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US005623537A
United States Patent [19]
[11]
[45]
Ensor et al.
[54] TELEPHONE MESSAGE CENTER
Marlboro, all of NJ.
[73] Assignee: Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill,
NJ.
Apr. 22, 1997
Attorney, Agent, or Finn-Samuel R, Williamson
[57]
ABSTRACT
A telephone message system overcomes the problems and
limitations of presently available systems that seek to
enhance inter-and intra~premises communications. The sys
tem advantageously comprises a controller unit with Caller
ID capabilities and one or more adjunct units that are
[21] Appl. No.: 366,946
bridged onto a single wire-pair at a user’s residential loca
tion in a parallel electrical connection. These customer
Dec. 29, 1994
[51]
Int. Cl.6 .................................................. .. H04M 11/00
[52]
US. Cl. ............................ .. 379/67; 379/98; 379/142;
[58]
Field of Search ................................ .. 379/67, 88, 89,
379/199; 379/201; 379/246; 370/271
[56]
5,623,537
Primary Examiner-Fan Tsang
[75] Inventors: Myra L. Ensor, Summit; Anthony J.
Grewe, Holmdel; Howard M. Singer,
[22] Filed:
Patent Number:
Date of Patent:
installable units are merely plugged into any telephone jack
and share a telephone wire-pair with existing telephone
extensions without interference. Such operation is possible
since communication between the controller unit and the
adjunct units is limited to a frequency band di?erent from
379/98, 142, 199, 201, 215, 246; 370/71,
the audio frequency band used by the existing telephone
69.1, 76
extensions on the single wire-pair. The controller unit, in one
con?guration, operates as an answering machine with mul
References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,262,171
4/1981
5,388,150
5,339,354
2/1995
8/1994 Becker
Schneyer
et et
a1.a1. ..
Schneider et al. ...................... .. 370/71
5,550,900
8/1996 Ensor et a1. ............................ .. 379/67
available at the controller unit throughout the premises.
101
To \
co
tiple mailboxes. This functionality is advantageously com
bined with Caller ID, intercom and speakerphone capabili
ties. The adjunct units may be added to any of existing
telephone devices thereby providing access to the functions
32 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets
I105
CONTROLLER
3
106
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200
ADJUNCT
102
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120
3
300
103 gm!
ADJUNCT
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310
104
ADJUNCT
320
l
FAX "40
'30
US. Patent
Apr. 22, 1997
Sheet 1 of 5
5,623,537
FIG. 1‘
CENTRAL PROVIDER
f'so
"
VIDEO SERVICES NETWORK /
7
160
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TO 1m
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5106
170
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L—> ADJUNCT
8
500
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-—+
ADJUNCT
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=
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104
<—\—> FAX "40
U.S. Patent
Apr. 22, 1997
Sheet 2 of 5
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Apr. 22, 1997
Sheet 3 of 5
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US. Patent I
Apr. 22, 1997
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Sheet 4 of 5
5,623,537
FIG. 4
IV
MONITOR TELEPHONE LINE
FOR INCOMING RING SIGNAL
AC2
I
K INCOMING RINf DETECTED '?
405
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YES
CALLER 1D DETECTED?
"0
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Is INCOMING CALL YES
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A FAX CALL?
< CALLER ID MATC‘HEISN
MEMORY ?>'£——>No
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SPECIAL TEMPORARY
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FIG.8
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INSTRUCTIONS PRESENT
412
_
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ACTIVATE REMOTE AnIuRCT
wITR CALLER ID MATCH
410
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GENERATE ALERTING SIGNAL
AT REMQTE ADJUNCT M8
Tv CALLER
ID DISPLAY
ACTIVATED R
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NCOMING CALL
[420
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F1 0. 8
FROM FIG. 4
PLAY SPECIFIC MESSAGE FOR [301
CALLING PARTY
TAD RECORD MESSAGE FROM
- CALLING PARTY IN ‘MAll?OX >/
OF CALLED PARTY
I
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.
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NO
Q TAD ACTIVATED ? >——-+
,YEs
TAD RESPOND To 1-414
YEsI
DISPLAY CALLER ID
INFORMATION ON Tv
II
U.S. Patent
Apr. 22, 1997
Sheet 5 0f 5
5,623,537
FIG. 5
BW=
20KHZ
A
1111011 W1
HW
405KHz
‘RECEIVE
517KHz
mnsu?
CHANNEL 1 CHANNEL
455KHz
DATA
CHANNEL
10110001
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'
FIG. 7
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HEADER 4 SOURCE
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CONTENT
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5,623,537
1
2
TELEPHONE MESSAGE CENTER
residential location in a parallel electrical connection. These
customer installable units are merely plugged into any
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Technical Field
telephone jack and share a telephone wire~pair with existing
telephone extensions without interference. Such operation is
achieved by limiting communication between the controller
This invention relates to telephone message systems and,
unit and the adjunct units to a frequency band different from
more particularly, to a telephone message system which
the audio frequency band used by the existing telephone
includes standard telephone equipment.
extensions on the single wire-pair. The controller unit, in one
con?guration, operates as an answering machine with mul
2. Description of the Prior Art
Various improvements have been made in residential
tiple mailboxes. This functionality is advantageously com
bined with Caller ID, intercom and speakerphone capabili
ties. The adjunct units may be added to any of existing
telephone devices thereby providing access to the functions
available at the controller unit throughout the premises.
telephone equipment by adding certain features and ser~
vices. One such service is Caller ID wherein the identity of
a calling party is made available to a called party prior to the
called party answering an incoming telephone call. This
advantageously allows a called party the option of screening
calls and only answering those that he or she recognizes and
15
In accordance with a second aspect of the invention, the
controller unit includes circuitry for connecting to a televi
sion set or other visual monitor device for accessing mes~
sages or for visual displaying of incoming call announce
ments via captioning on the display screen.
chooses to answer. The Caller ID feature is described more
comprehensively in US. Pat. No. 4,277,649.
Other improvements in residential telephone equipment
include such features and services as: an intercom system for
paging and monitoring; a facsimile machine and a computer
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
for sending and receiving images and data, by way of
The invention and its mode of operation will be more
example. Since one cannot expect to find more than a single
clearly understood from the following detailed description
when read with the appended drawing in which:
wire-pair at any given location, it is frequently necessary to
supply additional wiring beyond the single wire-pair used
25
FIG. 1 is a functional block representation of a telephone
for basic telephone service in order to increase the number
of communication channels. Costs associated with adding or
message system operative in accordance with the principles
of the present invention;
relocating wires can be signi?cant, however. Furthermore,
many commercially available systems that are used to
increase information distribution capacity are incompatible
with existing telephone equipment, so a user’s investment is
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the controller unit for a
30
FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an adjunct unit for a
telephone message system, according to the invention;
immediately eroded.
FIG. 4 shows in detail certain aspects of a protocol of the
From a convenience standpoint, it is desirable for a
customer to merely purchase a telephone product, take it
telephone message system, according to the invention;
35
telephone message system, the protocol depicting the spe
home, and plug it into an existing telephone jack. Many
ci?c process within both the controller unit and one or more
systems that utilize the local telephone wire-pair at a user’s
premises require that a master station be placed in a series
telephone line, according to the invention;
connection with the incoming wire-pair from the telephone
central of?ce. Series connections require that internal wiring
frequency channels used in the present invention;
adjunct units in responding to a ring signal detected on the
FIG. 5 illustrates the frequency allocation of the radio
be modi?ed which usually means that a telephone installer
FIGS. 6A and B illustrate various waveforms associated
with data transmission using a pulse width encoded-non
return-to-zero format and on/off carrier keying;
or an electrician needs to be hired. Series connections also
have the drawback that the master station cannot be located
at any telephone jack. Since the master station terminates the
incoming wire-pair, it is typically located at the protector
FIG. 7 discloses a message packet suitable for use over
45
block or the telephone jack nearest to it. Relocating a master
station presents difficulties because the connection must be
electrically maintained at one point while the station is
physically moved to another. Finally, even when the master
station is compatible with existing telephone sets, should the
master malfunction, series connected equipment is likely to
and
FIG. 8 shows certain further aspects of the protocol of the
50
malfunction as well.
It is therefore desirable to provide improved functions and
features in telephone equipment for use at residential pre
mises, yet have such equipment be compatible with and
operate along with existing telephone extensions on a com
mon wire-pair.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The telephone message system of the present invention
overcomes the problems and limitations of commercially
available systems that seek to enhance inter~and intra
prernises communications.
the data channel employed in the telephone message system;
telephone message system shown in FIG. 4.
Throughout the drawing, the same element when shown
in more than one ?gure is designated by the same reference
numeral.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
55
Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a telephone
message center including a controller unit 200 and adjunct
units 300, 310 and 320, all commonly connected to a single
wire-pair, tip-ring line 101, which, in turn, connects to a
switch such as a central ol?ce (CO). Both the controller unit
200 and the adjunct units 300 through 320 are customer
installable units that are merely plugged into any telephone
jack and share the telephone wire-pair with existing tele
phone extensions without interference. Although only three
adjunct units are shown and described herein, it is to be
In accordance with a ?rst aspect of the invention, the 65 understood that a greater or fewer number of adjunct units
system comprises a controller unit and one or more adjunct
may be employed in practicing the principles of this inven
units that are bridged onto a single wire-pair at a user’s
tion.
5,623,537
3
4
In accordance with the disclosed embodiment, each of the
adjunct units 300 through 320 may communicate with the
controller unit 200 over a data channel provided above the
standard voice channel on the single wire-pair, i.e., tip-ring
line 101. Voice signals are also multiplexed and demulti
Telephone stations 110 and 130 may be existing stations
which are unplugged from wall jacks in the premises and
plugged instead into existing jacks provided on the adjunct
plexed respectively over designated transmit and receive
radio frequency channels, also on the same single wire-pair.
adjunct 320 and facsimile machine (FAX) 140.
units. An adjunct unit also may be associated with a fac
simile machine or computer terminal as illustrated by
In that the adjunct units may be located in different
Features such as intercom, calling party announcements and
message retrievals are provided over these channels, thereby
providing a second voice channel for the telephone message
geographical locations at a premises, selective calling or
paging for a party may be achieved in accordance with the
invention. Since the controller unit may selectively commu
nicate with each one of the adjunct units in response to
system.
Also in accordance with the disclosed embodiment, each
receiving an incoming Caller ID number, the controller unit
may selectively actuate a speci?c adjunct unit if the called
of the adjunct units 300 through 320 may independently
communicate with each other as well as the controller unit,
as described in detail later herein.
party is most likely attempting to reach a person at the
location served by a particular telephone station associated
with a speci?c adjunct unit. Alternatively, the controller unit
may distinctively page a particular party at all of the adjunct
Also shown in FIG. 1, for illustrating the environment in
which the telephone message center may operate, are a
central provider 150, a video services network 160 and a
units.
A mailbox of groups of telephone numbers is associated
20
with either an adjunct at a speci?c geographical location in
sion headend, satellite earth station, closed-circuit video
the residence, a particular party at the residence, or both.
theater, computer network or any other video system or
These telephone numbers are preprogrammed into a control
device for transmitting a video program to the display device
unit 240 (FIG. 2) so that upon receipt of an incoming call,
170 over the network 160. The display device 170 may be
a television, personal computer, work station, broadcast 25 a telephone number identi?ed through caller ID is associated
with one or more of the adjunct units or the particular called
receiving system or other type of device for displaying video
video receiving device 170. The central provider of video
services may be a broadcast television station, cable televi
signals.
party. Thus, when a ringing signal representative of an
incoming telephone call is received over the tip-ring line
101, the controller unit 200 may be con?gured to provide
While providing a video display, the display device 170 is
arranged to receive information from the controller 200 in
response to incoming Caller ID information received over 30 certain selectable functions if the Caller ID information
associated with the incoming call is one that is in memory
as part of one of a group of telephone numbers.
The controller 200 is able to transmit the Caller ID
information to the speci?ed adjunct unit and have its ringer
connected, controller 200 is able to display on the video
receiving device 170 a captioned video message which 35 alert the user. All other adjunct units not programmed to
the tip-ring line 101. By way of example, when a ring signal
representative of an incoming telephone call is received over
the tip-ring line 101, to which the controller unit 200 is
receive this call will not have their ringers actuated. Alter
natively, the controller 200 is able to complete a path for the
tip-ring line 101 through a speci?c adjunct so that the ringer
provides the identity of the calling party. Such operation is
achieved by incorporating the teaching of US. Pat. No.
4,277,649 issued to D. Sheinbein on Jul. 7, 1981 into
circuitry. in the controller unit 200 that emulates a set-top
of a telephone station connected thereto is actuated. In this
instance, the party at the telephone station can answer the
call in a normal manner. Still further, once the Caller ID
information is available, the controller 200 is able to asso
box. US. Pat. No. 4,277,649 discloses circuitry which
provides for capturing the identity of the calling party’s line
and is incorporated herein by reference. Thus, the number of
the calling party may be displayed, by way of example, in a
ciate a name or .other identifying information with the
incoming caller ID information. This name or other identi
captioned manner on the video receiving device 170 while
the telephone is ringing, thereby permitting call screening
45
for a user. Alternatively, a user may view a list of telephone
numbers of called parties who have left messages on an
fying information may be generated as speech through a
speakerphone contained in an appropriate adjunct unit or, in
the case of a page for a particular called party, all of the
adjunct units. Such identifying information could be the
answering machine described later herein as part of control
name of the calling party or, alternatively, the name of the
ler 200. Further, a user may program call screening circuitry
of the controller 200 such that a name or other identifying 50 called party.
information is automatically associated with the identi?ed
If a called party is unavailable, once the controller unit
incoming calling party’s line, and this name or related
200 is programmed with the information as to the unavail
information is displayed in captioned form on the video
ability of the called party, the controller unit can route the
receiving device along with or in place of the telephone
incoming call directly to the called party’s mailbox which
number. Still further, a user may easily program the opera 55 typically is an answering machine located either in the
tion of the controller 200 so that, upon receipt of the
controller unit 200 or connected to an adjunct unit, which is
incoming ringing signal from the telephone network, the
accessed by the controller unit. The controller unit 200 is
controller 200 attenuates any sound being generated by an
also able to generate an outgoing message to the calling
audio section associated with the video receiving device, to
assist the user in hearing the incoming ringing signal.
Some type of telephone station or telephone device
optionally may be associated with each adjunct unit. For
party previously recorded by the unavailable called party
associated with the reached mailbox.
In further illuminating of the inventive arrangement of the
telephone message center, this message center shares the
example, respectively associated with adjunct units 300 and
telephone wire-pair with telephone extensions already
310 are telephone stations 110 and 130. Alternatively, the
adjunct units may be con?gured as stand-alone units which
provide a range of features from basic, i.e., message waiting
present on the wire-pair, such as illustrated by telephone
station 120. These telephone stations operate in a normal
manner providing conventional call origination and call
answer capabilities. Moreover, these telephone stations
light, to complex, i.e., speakerphone display and keypad.
65
5,623,537
5
6
respond to ringing signals appearing on the tip-ring line 101
and are completely unaffected in their operation by the
telephone message system units also present on this line.
controller unit may then operate as the voice server for any
telephone station in the house. Thus, if a user desires to make
One further feature in this telephone message center is the
the message center, he or she simply picks up a telephone
ability for a user to access messages stored in his or her
handset unit, or goes off-hook at a speakerphone, and utters
the name of the person that he or she then wishes to call. The
a telephone call just using the voice recognition features of
mailbox. As earlier indicated, this mailbox may be an
answering machine either located in the controller unit or
connected to an adjunct unit. Certain predetermined codes
controller unit, having been preprogrammed or trained such
that this name is associated with a number to be dialed, then
are enterable at a telephone station connected to an adjunct
unit for interrogating the telephone message system. If the
10
accesses the tip~ring line 101 and dials the number.
In accordance with still yet another feature in the tele
phone message center, the operation of the telephone mes
message system is open or unrestricted, then anyone may
sage center is such that it includes the ability to con?gure the
access all of the messages in any of the mailboxes. For
controller unit 200 and the adjunct units so that an incoming
example, in an open message system, by entering a code
call, say late at night, which is not recognized by the
such as #9 which identi?es a particular mailbox, a user is
controller
unit, will not be forwarded through the adjunct
immediately allowed access to the contents of a mailbox. 15 units to the telephone stations in the bedrooms. This feature
Thus, by entering code #9 at the telephone station connected
thereby allows a person having this telephone message
to an adjunct unit, a user is immediately provided with the
number of messages stored in his or her mailbox. And when
system to selectively forward and receive calls as desired.
Referring next to FIG. 2, there is shown a block diagram
the code *1 is entered, for example, any messages then
of controller 200 which controls the plurality of adjunct
stored in the mailbox of the user are played. The *1 code or 20
units 300 through 320 and achieves the above-described
features and functions. As indicated earlier herein, this
controller unit 300 plugs into any available wall telephone
#9 code is received in the adjunct unit and transmitted to the
controller unit which then plays the message.
If the message system is not open or unrestricted, then a
jack and shares the intrapremises telephone wire-pair (tip~
user is allowed access only to his or her mailbox and not to
the mailbox of others at the premises. Such security is
achieved by requiring that each mailbox holder enter an
25
ring line 101) with existing telephone stations without
access code, typically three digits, before being allowed to
interference. The tip~ring line 101 connects to the controller
unit 200 via a line interface circuit 210 and a radio frequency
~ (RF) interface circuit 220. Line interface circuit 210 includes
access the messages stored in his or her mailbox. Thus, a
user desiring access to his or her mailbox in a restricted
a ring detect circuit (not shown) which is responsive to
incoming ring signals and supplies an indication of these
telephone message system must, in addition to initially
signals to a control unit 240. Line interface circuits including
ringing detectors are well-known in the art. A line interface
circuit suitable for use as circuit 210 is disclosed in U.S. Pat.
entering a code such as #9, enter a speci?c access code that
only he or she knows. Such access code is easily entered into
the message system at the same time the group of telephone
numbers for a mailbox is entered. Once the access code is
entered, this mailbox in the system is opened and the
operation of the system then parallels that of the open
system.
35
No. 4,807,225. The control unit 240 advantageously pro
vides a number of control functions and may be imple
mented through the use of a microcomputer containing
read-only memory (ROM), random-access-memory (RAM)
.
and through use of proper coding. Such a microcomputer is
known in the art and is readily available from semiconductor
manufacturers such as Motorola, NEC Signetics, Intel and
AMD. For example, a microcomputer available from
Although the answering machine containing the mail
boxes is described and shown herein as a part of the
controller unit (FIG. 2), it is understood that this answering
machine also could be a stand-alone unit which is also
Motorola as part number 6805C4 is usable as control unit
connected to, for example, a ?rst adjunct unit that is inter
rogated by a telephone station connected to a second adjunct
240 with the proper programming.
From line interface circuit 210, the tip-ring signals are
unit. In such an arrangement, the message is received in the
second adjunct unit, which has the telephone station request
ing such service connected thereto, and transmitted to the
45
controller unit where it is retransmitted to the ?rst adjunct
which has the answering machine connected thereto. The
?rst adjunct unit then con?gures the answering machine to
play any messages then stored therein in a user’s mailbox.
Advantageously, none of these signals are transmitted to the
central office but, rather, appear on the tip-ring line 101 at
radio frequencies substantially above the voiceband used in
communicating with the central o?ice.
In accordance with yet another feature in the telephone
message center, the adjunct units are equipped with message
suitable for use in TAD circuit 250 is commercially available
from AT&T in a digital answering system, Model 1343.
Circuitry suitable for use in speakerphone 260 is commer
cially available from AT&T as speakerphone Model S201.
This speakerphone circuitry is also suitably described in
U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,887,288, 4,901,346 and 4,959,887. Switch
55
lights. Whenever a message is stored in the answering
machine, a message light on each adjunct unit is illuminated
so that a person is able to determine by glancing at any
adjunct unit anywhere in the premises that a message has
been received and stored in the answering machine.
receive RF signals are transferred to and from the tip-ring
line 101. The RF interface 220 receives signals from a radio
center may be accessed from any of the adjunct units or
telephone stations connected to these adjunct units. By way
246 is shown in its normal “make” state, thus connecting
voiceband signals between the line interface circuit 210 and,
collectively, the control unit 240, the TAD circuit 250 and
the speakerphone 260. Activation of either the TAD circuit
250 or the speakerphone 260 is controlled by the control unit
240.
The RF interface circuit 220 performs the functions of a
hybrid circuit at radio frequencies whereby transmit and
Any capability that is present in the telephone message
of example, if a feature such as voice recognition is available
in the controller unit of the telephone message center, the
coupled over line 201 through a switch 246 to the control
unit 240 and also to both the telephone answering device
(TAD) circuit 250 and a speakerphone 260. The state of
switch 246 is controlled by control unit 240. Circuitry
65
frequency transmitter portion of the radio frequency trans
mitter/receiver 225 over line 203 and from data transrnitter/
receiver 227 over line 205. The RF interface 220 also
5,623,537
7
8
provides RF signals from the tip-ring line 101 to a radio
the coaxial connector 106 to the television monitor 170
frequency receiver portion of the radio frequency transmit
(FIG. 1). Circuitry suitable for use as set-top box circuitry
260 is readily available commercially from manufacturers of
ter/receiver 225 over line 204 and also to data transmitter/
receiver 227 over line 206. An RF interface suitable for use
herein as RF interface circuit 220 is disclosed in US. Pat.
cable converters. Some manufacturers are: Panasonic, Star
gate, Scienti?c Atlanta, Jerrold, Tocom, Oak and Zenith, for
example. Thus, the set-top box circuitry 260 may be incor
No. 4,807,225, this patent being incorporated herein by
reference.
Signals received from RF interface circuit 220 and voi
ceband or audio signals originating at either the TAD circuit
porated into the controller unit 200 and thus show at a ?rst
television monitor the name of a calling party or the called
party in a captioned display as desired. Also, an adjunct unit,
This frequency multiplexer/demultiplexer 230 creates addi
suitably modi?ed, can be assigned to a second television
monitor, and the Caller ID announcement generated in the
adjunct unit can be broadcast at this second television
monitor as well as other television monitors equipped with
tional transmit and receive communications channels at RF
a suitably modi?ed adjunct unit.
250, the speakerphone 260 or the control unit 240 are
coupled through the radio frequency transmitter/receiver
225 and also a frequency multiplexer/demultiplexer 230.
frequencies that do not interfere with the audio signals
appearing on the tip~ring line 101. Thus, the multiplexer/
demultiplexer 230 takes signals in the audio frequency range
from the TAD circuit and the speakerphone 260, or synthe
sized speech generated in the control unit 240 and multi
plexes this audio signal to a higher frequency range where
it is then transmitted by the radio frequency transmitter
portion of the radio frequency transmitter/receiver 225. This
multiplexer/demultiplexer 230 also takes the radio fre
quency signals received by the receiver portion of the radio
Referring next to FIG. 3, there is shown an enhanced
block diagram of one of the plurality of adjunct units which
plugs into any available wall telephone jack and shares the
intrapremises telephone wire-pair with existing telephone
stations without interference. Although the block diagram of
only one adjunct unit 300 is shown, the circuitry in this
20
controller unit 200 shown in FIG. 2 are the same basic
components used in implementing the illustrated embodi
frequency radio transmitter/receiver 225 and demultiplexes
these signals to the audio frequency range for use by either
the control unit 240, the TAD circuit 250, or the speaker
phone 260. Ordinarily, switch 246 is in its normal “break”
state for line 207, for preventing, for example, signals from
the TAD circuit 250 or the speakerphone 260 from being
25
coupled to the frequency multiplexer/demultiplexer 230
30
detailed description given the controller unit embodiment,
the speakerphone 260 from the line interface circuit 210.
35
a signal interrupt is generated. This signal interrupt places on
“hold” the query by the party at the adjunct unit informing
him or her of such action and of the incoming telephone call.
Once the call is completed, either directly by someone
answering at a telephone station or according to prede?ned
routing as set forth in the message center, the party is
allowed to continue interrogating the TAD circuitry 250 for
messages.
To ensure that the Caller ID information is promptly 45
received by the adjunct units, the control unit 240 is coupled
ment of this adjunct unit 300. Because of this and the
this embodiment will be described in similar detail only
where the operation of the component sections differ sub
while signals are being received by the TAD circuit 250 or
If, while a user is interrogating the TAD circuitry 250 for
messages from an adjunct unit, an incoming call is received,
the line interface circuit 210 informs the control unit 240 and
adjunct unit is suitable for use and used in other adjunct units
also operable in this system. Also, the basic components
used in implementing the illustrated embodiment of the
stantially and su?icient clarity of operation might not be
readily apparent from the description provided in the con
troller unit embodiment.
Voiceband signals are received by the adjunct unit 300
over tip-ring line 101 and coupled through switches 346 and
348 and D-tip D-ring line 102 to a conventional telephone
station. These same signals are coupled through switch 348
to a speakerphone 360. Actuation of the speakerphone is
controlled by the control unit 340. Switches 346 and 348
also are controlled by the control unit 340 which receives
controlling code information from the control unit 240 in the
controller unit 200 or from a user of this adjunct who enters
information, for example, on the keypad switches 344 which
actuates the speakerphone or at a telephone device attached
to the the D-tip D-ring line 102.
Switch 346 is normally in its “make” state for lines 307
and 308 and in its normal “break’? state for the tip-ring line
101. Switch 346 normally resides in its make state for the
directly to the multiplexer/demultiplexer 230 for transmis
lines 307 and 308 to allow a user at either the speakerphone
sion of this Caller ID information to the appropriate one or
360 or a telephone device attached to the D-tip D-ring line
102 to establish initial communications with the controller
unit 200 by entering a code such as code #9, for example,
which will provide a user with the number of messages
more adjunct units. Therefore, when an incoming call is
received, the Caller ID information is coupled via the line
interface 210 into the control unit 240. If a match to the
incoming Caller ID number is found in the memory portion
of the control unit 240, then the control unit sends this
stored in his or her mailbox. Or the user could enter a code
such as code #5 which is recognized by the control unit 340
as a request for dial tone, for example. In the ?rst example
the proper code for transmission to the appropriate one or 55 the state of switch 346 does not change. In the second
more adjunct units.
example, that portion of switch 346 on the tip-ring line 101
is switched to a make state and dial tone is provided to the
The control unit 240 has connected thereto a display 242
D-tip D-ring line 102. Also in the second example, that
and keypad switches 244 which allow a user to interactively
portion of switch 346 for the lines 307 and 308 go to the
enter information such as how each incoming call having a
break state to prevent signals appearing on the tip-ring line
recognized Caller ID number is processed in the telephone
101 and the D-tip D-n'ng line 102 from being coupled into
message system. The control unit 240 also provides an input
the input of the frequency multiplexer/demultiplexer 330.
to set-top box circuitry 260 which interacts with a television
information through the multiplexer/demultiplexer 230 with
or other type of monitor display for providing the appropri
Along with the keypad switches 344, a display 342 is also
included for ease of entering data or requesting service at
ate preprogrammed Caller ID information when a recog
nized incoming call is received over the tip-ring line 101. 65 this adjunct unit by a user of the message system.
The control unit sends this information to the set-top box
An RF interface 320 is included in adjunct unit 300 and
circuitry 260 for coupling this Caller ID information over
is connected in parallel across the tip-ring line 101 for
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9
10
receiving the voice and control signals that are transmitted
at RF frequencies from the controller unit 200 and coupled
onto the tip-ring line 101. From the RF interface 320, signals
are provided to both a radio frequency transmitter/receiver
325 and a data transmitter/receiver 327. Voiceband signals
from either the standard telephone station attached to the
D-tip D-ring line 102 or the speakerphone 360 are selectably
provided either directly to the tip-ring line 101 or via the
incoming caller ID number matches a number previously
stored in this memory.
If a caller ID number is not detected as indicated in step
405, the process advances to step 408 where it is determined
whether the incoming call is a facsimile call. If the incoming
call is not a facsimile call as indicated in step 408, or a caller
ID match is not found in memory as provided for in decision
406, the process advances to decision 410 where it is
frequency multiplexer/demultiplexer 330, the radio fre~
determined whether the telephone answering device which
comprises circuitry 250 is activated. If the TAD device is
quency transmitter/receiver 325 and the RF interface 320
onto the tip-ring line 101. The direction in which this
voiceband signal is coupled is determined by controlling
information either entered by the user at the adjunct unit
through the keypad switches or received from the controller
unit 200 over the data channel. Data from the control unit
340 for the controller unit 200 is provided to the data
transmitter/receiver 327 and then coupled onto the RF
interface 320. Data for the control unit 340 from the con
troller unit 200 is received over'the tip-ring line 101 and
15
coupled through the interface 320 and the transmitter/re
ceiver 327 to the control unit 340.
20
Although a speci?c structure for the adjunct units is
activated, the process advances to step 414 where the TAD
responds to the incoming call. If the incoming call is a
facsimile call as indicated in decision 408, the process
advances to step 412 where a remote adjunct unit which is
associated with a facsimile machine is activated for routing
the call to the facsimile machine. From steps 412 and 414,
the process is exited.
Referring once again to decision 406, if a caller ID match
is found in memory, the process advances to decision 415
where a determinationis made as to whether the called party
for which the caller ID match is made has provided tempo
rary instructions as to how this call from this calling party is
shown, the structure of the adjunct units may vary from \
to be treated. If temporary instructions are present in this
simple to complex. In its most simple structure, an adjunct
decision, the process advances to step 801, shown in FIG. 8,
where the special temporary instructions, such as play a
speci?c message for the calling party, are executed. The
speci?c message could be a general message played for all
unit is inserted between a telephone instrument and a wall
jack and simply has a message waiting light for its display.
25
A more complex adjunct unit may, as described herein,
include a speakerphone and also have a message waiting
of the callers who are assigned to the called party’s mailbox
when the called party is unavailable. The speci?c message
also could be one that is played only to a particular caller
identi?ed by his or her Caller ID. From step 801, the process
light along with other displayable features. With a speaker
phone as part of the adjunct unit, a user may answer a call
directly and not have to pick up the handset on a telephone 30
station attached to this more complex adjunct. If a voice
advances to step 802 where the TAD records any message
server is also included in the telephone message system, then
from the calling party in the mailbox of the called party.
the speakerphone may also be used to place calls.
The controller unit can turn on each one of the speaker
phones at each adjunct unit. Thus, if each adjunct unit is
equipped with a speakerphone, distinctive ringing is facili
tated. By way of example, if an incoming call from a known
calling party with a predetermined number is identi?ed via
his or her Caller ID information, this calling party may be
assigned to a speci?c called party among multiple parties in
a residence. Thus, the calling party is assigned to the speci?c
35
called party’s mailbox. The controller unit then announces
throughout the residence over the speakerphone at each
adjunct unit the receipt of the telephone call from the calling
party. This announcement may give the name of the calling
party or, alternatively, the name of the called party.
Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown in ?ow chart form
the operation of the telephone message system with the
desired functionality including criterion for the controller
unit 200-and multiple adjunct units 300 through 320 in
responding to a ring signal detected on the telephone tip-ring
line 101. The functions provided by control units 240 and
50
340 are advantageously determined by a process or program
stored in ROM (not shown).
55
The process is entered at step 401 ‘where the controller
unit 200, which is connected to the tip-ring line 101,
monitors this line for an incoming ring signal. From step
401, the process advances to step 402 where it is determined
‘ if an incoming ring signal has been detected. If an incoming
ring signal has not been detected, the process returns to step
401 and cycles between this step 401 and this decision 402.
If, however, an incoming ring signal is detected at step 402, '
the process advances to step 405 where it is determined
whether the incoming call is accompanied by a caller ID 65
signal. If so, the process advances to step 406 where a search
is made in memory of the control unit 240 to determine if the
From step 802, the process is exited.
With reference once again to decision 415, if temporary
instructions are not present in this decision, the process
advances to step 416 where the remote adjunct unit, or
adjunct units, which is associated with the speci?c caller ID
match is activated. From step 416, the process advances to
step 417 where an alerting signal is generated at the one or
more remote adjunct units. Depending upon the preferences
of the user, the alerting signal at the remote can take one of
two forms. It is known that the caller ID number generally
identi?es not only a person who is calling but possibly also
a person to whom the call is directed. It is therefore a high
probably that only certain people at a location will receive
calls from certain other people. Thus, if a voice synthesizer
is available in the message system, the remote adjunct unit
may be con?gured with a high degree of accuracy to say
“Mom is calling” or “call for Susan.”
By way of further example, if calls from a speci?c number
are always for a speci?c party who normally has a telephone
station located in a speci?c location, i.e., a bedroom, these
calls may be directed by the controller unit to the remote
adjunct unit that connects that speci?c telephone station to
the tip-ring line. Thus, if calls from a speci?c number are
always for a son or a daughter in the home, for example, the
controller unit, having recognized the caller ID associated
with this number, will ring only that son or daughter’s
telephone in his or her room. The advantage of such an
arrangement clearly is that if the son or daughter is not at
home and temporary instructions, such as may be provided
in decision 415, are not provided, then other members of the
family can, as an option, not answer the phone and let the
answering machine take a message.
From step 417, the process advances to decision 418
where a determination is made as to whether the television
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11
12
(or other monitor type device) caller ID display is activated.
control units in each adjunct unit, the control unit 340 being
illustratively shown in adjunct unit 300. The control units
have integrated hardware for a dual-edge detection vectored
If not, the process is exited. If the television caller ID display
is activated, however, the process advances to step 420
where the caller ID information is displayed on the televi
sion. One manner of displaying this information is by having
incoming call information automatically scroll across the
interrupt and an event timer with vectored interrupt on
over?ow. The data channel uses a half-duplex broadcasting
scheme with each unit having access to the same channel. To
facilitate orderly access to the data channel, all units look for
bottom of the television screen similar to the information
now provided on television sets while operating in a cap
incoming data before transmitting. The channel must be idle
tioned format. From display 420, the process is exited.
for 16 ms before attempting to transmit a new message.
Transmission between the controller unit 200 and an
frequencies according to the frequency spectrum allocation
The data transmitter in data transmitter/receiver 227 and
also data transmitter/receiver 327 is responsive to a binary
digital signal for turning a 455 KHZ carrier off and on. First,
set forth in FIG. 5. Data communication takes place in a data
channel which is centered at 455 KHZ. All units (controller
however, the binary digital signal is encoded into a series of
pulses having alternating polarity in which a “1” has a
adjunct unit or between two adjunct units takes place at radio
and adjuncts) transmit and receive at this frequency using
amplitude modulation. Voice communications takes place in
duration of 1 ms and a “0” has a duration of 2 ms.
Accordingly, if “0” and “l” are equally likely, the nominal
signaling rate for the data channel is 667 bits per second.
a voice receive channel and a voice transmit channel. The
controller unit 300 and the adjunct units 300 through 320
This signaling scheme is known as the Pulse Width
Encoded—Non Retum-to-Zero (PWE-NRz) format. The
using frequency modulation.
20 data receivers in data transmitter/receiver 227 and also data
Speci?cally, the transmitter portion of radio frequency
transmitter/receiver 327 convert the presence and absence of
transmitter/receiver 225 of FIG. 2 and also the transmitter
455 KHz carrier into discrete levels and thereafter perform
transmit and receive at the frequencies indicated in FIG. 5
portion of radio frequency transmitter/receiver 325 of FIG.
appropriate decoding to recover the binary digital signal.
FIG. 6A discloses an exemplary binary digital signal
3 operate with a center frequency of 517 KHz, as shown in
FIG. 5. And the receiver portion of radio frequency trans
mitter/receiver 225 and also the receiver portion of radio
frequency transmitter/receiver 325 operate with a center
frequency of 405 KHZ, as also shown in FIG. 5. The
25
FIG. 6B. Although on/off carrier keying and half-duplex
transmission are used in the disclosed embodiment of the
data channel, it is clear that other forms of modulation and
transmission may be used within the scope of the invention.
transmitters in both transmitter/receiver 225 and 325 are
frequency modulated (FM) transmitters. Since these trans
mitters are connected to the telephone line, via an associated
RF interface 220 or 320, the maximum allowable power is
FIG. 7 discloses the telephone message system message
packet which is de?ned to be 27 bits long and broken down
into the following ?elds.
set by Part 68 of the FCC Rules. Under these rules, energy
in the frequency band 270 KHz-6 MHz must be less than
--15 dBv when averaged over a 2-microsecond interval. The
design of such FM transmitters and receivers is well known
(10110001) that is pulse width encoded and thereafter used
to amplitude modulate the 455 KHZ carrier, as shown in
Header: 3 bits, ‘110’ to access the channel and announce
35
and may be readily constructed using conventional circuit
the forthcoming message.
Destination: 4 bits, used to identify which receiving unit
design techniques.
should consider processing the message. A message can
In the disclosed embodiment of FIG. 2 the controller 200
includes a single radio frequency transmitter/receiver 225
and a single frequency multiplexer/demultiplexer 230 which
only be processed if the destination address matches
40
‘0000’, the global addressing value.‘
Source: 4 bits, identifying the transmitting unit. Units
is associated with the transmitter/receiver 225. These units
permit communications between the speakerphone 260 or
the TAD circuit 250 and the adjunct units over the radio
frequency channel, also provided on the tip-ring line 101.
Although, in the disclosed embodiment, the intercom feature
that of the unit address or if the destination address is
without a programmed address should use ‘0000’.
Content: 12 bits, containing the informational part of the
45
between the controller unit 200 and an adjunct unit or
message. The content may be considered as 3 separate
4-bit ?elds.
LRC: 4 bits, resulting from a Longitudinal Redundancy
between two adjunct units is provided in a half-duplex
mode, this embodiment is readily modi?able to provide this
Check calculated over the destination, source, and
contents.
feature in a full-duplex mode. Such modi?cation entails
All ?elds are transmitted most signi?cant bit (msb) ?rst
(see FIG. 7). A message packet can range from 32 ms to 48
simply including two pairs of radio frequency transmitters
and receivers and their associated frequency multiplexer!
demultiplexers in the controller unit 200 for communicating
with the adjunct units and bridging these adjunct units in a
ms in duration. Incoming messages are examined to see if
there have been any transitions on the data channel for 4 ms.
If the correct number of bits has been received and the actual
conference connection with the control unit 200. In such 55 LRC matches the calculated LRC, the next 4 ms interval will
modi?ed embodiment, each one of the pair of radio fre
be dedicated to looking for a negative acknowledgment
quency transmitters and receivers in the control unit 200
(NAK) from any other unit. In the absence of a NAK, the
operates on ?xed preassigned channels. The adjunct units,
on the other hand, may continue to have only one radio
frequency transmitter and receiver whose operating frequen
cies are selected depending upon whether the intercom call
is being originated or answered at the adjunct unit.
The data channel, which is centered at 455 KHz as shown
60
message is accepted for destination screening and further
processing. If a NAK is detected, the message is discarded.
A NAK consists of turning carrier ON for a 2-ms interval
starting 4 ms after the completion of the message. The
absence of carrier for 16 ms is deemed to be the idle state.
After 16 ms of idle time, any unit may start transmitting—so
in FIG. 5, is designed to be an inexpensive technique for
long as another has not. When collision occurs, each of the
reliable communications in a potentially noisy environment. 65 units will complete its message to enforce the collision. The
The communications protocol is implemented in ?rmware
result, then, is that the message will surely be garbled and
using the control unit 240 of the controller 200 and the
retransmission will be required. A transmission unit that has
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13
14
its message NAKed is allowed to retransmit the message
after the channel has been idle for 6 ms to 9 ms. The actual
10. The telephone message system as in claim 9 wherein
said assigning means further includes means for announcing
in each of said adjunct units the name of said calling party
time interval is determined by calculating a “pseudo-ran
dom” number from O to 3 and adding it to the base delay of
associated with said preselected calling station.
6 ms. The need for a random retransmission time arises from
message collision considerations when two units transmit at
11. The telephone message system as in claim 1 wherein
said assigning means further includes means for announcing
the same time, both calculating idle time from the same
in the at least one of said adjunct units the name of said
event.
called party associated with said mailbox.
12. The telephone message system as in claim 11 wherein
said assigning means further includes means for announcing
in each of said adjunct units the name of said called party
associated with said mailbox.
13. The telephone message system as in claim 1 wherein
said controller means includes means for displaying the
identity of said preselected calling station at a video display
device.
14. The telephone message system as in claim 13 wherein
What has been described is merely illustrative of the
present invention. Other applications to telephone, computer
or other telephone messaging systems other than the dis
closed system are contemplated as being within the knowl
edge of one skilled in the art and may be utilized without
departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A telephone message system for use at a subscriber’s
premises, adapted to be parallel connected onto a wire-pair
that extends between said premises and a telephone line
the identity of said preselected calling station further
includes displaying a name of a calling person associated
switching system, the message system comprising:
controller means connected onto said wire-pair for receiv
ing the identity of a preselected calling station over said
wire-pair in a ?rst frequency band, said controller
means including memory means for storing the identity
of the preselected calling station and an indication of a
special service treatment to be given to calls received
from said preselected calling station, said special ser
with the preselected calling station.
20
switching system, the message system comprising:
controller means connected onto said wire-pair for receiv
25
vice treatment performed by means for assigning said
calls from the preselected calling station to a mailbox
of a speci?c called party from among multiple mail
boxes respectively associated with parties commonly
located at said subscriber premises;
15. A telephone message system for use at a subscriber’s
premises, adapted to be parallel connected onto a wire-pair
that extends between said premise and a telephone line
30
ing the identity of a preselected calling station over said
wire-pair in a ?rst frequency band, said controller
means including memory means for storing the identity
of the preselected calling station and an indication of a
special service treatment to be given to calls received
from said preselected calling station;
a plurality of adjunct units operatively responsive to the
a plurality of adjunct units operatively responsive to the
controller means, each one of the plurality of adjunct
units being commonly connected onto said wire-pair
controller means, each one of the plurality of adjunct
units being commonly connected onto said wire-pair
and includes means for selectively connecting a tele
and communicating with said controller means over 35
phone device operable in said ?rst frequency band to
said wire-pair, and each one of the plurality of adjunct
said wire-pair in a second frequency band different
from said ?rst frequency band; and
units communicating with said controller means over
means in at least one of said adjunct units for providing
said special service treatment to be given to said calls
said wire-pair in a second frequency band different
from said ?rst frequency band; and
received from said preselected calling station.
2. The telephone message system as in claim 1 wherein
command signals from said controller means to said adjunct
units are provided over said wire-pair in said second fre
quency band.
3. The telephone message system as in claim 2 wherein
command signals from said adjunct units to said controller
40
means in at least one of said adjunct units for providing
said special service treatment to be given to said calls
received from said preselected calling station.
16. The telephone message system as in claim 15 wherein
said special service treatment providing means includes
45
means for providing a ringing signal in said telephone
device attached to the at least one adjunct unit in response
means are provided over said wire-pair in said second
to receiving the identity of a preselected calling station over
frequency band.
said wire-pair.
4. The telephone message system as in claim 3 further
including means in both the controller means and the adjunct
the identity of said preselected calling station is obtained
17. The telephone message system as in claim 15 wherein
units for frequency multiplexing and demultiplexing voice
frequency signals for communicating said voice frequency
signals between the controller means and the adjunct units
over said second frequency band.
5. The telephone message system as in claim 3 wherein 55
said ?rst frequency band is in the audible frequency range.
6. The telephone message system as in claim 5 wherein
said ?rst frequency band is below 4 KHz.
7. The telephone message system as in claim 5 wherein
said second frequency band is located entirely above the
audible frequency range.
8. The telephone message system as in claim 7 wherein
said second frequency band is above 4 KHz.
9. The telephone message system as in claim 1 wherein
said assigning means further includes means for announcing
in the at least one of said adjunct units the name of a calling
party associated with said preselected calling station.
through caller identi?cation information provided over the
wire-pair and associated with an incoming telephone call
appearing on the wire-pair.
18. The telephone message system as in claim 17 wherein
in the absence of receiving the identity of said preselected
calling station, said incoming telephone call is routed to an
answering machine.
'
19. The telephone message system as in claim 18 wherein
said adjunct units further include means for providing a
message indication when messages are stored in said
answering machine.
‘
20. A method of processing telephone calls in a message
system arranged for use at a subscriber’s premises, the
message system being adapted to be parallel connected onto
65
a wire-pair that extends between said premises and a tele
phone line switching system, the method comprising the
steps of:
5,623,537
15
16
storing the identity of a preselected calling station and an
said adjunct units the name of said called party associated
with said mailbox.
28. The method of claim 27 wherein said assigning step
further includes the step of announcing in each of said
adjunct units the name of said called party associated with
said mailbox.
29. The method of claim 20 further including the step of
indication of a special service treatment to be given to
calls received from said preselected calling station,
wherein said special service treatment includes the step
of assigning said calls from the preselected calling
station to a mailbox of a speci?c called party from
among multiple mailboxes respectively associated with
parties commonly located at said subscriber premises;
displaying the identity of said preselected calling station at
a video display device.
30. The method of claim 20 wherein each of the plurality
receiving in a controller the identity of a preselected
calling station over said wire-pair in a ?rst frequency
of adjunct units includes the step of selectively connecting
band;
a telephone device operable in said ?rst frequency band to
commonly connecting a plurality of adjunct units onto the
wire-pair, each one of the plurality of adjunct units
being operatively responsive to the controller and com
said wire-pair.
31. The method of claim 30 wherein said special service
treatment providing step includes the step of providing a
ringing signal in said telephone device attached to the at
least one adjunct unit in response to receiving the identity of
a preselected calling station over said wire-pair in said ?rst
municating with the controller over the wire~pair in a
second frequency band, said second frequency band
being different from said ?rst frequency band; and
providing in at least one of said adjunct units said special
service treatment to be given to said calls received from 20
said preselected calling station.
21. The method of claim 20 wherein command signals
between said controller unit and said adjunct units are
provided over said wire-pair in said second frequency band.
22. The method of claim 21 further including the step of
frequency multiplexing and demultiplexing voice frequency
signals for communicating said voice frequency signals
connected onto a wire-pair that extends between a subscrib
er’s premises and a telephone line switching system, the
apparatus comprising:
controller means connected onto said wire-pair for receiv
25
between the controller and the adjunct units over said second
frequency band.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein said ?rst frequency
band is in the audible frequency range.
7A. The method of claim 23 wherein said second fre
frequency band.
32. A telephone message apparatus adapted to be parallel
30
ing the identity of a preselected calling station over said
wire-pair in a ?rst frequency band, said controller
means including memory means for storing the identity
of the preselected calling station and an indication of a
special service treatment to be given to calls received
from said preselected calling station;
an adjunct unit operatively responsive to the controller
quency band is located entirely above the audible frequency
means, the adjunct unit being commonly connected
range.
onto said wire-pair and includes means for selective
connecting a telephone device operable in said ?rst
frequency band to said wire-pair, said adjunct unit
25. The method of claim 20 wherein said assigning step
further includes the step of announcing in the at least one of
said adjunct units the name of a calling party associated with
communicating with said controller means over said
said preselected calling station.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein said assigning step
further includes the step of announcing in each of said
adjunct units the name of said calling party associated with
said preselected calling station.
27. The method of claim 20 wherein said assigning step
further includes the step of announcing in the ‘at least one of
40
wire-pair in a second frequency band different from
said ?rst frequency band; and
means in said adjunct unit for providing said special
service treatment to be given to said calls received from
said preselected calling station.
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