A customer will start using a Network as soon as they start using the products and services sold by an operator. Network element is a combination of software and hardware and is responsible for overall service control and managing events for any type of service.
Event is a single billable incident of product usage and is captured electronically by a network. For example, when a mobile phone user makes a telephone call, an event will be generated which includes information about that phone call, such as call duration, time and the number that was called.
An event combined with its attributes is called Call Detail Record (CDR). A data collector in the network switch will capture the usage in the form of Call Detail Record (CDR)/Usage Detail Record (UDR). These raw CDRs/UDRs will be in turn converted by the mediation system into a format understandable by the Billing System.
Different network elements can control the services and produce various types of CDRs; for example, for GSM telephony
Below diagram shows the Network elements capturing Usage data and sending Raw UDRs to the Mediation System and finally to the Billing System for rating and billing.
As mentioned above, a CDR maintains usage details along with various other useful information. Below are some of the important attributes of a CDR
Additionally, a CDR may also record other information such as
Correct recording of all necessary information in a UDR will depend on the logic of the switch vendor plus the switch specific table entries. If any of these is not able to record the data correctly, then the mediation system cannot recognize the completed calls and cannot pass them to the billing system.
Mediation System will collect the CDRs from various network elements in various formats. Different network elements will generate CDRs in ASN.1 format and some network elements will have their own format of CDRs.
Mediation System can process all the CDRs and convert them into a format which is compatible to the downstream system, generally a Billing System. Mediation System will apply several rules on CDRs for processing them; for example, mediation system will mark the international calls based on the dialed number (B-Number), similarly mediation system will mark the on-net calls depending on A-Number and B-Number.
There can be a necessity of filtering out all the calls which have call duration less than 5 seconds. Best place to filter out such types of calls will be at Mediation System level. Similarly, if any critical information related to billing is required in the CDRs, then Mediation System helps in providing such information depending on some other attributes available within the CDRs.
Once the collected CDRs are processed, Mediation System will push all the CDRs to the Billing System by using FTP because Mediation and Billing systems will run on different machines.
As we have captured customer generated usage, we will discuss on how we can rate this captured usage so that due revenue can be collected from the end-user.
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