On May 19, 2011, the USPTO published patent application 12/620,421, Location-Based Network Detection. The concept will sound familiar to anyone who has been following the recent controversy regarding "location tracking" by the iPhone.
This is not the first application to be published on the topic. For instance, on March 3, 2011, application 12/553,534, Location Histories for Location Aware Devices, was published. That application focuses on the process of storing network transmitted information in a database, and translating the data into position coordinates.
A mobile device establishes communication with a number of wireless cellular networks at particular locations and records the locations and network information associated with the wireless cellular networks. The network information can be used to narrow a search for an available wireless cellular network from a plurality of potentially available wireless cellular networks when the mobile device is operating at a stored location. In one aspect, a Radio Frequency (RF) receiver on a mobile device can receive a broadcast radio signal from a transmitter and use the signal to determine an approximate location of the device based on a known location of the transmitter. A match between the approximate device location and wireless cellular network transmitters in communication range of the mobile device can be used to narrow a search for wireless cellular networks.
1. A method performed by one or more processors of a mobile device, the method comprising:
- receiving a plurality of broadcast radio signals;
- processing the broadcast radio signals to determine an approximate location of the mobile device based on known locations of transmitters that are transmitting the broadcast radio signals;
- determining a plurality of wireless cellular networks that can potentially communicate with the mobile device at the approximate location;
- establishing a search order for the plurality of wireless cellular networks; and
- searching for at least one of the plurality of wireless cellular networks based on the search order.