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Technical Report on Value Added

Switch Operations
Contents
1.

Introduction............................................................................................................. 2

2.

Charging System....................................................................................................... 2
2.1 Service Data Point (SDP)..................................................................................................................2
2.2 Charging Control Node (CCN)..........................................................................................................3
2.3 Account Finder (AF)..........................................................................................................................3
2.4 Voucher Server (VS)..........................................................................................................................3
2.5 Mobile IN Service Administration Tool (MINSAT)...........................................................................4
2.6 Account Information and Refill (AIR)...............................................................................................4

3.

Traffic Cases............................................................................................................ 4
3.1 USSD User Account Refill................................................................................................................5
Steps...................................................................................................................... 5
3.2 USSD Balance Enquiry.....................................................................................................................6
Steps...................................................................................................................... 7
3.3 Originating Charged call....................................................................................................................7
Steps...................................................................................................................... 8

4.

Backups................................................................................................................ 10

5.

Daily Routines........................................................................................................ 10
5.1 SDP..................................................................................................................................................10
5.2 CCN.................................................................................................................................................11
5.3 Voucher Server.................................................................................................................................11
5.4 MINSAT..........................................................................................................................................12
5.5 AIR..................................................................................................................................................12

6.

SMCS.................................................................................................................. 13

7.

The Major Role I played in VAS Operations...................................................................14

8.

Conclusion............................................................................................................ 15
8.1

Way forward................................................................................................. 15

1.

Introduction

The report gives a brief overview of Charging system and its network elements. Chapter 3
discusses the traffic cases between the network elements while chapter 4 and 5 discusses the
backups and daily routines done on each node respectively. The routines carried in each network
elements and backups made on the network elements are discussed.
2. Charging System
Charging system (CS) is a cost efficient charging solution. It helps network operators to charge
in real time for events and sessions in the mobile network. The events and sessions can either be
voice calls, Short Message Service (SMS) or events using General Packet Radio Service
(GPRS). In CS each subscriber is connected to an account that can be refilled. Charging System
provides with possibility of market segmentation, tools for tariff management, bonus and loyalty
programs. Charging system consists of the following network elements:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

Service Data Point (SDP)


Charging Control Node (CCN)
Account Finder (AF)
Voucher Server (VS)
Mobile IN Service Administration Tool (MINSAT)
Account Information and Refill (AIR)

2.1 Service Data Point (SDP)


SDP contains the database with subscriber and account information. It performs charging
analysis of prepaid calls whereby it does the following tasks; it reserve money from the
subscriber account for initiation of a call, administrate the Announcements (e.g. during end of a
call there is a tone played, making the calling subscriber to be aware that the call is about to end)
and it also update the subscriber account after the call. SDP also assist in refill processes
whereby it updates the subscriber account or balance with the money that the voucher worth.
SDP helps in processing of Charging Data Records (CDR), it also helps in initiating and sending
of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) as well as Short Message Services (SMS)
notifications. For instance, in USSD balance enquiry SDP communicates with AIR to provide
with the balance of the user. SDP administrate or manages the following data:
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1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

Subscribers Account Information


Service Classes
Tariff and Charging Analysis
Dedicated Accounts
Subscriber Life Cycle
USSD and SMS Notification
Promotion Plan

2.2 Charging Control Node (CCN)


CCN is responsible for handling call control in Circuit Switched Networks and Packet Switched
Network. CCN plays major roles in the following Traffic cases:
1) Originating charging call
2) SMS charging
3) GPRS real time Charging
CCN provides with session control by communicating with the Account Finder (AF) and Service
Data Point (SDP) about the subscriber Account.
2.3 Account Finder (AF)
Account Finder provides location information of subscribers accounts. It enables centralized
management of multiple SDPs. It stores the IP address of SDPs and it can be used to find the
SDP in which the subscriber belongs to. AF is used in the following traffic cases:
1) Originating charging call
2) Originating charging SMS
2.4 Voucher Server (VS)
Voucher server is responsible for administration and storage of vouchers. It is used in USSD
account refill whereby it communicates with the AIR. During refill process the AIR send the
activation code to the VS so that VS can confirm it as an existing code that has not been used.
After successful refill, VS marks the voucher as the used voucher.
2.5 Mobile IN Service Administration Tool (MINSAT)
MINSAT is the software tool that manages the Charging System service. MINSAT client
interface consists of java client that runs on UNIX machines. MINSAT does not handle traffic
but it interacts with other systems in real time for provision and updates. The java client has the
following areas of management:

1) Customer Care: In this case MINSAT is used to handle Subscriber Administration


(where the following subscriber information is displayed Subscriber Number, Balance,
Supervision Fee Period, Service Fee Period, service Class, HLR profile and barring
status), Account History, Account Administration, Service Offering

and USSD

administration.
2) Statistics: In this case MINSAT generates a wide range of financial and statistical
reports.
3) Operation and Maintenance: MINSAT provides with the capability of checking alarms,
configuring alarms and filtering alarms in terms of Alarm Type (software alarm or
database alarm), Severity (critical or warning) and State (unacknowledged or
acknowledged).
2.6 Account Information and Refill (AIR)
AIR is a set of hardware and software that is used for refill functions, refill configurations for
promotions and administration of USSD communication. AIR also performs the calculations
needed for expiry dates and adding money to the subscriber accounts. The refills that AIR
handles are initiated from many different sources both in SS7 network and the IP networks. The
AIR system is connected to IVR, SDP, VS, AF and MINSAT systems. AIR is used in the
following traffic cases; USSD User Account Refill and USSD Balance Enquiry
3. Traffic Cases
Traffic Cases shows the communication between the nodes in Charging System and the
responsibility or role of each node.

3.1 USSD User Account Refill

Steps
The steps below describes what happens during USSD User Account Refill and the task carried
by each node.
1) The subscriber sends the USSD message containing the USSD short code used for refill
together with the activation code revealed on the Voucher.
2) MSC forwards the message to the HLR.
3) HLR performs Global Title Translation (GTT) to find the destination of the message
using destination Point codes. After GTT, the HLR forwards the message to the correct
destination which is AIR.
4) Since the location for account information of the subscriber is known by the AF. AIR
sends a request to AF to provide with the location of the account information.
5) AF provides with the answer to the request whereby it respond with the SDP IP address
where the subscriber account resides.
6) AIR now interrogates the SDP about the account and the subscriber data information
7) SDP replies to AIR and in this point AIR analysis the account and subscriber information.
For instance, AIR checks if the subscriber is allowed to make refills and if the subscriber
account really exists. It also checks the life cycle dates (Service Fee expiry date,
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Supervision expiry date and Account Disconnect date). Furthermore, AIR checks the
class of service of the subscriber.
8) AIR now sends the activation code to the VS for verification. So that VS can determine
whether the Voucher has not been used and whether it is an existing Voucher.
9) VS return the answer about the activation code to AIR.
10) IF the voucher is valid, then AIR sends a refill request to SDP. The request tells the SDP
to update or increase the subscriber balance with the money the voucher worth.
11) The account is increased in the SDP database.
12) The SDP sends the result of the refill to AIR.
13) IF the result shows that the refill was successful, the AIR sends a request to VS to mark
the voucher or the activation code as used.
14) The VS respond to AIR informing it that it has successfully marked the Voucher as used.
15) AIR reformats the respond to the USSD text String and sends it to HLR. IF the response
was successful the appropriate message is send to the HLR or a failure message is send
explaining the cause of failure if the refill failed.
16) HLR passed the response to the MSC so that the response could be played on the user
Mobile Station.

3.2 USSD Balance Enquiry

Steps

1) A subscriber initiates a USSD message with the USSD short code that is used for balance
enquiry.
2) MSC forwards the message to the HLR.
3) HLR analysis the USSD short code and performs Global Title Translation (GTT) to find
the destination point code where it must forward the message. Then after successful GTT
it forwards the message to the AIR.
4) AIR interrogates the AF to find the SDP IP address where the subscriber account
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

information resides.
AF responds to AIR with the SDP IP address.
AIR asks for the subscribers account information from the SDP.
SDP send requested account information to the AIR.
AIR reformats the response from the SDP into USSD text string and sends it to HLR.
HLR passes the respond to the MSC so that the message could be played on the
subscriber Mobile Station.

3.3 Originating Charged call

Steps
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

A call is initiated by the subscriber.


MSC/VLR collects data and forwards the call to CCN.
CCN ask the AF about the subscriber account location.
AF responds with the SDP IP address where the subscriber account resides.
CCN interrogates the SDP about the subscriber account information and CCN analyze the
account whereby it checks the barred list and always allowed list (to see which numbers
the subscriber is not supposed to call)

6) If there is enough money in the subscribers account and the called number is not in the
burred list. SDP reserves money for the call from the account and sends the calculated
call time to CCN.
7) CCN keeps the record of call data received from the SDP and send the reply from SDP to
the MSC/VLR to allow the call to take a place.
8) When the reserved money from the SDP is about to be finished, MSC/VLR responds to
the CCN to ask for more reservation.
9) CCN passes the respond to the SDP to make new reservation again.
10) SDP updates the account and checks if the balance of the subscribers account is enough
to make new reservations. If the balance is enough, the SDP sends the period of new
reservation to the CCN.
11) CCN passes the respond to the MSC/VLR so that the call can continue. Step 8 to 11 can
be repeated as long as the user does not hang up the call bearing in mind that the
subscriber still has enough money in his or her account.
12) MSC/VLR detects that the reservation period is about to expire or the calculated call time
is about to reach the limit, then MSC/VLR request for new reservation from CCN.
13) CCN passes the request of new reservation to the SDP.
14) SDP updates the account with the money previously reserved and at this point it realize
that the balance is not enough to make standard reservation. So, SDP makes the
reservation amounting to the balance that remained after update. SDP sends the
reservation and the warning tone that warns the subscriber that his or her call might be
dropped very soon.
15) CCN forwards the message to MSC/VLR.
16) AT this point the MSC/VLR detects that the call calculated time is about to reach the
limit, hence the MSC/VLR displays the warning tone to the subscriber
17) MSC/VLR ends or releases the call, collects data about the released call and sends the
information to the CCN.
18) CCN acknowledges the call release to the MSC/VLR.
19) A final report is send to the SDP by the CCN. It contains the total duration of the call.
This is important especially if the call was released by the subscriber before the
reservation reaches the limit.
20) In this case the SDP performs the final charging of the call and sends the final report to
the CCN.
21) If end of call notification is enabled, the SDP sends the SMS information or USSD
notification about the information of the call e.g. the time of a call, the subscribers
account balance and the cost of the call to the SMSC or HLR.
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22) SMSC/HLR passes the respond to the MSC/VLR for further delivery to the subscriber.
4. Backups
Backups are part of daily routines which are done daily to store the information that has been
handled by the Charging System. The purpose of the backup is to store the files for security
reasons and for disaster recovery. The backups are done on the following network elements SDP,
VS and AIR. The object below is the backup report.

26042011_Backups.
xlsx

The commands for backups are run on the UNIX machine using UNIX commands.
5. Daily Routines
Daily routines are done in order to check the performance of the system and any alarms. The
routines are done in two different ways, Using (Graphical User Interface) GUI and Command
Line Interface using UNIX commands. The daily routines are done on the following nodes; SDP,
MINSAT, AIR and CCN.
5.1 SDP
In SDP the following processes are checked;
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

Alarms (on GUI)


Database status
SS7 links status
System load
The number of subscribers in each SDP
System backup to tape
Number of input CDR files
Log files
Traffic carried by the SDP

5.2 CCN
Daily routines for CCN are done using GUI. The steps carried are shown below.
1) Checking alarms on the Alarm Viewer
2) Checking backup DBN on the Telorb Manager
3) Checking processor load on the Telorb Manager
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4) Checking Processor time on the Telorb Manager


5) Checking Signaling links on the SS7 Configuration
Daily routines are made successful with the help of CCN management features called Fault
management used to check alarms and Configuration Management used to administrate the SS7
links and TelORB Manager. The object below is the report for CCN daily routine.

Ericsson CS3.0
CCN_27042011.xls

In the report the severity of alarms is;


1) Critical alarm: this alarm is most important alarm that needs to be attended immediately
because it might cause the services to be in a halt state. It is represented by a red color.
2) Major alarm: this alarm is also important since it can affect the services to operate in a
manner that is not normal. It is represented by a gold color.
3) Minor alarm: this alarm is less important since the services can still operate in normal
manner but it needs to be cleared in time because it might results in a critical alarm. It is
represented by a yellow color.
5.3 Voucher Server
On the VS, the daily routine is done by checking the following processes on the command line
interface:
1) Alarms (on GUI)
2) The system load
3) Disk space
4) Log files
5) Traffic on the VS
6) Backup on the tape
7) Status of the hardware
8) Memory left on the system
9) Database status
10) Processor status
5.4 MINSAT
On MINSAT the following processes are checked:
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1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)

Alarms
Database status
Database backup logs
System backup logs
UNIX error logs
Disk space
Core files
Processor load

5.5 AIR
On AIR the following process are checked:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

Alarms
System load
SS7 links
System backup to tape
Disk space
Log files
Traffic carried by AIR
Status of the hardware
Generation and processing of the CDR

6. SMCS
The report for SMCS is done on the ZTE SMSC. The important measurement calculated from
the ZTE SMSC is the Success Rate. Success Rate is defined as the percentage of total number of
successful Short Message Services to total number of attempted Short Message Services. ZTE
SMSC has 3 store and forward engines which are used to store the Short Message Services
before they can be delivered to their destinations. The store engines are SC140, SC141 and
SC142. From each store engine the following data is obtained.
1) GSM MO Success: Total number of successful mobile originating SMS.
2) GSM MT Success: Total number of successful mobile terminating SMS.
3) GSM MO Fail: Total number of mobile originating SMS that were not able to be
delivered to the destination.
4) GSM MT Timeout FAIL: Total number of mobile terminating SMS that their time
expired in the store engine awaiting to be received to their destination.

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5) GSM MT User Error: Total number of mobile originating SMS that were addressed to
wrong destinations that do not exist by the user.
6) GSM MT Net Error: Total number of mobile originating SMS that were not received to
their destination due to network error.
7) GSM MO Success Ratio: Ratio of total number of successful mobile originating SMS to
total number of attempted mobile originating SMS.
8) GSM MT Success Ratio: Ratio of total number of successful mobile originating SMS to
total number of attempted mobile originating SMS.
The report also shows the success rate graph of Success Rate against the number of days in a
month. The report is made terms of Mobile Originated SMSs and Mobile Terminating SMSs.
The object below shows the SMSC Report.

20110414_ZTE_SMS
C_Success_Rate.xls

7. The Major Role I played in VAS Operations


I did the system backups every day and here is the procedure I used:
1) Name and label the dates on the backup tapes and insert them in the following nodes
(VS01, VS02, SDP3a, SDP3b, SDP4a, SDP4b, SDP5a, SDP5b, AIR01, AIR2, AIR03 and
AIR04) after lunch.
2) Every morning I would run the backup commands and check if the system has managed
to store the information in the backup tapes using secure CRT.
3) If the system has successfully backed up the information in the back up tapes, I would
then compile the backup report and save it to the VAS backup server.
4) If there has not been a successful back up, I would raise the issue to my supervisor and
we would do the backups manually and then compile the report.
5) When done compiling the report, I would then inject the backup tapes and store them in
their storage place and then insert new tapes after lunch.
I also played a major role in daily routines and this is the procedure I used;

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1) I did daily routines on the following nodes VS01, VS02, SDP3a, SDP3b, SDP4a, SDP4b,
SDP5a, SDP5b, AIR01, AIR2, AIR03 and AIR04. I used Graphical User Interface and
Command Line Interface for checking alarms.
2) If there were any alarms on the any of the nodes I would contact my supervisor and work
together remove the alarm.
3) After checking the alarms and status of the nodes, I would then compile the report and
save it to the VAS severs.
The other task of each day was the report of ZTE SMSC;
1) I used ZTE Anyservice Uniportal to connect to the SMSC and query the GSM measure
data. The aim of the report is to take the data for 24 hours and monitor the network
performance in terms of SMSs. For instance, to see how much of the attempted SMSs in
24 hours were able to reach their destination.

8. Conclusion
The Training was successfully carried out, though the time was not enough to go thoroughly into
Charging System.
8.1

Way forward

The AIR 01 node has been faulty for a month since I joined the department, I think it is advisable
if the fault is solved in time even if it might be a minor fault or alarm because a minor alarm
might result into a critical alarm which might then be difficult to be solved. There is no up-todate network diagram of the actual Charging System architecture. It is also advisable to update
the network diagram every time when there has been a change in a network. This would make it
easier to trace where the fault has occurred in a network.

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