US 8102863 High-speed WAN to wireless LAN gateway

ABSTRACT – A gateway interconnecting a high speed Wide Area Network (WAN) and a lower speed Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is provided. The high speed WAN is preferably connected to the gateway via a Fiber-to-the Home (FTTH) connection and associated FTTH modem. In general, the gateway includes an adaptable cross-layer offload engine operating to manage bandwidth between the high speed WAN and the lower speed WLAN. As data enters the gateway from the WAN at the high speed data rate of the WAN, the offload engine stores the data in a non-secure data cache. A rule check engine performs a stateless or stateful inspection of the data in the non-secure data cache. Thereafter, the data is moved from the non-secure data cache to a secure data cache and thereafter transmitted to an appropriate user device in the WLAN at the lower data rate of the WLAN.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a gateway device and more particularly relates to a gateway device interconnecting a high speed Wide Area Network (WAN) to a lower speed Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Historically, residential gateways provided a routing function from an in-home Local Area Network (LAN) to a Wide Area Network (WAN) based Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) or Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) connection. Bandwidth available from the WAN ranged from 200 kbps to 6 Mbps. The LAN side of the gateway was either a single or multiple 10/100Bt Ethernet connections serving client computers. Eventually, these Ethernet connections were replaced with wireless IEEE 802.11b/a/g LANs operating from 6 to 50 Mbps. The smaller bandwidth capabilities of the WAN versus the LAN kept downstream traffic flow simple in the gateway. Upstream traffic from the LAN to WAN was seldom an issue because users were less sensitive to this bottleneck. A typical upstream bottleneck scenario would be sending an email with a large attachment. In this situation, the Transfer Control Protocol (TCP) service of the gateway would simply throttle the LAN connection to the appropriate speed for the WAN.

With the advent of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks, the traditional scenario described above has been reversed. In a FTTH network, a high speed FTTH data connection is provided to the residential gateway. The FTTH data connection provides data rates in the range of 1 to 10 Gbps. In contrast, the proposed IEEE 802.11n standard for wireless LANs provides data rates in the range of 100 to 500 Mbps. As such, the traditional residential gateway architecture will limit overall performance to the wireless LAN bandwidth, thereby negating much of the value of the FTTH connection. Thus, there is a need for an improved residential gateway architecture for interconnecting a high speed WAN to a lower speed wireless LAN.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a gateway interconnecting a high speed Wide Area Network (WAN) and a lower speed Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). The high speed WAN is preferably connected to the gateway via a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) connection and associated FTTH modem. In general, the gateway includes an adaptable cross-layer offload engine operating to manage bandwidth between the high speed WAN and the lower speed WLAN. As data enters the gateway from the WAN at the high speed data rate of the WAN, the offload engine stores the data in a non-secure data cache. A rule check engine performs a stateless or stateful inspection of the data in the non-secure data cache. Once inspected by the rule check engine, the data is moved from the non-secure cache to the secure cache and thereafter transmitted to an appropriate user device in the WLAN at a lower data rate of the WLAN.

Prior to transmitting the data, the gateway may also perform additional functions such as, but not limited to, file format conversion, Digital Rights Management (DRM) encoding or decoding, and Data Encryption Standard (DES) encryption or decryption.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate the scope of the present invention and realize additional aspects thereof after reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments in association with the accompanying drawing figures.

 

 

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