How the AAA server ensures security in telecom networks

How the AAA server ensures security in telecom networks

How the AAA server ensures security in telecom networks

April 5, 2021

Introduction

In 2020, around 22 billion internet of things (IoT) connected devices were in use worldwide, a number that’s expected to reach 50 billion by 2030, according to Statista. As networks become more complex and vast, configuring and controlling access to ensure security in the absence of Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) is virtually impossible. Put simply, AAA is one of the gatekeepers of the modern telecommunications network. And while we all know that it is integral to every network today, it deserves more credit than its usually given in ensuring the security of a modern network.

Device use continues to surge as 5G and the IoT ecosystem become more widespread. Plus, operators now offer more granular and contextual plans for different customers, as well as advanced billing and charging plans for an ever-increasing array of services. As the number of devices connected to a network as well as the services available to them proliferate, networks are more susceptible not only to accounting errors but also to security breaches and threats such as identity theft. AAA assumes a significant role in ensuring security for these dynamically changing network needs.

How AAA works

The AAA server does just as its name suggests: it authenticates or validates subscribers and their credentials, verifies what services and QoS each subscriber is authorized to access, and ensures proper accounting so that customers are accurately billed for the services they use.

Authentication

The first step in AAA security is Authentication. It serves as the first line of defense in protecting network resources against fraud and identity theft, employing multimodal authentication methods.

Whenever anyone tries to access the network, the job of the Authentication function is identifying whether they are meant to be granted access, and also ensuring that the user is in fact who they claim to be. It does so by ensuring the user enters valid credentials, such as username, password, biometrics, or any other security measures that have been implemented by the operator. These credentials are stored in the operator’s database, against which the Auth server verifies the input given by the user. This database is constantly updated and monitored by network and system administrators.

If the user’s credentials are valid, they are granted access. Those with fraudulent or erroneous credentials are denied access. All network use of verified users is monitored and logged for future reference.

Authorization

Once authenticated, the next step for the AAA is determining what policies apply to the user. These policies will govern the user’s authorization levels, defining what resources, services, and QoS the user can access.

AAA policies can be defined on a host of parameters, such as the time or day, the user’s location, how often they’ve logged in, how much bandwidth they’ve consumed, fair usage, and so on. These policies can also restrict certain actions, such as retrieving and/or changing passwords.

Accounting

The final step for the AAA server is to take stock of the network resources accessed by the user, such as data consumption and duration of their session.

These usage details serve two purposes. One, they ensure the user is accurately invoiced for their consumption. Another important aspect of accounting is to enable administrators to access audit logs to review how and by whom the network was accessed. This usage data is useful to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, usage patterns, and more. These business intelligence (BI) insights help operators create more contextual offerings and enable them to anticipate network use.

Benefits of AAA security

AAA offers a host of technical benefits for operators in implementing network security:

  • AAA forms a multi-layered security barrier to secure, measure, and monitor how the network is accessed and by whom, thwarting malicious attempts by cybercriminals to steal and misuse data.
  • As cases of data breaches such as identity theft continue to increase, telecom AAA assumes a vital role in strengthening a telco’s data assets by enabling sound practices in identity and access management.
  • With AAA, controlling access does not require a statically configured network, pre-defined connectivity modes, fixed or immovable systems, or even fixed IP addresses by enabling operators to secure the network using more granular techniques such as integrating user directories to provide access to specific groups of users. This dynamic approach is especially relevant given the growing number of devices accessing the network through various means.
  • It grants operators more control and flexibility in configuring network access, and also lets operators implement multiple standardized authentication methods.
  • It employs several back-up systems to ensure redundancy if one security server is down or there is excessive network congestion.
  • A centralized security database grants specific access to each user using their unique credentials, enabling easy and swift access termination for inactive or banned users.

How Alepo AAA can help mitigate network risks

Alepo’s modern and scalable AAA Server enables flexible configuration and control over how network resources are used. It provides failsafe systems to ensure that there are no lapses in security even during network outages.

The NFV- and 5G-compliant AAA overcomes the previous limitations of physical hardware. With its evolved architecture, Alepo’s future-proof virtualized AAA (vAAA) helps operators optimize infrastructural resources and ensure the network remains secure even when traffic increases. (Also read the whitepaper: The Evolution of AAA Infrastructure For NFVi Compliance.)

The stateless AAA stores sessions and application states in a centralized database, distributing the transaction load for faster response times while ensuring high levels of security.

The dual-stack AAA supports RADIUS and Diameter protocols for full convergence, enabling a single system to enable secure access to services across all networks (fixed, wireless, and mobile). This includes modern services such as IoT, WiFi calling and offload, and more.

With five-nines availability, Alepo AAA Server ensures network performance is always high while keeping the network safe from external security threats.

Alepo has regarded AAA as a crucial network function and has been at the forefront of AAA innovation from its inception. Today, Alepo AAA Server is at the heart of operations for some of the largest telcos in the world, with millions of subscribers benefiting from its capabilities. The cutting-edge solution is high-performance, self-healing, open (via REST and API gateway), and highly configurable, serving diverse use cases. Its AAA Transformation enables even large operators to seamlessly replace the core network functionality without impacting existing systems, ensuring transparent integration with other core components such as BSS and CRM.

Gayatri Sarang

Gayatri Sarang

Lead Content and Engagement Specialist – Marketing

Gayatri is part of the content and communications brigade at Alepo. Having locked focus on the telecom domain in recent years, she has vast and diverse experience in writing for leading publications. She moonlights as a volunteer urban wildlife rehabber and is a passionate baker.

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Eiasa enters high-speed FTTx market in Colombia using Alepo’s Broadband AAA

Eiasa enters high-speed FTTx market in Colombia using Alepo’s Broadband AAA

  • Called Megaya, the high-speed internet service has been launched in response to increasing demand for affordable high-quality internet services in Medellín
  • Alepo completed the deployment remotely, in partnership with system integrator Italtel, working around pandemic-related travel restrictions
  • Alepo’s solution, which includes its highly scalable AAA, DNS, and EMS, enabled Eiasa to introduce unlimited data plans, specific validity capped plans with email notifications, and more
  • Customers trying to access the network are redirected to the captive portal to purchase and renew their plans
  • The solution offers BI insights and data usage reports, enabling sound business decisions

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Medellín, Colombia – Colombian energy company and ISP Energía Integral Andina SA (Eiasa) has introduced a high-speed internet service called Megaya to meet increasing demand in the city of Medellín. The greenfield fiber broadband network has been implemented using digital enablement solutions provider Alepo’s Broadband AAA solution, in partnership with local system integrator Italtel.

The deployment, which is partially funded by the government, provides high-quality FTTx services to underserved locations. Its affordable price point makes it especially beneficial to strata 1 and 2 populations.

As part of its standard-based solution, Alepo has deployed its AAA, DNS, and EMS to meet Eiasa’s requirements of a high-performance, reliable, hardware- and network-agnostic system. The AAA helped Eiasa introduce unlimited data plans with and without speed caps, as well as specific validity capped plans with email notifications to send customers expiration alerts. Customers trying to access the network are redirected to the captive portal to purchase and renew their plans.

Alepo’s AAA infrastructure is highly scalable, supporting Eiasa’s plans for future growth. It is geographically and locally redundant with disaster recovery to ensure high availability (99.999%). It grants full control over session speed and plans, enables advanced subscriber management, and lets Eiasa block forbidden sites. A high-performing scripting engine enables the service provider to write, implement, and run custom authentication and authorization rules in-house.

The zero-revenue-leakage system also provides BI insights and usage reports to help monitor subscriber data consumption patterns to enable Eiasa to make statistically sound business decisions.

Alepo remotely managed the entire deployment, including network configuration and all project-related communication, overcoming global travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

“There’s been a global shift to working from home and Medellín has been no exception to this digital evolution, considerably increasing demand for an affordable high-quality broadband network. With the launch of Megaya, we are already helping connect the unconnected and underserved with cost-effective high-speed high-QoS offerings. Alepo’s AAA offers us the flexibility to offer contextual plans and ensure customer satisfaction while maximizing ROI,” said Jeyfer Rojas, Director of Operations, Eiasa.

Juan Espinosa, Director LATAM Alepo, said, “Alepo’s AAA has enabled Eiasa to provide quality broadband services and help bridge the digital divide in Medellín. Its reporting capabilities will ensure that Eiasa is able to fully monetize the service. The scalable solution will ensure high QoS even as traffic load increases, enabling Eiasa to rapidly expand its broadband presence in Colombia.”

Myriam Ortega Angulo, Project Manager, Italtel, said, “Alepo has a rich track record in delivering innovative broadband solutions around the globe, and we are pleased to have partnered with them in helping Eiasa connect the unconnected in underserved markets in Medellín.”

Alepo has been a pioneer in building and developing AAA and virtualized AAA (vAAA) infrastructure for nearly two decades, with its solutions powering operations at several Tier-1 operators globally.

About Eiasa

Energía Integral Andina SA (Eiasa) is a technology integrator dedicated to the commercialization of energy equipment and industrial battery production, the development of engineering projects focused on electrical services, telecommunications, and civil works. Eiasa sets new standards of excellence and innovation in engineering services and solutions. The company has a presence in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, the United States, and China. The launch of its high-speed internet service, Megaya, marks its foray into the fiber broadband market in Colombia.

For more information on Megaya, please visit https://megaya.com.co

For more information on Eiasa, please visit https://www.eiasa.com.co/

About Italtel

Italtel is a multinational information and communication technology company that combines the traditional positioning in networks and communications services with the ability to innovate and develop solutions and applications for digital transformation.

Italtel designs end-to-end solutions that address key issues for productivity and business success as well as for the evolution and simplification of network infrastructures.

Its know-how on cutting-edge technologies and the ability to innovate are the outcome of a constant commitment to industrial research projects at the European, national, and regional levels in the sectors of software, telecommunications, and IT.

For more information, please visit https://www.italtel.com/about/about-italtel/

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Top six ways AI and CX automation revolutionize telcos

Top six ways AI and CX automation revolutionize telcos

Top six ways AI and CX automation revolutionize telcos

14th of December 2020

The evolution of CX

It’s no secret that customer experience (CX) is emerging as the key differentiator for service providers: a Gartner study reports that over two-thirds of marketers say their companies compete primarily on CX. And two modern technologies are facilitating richer and more advanced CX than ever before: artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

AI is used to mimic human intelligence in responding to situations and conversations. Automation, on the other hand, enables repetitive tasks to run with limited to no human intervention through preset programming. AI and automation, along with customer insights, enhance a telco’s capability to deliver an intelligent customer experience. This powerful combination also revolutionizes the way telcos interact with customers, facilitating them to monitor, track, and manage the customer experience 24x7x365. Artificial intelligence helps operators analyze complex customer behavioral patterns and offer contextual services, plans, and content, whereas automation accelerates these personalized offerings.

Customer care processes have drastically eased with the help of modern, automated, AI-based omnichannel self-care, enabling instant query redressal anytime, anywhere, and on a host of convenient platforms. NLP-based bots and emotional AI can even gauge customer emotions and moods in real-time, enabling personalized support that mimics human responses.

How AI and CX automation transform a telco’s offerings

1. Automated support

A telco’s support and self-care offerings are a major factor in influencing CX. Customers today are less inclined to contact call centers or visit physical stores for support. Instead, they prefer having more control over their accounts to resolve their own issues – using the platform and language of their choice. More telcos are turning to AI technology to improve customer engagement by automating self-care and support offerings. In fact, Servion predicts that, by 2025, AI will power 95% of all customer interactions.

AI chatbots are available for a host of platforms, including web and mobile apps, voice assistants such as Alexa and Cortana, and social platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Having steadily gained popularity, they offer a direct and instant link between customers and the operator. Available round-the-clock, they help customers bypass long wait times to speak with CSRs and avoid lines at physical stores. AI chatbots mimic the experience of interacting with a human agent, understanding the customer’s sentiments and responding accordingly.

Chatbots also offer many benefits to service providers. They reduce burden on support staff at stores and in call centers. All interactions are recorded for operator analysis to improve future offerings. And using machine learning, the bots continue to become “smarter” at responding to customer queries, further reducing resolution times and improving CX. Moreover, AI assistants are also good at cross-selling products.

2. Personalized recommendations

AI helps target the right subscriber or group of subscribers at the right time using an in-depth analysis of customers’ past actions, preferences, and needs, which are collected in the form of data and algorithms. It is a powerful tool that encompasses a variety of statistical techniques to evaluate customers’ future actions, making it easier for telcos to showcase products and services that exactly match customers’ requirements in real-time. Operators capture buying preferences and complete historical data, which is then processed using advanced analytical tools to create targeted contextual offers.

AI empowers marketers to design custom campaigns and promotions based on customer preferences and behavior instead of applying a one-size-fits-all strategy. The predictions equip service providers to be future-ready to monetize offerings and respond efficiently to changing market dynamics, helping them not only offer relevant products to the customer but also to manage the supply chain more efficiently as they modify their offerings. This helps boost customer satisfaction and reduce churn while increasing ARPU, facilitating cross-selling and upselling, and more.

3. Omnichannel experience

A digital-first approach that empowers customers with more than just support through multiple channels, an omnichannel experience consolidates all customer interactions and history on a single converged platform. Using AI as part of a cohesive engagement strategy enables a seamless CX, empowering customers to engage with the service provider no matter what device or platform they use. It enables operators to enhance support offerings, reduce resolution times, and improve CX. AI can be integrated with support to offer insights on customer interactions across channels – insights that CSRs can be granted access to, helping reduce response and resolution times, lessen the burden on CSRs, and boost CX.

4. Automated digital onboarding

Customers today increasingly prefer signing up for new services online rather than visiting a store, even more so considering pandemic-related social distancing norms prevalent in many countries. From order to delivery, the entire process of purchasing a new connection can be automated, assuring customers of a quick, easy, and paperless process using the web, mobile, or any other digital channel of their choosing. Digital onboarding solutions help capture key customer information, documents, biometrics, and more, verifying this information in real-time using for secure onboarding.

5. Delightful innovations

Customers expect a constantly advancing service provider who keeps up with technologies to make their life easier. With the widespread adoption of tools like chatbots and voice assistants, it’s only natural for telcos to keep pace and delight their customers with new and useful technologies driven by AI and automation. One such advancement is voice and speech recognition technology, which has meant that customers can clear their bills using voice-activated payments. The process is automated, and PCI-compliant systems assure the cardholder that their payment data is protected. Operators can offer secure round-the-clock services for customers who prefer to call and speak rather than pay online.

6. Instant satisfaction

Automation streamlines the purchase cycle for customers, easing buying decisions and payments to accelerate turnaround. Fully automated background processes use mature workflows or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to enable instant service and, by reducing human intervention, eliminate the possibility of manual error. This enables operators to deliver the instantaneous support and service that customers demand today.

Alepo’s role in boosting CX

At the forefront of digitization, Alepo provides an industry-leading Digital Business Support System (BSS) integrated with AI-powered modules and automated processes. The BSS suite includes Omnichannel Self-Care with NLP-based AI chatbots, advanced BI reports and analytics, workflow automation in all modules such as interconnect and wholesale billingdistributor managemententerprise management, and much more.

Pankaj Garg

Pankaj Garg

Associate Director, Product Management

Pankaj Garg is a telecom and FinTech expert with over 15 years of experience in the software industry. Handling digital BSS offerings is among the many hats he wears at Alepo. Always up to speed with the newest advancements in the products he handles, he takes it slow only when he’s road-tripping across India to discover new places.

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Orange Guinea Sonatel to Digitize its Fixed Broadband Services with Alepo AAA Transformation

Orange Guinea Sonatel to Digitize its Fixed Broadband Services with Alepo AAA Transformation

  • Alepo AAA will help eliminate revenue leakage caused by manual processes in the legacy system
  • Customers will be emailed dunning notifications for the prepaid FTTH services
  • On service expiration, customers will automatically be redirected to the payment portal to increase renewal times
  • Faster and more streamlined customer sign-up will improve performance and reliability
  • Customer profile provisioning will be automated with a responsive and intuitive GUI for agents
  • The new AAA will provide guaranteed minimum bandwidth speeds, enhanced role-based security, real-time service monitoring, and comprehensive customer usage reports

Thursday, July 16, 2020, Conakry, Guinea – Strengthening its telecommunications business in the western African region, Orange Guinea Sonatel is set to digitize its fixed broadband (FTTH) services by migrating to digital enablement and revenue management solutions provider Alepo’s Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) platform.

Alepo’s AAA Transformation will help Orange Guinea Sonatel eliminate manual processes in their legacy system, resolving revenue leakage issues. Customers who purchase the prepaid FTTH plans will receive renewal notifications over email when their plans near expiration. Once the plan expires, they will automatically be redirected to the payment portal when they try to access the service, which is expected to increase renewal times significantly.

A faster and more streamlined customer sign-up process will ensure improved performance and reliability increasing customer satisfaction. Customer profile provisioning will be automated, with a responsive GUI for intuitive agent use. In addition to providing guaranteed minimum bandwidth speeds, the AAA will also enable flexible creation of new offers, enhanced role-based security, real-time monitoring of services, and comprehensive customer usage reports.

Marlyatou Hady Diallo, CTIO, Orange Guinea Sonatel, said, “Offering innovative telecom services has always been our priority, and Alepo has a long history of helping us cater to our growing customer demands. In the past, Alepo’s solutions helped us increase prepaid and subscription customers in our fixed-wireless network and we’re confident they will do the same in our rapidly growing FTTH business. We are certain the AAA will help us become more agile, improve speed, and enhance customer experience, all of which we expect will result in increased revenue.”

Vishal Mathur, VP Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “Alepo has helped transform AAA infrastructure for operators globally to meet and exceed their network demands and drive revenue growth. Our scalable and versatile AAA will help Orange Guinea Sonatel automate their legacy system and digitize their customer experience. We are proud that our previous deployments with them have yielded successful results, and that Orange Guinea Sonatel has faith in Alepo’s abilities as a trusted and experienced solutions provider.”

Alepo has transformed AAA infrastructure for several Tier-1 operators catering to millions of clients around the world. Its virtualized AAA (vAAA) is also deployed at leading service providers, with many upcoming deployments in the pipeline.

About Orange Guinea

Orange Guinea is a subsidiary of the Sonatel Group and has been present in Guinea since November 2007. It has more than 400 employees and nearly eight million subscribers. Orange Guinea is the leader in the telecommunications sector with the widest network: Conakry and all regional capitals are covered by 4G, and all sub-prefectures are covered by 3G. The operator indirectly provides employment to hundreds of thousands of Guineans in the distribution of its products and services, the provision of various services and the development of its telephone network. Orange Guinea participates in the economic and human development of Guinea through its commitment, excellence and proximity to the Guinean populations, thanks, among other things, to its citizen program. Its societal actions have had a direct impact that is valued at millions of euros.

For more information, please visit About Alepo

 

WOM to launch high-speed FTTH services in Chile using Alepo AAA

WOM to launch high-speed FTTH services in Chile using Alepo AAA

  • The mobile operator is set to enter the fixed broadband market to meet increasing demand in Chile
  • Alepo AAA with its stateless server is highly scalable and will support surging data usage and increasing subscriber base
  • Alepo’s solution will help WOM manage and monetize the data services
  • To overcome global travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the project will be remotely implemented

Friday, July 10, 2020, Santiago, Chile – In keeping with current network demands, Chilean mobile operator WOM has partnered with digital enablement and revenue management software provider Alepo to enter the fixed broadband (FTTH) market. Alepo’s 3GPP AAA for broadband will help the operator introduce uninterrupted high-speed data services with 24×7 remote customer support, online payments, and a customer-first approach.

Set for a July 2020 launch, the project will be an entirely remote implementation to work around ongoing COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Alepo will partner with a local hardware system integrator for the installation of new servers with virtual environments on geo-redundant sites that the AAA applications will run on.

Alepo’s stateless AAA server is highly scalable and will help WOM monetize network usage through a flexible policy framework. Alepo’s AAA will offer WOM the ability to launch postpaid and prepaid unlimited data plans with speeds up to 1 Gbps, as well as limited data and fair usage packages. Customers will be redirected to Alepo’s digital portal to renew their plans or pay past dues, completely automating their experience and reducing calls to customer care.

Implementation of the AAA will provide WOM with zero revenue leakage, accurate usage-based billing, and usage reports that help monitor subscriber data consumption patterns to quickly adapt through a centralized configuration manager.

With this project, WOM expects to acquire over 500k subscribers within the first year and eventually build up to 1.5M subscribers by the end of 2023.

“We are pleased to partner with Alepo given its history of delivering innovative and award-winning digital broadband solutions to service providers around the globe. With the shift to working from home and social distancing, there has been unprecedented demand for broadband networks. We are confident that Alepo’s AAA will help us alleviate this load with the introduction of ultrafast services. Its monetization capabilities will help us drive ROI while ensuring customer satisfaction,” said Christopher Adam Laska, CEO, WOM.

Juan Espinosa, Director LATAM Alepo, said, “Alepo’s AAA will create greater data monetization opportunities for WOM by facilitating data usage reporting and providing new billing capabilities, while simultaneously minimizing service activation and delivery costs. Our robust and scalable solution will help WOM increase customer satisfaction with higher data speeds and expand its broadband presence rapidly in Chile.”

About WOM

WOM, meaning ’word of mouth’ in Spanish, was launched in July 2015, after the purchase of the old telecommunications company Nextel Chile. According to official statistics, as of March 2019, WOM had 4,120,000 clients. They offer 4G voice services as well as Voice WiFi that facilitates users to make and receive calls through any WiFi network in the world that offers an internet connection, regardless of whether or not the WOM client is in the operator’s coverage area. This is ideal for use abroad and avoids expensive international roaming. The Voice 4G and Voice WiFi services were made available to all the company’s customers (prepaid and postpaid) from December 13, 2018, thus becoming the first telecommunications company in Chile to implement such services nationwide.

For more information, please visit www.wom.cl/

About Alepo

Role of AAA in 5G and the IoT Ecosystem

Role of AAA in 5G and the IoT Ecosystem

Role of AAA in 5G and the IoT Ecosystem

 

24th of June 2020

Evolution of the Mobile Network

According to a report from the GSMA, the number of fifth-generation (5G) users worldwide is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2025, which is 15 percent of the global total. 5G means a significant upgrade from the last generation of mobile networks. With its higher bandwidth, low-latency, and virtualization capabilities, it has unleashed a massive IoT ecosystem, and this is expected to rapidly boost the number of devices and users on the data network, making proper IT planning imperative. As the mobile network evolves, the AAA will play a key role in acting as a bridge between devices and networks, ensuring operators are able to maximize ROI on their 5G investment.

AAA Evolution

AAA is an important service and policy control framework, enabling CSPs to control how their subscribers access and consume data services over WiFi, FTTx, 5G, and other IP-based broadband networks. It touches a number of areas within the core network and back office, from security and provisioning to billing and, most significantly, customer experience.

Over a decade ago, the core functions of AAA were in line with dialup and, later on, DSL internet networks. Today, the ever-increasing need for improving customer experience, along with rapid growth in subscriber numbers and data usage, has placed new demands on AAA functionalities.

Diameter – the next-gen industry-standard protocol used to exchange authentication, authorization, and accounting information in LTE and IP Multimedia Systems (IMS) networks – provides a generic framework for exchanging AAA messages and defines a standard set of AAA request-and-response commands and attributes. Having evolved from RADIUS, it provides more reliable, secure, and flexible transport mechanisms for mobile data networks. It is used by LTE and IMS network functions, including the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), Home Subscriber Server (HSS), and Online Charging System (OCS) elements.

In modern networks where CSPs deliver services across multiple access networks such as fixed-mobile convergence (WiFi and mobile), the broadband network requires seamless user experience while accessing services. Within broadband networks, CSPs may have multiple types of network elements acting as service delivery points and policy enforcement points. In wireless networks such as 5G, the technology goal is to expand service capabilities in various industries using high-speed mobile broadband, Internet of Things (IoT), and virtualization by embracing key technologies like RESTful APIs. This ensures optimum performance, stateless and secured network functions (NFs), and a high level of quality of service (QoS) in the 5G Service Based Architecture (SBA).

The 5G SBA’s modular framework comprises components such as AuSF (Authentication Server Function), NEF (Network Exposure Function), NRF (NF Repository Function), PCF (Policy Control Function), NSSF (Network Slice Selection Function), and UDM (Unified Data Management), allowing deployment of diverse network services and applications. A robust AAA (like Alepo’s) facilitates seamless authentication for 5G network services, including authenticating and authorizing device access:

  • To enterprise slices by integrating with an enterprise AAA server
  • From non-3GPP networks such as WiFi and broadband

Top Ways AAA Can Help Telcos

Secure Access Control

The AAA server manages user profiles, holds access credentials, device identifiers, access policies, and so on. This helps enable various access control mechanisms such as barring access for blacklisted devices, allowing limited or walled-garden access. AAA helps implement corporate access control, allowing specific devices to offer connectivity to corporate network resources.

Revenue via Service Differentiation

AAA helps manage access profiles, data caps, time limits, and more, helping launch different bandwidth plans and implement data caps that are integral to driving revenue in broadband networks. Real-time usage monitoring helps control revenue leaks.

M2M/IoT Connectivity Management

Serving an important role in managing device connectivity for M2M or IoT networks, AAA holds device-specific network parameters that allow access to a specific enterprise network. It collects usage or event details from the network and helps identify device cell location and device online status, handles usage alerts, and pushes CDRs to the billing system to charge network usage.

Enhance Customer Experience

AAA helps push changes in service parameters and policies to different subscribers without disconnecting or resetting their connections. Operators can offer better customer experience through seamless session updates whenever a customer:

  • Purchases a turbo boost bandwidth speed
  • Surpasses their fair usage policies
  • Refills balance for a prepaid account

Monitor Usage and Notifications

While monitoring usage and notifications, AAA supports enforcement of fair usage policies on reaching the defined time- and volume-based cap. It also helps standardize customer experience based on usage levels.

Monetize WiFi Access

AAA assists businesses to unlock a new revenue stream using the WiFi hotspot business model. The AAA server helps:

  • Access time- and data-based passes
  • Enable location-based services and offers
  • Allow dynamic redirection to customized captive portals

Role of AAA in 5G-IoT Ecosystem

Authenticating Slice Access

5G and network slicing are often concurrently used, though network slicing is an architectural component that helps operators design and customize different slices that run on a common physical interface. Network slicing supports a multitude of use cases and new services through 5G and also establishes multi-vendor and multi-tenant network models using shared infrastructure. According to ABI Research, network slicing creates approximately US $66 billion additional value for telecom companies.

When a device requests connectivity for a specific slice, besides 5G network authentication, the enterprise or tenant may also want to authenticate the device. This is handled by AAA, which holds the profiles of devices that can connect to the enterprise slice.

5G Slice Authenication

Authorizing Data Connectivity

As a device attempts to connect an enterprise data network, such as a mobile device that accesses streaming services, or a drone camera trying to upload images to the data center, the enterprise or tenant may want to check the device requesting connectivity and restrict access to the network resource to certain devices. AAA authenticates the device, checks whether it is authorized to access the resource, and then provides the connection parameters such as IP address and QoS for data connectivity.

5G Slice Authenication

Multi-Service Access

Enterprise AAA plays a key role in connecting and authenticating devices to an enterprise network (slice), authorizing connectivity from non-LTE/5G networks such as WiFi and broadband. When the device tries to connect to 5G networks from non-LTE/5G networks such as WiFi, broadband, AAA plays an important role in authenticating the device, authorizing connectivity to the 5G core network function to allow seamless connectivity for mobile devices from non-5G networks.

5G Slice Authenication

Popular 5G-IoT Use Cases

Smart City

5G rollout will not only deliver high-speed connectivity globally but will facilitate the ability to handle massive network connections and unlock new life-enhancing services. Smart cities will integrate devices over 5G networks to build an intelligent city with smart traffic, smart homes, parking, waste management, public safety, and smart utility facilities. Coupled with enterprise IoT, AI, AR, and VR, 5G will offer maximum potential for service innovations in building smart cities, including use cases (slices) such as healthcare, drone, education, energy, and more. Additionally, use cases like connected vehicles, high streaming voice, and video transmission from crime sites, air pollution monitoring, and surgeries using AR and VR will further enhance lives.

Entertainment and Gaming

In both the entertainment and gaming fields, IoT solutions have played a major role in helping track emerging trends and consumer tastes in entertainment and giving users highly immersive gaming experiences. IoT caters to the entertainment industry’s three major needs: strong knowledge of the latest trends and user preferences, creating immersive content, and targeted ad campaigns. Today, users enjoy a whole new level of user-engaging visual content and gaming procedures with features such as:

  • Visible texts in the screenplay of video games
  • High-level 3D and reporting models
  • Content productions via AR and VR approach

Smart Home and Smart Building

IoT, combined with 5G-enabled tools and technologies, brings more control and efficiency to intelligent buildings and at home. These tools help control the connected home, comprising appliances, lighting, entertainment, safety, security, HVAC, temperature, energy management, and more from smart devices like smartphones, tablets, or laptops over the WiFi network. Smart home solutions leverage connected and automated homes by enabling users to centrally manage all devices from one location and provide device-specific instructions at just one click. IoT-enabled or smart buildings with AI-driven analytics help restructure key aspects of commercial buildings: construction, habitation, and maintenance enhancing the quality of life of occupants and staff. Building automation 2.0 covers smart building solutions covering space management, asset management, cleanliness and hygiene management, and environmental monitoring.

Smart Manufacturing

5G gives manufacturers and telecom operators the greatest opportunity to collaborate and build smart manufacturing units. By truly exploiting automation, artificial intelligence, and industrial IoT (IIoT), manufacturers can change the game of their business and discover innovative ways to adopt industry 4.0 practices. 5G RAN, network slicing, cloud infrastructure, and real-time data collection through AI build a strong vision of fully connected and automated factories. Having broader access to greater amounts of data, this use case revolutionizes the production capabilities of the manufacturing units by enabling manufacturers to generate meaningful data, which can be further used to enhance digitalization, create new revenue streams, identify operational obstacles, optimize industrial processes, and save manufacturing costs. Smart manufacturing has the maximum scope to transform businesses with complex device communications and stringent, costly, time-consuming manual processes.

Steps To Create A Winning Deployment

Virtualization

Virtualization plays an important role in any product deployment as it helps automate product delivery by using the latest NFV technologies. It helps enhance performance as it monitors network resources and can scale and heal automatically. Virtualizing the core network can also bring the benefit of network slicing and customized use cases such as smart cities, autonomous vehicles, entertainment, gaming, and remote healthcare. This helps build networks that boost performance, capacity, latency, security, reliability, and coverage of the application developed.

Open Standards

Standardization like 3GPP and REST APIs are the foundation on which different products and services are developed. They bridge the gap between work processes and deliverables to ensure performance and interoperability across the mobile supply chain. This helps eliminate vendor lock-in as it is always possible to get another vendor to deploy a solution that meets industry standards.

AAA Transformation

AAA Transformation helps CSPs streamline processes and reduce all of their ownership costs. With support for all access technologies, it equips them with a single platform to deliver AAA needs across broadband, mobile, WiFi, and M2M/IoT segments. Operators can boost performance and security by integrating multivendor legacy AAA deployments into a centralized cloud environment.

Digital BSS

A digital BSS stack helps CSPs deliver digital-first customer experience and automate business processes in both 5G and IoT deployments by upgrading their legacy BSS with a new 5G-ready stack. A modular BSS delivers a complete digital transformation that helps greenfield operators with full-stack deployment and replaces legacy systems that operate in a phased approach.

Conclusion

A high-performance and robust AAA Server integrated with 5G and IoT networks can be used for multiple use cases across various industrial sectors. It helps provide cost-saving network optimizations for end-to-end business processes. Advanced virtualized AAA solutions, combined with system integrations and data migration solutions, will deploy market-leading and cost-efficient services without affecting the current system or customer experience.

Rajesh Mhapankar

Rajesh Mhapankar

Director, Innovations

A seasoned professional, technologist, innovator, and telecom expert. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, Rajesh brings a strong track record of accelerating product innovations and development at Alepo. He supports the company’s mission-critical BSS/OSS projects in LTE, WiFi and broadband networks, including core policy, charging, and control elements.

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