System and method for automatic configuration of home network

System and method for automatic configuration of home network
USOOS 826000A
Ulllted States Patent [19]
[11] Patent Number:
Hamilton
[45]
[54]
[75]
Date 0f Patent:
5,826,000
Oct. 20, 1998
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR AUTOMATIC
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Gary S. Williams; Flehr Hohbach
CONFIGURATION OF HOME NETWORK
Test Albritton & Herbert LLP
COMPUTERS
[57]
Inventor? Graham Hamilton, P2110 Alto, Calif
An automated con?guration system and method con?gures
_
ABSTRACT
home network client computers, including determining local
[73] Asslgnee: Sm! Micmsystems’ Inc-> P2110 A1t0>
service provider information, without any user assistance.
Cahf'
The distributed computer network includes network home
client computers and at least one autocon?guration server.
[21]
Appl. No.: 613,432
.
[22] Flled:
When the home network client computer is powered on it
determines whether it
Feb‘ 29’ 1996
ossesses the re uisite con? uration
information. If not, theIhome network c(l1ient computir sends
[51]
[52]
Int. Cl? ............................. .. G06F 9/24; G06F 15/16
US. Cl. .............................. .. 395/182.02; 395/182.01;
364/DIG_ 1; 364/1316 2
[58]
Field Of Search ....................... .. 395/20003, 200.01,
a Con?guration request along With Client Computer identi
fyihg ihferhleheh to the ehteeeh?ghreheh server- The eute
con?guration server uses the client identifying information
to determine a local Service Pmvieter information and Client
39500015, 20016, 2001, 617, 651, 20012,
computer speci?c data. The autocon?guration server deter
712 18202 114 601 610 856 658 684
mines the local service provider information by looking up
669, 462, ’619, ’762, ’703, 18761, 152201:
a directory of local service providers, the directory being
18205; 364/116' 1, DIG 2; 379/96, 97,
207
stored on the autocon?guration server or on another server.
The autocon?guration server determines the client computer
speci?c data by accessing a database containing client
[56]
References Cited
computer information for each home network client
computer, the database being stored either on the autocon
U-S~ PATENT DOCUMENTS
?guration server itself or on another server. The client
5 475 819 12/1995 Miller et a1. ..................... .. 395/20003
5j491:800
2/1996 Goldsmith et aL
5,619,716
4/1997 Nonaka et a1. ....................... .. 395/800
eemputer Speet?e data is Stored in the database at the time
__
of sale or shipment of the home network computer to the
user- Local Service Provider information and the Client
computer speci?c data are downloaded to the requesting
home network client computer. The home network client
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
0479660A2 9/1991 European Pat Off _
0592079A2
97301175
7/1993
5/1997
computer uses the con?guration information downloaded by
the autocon?guration server to con?gure itself and establish
European Pat O?»‘_ _
European Pat. Off. .
a connection to the local service provider.
Primary Examiner—Daniel H. Pan
12 Claims, 4 Drawing Sheets
100
110 \ Operating System
108
/
Internet Access Program
Stored Procedures
109
Automated Config Free:
Client Module
Required Config. Information x120
Local Service Provider
info.
User Interface
Home Network
f Client Computer
102
103
Client Computer
____s ecitic Data
\124
Client Computer identifying
Into.
Communications
- . .
interface
f 105
102
Network lnterconnectivity
(Switches, etc)
Sales Server
107
Local Service
Provider Server
106
10
CPU
Communications
140
142
Autoconfiguration
Interface
r146
Operating System
Server
intern at Access Program
Stored Procedures
Automated Config Proc: Sewer
Module
User interface
Directory of Local Service Providers
Client Computer information
Database
Client Computer #1 Sgecific Datg\162_1
Client Computer #2 Specific Data
Client Computer #3 Specific Data
U.S. Patent
Oct. 20, 1998
100
5,826,000
Sheet 1 0f 4
110 \ Operating System
\108
Internet Access Program
Stored Procedures
Automated Config Proc:
Client Module
Required Config. Information
Local Service Provider
Info.
User interface
Home Network
Client Computer
Client Computer
Specific Data
102
/.
Client Computer Identifying
103
Info.
Communications
Interface
\
107
Network lnterconnectivity
Client
Local Service
Provider Server
(Switches, etc)
\
10
142
Autoconfiguration
Communications /
interface
I
f
Server
f
146
Operating System
144
Internet Access Program
\152
Stored Procedures
\154
Automated Config Proc: Server
C)
===gggg=
Module
\156
User interface
Directory of Local Service Providers \158
Client Computer information
_
Database
\160
Client Computer #1 Specific Data\_162_1
Client Computer #2 Specific Data“ 622
Client Computer #3 Specific Data \162-3
FIGURE 1
U.S. Patent
Oct. 20, 1998
Sheet 2 0f 4
5,826,000
100
\d
109-1
107-1
\
Sales Server
—/
Purchaser/
End user
102-1 uncon?gured
Sales/Client Config lnfo
& Client
Home Computer
Network
[106-1
_
_"_____">
Local
Service
Connection to Local
,-
Service Provider
—
-—
—
-—
—
-—
—>
/
Provider
Server
Sales Info
109-2
Local
\Purchaser/
'
Service
Provider
End user
Info
/
102-2 Uncon?gured
Home Network
'
Autoconfiguration
I
I
104
Server
Client Computer
Connection for
A
Autoconfiguration
109-3
/106-2
\
Purchaser/
End user
Local
Eric/i5;
i
f
’
__
__7
Server
Unconfigured
102-3 Home Network
\ Client Computer
107-2
Sales Sen/er _/
FIGURE 2
U.S. Patent
Oct. 20, 1998
5,826,000
Sheet 3 0f 4
Home Network Client Computer
300
Power On
\d
[316
Home Network Client Computer:
Establish connection with Local
Service Provider
Required
configuration
302
information
exists?
A
Home Network Client Computer:
Connect to Autoconfiguration Server.
\ 304
l
Home Network Client Computer:
Send request with client identifying information to
Autoconfiguration Server requesting required
\ 306
configuration information.
l
Autoconfiguration Server:
Receive request from client computer and read the
client identifying information.
\ 308
l
Autoconfiguration Server:
Use the client identifying information to determine:
- local service provider information
- client computer specific data, including:
client computer serial number, client model name,
sales information, end user specific config info
l
Autoconfiguration Server:
Download the local service provider information, and
client computer specific data to requesting home
network client computer.
l
Home Network Client Computer:
Receive required configuration information from
Autoconfiguration Server. Use the configuration
information to configure itself.
FIGURE 3
\ 314
U.S. Patent
Oct. 20, 1998
Sheet 4 0f 4
5,826,000
162-1 ,2,3
Client Computer Specific Data
Client Computer Serial Number
\ 404
Client Computer Model Information
\410
Sales Information
Other end user specific configuration
information
FIGURE 4
\414
5,826,000
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2
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR AUTOMATIC
CONFIGURATION OF HOME NETWORK
COMPUTERS
problems With making sure that the “right” computer is
shipped to the user.
Thus, both of the methods mentioned above fail to
achieve the simplicity and level of customiZation required of
the con?guration process. Furthermore, none of the methods
discussed have the capability to automatically determine
local service provider information for a given home netWork
computer as part of the con?guration process.
The present invention relates generally to con?guration
of home network computers, and particularly to a system
and method for performing the con?guration automatically
upon poWer on of the home netWork computer, Without any
user intervention, the con?guration procedure being custom
iZed for that particular home netWork computer user’s needs.
10
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
All computers have to undergo some sort of con?guration
procedure before they can be effectively used by end users.
This con?guration procedure consists of but is not limited to
15
steps such as loading the appropriate operating system,
con?guring the computer system parameters, setting up the
user system environment, loading hardWare device drivers,
and loading application softWare as required by the end user.
It is also desirable that the con?guration process be custom
ration system and method utiliZe end user information
recorded by the vendor during the sale of the home netWork
computer, the con?guration can be customiZed to suit the
20
This customiZed con?guration requirement further compli
effectively used by both eXpert and novice computer users.
With the advent and popularity of E-mail and other netWork
services, it is also desirable that the end user’s computer be
set up to connect to a local service provider Who provides
these services. Preferably, this should also be achieved as
part of the con?guration process.
netWork computer.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
25
In summary, the present invention is a system and method
for the automatic con?guration of home netWork computers.
The automatic con?guration is made possible using a dis
tributed netWork of home netWork computers, Which act as
clients in the distributed netWork (home netWork client
computers), autocon?guration server, and other sales servers
and local service provider servers as needed.
Upon poWer on, a home netWork client computer deter
mines if it has access to the requisite con?guration infor
35
and client computer speci?c data. If the requisite con?gu
ration information is not available, the home netWork client
computer sends a request to an autocon?guration server
40
?aWs and shortcomings in achieving the desired goals
mentioned above.
The most commonly used method for computer con?gu
ration entails shipping the con?guration softWare media to
requesting the requisite information. The request sent to the
autocon?guration server includes client computer identify
ing information for the requesting home netWork client
computer. This client computer identifying information con
sists of either a telephone number or a serial number
45
uniquely associated With the home netWork client computer,
or both.
the end user along With a User’s Manual. The User’s Manual
usually contains detailed instructions the end user has to
Upon receiving the request from a home netWork client
computer, the autocon?guration server uses the client iden
folloW for completion of the con?guration process. The
tifying information to determine the local service provider
information and client computer speci?c data needed for
con?guration of the requesting home netWork client com
puter. The local service provider information is determined
problem With this method is that the end user has to read and
comprehend the instructions in the Users’s Manual to suc
cessfully perform the con?guration task. Many times this
can be quite a tedious and non-user friendly task.
Furthermore, the complexity is increased manyfold if the
end user desires to customiZe the con?guration for his or her 55
particular needs.
Shipping a pre-con?gured computer to the end user also
has its shortcomings. Although this method is very user
friendly, as there is no end user involvement, the computers
Which are shipped are generically con?gured. Thus, there is
mation needed to successfully con?gure itself. This requisite
information consists of local service provider information
The con?guration methods currently used and taught by
the prior art can be classi?ed as either (a) sending the
con?guration information to the end user and asking the end
user to perform the con?guration by reading a Users’
Manual, or (b) shipping a pre-con?gured computer to the
end user. As discussed beloW, both of these methods have
end user’s particular needs. As part of the con?guration
process, the invention is also able to automatically deter
mine the local service provider information for a given home
iZed to meet the requirements of each particular end user.
cates the con?guration process. The permutations and com
binations of the above-mentioned steps can get quite com
plicated and completely overWhelm many computer users.
Thus, there is a outstanding need for a con?guration process
Which can not only customiZe the con?guration according a
particular end user’s needs but at the same time reduce the
complexity of the con?guration process so that it can be
The present invention overcomes the shortcomings of the
above-mentioned methods by providing a completely auto
mated system and method for con?guring home netWork
computers. The invention makes the con?guration process
user friendly by eliminating the need for any type of user
interaction during the con?guration process. Thus, the con
?guration of the home netWork computer is completely
transparent to the end user. Furthermore, since the con?gu
60
no customiZation Whatsoever to meet the end user’s particu
from a directory of local service providers Which can be
accessed by the autocon?guration server. The client com
puter speci?c data is stored in a client computer information
database Which can also be accessed by the autocon?gura
tion server. The client computer speci?c data is collected and
stored in conjunction With the sale or acquisition of the home
netWork client computer by the end user, and preferably
includes client computer serial number, client computer
model information, sales information identifying the end
lar needs. Furthermore, computer vendors do not like to
stock pre-con?gured computer systems as they create a
user or designated recipient of the home netWork client
multitude of inventory problems--problems keeping track of
problems With having to repeat the con?guration process
mation such as customer con?guration choices made When
the customer purchased or ordered the computer.
The autocon?guration server uses the client identifying
With the release of a neW version of the con?gured softWare,
information provided in the request to ?nd local service
the level of softWare the computers are con?gured With,
computer, and other end user speci?c con?guration infor
65
5,826,000
3
4
provider information and client computer speci?c data cor
responding to the particular requesting home netWork client
computer. The local service provider information and the
client computer speci?c data is then doWnloaded to the
requesting home netWork client computer.
The requesting home netWork client computer then uses
the requisite con?guration information received from the
autocon?guration server to con?gure itself. A connection is
also established With the local service provider.
connecting to the client computers 102, to sales servers 107,
or to local service provider servers 106, a user interface 144,
and memory 146. Memory 146 stores an operating system
150, an Internet access program 152, stored procedures 154
to be eXecuted by the CPU 140, a directory of local service
providers 158, and a database containing client computer
information 160. The stored procedures 154 Include at least
one automated con?guration procedure server module 156
Which When eXecuted by the CPU 140 handles the autocon
10
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Additional object and features of the invention Will be
more readily apparent from the folloWing detailed descrip
tion and appended claims When taken in conjunction With
the draWings, in Which:
service providers 158 could also be stored on local service
provider server 106 linked to the autocon?guration server
15
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a distributed computer
20
106 to get access to the directory of local service providers
158. In this alternate embodiment, there could be a multitude
of such local service provider servers 106 netWorked to the
autocon?guration server 104.
While in the preferred embodiment the database contain
ing client computer information 160 is stored in the memory
of the autocon?guration server 104, the database 160 could
25
?guration server 104. In this alternate embodiment, the
FIG. 2 is a block diagram depicting an eXemplary dis
FIG. 3 is a How chart of the process for automatically
con?guring a home netWork client computer, Without any
also be stored on sales servers 107 linked to the autocon
user assistance, initiated upon poWer on of the home net
Work client computer.
autocon?guration server 104 can get access to the required
FIG. 4 is an illustration shoWing the contents of client
client computer speci?c data 162-1,2,3 by either querying
computer speci?c data for a single home netWork client
computer, a collection of such client computer speci?c data
being stored in the client computer information database.
the sales servers 107 for the information or the sales servers
30
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
EMBODIMENT
102 and at least one remotely located autocon?guration
server 104. In the preferred embodiment each home netWork
client computer is connected to the autocon?guration server
35
client computers 102 are generally desktop computers.
In the preferred embodiment, each home netWork client
computer 102 includes a communications interface 103 for
communicating With the autocon?guration server 104 or for
connecting to a local service provider server 106, a central
computer 102 sold to the end user. As shoWn in FIG. 4, the
client computer speci?c data 162 includes the client com
40
information 414. End user speci?c con?guration informa
45
an Internet access program 114, stored procedures 116 to be
executed by the CPU 108, required con?guration informa
tion 120, and client computer identifying information 126.
The stored procedures 116 include at least one automated
con?guration procedure client module 118 Which When
executed by the CPU 108 handles the autocon?guration
process from the client’s side.
55
60
client computer serial number, client computer model
The autocon?guration server 104 includes a central pro
cessing unit (CPU) 140, a communications interface 142 for
speci?c data 162 relating to a particular home netWork client
computer 102 in the database 160. The client computer
speci?c data 162 is normally collected and stored at the time
of sale/purchase/acquisition/shipment of the home netWork
client computer 102. This makes it possible to store infor
mation Which is customiZed for each client computer buyer.
Referring to FIG. 2, there is shoWn a typical distributed
netWork layout of the various components involved in the
home netWork client computers 102-1,2,3 each linked to an
autocon?guration server 104. The home netWork client
computers 102-1,2,3 use a connection to the autocon?gu
ration server 104 to request the requisite con?guration
information. The connection is also used by the autocon
?guration server 104 to send the requested con?guration
information to the requesting home netWork client computer
information, sales information, and other user speci?c con
?guration information, Which is required for customiZed
con?guration of the home netWork client computer 102.
selected by the end user at the time the end user’s computer
Was purchased or ordered. In either embodiment, the auto
con?guration server generally uses the client computer serial
number as an indeX key to access the client computer
present invention. The netWork consists of one or more
provider information 122 is required to enable the client to
connect to the local service provider, While the client com
puter speci?c data 124 contains information such as the
puter serial number 404 uniquely identifying the client
computer 102, client computer model information 410, sales
information 412 detailing particulars of the recipient of the
client computer, and other end user speci?c con?guration
tion 414 can include softWare features or service features
processing unit (CPU) 108, a user interface 109, and
memory 110. Memory I/O stores an operating system 112,
The required con?guration information 120 that the home
netWork client computer 102 needs for successfully con?g
uring itself includes local service provider information 122,
and client computer speci?c data 124. The local service
database 160 stores Information Which contains client com
puter speci?c data 162-1,2,3 for each home netWork client
104 via a communications netWork 105 such as the Internet
or any other similar netWork provider. The home netWork
107 could send the information to the autocon?guration
server 104 at regular time intervals. For eXample, the sales
servers 107 could doWnload the client computer speci?c
data 162 to the autocon?guration server 104 at the end of
each day or at regular hourly intervals.
In either embodiment, the client computer information
Referring to FIG. 1, there is shoWn a distributed computer
system 100 having many home netWork client computers
104. In this alternate embodiment, the autocon?guration
server 104 can query the linked local service provider server
system incorporating the present invention.
tributed netWork layout of the various components compris
ing the present invention.
?guration process from the autocon?guration server’s side.
Although in the preferred embodiment the directory of
local service providers 158 is stored in the memory 146 of
the autocon?guration server 104, the directory of local
65
102-1,2,3.
The autocon?guration server 104 may also be linked to
sales servers 107-1,2 and local service provider servers
5,826,000
5
6
106-1,2. The sales servers 107-1,2 maintain a database of
client computer information for each home network client
particularly, the home netWork client computer’s telephone
computer. The database contains data speci?c to each client
computer Which is recorded at time of sale/purchase/
acquisition/shipment of the home netWork client computer
to the purchaser or end user 109-1,2,3. This client computer
information stored in the database is doWnloaded to the
autocon?guration server either periodically or upon request
from the autocon?guration server. The local service provider
servers 106-1,2 contain a directory of the local service
providers Which is accessed by the autocon?guration server
to ?nd local service provider information for a given home
client netWork computer 102. As mentioned earlier, the
client computer information database and the directory of
local service providers may also be stored on the autocon
?guration server.
FIG. 3 is a How chart of the process 300 for automated
number includes a ?rst portion (i.e. the area code and the
three digit pre?x) that identi?es a geographic region in
Which the home netWork client computer is located. The
directory of local service providers includes entries suitable
for mapping the ?rst portion of the telephone number
10
vider information is determined by directly looking up the
local service provider information corresponding to the
home netWork client computer’s telephone number. If the
local service provider directory is stored on a local service
15
con?guration of the home netWork client computer Without
server can directly access the directory stored on the par
20
the automated con?guration procedure client module 118 to
determine if the home netWork client computer has the
25
service provider information, and client computer speci?c
data. If the home netWork client computer determines that it
possesses the requisite con?guration information, then a
connection is established With the local service provider as
shoWn in step 316. If the home netWork client computer does
At step 304 the home netWork client computer opens a
tion is used both to send a request to the autocon?guration
server and to receive the requested con?guration informa
tion from the autocon?guration server.
At step 306, the home netWork client computer uses the
connection established in step 304 to send a request for
mation for each home netWork client computer that has been
sold. This database containing client information may be
sales server. If the database is stored on the autocon?gura
tion server itself, the database can be directly accessed and
30
the required client computer speci?c data corresponding to
the client computer serial number can be ascertained. If the
database is stored on a sales server, there are a variety of
methods by Which the autocon?guration server can access
the information. One method is for the sales server to send
35
40
the client computer speci?c data to the autocon?guration
server When requested by the autocon?guration server.
Another method is for the sales server to doWnload the entire
database to the autocon?guration server at periodic inter
vals. This could be at the end of each day or at set hourly
intervals. Once the database information has been doWn
loaded to the autocon?guration server, the autocon?guration
con?guration to the autocon?guration server. The request
sent by the home netWork client computer to the autocon
?guration server includes client identifying information
Which is unique to the home netWork client computer. This
client identifying information consists of either a telephone
server can access the information as and When required.
Other similar techniques can also be used depending on their
ef?ciency.
The contents of each client computer speci?c data are
shoWn in FIG. 4. As mentioned earlier, the client computer
number or a serial machine number for the home netWork
client computer, or both.
speci?c data is stored during the purchase/sale/acquisition of
the home netWork client computer.
At step 312 the autocon?guration server doWnloads the
local service provider information and the client computer
In the preferred embodiment, the autocon?guration server
uses the “Caller ID” service provided by its telephone
service company to determine the telephone number from
Which the home netWork client computer is calling.
Alternately, the user could be asked to provide the telephone
number if the Caller ID service is not available.
At step 308 the autocon?guration server receives a con
puter speci?c data by accessing a database containing infor
stored on the autocon?guration server itself, or on some
not possess the requisite con?guration information, then the
process continues With step 304.
connection With an autocon?guration server. This connec
ticular local service directory server, or request the local
service provider server to send the required information to
the autocon?guration server.
The autocon?guration server determines the client com
requisite con?guration information to successfully con?gure
itself. As shoWn in FIG. 1, the con?guration information
required for a successful con?guration includes the local
provider server, then the autocon?guration server can access
the information by establishing a connection With the local
service provider server. Using the connection established
With the local service provider server, the autocon?guration
user assistance. The process is initiated When the user
poWers on the home netWork client computer.
At step 302 the home netWork client computer eXecutes
associated With the requesting home netWork client com
puter to a local service provider.
If the local service provider directory is stored on the
autocon?guration server itself, then the local service pro
speci?c data gathered in step 310 to the requesting home
netWork client computer.
At step 314, the home netWork client computer receives
55
the con?guration information sent by the autocon?guration
?guration request from a requesting home netWork client
server. The home netWork client computer then uses this
computer. On receiving the request, the autocon?guration
con?guration information to con?gure itself. Upon success
ful con?guration, the home netWork client computer estab
server reads the client identifying information sent as part of
the request. This client identifying information uniquely
identi?es the requesting home netWork client computer.
lishes a connection With the local service provider as shoWn
60
in step 316.
At step 310 the autocon?guration server uses the client
In one alternate embodiment of the invention, the client
identifying information read in step 308 to determine the
local service provider information and the client computer
65
identifying information sent by the home netWork client
computer includes only the telephone number associated
With the home netWork client computer. Since the client
identifying information does not contain the serial number
speci?c data corresponding to the requesting home netWork
client computer.
The local service provider information is determined by
looking up a directory of local service providers. More
of the client computer, the autocon?guration server cannot
uniquely identify the requesting home netWork client com
5,826,000
8
7
puter. As a result, the autocon?guration server does not
recipients, Wherein said stored data for each respective
determine the client computer speci?c data for the request
ing home network client computer. HoWever, the telephone
serial number, a client computer model or
home netWork client computer indicates a respective
number does alloW the autocon?guration server to determine
con?guration, sales information identifying said desig
the local service provider information for the requesting
nated recipient of said respective home netWork client
computer, and con?guration information speci?c to
home netWork client computer, as described earlier.
said designated recipient.
In another alternate embodiment, the client identifying
information sent by the home netWork client computer
3. Amethod for automatic con?guration of home netWork
includes only serial number uniquely identifying the home
netWork client computer. In this embodiment the telephone
10
company “Caller ID” service is not used to determine the
client computer identifying information;
b) using the client computer identifying information in the
telephone number of the calling home netWork client com
puter. HoWever, int his embodiment information regarding
the geographic location of the home netWork client com
puter is collected and stored in the client computer speci?c
request to determine
15
data at the time the client computer is sold or ordered. This
geographic information is needed in any case, to determine
information in a prede?ned directory of local service
purposes. The autocon?guration server can then use the
client computer serial number to access client computer
20
client computers comprising the steps of:
a) receiving requests from said home netWork client
computers for autocon?guration, said requests each
speci?c data to a respective home netWork client com
25
i) local service provider information, selected from
from a database of client computer information;
Wherein at least a portion of the client computer
speci?c data for each one of the home netWork client
computers includes data selected from the group
35
number associated With the home netWork client
computer to a local service provider.
4. A method for automatic con?guration of a home
netWork client computer, comprising the steps of:
When said home netWork client computer is poWered on,
40
determining Whether said home netWork client com
puter lacks required con?guration information, said
required con?guration information including informa
tion concerning a local service provider, and client
computer speci?c data;
45
if said home netWork client computer is determined to
lack any of said required con?guration information,
then performing the steps of:
connecting to an autocon?guration server;
sending a con?guration request to said autocon?gura
tion server, said request including client computer
identifying information associated With said home
netWork client computer;
receiving from said autocon?guration server said
one computer, data identifying an internal hardWare
or softWare con?guration of the one computer, and
data identifying a designated end user or recipient of
the one computer; and
required con?guration information; and
55
speci?c data to a respective home netWork client com
puter.
2. The method of claim 1, Wherein
said client computer identifying information includes a
serial number uniquely associated With said home
netWork client computer, and
said database of client computer information includes data
for said home netWork client computers that is col
lected and stored in conjunction With acquisition or sale
of said home netWork client computers and/or shipment
of said home netWork client computers to designated
includes a ?rst portion that identi?es a geographic
region in Which the home netWork client computer is
suitable for mapping the ?rst portion of the telephone
consisting of computer model information for the
c) providing instructions for doWnloading said local ser
vice provider information, and said client computer
Wherein
the client computer identifying information includes a
telephone number associated With the home netWork
located; and
the directory of local service providers includes entries
information in a prede?ned directory of local service
providers; and
ii) client computer speci?c data corresponding to said
client computer identifying information, selected
puter;
client computer, Wherein the telephone number
30
providing client computer identifying information;
b) using said client computer identifying information in
said request to determine
from a database of client computer information; and
c) providing instructions for doWnloading the local ser
vice provider information, and the client computer
illustrative of the invention and is not to be construed as
limiting the invention. Various modi?cations may occur to
those skilled in the art Without departing from the true spirit
and scope of the invention as de?ned by the appended
claims.
What is claimed is:
1. Amethod for automatic con?guration of home network
i) local service provider information, selected from
providers; and
ii) client computer speci?c data corresponding to the
client computer identifying information, selected
Where to ship the client computer and for other similar
speci?c data and ?nd the recorded geographic location of the
home netWork client computer. The geographic location can
then be used to determine the local service provider infor
mation for the requesting home netWork client computer.
While the present invention has been described With
reference to a feW speci?c embodiments, the description is
client computers comprising the steps of:
a) receiving requests from the home netWork client com
puters for autocon?guration, each requests providing
60
65
said home netWork client computer using said received
con?guration information to con?gure itself; and
When said home netWork client computer has the required
con?guration information and has been con?gured
thereWith, automatically establishing a connection to
said local service provider.
5. The method of claim 4, Wherein
said client computer identifying information includes a
serial number uniquely associated With said home
netWork client computer, and
said database of client computer information includes data
for said home netWork client computers that is col
lected and stored in conjunction With acquisition or sale
5,826,000
9
10
con?guration, sales information identifying the desig
of said home network client computers and/or shipment
of said home network client computers to designated
recipients, Wherein said stored data for each respective
nated recipient of the respective home netWork client
computer, and con?guration information speci?c to the
home netWork client computer indicates a respective
designated recipient of the respective home netWork
serial number, a client computer model or
client computer.
9. An autocon?guration server for con?guring home
netWork client computers, comprising:
con?guration, sales information identifying said desig
nated recipient of said respective home netWork client
computer, and con?guration information speci?c to
said designated recipient of said respective home net
Work client computer.
6. The method of claim 4, Wherein
a communication interface for receiving requests from the
home netWork client computers for autocon?guration,
each request providing client computer identifying
information;
a data processor, coupled to the communication interface;
the data processor further coupled to a prede?ned direc
tory of local service providers and a database of client
said client computer identifying information includes a
telephone number associated With said home netWork
client computer, Wherein said telephone number
includes a ?rst portion that identi?es a geographic
15
region in Which said home netWork client computer is
storing procedures for execution by the data processor;
the stored procedures including a con?guration procedure
for using the client computer identifying information in
located;
said directory of local service providers includes entries
suitable for mapping said ?rst portion of said telephone
number associated With said home netWork client com
puter to a local service provider.
20
7. An autocon?guration server for con?guring home
netWork client computers, comprising:
a communication interface for receiving requests from the
home netWork client computers for autocon?guration,
computer information;
a memory coupled to the data processor, the memory
each requests to determine local service provider
information, selected from information in the pre
de?ned directory of local service providers, and to
further determine client computer speci?c data corre
sponding to the client computer identifying
25
information, selected from the database of client com
puter information; the con?guration procedure further
each request providing client computer identifying
including instructions for doWnloading the local ser
information;
vice provider information, and the client computer
a data processor, coupled to the communication interface;
the data processor further coupled to a prede?ned direc
tory of local service providers and a database of client
speci?c data to a respective home netWork client com
30
computer information;
a memory coupled to the data processor, the memory
storing procedures for execution by the data processor;
the stored procedures including a con?guration procedure
for using the client computer identifying information in
each request to determine local service provider
information, selected from information in the pre
de?ned directory of local service providers, and to
further determine client computer speci?c data corre
puter;
Wherein:
the client computer identifying information includes a
telephone number associated With the home netWork
client computer, Wherein the telephone number
35
40
sponding to the client computer identifying
includes a ?rst portion that identi?es a geographic
region in Which the home netWork client computer is
located; and
the directory of local service providers includes entries
suitable for-mapping the ?rst portion of the tele
phone number associated With the home netWork
client computer to a local service provider.
10. A client con?guration system for automatic con?gu
information, selected from the database of client com
ration of a home netWork client computer, comprising:
a communication interface for sending requests from said
puter information; the con?guration procedure further
including instructions for doWnloading the local ser
home netWork client computer for autocon?guration,
vice provider information, and the client computer
said requests each providing client computer identify
speci?c data to a respective home netWork client com
ing information;
puter;
a data processor coupled to said communication interface;
a memory coupled to said data processor, said memory
Wherein at least a portion of the client computer speci?c
data for each one of the home netWork client computers
includes data selected from the group consisting of
computer model information for the one computer, data
identifying an internal hardWare or softWare con?gu
said stored memory procedures including a client con
ration of the one computer, and data identifying a
designated end user or recipient of the one computer.
home netWork client computer lacks required con?gu
ration information, said required con?guration infor
8. The system of claim 7, Wherein:
the client computer identifying information includes a
serial number uniquely associated With the home net
Work client computer, and
the database of client computer information includes data
for the home netWork client computers that is collected
and stored in conjunction With acquisition or sale of the
home netWork client computers and/or shipment of the
home netWork client computers to designated
recipients, Wherein the stored data for each respective
home netWork client computer indicates a respective
serial number, a client computer model or
storing procedures for execution by said data processor;
?guration procedure for determining, When said home
netWork client computer is poWered on, Whether said
55
mation including information concerning a local ser
vice provider, and client computer speci?c data;
if said home netWork client computer is determined to
60
lack any of said required con?guration information,
then said client con?guration procedure further:
using said communication interface to send said request
to an autocon?guration server;
receiving said required con?guration information from
65
said autocon?guration server;
using said con?guration information received from said
autocon?guration server to con?gure said home net
Work client computer;
5,826,000
11
12
ignated recipient of said respective home netWork
client computer, and con?guration information speci?c
to said designated recipient of said respective home
When said home network client computer has the
required con?guration information and been con?g
ured thereWith, automatically establishing a connec
tion to said local service provider.
11. The system of claim 10, Wherein
said client computer identifying information includes a
serial number uniquely associated With said home
netWork client computer, and
said database of client computer information includes data
for said home netWork client computers that is col
lected and stored in conjunction With acquisition or sale
of said home netWork client computers and/or shipment
of said home netWork client computers to designated
recipients, Wherein said stored data for each respective
home netWork client computer indicates a respective
serial number, a client computer model or
con?guration, sales information Identifying said des
5
netWork client computer.
12. The system of claim 10, Wherein
said client computer identifying information includes a
telephone number associated With said home netWork
client computer, Wherein said telephone number
includes a ?rst portion that identi?es a geographic
10
region in Which said home netWork client computer is
located;
said directory of local service providers includes entries
suitable for mapping said ?rst portion of said telephone
number associated With said home netWork client com
puter to a local service provider.
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