Our BBWF experience

Each industry has events and organizations that are more prestigious than others. For technology professionals, Broadband World Forum is one of the major events in telecommunications networking and service provider companies panorama.

The number one event for the fixed network community, Broadband World Forum, is the perfect place to network with and learn from your global broadband peers.

Dedicated to developing broadband network specifications, BBWF serves the needs of all participants, helping them connect in the most effective ways possible.

Great organization, potent themes, and diverse content are the weapons of this magnificent event. In this way, BBWF manages to keep up with the technological landscape, which is getting more complex by day, expanding at a tremendous rate.

This huge event is a perfect opportunity to connect with the entire fixed network ecosystem on a large platform and three days of the curated content. The event welcomes over 4000 attendees from around the world, and boasts over 60% operator attendance, with the majority being decision-makers at their relevant organizations.

It’s clear how lucky we were to be a part of this colossal three-day hotspot of innovation and brilliant solutions. But what about our role in all this?

Let’s go back to our five minutes of fame at this incredibly inspiring event!

The Broadband World Forum (BBWF) 2020 was the first major conference in which we have participated as a company. Due to Covid 19 pandemic, we were not phisically present in Amsterdam, but we didn’t let that fact diminish our enthusiasm and desire to be at the height of the task. On the contrary, we have done our best to seek inspiration in every aspect an online event might provide.

So, instead of a live presentation of our company and the products in Amsterdam, we had a virtual booth available for online visitors during the whole conference. Also, in the virtual booth, all participants could arrange a time slot to get acquainted with our products and learn about success stories for each of them. Our presentation was prerecorded and only the Q&A session was live, right after the presentation had been finished.

The title of our presentation is “Innovation in real-time network management“.  At this point, it may mean nothing to you, but let us explain.

Our trustee - our OpenProvider

As we said, many of our products were presented as part of the virtual stand, but the focus of our presentation was on our most mature and largest product named OpenProvider and its successfull implementation in Hrvatski Telekom.

OpenProvider is designed for Telco’s and performs AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) function.

OpenProvider path of development

OpenProvider started its road as a bare metal software back in 2006. Intention was to use and interconnect various OpenSource projects into a single platform. Network Function Virtualization requirements pushed OpenProvider into direction to become Infrastructure-agnostic, Cloud-agnostic, and Vendor-agnostic platform. Today, OpenProvider is a complete 3GPP AAA platform that can be deployed on any Cloud Infrastructure, standard Virtualised Infrastructure, or even on Commercial-Off-The-Shelf hardware.

OpenProvider is scalable and fast enterprise class policy, charging control and subscriber data management platform. Our solution empowers operators to do real time network management on a variety of attributes like: subscriber, time of day, network congestion, duration, device, specific content, quality of service or a combination of these. Using powerful business rules, operators do not just control network capacity and QoS, but also enable new business models and innovative new services.

OpenProvider is completely based on open source. It consists of POLICING FE Blueprint (Policing Front-End blueprint), Captive Portal BE Blueprint and MEDIATION (SSDB) BE Blueprint (Service and Session Database Back-End blueprint). Each blueprint consists of several VNFCs required for performing specific tasks to support AAA service. Depending on deployment requirement POLICING FE Blueprint, Captive Portal FE Blueprint and MEDIATION BE Blueprint can be installed on different Cloud infrastructure using different Orchestrators.

POLICING FE Blueprint consists of POLICING VNFC and LB VNFC. Minimal deployment includes at least two LB VNFCs and one POLICING VNFC. Depending on deployment requirements there can be many POLICING VNFCs configured for instantiation at deployment time.

MEDIATION BE Blueprint consists of SSDB VNF and LB VNF. Minimal deployment includes at least two LB VNFs and three SSDB VNFs. Depending on deployment requirements there can be more SSDB VNFs configured for instantiation at deployment time. SSDB BE Blueprint can be configuring to use internal Load Balancer LB VNF, or to be integrated with LBaaS Component if available on Cloud infrastructure.

SSDB VNFC is NO SQL database supporting ACID properties. It is used for storing Service and Session data related to AAA functionalities. It also holds UDR data for short period of time until they are transferred to UDR database for permanent storing.

UDR VNFC is database cluster with SQL support and ACID properties. It is used for permanent store of UDR records and Service/Session logs.

AI VNFC is java Web container responsible for running web based GUI interface used to configure AAA services, display user sessions and UDR data, performance and service dashboards and much more.

Part of the system is puppetmaster as VNFM. On each node within both VNFCs is installed puppet agent and installation and configuration of all services is done using puppet modules and manifest. Also puppetserver constantly monitors all the nodes in regular runs and keep all the services installed, properly configured, up and running.

Complete Data Center failure will have no effect on the service continuity as other Data Centers will completelly take over and continue processing requests. Beside failures, this concept allows heavy Changes and Maintenance works that can affect the complete Data Center without an impact on services and customers.

Main features and benefits of our solution:

  • Real time control and management over subscriber network access based on: volume, speed, time of day, application type and priority.
  • Custom rating factors, charging units and rules definitions.
  • Tiered-service bundles such as: parental control, virtual firewall, bandwidth limits, session duration, session max traffic limit, IP address pools and content filtering controls
  • Redundant deployments, performance, low latency, and scalability required to handle thousands of transactions per second (TPS)
  • Integration framework composed of a collection of web services, forming a middleware to enable integration of 3rd-party systems and applications
  • Web based administration interface for both service configuration and monitoring.

Our clients come in different shapes and sizes and tend to stick with us. We are very proud of maintaining long-term business relationships with regional giants from Telco and Finance industry.

One of them is Hrvatski Telekom and we were happy to have them at the conference with us. They are very important client with whom we have an excellent colaboration.

Hrvatski Telekom have 45,9% share in the Telco Croatian market with 2,3 million Mobile users, over 800 thousand fixed and around 1.5 million broadband internet and TV users.

The capabilities and performance of OpenProvider AAA is especially detectable when the system is required to handle a growing number of users and user transactions that Hrvatski Telekom experienced as well.

OpenProvider implementation in Hrvatski Telekom

According to our colleague Alenko Božićević from Hrvatski Telekom, EoL (end of life) and limited capacity of existing fixed and mobile Radius server were main reason to look for a new solution. Market demands growth, whether it comes to new services or customer base growth, required solution that can support that. With OpenProvider vAAA platform Hrvatski Telekom have consolidated all the older AAA functions used for different Access Technologies and Services into a single Virtualized Network Function. Thus, overall complexity is reduced by simplifying operations and moving from many different AAA platforms to a single Cloud platform.

Beside simplified scaling, OpenProvider AAA platform solves old problems by obtaining High Availability within a single Data Center.

Within each DC, as shown in picture, is installed one NFVI with following specification:

  • Hardware: HPE Proliant DL380 Gen10 (Intel 2×20 Core/2,0Ghz/384GB/2x300G+2×1,2T/4xGE+4x25G)
  • Host OS & Cloud execution: RedHat OpenStack – Queens version
  • 5 hosts per DC

With Logate’s vAAA VNF applications that assumes the following:

  • vAAA_LB (Load Balancer Back End)
  • vAAA_POL (Policing Front End)
  • vAAA_MED (Mediation Back End)
  • vAAA_VNFM (VMF Manager)

We have done integration with multiple platforms in Hrvatski Telekom such as BNG, vBNG, EPG, Radius Proxies, external Oracle RAC cluster for fixed user profiles and CNTDB for mobile user profiles.

Project is divided into two phases. Scope of the Phase I was introduction of fixed vAAA and it is deployed in two Data Centers (Zagreb and Rijeka). All of them are active, running in load-sharing mode. Geo Redundancy is even elevated to the next level, not only  to provide Disaster Recovery, but to be used as the part of everyday network management. During the implementation process performance tests were successfully done with 1300 AAA transaction per 1 VAAA_POL node with 32 DB threads and packets in queue. Pilot phase assumed 20k users and gradual migration to 330k fixed users which we currently have.

Scope of the Phase II is an extension of fixed vAAA on third DC in Split and implementation of vAAA for Mobile and voWiFi. System designed for 12.000 TPS for Radius, Diameter and LDAP protocol. Infrastructure is prepared on all sites and onboarding is in process. Testing environment in lab is done and part of the tests are successfully finished. Implementation and migration is planned until the end of 2020.

It is mentioned that additional projects are in progress. One of them is for QA project in fixed internet. It assumes real-time sending authorization and accounting messages  to data Lake for performance of preventive analysis.

Another project named Umbrella have to support new solution for Parental Control.

Which fields are open and what knowledge is provided to us?

We have learned that hard work and effort are the way to success. What you need is a real opportunity to present your achievements. We are ready to give ourselves fully but also to open and access new chapters of our future progress and success.

So, our final conclusion is…

 …let’s open more and provide more. Just like the name of our product says!

 How we are going to do it?

By retaining the excitement about the importance of this conference which gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself and the network to your global colleagues, you’re developing a tendency to reappear in an even better edition. A bigger picture in the plans, and small steps in action are our recipe for progress.

Broadband World Forum promises to provide a clear view of the innovative and cutting-edge technologies that will be driving the future of broadband.

Until next blog! Stay tuned!

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