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Title:
SELECTABLE QUALITY OF SERVICE (QoS) FOR BEARERS BY AN END USER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/224122
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Devices, methods, and software for selecting Qo S per dedicated bearer. In one embodiment, a mobile device of an end user implements a plurality of applications configured to perform services over dedicated bearers. The mobile device detects a request for a dedicated bearer from one of the applications, generates a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer, determines whether a modified Qo S is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer that differs from a default Qo S specified in a service plan of the end user, inserts an indication of the modified QoS in the connection message responsive to a determination that the modified QoS is selected for the dedicated bearer, and transmits the connection message to an access network. The mobile device may then exchange traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the modified QoS.

Inventors:
SHARMA, Ranjan (Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc, 4397 Haybury DriveNew Albany, Ohio, 43054, US)
CAI, Yigang (Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc, 1960 LUCENT LNNAPERVILLE, Indiana, 60563-1594, US)
Application Number:
EP2017/063610
Publication Date:
December 13, 2018
Filing Date:
June 05, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NOKIA TECHNOLOGIES OY (Kraportti 3, Espoo, 02610, FI)
International Classes:
H04M1/725; H04L12/801; H04L12/911; H04L12/927; H04W28/16; H04M15/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016061566A12016-04-21
Foreign References:
EP1303156A12003-04-16
US20120196566A12012-08-02
US20100322069A12010-12-23
US20050020243A12005-01-27
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERTHIER, Karine (Alcatel-Lucent International, Patent BusinessSite Nokia Paris Sacla, route de Villejust Nozay, 92100, FR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus comprising:

a mobile device of an end user that subscribes to a service plan specifying a quota of data allotted to the end user for a billing cycle, and specifying a default Quality of Service (QoS), the mobile device comprising:

a user interface;

a radio interface configured to communicate with an access network of a mobile network via radio signals; and

a controller that implements a plurality of applications configured to perform services over dedicated bearers;

the controller is configured to detect a request for a dedicated bearer from one of the applications, to generate a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer, to determine whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer, to insert an indication of the modified QoS in the connection message responsive to a determination that the modified QoS is selected for the dedicated bearer, and to transmit the connection message to the access network via the radio interface;

the radio interface is configured to exchange traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the modified QoS.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

the modified QoS comprises a reduced QoS as compared to the default QoS that does not count against the quota.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

the modified QoS comprises an increased QoS as compared to the default QoS that does not count against the quota.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

the controller is configured to transmit the connection message to the access network without an indication of the modified QoS responsive to a determination that the modified QoS was not selected for the dedicated bearer; and

the radio interface is configured to exchange the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the default QoS.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

the controller is configured to receive a connection response from the access network via the radio interface approving a different QoS than the modified QoS selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer; and

the radio interface is configured to exchange the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the different QoS.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

the controller is configured to determine whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on a profile that is pre -provisioned in the mobile device by the end user.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein:

the user interface is configured to display a menu that provides a list of the applications, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per application; and the controller is configured to receive input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the applications, and to store the input in the profile.

8. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein:

the user interface is configured to display a menu that provides a list of file types, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per file type; and

the controller is configured to receive input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the file types, and to store the input in the profile.

9. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein:

the user interface is configured to display a menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for a group of websites; and

the controller is configured to receive input from the end user indicating Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for the websites of the group and selecting the modified QoS for the group, and to store the input in the profile.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

the controller is configured to determine whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on real-time input from the end user in response to initiation of the dedicated bearer;

when the controller detects the request for the dedicated bearer, the user interface is configured to display a pop-up menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer; and

the controller is configured to receive the real-time input from the end user either selecting the modified QoS for dedicated bearer or not selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer.

11. A method operable in a mobile device, wherein an end user of the mobile device subscribes to a service plan with a mobile network specifying a quota of data allotted to the end user for a billing cycle, and specifying a default Quality of Service (QoS), the method comprising:

detecting a request for a dedicated bearer from one of a plurality of applications configured to perform services over dedicated bearers;

generating a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer;

determining whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer;

inserting an indication of the modified QoS in the connection message responsive to a determination that the modified QoS is selected for the dedicated bearer;

transmitting the connection message from the mobile device to an access network of the mobile network; and

exchanging traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the modified QoS when the mobile network applies the modified QoS to the dedicated bearer.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein:

the modified QoS comprises a reduced QoS as compared to the default QoS that does not count against the quota.

13. The method of claim 11 further comprising:

transmitting the connection message from the mobile device to the access network without an indication of the modified QoS responsive to a determination that the modified QoS was not selected for the dedicated bearer; and

exchanging the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the default QoS when the mobile network applies the default QoS to the dedicated bearer.

14. The method of claim 11 further comprising:

receiving a connection response in the mobile device from the access network approving a different QoS than the modified QoS selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer; and

exchanging the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the different QoS.

15. The method of claim 11 wherein determining whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer comprises:

determining whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on a profile that is pre -provisioned in the mobile device by the end user.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising:

displaying a menu that provides a list of the applications, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per application;

receiving input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the applications; and

storing the input in the profile.

17. The method of claim 15 further comprising:

displaying a menu that provides a list of file types, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per file type;

receiving input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the file types; and

storing the input in the profile.

18. The method of claim 15 further comprising:

displaying a menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for a group of websites;

receiving input from the end user indicating Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for the websites of the group and selecting the modified QoS for the group; and

storing the input in the profile.

19. The method of claim 11 wherein determining whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer comprises:

determining whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on real-time input from the end user in response to initiation of the dedicated bearer;

upon detecting the request for the dedicated bearer, the method further comprises: displaying a pop-up menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer; and

receiving the real-time input from the end user either selecting the modified QoS for dedicated bearer or not selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer.

20. A non-transitory computer readable medium embodying programmed instructions executed by a processor, wherein the instructions direct the processor to implement:

a controller of a mobile device, wherein an end user of the mobile device subscribes to a service plan specifying a quota of data allotted to the end user for a billing cycle, and specifying a default Quality of Service (QoS);

the controller communicates with an access network through a radio interface, and implements a plurality of applications configured to perform services over dedicated bearers;

the controller detects a request for a dedicated bearer from one of the applications, generates a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer, determines whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer, inserts an indication of the modified QoS in the connection message responsive to a determination that the modified QoS is selected for the dedicated bearer, transmits the connection message to the access network via the radio interface, and receives a connection response from the access network via the radio interface indicating an approved QoS for the dedicated bearer;

the controller exchanges traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer via the radio interface based on the modified QoS when the mobile network applies the modified QoS to the dedicated bearer;

the controller exchanges the traffic with the access network via the radio interface for the dedicated bearer based on the default QoS when the mobile network applies the default QoS to the dedicated bearer; and

the controller exchanges the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer via the radio interface based on a different QoS than the modified QoS or the default QoS when the mobile network applies the different QoS.

Description:
SELECTABLE QUALITY OF SERVICE (QoS) FOR BEARERS BY AN END USER

Field of the Invention

The invention is related to the field of communication systems and, in particular, to exchanging traffic over bearers of a network.

Background

Telecommunications service providers typically offer tiered service plans so that subscribers are able to choose the most appropriate service plan. Tiered service structures allow subscribers to select from a set of tiers at progressively increasing price points. A service tier may be based on the number of voice call minutes, the number of text messages, data consumption (i.e., amount of data upload/download in peak/off-peak times), etc.

Presently, the majority of usage by subscribers is data consumption (e.g., streaming audio, streaming video, video-on-demand, etc.) as compared to voice calls and text

messages/multimedia messages. Service providers have taken various approaches for handling subscriber data consumption. One approach is to offer a service plan with a consumption quota (e.g., 10 GB) for a subscriber (or a family) at a Fourth Generation (4G) bit rate (e.g., 150 Mbps download), and then throttle back to a Third Generation (3G) bit rate (e.g., 15 Mbps download) when the quota is reached. Another approach is to offer additional data consumption at a 4G bit rate after the quota is reached at an additional charge. Other approaches may include converting a post-paid account to a pre-paid account in the middle of a billing cycle, or cutting off the data access altogether when the quota is reached.

It may be desirable to have more flexibility in how data consumption is handled in telecommunication networks.

Summary

Embodiments described herein provide end users (i.e., subscribers) the ability to select Quality of Service (QoS)/Quality of Experience (QoE) for different dedicated bearers within a session. The QoS indicates attributes of a dedicated bearer, such as bit rate. End users may use their discretion so that data is consumed at a bit rate that does or does not count against a quota of their service plan. Thus, an end user can advantageously opt for a slower bit rate for some dedicated bearers, while keeping the option open to use higher bit rates for more demanding applications. For example, an end user may select a higher bit rate for a video chat, and may select a lower bit rate for surfing the internet. This allows end users to maximize their quotas during a billing cycle.

One embodiment comprises a mobile device of an end user that subscribes to a service plan specifying a quota of data allotted to the end user for a billing cycle, and specifying a default Quality of Service (QoS). The mobile device includes a user interface, a radio interface configured to communicate with an access network of a mobile network via radio signals, and a controller that implements a plurality of applications configured to perform services over dedicated bearers. The controller is configured to detect a request for a dedicated bearer from one of the applications, to generate a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer, to determine whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer, to insert an indication of the modified QoS in the connection message responsive to a determination that the modified QoS is selected for the dedicated bearer, and to transmit the connection message to the access network via the radio interface. The radio interface is configured to exchange traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the modified QoS.

In one embodiment, the modified QoS comprises a reduced QoS as compared to the default QoS that does not count against the quota.

In one embodiment, the modified QoS comprises an increased QoS as compared to the default QoS that does not count against the quota.

In one embodiment, the controller is configured to transmit the connection message to the access network without an indication of the modified QoS responsive to a

determination that the modified QoS was not selected for the dedicated bearer. The radio interface is configured to exchange the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the default QoS.

In one embodiment, the controller is configured to receive a connection response from the access network via the radio interface approving a different QoS than the modified QoS selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer. The radio interface is configured to exchange the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the different QoS. In one embodiment, the controller is configured to determine whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on a profile that is pre- provisioned in the mobile device by the end user.

In one embodiment, the user interface is configured to display a menu that provides a list of the applications, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per application. The controller is configured to receive input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the applications, and to store the input in the profile.

In one embodiment, the user interface is configured to display a menu that provides a list of file types, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per file type. The controller is configured to receive input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the file types, and to store the input in the profile.

In one embodiment, the user interface is configured to display a menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for a group of websites. The controller is configured to receive input from the end user indicating Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for the websites of the group and selecting the modified QoS for the group, and to store the input in the profile.

In one embodiment, the controller is configured to determine whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on real-time input from the end user in response to initiation of the dedicated bearer. When the controller detects the request for the dedicated bearer, the user interface is configured to display a pop-up menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer. The controller is configured to receive the real-time input from the end user either selecting the modified QoS for dedicated bearer or not selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer.

Another embodiment comprises a method operable in a mobile device, wherein an end user of the mobile device subscribes to a service plan with a mobile network specifying a quota of data allotted to the end user for a billing cycle, and specifying a default QoS. The method comprises detecting a request for a dedicated bearer from one of a plurality of applications configured to perform services over dedicated bearers, generating a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer, determining whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer, inserting an indication of the modified QoS in the connection message responsive to a determination that the modified QoS is selected for the dedicated bearer, and transmitting the connection message from the mobile device to an access network of the mobile network. The method further includes exchanging traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the modified QoS when the mobile network applies the modified QoS to the dedicated bearer.

In one embodiment, the method further includes transmitting the connection message from the mobile device to the access network without an indication of the modified QoS responsive to a determination that the modified QoS was not selected for the dedicated bearer, and exchanging the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the default QoS when the mobile network applies the default QoS to the dedicated bearer.

In one embodiment, the method further includes receiving a connection response in the mobile device from the access network approving a different QoS than the modified QoS selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer, and exchanging the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer based on the different QoS.

In one embodiment, the step of determining whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer comprises determining whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on a profile that is pre-provisioned in the mobile device by the end user.

In one embodiment, the method further includes displaying a menu that provides a list of the applications, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per application. The method further includes receiving input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the applications, and storing the input in the profile.

In one embodiment, the method further includes displaying a menu that provides a list of file types, and provides an option for selecting the modified QoS per file type. The method further includes receiving input from the end user selecting the modified QoS for at least one of the file types, and storing the input in the profile.

In one embodiment, the method further includes displaying a menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for a group of websites, receiving input from the end user indicating Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for the websites of the group and selecting the modified QoS for the group, and storing the input in the profile.

In one embodiment, the step of determining whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer comprises determining whether the modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer based on real-time input from the end user in response to initiation of the dedicated bearer. The method further includes, upon detecting the request for the dedicated bearer, displaying a pop-up menu that provides an option for selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer, and receiving the real-time input from the end user either selecting the modified QoS for dedicated bearer or not selecting the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer.

Another embodiment comprises a non-transitory computer readable medium embodying programmed instructions executed by a processor, wherein the instructions direct the processor to implement a controller of a mobile device. An end user of the mobile device subscribes to a service plan specifying a quota of data allotted to the end user for a billing cycle, and specifying a default QoS. The controller communicates with an access network through a radio interface, and implements a plurality of applications configured to perform services over dedicated bearers. The controller detects a request for a dedicated bearer from one of the applications, generates a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer, determines whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer, inserts an indication of the modified QoS in the connection message responsive to a determination that the modified QoS is selected for the dedicated bearer, transmits the connection message to the access network via the radio interface, and receives a connection response from the access network via the radio interface indicating an approved QoS for the dedicated bearer. The controller exchanges traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer via the radio interface based on the modified QoS when the mobile network applies the modified QoS to the dedicated bearer, exchanges the traffic with the access network via the radio interface for the dedicated bearer based on the default QoS when the mobile network applies the default QoS to the dedicated bearer, and exchanges the traffic with the access network for the dedicated bearer via the radio interface based on a different QoS than the modified QoS or the default QoS when the mobile network applies the different QoS.

The above summary provides a basic understanding of some aspects of the specification. This summary is not an extensive overview of the specification. It is intended to neither identify key or critical elements of the specification nor delineate any scope of the particular embodiments of the specification, or any scope of the claims. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts of the specification in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later. Description of the Drawings

Some embodiments of the invention are now described, by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings. The same reference number represents the same element or the same type of element on all drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates an LTE network.

FIG. 2 illustrates bearers within an LTE network.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a mobile network in an exemplary

embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating a mobile device in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method of selecting QoS for dedicated bearers in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a method of activating a dedicated bearer in a mobile network in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating a method of pre-defining QoS by an end user in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 8 illustrates a preferences menu in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 9 illustrates an application selection menu in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 10 illustrates a file type selection menu in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 11 illustrates a website selection menu in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 12 is a flow chart illustrating a method of querying an end user for a QoS in an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 13 illustrates a pop-up menu in an exemplary embodiment. Description of Embodiments

The figures and the following description illustrate specific exemplary

embodiments. It will thus be appreciated that those skilled in the art will be able to devise various arrangements that, although not explicitly described or shown herein, embody the principles of the embodiments and are included within the scope of the embodiments. Furthermore, any examples described herein are intended to aid in understanding the principles of the embodiments, and are to be construed as being without limitation to such specifically recited examples and conditions. As a result, the inventive concept(s) is not limited to the specific embodiments or examples described below, but by the claims and their equivalents.

FIG. 1 illustrates a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network 100. As suggested by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), LTE network 100 includes a core network, which is referred to as the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network 110. LTE network 100 also includes a Radio Access Network (RAN), which is illustrated as an Evolved-UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN) 120 having one or more Evolved- NodeBs (eNodeB) 122 (i.e., base stations). Although only one eNodeB 122 is shown in FIG. 1, E- UTRAN 120 may include multiple eNodeBs. User Equipment (UE) 130 is able to attach to E-UTRAN 120 to access EPC network 110. E-UTRAN 120 is the air interface between UE 130 and EPC network 110 that provides high data rate and low-latency radio-access technology.

EPC network 110 includes a Mobility Management Entity (MME) 114, a Serving Gateway (S-GW) 115, a Packet Data Network Gateway (P-GW) 116, a Home Subscriber Server (HSS) 117, and a Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) 118, but may include other elements not shown. Within the EPC network 110, the user data (also referred to as the "user plane") and the signaling (also referred to as the "control plane") are separated. MME 114 handles the control plane within EPC network 110. For instance, MME 114 handles the signaling related to mobility and security for E-UTRAN access. MME 114 is responsible for tracking and paging UE 130 in idle-mode. S-GW 115 and P-GW 116 handle the user plane. S-GW 115 and P-GW 116 transport data traffic between UE 130 and external Packet Data Network (PDNs) 140. S-GW 115 is the point of interconnect between the radio-side and EPC network 110, and serves UE 130 by routing incoming and outgoing IP packets. S-GW 115 is also the anchor point for the intra-LTE mobility (i.e., in case of handover between eNodeBs), and between LTE and other 3GPP accesses. P-GW 116 is the point of interconnect between EPC network 110 and PDNs 140, and routes packets to and from PDNs 140. HSS 117 is a database that stores user-related and subscriber-related information. PCRF 118 provides a Policy and Charging Control (PCC) solution in EPC network 110. PCRF 118 is a node or entity of EPC network 110 that formulates PCC rules for services requested by an end user, which is referred to as making a PCC decision.

UE 130 communicates with eNodeB 122 via the LTE Uu interface, which is the air interface between a UE and an eNodeB. The eNodeB 122 connects to EPC network 110 through SI interfaces. As described by the 3GPP, there are two types of SI interfaces defined at the boundary between EPC network 110 and E-UTRAN 120: Sl-MME and SILT. The Sl-MME interface is the reference point for the control plane protocol between E- UTRAN 120 and MME 114. The Sl-U interface is the reference point between E-UTRAN 120 and S-GW 115 for user plane tunneling and inter-eNodeB switching during handover. MME 114 connects to S-GW 115 through the SI 1 interface, and connects to HSS 117 through the S6a interface. The S6a interface enables transfer of subscription and authentication data for authenticating or authorizing user access between MME 114 and HSS 117. PCRF 118 connects to P-GW 116 through the Gx interface. The Gx interface provides transfer of policy and charging rules from PCRF 118 to a Policy and Charging

Enforcement Function (PCEF) in P-GW 116. PCRF 118 connects to S-GW 115 through the Gxx interface. The Gxx interface resides between PCRF 118 and a Bearer Binding and Event Reporting Function (BBERF) integrated within S-GW 115. S-GW 115 connects to P-GW 116 through the S5 interface.

FIG. 2 illustrates bearers within LTE network 100. A bearer is a virtual connection between two endpoints for transporting traffic based on a set of attributes. A radio bearer

201 transports traffic (e.g., packets) between UE 130 and eNodeB (eNB) 122. An SI bearer

202 transports traffic between eNodeB 122 and S-GW 115. An S5/S8 bearer 203 transports traffic between S-GW 115 and P-GW 116. An external bearer 204 transports traffic between P-GW 116 and PDN 140 (e.g., the internet). Radio bearer 201 and SI bearer 202 may be collectively referred to as an Enhanced-Radio Access Bearer (E-RAB) 205, as it transports traffic between UE 130 and the EPC network 110 (i.e., S-GW 115). Radio bearer 201, SI bearer 202, and S5/S8 bearer 203 may be collectively referred to as an EPS bearer 206, as it transports traffic between UE 130 and P-GW 116.

A bearer service is provided over EPS bearer 206 within LTE network 100 with specific attributes, such as QoS. QoS parameters specify how traffic is transported over EPS bearer 206. QoS parameters may include a QoS Class Identifier (QCI), Allocation and Retention Priority (ARP), Guaranteed Bit Rate (GBR) or non-Guaranteed Bit Rate (non- GBR), and Aggregate Maximum Bit Rate (AMBR). QCI is a mechanism that classifies the different types of bearers into different classes, with each class having appropriate QoS parameters for the traffic type. The ARP indicates a priority level for the allocation and retention of bearers. The GBR is the minimum guaranteed bit rate for an EPS bearer 206, and is specified independently for uplink and downlink. The AMBR is the maximum guaranteed bit rate for an EPS bearer 206, and is specified independently for uplink and downlink.

EPS bearer 206 is established with an EPS bearer activation procedure, which is triggered by one of the endpoints. For example, UE 130 may trigger the EPS bearer activation procedure when initially attaching to LTE network 100, or to transport traffic to P-GW 116. P-GW 116 may trigger the EPS bearer activation procedure when it determines that traffic needs to be sent to UE 130. There are two types of bearers that may be established: a default bearer and a dedicated bearer. A default bearer is established when UE 130 first attaches to LTE network 100, and remains as long as UE 130 is attached. A dedicated bearer is a virtual connection established to transport specific traffic (e.g., voice, streaming video, etc.). A dedicated bearer is an additional bearer on top of the default bearer, and is linked to the default bearer (i.e., to an IP address assigned to the default bearer). A specific QoS is attributed to a dedicated bearer.

In the embodiments described herein, an end user is able to select QoS for different dedicated bearers within a session. When a mobile device (e.g., UE) of the end user attaches to a mobile network, a session is established and a default bearer is activated for the mobile device. During the session, one or more dedicated bearers may be activated for the mobile device. The end user is able to select the QoS per dedicated bearer so that the end user has control over how data is consumed in their service plan.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a mobile network 300 in an exemplary embodiment. Mobile network 300 may comprise a 4G network, such as an LTE network, a 5G network, or a later generation network. Mobile network 300 includes a core network 310 and a RAN 320. Core network 310 includes a gateway (GW) 316, a policy control element 318, and a subscriber server 317. Gateway 316 comprises a network device or physical node configured to interconnect core network 310 with PDNs 340. One example of gateway 316 is a P-GW of an LTE network. Policy control element 318 comprises a network device or physical node configured to provide policy control for mobile network 300. One example of policy control element 318 is a PCRF of an LTE network. Subscriber server 317 comprises a network device or physical node configured to store service plans for end users. One example of subscriber server 317 is an HSS and/or a Subscriber Profile Repository (SPR) of an LTE network. RAN 320 includes one or more base stations 322. One example of a base station 322 is an eNodeB of an LTE network. Base station 322 provides a service area referred to as a cell, and a mobile device 330 is located in the service area of base station 322. Mobile device 330 may exchange different types of content (e.g., voice, video, multimedia, text, web content, etc.) with base station 322 over bearers that are activated for mobile device 330. Mobile device 330 may transmit requests, receive responses, or otherwise

communicate with core network 310 through RAN 320. Mobile network 300 may include various other network elements or nodes not specifically illustrated in FIG. 3.

In this embodiment, subscriber server 317 of core network 310 stores a service plan 326 for an end user (i.e., subscriber) of mobile device 330. The service plan 326 indicates a service tier subscribed to by the end user. At this service tier, the end user is allotted a quota of data for a billing cycle. The quota is a data usage limit that is set for the billing cycle, , such as 10 GB/month. The end user is also assigned a QoS based on the service tier. The QoS assigned to the service tier is referred to herein as a default QoS. The service plan 326 may also include a policy where QoS is throttled if the quota is reached during a billing cycle.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating mobile device 330 in an exemplary

embodiment. Mobile device 330 is an apparatus that includes a radio interface 402, a controller 404, a memory 406, and a user interface 408. Radio interface 402 is a hardware component that represents the local radio resources of mobile device 330, such as transceivers and antennas, used for wireless communications with an access network via radio or "over-the-air" signals. Controller 404 represents the internal circuitry, logic, hardware (e.g., one or more processors), software, etc., that provides the functions of mobile device 330. Memory 406 is a computer readable storage medium (e.g., ROM or flash memory) for data, instructions, applications, etc., and is accessible by controller 404. User interface 408 is a hardware component for interacting with an end user. For example, user interface 408 may include a screen or touch screen (e.g., a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), a Light Emitting Diode (LED) display, etc.), a keyboard or keypad, a tracking device (e.g., a trackball or trackpad), a speaker, and a microphone. Mobile device 330 may include various other components not specifically illustrated in FIG. 4.

Controller 404 implements provisioning module 410, an interrogation module 412, and a selection module 414. Provisioning module 410 provides a mechanism for an end user of mobile device 330 to pre-provision QoS for dedicated bearers, and builds a QoS profile 420 that is stored in memory 406. Interrogation module 412 provides a mechanism to query the end user in real-time regarding the QoS for a dedicated bearer through user interface 408. Selection module 414 provides a mechanism for identifying a user-selected QoS for a dedicated bearer, and notifying a mobile network of the QoS selected by the end user.

Controller 404 also implements a plurality of applications (APP) 422-424. Each of the applications 422-424 is configured to request a dedicated bearer of a mobile network, and perform a service, function, or activity over the dedicated bearer. For example, one application may request a dedicated bearer to access streaming video from a content server in an external PDN. Another application may request a dedicated bearer to access a file stored on a content server in an external PDN.

In the embodiments described herein, the end user of mobile device 330 is able to select a modified QoS for dedicated bearers that are activated to serve mobile device 330. As shown in FIG. 3, the end user has subscribed to a service tier with a service provider, a quota is allocated per billing cycle, and a default QoS is specified based on the service tier. Instead of applying the default QoS to all dedicated bearers activated for mobile device 330 and decrementing the quota, the end user of mobile device 330 is able to choose a QoS for individual dedicated bearers. For example, if the end user selects a reduced QoS for a dedicated bearer, then the traffic transported on the dedicated bearer may not count against the quota. The end user can therefore control how the quota is consumed during a billing cycle.

Provisioning module 410 of mobile device 330 allows the end user to pre-provision mobile device 330 with a modified QoS for certain dedicated bearers. Provisioning module 410 may prompt the end user through user interface 408 to select a modified QoS, a time duration for the modified QoS, a failover QoS that applies after expiration of the time duration, etc. The modified QoS selected by the end user may be a value, level, magnitude, etc., of QoS desired by the end user. For example, the modified QoS may indicate that the end user desires QoS for 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, etc. The modified QoS may indicate that the end user desires to have a reduced or increased QoS as compared to the default QoS in the service plan 326. The end user may also specify or select one or more of the attributes of the modified QoS, such as GBR. The end user may pre-provision QoS per application 422- 424, per file type, for a group of websites, etc. Provisioning module 410 compiles the pre- provisioned data from the end user to form the QoS profile 420 for the end user. A further description of pre -provisioning mobile device 330 is described in FIGS. 7-11.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method 500 of selecting QoS for dedicated bearers in an exemplary embodiment. The steps of method 500 will be described with reference to mobile network 300 and mobile device 330 in FIGS. 3-4, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that method 500 may be performed in other networks or devices. Also, the steps of the flow charts described herein are not all inclusive and may include other steps not shown, and the steps may be performed in an alternative order.

To begin, mobile device 330 attaches to mobile network 300 (step 502). When attaching to mobile network 300, a session is created for mobile device 330, and a default bearer 340 is activated (see FIG. 3). For the attach procedure, mobile device 330 (through controller 404 and radio interface 402) sends an attach request to RAN 320 over the air interface. RAN 320 forwards the attach request to core network 310, which attempts to authenticate mobile device 330. If mobile device 330 is authenticated, then core network 310 creates a session for mobile device 330, such as an IP Connectivity Access Network (IP-CAN) session. Core network 310 then sends an attach accept message to mobile device 330. In response, mobile device 330 sends a connection message (e.g., RRC Connection Reconfiguration Complete message) to RAN 320. RAN 320 forwards the connection message to core network 310, which activates the default bearer 340 for the session. Core network 310 may assign a nominal QoS to the default bearer 340, as a default bearer typically does not have a GBR.

Controller 404 (through selection module 414) in mobile device 330 detects a request for a dedicated bearer 342 from one of the applications 422-424 running on mobile device 330 (step 504). For example, when an application 422-424 executes to perform a service that requires a dedicated bearer, the application 422-424 may generate a request for the dedicated bearer. In response to the request, controller 404 generates a connection message to activate the dedicated bearer 342 (step 506). For example, the connection message may comprise an RRC Connection Establishment Request message or RRC Connection Re-Establishment Request message, which requests that the session be modified to activate a new dedicated bearer. Controller 404 determines whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer 342 (step 508). The modified QoS differs from the default QoS specified in the service plan 326 of the end user. For example, the modified QoS may comprise a reduced or downgraded QoS as compared to the default QoS. According to network policies in mobile network 300, traffic on dedicated bearers having the reduced QoS may not count against the quota in the user's service plan 326. The reduced QoS may have a reduced GBR as compared to the default QoS, and the user's quota may not be decremented at this reduced GBR. In another example, the modified QoS may comprise an increased or upgraded QoS as compared to the default QoS. According to network policies in mobile network 300, traffic on dedicated bearers having the increased QoS may or may not count against the quota in the user's service plan 326. Also, higher rates may be accessed when an increased QoS is applied based on network policy and conditions, such as network capacity.

To determine whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user, controller 404 may process QoS profile 420 that is pre-provisioned in mobile device 330 by the end user. For example, if the dedicated bearer 342 has been requested by a particular application, then controller 404 may identify whether the end user specified a modified QoS for this application. If the dedicated bearer 342 has been requested for a particular file type, then controller 404 may identify whether the end user specified a modified QoS for this file type. If the dedicated bearer 342 has been requested for a particular website (e.g., URL), then controller 404 may identify whether the end user specified a modified QoS for this website. Controller 404 may additionally or alternatively query the end user in real-time to determine whether a modified QoS is desired for the dedicated bearer 342, which is described in further detail in FIGS. 12-13.

Responsive to a determination that a modified QoS has been selected for the dedicated bearer 342, controller 404 inserts an indicator of the modified QoS in the connection message (step 510). In one embodiment, to insert the indicator of the modified QoS in the connection message, new parameters may be defined for the connection message. For example, if the connection message comprises an RRC Connection

Establishment Request message or RRC Connection Re-Establishment Request message, then new Information Elements (IEs) may be defined for these messages. The new IEs may include:

- a modified QoS;

- a time duration for the modified QoS; - a failover QoS if the time duration expires;

- an application identifier (i.e., a destination address);

- an application service provider identifier (or network identifier);

- a service identifier; and

- an identifier of content type.

Responsive to a determination that a modified QoS has not been selected for the dedicated bearer 342, controller 404 does not insert an indicator of a modified QoS in the connection message, or inserts a null value in a parameter defined for this indicator.

Controller 404 then transmits the connection message to RAN 320 via radio interface 402 (step 512). In response to the connection message, mobile network 300 will attempt to activate the dedicated bearer 342, as is further described in FIG. 6.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a method 600 of activating a dedicated bearer in a mobile network in an exemplary embodiment. The steps of method 600 will be described with reference to mobile network 300 and mobile device 330 in FIGS. 3-4, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that method 600 may be performed in other networks or devices.

Gateway 316 receives the connection message from mobile device 330 via RAN 320 (step 602). In response to the connection message, gateway 316 parses the connection message for an indicator of a modified QoS in the connection message (step 604). Gateway 316 also informs policy control element 318 of a modification to the session due to the connection message requesting activation of a new dedicated bearer. For example, gateway 316 may send a Diameter Credit Control Request (CCR) to policy control element 318 that includes information about the dedicated bearer 342 being requested. The CCR may also include the indicator of the modified QoS selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer 342. Policy control element 318 processes the service plan 326 (e.g., subscriber profile) of the end user along with network policies to determine whether to apply the modified QoS (step 606). For example, policy control element 318 may consider conditions, such as Time of Day (TOD), Day of the Week (DOW), remaining quota balance, time remaining in billing cycle, etc., when determining whether to apply the modified QoS.

When the determination is to apply the modified QoS, policy control element 318 activates the dedicated bearer 342 for the session with the modified QoS (step 608). For example, policy control element 318 may select new PCC rules that include attributes for the modified QoS, and provision gateway 316 with the new PCC rules by sending a Diameter Credit Control Answer (CCA). Gateway 316 then installs the new PCC Rules, and enforces the modified QoS for the dedicated bearer 342 as indicated in the new PCC rules.

When the determination is not to apply the modified QoS, policy control element 318 activates the dedicated bearer 342 for the session with another QoS that is different than the modified QoS (step 610). For example, policy control element 318 may select new PCC rules that include attributes for the default QoS, and provision gateway 316 with the new PCC rules. In this scenario, gateway 316 would enforce the default QoS for the dedicated bearer 342 as indicated in the new PCC rules. Policy control element 318 may select new PCC rules that include attributes for another QoS that is different (i.e., higher or lower) than the modified QoS or the default QoS, and provision gateway 316 with the new PCC rules.

Gateway 316 then sends a connection response to mobile device 330 through RAN 320 (step 612). One example of a connection response may be an RRC Connection Reestablishment. The connection response may indicate the QoS approved by mobile network 300 and applied to the dedicated bearer 342.

In FIG. 5, controller 404 of mobile device 330 receives the connection response from RAN 320 through radio interface 402 (step 514). The connection response may indicate the QoS that was approved by mobile network 300, and will be applied to dedicated bearer 342. At this point, the dedicated bearer 342 has been activated for the session.

When mobile network 300 applies the modified QoS to the dedicated bearer 342, radio interface 402 (or controller 404 through radio interface 402) exchanges traffic with RAN 320 (i.e., receives DL traffic or transmits UL traffic) on the dedicated bearer 342 based on the modified QoS (step 516). When mobile network 300 applies the default QoS to the dedicated bearer 342, radio interface 402 exchanges traffic with RAN 320 on the dedicated bearer 342 based on the default QoS (step 518). When mobile network 300 applies a different QoS to the dedicated bearer 342 (i.e., different than the modified QoS or the default QoS), radio interface 402 exchanges traffic with RAN 320 on the dedicated bearer 342 based on the QoS approved by mobile network 300 (step 520).

Method 500 then returns to step 504 where controller 404 detects a request for another dedicated bearer for the session by an application 422-424. Method 500 then repeats for the new dedicated bearer (shown as dedicated bearer 344 in FIG. 3). A modified QoS, the default QoS, or another QoS may be applied to the new dedicated bearer 344 according to method 500. Thus, a QoS is selected for each individual dedicated bearer that is requested within mobile device 330. Because of this, different dedicated bearers for the same session may have different QoS as specified by the end user. To illustrate this, FIG. 3 shows that a modified QoS is assigned to dedicated bearer 342, and the default QoS is assigned to dedicated bearer 344. This gives the end user control over what QoS is applied to different bearers.

The following embodiments provide mechanisms for the end user to select QoS on a bearer-by-bearer basis. FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating a method 700 of pre-defining QoS by an end user in an exemplary embodiment. The steps of method 700 will be described with reference to mobile network 300 and mobile device 330 in FIGS. 3-4, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that method 700 may be performed in other networks or devices.

Provisioning module 410 controls pre-provisioning of data by the end user. Under control of provisioning module 410, user interface 408 displays a preferences menu that allows the end user of mobile device 330 to pre-provision a modified QoS for different dedicated bearers (step 702). FIG. 8 illustrates a preferences menu 802 in an exemplary embodiment. Preferences menu 802 provides options for the end user to pre-provision QoS and/or to provision QoS in real-time. As described in more detail below, the end user may enter data to provision QoS through preferences menu 802. In FIG. 7, controller 404 (i.e., provisioning module 410) receives input from the end user through user interface 408 (step 704), and stores the input in the QoS profile 420 (step 706).

When the end user selects the pre-provision option in preferences menu 802 (see FIG. 8), the end user may also select an option to specify QoS per application running on mobile device 330. User interface 408 may then display an application selection menu which allows the end user to select a QoS per application. FIG. 9 illustrates an application selection menu 902 in an exemplary embodiment. Application selection menu 902 displays a list of the applications that are running on mobile device 330. Application selection menu 902 also displays an option for selecting a QoS for each of the applications in the list. In this example, the options may be for a reduced QoS or an increased QoS. The end user may then select the QoS for one or more of the applications 422-424. Controller 404 receives the input from the end user selecting a modified QoS for one or more of the applications in the list, and stores the input in the QoS profile 420. In FIG. 8, when the end user selects the pre-provision option in preferences menu 802, the end user may also select an option to specify QoS per file type. User interface 408 may then display a file type selection menu which allows the end user to select a QoS per file type. FIG. 10 illustrates a file type selection menu 1002 in an exemplary embodiment. File type selection menu 1002 displays a list of the file types that may be sent or retrieved by mobile device 330 over a dedicated bearer, such as .pdf, .doc, etc. File type selection menu 1002 also displays an option for selecting a QoS for each of the file types in the list. In this example, the options may be for 2G QoS, 3G QoS, or 5G QoS (it is assumed that the default QoS is 4G in this example). The end user may then select the QoS for one or more of the file types. Controller 404 receives the input from the end user selecting a modified QoS for one or more of the file types in the list, and stores the input in the QoS profile 420.

In FIG. 8, when the end user selects the pre-provision option in preferences menu 802, the end user may also select an option to specify QoS for websites. User interface 408 may then display a website selection menu which allows the end user to select a QoS for a website or group of websites. FIG. 11 illustrates website selection menu 1102 in an exemplary embodiment. Website selection menu 1102 displays a dialog box where the end user can enter Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for one or more websites, and also displays an option for selecting a QoS for the websites. In this example, the options may be for a reduced QoS or an increased QoS. The end user may then select the QoS for the group of websites. Controller 404 receives the input from the end user selecting a modified QoS for one or more of the websites, and stores the input in the QoS profile 420.

In preferences menu 802 of FIG. 8, the end user may also select the option to be queried in real-time regarding the QoS for a dedicated bearer. FIG. 12 is a flow chart illustrating a method 1200 of querying an end user for a QoS in an exemplary embodiment. The steps of method 1200 will be described with reference to mobile network 300 and mobile device 330 in FIGS. 3-4, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that method 1200 may be performed in other networks or devices.

Interrogation module 412 controls querying of the end user. When controller 404 detects the request for the dedicated bearer 342 from the application 422-424 (step 504 in FIG. 5), interrogation module 412 controls user interface 408 to display a pop-up menu with an option for selecting a modified QoS for the dedicated bearer 342 (step 1202). FIG. 13 illustrates pop-up menu 1302 in an exemplary embodiment. Pop-up menu 1302 displays a message to the end user that a QoS may be selected for the service presently being accessed by application 422. Pop-up menu 1302 also displays an option for selecting a QoS for the service presently being accessed by application 422. For example, if application 422 is for a streaming video service, then the pop-up menu 1302 may query the end user when the streaming video service initiates to determine whether the end user wants to specify a QoS for the streaming video service. Similarly, if application 422 is for a file download service, then the pop-up menu 1302 may query the end user when the file download service initiates to determine whether the end user wants to specify a QoS for the file download service. In this example, the options may be for a reduced QoS or an increased QoS. The end user may then select the QoS for the service presently being accessed by application 422. The end user may also specify a time period for the reduced QoS or increased QoS, if selected, in pop-up menu 1302. The end user may also specify a failover QoS when the time period expires.

In FIG. 12, controller 404 (i.e., interrogation module 412) receives real-time input from the end user through user interface 408 (step 1204) in response to the pop-up menu 1302. When the end user selects a modified QoS for the dedicated bearer, controller 404 determines whether a modified QoS is selected by the end user for the dedicated bearer 342 based on the real-time input (see step 508 of FIG. 5). The menus described above are examples to show how an end user is able to define QoS for dedicated bearers. The look or style of the menus, the options available to the end user, etc., are a matter of design choice and are not limited by what is illustrated in the above figures.

Any of the various elements or modules shown in the figures or described herein may be implemented as hardware, software, firmware, or some combination of these. For example, an element may be implemented as dedicated hardware. Dedicated hardware elements may be referred to as "processors", "controllers", or some similar terminology. When provided by a processor, the functions may be provided by a single dedicated processor, by a single shared processor, or by a plurality of individual processors, some of which may be shared. Moreover, explicit use of the term "processor" or "controller" should not be construed to refer exclusively to hardware capable of executing software, and may implicitly include, without limitation, digital signal processor (DSP) hardware, a network processor, application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or other circuitry, field

programmable gate array (FPGA), read only memory (ROM) for storing software, random access memory (RAM), non-volatile storage, logic, or some other physical hardware component or module.

Also, an element may be implemented as instructions executable by a processor or a computer to perform the functions of the element. Some examples of instructions are software, program code, and firmware. The instructions are operational when executed by the processor to direct the processor to perform the functions of the element. The instructions may be stored on storage devices that are readable by the processor. Some examples of the storage devices are digital or solid-state memories, magnetic storage media such as a magnetic disks and magnetic tapes, hard drives, or optically readable digital data storage media.

Although specific embodiments were described herein, the scope of the disclosure is not limited to those specific embodiments. The scope of the disclosure is defined by the following claims and any equivalents thereof.