X.25 to IP migration in OSS billing and management

The issue

PSTN switches from major equipment vendors (Alcatel E10, Ericsson AXE10, Siemens EWSD, Nortel…) still rely on a Q3 interface for their billing and management interface with OSS systems. This Q3 interface specifies the use of the X.25 network for connecting the switches to the OSS systems in the carrier back office. CMIP/CMISE is used as protocol for fault and configuration management and FTAM as file transfer protocol for various kinds of files. The most important files are Call Detailed Record files which allow carrier to bill their customers.

X.25 is a protocol that gets less and less market support and knowledge. Carriers are phasing out their X.25 networks. The number of suppliers of X.25 board or software is steadily decreasing and the cost of such equipment is rising. IP is becoming the only networking technology for wide area networking.

Carriers are facing more and more the need to move from X.25 to IP networking. That could be for instance because:

  • changing their OSS billing platform by a new one not supporting X.25. New products (OSS, Switches, ...) usually does not support X.25 and Q3 interface.
  • decrease operating cost by substituting the X.25 network connecting switches to OSS system with IP.
  • simply limit the risk because they have less and less employees able to administrate X.25 network

The main questions they have to solve are:

  • What strategy to adopt in the X.25 replacement?
  • How to remove X.25 network with minimum impact on switches side?
  • How to integrate Q3 Billing and Management interfaces into their new OSS platform?

Solution for an easy integration of X.25 switches in a full IP network

In partnership with Microtronix, Marben Product built a set of solutions to help carriers to overcome X.25 to IP migration and avoid issues in their OSS and billing system. This solution is based on Marben CDR Collection product in conjunction with X.25-IP translation systems:

  • On OSS system side, Marben CDR Collection acts as front end and handles the FTAM and/or CMIP based dialog with the switches and hides it from the OSS systems.
  • At network level, translation devices are used to integrate the X.25 equipments or sub-networks into the IP based management network.

This solution covers a wide range of situations. The main ones are explained below:

  1. The X.25 network connecting the switches to OSS is partially or totally replaced with an IP network. The switches are keeping their X.25 interface and the billing system may or may not be upgraded as well.

    • Partial IP migration may occur when a subset of the telephone switches are located in the same local area and X.25 local links are kept in this area. In this case, a combination of a local X.25 router and our solution offers a CDR file level interface to the OSS billing system over mixed X.25-IP network. Several switches are sharing an X.25 to IP translation device.
      Partial IP migration
    • The Full IP migration is the case where the IP network comes down to every switch. The X.25-IP translation device is put in front of each switch to enable communication with the Marben CDR Collection front end. As in the partial IP migration, Marben CDR Collection provides CDR file level interface to the OSS billing system, hiding network and protocol connectivity details.
      Full IP migration
    • Another solution is to use Microtronix X.25-IP translation device including the Marben CDR Collection with FTAM in front of each switch to enable direct CDR collection. The Microtronix gateway allows to collect CDRs from the switches using FTAM and offers to the OSS/Billing system the ability to collect those files using FTP or SFTP.
      Use of Microtronix X25-IP translation device
  2. Yet another case is when the X.25 network is kept as it is, but the OSS billing system is replaced with a new one that does not support X.25 and/or FTAM, CMIP/CMISE. Marben CDR Collection can just be inserted in between the OSS billing system and the network. Marben CDR Collection will dialog with the switches using FTAM over X.25 and talk to OSS billing system over IP. It takes care of scheduled CDR file retrieval and present these files to the billing system through FTP or shared disk device. This solution is future proof as it allows later migration of X.25 network to IP as in the case depicted above without change at either side.
    Marben CDR Collection will dialog with the switches using FTAM over X.25 and talk to OSS billing system over IP

Marben Products X.25 to IP migration solution helps implementing the shift to full IP management network step by step using custom strategy. This change can be done very smoothly because Marben Products migration solution does not require any reconfiguration of telephone switches thus saving time, minimizing risks and service disruption.

Our CDR Collection migration solution is built with Microtronix products to guarantee the full compatibility and to minimize deployment risks. In conjunction with our partner Microtronix, we provide several solutions that cover a large range of requirements, topologies and configurations.

If your network configuration or your needs is not exposed on this page please contact us (info@marben-products.com) to get advice on a solution suiting your requirements.

Marben Products migration solution benefits

  • Migration risks are minimized and prior investments on legacy equipments are preserved as nothing change on switches side.
  • Marben CDR Collection product eases the integration in the new Billing and/or Management platform through the file oriented and/or API oriented interfaces provided.
  • X.25 network and related clients can be replaced globally and at once by a new ready to use IP infrastructure.
  • Future proof solution that keeps OSS billing system independent from network evolution and vice-versa.
  • Network operation costs are reduced as X.25 network is eliminated.