VIRTUAL DEDICATED CONNECTION tion pathway from the requesting device to the connected
SYSTEM AND METHOD remote device over the data network.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/507,244 entitled "Virtual Dedicated Connection Process," filed on Sep. 30, 2003. The entire disclosure of this application is incorporated herein by reference. 10
1. Technical Field
This application generally relates to systems and methods 15 for connecting electronic devices to a communication network.
2. Description of the Related Art
Various systems are known for connecting electronic 2Q devices to a communication network. Both narrowband and broadband technology solutions have become pervasive in the last few decades. Narrowband is a comparatively thin slice of bandwidth that is allocated to transmission of voice and data signals. Data communication speeds are usually limited 25 by analog modem technology or the bandwidth available through typical wireless transmission protocols. Narrowband technologies include dial-back, direct-dial and product/user initiated dial-up telephone connections, typically using analog and/or digital modem technology. These technologies 3Q typically provide intermittent network connectivity—i.e., when a user initiates a dial-up connection—and also provide limited two-way access, are costly, and provide limited security. Dial-back technology can provide a higher level of security over direct dial network connections that only require a 35 login and password, but security risks remain depending upon the type of equipment utilized. Moreover, dial-back technologies typically require special firewalls and dial-back passwords, which limits their utility.
Broadband technologies include DSL, Tl and Cable. Com- 40 panies typically select broadband technologies for network device connectivity when they need dedicated, full-time connections for remote offices, users or devices. Broadband is not necessarily the best solution for all forms of remote access connectivity, however, because enterprises typically do not 45 implement—or need—dedicated connections to all of their remote systems due to cost and availability of these broadband services.
A system and method of enabling network-based communication between a requesting device and a disconnected remote device over a data network is provided. The method begins by transmitting a network address request message 55 from the requesting device to an address resolution server. The network address request message is received at the address resolution server, and subsequently a validation message is transmitted to the disconnected remote device to determine if the disconnected remote device is disconnected from 60 the data network. If no response is received to the validation message, then an activation signal is generated and transmitting to the disconnected remote device. In response to the activation signal, the remote device obtains a network address and connects to the data network. The obtained network 65 address for the connected remote device is then provided to the requesting device to enable a network-based communica
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an exemplary system diagram showing a variety of interconnected virtual dedicated channel system implementations;
FIG. 2 is a combined process flow diagram and connection state diagram corresponding to the exemplary system diagram of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is an exemplary hardware/software implementation diagram of a virtual dedicated channel system.
Turning now to the drawing figures, FIG. 1 is an exemplary system diagram 10 showing a variety of interconnected virtual dedicated channel (VDC) system implementations. This diagram 10 represents a complete VDC enabled two-way virtual private network (VPN). Typically, two-way VPN connections are limited to devices that are accessible only through a dedicated network. The VDC process, however, extends two-way access to dial-up modems and restricted VPN connections that do not necessarily include dedicated network connectivity.
An Example VDC System
The VDC system diagram 10 is divided into five segments that represent different types of VDC-enabled networks. The upper right 14 and lower right 16 segments represent VDCenabled Internet Service Providers (public networks), each having customers with VDC-enabled sub-networks, devices, or systems.
The upper right 16 Internet Service Provider sub-system provides managed network services. This sub-system managed network 34 connects to the Internet 12 via high-speed connection 14A. The managed network 34 in turn connects to the VDC-enabled devices 48, including the IP-PBX and VDC Server 64 components. The IP-PBX is a digital, IP-based PBX server that connects the managed network 34 to an external telephone system 24. The managed network 34 is also coupled to two sub-nets through a pair of managed firewalls. One sub-net (the upper right sub-net), routes data through a DSL-router to an Intranet network 28 that may couple to one or more remote devices and/or remote servers, which may be subject to remote network activation according to the VDC process. The second sub-net (the lower right sub-net), routes data through a remote access port to a telephone network 24, which couples to either a remote server 50 or to an additional sub-network comprising an analog router, Intranet network 28 and one or more remote devices and/or remote servers that may be subject to remote network activation according to the VDC process.
The lower right Internet Service Provider sub-system 16 is identical in structure with the upper right sub-system 14, except that it does not provide a managed ISP network 34 including the managed firewalls. A VDC server component 64 is provided within the VDC-enabled equipment 44 for providing control over remote activation signaling for the one or more remote devices and/or remote servers 46 according to the VDC process.
In the center of the page is the Internet 12 (public network) segment. This network 12 connects to each of the four VDCenabled segments 14, 16, 18, 20 via a corresponding high speed connection 14A, 16A, 18A, 20A.
The upper and lower left segments 18, 20 represent private corporate networks with dedicated Internet connections 18A,