Patents by Inventor Wallace A. Pratt, Jr.

Wallace A. Pratt, Jr. has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 8942219
    Abstract: A method of efficiently operating a wireless communication network in a process control environment, such that the wireless communication network includes a plurality of field devices, includes defining a communication protocol for supporting wireless communications between pairs of the plurality of field devices, including providing a set of protocol commands, transferring process control data from at least some of the plurality of field devices using a first subset of the set of protocol commands of the communication protocol, and transferring network management data to at least some of the plurality of field devices using a second subset of the set of protocol commands of the communication protocol.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2015
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall
  • Patent number: 8892769
    Abstract: A method of routing a data packet between a first node and a second node on a communication network includes defining a first graph through the first node and the second node and zero or more intermediate nodes, associating several nodes which belong to the communication network with the first graph, associating a first unique graph identifier with the first graph and providing at least partial definitions of the first graph and the first unique identifier to at least some of the nodes associated with the first graph. The method then sends data packet with the graph identifier from the first node, and directs the data packet to the second node via the zero or more intermediate nodes using the graph identifier. This method may include forwarding the packet to a neighbor node of an intermediate node if the intermediate node and the neighbor node are nodes associated with the first graph and if the intermediate node and the neighbor node are connected by at least one direct communication connection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2014
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats, Terrence Lynn Blevins
  • Patent number: 8798084
    Abstract: A mesh communication network for use in, for example, process control plants includes a plurality of network devices transmitting and receiving data according to a network schedule defined as a set of concurrent overlapping superframes, and along a set of graphs defining communication paths between pairs of network devices. A network manager residing in or outside the communication network develops a routing scheme for the network by analyzing the topology of the network and defining a set of graphs for use in routing or transmitting data between various nodes of the network, each graph including one or more communication paths between pairs of network devices. Concurrently or consequently, the network manager defines the network schedule in view of at least transmission requirements, power availability, and signal quality at each network device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 5, 2014
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Terrence L. Blevins
  • Patent number: 8676219
    Abstract: A method of providing a wireless extension to a plant automation network connected to a plurality of wired devices, each wired device performing a process control function, includes connecting a plurality of wireless devices to the plant automation network, each of the plurality of wireless devices adapted to communicate with at least another one of the plurality of wireless devices via at least one respective wireless connection; and providing access to each of the plurality of wireless devices from a host disposed in the plant automation network, such that the host accesses the plurality of wired devices and the plurality of wireless devices using a common communication scheme.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2014
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall
  • Patent number: 8670749
    Abstract: A method of enhancing security in a wireless mesh communication network operating in a process control environment and including a plurality of wireless network devices includes processing a join request from a wireless device wishing to join the wireless mesh communication network, providing a limited network functionality to the wireless device if the join request is granted, requesting a complete approval of the wireless device; and granting a full network functionality to the wireless device if the complete approval of the wireless device is received.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2014
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Thomas L. Phinney, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats, Frederick Enns
  • Patent number: 8670746
    Abstract: A method of enhancing security in a wireless mesh communication network operating in a process control environment and including a plurality of wireless network devices includes processing a join request from a wireless device wishing to join the wireless mesh communication network, providing a limited network functionality to the wireless device if the join request is granted, requesting a complete approval of the wireless device; and granting a full network functionality to the wireless device if the complete approval of the wireless device is received.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2014
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Thomas L. Phinney, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats, Frederick Enns
  • Patent number: 8660108
    Abstract: A method for synchronizing communications in wireless mesh network operating in a process control environment and including a plurality of network devices includes defining a communication timeslot of a predetermined duration, wherein each of the plurality of network devices transmits or receives data only within the communication timeslot generating a network schedule including at least one superframe having repeating superframe cycles each having a number of communication timeslots sequentially numbered relative to a beginning of each cycle, the number of communication timeslots defining a length of the at least one superframe, maintaining an absolute slot number indicative of a number of communication timeslots scheduled since a start time of the wireless network, synchronizing each of the plurality of network devices with respect to a timing of an individual communication timeslot, and synchronizing each of the plurality of network devices with the network schedule based on the absolute slot number.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2014
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats
  • Publication number: 20140038591
    Abstract: A method of providing a wireless extension to a wired protocol for transferring data to and from a field device operating in a process control environment via a wired connection, wherein the wired protocol and the wireless extension to the wired protocol have at least one protocol layer in common includes associating a unique address consistent with an addressing scheme of the wired protocol with each of a plurality of wireless devices operating in the process control environment and forming a wireless network, such that a data packet is routed between two of the plurality of wireless devices based on the unique address; associating a network identifier with the plurality of wireless devices; forming, for each of the plurality of wireless devices, a global address including the respective unique address and the network identifier in accordance with a second addressing scheme; and providing access to an external host operating outside the wireless network to each of the plurality of wireless devices based on t
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 4, 2013
    Publication date: February 6, 2014
    Applicant: HART COMMUNICATION FOUNDATION
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, JR., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall
  • Patent number: 8570922
    Abstract: A method of providing a wireless extension to a wired protocol for transferring data to and from a field device operating in a process control environment via a wired connection, wherein the wired protocol and the wireless extension to the wired protocol have at least one protocol layer in common includes associating a unique address consistent with an addressing scheme of the wired protocol with each of a plurality of wireless devices operating in the process control environment and forming a wireless network, such that a data packet is routed between two of the plurality of wireless devices based on the unique address; associating a network identifier with the plurality of wireless devices; forming, for each of the plurality of wireless devices, a global address including the respective unique address and the network identifier in accordance with a second addressing scheme; and providing access to an external host operating outside the wireless network to each of the plurality of wireless devices based on t
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 29, 2013
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall
  • Patent number: 8451809
    Abstract: A wireless gateway for use in a process control environment includes a wireless interface for communicating with a first wireless network using a first wireless communication protocol, such that the wireless network includes a plurality of field devices operating in the process control environment. The wireless gateway further includes a host interface for communicating with an external host disposed outside the wireless network using a second communication protocol and a protocol translator to enable an exchange of data between the first interface and the second interface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2013
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall
  • Patent number: 8441947
    Abstract: A packet controller for simultaneous processing of data packets transmitted via a plurality of communication channels includes a plurality of inputs to receive a respective plurality of signals, such that each of the plurality of signals is indicative of a presence of a data packet on a respective one of the plurality of communication channels, a clock source to supply a periodic clock signal, a plurality of independent processing modules coupled to the respective plurality of inputs to simultaneously process the plurality of signals, such that each of the plurality of independent processing modules implements a respective state machine driven by the periodic clock signal to process the respective signal independently of every other one of the plurality of processing modules, and an output to transmit an output signal indicative of a presence of at least one data packet on one or more of the plurality of communication channels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2013
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Chuck Middleton, Mark M. Okamura, Daraius Hathiram, Ronald E. Ham
  • Patent number: 8406248
    Abstract: A method of routing data in a mesh communication network including a plurality of network devices and operating in a process control environment, including assigning one of a plurality of priority levels associated with the communication network to a data packet, sending the data packet from a source network device included in the plurality of network devices to a destination network device included in the plurality of network devices, and routing the data packet to a destination network device via at least one intermediate network device included in the plurality of network devices. The act of routing includes comparing, at each intermediate network device, the priority level of the data packet to a priority mask of the intermediate network device, and modifying at least one of scheduling or routing of the data packet if the priority level of the data packet is not associated with the priority mask of the intermediate network device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2013
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Terrence L. Blevins
  • Patent number: 8356431
    Abstract: A method of scheduling communications in a multi-node wireless mesh network which has a first network device and a second network device includes defining a communication timeslot of a predetermined duration, defining a first superframe having a repeating superframe cycle including a first number of the communication timeslots, defining a second superframe having a repeating superframe cycle including a second number of the communication timeslots, aligning the first superframe with the second superframe, so that one of the timeslots of the first superframe begins simultaneously with one of the timeslots of the second superframe, and associating the first and the second superframes with a network schedule, so that the first network device and the second network device transmit data according to the network schedule.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2013
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats, Terrence L. Blevins
  • Patent number: 8325627
    Abstract: A method of adaptively scheduling communications in a wireless mesh network including a plurality of network nodes includes generating a network routing scheme based on a topology of the wireless mesh network, generating a communication schedule for the wireless mesh network, and automatically updating the communication schedule in response to detecting a change in a transmission requirement of at least one of the plurality of network nodes. The act of generating a communication schedule includes defining a communication timeslot of a predefined duration and defining a plurality of superframes as repeating cycles of a certain number of consecutively scheduled communication timeslots.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2012
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Terrence L. Blevins
  • Publication number: 20120196636
    Abstract: A method of increasing operational safety of a wireless communication network operating in a process control environment and having a plurality of network devices includes detecting a first triggering condition associated with an increased operational risk due to a wireless transmissions by at least one of the plurality of network devices, sending a suspend command to at least some of the plurality of network devices, suspending transmissions at the at least some of the plurality of network devices; and resuming transmissions at the at least some of the plurality of network devices upon occurrence of a second triggering condition.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 11, 2012
    Publication date: August 2, 2012
    Applicant: HART COMMUNICATION FOUNDATION
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, JR., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall
  • Patent number: 8230108
    Abstract: A method of routing a data packet between a first node and a second node on a communication network includes defining a first graph through the first node and the second node and zero or more intermediate nodes, associating several nodes which belong to the communication network with the first graph, associating a first unique graph identifier with the first graph and providing at least partial definitions of the first graph and the first unique identifier to at least some of the nodes associated with the first graph. The method then sends data packet with the graph identifier from the first node, and directs the data packet to the second node via the zero or more intermediate nodes using the graph identifier. This method may include forwarding the packet to a neighbor node of an intermediate node if the intermediate node and the neighbor node are nodes associated with the first graph and if the intermediate node and the neighbor node are connected by at least one direct communication connection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2012
    Assignees: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats, Terrence L. Blevins
  • Patent number: 8169974
    Abstract: A method of increasing operational safety of a wireless communication network operating in a process control environment and having a plurality of network devices includes detecting a first triggering condition associated with an increased operational risk due to a wireless transmissions by at least one of the plurality of network devices, sending a suspend command to at least some of the plurality of network devices, suspending transmissions at the at least some of the plurality of network devices; and resuming transmissions at the at least some of the plurality of network devices upon occurrence of a second triggering condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2012
    Assignee: Hart Communication Foundation
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, Jr., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall
  • Publication number: 20110302635
    Abstract: A method of enhancing security in a wireless mesh communication network operating in a process control environment and including a plurality of wireless network devices includes processing a join request from a wireless device wishing to join the wireless mesh communication network, providing a limited network functionality to the wireless device if the join request is granted, requesting a complete approval of the wireless device; and granting a full network functionality to the wireless device if the complete approval of the wireless device is received.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 15, 2011
    Publication date: December 8, 2011
    Applicant: HART COMMUNICATION FOUNDATION
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, JR., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tom Phinney, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats, Rick Enns
  • Publication number: 20110216656
    Abstract: A method of routing a data packet between a first node and a second node on a communication network includes defining a first graph through the first node and the second node and zero or more intermediate nodes, associating several nodes which belong to the communication network with the first graph, associating a first unique graph identifier with the first graph and providing at least partial definitions of the first graph and the first unique identifier to at least some of the nodes associated with the first graph. The method then sends data packet with the graph identifier from the first node, and directs the data packet to the second node via the zero or more intermediate nodes using the graph identifier. This method may include forwarding the packet to a neighbor node of an intermediate node if the intermediate node and the neighbor node are nodes associated with the first graph and if the intermediate node and the neighbor node are connected by at least one direct communication connection.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 12, 2011
    Publication date: September 8, 2011
    Applicant: HART COMMUNICATION FOUNDATION
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, JR., Mark J. Nixon, Eric D. Rotvold, Robin S. Pramanik, Tomas P. Lennvall, Yuri Zats, Terrence Lynn Blevins
  • Publication number: 20100110916
    Abstract: A packet controller for simultaneous processing of data packets transmitted via a plurality of communication channels includes a plurality of inputs to receive a respective plurality of signals, such that each of the plurality of signals is indicative of a presence of a data packet on a respective one of the plurality of communication channels, a clock source to supply a periodic clock signal, a plurality of independent processing modules coupled to the respective plurality of inputs to simultaneously process the plurality of signals, such that each of the plurality of independent processing modules implements a respective state machine driven by the periodic clock signal to process the respective signal independently of every other one of the plurality of processing modules, and an output to transmit an output signal indicative of a presence of at least one data packet on one or more of the plurality of communication channels.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 23, 2009
    Publication date: May 6, 2010
    Applicant: HART COMMUNICATION FOUNDATION
    Inventors: Wallace A. Pratt, JR., Chuck Middleton, Mark M. Okamura, Daraius Hathiram, Ronald E. Ham