Patent Issued for Enhanced Peer Discovery In A Mesh Network (USPTO 10,305,778)

Information Technology Business Daily |

2019 JUN 12 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Business Daily -- From Alexandria, Virginia, NewsRx journalists report that a patent by the inventors Halvarsson, Stig (Lund, SE); Al Jaberi, Monthadar (Malmo, SE), filed on , was published online on .

The patent’s assignee for patent number 10,305,778 is Terranet AB (Lund, Sweden).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “In a typical cellular network a base station or router keeps track of the communication in the cell and all nodes within the cell. The router or base station may typically relay communication between nodes.

“A mesh network, on the other hand, is typically an ad hoc network. In such networks there is no base station or router keeping track of the nodes, nor controlling the communication between nodes. Instead the nodes themselves, or stations as they typically are referred to when dealing with mesh networks, keep track of each other by establishing peer connections and having peer tables. A peer is a neighboring station in the mesh network.

“Mesh networks are typically dynamic with a network topology which may rapidly change in conjunction with stations entering and leaving the mesh network.

“When a new station enters a mesh network, a handshake procedure is initiated with at least one of the stations currently in the network. When the handshake procedure is complete, both stations will have each other in its respective peer table. This is typically how stations within a network receive knowledge about other stations in the network.

“Mesh networks have the capability to become very large which introduces difficulties in keeping track of all the stations within in the large network.

“When the mesh network software stack is run on devices with a memory constraint, the number of slots in the peer table is typically limited. The limit is typically set to 8 slots.

“This leads to a problem when the stations of a network have saturated their peer tables and new stations enter. The new stations may then form isolated mesh network clusters which typically lowers the mesh connectivity factor, since the total percentage of reachable mesh stations for any given station is lowered.

“Therefore, there is a need for mesh network stations and methods that reduce the amount of clusters, reduce the risk of clusters forming and enhance the overall mesh connectivity.”

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent: “It should be emphasized that the term ‘comprises/comprising’ when used in this specification is taken to specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, or components, but does not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, components, or groups thereof.

“Cluster forming in a mesh network may typically occur when the stations in the mesh network have saturated their peer tables. If a new station enters the network, it will not be able to establish a peer connection with the peers having saturated peer tables. Thus the connectivity within the network is limited since groups of stations having saturated peer tables may only communicate with each other and not reach other stations, the group thus form a cluster.

“It is an object of some embodiments to mitigate at least some of the above disadvantages and to provide a station of a mesh network and a method for a station in a mesh network.

“According to a first aspect this is provided by a station of a mesh network comprising a peer table which is configured to list neighboring peers in the mesh network. Each listed peer comprises a qualification grade. The station also comprises a controller which is configured to detect if a new peer enters the mesh network and establish a peer connection with the new peer. The controller is also configured to add the new peer to the peer table, and to determine if the peer table is full when the new peer has been added.

“The controller is further configured to compare the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table if the peer table is full, and to remove, from the peer table, a peer having a high qualification grade in relation to the neighboring peers in the peer table.

“Thus, it is always ensured that there is an empty slot within the peer table so that a peer connection with new peers always may be established, and the risk of cluster forming is reduced.

“In some embodiments, the qualification grade may be based on at least one of RSSI--Received Signal Strength Indicator--, packet error rate, number of path replies received for an established peer, last time data was received from the peer, number of established peers and/or number of throughputs utilized by the peer.

“In some embodiments, the controller of the station is further configured to refrain from adding the peer that was removed from the peer table to the peer table again within a determined time period.

“In some embodiments, the station comprise a timer which is configured to kept track of the determined time period during which a removed peer may not be added to the peer table again.

“Having a time period during which a removed peer may not be added again ensures that no endless loop of adding and removing the same peer from the peer table is formed.

“In some embodiments, the determined time period is dynamically set based on network parameters.

“In some embodiments, the network parameters are at least one of number of peers in the network, amount of network traffic and amount of network resources.

“A second aspect is a method for a station in a mesh network, wherein the station comprises a peer table which is configured to list neighboring peers and a qualification grade pertaining to each neighboring peer. The method comprises:

“detecting that a new peer comprising a qualification grade enters the mesh network; establishing a peer connection with the new peer; adding new peer to the peer table; determining if the peer table is full after adding the new peer; and if it is determined that the peer table is full comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table; and removing, from the peer table, a peer having a high qualification grade in relation to the neighboring peers in the peer table.

“A third aspect is a computer program product comprising a computer readable medium, having thereon a computer program comprising program instructions. The computer program is loadable into a data-processing unit and adapted to cause execution of the method according to the second aspect when the computer program is run by the data-processing unit.

“A fourth aspect is a mesh network which comprises a plurality of stations according to the first aspect configured to carry out the method according to the second aspect.

“It is to be noted that in some embodiments, the second and fourth aspects may additionally have features identical with or corresponding to any of the various features as explained above for the first aspect.”

The claims supplied by the inventors are:

“The invention claimed is:

“1. A station of a mesh network comprising a peer table configured to list neighboring peers in the mesh network, wherein each peer of the neighboring peers comprises a qualification grade and wherein the station comprises: a controller configured to detect a new peer entering the mesh network and to establish a peer connection with the new peer, wherein the controller is configured to add the new peer to the peer table and to determine if the number of entries in the peer table exceeds a predefined limit, wherein the controller is further configured to, if the number of entries in the peer table exceeds the predefined limit, determine a selected peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table by comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table, and remove the selected peer from the peer table based on the comparison of the qualification grades, the qualification grade being at least partly based on one or more communication parameters.

“2. The station according to claim 1, wherein the one or more communication parameters comprise a number of established peer connections for the respective neighboring peer.

“3. The station according to claim 1, wherein the one or more communication parameters comprise at least one of RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) for the respective neighboring peer, packet error rate for the respective neighboring peer, number of path replies received for the respective neighboring peer, and throughput(s) utilized by the respective neighboring peer.

“4. The station according to claim 1, wherein the one or more communication parameters comprise last time data received from the respective neighboring peer.

“5. The station according to claim 1, wherein the qualification grade is an integer number.

“6. The station according to claim 1, wherein the controller is further configured to: identify, by comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table, a candidate peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table; transmit, to at least a subset of the neighboring peers in the peer table, a path request message; receive one or more path reply messages generated in response to the path request message; and analyze the one or more path reply messages for determination of the selected peer to be removed.

“7. The station according to claim 6, wherein the path request message comprises the candidate peer.

“8. The station according to claim 6, wherein the controller is configured to transmit the path request message to all neighboring peers in the peer table except the candidate peer.

“9. The station according to claim 6, wherein the controller is configured to broadcast the path request, and to ignore path reply messages from the candidate peer when analyzing the one or more path reply messages.

“10. The station according to claim 6, wherein the controller is further configured to set the candidate peer as the selected peer when the one or more path reply messages indicate an alternative path to the candidate peer in the mesh network, the alternative path not including the peer connection between the station and the candidate peer.

“11. The station according to claim 10, wherein the controller is further configured to, if the one or more path reply messages indicate absence of the alternative path, determine the selected peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table while excluding the candidate peer.

“12. A method for a station in a mesh network, wherein the station comprises a peer table configured to list neighboring peers and a respective qualification grade for each neighboring peer, the method comprising: detecting a new peer comprising a qualification grade entering the mesh network; establishing a peer connection with the new peer; adding the new peer to the peer table; determining if the number of entries in the peer table exceeds a predefined limit; and if it is determined that the number of entries in the peer table exceeds the predefined limit, determining a selected peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table by comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table, and removing the selected peer from the peer table based on the comparison of the qualification grades, the qualification grade being at least partly based on one or more communication parameters.

“13. The method according to claim 12, wherein the one or more communication parameters comprise a number of established peer connections for the respective neighboring peer.

“14. The method according to claim 12, wherein the one or more communication parameters comprise at least one of RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) for the respective neighboring peer, packet error rate for the respective neighboring peer, number of path replies received for the respective neighboring peer, and throughput(s) utilized by the respective neighboring peer.

“15. The method according to claim 12, further comprising: identifying, by comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table, a candidate peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table; transmitting, to at least a subset of the neighboring peers in the peer table, a path request message; receiving one or more path reply messages generated in response to the path request message; and analyzing the one or more path reply messages for determination of the selected peer to be removed.

“16. A computer program product comprising a non-transitory computer readable medium, having thereon a computer program comprising program instructions, wherein the computer program is loadable into a data-processing unit and configured to: detect a new peer comprising a qualification grade entering a mesh network; establish a peer connection with the new peer; add the new peer to a peer table, the peer table comprising a list of neighboring peers and a respective qualification grade for each neighboring peer; determine if a number of entries in the peer table exceeds a predefined limit; and if it is determined that the number of entries in the peer table exceeds the predefined limit, determine a selected peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table by comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table, and remove the selected peer from the peer table based on the comparison of the qualification grades, the qualification grade being at least partly based on one or more communication parameters.

“17. A mesh network, comprising a plurality of stations, each station comprising: a peer table configured to list neighboring peers in the mesh network, wherein each peer comprises a qualification grade and wherein each station comprises: a controller configured to detect a new peer entering the mesh network and to establish a peer connection with the new peer, wherein the controller is configured to add the new peer to the peer table and to determine if the number of entries in the peer table exceeds a predefined limit, wherein the controller is further configured to, if the number of entries in the peer table exceeds the predefined limit, determine a selected peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table by comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table, and remove the selected peer from the peer table based on the comparison of the qualification grades, the qualification grade being at least partly based on one or more communication parameters.

“18. The mesh network according to claim 17, wherein the one or more communication parameters comprise a number of established peer connections for the respective neighboring peer.

“19. The mesh network according to claim 17, wherein the one or more communication parameters comprise at least one of RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) for the respective neighboring peer, packet error rate for the respective neighboring peer, number of path replies received for the respective neighboring peer, and throughput(s) utilized by the respective neighboring peer.

“20. The mesh network according to claim 17, wherein the controller is further configured to: identify, by comparing the qualification grades of the neighboring peers in the peer table, a candidate peer among the neighboring peers in the peer table; transmit, to at least a subset of the neighboring peers in the peer table, a path request message; receive one or more path reply messages generated in response to the path request message; and analyze the one or more path reply messages for determination of the selected peer to be removed.”

For additional information on this patent, see: Halvarsson, Stig; Al Jaberi, Monthadar. Enhanced Peer Discovery In A Mesh Network. U.S. Patent Number 10,305,778, filed , and published online on . Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=10,305,778.PN.&OS=PN/10,305,778RS=PN/10,305,778

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