(19)
(11)EP 3 269 084 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.11.2019 Bulletin 2019/48

(21)Application number: 15889419.6

(22)Date of filing:  12.10.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04W 8/18  (2009.01)
H04W 4/70  (2018.01)
H04W 8/04  (2009.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2015/055061
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/167834 (20.10.2016 Gazette  2016/42)

(54)

SUBSCRIBER IDENTITY PATTERN

TEILNEHMERIDENTITÄTSMUSTER

MOTIF D'IDENTITÉ D'ABONNÉ


(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: 13.04.2015 IN 1910CH2015

(43)Date of publication of application:
17.01.2018 Bulletin 2018/03

(73)Proprietor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP
Houston, TX 77070 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • VINCENT, Mario Bertram
    Bangalore 560048 (IN)
  • SHETTY, Prasad Vithal
    Bangalore 560048 (IN)

(74)Representative: Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP 
Redcliff Quay 120 Redcliff Street
Bristol BS1 6HU
Bristol BS1 6HU (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 259 611
WO-A1-2012/000161
US-A1- 2013 136 072
US-A1- 2014 179 314
US-B1- 8 755 799
WO-A1-2010/072242
US-A1- 2010 146 610
US-A1- 2013 288 678
US-A1- 2014 286 199
  
  • "3rd Generation Partnership Project; Technical Specification Group Services and System Aspects; System improvements for Machine-Type Communications (MTC) (Release 11)", 3GPP STANDARD; 3GPP TR 23.888, 3RD GENERATION PARTNERSHIP PROJECT (3GPP), MOBILE COMPETENCE CENTRE ; 650, ROUTE DES LUCIOLES ; F-06921 SOPHIA-ANTIPOLIS CEDEX ; FRANCE, vol. SA WG2, no. V11.0.0, 18 September 2012 (2012-09-18), pages 1-165, XP050649142, [retrieved on 2012-09-18]
  
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

BACKGROUND



[0001] Machine Type Communications (MTC) enables machines to communicate directly with one another in a machine to machine (M2M) fashion. For example, MTC is a foundational technology for the Internet of Things (IoT), the network of physical objects embedded with electronics and connectivity.

[0002] US 8,755,799 B1 teaches techniques for registering similar subscriber devices in a communication network. A unique Private Identity (PRID) is generated for several user devices associated together under one user account for service through the communication network. The PRID includes a group indicator identifying the PRID's association with a group of devices subject to a common service profile, a Public Identity (PUID) string of characters that uniquely identifies the one user account, and a device identifier uniquely assigned to identify the respective device within the group under the one user account. One common PRID is generated for identifying the common service profile with respect to all of the devices of the group under the one user account. The common PRID includes the group indicator, the PUID, and a wildcard in a field of the predetermined format for a device identifier.

[0003] EP 2 259 611 A1 relates to a method of dynamically associating a subscriber directory identifier (MSISDN) to a first subscriber identifier (IMSI). The method comprises receiving a request to connect a communication device to the network, the request including a subscriber identifier derived from the first subscriber identifier (IMSI), determining the first subscriber identifier (IMSI) from the received subscriber identifier, and associating a subscriber directory identifier (MSISDN) with the determined subscriber identifier.

[0004] WO 2010/072242 A1 teaches a MME, wherein a subscriber identity received in an attach request from a mobile terminal is compared by the MME with at least one predetermined range of identities, and a service capability is selected in response to the result comparison. The selected service capability is then transmitted in an attach response to the terminal device.

SUMMARY



[0005] The invention is defined by the subject matter of the independent claims. Advantageous embodiments are subject to the dependent claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0006] 

Figure 1 illustrates an example subscriber data server including a subscriber record database.

Figure 2 illustrates a subscriber data server including an authentication database and a subscriber trace.

Figure 3 illustrates an example method of returning subscriber data using a subscriber identity pattern.

Figure 4 illustrates an example method of managing connections of devices served by a common subscriber record.

Figure 5 illustrates an example subscriber data server including computer executable instructions to provision a shared subscriber record.

Figure 6 illustrates an example subscriber data server including computer executable instructions for managing connection status of groups of devices sharing subscriber records.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EXAMPLES



[0007] Cellular network communications are often used for MTC. Existing cellular networks, such as Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard based networks, 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standard based networks, or Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard based networks, are designed to provide human voice and data communications. Operational, sizing, provisioning, and billing models may be based on the assumption that devices connect to the network for a long duration, each device is associated with a unique subscription, and each subscription is associated with a fixed address. For example, a subscriber data server, such as a home location register (HLR) or home subscriber server (HSS), may store a separate record for each subscriber device, typically keyed by an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) stored on a subscriber identity module (SIM).

[0008] Aspects of the disclosed technology may allow a single subscription record to control a group of devices. The devices may be configured to be normally disconnected from the network and to only connect for short intervals at random times. For example, the devices may use their connection times to upload data, download instructions, or perform other periodic communications as necessary for their specific applications. Accordingly, a single subscription may support a large group of M2M devices, such as loT devices. In some cases, the disclosed technology may be implemented in existing networks, such as existing GSM, 3GPP, or LTE standards.

[0009] Figure 1 illustrates an example subscriber data server 101 including a subscriber record database 103. For example, the subscriber data server 101 may be an HSS, an HLR, or a combined HSS/HLR system. In some implementations, the server 101 may be distributed across one or more physical or virtual machines. For example, the control module 102 and the subscriber record database 103 may be distributed across a group of physical server machines. Additionally, the illustrated functional modules may be implemented as software stored on a non-transitory computer readable medium, as hardware, or as a combination thereof.

[0010] The example subscriber record database 103 may store a subscriber record 104. The subscriber record 104 may include a primary subscriber identity 105. For example, the primary subscriber identity 105 may be a primary IMSI used as a key for the subscriber record 104. As other examples, the primary subscriber identity 105 may be an MSISDN associated with the subscriber record 104, an IPv6 address for a device within a group of devices controlled by the record 104, or any other unique key associated with the group of devices.

[0011] The subscriber record 104 may further include a subscriber identity pattern 106. The subscriber identity pattern 106 may be an information element that encompasses a range of different subscriber identities. The size of the range may determine the maximum number of devices that may be covered by a single subscriber record 104. In some implementations, the subscriber identity pattern 106 may be a wildcard element. For example, an IMSI wildcard such as 18121237??? would encompass IMSIs from 18121237000 to 18121237999. As another example, the subscriber identity pattern 106 may be a pair of elements that encompass a range of different subscriber identities. For example, the pattern 106 may be an IMSI along with a range size, such as (18121237000, 1000) would encompass IMSIs from 18121237000 to 18121237999. As a further example, the subscriber identity pattern 106 may be a range size associated with the primary subscriber identity 105 to encompass a range of different subscriber identities. For example, the pattern 106 may be a range such as 500. For a primary subscriber identity 105 of 18121237000, the pattern 106 of 500 would cover IMSIs from 18121237000 to 18121237499.

[0012] In some implementations, the size of the range covered by the subscriber identity pattern 106 may vary between different subscriber records 104. For example, a single group of devices may share a single subscriber record 104 and the range size may be configured according to the group size. In other implementations, the range size may be the same for all records 104. For example, each record may have a subscriber identity wildcard element with an equal number of wildcard characters.

[0013] The subscriber record 104 may further store a set of subscriber data 107 for the group of devices covered by the record 104. In some implementations, the subscriber data 107 may be various subscriber profile data stored in an HLR or HSS to enable devices to connect to cellular networks. For example, the subscriber profile data may include allowed access types, barred or allowed services, or other service features. The subscriber data 107 may also include information to assist the server in managing group of devices. For example, the subscriber data 107 may include a timeout period which defines a minimum time for which a device of the group is allowed to connect to the network. For example, the timeout period may be provisioned based on the needs of the devices served by the record. For example, a timeout period of 30 seconds would allow a maximum of 2 devices per minute, or 1440 device connections in a 12 hour slot, which would allow a 1000 device group to connect twice a day. As another example, the subscriber data 107 may include transient information such as the identity of a currently connected device and a timer of how long that device has been connected.

[0014] The example subscriber data server 101 may further include a control module 102. For example, the control module 102 may be implemented as software stored on a non-transitory computer readable medium and executed by a processor, as hardware, or as a combination thereof. For example, the control module 102 may implement the functionality of an HLR supporting a GSM or other cellular standard network, an HSS supporting an LTE or other network, or a combined HSS/HLR supporting multiple protocols on a network.

[0015] The control module 102 may receive an attach request for a device. For example, the attach request may be any message sent to the server 101 as part of a device attach or location update procedure. For example, the attach request may be an authentication message or location update request sent by a serving general packet radio service (GPRS) support node (SGSN), or a visitor location register/mobile service center (VLR/MSC) to an HLR. As another example, the attach request may be an authentication message or location update request sent by a mobile management entity (MME) to an HSS). The request may include a subscriber identity for the device, which may be different than the primary subscriber identity of a record 104 stored on the subscriber record database 103.

[0016] The control module 102 may retrieve a subscriber record 104 for the device by matching the identity in the request to a subscriber identity pattern 106 of a subscriber record 104. For example, the control module 102 may search the subscriber database 103 for a subscriber record 104 having a subscriber identity pattern 106 that encompasses the subscribed identity. The control module 102 may further determine a primary subscriber identity 105 that corresponds to the matched subscriber identity pattern 106.

[0017] The control module 102 may retrieve the subscriber data 107 from the subscriber record 104 using the primary subscriber identity 105 as a key. Alternatively, the control module 102 may retrieve the subscriber data 107 from the subscriber record 104 using the pattern 106 as a key. The control module 102 may then return the subscriber profile data 107 from the subscriber data 107. For example, the control module 102 may return the subscriber profile data 107 as an update location message.

[0018] The server 101 may receive a second attach request for a second device in the group of devices covered by the record 104. For example, the server 101 may receive the second attach request while the first device is still attached to the network. The server 101 may reject the connection attempt unless the timeout period following the first device's connection time has elapsed. If the first device's connection has exceeded the timeout period, then the sever 101 may cancel the first connection and allow the second device to attach.

[0019] For example, the control module 102 may receive a second attach request for a second device, the second request including a second subscriber identity matching the subscriber identity pattern. If the first device has been connected for at least a timeout period, the control module 102 may disconnect the first device. For example, the control module 102 may disconnect the first device by transmitting a cancel location message to the SGSN or MME currently supporting the first device. Additionally, the control module may return the subscriber data from the subscriber record to allow the second device to connect. For example, the control module may return the subscriber data as part of an update location message for the second device. If the first device has been connected for less than the timeout period, the control module 102 may transmit a refusal to the attach request. The second device may then try to connect later. For example, the second device may wait for a random back off time and attempt to reconnect after the back off period.

[0020] Figure 2 illustrates a subscriber data server 201 including an authentication database 208 and a subscriber trace 209. The server 201 may be an implementation of a server described with respect to Figure 1. For example, the control module 202, subscriber record database 203, subscriber record 204, primary identity 205, subscriber identity pattern 206, and subscriber data 207 may be as described with respect to control module 102, subscriber record database 103, subscriber record 104, primary identity 105, subscriber identity pattern 106, and subscriber data 107 of Figure 1, respectively.

[0021] In some implementations, the subscriber data server 201 may maintain a single authentication record for a plurality of subscriber identities matching the subscriber identity pattern. In this situation, the authentication information on the SIM cards of the devices served by a subscriber record 204 would be shared. For example, a SIM manufacturer may manufacture such custom SIM cards for a particular M2M deployment. In these implementations, the authentication record database 208 may store the single authentication record for the plurality of subscriber identities matching the subscriber identity pattern. For example, the authentication record may be keyed by the primary identity 205 or the subscriber identity pattern 206 of the corresponding subscriber record 204. In these implementations, during authentication, the control module 202 may retrieve authentication information keyed to the primary subscriber identity 205 or the subscriber identity pattern 206. The control module 202 may then return the retrieved information in an authentication response with the connecting device's identity.

[0022] In other implementations, the subscriber data server 201 may maintain separate authentication records for each subscriber identity served by a subscriber record 204. For example, this may accommodate the situation where each SIM card contains unique authentication information. In these implementations, the server 201 may maintain each authentication record keyed to the individual device's identity, such as its IMSI. In these implementations, during authentication, the control module 202 may retrieve the authentication information keyed to the connecting device's identity and return it in a message containing the same identity.

[0023] In some implementations, the subscriber data server 201 may include a log, such as a subscriber trace log. Records within the log may be keyed by device subscriber identity and may include connection attempt times for a device, successful connection times and connection time lengths, disconnection times, corresponding primary subscriber identities, or other useful information for tracking the behavior of devices served by a subscriber record 204.

[0024] Figure 3 illustrates an example method of returning subscriber data using a subscriber identity pattern. In some implementations, the example method may be performed by an HLR or an HSS. For example, the method of Figure 3 may be implemented during operation of a subscriber data server such as the subscriber data server 101 of Figure 1 or the subscriber data server 201 of Figure 2.

[0025] The example method may include block 301. Block 301 may include receiving an attach request for a device, the request including a subscriber identity for the device. For example, the attach request may be any message sent to the server as part of a device attach or location update procedure. For example, the attach request may be an authentication message or location update request sent by a serving general packet radio service (GPRS) support node (SGSN), or a visitor location register/mobile service center (VLR/MSC) to an HLR. As another example, the attach request may be an authentication message or location update request sent by a mobile management entity (MME) to an HSS). The request may include a subscriber identity for the device, such as an IMSI or MSISDN of the device.

[0026] The example method may further include block 302. Block 302 may include matching the subscriber identity to a subscriber identity pattern. For example, the subscriber identity pattern may be a wildcard field stored within a subscriber record of a subscriber profile database. Matching the subscriber identity may include matching a stored wildcard to the subscriber identity.

[0027] The example method may further include block 303. Block 303 may include retrieving a subscriber record using the subscriber identity pattern. For example, block 303 may include using the subscriber identity pattern as a key to a subscriber record. As another example, block 303 may include using the subscriber identity pattern to determine a primary subscriber identity associated with the subscriber identity pattern and using the primary subscriber identity as a key to the subscriber record.

[0028] The example method may further include block 304. Block 304 may include retrieving subscriber data from the subscriber record. For example, the subscriber data may include subscriber profile data that is shared by a group of devices having identities that match the subscriber identity pattern. For example, the subscriber profile data may include information provided by an HLR or HSS to an SGSN or MME during attach or update procedures.

[0029] The example method may further include block 305. Block 305 may include returning the subscriber data. For example, block 305 may include returning the subscriber data as a response to the attach request received in block 301. The response may include the device identity received in the attach request along with the subscriber data keyed to the primary subscriber identity.

[0030] Figure 4 illustrates an example method of managing connections of devices served by a common subscriber record. In some implementations, the example method may be performed by an HLR or an HSS. For example, the method of Figure 4 may be implemented during operation of a subscriber data server such as the subscriber data server 101 of Figure 1 or the subscriber data server 201 of Figure 2.

[0031] The example method may include block 401. Block 401 may include receiving an authentication request. The authentication request may include a device identity, such as an IMSI, of a first device that is managed by a shared subscriber record. For example, the authentication request may be sent by an SGSN, or an MSC/VLR during an initial network attach or location update procedure.

[0032] The example method may also include block 402. Block 402 may include obtaining the requested authentication information for the device from an authentication record database. Block 402 may further include returning the authentication information as a response to the authentication request received in block 401.

[0033] In some implementations, block 402 may include matching the device identity from the authentication request to a subscriber identity pattern. In this example, block 402 may include retrieving authentication information based on the subscriber identity pattern. In this case, the authentication information may be shared between devices matching the subscriber identity pattern. As another example, block 402 may include using the subscriber identity pattern to retrieve a primary subscriber identity for a shared subscriber record, and using the primary subscriber identity as a key to the shared authentication information.

[0034] In other implementations, block 402 may include using the device identity from the authentication request as a key to the authentication information. In these implementations, the authentication information may be unique to the device.

[0035] The example method may further include block 403. Block 403 may include receiving an attach request for the first device. For example, block 403 may be performed as described with respect to block 301 of Figure 3.

[0036] The example method may further include block 404. Block 404 may include retrieving a subscriber record shared by the first device and other devices of a group of devices. For example, block 404 may be performed as described with respect to blocks 303 and 303 of Figure 3.

[0037] The example method may further include block 405. Block 405 may include returning subscriber data retrieved from the subscriber record retrieved in block 404. For example, block 405 may be performed as described with respect to block 304 of Figure 3.

[0038] The example method may further include block 406. Block 406 may include receiving a second attached request for a second device. The second request may include a second subscriber identity, such as a second IMSI, for the second device. The second device may be another device in a group of devices sharing the subscription record with the first device. In this case, the second subscriber identity will match the subscriber identity pattern of the subscriber record retrieved in block 404.

[0039] The example method may further include block 407. Block 407 may include determining if the first device has been connected for at least a timeout period. For example, the timeout period may be retrieved from the subscriber record retrieved in block 404. Additionally, the time for which the first device has been connected may be stored as temporary data in the subscriber record.

[0040] If the first device has been connected for at least a timeout period, then blocks 408 and 409 may be performed. If the first device has been connected for less than the timeout period then block 410 may be performed.

[0041] Block 408 may include disconnecting the first device. For example, block 408 may include transmitting a cancel location message to the SGSN or MSC/VLR to which the first device is currently associated.

[0042] Block 409 may include granted the second attach request. for example, block 409 may include returning the subscriber data as a response to the second attach request 406 as described with respect to block 405.

[0043] Block 410 may include refusing to grant the second attach request. For example, block 410 may include transmitting a refusal as a response to the second attach request received in block 406.

[0044] Figure 5 illustrates an example subscriber data server 501 including computer executable instructions to provision a shared subscriber record. For example, the data server 501 may be an HLR or HSS and may be an implementation of the servers described with respect to Figures 1 and 2.

[0045] The server 501 may include a non-transitory computer readable medium 504. For example, the medium 504 may include memory such as random access memory (RAM), storage such as hard disk, or solid state storage, or a combination thereof.

[0046] The medium 504 may store a first set of instructions 505 that are executable by a processor 503. The first set of instructions 505 may be executed to obtain a subscriber identity pattern. For example, the subscriber pattern may be a wildcard field or other information element that covers a range of subscriber identities. For example, the subscriber identity pattern may be as described with respect to pattern 106 of Figure 1. In some cases, the instructions 505 may be executable to retrieve the subscriber pattern from a user through a provisioning user interface 502. In other cases, the instructions 505 may be executable to generate the subscriber pattern from other information, such as a primary subscriber identity key received through the interface 502.

[0047] The medium 504 may store a second set of instructions 506 that are executable by the processor 503. The instructions 506 may be executable to obtain a primary subscriber identity corresponding to the subscriber identity pattern. For example, the primary subscriber identity may be as described with respect to identity 105 of Figure 1 and may serve as a key for the shared subscriber record. In some cases, the instructions 506 may be executable to generate the primary subscriber key from the subscriber identity pattern. In other cases, the instructions 506 may be executable to receive the primary subscriber key via the interface 502.

[0048] The medium 504 may store a third set of instructions 507 that are executable by the processor 503. The instructions 507 may be executable to obtain subscriber data for a set of devices having subscriber identities matching the subscriber identity pattern. For example, the subscriber data may be as described with respect to subscriber data 107 of Figure 1. In some implementations, the data 107 may be received via the provisioning user interface 502.

[0049] The medium 504 may store a fourth set of instructions 508 that are executable by the processor 503. The instructions 508 may be executable to provision a subscriber record keyed to the primary subscriber identity and including the subscriber identity pattern and the subscriber data. For example, the instructions 508 may be executable to use the obtained information to create a subscriber record and store the subscriber record on a subscriber record database 510. For example, the subscriber record may be as described with respect to subscriber record 104 of Figure 1 and the subscriber record database 501 may be as described with respect to database 103.

[0050] The medium 506 may also store a fifth set of instructions 509. The instructions 509 may be executable to provision authentication records for the subscribers in an authentication database 511. For example, the authentication records and database 511 may be as described with respect to authentication records 208 of Figure 2. In some cases, the instructions 509 may be executable to provision separate authentication records for a set of devices matching the primary subscriber identity.

[0051] Figure 6 illustrates an example subscriber data server 601 including computer executable instructions for managing connection status of groups of devices sharing subscriber records. For example, the data server 601 may be an HLR or HSS and may be an implementation of the servers described with respect to Figures 1, 2, and 5.

[0052] The example server 601 may include a non-transitory computer readable medium 605. For example, the medium 605 may include memory such as random access memory (RAM), storage such as hard disk, or solid state storage, or a combination thereof.

[0053] The medium 605 may store a first set of instructions 606. Instructions 606 may be executable by a processor 604 to receive information for shared subscriber records and authentication records via a user interface 602. Instructions 606 may be further executable by the processor 604 to provision the corresponding records in a subscriber record database 610 and an authentication database. For example, instruction set 606 may be as described with respect to instructions 505-509 of Figure 5.

[0054] Medium 605 may further store instruction set 607. Instruction set 607 may be executable by the processor 604 to receive an attach request via a network interface for a subscriber device. The attach request may be for a requesting device having a first subscriber identity matching a subscriber identity pattern of a subscriber record. In some cases, a currently attached subscriber device may be connected to the cellular network using the subscriber record. Accordingly, the currently attached subscriber device may have a second subscriber identity matching the subscriber identity pattern.

[0055] Medium 605 may store instruction set 608. Instruction set 608 may be executable by the processor 604 to evaluate the connection time of the currently attached subscriber device. For example, instruction set 608 may be executable to retrieve a current connection length of the current device from the subscriber record and to compare that connection length to a timeout period. In some cases, the timeout period may be stored in the subscriber record.

[0056] Medium 605 may store instruction set 609. Instruction set 609 may be executable to respond to the attach request according to the connection length of the currently attached device. For example, if the currently attached device has been attached for less than the timeout period, the instructions 609 may be executable to deny the attach request. If the currently attached device has been attached for more than the timeout period, the instructions 609 may be executable to disconnect the currently attached device and grant the attach request. For example, the instructions 609 may be executable to cause the server 601 to transmit a cancel location message for the first device and to transmit an update location message for the second device.

[0057] In the foregoing description, numerous details are set forth to provide an understanding of the subject disclosed herein. However, implementations may be practiced without some or all of these details. Other implementations may include modifications and variations from the details discussed above. It is intended that the appended claims cover such modifications and variations.


Claims

1. A subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601), comprising:

a subscriber record database (103, 203, 510, 610) configured to store a subscriber record (104, 204), wherein the subscriber record (104, 204) comprises a primary subscriber identity (105, 205) being a unique key associated with a group of devices, a subscriber identity pattern (106, 206) being an information element that encompasses a range of different subscriber identities covered by the subscriber record (104, 204), and subscriber data (107, 207) including subscriber profile data for the group of devices covered by the subscriber record (104, 204), wherein the subscriber profile data comprises allowed access types, barred or allowed services, or other service features; and

a control module (102, 202) configured to:

receive (301) an attach request for a device, the attach request including a subscriber identity for the device, the subscriber identity being different than the primary subscriber identity (105, 205);

retrieve (303) the subscriber record (104, 204) by matching (302) the subscriber identity included in the attach request to the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206); and

return (305) the subscriber profile data from the subscriber record (104, 204).


 
2. The subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) of claim 1, wherein the control module (102, 202) is configured to:

receive a second attach request for a second device, the second request including a second subscriber identity matching the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206); and

if the first device has been connected for at least a timeout period:

disconnect (408) the first device, and

return (409) the subscriber data (107, 207) from the subscriber record (104, 204) to allow the second device to connect.


 
3. The subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) of claim 1 or 2, further comprising:
an authentication record database (208, 511, 611) to store a single authentication record for a plurality of subscriber identities matching the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206).
 
4. The subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) of claim 1 or 2, further comprising:
an authentication record database (208, 511, 611) configured to store a separate authentication record for separate subscriber identities matching the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206).
 
5. The subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) of one of claims 1 to 4, further comprising:
a log to store, for a device, connection attempt times, connect times, disconnect times, device subscriber identity, and primary subscriber identity (105, 205).
 
6. The subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) of one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the subscriber profile data for the group of devices covered by the subscriber record (104, 204) comprises a timeout period which defines a minimum time for which a device of the group is allowed to connect to the network.
 
7. The subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) of one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) is a home location register, HLR, and the attach request is an authentication message or location update request received from a serving general packet radio service, GPRS, support node, SGSN, a visitor location register/mobile service center, VLR/MSC, to an HLR; or the subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) is a home subscriber server, HSS, and the attach request is an authentication message or location update request receive from a mobile management entity, MME.
 
8. A method for execution by a subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601), the method comprising:

receiving (301) an attach request for a device, the request including a subscriber identity for the device which is different from a primary subscriber identity (105, 205);

matching (302) the subscriber identity to a subscriber identity pattern (106, 206);

retrieving (303) a subscriber record (104, 204) using the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206);

retrieving (304) subscriber data (107, 207) from the subscriber record (104, 204), wherein the subscriber record (104, 204) comprises the primary subscriber identity (105, 205) being a unique key associated with a group of devices, the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206) being an information element that encompasses a range of different subscriber identities covered by the subscriber record (104, 204), and the subscriber data (107, 207) including subscriber profile data for the group of devices covered by the subscriber record (104, 204), wherein the subscriber profile data comprises allowed access types, barred or allowed services, or other service features; and

returning (305) the subscriber data (107, 207).


 
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising:

retrieving (402) authentication information keyed to the primary subscriber identity (105, 205) or the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206), the authentication information being shared between the group of devices matching the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206); and

returning the authentication information.


 
10. The method of claim 8, further comprising:

retrieving (402) authentication information keyed to the subscriber identity for the device, the authentication information being unique to the device; and

returning the authentication information.


 
11. The method of one of claims 8 to 10, further comprising:

receiving a second attach request for a second device, the second request including a second subscriber identity for the second device;

matching the subscriber identity pattern (106, 206);

if the first device has been connected for at least a timeout period:

disconnecting (408) the first device, and

returning (409) the subscriber data (107, 207) from the subscriber record (104, 204) in a response to the second attach request.


 
12. The method of claim 11, further comprising:
returning (410) a refusal to grant the second attach request, if the first device has been connected for less than the timeout period.
 
13. The method of one of claims 8 to 12, wherein the subscriber profile data for the group of devices covered by the subscriber record (104, 204) comprises a timeout period which defines a minimum time for which a device of the group is allowed to connect to the network.
 
14. The method of one of claims 8 to 13, wherein the subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) is a home location register, HLR, and the attach request is an authentication message or location update request received from a serving general packet radio service, GPRS, support node, SGSN, a visitor location register/mobile service center, VLR/MSC, to an HLR; or the subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) is a home subscriber server, HSS, and the attach request is an authentication message or location update request receive from a mobile management entity, MME.
 
15. A computer readable medium storing instructions that, when executed by a subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601), cause the subscriber data server (101, 201, 501, 601) to perform the method according to one of claims 8 to 14.
 


Ansprüche

1. Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601), Folgendes umfassend:

eine Teilnehmerdatensatzdatenbank (103, 203, 510, 610), die konfiguriert ist, um einen Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) zu speichern, wobei der Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) eine primäre Teilnehmeridentität (105, 205), die ein eindeutiger Schlüssel ist, der einer Gruppe von Vorrichtungen zugeordnet ist, ein Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206), das ein Informationselement ist, das eine Reihe von verschiedenen Teilnehmeridentitäten umschließt, die durch den Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) abgedeckt sind, und Teilnehmerdaten (107, 207), einschließlich Teilnehmerprofildaten für die Gruppe von Vorrichtungen, die durch den Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) abgedeckt sind, umfasst, wobei die Teilnehmerprofildaten erlaubte Zugriffstypen, gesperrte oder erlaubte Dienste oder andere Dienstmerkmale umfassen; und

ein Kontrollmodul (102, 202), das konfiguriert ist, um:

eine Anschließ-Anforderung für eine Vorrichtung zu empfangen (301), wobei die Anschließ-Anforderung eine Teilnehmeridentität für die Vorrichtung enthält, wobei sich die Teilnehmeridentität von der primären Teilnehmeridentität (105, 205) unterscheidet;

den Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) abzurufen (303), durch Übereinstimmen (302) der in der Anschließ-Anforderung enthaltenen Teilnehmeridentität mit dem Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206); und

die Teilnehmerprofildaten aus dem Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) zurückzugeben (305).


 
2. Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Kontrollmodul (102, 202) konfiguriert ist, um:

eine zweite Anschließ-Anforderung für eine zweite Vorrichtung zu empfangen, wobei die zweite Anforderung eine zweite Teilnehmeridentität enthält, die mit dem Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206) übereinstimmt; und

wenn die erste Vorrichtung für mindestens eine Zeitüberschreitungsdauer verbunden war:

die erste Vorrichtung zu trennen (408) und

die Teilnehmerdaten (107, 207) aus dem Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) zurückzugeben (409), um der zweiten Vorrichtung die Verbindung zu ermöglichen.


 
3. Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, ferner Folgendes umfassend:
eine Authentifizierungsdatensatzdatenbank (208, 511, 611), um einen einzelnen Authentifizierungsdatensatz für mehrere Teilnehmeridentitäten zu speichern, die mit dem Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206) übereinstimmen.
 
4. Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, ferner Folgendes umfassend:
eine Authentifizierungsdatensatzdatenbank (208, 511, 611), die konfiguriert ist, um einen separaten Authentifizierungsdatensatz für separate Teilnehmeridentitäten zu speichern, die mit dem Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206) übereinstimmen.
 
5. Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, ferner Folgendes umfassend:
ein Protokoll, um für eine Vorrichtung Verbindungsversuchszeiten, Verbindungszeiten, Trennzeiten, Vorrichtungsteilnehmeridentität und primäre Teilnehmeridentität (105, 205) zu speichern.
 
6. Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei die Teilnehmerprofildaten für die Gruppe von Vorrichtungen, die durch den Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) abgedeckt sind, eine Zeitüberschreitungsdauer umfassen, die eine Mindestzeit definiert, für die eine Vorrichtung der Gruppe eine Verbindung mit dem Netzwerk herstellen darf.
 
7. Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei der Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) ein Heimatregister, HLR, ist und die Anschließ-Anforderung eine Authentifizierungsnachricht oder eine Standort-Aktualisierungsanforderung ist, die von einem dienenden allgemeinen Paketfunkdienst, GPRS, Support-Knoten, SGSN, einem Besucherregister/mobilen Servicezentrum, VLR/MSC, an ein HLR empfangen wird; oder der Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) ein Heimteilnehmerserver, HSS, ist und die Anschließ-Anforderung eine Authentifizierungsnachricht oder eine Standort-Aktualisierungsanforderung ist, die von einer mobilen Verwaltungseinheit, MME, empfangen wird.
 
8. Verfahren zur Ausführung durch einen Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601), das Verfahren Folgendes umfassend:

das Empfangen (301) einer Anschließ-Anforderung für eine Vorrichtung, wobei die Anforderung eine Teilnehmeridentität für die Vorrichtung enthält, die sich von einer primären Teilnehmeridentität (105, 205) unterscheidet;

das Übereinstimmen (302) der Teilnehmeridentität mit einem Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206);

das Abrufen (303) eines Teilnehmerdatensatzes (104, 204) unter Verwendung des Teilnehmeridentitätsmusters (106, 206);

das Abrufen (304) von Teilnehmerdaten (107, 207) aus dem Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204), wobei der Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) die primäre Teilnehmeridentität (105, 205), die ein eindeutiger Schlüssel ist, der einer Gruppe von Vorrichtungen zugeordnet ist, das Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206), das ein Informationselement ist, das eine Reihe von verschiedenen Teilnehmeridentitäten umschließt, die durch den Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) abgedeckt sind, und die Teilnehmerdaten (107, 207), einschließlich Teilnehmerprofildaten für die Gruppe von Vorrichtungen, die durch den Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) abgedeckt sind, umfasst, wobei die Teilnehmerprofildaten erlaubte Zugriffstypen, gesperrte oder erlaubte Dienste oder andere Dienstmerkmale umfassen; und

das Zurückgeben (305) der Teilnehmerdaten (107, 207).


 
9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, ferner Folgendes umfassend:

das Abrufen (402) von Authentifizierungsinformationen, die mit der primären Teilnehmeridentität (105, 205) oder dem Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206) verschlüsselt sind, wobei die Authentifizierungsinformationen zwischen der Gruppe von Vorrichtungen freigegeben sind, die mit dem Teilnehmeridentitätsmuster (106, 206) übereinstimmen; und

das Zurückgeben der Authentifizierungsinformationen.


 
10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, ferner Folgendes umfassend:

das Abrufen (402) von Authentifizierungsinformationen, die mit der Teilnehmeridentität für die Vorrichtung verschlüsselt sind, wobei die Authentifizierungsinformationen für die Vorrichtung eindeutig sind; und

das Zurückgeben der Authentifizierungsinformationen.


 
11. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 10, ferner Folgendes umfassend:

das Empfangen einer zweiten Anschließ-Anforderung für eine zweite Vorrichtung, wobei die zweite Anforderung eine zweite Teilnehmeridentität für die zweite Vorrichtung enthält;

das Übereinstimmen des Teilnehmeridentitätsmusters (106, 206);

wenn die erste Vorrichtung für mindestens eine Zeitüberschreitungsdauer verbunden war:

das Trennen (408) der ersten Vorrichtung, und

das Zurückgeben (409) der Teilnehmerdaten (107, 207) aus dem Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) als Antwort auf die zweite Anschließ-Anforderung.


 
12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, ferner Folgendes umfassend:
das Zurückgeben (410) einer Verweigerung, die zweite Anschließ-Anforderung zu gewähren, wenn die erste Vorrichtung weniger als die Zeitüberschreitungsdauer verbunden war.
 
13. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 12, wobei die Teilnehmerprofildaten für die Gruppe von Vorrichtungen, die durch den Teilnehmerdatensatz (104, 204) abgedeckt sind, eine Zeitüberschreitungsdauer umfassen, die eine Mindestzeit definiert, für die eine Vorrichtung der Gruppe eine Verbindung mit dem Netzwerk herstellen darf.
 
14. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 13, wobei der Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) ein Heimatregister, HLR, ist und die Anschließ-Anforderung eine Authentifizierungsnachricht oder eine Standort-Aktualisierungsanforderung ist, die von einem dienenden allgemeinen Paketfunkdienst, GPRS, Support-Knoten, SGSN, einem Besucherregister/mobilen Servicezentrum, VLR/MSC, an ein HLR empfangen wird; oder der Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) ein Heimteilnehmerserver, HSS, ist und die Anschließ-Anforderung eine Authentifizierungsnachricht oder eine Standort-Aktualisierungsanforderung ist, die von einer mobilen Verwaltungseinheit, MME, empfangen wird.
 
15. Computerlesbares Medium, das Anweisungen speichert, die, wenn sie von einem Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) ausgeführt werden, den Teilnehmerdatenserver (101, 201, 501, 601) veranlassen, das Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 14 auszuführen.
 


Revendications

1. Serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601), comprenant :

une base de données d'enregistrement d'abonné (103, 203, 510, 610) configurée pour stocker un enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204), l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) comprenant une identité d'abonné principale (105, 205) étant une clé unique associée à un groupe de dispositifs, un motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) étant un élément d'information qui regroupe une série de différentes identités d'abonné traitées par l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) et des données d'abonné (107, 207) comportant des données de profil d'abonné du groupe de dispositifs traitées par l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204), les données de profil d'abonné comprenant des types d'accès autorisés, des services interdits ou autorisés ou d'autres caractéristiques de service ; et

un module de commande (102, 202) configuré pour :

recevoir (301) une demande de rattachement pour un dispositif, la demande de rattachement comportant une identité d'abonné pour le dispositif, l'identité d'abonné étant différente de l'identité d'abonné principale (105, 205) ;

récupérer (303) l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) en faisant correspondre (302) l'identité d'abonné incluse dans la demande de rattachement au motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) ; et

renvoyer (305) les données de profil d'abonné provenant de l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204).


 
2. Serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le module de commande (102, 202) est configuré pour :

recevoir une seconde demande de rattachement pour un second dispositif, la seconde demande comportant une seconde identité d'abonné correspondant au motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) ; et

si le premier dispositif a été connecté pendant au moins une période de temporisation :

déconnecter (408) le premier dispositif, et

renvoyer (409) les données d'abonné (107, 207) provenant de l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) pour permettre au second dispositif de se connecter.


 
3. Serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant en outre :
une base de données d'enregistrement d'authentification (208, 511, 611) pour stocker un enregistrement d'authentification unique pour une pluralité d'identités d'abonné correspondant au motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206).
 
4. Serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant en outre :
une base de données d'enregistrement d'authentification (208, 511, 611) configurée pour stocker un enregistrement d'authentification distinct pour des identités d'abonné distinctes correspondant au motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206).
 
5. Serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) selon l'une des revendications 1 à 4, comprenant en outre :
un journal permettant de stocker, pour un dispositif, le nombre de tentatives de connexion, le nombre de connexions, le nombre de déconnexions, l'identité d'abonné du dispositif et l'identité d'abonné principale (105, 205).
 
6. Serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) selon l'une des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel les données de profil d'abonné du groupe de dispositifs traitées par l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) comprennent une période de temporisation qui définit une durée minimale pendant laquelle un dispositif du groupe est autorisé à se connecter au réseau.
 
7. Serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) selon l'une des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel le serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) est un registre des abonnés locaux, HLR, et la demande de rattachement est un message d'authentification ou une demande de mise à jour de localisation reçue en provenance d'un service général de radiotransmission par paquets, GPRS, d'un nœud de support, SGSN, d'un enregistreur de localisation de visiteurs/centre de service mobile, VLR/MSC, à un HLR ; ou
le serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) est un serveur d'abonné local, HSS, et la demande de rattachement est un message d'authentification ou une demande de mise à jour de localisation reçue en provenance d'une entité de gestion mobile, MME.
 
8. Procédé d'exécution par un serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601), le procédé comprenant :

la réception (301) d'une demande de rattachement d'un dispositif, la demande comportant une identité d'abonné pour le dispositif qui est différente d'une identité d'abonné principale (105, 205) ;

la mise en correspondance (302) de l'identité d'abonné avec un motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) ;

la récupération (303) d'un enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) en utilisant le motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) ;

la récupération (304) des données d'abonné (107, 207) provenant de l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204), l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) comprenant l'identité d'abonné principale (105, 205) étant une clé unique associée à un groupe de dispositifs, le motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) étant un élément d'information qui regroupe une série de différentes identités d'abonné traitées par l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) et les données d'abonné (107, 207) comportant les données de profil d'abonné du groupe de dispositifs traitées par l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204), les données de profil d'abonné comprenant des types d'accès autorisés, des services interdits ou autorisés, ou d'autres caractéristiques de service ; et

le renvoi (305) des données d'abonné (107, 207).


 
9. Procédé selon la revendication 8, comprenant outre :

la récupération (402) d'informations d'authentification saisies sur l'identité d'abonné principale (105, 205) ou le motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206), les informations d'authentification étant partagées entre le groupe de dispositifs correspondant au motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) ; et

le renvoi des informations d'authentification.


 
10. Procédé selon la revendication 8, comprenant en outre :

la récupération (402) des informations d'authentification saisies sur l'identité d'abonné pour le dispositif, les informations d'authentification étant uniques au dispositif ; et

le renvoi des informations d'authentification.


 
11. Procédé selon l'une des revendications 8 à 10, comprenant en outre :

la réception d'une seconde demande de rattachement pour un second dispositif, la seconde demande comportant une seconde identité d'abonné pour le second dispositif ;

la mise en correspondance du motif d'identité d'abonné (106, 206) ;

si le premier dispositif a été connecté pendant au moins une période de temporisation :

la déconnexion (408) du premier dispositif, et

le renvoi (409) des données d'abonné (107, 207) provenant de l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) en réponse à la seconde demande de rattachement.


 
12. Procédé selon la revendication 11, comprenant en outre :
le renvoi (410) d'un refus d'accepter la seconde demande de rattachement, si le premier dispositif a été connecté pendant une période inférieure à la période de temporisation.
 
13. Procédé selon l'une des revendications 8 à 12, dans lequel les données de profil d'abonné du groupe de dispositifs traitées par l'enregistrement d'abonné (104, 204) comprennent une période de temporisation qui définit une durée minimale pendant laquelle un dispositif du groupe est autorisé à se connecter au réseau.
 
14. Procédé selon l'une des revendications 8 à 13, dans lequel le serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) est un registre des abonnés locaux, HLR, et la demande de rattachement est un message d'authentification ou une demande de mise à jour de localisation reçue en provenance d'un service général de radiotransmission par paquets, GPRS, d'un nœud de support, SGSN, d'un enregistreur de localisation de visiteurs/centre de service mobile, VLR/MSC, à un HLR ; ou
le serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) est un serveur d'abonné local, HSS, et la demande de rattachement est un message d'authentification ou une demande de mise à jour de localisation reçue en provenance d'une entité de gestion mobile, MME.
 
15. Support lisible par ordinateur stockant des instructions qui, lorsqu'elles sont exécutées par un serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601), amènent le serveur de données d'abonné (101, 201, 501, 601) à exécuter le procédé selon l'une des revendications 8 à 14.
 




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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