Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
INTERSTITIAL SECTOR SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1998/017078
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A method and apparatus for improving the reception characteristics for lower-power portable telephone units at a base station site (8) is disclosed. A normal three-sector antenna site (8) is divided into a plurality of sectors each having a central line of focus. The frequency channels assigned to the base station site (8) are divided among the sectors, and an antenna (10) within each sector radiates the assigned frequencies along the central line of focus for each of the sectors.

Inventors:
Dent, Paul W. (637 Eagle Point Road, Pittsboro, NC, 27312, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US1997/018073
Publication Date:
April 23, 1998
Filing Date:
October 07, 1997
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ERICSSON INC. (7001 Development Drive, P.O. Box 13969 Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, US)
International Classes:
H04B7/08; H01Q1/24; H01Q25/00; H04B7/155; H04B7/26; H04W16/02; H04W16/12; H04W16/28; H04W16/24; (IPC1-7): H04Q7/36; H04Q7/22
Domestic Patent References:
WO1996000466A11996-01-04
WO1991001073A11991-01-24
WO1991013502A11991-09-05
Foreign References:
US4775998A1988-10-04
EP0734194A11996-09-25
EP0715478A21996-06-05
FR2690023A11993-10-15
EP0596699A21994-05-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Moore, Stanley R. (Coats & Bennett, PLLC P.O. Box, Raleigh NC, 27602, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
1. Frequencies for each of the plurality of sector antennas 40 are assigned by the mobile switching center 50. The mobile switching center 50 is further responsible for controlling assignment of a portable radio telephone unit to the strongest available frequency. Due to the increased number of sectors located at a base station, the likelihood of a portable unit being located in or close to a beam peak is greatly increased, thus improving the reception characteristics for low power units. Although an embodiment of the method and apparatus of the present invention has been illustrated in the accompanying Drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed Description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiment disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims.
2. WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:.
3. A base station for communicating with portable radio telephone units, comprising: a first base station at a site having a first threesector antenna covering three, 1200 sectors; a second base station colocated on the site with the first base station and having a second three sector antenna covering three 1200 sectors oriented between the 1200 sectors of the first base station; means for transmitting and receiving along each of the sector antennas of the first and the second base station; and means for assigning available frequencies for the transmitter and a receiver means between the sectors of the first and the second base station.
4. The system of Claim 1, further including means for assigning a portable radio telephone unit a frequency for communication, the frequency assigned corresponding to the sector antenna providing the strongest signal to the portable radio telephone unit.
5. The system of Claim 1, further including means for performing diversity combinations on signals received using a sector antenna of said first base station and an adjacent sector antenna of said second, colocated base station.
6. The system of Claim 2 wherein the means for performing diversity combinations comprises a diversity combining equalizer.
7. The system of Claim 1 wherein each sector antenna comprises printed microstrip patch arrays.
8. The system of Claim 1, further including an analog to digital converter for digitizing signals received by each sector antenna.
9. The system of Claim 1, further including means for alternating circular polarization between adjacent sectors.
10. The system of Claim 1 wherein the means for controlling frequency channels equally divides frequency channels among the plurality of sectors of the site.
11. A base station system providing improved communications with a plurality of radio telephone units, comprising: a plurality of sector antennas for producing a plurality of substantially overlapping directional antenna beams having angularly staggered directions, wherein the plurality of directional antenna beams cover an area up to 360C of azimuth; means for transmitting and receiving along each of the plurality of sector antennas; means for controlling the means for transmitting and receiving such that an available set of frequencies for a base station are assigned approximately equally between the plurality of sector antennas; and control means for assigning a frequency for communicating with each of the plurality of radio telephone units, the assigned frequencies providing the strongest available signal to each of the radio telephone units.
12. The system of Claim 9 wherein means for transmitting and receiving combines signals received from a portable unit in more than one of the substantially overlapping directional antenna beams to produce enhanced signal reception.
13. The system of Claim 9, further including an analog to digital converter for digitizing signals received by each sector antenna.
14. The system of Claim 9, further including means for alternating circular polarization between adjacent sectors.
15. A method for improving reception at a base station site for portable radio telephone units, comprising the steps of: colocating first and second base stations at the base station site, each of the base stations including a threesector antenna covering three, 1200 sectors; orienting the three, 1200 sectors of the antenna of the first base station between the three, 1200 sector of the antenna of the second base station; assigning an available set of frequencies between the sector antennas of the first and second base stations; and transmitting and receiving using the assigned frequency for each sector antenna.
16. The method of Claim 13, further including the step of combining signals from a portable radio telephone unit received by adjacent sector antennas in order to enhance signal reception.
17. The method of Claim 13, further including the step of alternating circular polarization between adjacent sectors to improve effects of combination of adjacent sector signals from the same portable radio telephone unit.
18. The method of Claim 13, further including the steps of: digitizing received signals from the sector antennas; and combining digitized signals from neighboring sectors to generate a signal having improved gain characteristics.
19. The method of Claim 13, further including the step of assigning a portable radio telephone unit to a frequency providing a strongest signal.
20. The method of Claim 13 wherein the step of assigning further includes the step of assigning the available set of frequencies approximately equally between the sector antennas.
21. A method for improving reception at a base station site for portable radio telephone units, comprising the steps of: orienting a plurality of sector antennas such that the antennas produce a plurality of overlapping directional antennas beams covering an area up to 360° of azimuth; assigning an available set of frequencies approximately equally between the plurality of sector antennas; and assigning a portable radio telephone unit a frequency from the sector antenna providing a strongest signal.
22. The method of Claim 19, further including the step of combining signals from a portable radio telephone unit received by adjacent sector antennas in order to enhance signal reception.
23. The method of Claim 19, further including the step of alternating circular polarization between adjacent sectors to improve effects of combination of adjacent sector signals from the same portable radio telephone unit.
24. A method of using a plurality of radio frequencies assigned for communication between a base station and a plurality of mobile stations distributed over a service area, comprising the steps of: dividing said service area into a plurality of partially overlapping sectors; allocating a directional antenna at said base station to each sector for communicating with said mobile stations; dividing said plurality of radio frequencies approximately equally between said allocated directional antennas; dynamically varying the frequencies used for transmitting and receiving data according to a prearranged frequencyhopping sequence such that no directional antenna uses the same frequency at the same instant in time as another directional antenna for transmitting and receiving data to and from one of said mobile stations.
25. A method for communicating using orthogonal frequency hopping between a base station and a plurality of mobile stations distributed over a service area served by said base station, comprising the steps of: dividing said service area into a first number of partially overlapping sectors; associating at said base station a directional antenna with each sector; allocating a set of frequencies to each sector selected from a second number of frequencies, such that the number of frequencies in each set is greater than said second number divided by said first number; connecting to each directional antenna a third number of transceivers where said third number is not greater than the number of frequencies in the set allocated to an associated sector; synchronizing all of said transceivers at said base station to select at the same time one frequency from their respectively allocated frequency set such that no two transceivers select the same frequency at the same instant in time.
Description:
INTERSTITIAL SECTOR SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Technical Field of the Invention The present invention relates to sectorized antenna for use with cellular communication systems, and more particularly, to a sectorized antenna configuration utilizing a plurality of frequencies having their beamwidth focused within a plurality of equally spaced sectors about a base station site.

Description of Related Art Personal Communication Services (PCS) Systems provide users with a variety of wireless telephone services through low-power portable telephone units. The popularity of PCS is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years and PCS operators in the U. S. are faced with the problem of providing nationwide coverage to attract subscribers. The use of large cells is required in order for providers to economically provide nationwide coverage to their subscribers.

However, PCS phones need to be smaller and have longer talk times. This requires lower power consumption by the telephone unit. In order to maintain presently existing or larger cell sizes in conjunction with units having lower power output requires improvement of base station receiving capabilities. With noise factors perhaps already as low as possible, one solution for obtaining better base station receiver capabilities may be by reducing cabling loses with active antennas.

Improved antenna arrangement and the use of more diversity reception are additional solutions for improving the receiver characteristics of the base station.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing and other problems are overcome by the method and apparatus of the present invention for improving the receiver characteristics of a base station.

A normal three-sector base station site having a plurality of assigned channel frequencies is subdivided into a plurality of 1200 sectors wherein each of the sectors has a sector antenna generating a directional antenna beam for the sector.

A plurality of channel frequencies are assigned to each of the sectors such that the base station transmits and receives along each sector antenna only the assigned frequencies for the sector. For a cellular telephone system such as DAMPS, the frequency channels are equally divided among each of the sectors such that no particular frequency is used within more than one sector. However, in a GSM type system, frequencies within a particular sector may be shared with adjacent sectors via frequency hopping techniques.

By increasing the number of sectors around a particular base station and uniquely assigning a group of channel frequencies to each sector, the likelihood of a portable mobile unit residing within a beam peak is greatly increased. Furthermore, the angular distance from a beam peak, and thus the gain losses, are necessarily smaller. These factor combine to improve the receiver characteristics of the base station for lower power telephone units. The system may further improve receiver characteristics using diversity combinations between signals received in adjacent sectors from the same telephone unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A more complete understanding of the method and apparatus of the present invention may be obtained by

reference to the following Detailed Description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings wherein: FIGURES la and ib illustrate commonly used three- sector site arrangements; FIGURE 2 illustrates the path loss geometry inherent in presently existing sectorized antenna configurations; FIGURE 3 illustrates an interstitial sector approach for improving base station reception within existing cell sizes or enabling reception within larger size cells for a DAMPS system; FIGURE 4 is a table illustrating the effects of multi-sector configurations and diversity combination upon the gain loss at various angles from the beam peak; FIGURE 5 illustrates an interstitial sector approach for improving the base station reception within existing cell sizes or enabling reception within larger cells for a GSM system; FIGURE 6 is a table illustrating orthogonal hopsets for 24 mobiles communicating with a single site; and FIGURE 7 is a block diagram illustrating a system for processing received signals at a base station site using an interstitial sector approach.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIGS. la and ib, there are illustrated two commonly used three-sector per site arrangements for providing cellular air coverage. The configuration of FIGURE la arranges each site such that one antenna of the three- sectorized antennas 10 at each site 8 points directly toward a neighboring site 8. In the configuration in FIGURE ib, the three-sectorized antennas 10 at each site 8 point between neighboring sites.

Signal power, range and propagation considerations determine which particular site will control a cellular call. The site best receiving the mobile unit signal preferably controls the call. FIGURE 2 illustrates the

path loss geometry for the site configuration illustrated in FIGURE la. Relative antenna gain to reach all cell extremities at equal strength is calculated as a function of angle from the focus direction of the sectorized antenna 10. No gain losses are recorded along the line of focus of the antenna 10. At an angle of 300 from the line of focus of the antenna 10, the antenna pattern demonstrates a -2.45dB drop in gain from the peak beam direction. At 600, the drop is -12dB from the peak beam direction. These values of gain versus angle assure roughly constant signal strength from or to mobiles along the cell boundary.

For example, the mobile at location "C" can be reached with equal power from site "A" at a distance of 2X with full antenna gain or from site "B" at a distance of X with a 12dB gain loss. A mobile at point "D" can be reached from site either "A" or "B" at a distance of {3X with a 2.45dB antenna gain reduction from the peak gain.

The site configuration of FIGURE ib has similar loss characteristics.

The antenna gain loss as a function of angle from the focus line is known as the antenna pattern or radiation diagram. The antenna gain is thus normally deliberately chosen to be a function of the angle of offset from the peak gain direction or focus line, such that equal reception from or transmission to mobiles at any point on the hexagonal cell boundary is achieved. Nevertheless, it is a disadvantage of conventional three-sector systems that the mobile unit must use 12dB more transmitter power, when located at 600 offset from the focus line, than if an antenna beam had been provided and focused exactly in the mobiles direction. Providing such additional beams, called Interstitial Beams, is an object of the invention.

Referring now to FIGURE 3, there is illustrated an interstitial sector approach for improving the receiving characteristics of a base station. The discussion of FIGURE 3 will be with respect to the advanced mobile phone

system (AMPS). In the AMPS system, service providers are assigned approximately 420, 30 KHz channels. Normally, a 21-cell pattern including seven, three-sector sites is constructed with 20 frequencies per sector or cell that is 60 frequencies per site. In the system illustrated in FIGURE 1, all 20 frequencies in a particular sector are radiated in the same direction.

In an alternate sector approach as shown in FIGURE 3, the cell site is divided into six sectors pointing at 00, 600, 1200, 1800, 2400, and 300°, respectively. Ten frequencies are assigned to each sector and radiated along the centerline for a sector. For purposes of discussion the 0°, 1200, and 2400 antenna sector are designated "blue" sectors while the 60°, 1800, and 3000 antenna sectors are designated "red" sectors. Frequencies F1 - F10 are assigned to the "blue" sector at 00, F1l - F20 are assigned to the "red" sector at 600 and so on as illustrated in FIGURE 3.

The mobile switching center (not shown) is still configured to a three-sector system but treats the "blue" sectors as one base station with ten frequencies in each sector and the "red" sectors as another base station with ten frequencies in each sector. The fact that these two base stations are cosited does not affect the function of the switching center.

By allocating the antenna frequencies over six sectors about the site rather than three, there is a greater chance for a mobile unit to be within a beam peak area. The distance between beam peak areas is only 60° rather than 1200, and the maximum gain loss angle would be 300 for a six sector site. Thus, the potential for loss is minimized over large areas of the cell. For example, a mobile at "C" is received by the blue-base "A" 0° sector antenna and blue-base "B" 1200 sector antenna equally. In previous configuration neither site would have an advantage over the other. However, the red-base "B" 1800 sector antenna is received 12dB stronger by the

mobile, since the mobile is located within the peak of the "red" base antenna at only half the maximum range. The mobile would be connected to the "red" base station until it moved out to point "E", at which point it would be equally served by either the A-blue station or the B-red station.

The arrangement of the frequencies over six sites effectively increases the size of the coverage served by site "B" to the hexagon representing by the hexagon 30 shown in phantom. Rather than covering a larger area site "B" can also receive signals from lower power mobile units within the same size cell coverage area.

Although the present embodiment has been discussed with respect to the use 10 frequencies within each of six sectors, the six sectors can further be divided into 12 sectors having five frequencies assigned to each sector.

The two further three-sector base stations having a 30- degree antenna offset from the previously discussed "blue" and "red" patterns would further improve coverage within the existing cell or extend the range of site "B." The gain of the 12-sector system at +60 degree can be obtained without using 12 antennas. Virtual antennas having radiation patterns in between the original six-sectors can be formed by actively combining neighboring antennas.

Such combinations at low receiver powers can produce virtual beams in any direction, depending upon the weighting.

Referring now to the table shown in FIGURE 4, there is illustrated the effect of six-sector, 12-sector, and infinite-sector configurations on the gain losses for a mobile unit located at +15 and +300 from the base station.

The second portion of the table of FIGURE 4 illustrates the gains achievable using diversity combination between adjacent, uncorrelated sectors.

If the fading between neighboring antennas is completely correlated, the gain loss is simply 3dB at the +60 degree locations. If the fading is uncorrelated,

neighboring antennas can be used to increase the order of the reception diversity as illustrated in the table.

Uncorrelated signals between neighboring antennas can be guaranteed by using opposite circular polarizations for blue and red sectors. The order of diversity can be further increased by using the nearest neighboring sectors out of the six sectors to receive each mobile signal.

Thus, for a mobile at 100 antenna signals from -600, 00 and +600 are used in a metric combiner to generate the best signal. The gains achievable in this way are illustrated in the column for "3 out of 6 diversity combining" in FIGURE 4. The C/I gains for this option will be very large due to the possibility of nulling out both dominant interferers, as described in U.S. Patent Application 08/286, 775, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

Since the six receiving antennas are equally distributed around 3600, they do not need to provide +600 beamwidth at -12dB any longer. However, the patterns for an optimized six-sector system show very little improvement over those of a three-sector system, and even less when diversity is used. Further gains can only be achieved by increasing the number of receiving antennas above six. Increasing the order of diversity then wins more gain increases because the pattern overlap is greater and more neighboring antennas can be combined to enhance the beam forming affect or interference rejection effect.

Referring now to FIGURE 5, there is illustrated the present invention within a GSM system. It appears, that the FCC will allocate an A-band range from 1850 to 1865 MHz and a B-band range from the 1865 to 1890 MHz for PCS systems. Allocation will further include a duplex image 80 MHz higher than the corresponding A or B band. The GSM system operates with a nine-cell (three-sector, three- site) pattern having at least eight frequencies per sector (24 frequencies per site). Each of the three sectors in a particular site can frequency hop between the eight

frequencies without synchronizing base stations, as the eight frequencies are unique to that sector.

As illustrated in FIGURE 5, a base station site is divided into alternating "red" and "blue" sectors with the "red" sectors focused along 60°, 1800 and 3000 and the "blue" sectors focused along 00, 1200, and 2400. Six antennas 16 are provided in the form of two superimposed three-sector systems. Without synchronization between different sites, each of the six sectors would only be able to frequency hop among four frequencies. In order to avoid reducing the frequency hopset and thus the order of frequency diversity when interstitial sectors are used, a method compatible with GSM's frequency hop algorithm has been devised enabling sharing of frequency sets between adjacent interstitial sectors.

Each sector is assigned eight of the 24 frequencies.

Mobiles between 0° and 1200 would use frequencies ABCDEFGH, mobiles between 1200 and 2400 would use frequencies IJKLMNOP, and mobiles between 2400 and 0° would use QSTUVWX. The above frequencies are permitted to be originally radiated anywhere in the blue sectors.

Mobiles in the red sectors use frequencies EFGHIJKL in "red" sector 60° to 1800, frequencies MNOPQRST in "red" sector 1800 to 3000 and frequencies UVWXABCD in "red" sector 3000 to 600. The table in FIGURE 6 illustrates how 24 mobiles can hop orthogonally over the eight frequencies that the mobiles are permitted in the sector that they are located in. This scheme enables 24 conversations per six interstitial-sector site to take place using 24 frequency channels. The conversation frequency hops over eight of 24 frequencies in orthogonal fashion for each sector. No frequency is used in a location or radiated in a direction different from what would have been the case in a normal three-sectorization configuration.

The above scheme does not require synchronization between sites, only synchronization between sectors of the

same site. Both the "blue" and "red" sectors at the same site must use the same PRN sequence, which is defined by a GSM frequency hopping, key and be programmed to generate selections between the eight assigned frequencies. Each of these requirements are within the scope of presently existing GSM frequency hopping technologies.

The above discussed principles can be extended to divide 24 frequencies between 12 or 24 sectors while still permitting each conversation to frequency hop orthogonally to the others over one-third of the total 24 frequencies.

The system of FIGURE 5 improves the receiver characteristics of a GSM base station in the same manner at the system discussed with respect to FIGURE 3. Since mobiles are more likely to be within a beam peak, lower power mobiles are better received within existing size cells.

Referring now to FIGURE 7, there is illustrated a block diagram of a multi-sector antenna setup at a base station providing between 6.5 and lldB of increased receiver sensitivity for a PCS system of a low-power hand portable. The antennas 40 generates overlapping directional antenna beams covering up to 360" of azimuth.

The antennas 40 are constructed in a low cost manner using printed microstrip patch array antennas. Each patch array can also be an active transmit array for one circular polarization and a receive array for the opposite circular polarization. The polarization of the antennas would alternate between neighboring sectors.

The twelve received signals 42 are each digitized by an A/D converter 44 and processed by digital signal processor (DSP) 46. The DSP 46 employs a diversity combining equalizer to combine signals from three neighboring sectors to achieve between 6.5 and lldB of gain in receive performance. The signals are then passed to the base station 48 transmission and receiver apparatus for further processing.