Browse Prior Art Database

Web Service Based Network Diagnostic and Repair Service

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000020735D
Publication Date: 2003-Dec-11
Document File: 3 page(s) / 213K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method that creates a local software agent in a LAN to help debug a user's LAN-based networking problems. Benefits include reduced support costs and minimized repair times.

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Web Service Based Network Diagnostic and Repair Service

Disclosed is a method that creates a local software agent in a LAN to help debug a user’s LAN-based networking problems. Benefits include reduced support costs and minimized repair times.

Background

When a LAN breaks, it is often impossible to diagnose the problem without having a service technician walk a customer through a limited set of PC-based tools over the phone. Many customers are incapable of performing this task, which is analogous to trying to perform a car-transmission service over the phone. As a result, LAN failures are frustrating, very costly, and a substantial barrier to a broader acceptance of LANs.

General Description

The disclosed method creates a local software (SW) agent in the LAN to help debug a user’s LAN based networking problems. Networking problems are complex enough that a local intelligence, (i.e. software agent) is usually required in place of a service technician on the premises. The SW agent is loaded into a middleware platform on the customer’s premises (e.g. gateway or PC); the middleware supports a confined virtual machine (VM) environment for “tools” to run. The SW agent is able to traverse the NAT (IPV4) nature of the “Bridge” device found between the Web and the LAN. The SW agent also provides a user interface to the overall LAN service. A Web-service in this context is a 2-layered application (see Figure 1). The higher layer application runs in the Web server, and the lower layer application runs in the customer’s LAN (i.e. local SW agent).

A customer with a LAN, or CE-device problem locates a “LAN diagnostics” service provider through a service directory. If the LAN or “gateway” is semi-operational, a Web-based service directory (UDDI) can be used with a browser on one of the functioning LAN devices (i.e. PC, STB). The customer selects a service provider and gives them access to the LAN and to the “Middleware Platform”. The gateway controls or supports a middleware environment to load the necessary tools (part of the SW agent) into the LAN, or acts as a bridge to another LAN host that can act as the middleware platform. Part of the middleware platform performs the security aspects and the download. Authentication and prompting of the user is used to ensure a level of security (see Figure 2). To a user, the process is as simple as doing an online purchase.

The local SW Agent is an extension of the Web service, and allo...