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How We Help : Systems : Network Elements

Call Collection: Entails (a) communication with a network element capable of generating Call Detail Records (CDRs), to collect CDRs, (b) store the CDRs for archival purposes, and (c) filtering and reformatting to convert the CDRs to a record format specific to the Business Support Systems (e.g., Billing System). Call Collection addresses various network elements to collect CDRs proprietary to each network element. Furthermore, Call Collection ensures that automated processes are in place to guarantee that (a) no duplicate CDRs are received, (b) alarms are raised when the communication to the network element is down, (c) alarms are raised when user definable exceptions in processing are experienced, and (d) communication with an Operations Management Center is in place to export the appropriate alarms in need of immediate attention. A number of reports (e.g., filtered out CDRs, exceptions, etc.) are available in the Call collection system to allow troubleshooting and auditing of the call detail information. Finally, Call Collection supports an automated scheduling mechanism to define the intervals when the system must initiate the CDR collection cycle, or be constantly active in the case of hot billing when Call Collection is constantly collecting CDRs.

Call Rating: An automated function available either through the Mediation Device or the Billing system, that assigns air and toll charges to a CDR. A rate plan is usually associated with call rating that determines the per minute or per second charges to be applied during rating.

Subscriber Provisioning: A process that allows Customer Service Representatives to activate, deactivate and suspend subscribers, modify subscriber profiles, refresh subscriber credit limits, etc.  A subscriber provisioning system includes (a) a customer administration system available usually though the billing system, (b) a mediation device that communicates with the billing system to receive service provisioning requests and queues those requests for transmission to the appropriate network elements for execution. Once these requests are executed in the network elements the responses are communicated back to the billing system. (c) The network elements responsible for receiving service provisioning requests from the mediation device, executing these requests and responding back to the mediation device with the completion status of any given service provisioning request. The mediation device is usually necessary in the service provisioning process to modify service provisioning requests from billing system proprietary format to the specific format required by each network element in the network.

Call Editing: The process in which Call Detail Records within the Billing system are modified (edited) to correct rating or billing errors. Call Editing in most Billing Systems is performed by using automated scripts where certain segments of billing data is selected and all records falling in the specified error category are modified to correct the error.

Data Storage or Data Warehouse: The system responsible for CDRs for extended period of time for the purposes of reporting and CDR archival purposes. A set of reporting tools is usually available with this system.

CDR Forwarding: Usually a function of the Call Collection systems where CDRs collected from the network elements are forwarded to the Billing System. The CDRs are usually converted to the specific Billing System format before they are forwarded to the Billing System.

Queue Management: The process of managing service provisioning queues between the Customer Administration system in the Billing System and the mediation device. Service Provisioning requests are usually queued prior to execution in the network and due to the volume of those requests the queues are in need of management to ensure that (a) all requests are sent to the network, (b) all responses from the network are sent to the Billing System, and (c) requests that timed out for any number of reasons are resent or flagged appropriately for execution at a later time.

Record Parsing: Usually performed in the CDR conversion process and the rating/billing process. In the CDR conversion process, records are parsed to determine type of record, origination, destination, subscriber identification etc. This is used for populating the billing system proprietary record prior to forwarding the record to the billing system. A similar parsing process takes place during rating and billing where a record is parsed to determine origin, destination, duration etc., in order for the record to be rated and billed appropriately.

Communications Monitoring: Part of the Operations Management Center (OMC) function where all communication facilities are managed and monitored. The OMC monitors and raises alarms when (a) communication links fail or experience critical loads, (b) servers are out of service and do not respond, (c) certain critical processes under monitoring experience problems, or (d) processing loads reach critical levels.

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