The Evolution Of Telecom OSS Systems

by adam on May 5, 2010

Telecom service providers have gone through several innovations and service adaptations. From the ability to connect people over telephones to digitization of networks, to the recent big pipe phenomenon, it has been a long and tough journey. The latest challenge facing these operators is providing service to their customers with a greater degree of flexibility and agility. This is where Telecom OSS solutions come into picture.

OSS stands for Operational Support Systems and as the name suggests it is for supporting the network operations. Even ISP has invested a lot of money in installing a resource base to provide high bandwidth solution to the customers and in more recent times also provide wireless services. With growing network size and complexity, managing and supporting it is becoming a tough challenge. OSS systems can help tackle this challenge.

There are many kinds of Telecom OSS solutions available in the market. The most common and probably the oldest solutions are the Element Management Systems (EMS) and the Network Management Systems (NMS). These systems perform the same function but at different scales. Typically, all the equipment in the network is called network elements and the OSS system managing them is the EMS. If the network is heterogeneous, i.e., consisting of products from multiple vendors and using different technologies, the OSS system managing it becomes an NMS.

The EMS/NMS systems are very useful in managing the systems as they provide remote control and management features. The ISP can concentrate the majority of the network provisioning and monitoring operations in one location and save of costs. With a single network operations center running an NMS/EMS solution, the operator can upgrade, monitor and troubleshoot most software problems from a remote location.

Besides these management systems, the newer versions of OSS solutions comprise other aspects like Customer Management Systems, Business Management systems, Inventory Management system, etc. All these are newer additions that have come about to make the business more agile and mobile to changing customer demands.

With the fast expanding networks, inventory management has become a key challenge for many operators. There are two aspects to this problem:  for one the inventory details are important for planning and expansion – the ISP would never want to run out of capacity after committing a client service. Secondly, this inventory needs to be accurate. Inaccurate inventory can lead to incorrect service design and hence delayed service delivery.

The last aspect of the new Telecom OSS systems is that they have now moved from just single technology and single network solution to a multi-technology heterogeneous solution. The reason, again, is market driven. To retain customers and increase ARPU, most telecom service providers are promoting bundled services and triple play. Strong OSS systems are needed to achieve this.

In conclusion, Telecom Billing OSS systems are key to the modern day service providers. They add agility and flexibility to the ISP operations. They have been growing and evolving to adapt to the changing market demands to maintain the ISP competitiveness. Going forward, stable and versatile OSS systems could become the defining factor of any ISPs services.

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