Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)

A wireless communication system consists of a base station and at least one relay station, and transmits directional waves between its components by using high-frequency waveforms like millimeterwaves. A beam-forming engine uses information about the position from one or more positions or motion sensors of a user device to determine the direction that will create a directional wave signal being transmitted between components of the wireless communication system.

Technical Field

This disclosure relates generally to wireless communications systems and techniques for directing directional wave signals between components of a wireless communication system.

Description of the Related Art

Wireless communication systems have become more common. Additionally, there exist numerous various wireless communication technologies and standards. Wireless communication standards include IEEE 802.11 or Wi-Fi (for example 802.11ad and 802.11ay), IEEE 802.15/WPAN, IEEE 802.16/WiMAX and many more.

Furthermore, as applications and devices continue to require greater bandwidths for wireless communications, higher frequency waves are being utilized to send more information. IEEE 802.11 advertises gigabit per sec speeds using 60 GHz frequency band. High-frequency waves, like 60 GHz cannot be penetrated by walls or other structures. Additionally, high-frequency waves can have more decay over a certain distance than low frequency waves, meaning that the distance of a transmitter that transmits these high-frequency waves might be less than those transmitting low-frequency waves.

Beam forming techniques can be utilized in various wireless communication systems that use high-frequency signals, such as 60GHz waves to direct high-frequency signals towards an intended receiver. The systems may not function effectively if there isn’t a clear line of sight or the anintended receiver is outside of range of the transmitter. If a line of sight between the receiver and transmitter is restricted due to movement, as in due to a receiver being moved, the system may not be able communicate for extended lengths of time while it searches for the new link.

In certain instances, a system comprises a user device with an antennae array that is configured to transmit and receive directions-specific wave signals as well as a communications station with an antennae array that is configured to send or receive signals from directional waves, and one or more sensors that are configured to detect the location of the device. In certain embodiments, one or more sensors that detect the position of the device comprise the IMU (inertial measurement unit) as well as the GPS system, and other positioning or orientation systems. Additionally, in some embodiments the one or more sensors used to determine the position of the device could be independent of the user device. Some sensors could be cameras, or any other sensors that are situated within a space and are able to determine the position of the device. In certain embodiments, communication stations could include base stations that communicate with the device of the user, or relay docks which relay messages between the device used by the user and the base station. The system further includes a beam forming engine designed to receive information on position from the sensor, in which the position information is a detected location or orientation of the user device. The beam forming engine is further configured to detect a present position of the device with respect to the station based, at least on a portion of the position information, and then cause a set of an antenna or two in the antennae array of the user device or a set of one or more antennas from the antennae array of a communication station to generate some or all directional waves based, at least in part on the analyzed current position of the user device.

In some instances beam-forming engines could be implemented using hardware, such as via a specially designed chip, for example, an ASIC designed to incorporate the beam-forming engine. A beam-forming machine could be also implemented in software, as instructions stored in a memory. These instructions, when executed on one or more processors, will trigger one or more processors to operate the beam-forming machine. A beam-forming engine may be used in a variety of ways. It can be implemented at a base station , or an arelay dock.

In certain examples, a method involves receiving, via a communication station, the information of a position from any or all sensors, in which the information about position indicates a location or orientation of a user device and determining the current position ofthe user device relative to the communication station based at a minimum, on the received position information. The method further includes creating beams of directional wave signals directed at the device of the user based, at least in part on the current position of the user device.

In some instances, a relay dock includes an antennae array designed to transmit or receive directional wave signals and beam-forming engines. The beam-forming engine could include program instructions that are performed by one or moreprocessors will cause one or more processors to receive information regarding the location of the user device which includes the location or orientation of the device being used. Program instructions may be included in the beam forming engine that instruct processors to receive the signal that is designed for the device of the user. One or more of the antennas of the array of antennae in the relay dock could be used to produce directions-specific waves that are directed towards the user device. Signals are transmitted to the base station by one or more directional wave signals.

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