Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are faced with strong competition within a highly dynamic market. In this context, time-to-market, overall cost optimizations, high-class customer services, and operational effectiveness based on efficient fulfillment, assurance and planning processes are important business parameters. The OSS/BSS (Operations Support Systems / Business Support Systems) environment plays the decisive role in this context. The cornerstone of a modern OSS/BSS architecture today is an integrated network and service resource management solution. This central network and service repository contains all the relevant resource information to form the foundation for any overlying planning and engineering, service fulfillment and service assurance processes. Therefore, the accuracy of the resource data is of utmost importance to improve operational efficiency, to optimize cost, to automate processes, to increase service quality, and to boost customer experience.
Based on the software suite Command, FNT provides OSS / IT management applications and solutions for communications service providers, enterprises, and public authorities. FNT‘s Command covers the business areas Telecommunications, Outside/Inside Plant Management, Data Center Inventory Management, and IT Infrastructure / Configuration Management within a single product suite. This is the appropriate resource management approach to cope with the diverse communications services of today.
Command’s telecommunications solution is based on a network and service resource inventory model providing physical, logical, and service resource information in an integrated way. This allows the relationship between services, underlying physical and logical network resources, connected applications, customers, and other assigned information to be retrieved.
The telecommunications solution supports all kind of wireline and wireless network technologies for transport, access, mobile, cable, satellite, and also radio/TV broadcasting networks such as SDH, PDH, WDM, ATM, IP, MPLS, Ethernet, NGN, VPN, xPON, FTTx, xDSL, HFC, WiFi, Microwave, and others. Command provides a straightforward documentation and administration of trails, links, and connections throughout the whole network including services, featuring sophisticated methods for path selection as well as auto-routing functionality with comprehensive routing criteria.
The physical, logical, and service resource information of Command’s network and service resource inventory model is hierarchically structured. The model provides high flexibility and can be extended easily. In this way, Command is able to handle all kind of wireless and wireline network technologies both today and in the future.
Command offers a cross-media auto-routing functionality, taking into account the underlying passive network resources as well as the active transmission technologies being built upon it. Using this capability, all types of physical and logical connections can be routed automatically through the network, taking into account different kinds of routing parameters and other restrictions.
Command contains an advanced CI / equipment library with more than 45,000 components from many different suppliers ready for download. Based on that library, the network nodes with all their physical and logical resource information are established. A graphical rack editor provides a wide range of functionalities for the administration and management of network nodes.
With the Command lifecycle management, all changes to the resource objects can be logged with the history function. Moreover, the logbook function provides the option to store also external events (incidents, changes, system states, etc.) either manually or by recording them via interfaces. This allows a complete overview of the entire lifetime of an object.
The spare part and warehouse management of Command allows the creation of any number of warehouse locations. Access rights and business processes can be defined separately for each warehouse. Integrated reports provide information on the inventory. Threshold values can be defined to inform about target/actual deviations. Integrations with ERP systems as well as bar code reader implementations are available.
Command is a 100% web-based solution that provides numerous graphical and schematic representations. There are schematic signal tracing views for end-to-end connections, GIS-based as well as schematic network maps, dependency views which can be opened stepwise, footprints and floor layout views, graphical rack views, and many other graphical and schematic representations within the different modules and functional building blocks of Command. The visualization of all these network resources and the relationship between the different resources and objects increases the operational efficiency and optimizes service provisioning, service assurance, as well as planning and engineering processes.
Command allows the administration and management of sites and locations according to a hierarchical structure. This allows a geographical structure, for example with cities, streets, buildings, and apartments to be documented. In addition, a logical organization of sites can also be applied, for example to pool sites according to their category (e.g. all POP locations, all core network sites).
Command encompasses all relevant aspects of a modern outside plant management application, i.e. planning, engineering, and administration of outside plant facilities ranging from trays, pipes, micro ducts, and cables to shaft illustrations, junction boxes, and splices. All connectivity and topology data are stored in Command’s central resource repository. Using these data, Command allows to design and assign physical as well as logical and service resources based on proven best practices.
For the visualization of network resources based on GIS data, Command offers a fully integrated WebGIS module. The integration of GIS systems from leading suppliers through a standard API is also provided. In this way, Command’s outside plant resources can be visualized true-to-scale in digital maps to generate consistent geospatial views.
Network upgrades and extensions as well as the introduction of new services require detailed information about the network configuration, the topology, the capacities, the network nodes, and the relationship between the network resources at the different layers in combination with other assigned information such as contracts, etc. All these resource data and the corresponding relationship information are available in Command’s central network and service repository. Based on these data, network extensions can be planned using Command’s planning mode. According to the planned changes, work orders for the field service teams are automatically generated with all the details about the necessary tasks. These work orders can then be sent to external work force management applications for dispatching of the field activities. Based on Command’s workflow mechanism, the status of changes and resources is managed over time.
The Command mobile client app can be used to receive work orders or to retrieve information about the network resources based on a smart phone app. A bar code reader application is included as well.
To cope with today’s diverse communications services, it is essential to cover all aspects of service and network resources from signal feed-in in the network down to the termination at customer premises as well as bottom-up from cable resources to applications and services. From a customer’s perspective, the application part of a service is increasingly moving into the spotlight. Not only the administration and management of servers, applications, and cloud services, but also all the related issues concerning the management of the complete data center are decisive topics for the successful and efficient operation of telecommunication networks.
Command offers a comprehensive set of functionalities for the administration and management of a modern server infrastructure. The server management module covers servers (physical and virtual) with the associated OS environment (logical), including their relations and dependencies. Not only server clusters and storages, but also software products, software licenses, applications, and associated contracts, etc. can be handled.
This topic is completed by a Command module that provides a wide range of functionalities for the administration and management of IP addresses (IPv4 as well as IPv6).
Command provides an extensive module for the management of a data center inventory in outstanding detail, including footprints, power supply, air conditioning, and many other aspects. Comprehensive reporting capabilities provide forecast scenarios as well as a past evolution analysis for the data center.
Command provides pre-integrations with solutions from different suppliers, such as trouble ticketing systems, assurance solutions, workflow/provisioning engines, ERP solutions, measuring data tools, even with external systems at an element and network management layer.
One of the most important aspects in network and service resource management is data accuracy. On the one hand, data reconciliation in Command is based on integration with the corresponding element and network management systems. On the other hand, Command provides an autodiscovery gateway for connection to external autodiscovery tools polling the network (pre-integrations available). The Command import mechanism is designed to manage large data volumes. The import can be user-controlled or automated and transformation and normalization of data is provided. In addition, comparisons of actual and target figures can be drawn.
Moreover, Command provides a Command Development Kit (CDK) to perform any required project integration. The CDK contains a Web Service API based on SOAP. The API Web Service is defined as WSDL (Web Service Description Language) to allow messages to be exchanged on the basis of XML independently of the platform, programming language, and protocol.
The automation of end-to-end processes can be implemented based on these integrations. This allows, for example, highly automated service fulfillment processes to speed up service delivery, to minimize manual interventions and re-work, and so increases efficiency and productivity.
Command provides a highly flexible reporting engine in combination with a database meta-schema allowing flexible report generation. Furthermore, the integration with external reporting applications such as Crystal Report can be provided.
All these Command modules and functionalities provide an extensive end-to-end view of all types of network and service resources and therefore improve the various operational processes, and finally increase the customer experience and satisfaction.