Friday, June 21, 2013

Operations Support Systems

Operations support systems are computer systems used by telecommunications service providers. The term OSS most frequently describes "network systems" dealing with the telecom network itself, supporting processes such as maintaining network inventory, provisioning services, configuring network components, and managing faults. The complementary term business support systems or BSS is a newer term and typically refers to "business systems" dealing with customers, supporting processes such as taking orders, processing bills, and collecting payments. The two systems together are often abbreviated OSS/BSS, BSS/OSS or simply B/OSS.

Different subdivisions of the BSS/OSS systems are made, depending on whether they follow the TM Forum's diagrams and terminology, industry research institutions or BSS/OSS vendors own view. Nevertheless in general, an OSS covers at least the application areas:

Network management systems

Service delivery

Service fulfillment, including the network inventory, activation and provisioning

Service assurance

Customer care

History and development of OSS

Before about 1970, many OSS activities were performed by manual administrative processes. However, it became obvious that much of this activity could be replaced by computers. In the next 5 years or so, the telephone companies created a number of computer systems (or software applications) which automated much of this activity. This was one of the driving factors for the development of the Unix operating system and the C programming language. The Bell System purchased their own product line of PDP 11 computers from Digital Equipment Corporation for a variety of OSS applications. OSS systems used in the Bell System include AMATPS, CSOBS, EADAS, RMAS, Switching Control Center System (SCCS), Service Evaluation System (SES), Trunks Integrated Record Keeping System (TIRKS), and many more. OSS systems from this era are described in the Bell System Technical Journal, Bell Labs Record, and Telcordia Technologies (now part of Ericsson) SR-2275.

Many OSS systems were initially not linked to each other and often required manual intervention. For example, consider the case where a customer wants to order a new telephone service. The ordering system would take the customer's details and details of their order, but would not be able to configure the telephone exchange directly — this would be done by a switch management system. Details of the new service would need to be transferred from the order handling system to the switch management system — and this would normally be done by a technician re-keying the details from one screen into another — a process often referred to as "swivel chair integration". This was clearly another source of inefficiency, so the focus for the next few years was on creating automated interfaces between the OSS applications — OSS integration. Cheap and simple OSS integration remains a major goal of most telecom companies.

A brief history of OSS architecture

A lot of the work on OSS has been centered on defining its architecture. Put simply, there are four key elements of OSS:

Processes

the sequence of events


Data

the information that is acted upon



Applications


the components that implement processes to manage data

Technology


how we implement the applications

During the 1990s, new OSS architecture definitions were done by the ITU-T in its TMN model. This established a 4-layer model of TMN applicable within an OSS:

Business Management Level (BML)

Service Management Level (SML)

Network Management Level (NML)

Element Management Level (EML)

(Note: a fifth level is mentioned at times being the elements themselves, though the standards speak of only four levels) This was a basis for later work. Network management was further defined by the ISO using the FCAPS model - Fault, Configura
Original article available http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Operations_support_system

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