Changes in customer behavior, new demands on services and a fierce competition drives the needs to streamline the organization even harder. The need for a fully automated network has never been as important as it is today.
What makes BECS unique?
By structuring and tying the network elements, topology, resources and configuration together BECS gives a full view and control of the network. This enables true end-to-end automation of your network, no matter if it is for network deployment, service activation or resource management.
BECS also provides configuration in real-time for all elements in your network. Whenever you update a configuration for a specific element, type of element, geographical area or even which role it might have, BECS will push the changes to all affected elements, including customer premises equipment. Its real-time configuration engine will quickly determine what changes are needed. It does this by using an internal modeling language that knows how to go from configuration “A” to “B”.
PacketFront Software: True Open Access pioneers
As the Open Access networks started to emerge at the beginning of the 21st century in the Nordic countries, PacketFront Software was the first supplier providing tailored solutions for these networks. Today our products are used by more than 50 Open Access networks throughout the world. Read more about Open Access here.
BECS simplifies and shortens the integration needs in the OSS and BSS layer by harmonizing services. This is done by creating a single service per service type for the whole network, regardless of vendor or technology. This means that you don’t have to change anything in the OSS/BSS layer for your service activation when introducing a new hardware vendor in your network.
The power of BECS is the way it intelligently joins up the four key dimensions necessary for effective automation: Resource Management, Service Configuration, Topologies and Element Configuration. By knowing the answer to these questions and how they are related, true end-to-end automation is accomplished.
Another essence of the network is that it has an evolutionary characteristic that is often overlooked. BECS is designed to help you across the full life-cycle of your network.
During a build-out, many new elements need to be configured in a short period of time. They need to comply with your defined policy for the network. What does the IP plan look like? How should the elements be connected? Which configuration, based on the specific role of the element, should be activated? Which software version should be used? These are all fairly simple questions to answer by themselves, but mistakes easily happen, especially if volumes are large.
With BECS these answers are defined in a network policy and enforced automatically. When BECS connects to elements, it will upgrade or downgrade the software and apply the configuration according to your network policy. It will warn about errors in the topology, so you can quickly react and rectify the problem. You will no longer apply the wrong Access List, configure a duplicate IP address or run the wrong software version in your production network.
In short, automation is key to minimize errors and maximize efficiency.
The modeling of an element allows BECS to understand the native language of that element, enabling full BECS automation. As part of BECS, Element Managers for most major vendors are included. In the event of a vendor not being supported right now, it is a quick task to model the element using built-in tools.
When elements support this, they can be plugged into your network, without any pre-configuration necessary and BECS will automatically configure them with the right configuration and right software.
Real-time Configuration changes
BECS makes sure you always have the correct configuration on your elements when adding and removing services. No longer will you have old stale configuration left that no one knows if it is being used or not.
BECS can easily gather the performance data from your network and present it to any other system of your choice. Data can be sent raw or processed in any way needed.
BECS makes sure you are always running the software version intended in your network. This can easily be a daunting task when you have thousands after tousands of network elements to manage. With BECS, you can easily define software policies for different parts of your network.
The use of this framework allows you to setup services that are shared among many different vendors and Operating Systems. This greatly enhances the Northbound Integration towards your BSS. If you add a new vendor or technology into your network, you don’t have to change your BSS integrations.
Finding the Problem
Most networks are managed today manually, or semi-manually with the help of scripts. The manual network configuration typically leads to poor, incoherent or missing documentation, configuration errors and dependency on individuals.
A sometimes used alternative is direct integration between network and OSS/BSS systems enabling a higher level of automation. This approach, however, leads to high costs and long implementation cycles when introducing new hardware and services as multiple integration points need to be updated.
Automation is the Key
BECS solves the problem of manual network configuration without causing the rigidness of the direct integration with the OSS/BSS layer. This is achieved by using BECS as an abstraction layer providing a single integration point for all OSS/BSS systems towards the network. BECS ensures that OSS/BSS systems do not need any knowledge of the network topology or used hardware. A simple API call is converted into CLI, SNMP or other type of hardware specific commands affecting any required number of network elements.
The high degree of automation offered by BECS reduces the workload related to day-to-day operations of the network. At the same time it offers the technical team a single tool to work with rather than multiple vendor specific element managers. This approach ensures a single interface to the network regardless of the network layer, hardware or service radically simplifying the network maintenance.
When an element is connected to the network, BECS downloads the correct firmware version as well as the global and element unique system configuration. This means that BECS brings the element to fully operational status without any human interventions.
The network is built in BECS using pre-defined element, topology and resource templates making sure that the operator has full control of the element configuration.
- Element templates define vendor, chassis, models and line-card settings.
- Topology templates (L2, L3, aggregation, MPLS, and more) structure how elements are connected.
- Resource templates define how and what IP, VLAN, Routing, etc. are allocated.
All templates can be adapted by PacketFront or by the network operator based on specific operational requirements. In addition, the powerful and flexible scripting function allows the network operator to create wizards for adding entire rings or POPs with full configuration automation, including VLAN and IP address assignment.
This is achieved by using a Core-Cell architecture, where BECS Core is a master for one or several BECS Cell’s. The purpose of the structure is to achieve optimal load balancing and enable geographically distributed networks.
The Core-Cell structure can be configured in High availability (HA) mode that allows the network to continue to deliver services in the unlikely event of a fatal hardware or software error. The High Availability setup allows both the Core and Cell to be coupled in pairs where each (virtualized) server can be located at separate sites in order to increase the reliability of the system.
The system modularity combined with the architecture fulfills the demands of a carrier class solution.
BECS abstracts the network northbound, presenting a service catalogue to the BSS. This means that adding new services and new vendors into the network does not require changes in the OSS/BSS. This greatly lowers OPEX over time as the network evolves, considering that OSS/BSS often cost up to 8 times more than the hardware to maintain. Introducing a new service or a new vendor now takes hours or days instead of months.
We provide well-proven solutions for the complex multi-vendor networks. Network abstraction with our solutions radically increases the level of automation and reduces the integration cost.
Our products were built to deliver true end-to-end network orchestration in high-volume scenarios. Using PacketFront Software’s BECS the daily operation and maintenance of the networks becomes fully automated reducing the workload and eliminating configuration errors.