from the first active port; the spare ports include a second spare port that is different from the first spare port; and each of the active ports and each of the spare ports is coupled to a respective piece of RF communication equipment; and

the controller is further configured to:

cause the first RF switch matrix to couple a second signal port, included in the first-side RF ports, to the second active port,

obtain a first amount of time that a second piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the second active port has been in active service,

obtain a second amount of time that a third piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the second spare port has been in active service,

determine that the first amount of time is greater than the second amount of time, cause, in response to the determination that the first amount of time is greater than the second amount of time, the first RF switch matrix to couple the second spare port to the second signal port,

cause, in response to the determination that the first amount of time is greater than the second amount of time, the first RF switch matrix to uncouple the second active port from the second signal port, and

cause the second piece of RF communication equipment to exit active service.

12. The communication apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:

a second X by Y RF switch matrix comprising Y third-side RF ports and X fourth-side ports, wherein

Y is at least 2,

each of the third- side RF ports may be selectively coupled to at least one of two or more of the fourth-side RF ports, such that RF signals are carried between selectively coupled ports,

wherein the controller is further configured to:

issue on or more signals to the second RF switch matrix which control coupling and uncoupling of RF ports included in the second RF switch matrix;

continually cause third-side ports to be coupled and uncoupled with fourth-side ports, so as to maintain a one-to-one correspondence between coupled ports in the first RF switch matrix and the second RF switch matrix.

13. A method of operating an RF system, the method comprising:

controlling coupling and uncoupling of RF ports included in a first M by N radio frequency (RF) switch matrix comprising N first-side RF ports and M second-side RF ports, wherein

N is at least 2, and

each of the first-side RF ports may be selectively coupled to at least one of two or more of the second-side RF ports, such that RF signals are carried between selectively coupled ports;

identifying one or more of the second-side RF ports as active ports, the active ports including a first active port;

causing the first RF switch matrix to couple the first active port to a first signal port included in the first- side RF ports;

obtaining a first indication of reduced performance for a first piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the first active port; and

causing, in response to the first indication, the first RF switch matrix to couple the first signal port to a first spare port, wherein the first spare port is included in the second-side RF ports and is not included in the active ports.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising:

identifying two or more of the second-side RF ports as spare ports, wherein the spare ports do not include any of the active ports; and

selecting, in response to the first indication, one of the spare ports as the first spare port.

15. The method of claim 13, further comprising causing, in response to the first indication, the first RF switch matrix to uncouple the first signal port and the first active port.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising:

obtaining first performance information for the first piece of RF communication equipment;

obtaining second performance information for a second piece of RF communication equipment, that is different from the first piece of RF communication equipment, that is coupled to a second active port included in the active ports and being different from the first active port; generating the first indication based on the first performance information being worse than the second performance information;

reidentifying, in response to the first indication, the first spare port as one of the active ports; and

reidentifying, in response to the first indication, the first active port as a spare port.

17. The method of claim 13, further comprising:

obtaining operating parameters for the first piece of RF communication equipment; causing, in response to the first indication, a second piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the first spare port to utilize the operating parameters.

18. The method of claim 13, further comprising causing, in response to the first indication, a second piece of RF communication equipment coupled to the first spare port to enter active service.

19. The method of claim 14, further comprising:

obtaining a second indication of reduced performance for a second piece of RF communication equipment coupled to a second active port included in the active ports and being different from the first active port;

causing, prior to the second indication, the first RF switch matrix to couple the second active port to a second signal port included in the first-side RF ports, and the first RF switch matrix to couple a second spare port, included in the spare ports and being different from the first spare port, to the second signal port, such that the second active port and the second spare port become simultaneously coupled to the second signal port; and

causing, in response to the second indication, the first RF switch matrix to uncouple the second active port from the second signal port.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising:

obtaining performance information for a respective piece of RF communication equipment coupled to each active port, including first performance information for the first piece of RF equipment;

selecting, prior to causing the first RF switch matrix to couple the second spare port to the second signal port, the second signal port to be coupled to the second spare port based on the first performance information being the worst of the obtained performance information.

21. The method of claim 13, wherein

the causing the first RF switch matrix to couple the first signal port to the first spare port results in the first signal port being simultaneously coupled to the first active port and the first spare port; and

the method further comprises:

obtaining, while the first signal port is coupled to the first active port and after obtaining the first indication, a second indication of reduced performance for the first equipment coupled to the first active port, and

causing, in response to the second indication, the first RF switch matrix to uncouple the first signal port and the first active port.

22. A nontransitory computer readable medium including instructions which, when executed by one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to perform the method of claim 13.