(19)
(11)EP 2 614 663 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
04.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/49

(21)Application number: 11823816.1

(22)Date of filing:  09.09.2011
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04W 48/16  (2009.01)
H04W 24/00  (2009.01)
H04W 8/14  (2009.01)
H04W 60/00  (2009.01)
H04W 88/06  (2009.01)
H04W 92/06  (2009.01)
H04W 48/14  (2009.01)
H04W 8/26  (2009.01)
H04W 36/14  (2009.01)
H04W 74/00  (2009.01)
H04W 92/02  (2009.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/KR2011/006712
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/033383 (15.03.2012 Gazette  2012/11)

(54)

NAS COMMUNICATION METHOD AND APPARATUS IN MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEM

NAS-KOMMUNIKATIONSVERFAHREN UND -VORRICHTUNG IN EINEM MOBILEN TELEKOMMUNIKATIONSSYSTEM

PROCÉDÉ ET APPAREIL DE COMMUNICATION NAS DANS UN SYSTÈME DE TÉLÉCOMMUNICATION MOBILE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 09.09.2010 KR 20100088232

(43)Date of publication of application:
17.07.2013 Bulletin 2013/29

(73)Proprietor: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Gyeonggi-do 443-742 (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • SUH, Kyung Joo
    Seoul 135-090 (KR)
  • LIM, Ho Gun
    Yongin-si Gyeonggi-do 446-903 (KR)
  • JUNG, Kyung Hun
    Suwon-si Gyeonggi-do 443-370 (KR)
  • CHOI, Sung Wook
    Seoul 443-370 (KR)
  • JEONG, Sang Soo
    Suwon-si Gyeonggi-do 442-082 (KR)

(74)Representative: Grünecker Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB 
Leopoldstraße 4
80802 München
80802 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 159 972
WO-A2-2010/004295
KR-A- 20100 021 385
US-A1- 2009 073 933
EP-A1- 2 161 963
KR-A- 20090 016 430
KR-A- 20100 021 690
US-A1- 2009 258 631
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Technical Field



    [0001] The present invention relates to a mobile communication system. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method and apparatus for supporting Non-Access Stratum (NAS) communication between a User Equipment (UE) and a Mobility Management Entity (MME) efficiently by addressing the signaling problems occurring between the UE and MME in a situation where it is necessary for a network node to identify the UE and acquire UE information, if there is any, from another network node to which the UE have been attached after a movement between two different Radio Access Technologies (RATs) such as Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (EUTRAN) and Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN) or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)/Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) Radio Access Network (GERAN).

    Background Art



    [0002] US 2009/258631 A1 relates to a mobility related control signalling authentication in mobile communications system; a control message comprising an authentication code is transmitted from a mobile device to a first network entity in response to an access network change for the mobile device, due to mobility of the mobile device, the control message being transmitted for verifying the authentication code by the first network entity or by a second network entity of a previous access system.

    [0003] WO 2010/004295 A2 discloses a user equipment initiating an Attach procedure by transmitting to an eNodeB an Attach Request message together with RRC parameters. The eNodeB derives the MME from the RRC parameters. The eNodeB forwards the Attach Request message to the new MME which uses the GUTI received to derive an old MME/SGSN address.

    [0004] As one of the representative mobile communication standard organizations, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has defined Evolved Packet System (EPS) with the introduction of MME.

    [0005] The NAS protocols for the 3GPP 3G system have been revised in order to meet the requirements of high-speed data transmission in the next generation mobile communication system. The revision also has included backward compatibility to the 2G and 3G networks of 3GPP. In detail, when attaching to a network or updating a tracking area, the UE identifies the network node which it has accessed before using the node identity information of the UE identifier.

    [0006] In a carrier network of the related art, however, the network is configured using even the bit information indicating network node identity information, and thus there is no room to distinguish between the legacy network mobility management node and the MME introduced for supporting the EUTRAN, resulting in a node identification failure problem.

    Disclosure of Invention


    Technical Problem



    [0007] There is therefore a need of a method for improving communication service quality by minimizing processing delay with the provision of the information for the UE to discover the network node to which the UE has attached before and the acquisition of the UE information based on the provided information in the communication between the UE and the network through modification of the NAS protocol or a certain procedure of the UE or the mobility management node.

    Solution to Problem



    [0008] The present invention is set out in the appended set of claims.

    [0009] Aspects of the present invention are to address at least the above-mentioned problems and/or disadvantages and to provide at least the advantages described below. Accordingly, an aspect of the present invention is to provide a communication method and system for supporting Non-Access Stratum (NAS) communication between a User Equipment (UE) and a network node efficiently in an evolved mobile communication system including 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Evolved Packet System (EPS) supporting Access Stratum (AS) and NAS protocols on layer 2, especially when the UE in idle mode moves or connects to a network or updates the tracking area or performs handover between different Radio Access Technologies (RAT) including Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (EUTRAN) and Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN) or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)/Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) Radio Access Network (GERAN)(UTRAN/GERAN).

    [0010] Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a communication method and system that is capable of supporting NAS authentication and NAS communication between a UE and a network entity such as a Mobility Management Entity (MME) without a processing delay by specifying the operations of the UE, MME, and Serving General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) Support Node (SGSN) in the NAS protocol during the roaming of the UE between different technology-based networks including GERAN, UTRAN, EUTRAN, and other equivalent access networks.

    [0011] The present invention relates to a method and system for facilitating a UE to discover a best node during or in attempt of communication with a network node using the NAS protocols, and the method for communication between the UE and network based on the NAS protocol messages and operations according to the present invention is implemented with the involvement a UE, an MME, and an old MME or old SGSN to which the UE has previously attached so as to facilitate discovering the best node using the UE information acquired from the old MME or old SGSN during the communication between the UE and the network, resulting in a reduction of communication delay between the UE and network and an improvement of communication efficiency.

    [0012] As aforementioned, the present invention is capable of maintaining the communication between UE and network during the handover between two different RATs such as EUTRAN and UTRAN/GERAN, resulting in reduction of communication delay.

    [0013] Other aspects, advantages, and salient features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses exemplary embodiments of the invention.

    Advantageous Effects of Invention



    [0014] The present invention provides a method and system for addressing the problem of delay in NAS protocol-based communication due to a failure of acquiring UE information from a valid network node, especially in a situation where the UE attempts. Tracking Area Update during the movement between different RATs including EUTRAN and GERAN/UTRAN. The method and system using the NAS protocol message and operations of the UE and MME that are defined according to the present invention are advantageous to facilitate communication between the UE and network node.

    Brief Description of Drawings



    [0015] The above and other aspects, features, and advantages of certain exemplary embodiments of the present invention will be more apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

    FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating communication environment of the mobile communication system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 2 is a signaling diagram illustrating a network attachment procedure of a User Equipment (UE) according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 3 is a signaling diagram illustrating a tracking area update procedure of a UE according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 4 is a signaling diagram illustrating a network attachment procedure of a UE according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 5 is a signaling diagram illustrating a tracking area update procedure of a UE according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating operations of a Mobility Management Entity (MME) for supporting communication between a UE and a network node according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating operations of a UE for supporting communication between the UE and a network node according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

    FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating operations of an MME for supporting communication between a UE and a network node according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    Throughout the drawings, it should be noted that like reference numbers are used to depict the same or similar elements, features, and structures.


    Mode for the Invention



    [0016] The following description with reference to the accompanying drawings is provided to assist in a comprehensive understanding of exemplary embodiments of the invention as defined by the claims. It includes various specific details to assist in that understanding but these are to be regarded as merely exemplary. Accordingly, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that various changes and modifications of the embodiments described herein can be made without departing from the scope of the appended claims. In addition, descriptions of well-known functions and constructions may be omitted for clarity and conciseness.

    [0017] The terms and words used in the following description and claims are not limited to the bibliographical meanings, but, are merely used by the inventor to enable a clear and consistent understanding of the invention. Accordingly, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the following description of exemplary embodiments of the present invention is provided for illustration purpose only and not for the purpose of limiting the invention as defined by the appended claims.

    [0018] It is to be understood that the singular forms "a," "an," and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to "a component surface" includes reference to one or more of such surfaces.

    [0019] The subject matter of the present invention is to provide a method for reducing the delay of Non-Access Stratum (NAS) communication between a User Equipment (UE) and a Mobility Management Entity (MME) by optimizing the operations of the UE, MME, and Serving General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) Support Node (SGSN) in the NAS signaling. Although the description is directed to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)-based system including Evolved Packet System (EPS), Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN), and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)/Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) Radio Access Network (GERAN), the present invention can be applied to other types of communication systems using NAS.

    [0020] In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1, the present invention proposes a communication method between a UE and an MME and operations thereof based on the NAS protocol during the movement of the UE between different Radio Access Technologies (RAT) including Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (EUTRAN) and Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN), and it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the disclosed communication method can be applied to other mobile communication systems implemented based on similar or different protocols but operating similarly in similar technological background and channel format with minor changes and modifications without departing from the scope of the present invention.

    [0021] FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating a communication environment of a mobile communication system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The description is directed to an exemplary 3GPP EPS system. Although the description is directed to the case where the UE connects to a EUTRAN and then moves to another RAT network or connects to an RAT network and then moves to the EUTRAN, the present invention can be applied to other mobile communication systems operating in a similar manner.

    [0022] Referring to FIG. 1, the base stations (referred to as Evolved Node Base Station, E Node B, and eNB, or Radio Network Controller (RNC)) 112 and 133 are responsible for establishing radio links to communicate with the UE 110 within the cell as the service coverage thereof. The UE 110 is a terminal that connects to a packet data network such as the Internet via a Serving Gateway (hereinafter, referred to as Serving GW or S-GW) 116. In the following description, the Packet Data Network Gateway (hereinafter, referred to as PDN GW) 118 as a significant network entity of the packet data network is responsible for the functions of Home Agent HA. The Mobility Management Entity/Serving GPRS Support Node (MME/SGSN) 135 is responsible for management of mobility, location, and registration of the UE. In order to manage the authentication information of the user or UE, the Home Subscriber Server (HSS) 121 is connected to the MME 114 and MME/SGSN 135 via an interface.

    [0023] The eNB/RNC 133, SGW 116, and MME/SGSN 135 are connected via data paths with the interface for managing the mobility of UE. The UE 110 and MME/SGSN 135 have an NAS protocol stack to communicate each other for the mobility management and session management. In the described exemplary embodiment, the description is directed to the situation in which the UE 100 connected to an old network (or source network) moves to connect to a new network or updates location. The source network can be one of various RATs including EUTRAN, UTRAN, and GERAN, and it is assumed that the UE moves from the source network to EUTRAN as the new network (or target network). If it moves to the target network, the UE 110 connects to the eNB 112 so as to be served by the eNB 112, MME 114, and HSS 121. The MME 114 of the new network and the MME/SGSN 135 of the old network are connected with each other so as to exchange the information necessary. A description is made of the operations of the UE 110 and MME 114 operating based on the NAS protocol in the above-structured network with reference to FIGs. 2 to 8. In the mobile communication system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, when a request message is received from the UE, the network node analyzes the request message to check the old network node to which the UE has been attached. The new network node requests the old network node for the information related to the UE. When the UE information is received from the old network node, the new network node sends a response message to the UE using the acquired UE information.

    [0024] In the mobile communication system of the present invention, the UE configures the request message. The UE configures the request message in order for the network node to analyze the request message to check the old network node. The UE sends the request message to the network node. Afterward, the UE receives the response message transmitted by the network node in response to the request node.

    [0025] Here, the request message includes the connection request message for connection to the network node and the update request message for updating the UE location. The new network node can be an MME, and the old network node can be a SGSN or MME.

    [0026] FIG. 2 is a signaling diagram illustrating a network attachment procedure of a UE according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    [0027] Referring to FIG. 2, the UE 110 requests attachment to the network at step 201. At this time, the UE sends an access request message, i.e., Attach Request message, including UE identity information which is referred to as Packet-Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (P-TMSI) signature. The P-TMSI signature is the information to be used in the attempt of attachment to a network since the UE 110 has successfully connected to an SGSN. The Attach Request message is delivered to the MME 114 via the eNB 112 at step 203.

    [0028] If it is determined that the UE 110 has accessed the old MME/SGSN 135, the new MME 114 determines the type of the old network node at step 205. The old network node type is determined by referencing the Most Significant Bit (MSB) of the Local Area Code (LAC) or MME Group Identity (MMEGI) in the Globally Unique Temporary Identity (GUTI) of the UE 110. Once the old network node type is determined (if the MSB is set to 1, the old network is determined to be EUTRAN, and otherwise the old network is determined to be UTRAN/GERAN), the UE discovers the MME or SGSN in the corresponding network. In the case that the MSB is set to 1 for the UTRAN/GERAN (by some mobile carriers), if the Attach Request message transmitted by the UE 110 includes a valid P-TMSI signature, it can be determined that the UE 110 has accessed the GERAN/UTRAN previously.

    [0029] Next, the new MME 114 requests the MME/SGSN 135, as the old serving network of the UE 110, for the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) and Mobility Management (MM) context at step 207. The new MME 114 receives the UE information from the old MME/SGSN 135 at step 209. Next, the authentication and security process is performed at step 211 and then the bearer creation process is performed at step 213. Next, the new MME 114 sends an Attach Accept message to the new eNB 112 at step 215, and the new eNB 112 forwards the Attach Accept message to the UE 110 at step 217 so as to complete the attachment procedure.

    [0030] FIG. 3 is a signaling diagram illustrating a tracking area update procedure of UE according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    [0031] Referring to FIG. 3, the UE 110 sends a Tracking Area Update (TAU) Request message to the network through new eNB 112 at step 301. The TAU Request message includes a P-TMSI signature as UE identity information and a Cipher Key Sequence Number (CKSN) for referencing a cipher key when the UE 110 has accessed a GERAN/UTRAN previously. If there exists a valid CKSN and P-TMSI signature, this means that the UE has successfully connected to an SGSN previously and stored the information for use in the connection or location registration update process afterward. The TAU Request message transmitted by the UE 110 is delivered to the MME 114 via the eNB 112 at step 303.

    [0032] In case that the UE has accessed the MME/SGSN 135 previously, the MME 114 determines the type of the old network node at step 305. The old network node type is determined by referencing the MSB of the LAC or MMEGI in the GUTI of the UE 110. Once the old network node type is determined (if the MSB is set to 1, the old network is determined to be EUTRAN, and otherwise the old network is determined to be UTRAN/GERAN), the UE discovers the MME or SGSN in the corresponding network. In case that the MSB is set to 1 for the UTRAN/GERAN (by some mobile carriers), if the Attach Request message transmitted by the UE 110 includes a valid P-TMSI signature, it can be determined that the UE 110 has accessed the GERAN/ UTRAN previously.

    [0033] Next, the new MME 114 requests the MME/SGSN 135, as the old serving network of the UE 110, for the IMSI and MM context at step 307. The new MME 114 receives the UE information from the old MME/SGSN 135 at step 309. Next, the authentication and security process is performed at step 311 and then the bearer update process for updating Serving Gateway and UE location information is performed at step 315. The new MME 114 sends a Context Acknowledge message to the old MME/SGSN 135 for acknowledgment of the receipt of the UE information at step 313. After the bearer update at step 315, the new MME 114 sends a TAU Accept message to the UE 110 at step 317 so as to complete the tracking area update procedure.

    [0034] According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, if an Attach Request or a tracking area update request message is received from the UE, the network node checks the MSB of the MMEGI or the LAC of the GUTI of the UE in the request message. If the MSB is set to 0, this means that the old network node is SGSN. Otherwise if the MSB is set to 1, the new network node determines whether the request message includes at least one of a P-TMSI signature and a CKSN. If the request message includes at least one of the P-TMSI signature and the CKSN, this means that the old network node is SGSN. Otherwise if the request message includes neither the P-TMSI signature nor the CKSN, this means that the old network node is MME. Afterward, the new network node requests the old network node for the UE information and sends a response message to the UE using the UE information received from the old network node.

    [0035] FIG. 4 is a signaling diagram illustrating a network attachment procedure of UE according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    [0036] Referring to FIG. 4, the UE 110 requests attachment to the network at step 401. The Attach Request message transmitted by the UE includes the capability information on whether the UE 110 is capable of discriminating between the identifier assigned as the result of the connection to an MME and the identifier created based on the P-TMSI or Routing Area Identity (RAI). The capability information can be transmitted in a parameter, i.e., a UE network capability Information Element (IE), or in other ways. The UE 110 can transmit the Attach Request message including the information indicating whether the identifier is assigned as the result of attachment to MME or created from the P-TMSI and/or RAI. The identifier creation information can be transmitted by means of a type of identity (identification type or ID type) or other IE or discriminate between LAC and MMEGI. The Attach Request message transmitted by the UE 110 is delivered to the MME 114 via the eNB 112 at step 403.

    [0037] If it is determined that the UE 110 has accessed the old MME/SGSN 135, the new MME 114 determines the type of the old network node at step 405. The old network node type is determined by referencing the MSB of the LAC or MMEGI in the GUTI of the UE 110. Once the old network node type is determined (if the MSB is set to 1, the old network is determined to be EUTRAN, and otherwise the old network is determined to be UTRAN/GERAN), the UE discovers the MME or SGSN in the corresponding network. In case that the MSB is set to 1 for the UTRAN/GERAN (by some mobile carriers), if the Attach Request message transmitted by the UE 110 includes capability information, this means that the UE 110 has the capability of transmitting identification type along with the GUTI. Accordingly, the MME 114 references an identification type field or the IE related to identification type to determine whether the old network node to which the UE has attached is GERAN/UTRAN or EUTRAN.

    [0038] Next, the new MME 114 requests the MME/SGSN 135, as the old serving network of the UE 110, for the IMSI and MM context as the UE information at step 407. The new MME 114 receives the UE information from the old MME/SGSN 135 at step 409. Next, the authentication and security process is performed at step 411 and the bearer creation process is performed at step 413. Next, the new MME 114 sends an Attach Accept message to the new eNB 112 at step 415, and the new eNB 112 forwards the Attach Accept message to the UE 110 at step 417 so as to complete the attachment procedure.

    [0039] FIG. 5 is a signaling diagram illustrating a tracking area update procedure of a UE according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    [0040] Referring to FIG. 5, the UE 110 sends a TAU Request message to the network through new eNB 112 at step 501. The Attach Request message transmitted by the UE includes the capability information on whether the UE 110 is capable of discriminating between the identifier assigned as the result of the connection to an MME and the identifier created based on the P-TMSI or RAI. The capability information can be transmitted in a parameter, i.e., a UE network capability IE, or in other ways. The UE 110 can transmit the Attach Request message including the information indicating whether the identifier is assigned as the result of attachment to MME or created from the P-TMSI and/or RAI. The identifier creation information can be transmitted by means of a type of identity (identification type or ID type) or other IE or discriminate between LAC and MMEGI. The Attach Request message transmitted by the UE 110 is delivered to the MME 114 via the eNB 112 at step 503. If it is determined that the UE 110 has accessed the old MME/SGSN 135, the new MME 114 determines the type of the old network node at step 505. The old network node type is determined by referencing the MSB of the LAC or MMEGI in the GUTI of the UE 110. Once the old network node type is determined (if the MSB is set to 1, the old network is determined to be EUTRAN, and otherwise the old network is determined to be UTRAN/GERAN), the UE discovers the MME or SGSN in the corresponding network. In case that the MSB is set to 1 for the UTRAN/GERAN (by some mobile carriers), if the Attach Request message transmitted by the UE 110 includes capability information, this means that the UE 110 has the capability of transmitting identification type along with the GUTI. Accordingly, the MME 114 references an identification type field or the IE related to identification type to determine whether the old network node to which the UE has attached is GERAN/UTRAN or EUTRAN.

    [0041] Next, the new MME 114 requests the MME/SGSN 135, as the old serving network of the UE 110, for the IMSI and MM context as the UE information at step 507. The new MME 114 receives the UE information from the old MME/SGSN 135 at step 509. Next, the authentication and security process is performed at step 511 and the bearer modification process for updating the serving gateway and UE location information is performed at step 515. The new MME sends a Context Acknowledge message to the old MME/SGSN 135 for acknowledgment of the receipt of the UE information at step 513. After the bearer modification at step 515, the new MME 114 sends a TAU Accept message to the UE 110 at step 517 so as to complete the tracking area update procedure.

    [0042] According to this exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the UE configures an identification type indicator for discriminating the types of the temporary identifier of the network node which is transmitted in the request message such as the Attach Request and Tracking Area Update Request message. The UE transmits the request message to the network node. Afterward, the UE receives a response message from the network node in response to the request message.

    [0043] According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, if the request message such as Attach Request or Tracking Area Update Request is received from the UE, the network node determines whether the request message includes the identification type indicator for indicating the type of the old network node based on the temporary identifier. If the request message includes the identification type indicator, the network node identifies the old network node as one of SGSN and MME. At this time, the network node analyzes the identification type indicator related to the temporary identifier corresponding to the old network node to determine the old network node as one of SGSN and MME. Afterward, the network nod receives the UE information from the old network node and sends the response message to the UE using the UE information.

    [0044] FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating operations of an MME for supporting communication between a UE and a network node according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    [0045] Referring to FIG. 6, the MME 114 receives the Attach Request/TAU Request message transmitted by the UE 110 at step 701. Upon receipt of the request message, the MME 114 checks the EPS mobile identity IE in the request message at step 703. If the MSB of LAC/MMEGI is determined to be set to 0 at step 721, this means that the old network node to which the UE 110 has been attached is SGSN, and thus the MME 114 discovers the corresponding one among a plurality of SGSNs to request for UE information at step 723.

    [0046] If the MSB of LAC/MEGI is determined to be set to 1 at step 711, this means that the old network node to which the UE 110 has been attached is MME or SGSN, and thus the MME 114 determines whether the Attach Request message transmitted by the UE 110 includes a valid P-TMSI signature or the TAU Request message transmitted by the UE 110 includes at least one of a CKSN or a P-TMSI signature at step 713. If it is determined that the request message includes a valid CKSN or a P-TMSI signature, this means that the old network node to which the UE has been attached previously is SGSN, and thus the MME 114 discovers the targeted one of SGSNs to request for the UE information at step 715. Otherwise, if it is determined that the request message includes neither a valid P-TMSI signature nor a CKSN, this means that the old network node to which the UE has been attached previously is MME, and thus the MME 114 discovers the targeted one among MMEs to request for the UE information at step 717.

    [0047] According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the MME includes a communication unit, a determination unit, and a control unit.

    [0048] The communication unit is responsible for communication with the UE. The communication unit can receive the access request message from the UE. Here, the access request message can be one of an Attach Request or a Tracking Area Update Request.

    [0049] The determination unit analyzes the access request message transmitted by the UE to determine the type of the old network node. Here, the determination unit analyzes the P-TMSI signature to determine the type of the old network node. The determination unit can include a judging module and an identification module. The determination unit analyzes the P-TMSI signature of the access request message. The identification module judges the old network node as one of MME and SGSN according to the analysis result of P-TMSI signature.

    [0050] The control unit requests the old network node for the UE information. Upon receipt of the UE information, the control unit controls such that the network node sends the response message to the UE using the acquired UE information.

    [0051] According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the UE includes a communication unit and a control unit. The control unit controls to transmit an access request message to the MME. Here, the control unit controls such that the P-TMSI signature is transmitted in the access request message. The access request message can be one of an Attach Request and a Tracking Area Update Request of the UE. The communication unit is responsible for communication with the MME. At this time, the communication unit receives an Access Response message from the MME in response to the Access Request message.

    [0052] FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating operations of a UE for supporting communication between the UE and a network node according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    [0053] Referring to FIG. 7, the UE 110 determines whether the technology release version (hereinafter, referred to as rel) is rel_8 or post rel_8, i.e., rel_9 or rel_10, at step 801. The operations can be defined differently according to the technology release version. In case of rel_8, the UE 110 configures the Attach/TAU Request message with UE network capability or other indication information element indicating GUTI/mapped GUTI or without identifier at step 821 and transmits the Attach/TAU Request message to the network node at step 819.

    [0054] In case of post rel_8 (i.e., rel_9 or rel_10), the UE 110 sets a valid UE network capability at step 811 and determines whether to use the GUTI or mapped GUTI as the identification type information, based on the identification type indication capability of the UE, at step 813. If it is determined to use GUTI, the UE 110 configures the Attach/ TAU Request message with the identification type field or identification type-related IE set to indicate GUTI at step 815, and otherwise to use mapped GUTI, configures the Attach/TAU Request message with the identification type field or identity-related IE set to indicate mapped GUTI at step 817. Next, the UE 110 sends the Attach/TAU Request message to the network at step 819.

    [0055] According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention the UE includes a control unit and a communication unit. The control unit configures the request message with the identification type indicator for notifying the network node of the type of the old network node corresponding to the temporary identifier. The control unit configures the request message with the identification type information of the temporary identifier corresponding to the old network node. The communication unit transmits the request message to the network node under the control of the control unit. The communication unit also receives a response message from the network node in response to the request message.

    [0056] FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating operations of an MME for supporting communication between a UE and a network node according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

    [0057] Referring to FIG. 8, the MME 114 receives the Attach/TAU Request message transmitted by the UE 110 at step 901. Upon receipt of the Attach/TAU Request message, the MME 114 analyzes the Attach/TAU Request message to check the UE network capability at step 903. If the Attach Request message or the TAU Request message includes the identification type indication capability-related information configured, this means that the UE 110 has the identification type indication capability in transmitting GUTI-related information. In this case, the MME 114 checks the identification type field or identification type-related IE of the request message to determine whether the old network node to which the UE has been attached previously is GERAN/UTRAN or EUTRAN at step 911. If the identification type-related information is determined to be GUTI, this means that the old network node is MME, and thus the MME 114 discovers the targeted one among the MMEs to request for the UE information at step 917. Otherwise if the identification type-related information is the mapped GUTI, this means that the old network node is SGSN, and thus the MME 114 discovers the targeted one among the SGSNs to request for the UE information at step 913.

    [0058] Returning to step 903, if the Attach Request message or the TAU Request message does not include identification type discrimination-capability-related information, this means that the UE has no identity indication capability, and thus the MME 114 refers at step 921 to the MSB of the MMEGI or LAC in the GUTI or mapped GUTI so as to select one of the SGSNs as the old network node if the MSB is determined to be set to 0 and one of the MMEs (or one of SGSNs according to the network configuration of the carrier) as the old network node if the MSB is determined to be set to 1. In this case, the MME 114 can determine the SGSN to which the UE 110 has attached previously among a plurality of SGSNs based on the additional information such as a CKSN or a P-TMSI signature.

    [0059] According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the MME includes a communication unit, a determination unit, and a control unit.

    [0060] The communication unit is responsible for communication with the UE. The communication unit can receive the Access Request message transmitted by the UE. Here, the Access Request message can be one of Attach Request and Tracking Area Update Request of the UE.

    [0061] The determination unit analyzes the access request message transmitted by the UE to determine the type of the old network node. The determination unit includes a judging module and an identification module. The judging unit judges whether the identification type indicator for discriminating the type of the old network is configured by the UE in association with the temporary identifier of the UE. If no identification type indicator is configured, the identification module determines the old network node to be one of the SGSNs and MMEs. At this time, the identification module analyzes the information related to the identification type of the temporary identifier corresponding to the old network node in the request message to identify whether the old network node is an SGSN or an MME.

    [0062] The control unit requests the old network node for the UE information. If the UE information is received from the old network node, the control unit sends the response message to the UE using the acquired UE information.

    [0063] In order to support communication between the UE and the MME as described above with reference to FIGs. 2 to 8, it is necessary to support the IE in the messages as shown in Table 1. Table 1 shows the IE indicating whether the UE has the capability of informing the network node of the identification type in the message. According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the identification type indication capability is configured in octet 7.

    Table 1



    [0064] 
    [Table 1]
    87654321 
    UE network capability IEI octet 1
    Length of UE network capability contents octet 2
    EEA0 128-EEA1 128-EEA2 EEA3 EEA4 EEA5 EEA6 EEA7 octet 3
    EIA0 128-EIA1 128-EIA2 EIA3 EIA4 EIA5 EIA6 EIA7 octet 4
    UEA0 UEA1 UEA2 UEA3 UEA4 UEA5 UEA6 UEA7 octet 5*
    UCS2 UIA1 UIA2 UIA3 UIA4 UIA5 UIA6 UIA7 octet 6*
    0 spare 0 spare 0 spare ID TYPE indication LPP LCS 1xSR VCC NF octet 7*
    0 0 0 0 Spare 0 0 0 0 octet 8* - 15*
     
    Identification type indication capability (octet 7. bit 5)
    0 Identification type indication mechanisms not supported
    1 Identification type indication mechanisms supported


    [0065] Although exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail hereinabove, it should be clearly understood that many variations and/or modifications of the basic inventive concepts herein taught which may appear to those skilled in the present art will still fall within the scope of the present invention, as defined in the appended claims.

    [0066] The present invention achieves the following effects from the above described representative exemplary embodiments.

    [0067] The present invention provides a method and system for addressing the problem of delay in NAS protocol-based communication due to a failure of acquiring UE information from a valid network node, especially in a situation where the UE attempts network attachment or Tracking Area Update during the movement between different RATs including EUTRAN and GERAN/UTRAN. The method and system using the NAS protocol message and operations of the UE and MME that are defined according to the present invention are advantageous to facilitate communication between the UE and network node.

    [0068] While the invention has been shown and described with reference to certain exemplary embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A communication method performed by a mobility management entity, MME, in a mobile communication system, the method comprising:

    receiving, from a terminal, a first request message including an MME group identity, MMEGI, or a location area code, LAC, in Globally Unique Temporary Identity, GUTI, of the terminal, the first request message being an attach request message or a tracking area update request message;

    identifying a type of an old network node based on the first request message; and

    transmitting, to the old network node, a second request message to request identification information associated with the terminal based on the type of the old network node.


     
    2. The communication method of claim 1, further comprising:
    receiving, from the old network node, a response message including at least one of an international mobile subscriber identity, IMSI, of the terminal or Mobility Management ,MM, context associated with the terminal in response to the second request message.
     
    3. The communication method of claim 1, wherein the type of the old network node is identified as an MME if a most significant bit, MSB, of the MMEGI or the LAC is 1, and the type of the old network is identified as a serving general packet radio service support node, SGSN, if a most significant bit, MSB, of the MMEGI or the LAC is 0.
     
    4. The communication method of claim 1, wherein the type of the old network is further identified based on whether the first request message includes packet-temporary mobile subscriber identity, P-TMSI, signature assigned to the terminal from the old network node.
     
    5. A mobility management entity, MME, in a mobile communication system, the MME comprising:

    a transceiver configured to transmit and receive at least one signal; and

    a controller configured to:

    control the transceiver to receive , from a terminal, a first request message including an MME group identity, MMEGI, or a location area code, LAC, in Globally Unique Temporary Identity, GUTI, of the terminal, the first request message being an attach request message or a tracking area update request message,

    identify a type of an old network node based on the first request message; and

    control the transceiver to transmit, to the old network node, a second request message to request identification information associated with the terminal based on the type of the old network node.


     
    6. The MME of claim 5, the controller further configured to control the transceiver to receive, from the old network node, a response message including at least one of an international mobile subscriber identity, IMSI, of the terminal or Mobility Management, MM, context associated with the terminal in response to the second request message.
     
    7. The MME of claim 6, wherein the type of the old network node is identified an MME if a most significant bit, MSB, of the MMEGI or the LAC is 1, and
    the type of the old network is identified as a serving general packet radio service, GPRS, support node, SGSN, if a most significant bit, MSB, of the MMEGI or the LAC is 0.
     
    8. The MME of claim 5, wherein the type of the old network is further identified based on whether the first request message includes packet-temporary mobile subscriber identity, P-TMSI, signature assigned to the terminal from the old network node.
     
    9. A communication method performed by a terminal in a mobile communication system, the method comprising:

    generating a first request message including an MME group identity, MMEGI, or a location area code, LAC, in Globally Unique Temporary Identity, GUTI, of the terminal, the first request message being an attach request message or a tracking area update request message; and

    transmitting, to a mobility management entity, MME, the first request message, thereby configuring the MME to identify

    a type of an old network node based on the first request message, and

    to transmit a second request message to request identification information associated with the terminal to the old network node based on the type of the old network node.


     
    10. The communication method of claim 9, wherein a response message including at least one of an international mobile subscriber identity, IMSI, of the terminal or Mobility Management, MM, context associated with the terminal is transmitted from the old network node to the MME in response to the second request message.
     
    11. The communication method of claim 9, wherein the type of the old network node is identified as an MME if a most significant bit, MSB, of the MMEGI or the LAC is 1, and the type of the old network is identified as a serving general packet radio service, GPRS, Support Node, SGSN, if a most significant bit, MSB, of the MMEGI or the LAC is 0.
     
    12. The communication method of claim 9, wherein the type of the old network is further identified based on whether the first request message includes packet-temporary mobile subscriber identity, P-TMSI, signature assigned to the terminal from the old network node.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Ein Kommunikationsverfahren, das von einer mobilen Managementeinheit, MME, in einem mobilen Kommunikationssystem ausgeführt wird, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    Empfangen einer ersten Anforderungsnachricht von einem Terminal, die eine MME-Gruppenidentität, MMEGI, oder einen Location Area Code, LAC, in einer Globally Unique Identity, GUTI, des Terminals enthält, wobei die erste Anforderungsnachricht eine Attach-Anforderungsnachricht oder eine Tracking Area Update - Anforderungsnachricht ist;

    Identifizieren einer Art eines alten Netzwerkknotens auf der Grundlage der ersten Anforderungsnachricht; und

    Senden einer zweiten Anforderungsnachricht an den alten Netzwerkknoten, um Identifikationsinformationen auf der Grundlage der Art des alten Netzwerkknotens anzufordern, die mit dem Terminal assoziiert sind.


     
    2. Das Kommunikationsverfahren von Anspruch 1, das weiterhin umfasst:
    Empfangen einer Antwortnachricht von dem alten Netzwerkknoten, die zumindest eines von einer International Mobile Subscriber Identity, IMSI, des Terminals oder eines Mobility Management, MM, - Context, der mit dem Terminal assoziiert ist, enthält, in Reaktion auf die zweite Anforderungsnachricht.
     
    3. Das Kommunikationsverfahren von Anspruch 1, in dem die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens als eine MME identifiziert wird, wenn ein Most Significant Bit, MSB, der MMEGI oder des LAC 1 ist, und die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens als ein Serving General Packet Radio Service Support - Knoten, SGSN, identifiziert wird, wenn ein Most Significant Bit, MSB, der MMEGI oder des LAC 0 ist.
     
    4. Das Kommunikationsverfahren von Anspruch 1, in dem die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens weiterhin auf der Grundlage davon identifiziert wird, ob die erste Anforderungsnachricht eine Packet-Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity, P-TSMI, - Signatur, die von dem alten Netzwerkknoten dem Terminal zugewiesen ist, enthält.
     
    5. Eine mobile Managementeinheit, MME, in einem mobilen Kommunikationssystem, wobei die MME umfasst:

    einen Transceiver, der dazu ausgebildet ist, zumindest ein Signal zu senden und empfangen; und

    einen Kontroller, der dazu ausgebildet ist:

    den Transceiver so zu steuern, dass er von einem Terminal eine Anforderungsnachricht empfängt, die eine MME-Gruppenidentität, MMEGI, oder einen Location Area Code, LAC, in einer Globally Unique Identity, GUTI, des Terminals enthält, wobei die erste Anforderungsnachricht eine Attach-Anforderungsnachricht oder eine Tracking Area Update - Anforderungsnachricht ist;

    eine Art des alten Netzwerkknotens auf der Grundlage der ersten Anforderungsnachricht zu identifizieren; und

    den Transceiver so zu steuern, dass er eine zweiten Anforderungsnachricht an den alten Netzwerkknoten sendet, um Identifikationsinformationen auf der Grundlage der Art des alten Netzwerkknotens anzufordern, die mit dem Terminal assoziiert sind.


     
    6. Der MME von Anspruch 5, wobei der Kontroller weiterhin dazu ausgebildet ist, den Transceiver so zu steuern, dass er in Reaktion auf die zweite Anforderungsnachricht eine Antwortnachricht von dem alten Netzwerkknoten empfängt, die zumindest eines von einer International Mobile Subscriber Identity, IMSI, des Terminals oder eines Mobility Management, MM, - Context, der mit dem Terminal assoziiert ist, enthält.
     
    7. Der MME von Anspruch 6, in dem die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens als eine MME identifiziert wird, wenn ein Most Significant Bit, MSB, der MMEGI oder des LAC 1 ist, und
    die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens als ein Serving General Packet Radio Service Support - Knoten, SGSN, identifiziert wird, wenn ein Most Significant Bit, MSB, der MMEGI oder des LAC 0 ist.
     
    8. Der MME von Anspruch 5, in dem die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens weiterhin auf der Grundlage davon identifiziert wird, ob die erste Anforderungsnachricht eine Packet-Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity, P-TSMI, - Signatur, die von dem alten Netzwerkknoten dem Terminal zugewiesen ist, enthält.
     
    9. Ein Kommunikationsverfahren das von einem Terminal in einem mobilen Kommunikationssystem ausgeführt wird, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    Erzeugen einer ersten Anforderungsnachricht, die eine MME-Gruppenidentität, MMEGI, oder einen Location Area Code, LAC, in einer Globally Unique Identity, GUTI, des Terminals enthält, wobei die erste Anforderungsnachricht eine Attach-Anforderungsnachricht oder eine Tracking Area Update - Anforderungsnachricht ist; und

    Senden der ersten Anforderungsnachricht an eine mobile Managementeinheit, MME, und dadurch Konfigurieren der MME, sodass sie

    eine Art eines alten Netzwerkknotens auf der Grundlage der ersten Anforderungsnachricht identifiziert, und

    eine zweite Anforderungsnachricht an den alten Netzwerkknoten sendet, um Identifikationsinformationen auf der Grundlage der Art des alten Netzwerkknotens anzufordern, die mit dem Terminal assoziiert sind.


     
    10. Das Kommunikationsverfahren von Anspruch 9, in dem eine Antwortnachricht, die zumindest eines von einer International Mobile Subscriber Identity, IMSI, des Terminals oder eines Mobility Management, MM, - Context, der mit dem Terminal assoziiert ist, enthält, in Reaktion auf die zweite Anforderungsnachricht von dem alten Netzwerkknoten an die MME gesendet wird.
     
    11. Das Kommunikationsverfahren von Anspruch 9, in dem die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens als eine MME identifiziert wird, wenn ein Most Significant Bit, MSB, der MMEGI oder des LAC 1 ist, und die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens als ein Serving General Packet Radio Service Support - Knoten, SGSN, identifiziert wird, wenn ein Most Significant Bit, MSB, der MMEGI oder des LAC 0 ist.
     
    12. Das Kommunikationsverfahren von Anspruch 9, in dem die Art des alten Netzwerkknotens weiterhin auf der Grundlage davon identifiziert wird, ob die erste Anforderungsnachricht eine Packet-Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity, P-TSMI, - Signatur, die von dem alten Netzwerkknoten dem Terminal zugewiesen ist, enthält.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de communication exécuté par une entité de gestion de la mobilité, MME, dans un système de communication mobile, le procédé comprenant les opérations suivantes:

    recevoir, à partir d'un terminal, un premier message de demande comprenant une identité de groupe MME, MMEGI, ou un indicatif de zone de localisation, BAC, dans la GUTI (Globally Unique Temporary Identity) du terminal, le premier message de demande étant un message de demande de pièce jointe ou un message de mise à jour de zone de suivi;

    identifier un type d'ancien nœud de réseau en fonction du premier message de demande; et

    transmettre, à l'ancien nœud de réseau, un second message de requête pour demander des informations d'identification associées au terminal en fonction du type de l'ancien nœud de réseau.


     
    2. Procédé de communication selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre :
    la réception, à partir de l'ancien nœud de réseau, d'un message de réponse comprenant au moins l'une des identités internationales d'abonné mobile, IMSI, du terminal ou du contexte de gestion de la mobilité, MM, associé au terminal en réponse au second message de demande.
     
    3. Procédé de communication selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le type de l'ancien nœud de réseau est identifié comme une MME si un bit le plus significatif, MSB, du MMEGI ou du LAC est 1, et le type de l'ancien réseau est identifié comme un nœud général de support de service radio par paquets de desserte, SGSN, si un bit plus significatif, MSB, du MMEGI ou du LAC est 0.
     
    4. Procédé de communication selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le type de l'ancien réseau est en outre identifié en fonction du fait que le premier message de demande comprend ou non une identité d'abonné mobile temporaire par paquets, P-TMSI, une signature attribuée au terminal par l'ancien nœud du réseau.
     
    5. Entité de gestion de la mobilité, MME, dans un système de communication mobile, la MME comprenant:

    un émetteur-récepteur configuré pour émettre et recevoir au moins un signal; et

    un contrôleur configuré pour:

    contrôler l'émetteur-récepteur pour recevoir, à partir d'un terminal, un premier message de demande incluant une identité de groupe MME, MMEGI, ou un indicatif de zone de localisation, BAC, dans l'Identité temporaire globalement unique, GUTI, du terminal, le premier message de demande étant un message de demande de pièce jointe ou un message de mise à jour de zone de suivi,

    identifier un type d'ancien nœud de réseau en fonction du premier message de demande; et

    commander l'émetteur-récepteur pour qu'il transmette à l'ancien nœud de réseau un deuxième message de demande pour demander des informations d'identification associées au terminal en fonction du type de l'ancien nœud de réseau.


     
    6. MME selon la revendication 5, le contrôleur étant en outre configuré pour commander l'émetteur-récepteur afin qu'il reçoive, à partir de l'ancien nœud de réseau, un message de réponse comprenant au moins l'un d'une identité internationale d'abonné mobile, IMSI, du terminal ou du contexte MM associé au terminal en réponse au second message de demande.
     
    7. MME selon la revendication 6, dans laquelle le type de l'ancien nœud de réseau est identifié comme MME si un bit le plus significatif, MSB, du MMEGI ou du LAC est 1, et
    le type de l'ancien réseau est identifié comme étant un service général de radiocommunication par paquets, GPRS, nœud de support, SGSN, si un bit le plus significatif, MSB, du MMEGI ou du LAC est 0.
     
    8. MME selon la revendication 5, dans laquelle le type de l'ancien réseau est en outre identifié en fonction du fait que le premier message de requête inclut ou non une signature P-TMSI, d'identité d'abonné mobile temporaire par paquets, signature attribuée au terminal par l'ancien nœud de réseau.
     
    9. Procédé de communication exécuté par un terminal dans un système de communication mobile, le procédé comprenant les opérations suivantes:

    générer un premier message de demande comprenant une identité de groupe MME, MMEGI, ou un indicatif de zone de localisation, BAC, dans la GUTI (Globally Unique Temporary Identity) du terminal, le premier message de demande étant un message de demande de pièce jointe ou un message de mise à jour de zone de suivi; et

    transmettre, à une entité de gestion de la mobilité, MME, le premier message de requête, configurant ainsi la MME pour identifier

    un type d'ancien nœud de réseau fondé sur le premier message de demande, et

    pour transmettre un deuxième message de demande pour demander des informations d'identification associées au terminal à l'ancien nœud de réseau en fonction du type de l'ancien nœud de réseau.


     
    10. Procédé de communication selon la revendication 9, dans lequel un message de réponse comprenant au moins l'une d'une identité d'abonné mobile international, IMSI, du contexte de terminal ou de gestion de mobilité, MM, associé au terminal est transmis de l'ancien nœud de réseau au MME en réponse au second message de demande.
     
    11. Procédé de communication selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le type de l'ancien nœud de réseau est identifié comme MME si un bit le plus significatif, MSB, du MMEGI ou du LAC est 1, et le type de l'ancien réseau est identifié comme un service général par paquets radio, GPRS, nœud de support, SGSN, si un bit significatif, MSB, du MMEGI ou du LAC est 0.
     
    12. Procédé de communication selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le type de l'ancien réseau est en outre identifié en fonction du fait que le premier message de demande comprend ou non une signature P-TMSI, d'identité d'abonné mobile temporaire par paquets, signature attribuée au terminal par l'ancien nœud du réseau.
     




    Drawing
























    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description