Alsard Fiber and Cellnet partner with Alepo for digital BSS and affiliate management

  • The project will benefit the two service providers’ ADSL, FTTH, WiFi broadband networks
  • Alepo will deploy a billing system with advanced security and automation features to stop existing revenue leaks
  • The billing system will include centralized affiliate management to streamline processes
  • Customers will have access to web and mobile self-care, reducing their dependence on physical stores and points of sale
  • The solution will also support Alsard Fiber in launching and monetizing public WiFi services, which it intends to introduce in the near future

Thursday, December 17, 2020, AUSTIN – Alsard Fiber and its subsidiary Cellnet are set to modernize their networks using a multi-tenant solution from digital enablement and revenue management software provider Alepo. The solution will include a centralized billing system with automated security features for zero revenue leakage, centralized affiliate management, and web and mobile self-care, as well as the capability to launch and monetize public WiFi services in the future.

Simplifying and streamlining the management of affiliates, Alepo’s digital BSS will benefit wholesale service provider Alsard Fiber’s growing list of broadband clients, which currently includes 15 affiliates and over 1,000 resellers. The same benefit will also be extended to its sister company Cellnet’s FTTH and ADSL resellers. While affiliates will enjoy a faster and more seamless digital experience, the service providers will be able to lower operational costs, improve revenue, and optimize resource utilization.

The two companies will be able to prevent revenue loss caused by erroneous billing through enhanced security features that their existing system is unable to provide. Alepo’s system offers increased security against hacking and eliminates manual data inputs to minimize errors.

Cellnet’s subscribers will have access to web and mobile self-care to recharge their accounts, change their plans, log complaints about any issues they face, and more.

Alepo will deploy its Digital Business Support System (BSS) with billing, CRM, affiliate management, and mobile and web self-care, as well as its scalable AAA application to enable the service providers top performance with growing subscriber counts and usage demands.

Alsard Fiber also plans to introduce public WiFi in the near future. Alepo is deploying its WiFi Service Management Platform (SMP) to launch and monetize these public hotspots with various paid and free use-cases such as bundled ISP packages and sponsored data with advertisements.

“We knew we needed to upgrade our system when we pinpointed certain discrepancies in billing that were causing revenue loss. Further, we currently maintain each of our affiliates in a different server. Alepo’s centralized billing system will ensure more secure and efficient processes and streamline affiliate management, helping us meet our true revenue potential. Alepo’s digital self-care platform will enable us to empower our customers with web and mobile options, so they no longer need to visit resellers or points of sale in person,” said Firya M. Ali, Chairman and Owner of Alsard and Cellnet.

Vishal Mathur, VP-Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “We’re pleased to partner with Alsard Fiber and Cellnet to help improve their network as they digitize their self-care to empower customers. From the network aspect, our solution is designed to iron out the existing system’s vulnerabilities and will result in improved revenue. The centralized platform will enable Alsard Fiber and Cellnet to streamline affiliate management, ensuring faster and more efficient processes that will lower operational costs.”

The project is underway and is expected to be complete within an accelerated timeframe.

About Alsard Fiber

Founded in 2007, Alsard Fiber is a leading wholesaler of IP services in all regions and provinces of Iraq. Working with leading IP providers in Europe and using fiber optic technology, Alsard Fiber delivers the highest possible quality of service. The IP from Europe is delivered via two separate redundant routes. Customers are offered a dedicated symmetrical bandwidth, not shared capacity. Alsard Fiber has a team of IT experts who provide 24/7 technical support. All Alsard Fiber’s customers can benefit from Dedicated Internet Access (DIA), Dedicated Redundant Line for backup purposes, 24/7 technical support, and no filtering, monitoring, or censorship.

For more information, please visit http://www.alsardfiber.com/

About Cellnet

Cellnet was founded in 2006 as the first commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Iraq-North/Sulimanyah city. It played a major role in building internet infrastructure in Iraq/North, earning the company a reputation for providing fast and stable internet access and innovative solutions for their individual as well as corporate customers.

For more information, please visit http://cell-net.net/

 

About Alepo

Telecom Vanuatu Limited begins network modernization with Alepo solutions

  • Alepo has upgraded the legacy system to its Digital BSS and the latest version of AAA for the operator’s fixed data services
  • The upgraded system supports offers based on fair usage policies, as well as happy hours enabling Telecom Vanuatu to implement free nighttime browsing
  • Telecom Vanuatu’s customers can now easily purchase data add-ons

Friday, October 16, 2020, Vanuatu – Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) has begun modernizing its network using solutions by digital enablement firm Alepo, making significant improvements to its billing, charging, and authentication systems.

The modernization will be carried out in phases, through which TVL intends to digitize and automate its data service offerings on Alepo’s advanced platform. So far, the operator has upgraded from Alepo’s legacy business support systems (BSS) to its Digital BSS, as well as upgrading to the latest version of AAA, for its fixed data services.

The upgraded system supports fair usage policy offers and Telecom Vanuatu has implemented happy hours allowing free nighttime browsing. The operator has also introduced web support using Alepo’s Omnichannel Self-Care for its data-service customers. These customers can now easily purchase data add-ons.

“In our longstanding association with Alepo, they have always proven their reliability as a solutions provider. We were confident in their ability to rapidly deliver key requirements for this upgrade, and they have surpassed our expectations. We are equally excited about their systematic approach to fully digitize our service offerings,” said Thomas Bruce, CTO of TVL.

Vishal Mathur, Vice President – Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “We often recommend phased digitalization to our customers. First, we validate key use cases, allowing the customer to introduce new offers and build digital engagement channels. Then we perform a full transformation, providing advanced capabilities to automate all service offerings across the system.”

This modernization project adds to Alepo’s growing list of deployments in the Pacific Islands. The revenue management software provider has helped transform the telecommunications landscape for several nations in the region, including enabling the launch of LTE in three countries. In addition to digital BSS transformation, its key Pacific deployments extend to carrier WiFi, LTE enablement, data charging, and AAA transformation, among others.

About TVL

Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) was created in 1978 and is Vanuatu’s first provider for landline, GSM, internet, and 4G+ (mobile internet).

TVL is the largest corporate contributor to Vanuatu’s national economy – since 2002, it has paid more than 1.8 billion vatus to the government in fees, charges and taxes. A World Bank study shows that telecommunication prices in Vanuatu are among the cheapest in the region.

TVL has fixed lines on four main islands; Efate, Santo, Malakula, and Tanna, and 85 percent of the population is covered by their mobile network.

For more information, visit tvl.vu

About Alepo

Network Functions Virtualization: Basics to Benefits

Network Functions Virtualization: Basics to Benefits

Network Functions Virtualization: Basics to Benefits

 

 

03rd of September 2020

 

 

 

 

With rising competition from operators and OTT players, the major differentiator for telecommunications service providers today is delivering disruptive and innovative services. To support these services, they need a more stable, reliable, and scalable network, such as one enabled by Network Function Virtualization (NFV). NFV has been an industry buzzword for some time now, so is it all that it’s cut out to be? From its benefits to its applications, we break it down for you to decide how to use it for your network.

Key Components of NFV

A modern network architecture technique, NFV virtualizes entire network functions using standard vendor-neutral hardware and IT infrastructure, facilitating improved communications services.
Key components of the NFV framework include:

Virtualized network functions (VNFs) are software implementations of various network functions that are deployed in network function virtualization infrastructure (NFVi), that were historically coupled with proprietary hardware appliances. VNFs run on virtual machines and are hosted on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computing devices, network hardware, and storage infrastructure. Common VNFs components include virtualized routers, DPI, firewalls, edge devices, signaling devices, load balancers, network address translation (NAT) services, WAN accelerators, and more. The primary hypervisors are OpenStack and VMware.

NFV infrastructure (NFVi) is the environment where VNFs run and comprises the hardware and software components from different vendors that are essential to successfully run the virtual network.

NFV management and orchestration (NFV-MANO) architectural framework is the key element of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV architecture. It is a collection of all functional blocks, data repositories used by these blocks, and reference points and interfaces through which these functional blocks exchange information for the purpose of managing and orchestrating NFVi and VNFs. NFV-MANO includes the following components:

  • NFV Orchestrator (NFVO): a central component of an NFV-based solution that standardizes virtual network functions to improve the interoperability of software-defined network (SDN) elements. It orchestrates network resources for a broad range network services, enabling real-time automation, monitoring, and service assurance.
  • VNF Manager (VNFM): responsible for life cycle management, including deployment, monitoring, scaling, and removal of VNFs on a VIM.
  • Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM): responsible for managing, controlling, and monitoring virtual resources and their association with physical resources. It maintains the complete inventory of NFVi.

Together, these components replace traditional architecture to build a high-performing, reliable, and scalable network that delivers low-latency real-time applications while improving the operational efficiency of telecom services.

Top Six Benefits of NFV

NFV enables the swift creation of new services and facilitates rapid deployment in mobile and fixed networks. Its key benefits include:

Hardware flexibility and vendor independence

Legacy vendors offer their network functions on custom and dedicated hardware that is not easy to upgrade and demands a large investment of time and money. With NFV, network functions are virtualized and run on generic commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, enabling service providers to share hardware across multiple network functions, giving them the advantage of software decoupling and building flexible virtual infrastructure that saves space, power, time, and costs. Operators can now mix and match vendors and functions for different features, software licensing costs, post-deployment support models, roadmaps, and more.

Faster service life cycle

Unlike physical hardware, VNFs can rapidly be created and removed on the fly. A VNF’s lifecycle is shorter and more dynamic since these functions are often added when needed and easily provisioned through automated software tools that do not require any onsite activity. In effect, NFV helps network operators commission or decommission services with the touch of a button without the need for physical shipping or delivery truck, dramatically reducing deployment time from weeks to minutes.

Rapid deployment of solutions

With the decoupling of software functionality and physical hardware, operators can deploy new solutions and put features into production rapidly, without requiring lengthy change requests or new appliances from legacy vendors. This expedited deployment process further facilitates NFV’s inherent support to use open source tools and software services.

Scalability and elasticity

Service providers always want to ensure they will be able to meet new requirements as well as scale up their capacity as their network grows. Doing so with traditional network equipment requires time, planning, and monetary investment. NFV eliminates these concerns as it enables capacity changes by offering a way to expand and reduce the resources used by VNFs. It enables scalability and automation, improves the flexibility of network service provisioning, and reduces the time needed to deploy new services. It efficiently ensures elasticity by offloading the VNF workload and spinning a new instance to implement the same network function and sharing the load with an existing VNF.

Lower energy consumption 

NFV helps reduce energy usage by exploiting the power management features of standard servers and storage, as well as workload consolidation and location optimization. For example, based on virtualization techniques, it is possible to focus the workload on a smaller number of servers during offpeak hours (such as nighttime) so that all other servers can be switched off or put on energy-saving mode.

Operational efficiency and agility

NFV is inherently automation-friendly and can maximize the benefits of using Machine to Machine (M2M) tools. For instance, a device management automation tool can be used to determine the need for more memory in a network function. NFV helps reduce downtime and also assists operators with various network maintenance activities. It helps temporarily reduce and free up existing VNFs for maintenance activities by spinning to a new VNF. This helps achieve In-Service-Software-Upgrade (ISSU), enables 24×7 self-healing networks, and minimizes operational loss of revenue due to network outages.

Leading NFV Applications

The benefits of NFV can be realized across a variety of network functions that can operate almost entirely in the cloud without the need for physical hardware. Some of its most popular applications include:

Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC)

Virtualized EPC helps deliver superior quality of service (QoS) by dynamically scaling to meet the growing traffic. vEPC ensures lower OPEX and TCO while ensuring faster services to the market, consistent service availability, and improved network efficiency. Deployed in independent slices of the controllers, user planes, and management planes, vEPC is generally free of the architectural restrictions possessed by the traditional nodes-based EPC.

 

Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)

MEC is an alternative approach to the cloud environment. It brings data storage and computational capabilities closer to the data source, which is considered as an edge of the network. It enables computing resources to be distributed along the communication path by decentralizing the cloud infrastructure. The source of data or network edge can be the users’ devices, IoT device, router, or CSP’s server infrastructure, which helps reduce latency and save bandwidth. This minimizes long-distance communication between a client and server and most user actions are processed in real-time.

Virtual Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE)

vCPE, or cloud-CPE as it is also called, essentially transforms hardware-based operations like routing and security into virtual software-based operations, delivering them to the branch or edge networks. Traditionally, CPEs are task-specific with one device dedicated to performing one service. This includes VPNs, firewalls, routers, and more, all of which are hosted through a remote service provider or centralized management platform. It offers many benefits, including easier and swifter deployment, scalability, lower investment and operational cost, improved service flexibility, and scope for innovation.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Also known as a content distribution network, a CDN is a network of proxy servers and data centers, distributed across different locations to ensure high availability and performance. CDN operators enable the distribution of most content available on the Internet today, such as streaming media, web applications, downloadable content such as software, media files, documents, and occasionally security-related applications. While they earn revenue from content owners, CDN operators pay a hosting fee to ISPs and network operators.

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN)

According to research firm Gartner, over 90%of edge infrastructure refresh initiatives will comprise vCPE and SD-WAN devices by 2023. SD-WAN, as the name implies, employs software-defined means to manage a wide area network. It decouples the control mechanism from network hardware, facilitating simpler management, and more efficient operations. One of its primary applications is enabling the building of WANs with improved performance employing more economically viable commercial Internet access instead of high-cost private technologies.

Virtual AAA (vAAA)

Authentication, Authorization, Accounting (AAA) server can be deployed in an NFVi environment using ETSI-based standard integrations or customized instances provided by the NFVi vendor. Specific and generic VNFs manage the entire AAA lifecycle smoothly. A carrier-grade, high-performing, stateless, and cloud-native AAA (such as Alepo’s) integrates with the 5G core network to perform a host of functions such as slice authentication, authentication and authorization for DNN provisioning, authenticating access from non-3GPP networks, and more.

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)

IMS enables the delivery of secure and reliable multimedia communications services (voice, video, text) over IP networks. Its 3GPP standards-based architectural framework provides a unified infrastructure to connect various devices and networks, standardizing the implementation and management of next-gen mobile networks. The IMS core includes Call Session Control Function (CSCF), Home Subscriber Server (HSS), Media Resource Functions (MRF), Signaling Gateway (SGW), and Media Gateway Control Function (MGCF), all of which together work together to act as the control layer.

Session Border Controllers (SBCs)

SBCs help control and secure IP communications sessions. While they were initially designed for VoIP networks, they are commonly also used for IP video, text messaging, and more for residential as well as enterprise applications. They facilitate communication between different parts of the network. Along with ensuring seamless connectivity, SBCs enable high quality of service, advanced security to protect against frauds and malicious attacks, statistics gathering, and more.

Network Monitoring

Network monitoring checks networking devices and components such as servers, firewalls, switches, routers, VMS, and more for faults and failures. When any discrepancy is noticed, an alert is triggered to notify the system administrators by email and/or SMS, enabling them to swiftly act to improve or rectify the problem. Part of network management, network monitoring optimizes performance, ensures high availability, and minimizes downtime.

Video Servers

Video servers help deliver video content using a host of devices. Broadly speaking, they are used in two key applications: security surveillance and broadcasting. In surveillance, a video server helps capture video using one or more analog and/or digital inputs, enables network connectivity for the analog components to digitize and stream the video over an IP network, and provides users to access it through a web browser or mobile app. In broadcasting, it offers a bidirectional platform to record video as well as ingest video from external sources, stores this video, and enables editing and transferring the final output to multiple video streams.

Service Delivery Platforms

A service delivery platform helps manage and control the entire delivery life cycle, from creation to execution. It provides the architecture for service providers to swiftly develop and launch convergent internet-based multimedia services such as IPTV, VoIP, mobile TV, multi-player video games, and more. Its telecommunications applications include value-added services (VAS), partner management, converged billing, and more. When used in the enterprise domain, it is especially useful as it lets operators run a dedicated platform for each enterprise, offering increased control to their customers. 

Security Accelerator Functions

Over the past decade, the technology protecting virtual and physical tools has considerably evolved, paving the way for virtualizing and, consequently, centralizing security. These network security functions include firewalls, spam protection systems, intrusion detection and prevention systems, virus scanners, and more. Virtual firewalls, for instance, are NFV solutions that protect virtual machines. As technology progresses, more and more of these security functions are expected to be virtualized.

Conclusion

Network Function Virtualization is imperative for operators looking to transform into digital service providers from mere traditional communications service providers. The next-gen NFV applications and use cases help them become successful in the digital era in the face of competition from innovative OTT applications. Plus, from the network operations perspective, virtualization employs an end-to-end service-based approach to replace traditional function-specific hardware, helping telcos achieve five-nines availability, lower CAPEX and OPEX, and ensure rapid time to market of new services. 

Keshav Pareek

Keshav Pareek

Solution Integrator

Keshav is a solution integrator working on DevOps tools and technology, with expertise in virtualization. Over the years, he’s helped facilitate tier-1 telcos to modernize their network functions using NFV-based deployment. Always keeping pace with the latest in the industry and often immersed in reading tech blogs, he spends his free time going on long bike rides in the countryside.

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

  • 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