Title:
System and Method for Mobile Location By Proximity Detection
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network having an assisted global positioning system (A-GPS) positioning determining entity (PDE). A location request may be received for the mobile device. The location of the mobile device may be determined as a cell identification location if no location results are received from either the A-GPS PDE or a proximity detection system PDE, or the location of the mobile device may be determined as a location result from the A-GPS PDE if the A-GPS PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the proximity detection system PDE, or the location of the mobile device may be determined as a location result from the proximity detection system PDE if the proximity detection system PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the A-GPS PDE.



Inventors:
Beck, Andrew (Ashburn, VA, US)
Gravely, Thomas B. (Herndon, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/986452
Publication Date:
07/14/2011
Filing Date:
01/07/2011
Assignee:
Andrew, LLC (Hickory, NC, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
H04W64/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LAI, DANIEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Duane Morris LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What we claim is:

1. A method for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network having an assisted global positioning system (A-GPS) positioning determining entity (PDE), the method comprising the steps of: (a) receiving a location request for the mobile device; (b) determining if the request is for a region in the network having a proximity detection system; (c) if the region has a proximity detection system, then tasking both the proximity detection system and the A-GPS PDE to determine a location of the mobile device, (i) if at least one of the proximity detection system and the A-GPS PDE provide a location result for the mobile device, then determining the uncertainty of the respective location result and returning the location result having the lowest uncertainty as the location for the mobile device, and (ii) if neither the proximity detection system nor the A-GPS provide a location result for the mobile device, then using a cell-identification as the location for the mobile device; and (d) if the region does not have a proximity detection system, then tasking the A-GPS PDE to determine a location of the mobile device, (i) if the A-GPS PDE provides a location result for the mobile device, using this location result as the location for the mobile device, and (ii) if the A-GPS does not provide a location result for the mobile device, then using a cell-identification as the location for the mobile device.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the steps of: (i) detecting an event requiring a determination for the location of the mobile device; and (ii) transmitting a location tasking request having radio frequency (RF) signal parameters.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of detecting is performed at a physical RF layer or via a network connection.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the tasking is performed as a function of a parameter selected from the group consisting of: a dialed number from the mobile device, an identification of the mobile device, an international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), a temporary mobile subscriber identity (TMSI), a mobile identification number (MIN), an electronic serial number (ESN), an international mobile equipment identity (IMEI), a class mark indicator, overhead transmission indicator, and combinations thereof.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of tasking the proximity detection system further comprises: (i) tasking one or more proximity sensors in the proximity detection system to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device, (ii) measuring one or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device by each tasked proximity sensor, (iii) associating a fixed location with each tasked proximity sensor, and (iv) determining the location of the mobile device as a function of one of the associated fixed locations.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein step (iv) further comprises determining the location of the mobile device as a function of a straight average of the associated fixed locations.

7. The method of claim 5 wherein step (iv) further comprises determining the location of the mobile device as a function of a weighted average of the associated fixed locations.

8. The method of claim 5 wherein step (iv) further comprises determining the location of the mobile device as a function of a weighted average and a straight average of the associated fixed locations.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of tasking the proximity detection system further comprises: (i) tasking one or more proximity sensors in the proximity detection system to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device, (ii) measuring one or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device by each tasked proximity sensor, and (iii) determining a location of the mobile device as a function of the measured characteristic, wherein the measured characteristic includes range information.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein the request is provided by the mobile device.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein the request is a tasking message provided by the network or by a scanning receiver located in proximity to the mobile device.

12. A method for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network having an assisted global positioning system (A-GPS) positioning determining entity (PDE), the method comprising the steps of: (a) receiving a location request for the mobile device; (b) determining the location of the mobile device as a cell identification location if no location results are received from either the A-GPS PDE or a proximity detection system PDE; (c) determining the location of the mobile device as a location result from the A-GPS PDE if the A-GPS PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the proximity detection system PDE; and (d) determining the location of the mobile device as a location result from the proximity detection system PDE if the proximity detection system PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the A-GPS PDE.

13. A method for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network comprising the steps of: (a) receiving a location request for the mobile device; (b) routing the request to a proximity detection system and a network device responsible for coordinating location information within the network; and (c) performing the following steps substantially in tandem: (i) tasking both the proximity detection system and the network device to determine a location of the mobile device, (ii) if at least one of the proximity detection system and the network device provide a location result for the mobile device, then determining the uncertainty of the respective location result and returning the location result having the lowest uncertainty as the location for the mobile device, and (iii) if neither the proximity detection system nor the network device provide a location result for the mobile device, then using a cell-identification as the location for the mobile device.

14. The method of claim 13 further comprising the steps of: (d) receiving location results from each of the network device and proximity detection system; and (e) determining which received location results to use as a function of a quality of service.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCES

The present application is co-pending with and claims the priority benefit of the provisional application entitled “Mobile Location by Proximity Detection”, Application Ser. No. 61/293,502, filed on Jan. 8, 2010, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

The present application is related to and concurrently filed with the application entitled, “Mobile Location by Proximity Detection”, Application Ser. No. [AND01 155], filed on Jan. 7, 2011, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

Applicant's disclosure is generally directed towards the location of a mobile device within a communications network. There are many traditional methods of locating a mobile device including, but not limited to, handset-based techniques and network-based techniques. These techniques may include, but are not limited to, Assisted-Global Positioning Satellite (A-GPS), Uplink Time Difference of Arrival (U-TDOA), Observed TDOA (O-TDOA), Enhanced Observed Time Difference (E-OTD), Electronic Cell Identification (E-CID), Radio Frequency (RF) fingerprinting, and Multiple Range Estimation Location (MREL) techniques, to name a few. Such techniques, however, may be ineffective in locating mobile devices in certain environments, e.g., urban environments, indoor environments, etc.

Several telecommunications industry reports have indicated a higher usage of mobile devices in such challenging environments as well as higher usage of location based applications in recent years. Mobile devices operating in these environments may be blocked from receiving GPS signals due to the signal attenuation of the satellite signals by building infrastructure and/or other environmental aspects. This same infrastructure may also attenuate the signals transmitted by cellular towers such that cellular service may be unavailable. RF repeaters or a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) may therefore be installed and/or implemented to amplify and distribute the appropriate signals to provide adequate coverage. Repeater/DAS systems, however, introduce signal delay and gain into the respective transmission path thereby resulting in a deleterious effect of decreasing the accuracy of a location system or even preventing a location from being computed or determined.

Therefore, there is a need in the art for a system and method to remove the dependence of location systems upon GPS and/or base station signals and may also remove the effect of signal delay and gain introduced by repeater and/or DAS coverage products upon location determination for a mobile device. There is also a need in the art to detect a mobile device of interest by monitoring the device's signal transmissions and determining the proximity of the mobile device to a sensor performing the monitoring function. This proximity detection function may be performed by an RF sensor, e.g., an independent RF sensor or an RF sensor embedded in an existing network component or apparatus.

In view of these needs, one embodiment of the present subject matter provides a method of determining the location of a mobile device in a communications network having one or more proximity sensors. The method may include receiving a request to locate the mobile device and tasking at least one of the proximity sensors to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device. One or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device may be measured by each tasked proximity sensor. A location of the mobile device may then be determined as a function of the measured characteristics by associating a fixed location with each tasked proximity sensor and determining the location of the mobile device as a function of one of the associated fixed locations.

Another embodiment of the present subject matter provides a method for determining a location of a mobile device in a communications network having a plurality of base station transceivers in communication with the mobile device. The method may include the steps of determining the location of the mobile device without utilizing signals received or transmitted to the base station transceivers by using proximity detection sensors deployed in the network and by determining the location of the mobile device as a function of information provided by ones of the proximity detection sensors.

A further embodiment of the present subject matter may provide a method of determining the location of a mobile device in a communications network having one or more proximity sensors. The method may include receiving a request to locate the mobile device and tasking at least one of the proximity sensors to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device. One or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device may be measured by each tasked proximity sensor. A location of the mobile device may then be determined as a function of the measured characteristic, wherein the measured characteristic includes range information.

An additional embodiment of the present subject matter may provide a method of determining if a mobile device is operating in a predetermined region of a communications network. The method may include receiving a request to locate the mobile device and tasking one or more proximity sensors in the network to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device. One or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device may be measured by the tasked proximity sensor. A fixed location may then be associated with each tasked proximity sensor and the proximity of the mobile device determined in the predetermined region using the associated fixed locations.

Yet another embodiment of the present subject matter provides a method for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network having an A-GPS positioning determining entity (PDE). The method may include receiving a location request for the mobile device and determining if the request is for a region in the network having a proximity detection system. If the region has a proximity detection system, then both the proximity detection system and the A-GPS PDE may be tasked to determine a location of the mobile device. If at least one of the proximity detection system and the A-GPS PDE provide a location result for the mobile device, then the uncertainty of the respective location result may be determined and a location result returned having the lowest uncertainty as the location for the mobile device. If neither the proximity detection system nor the A-GPS provide a location result for the mobile device, then a cell-identification may be utilized as the location for the mobile device. If the region does not have a proximity detection system, then the A-GPS PDE may be tasked to determine a location of the mobile device. If the A-GPS PDE provides a location result for the mobile device, then this location result may be utilized as the location for the mobile device. If the A-GPS does not provide a location result for the mobile device, then a cell-identification may be utilized as the location for the mobile device.

One embodiment of the present subject matter may provide a method for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network having an A-GPS PDE. The method may include receiving a location request for the mobile device and determining the location of the mobile device as a cell identification location if no location results are received from either the A-GPS PDE or a proximity detection system PDE. The location of the mobile device may be determined as a location result from the A-GPS PDE if the A-GPS PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the proximity detection system PDE. Further, the location of the mobile device may be determined as a location result from the proximity detection system PDE if the proximity detection system PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the A-GPS PDE.

A further embodiment of the present subject matter provides a method for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network. The method may comprise the steps of: receiving a location request for the mobile device and routing the request to a proximity detection system and a serving mobile location center (SMLC). The following steps may then be performed substantially in tandem: (i) tasking both the proximity detection system and the SMLC to determine a location of the mobile device, (ii) if at least one of the proximity detection system and the SMLC provide a location result for the mobile device, then determining the uncertainty of the respective location result and returning the location result having the lowest uncertainty as the location for the mobile device, and (iii) if neither the proximity detection system nor the SMLC provide a location result for the mobile device, then using a cell-identification as the location for the mobile device.

These and other embodiments of the present subject matter will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art to which the disclosure pertains from a perusal or the claims, the appended drawings, and the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a basic architecture for an embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 2 is a depiction of location uncertainty according to an embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 3 is a depiction of one embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 4 is a depiction of another embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 5 is a depiction of an embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram of one embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a further embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram of an additional embodiment of the present subject matter.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram of another embodiment of the present subject matter

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to the figures where like elements have been given like numerical designations to facilitate an understanding of the present subject matter, the various embodiments of a system and method for mobile location by proximity detection are described.

Embodiments of the present subject may generally determine the location of a mobile device by proximity detection by recognizing the need for a mobile device to be located. This may be accomplished by, for example, a tasking message provided by cellular network equipment monitoring calls (e.g., 911 detection), by scanning receivers located in the proximity of a region of location coverage, by a user of the mobile device itself requesting a location. One or more proximity sensors in the network may then be tasked to receive the mobile transmission of interest and measure transmission signal quality. Measurements may then be compiled from the tasked proximity sensors and the location of the mobile device determined.

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a basic architecture for an embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 1, a mobile device 103 of interest may be in communication with a base station 106 in an exemplary communications network 100. A Geolocation Control System (GCS) 101 in the network 100 may receive tasking from a Tasking Server (TS) 104. The TS 104 may be operably connected to other components 105 of the communications network 100. The network 100 may also include one or more Proximity Sensors (PS) 102. These PSs 102 may receive a location request from the GCS 101 and may attempt to detect the mobile device 103 of interest. Any one or each PS 102 may also report the quality of its detection measurements to the GCS 101. The GCS 101 may then utilize these reports to determine a location of the mobile device 103.

In other embodiments of the present subject matter, the TS 104 may be embedded in certain network core components (e.g., Serving Mobile Location Center (SMLC), etc.). The TS 104 may also be embedded within one or more PSs 102 (to receive off-the-air tasking). Alternatively, the TS 104 may be supplied by an independent receiver apparatus, the PS 102 may be embedded in a complementary repeater or Distributed Antenna System (DAS). In additional embodiments, the PS 102 may be provided by one or more apparatuses connected to the repeater or DAS, and/or the PS 102 supplied by an independent, standalone, receiver apparatus.

By way of example, in the embodiment where the PS 102 is embedded in a repeater or DAS, this may be accomplished by adding software to an existing repeater/DAS to support the detection, and/or may be accomplished by adding receiver and/or processing hardware to perform any appropriate proximity detection functions. Further, in the embodiment where the PS 102 is connected to a repeater/DAS system, the PS 102 may also comprise receiver/processor hardware and an inline or passive coupler interface to the repeater/DAS signaling path. Additionally, when the PS 102 is employed as an independent receiver, the PS 102 may include both receiver and processor hardware and/or an antenna interface if none exist.

In certain embodiments, one may embed the PS 102 in a repeater/DAS system for new network installations where the embedded development has been completed and the repeater/DAS system has yet to be deployed. Generally, most repeater/DAS systems deployed today do not have this capability; however, some systems may add this capability by exemplary software and/or hardware upgrade (e.g., the Andrew Solutions node-A repeater). Other existing repeater/DAS systems may be more applicable to an independent PS 102 embodiment, e.g., in cases where no repeater/DAS system exists and proximity detection is desired, an independent receiver apparatus may be more applicable.

An exemplary PS 102 according to an embodiment of the present subject matter may utilize supplied RF signal parameters (e.g., channel number or frequency, timeslot, spreading code, etc.) and may also determine metrics upon received signals thereby, such as, but not limited to, signals transmitted by a mobile device 103 of interest. Exemplary metrics may include, but are not limited to, signal quality information such as received signal strength indication (RSSI), signal to noise ratio (SNR), ratio of energy per bit over power spectral density of noise and interference (Eb/Io), ratio of received pilot energy over power spectral density of noise and interference (Ec/Io), etc. Generally, these metrics may indicate how well the applicable proximity sensor receives transmission from the mobile device. Thus, the closer in proximity the mobile device is to the proximity sensor, the better the RF signal path and thus the better the signal quality metrics.

Exemplary PSs 102 may be utilized in many embodiments of the present subject matter. For example, a PS may be a receiver apparatus may be coupled to an RF coverage antenna port of a repeater or DAS system (as opposed to the donor side), a PS may be a receiver apparatus may be coupled to a DAS or repeater coverage antenna, a PS may be an independent receiver apparatus may include its own antenna (not directly coupled to a repeater or DAS system), and/or the PS may be embedded as an integrated function within an existing repeater or DAS receiver.

In embodiments of the present subject matter employing plural repeaters or DAS coverage antennas (e.g., to supply signal coverage to a large area such as an airport, outdoor canyon roadway, convention center, etc.), multiple proximity sensors may be coupled to multiple ports or antenna connections to localize a mobile device of interest to a desired geographic level of accuracy. In certain embodiments, just detecting that the mobile device is connected to the repeater/DAS system is a suitable level of accuracy; however, knowing the coverage antenna to which the mobile device is connected may provide a suitable level of accuracy. In other embodiments, the utilization of measurements from multiple proximity sensors may provide a greater location accuracy than that of a traditional coverage antenna.

Proximity sensors according to embodiments of the present subject matter may also provide range information as a measurement by exploiting timing relationships of a communications network. By way of example, the proximity sensor may measure the transmit time of a cellular signal emitted from a known base station, repeater or DAS node antenna. This may then be coupled with the receive time measured by the proximity sensor at its location and the transceiver processing delay imposed by the mobile device and wireless network. By subtracting mobile processing delay and repeater/DAS time delays, and knowing the location of the cellular base station and the proximity sensor, the flight time of the signal from the mobile device to the proximity sensor may be determined, which generally represents the range from the proximity sensor to the mobile device. In a further embodiment, transmit time may be obtained directly by signals transmitted from a base station if such timing is embedded or derived from the signal, or from ancillary timing measurement equipment in the network (e.g., Location Measurement Unit). This may relieve a proximity sensor of additional overhead of measuring such signals; however, as in a previous embodiment, mobile device and/or repeater/DAS time delays should be subtracted to determine a true propagation range measurement.

An exemplary GCS 101 according to an embodiment of the present subject matter may utilize one or more proximity sensor measurements to determine a location for the mobile device 103 of interest. In one embodiment, a fixed location (e.g., latitude/longitude/altitude) may be associated with each PS 102. This may be the physical location of the sensor or antenna, the centroid of signal coverage for the sensor or antenna, or a location deemed to be the most probable mobile location given the surroundings of the sensor (e.g., waiting room, convention center, or other predetermined area), or other fixed location. Further embodiments of the present subject matter may also account for the physical boundaries around the sensor that limit possible locations for the mobile device of interest. For example, a subway tunnel provides a restricted linear coverage region, and any location outside of the tunnel would typically be unfeasible.

An exemplary GCS 101 may determine a fixed location to employ by utilizing measurements supplied by the PSs 102. By way of example, the GCS 101 may select the highest quality/strength measurement and provide a fixed location associated with the corresponding PS 102. In another embodiment where two or more PSs 102 returned results above a predetermined threshold, the GCS 101 may utilize the multiple results by, for example, employing a straight average of the fixed locations associated with the PSs 102 above the threshold. Exemplary thresholds may be determined such that they provide a statistical confidence of real signal detection thereby avoiding a false alarm. In another non-limiting example, the GCS 101 may utilize the multiple results by employing a weighted average of the fixed locations associated with the PSs 102 above the threshold with the results having higher strength or quality measurements having a greater weight than the results having lower strength or quality measurements to thereby bias the resultant location determination towards the higher quality measurements.

In embodiments of the present subject matter where range information is provided by the PS 102, the GCS 101 may utilize the same in determining a location of a mobile device 103 of interest. Further, if two or more PSs 102 are reporting measurements above a specified quality metric threshold, range information may be employed to determine a location of a mobile device along a straight line between the sensors. Physical boundaries may also be employed to refine a location of the mobile device along with the range. For example, in the previously described subway tunnel scenario, a range measurement along with the tunnel boundaries may be employed to determine the location of a mobile device. It should be noted that in this example, a range measurement from a single sensor may be utilized to provide a location within the tunnel boundary. RSSI or other signal quality information may also be used to estimate range. For example, through knowledge of the transmit power level of a mobile device (obtained by monitoring downlink transmission or via a network interface) and uplink power measurements, propagation path loss may be determined by a simple calculation. Through utilization of a traditional path loss model, the typical distance associated with the calculated path loss may be determined. This may correspond to a range calculation to thereby aid in refining a location estimate of the mobile device of interest.

In other embodiments, the GCS 101 may also determine a quality metric with each geographic location. This may be utilized by the location recipient or application to judge the approximate accuracy of the computed location of the mobile device 103. Generally, quality metrics are presented as values of confidence and uncertainty and may represent a probability that a location determination is within a certain region. In many geographic location technologies where multiple measurement surfaces are computed (e.g., Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA), Angle of Arrival (AOA), Time of Arrival (TOA), GPS, MREL, etc.), a circular error probability (CEP) may be utilized to represent quality. CEP generally represents a fixed probability or confidence that a location determination lies within a predetermined area. CEP, like quality metrics, may be determined in embodiments of the present subject matter but may also be determined utilizing signal coverage geometry.

FIG. 2 is a depiction of location uncertainty according to an embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 2, a DAS coverage antenna may provide uniform wireless service to a predetermined region 202, such as an office having an area of 100 m2. An exemplary proximity detection system may localize a target mobile device to a respective proximity detection antenna 210 with a 75% confidence and 4.9 m uncertainty region 204 by simple geometry, that is, a 4.9 m radius circle 206 covers 75% of the office region area 202.

An exemplary GCS may also manage one or more proximity sensors or proximity sensor networks. In one embodiment of the present subject matter, one GCS may manage all of the proximity sensors across a predetermined region, such as, but not limited to, a cellular network, a county, state, etc. In another embodiment, an exemplary GCS may manage one proximity sensor and/or may be embedded as a logical function within the proximity sensor apparatus itself. In embodiments where the GCS manages multiple proximity sensors, the GCS may also include knowledge of what cell site IDs act as serving sites for what proximity sensors and/or may task proximity sensors applicable to the cell serving a call of interest. This would minimize network traffic and sensor overhead.

In certain embodiments, an exemplary proximity detection system GCS function may receive tasking from another source to request a location computation. Thus, in one embodiment a scanning receiver may be employed to monitor mobile events and detect those events requiring or desiring a location for a mobile device of interest. Exemplary location logic may include, but is not limited to, the dialed number from a mobile (e.g., 911, 112, etc.), the identity of the mobile (international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), temporary mobile subscriber identity (TMSI), mobile identification number (MIN), electronic serial number (ESN), international mobile equipment identity (IMEI), etc.), a class mark indicator, an overhead transmission indicator (e.g., emergency call or SMS message) and combinations thereof. Such scanning receivers or other appropriate apparatuses may monitor mobile events at the physical RF layer and/or via a network connection such as, but not limited to, Abis or Lu. Thus, when a target mobile device is detected, a scanning receiver may provide a location tasking request to an exemplary GCS along with any necessary RF signal parameters for location sensor tasking.

In other embodiments, core communications network devices may also be employed to task an exemplary proximity detection system. For example, serving mobile location center (SMLC), stand-alone SMLC (SAS), mobile positioning center (MPC), gateway mobile location center (GMLC), enhanced-SMLC (eSMLC) entities are defined in industry standards and may provide this function. Additional logic may be needed within or appended to these entities to support a proximity detection system according to embodiments of the present subject matter as neither the location center nor the core network may contain knowledge that a mobile device is locatable via an exemplary proximity detection system. The core network may, however, have knowledge that a mobile device is being served by a particular cell tower, and the cell tower may serve a repeater or DAS system as well as other mobile devices in the area that are not connected to a repeater or DAS system. For example, a cell tower near an airport may serve a DAS system with a donor antenna on the roof of the airport. This same cell tower may also serve mobile devices on an access road and in parking lots of the airport that are not served by the DAS system; therefore, to locate a mobile device in this scenario, an exemplary location center may attempt multiple location technologies or techniques. One embodiment of the present subject matter would embed knowledge in the location center of the existence of a proximity detection system and the serving cell site IDs. Thus, when a location request is made to the location center for a call served by a cell containing a proximity detection system, the location center may task multiple location systems to locate the call. The location center may task an A-GPS PDE as well as a proximity detection system PDE. If the mobile device is located outdoors with good receipt of GPS signals, an A-GPS location may be determined and utilized by the location center. If, however, the mobile devices were located indoors and GPS satellite signals are not obtainable, an exemplary proximity detection system location would be employed. Further, location centers may use serial or parallel logic for tasking multiple location systems.

FIG. 3 is a depiction of one embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 3, an exemplary method 300 is provided for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network having an A-GPS PDE. The method 300 may include receiving a location request for the mobile device at step 310. Such a request may be made by several devices or components including, but not limited to, the mobile device itself. Further, the request may be a tasking message provided by the network or by a scanning receiver located in proximity to the mobile device. At step 320, it may be determined whether the request is for a region in the network having a proximity detection system. In the event the region has a proximity detection system, then both the proximity detection system and the A-GPS PDE may be tasked at steps 331, 332 to determine a location of the mobile device. This tasking may be performed as a function of a parameter such as, but not limited to, a dialed number from the mobile device, an identification of the mobile device, an IMSI, TMSI, MIN, ESN, IMEI, class mark indicator, overhead transmission indicator, and combinations thereof. Further, the tasking of the proximity detection system may include tasking one or more proximity sensors in the proximity detection system to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device, measuring one or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device by each tasked proximity sensor, associating a fixed location with each tasked proximity sensor, and determining the location of the mobile device as a function of one of the associated fixed locations. The determination of location may be a function of a straight average, a weighted average, or combination of straight and weighed averages of the associated fixed locations. In yet a further embodiment, the tasking of the proximity detection system may include tasking one or more proximity sensors in the proximity detection system to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device, measuring one or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device by each tasked proximity sensor, and determining a location of the mobile device as a function of the measured characteristic where the measured characteristic includes range information.

If no location results are received at step 340 from either of the A-GPS PDE or the proximity detection system, then the cell-ID may be returned at step 352 as the location for the mobile device. If, however, at least one or both of the proximity detection system and the A-GPS PDE provide a location result for the mobile device, then the uncertainty of the respective location result may be determined at step 354 and the location result returned which provides the lowest uncertainty as the location for the mobile device at steps 362, 364. If, at step 320, it is determined that the region does not have a proximity detection system, then the A-GPS PDE may be tasked at step 333 to determine a location of the mobile device. If the A-GPS PDE provides a location result at step 342 for the mobile device, then this location result may be used as the location for the mobile device at step 362. If, however, the A-GPS does not provide a location result at step 342 for the mobile device, then a cell-identification may be utilized at step 352 as the location for the mobile device. In another embodiment of the present subject matter, the method 300 may include detecting an event requiring a determination for the location of the mobile device, and transmitting a location tasking request having RF signal parameters. The detection may be performed at a physical RF layer or via a network connection.

FIG. 4 is a depiction of another embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 4, an exemplary method 400 is provided for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network having an A-GPS PDE. The method 400 may include at step 410 receiving a location request for the mobile device and at step 420, determining the location of the mobile device as a cell identification location if no location results are received from either the A-GPS PDE or a proximity detection system PDE. At step 430, the location of the mobile device may be determined as a location result from the A-GPS PDE if the A-GPS PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the proximity detection system PDE. At step 440, the location of the mobile device may be determined as a location result from the proximity detection system PDE if the proximity detection system PDE provides a location result having a lower uncertainty than a location result from the A-GPS PDE.

In another embodiment of the present subject matter, the location system logic may not be embedded within the location center but rather as a separate function preceding the center. FIG. 5 is a depiction of such an embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 5, an exemplary system 500 may provide appropriate logic to recognize that a location request is for a mobile device served by a cell containing a proximity detection system according to the present subject matter. The exemplary system 500 may route a location request from a Base Station Controller 502 or other network component via appropriate interfaces 504 (e.g., Lb interface) to both a location center 510 (e.g., SMLC, e-SMLC, etc.) for non proximity detection location as well as to a proximity detection system GCS 520 in a “tandem” architecture. This tandem function or architecture may thus receive location results from both systems and may determine which location result to utilize by a quality of service logic.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram of one embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 6, a method 600 for determining a location of a mobile device operating in a wireless communications network is provided. At step 610, a location request may be received for the mobile device and the request routed to a proximity detection system and a network device responsible for coordinating location information within the network (e.g., MPC, SMLC, eSMLC, SAS, etc.), at step 620. At step 630, each of steps (i)-(iii) may be performed substantially in tandem: (i) tasking both the proximity detection system and the network device to determine a location of the mobile device, (ii) if at least one of the proximity detection system and the network device provide a location result for the mobile device, then the uncertainty of the respective location result may be determined and the location result returned having the lowest uncertainty as the location for the mobile device, and (iii) if neither the proximity detection system nor the network device provide a location result for the mobile device, then a cell-identification may be used as the location for the mobile device. In another embodiment, the method may include receiving location results from each of the network device and proximity detection system, and determining which received location results to use as a function of a quality of service.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a further embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 7, a method 700 is provided for determining the location of a mobile device in a communications network having one or more proximity sensors. At step 710 a request to locate the mobile device may be received, and at step 720, at least one of the proximity sensors may be tasked to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device. In one embodiment, the request may be provided by the mobile device. In another embodiment, the request may be a tasking message provided by the network or by a scanning receiver proximate to the mobile device. Exemplary proximity sensors may be embedded in and/or connected to a repeater in the network, in a component of a distributed antenna system of the network, or in a core component of the network, and combinations thereof. Of course, an exemplary proximity sensor may be an independent, standalone receiver apparatus.

At step 730, one or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device may be measured by each tasked proximity sensor. In one embodiment, this measuring may include utilizing RF signal parameters of the signal transmission from the mobile device, and determining metrics on the signal transmission from the mobile device. Exemplary RF signal parameters may be, but are not limited to, channel number, channel frequency, timeslot, network timing information, range information, spreading code, and combinations thereof. Exemplary metrics may be, but are not limited to, RSSI, SNR, Eb/Io, Ec/Io, and combinations thereof. At step 740, a location of the mobile device may be determined as a function of the measured characteristics. This determination may be accomplished by associating a fixed location with each tasked proximity sensor and then determining the location of the mobile device as a function of one of the associated fixed locations. In one embodiment, the fixed location may be a centroid of signal coverage for the proximity sensor, a most probable location determined as a function of proximity sensor surroundings, or a location determined as a function of physical boundaries around the proximity sensor limiting possible locations of the mobile device. In other embodiments, the location determination may be a function of a straight average, weighted average, or a combination of straight and weighted averages of the associated fixed locations. A further embodiment may include the step of determining a quality metric to judge an accuracy of the determined location of the mobile device. Thus, in certain embodiments of the present subject matter, the location of a mobile device may be determined without utilizing signals transmitted from base station transceivers by using proximity detection sensors deployed in the network and by determining the location of the mobile device as a function of information provided by ones of the proximity detection sensors.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram of an additional embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 8, a method 800 is provided for determining the location of a mobile device in a communications network having one or more proximity sensors. At step 810, a request to locate the mobile device may be received, and at step 820, at least one of the proximity sensors may be tasked to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device. At step 830, one or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device may be measured by each tasked proximity sensor. In one embodiment, step 830 may include measuring by each tasked proximity sensor a transmit time of a signal transmitted from a base station transceiver, repeater or antenna, compensating by the proximity sensor for a receive time of the signal transmitted from the base station transceiver, repeater or antenna, compensating for transceiver processing delay of the mobile device, and determining flight time of the signal transmission from the mobile device as a function of the measured transmit time, the compensated receive time and compensated delay. In another embodiment, step 830 may include receiving transmit time information of a signal transmitted from a base station transceiver, repeater or antenna, compensating for a receive time of the signal transmitted from the base station transceiver, repeater or antenna, compensating for transceiver processing delay of the mobile device, and determining flight time of the signal transmission from the mobile device as a function of the received transmit time information, the compensated receive time and compensated delay. At step 840, a location of the mobile device may be determined as a function of the measured characteristics where the measured characteristic includes range information.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram of another embodiment of the present subject matter. With reference to FIG. 9, a method 900 is provided for determining if a mobile device is operating in a predetermined region of a communications network. At step 910, a request to locate the mobile device may be received, and at step 920, at least one or more proximity sensors in the network may be tasked to receive a signal transmission from the mobile device. At step 930, one or more signal characteristics of the signal transmission from the mobile device may be measured by the tasked proximity sensor. At step 940, a fixed location may be associated with each tasked proximity sensor, and at step 950, the proximity of the mobile device in the predetermined region may be determined using the associated fixed locations.

As shown by the various configurations and embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-9, a system and method for mobile location by proximity detection have been described

While preferred embodiments of the present subject matter have been described, it is to be understood that the embodiments described are illustrative only and that the scope of the invention is to be defined solely by the appended claims when accorded a full range of equivalence, many variations and modifications naturally occurring to those of skill in the art from a perusal hereof.