Friday, May 22, 2015

Reduce the time to market of your products with Radiator

 
Photo by Egan Snow

Time to market is one of the key issues when you want to provide new services and products to your customers. When competition is though, new ideas should be easy implement in your customer’s operating environment.

One of the strengths of Radiator charging and policy pack is its flexibility in order to test and create new products. As a policy controller, Radiator is often much more flexible than many options on the market.

Flexibility for authentication or database testing

One example of this flexibility are the SIM cards that can be used to create and fully test new products.  In some of our projects, our customers have at first used the dedicated Radiator SIM cards (available freely from us) before switching over to the production environment. Piloting the customer experience for SIM authentication was made as realistic as it gets.

And it doesn't end here: in a similar way telcos or other operators can first test their new services, for example, new data plans, in a safe environment before going live.

Another example where flexibility comes in handy are the different types of databases. Since Radiator Policy charging and rules function (PCRF) and Online charging system (OCS) have been tested against sqlite, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Oracle SQL Database, it is possible for you or your customer to choose from different options that fit best to your needs and existing environments and the data within.

How to speed up your product and service development with Radiator?

Our team has gained experience with Radiator for different use cases over multiple years. We have wide experience of different kind of product solutions. When you are thinking about use cases, such as SIM authentication or policy and charging issues, please do not hesitate to contact our sales team at sales@open.com.au

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Scaling and using Radiator in the cloud just became even easier


Infinite Lights, a photo by Jesus Solana (Creative Commons)
Infinite Lights, a photo by Jesus Solana (Creative Commons)


Radiator has long supported scaling with features such as server farm (FarmSize) and multiple load balancing algorithms. In the latest Radiator patches we introduce the first features in the series of new improvements aimed to make Radiator a perfect RADIUS/Diameter AAA component from private and telco clouds to public clouds such as Amazon.

As operators gradually move away from physical servers and appliances to architectures like telco clouds, network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN), the need for software components capable of scaling and communicating between each other increases. A modern AAA (authentication, authorisation, accounting) software component must have features for communication, organising cooperation (orchestration) and dynamic load balancing and that is where we started.

The current Radiator patches now include Gossip framework with an implementation built on top of Redis. Proxying and load balancing were enhanced to use Gossip for sharing information about next hop proxy reachability and unreachability. This provides fast detection and recovery from proxy failures for cooperating Radiator instances across several, even separate, servers. In addition to sharing information about network events, Gossip based duplicate cache is now available for server farm instances. This is, however, only the beginning. Moving towards Radiator 5.0, we are adding more features supporting new and future operator cloud functionalities. As always, patches will include these coming features first.

We fully recognise that we cannot do and figure out everything by ourselves and welcome your feedback. This helps us to continue developing Radiator to the component you want to use when building your services and products.


Interested in participating?


If you are an existing customer interested in these new features, please download the newest Radiator version and patches and try them. If you need help or want to give feedback, please use your existing support contract contact or send feedback via evaluation-support ( a ) open.com.au.

If you are interested in evaluating Radiator, please fill out our evaluation form and mention your interest in testing the cloud features. Our evaluation support team will contact you shortly.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Scalable customer data plan - customize with Radiator

Different customers have different needs. Photo by Jenny Downing (cc)
As different uses of data roaming are still expanding rapidly, telecommunications companies (telcos) and other operators need different ways to provide the best value to their customers. Price and the maximum data quota offered are not the best or the only ways to compete. Customer loyalty can be achieved with customized offers that make the customer feel that this service is provided just to him or her. Because of this, customers want to optimize their data roaming use with flexible pricing and a telco needs to address these demands.

Radiator can be used to create these kind of solutions with data plans - a monthly subscription to a service that delivers database content, real-time data, news or other information. For different kind of data plans, advanced policy and charging support is needed. In this blog Radiator is being used to create different kind of data plans for different kind of customers.

Different data plan settings for different customers

In the basic setup, the customer’s device interacts with operator’s border network gateway (BNG) - for example a router. The BNG interacts in it’s with Radiator Radius that gets customer’s data plan from operator’s other systems. This is how we have done things for our customers many times over.

However, there are more modern ways to do create data plans for customers. Another advantage that is gained with Radiator, is possibility for deep packet inspection (DPI). With DPI it is possible to create advanced data plans. Advanced data plans can for example include reserved quota for certain services (such as Spotify or others) that you can market to your customers. Another typical use for advanced data plans is dividing data quota between different SIMs - then the data can be divided between different members of family.

For telco or other service provider the advantage is scalability - differentiated data plans can be done with greater ease. See the picture below for the configuration that can be adjusted to your needs.

 
Same need in your own network?

The right solutions for you is Radiator Policy and Charging Support. Please contact our sales team sales ( a t ) open.com.au.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Radiator Connects - from Machine to Machine to the Internet of Things

Our customer, a telecommunication company, had a pressing need in their network. They needed to replace their outdated Radius solution with a new design that allowed their M2M (Machine-to-Machine) network to function automatically as a integrating solution between the network controlled devices and the operator’s network.

In addition to telcos, the same kind of solution can be provided for power companies, logistical companies and others who have a need for an IoT-solution where devices interact with each other. Devices can be either pre-provisioned in batches (such as contactless electricity meters) or they can be uploaded to the system one device at a time via the user portal operated by the company. The basic functionality is shown below.


 
In this kind of operating environment, it is essential that the Radius server used for authentication and provisioning is compatible with and able to adapt different systems and devices - some dated while back. You may have, for example, a need to use database of some specific vendor (Oracle etc) in the future as well. From Radius server you then need interoperability and flexibility - and Radiator can be easily integrated to your operating environment. 


Same need in your own network?

For this kind of configuration, the right solution for you is Radiator, possibly with Radiator EAP-SIM Pack  - with an IoT-solution it is often convenient to use SIM authentication. To complement Radiator capabilities, our team of Radiator experts, making it easy for you to just deploy Radiator as the solution or the replacement for less flexible system. Please contact our sales team sales@open.com.au,  when figuring out the best solution for your needs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Preventing Bill Shock with Radiator

Photo by Thomas Fano
Unexpected bill shock - a huge bill accumulated from roaming - can be a nasty surprise for your customers. It is also one that can be avoided, bot in domestic and in global use. One of the most known use cases is based on EU roaming regulations.

When your client uses mobile phone in other EU countries to go online, there's a limit on what an operator can charge them. The limit is based on EU regulations. To protect the client against excessive data roaming bills, the monthly cost of downloaded data on mobile device is capped, worldwide, at €50, unless something else has been agreed on. Following the EU regulations, a warning is sent when the usage reaches 80 % of the quota.

In addition to EU regulations, a system for warning and limiting data use is needed for global roaming to ensure that your clients will not have a bill shock from their worldwide data usage.

With Radiator, we have already done these kind of solutions for our operator customers who have in turn provided it for their virtual operators. In this post, we will tell you how to do it.

How to use Radiator to prevent Bill Shock

The basic layout of operator infrastructure

Radiator keeps track on the data used by the customer. To do so, Radiator interacts with the billing system where the data plans and client information is stored.

Customer's SIM is used to lookup information about the customer’s current quota usage, data plan, phone number for SMS alerts and possible other information, such as custom limit for data usage. One data plan is typically used for most of the customers, another for enterprise customers and another for customers of a virtual operator.

The client’s updated quota is then stored in the database. When the quota limit is reached, an automated SMS message is sent to the customer. After each month, the data quota is reset in the database and the usage monitoring will start from the beginning.

Customers are happy when their roaming quota is monitored reliably, and operator does not have to allocate any resources to this task. 

What do you need?

The functionality can be done with Radiator Policy and Charging Support. Contact our sales team at sales (a.t) open.com.au.