PortaBilling is a business and operation support system (B/OSS) designed for telecommunication service providers to manage end-to-end telecom service networks. It includes:
- Service provisioning,
- Customer management, and
- A carrier grade converged billing platform with online charging system, rating, and invoicing
How does it work?
Telecommunication service providers, network operators, ISPs, MVNOs, and wholesale carriers rely on PortaBilling to launch, price, provision, and constantly manage various prepaid, postpaid, retail and wholesale telecommunication services, including calling cards, Vonage- and Skypelike services, CLEC type services, MVNO/MVNE, ISP, WiMAX & WiFi and much more.
PortaBilling is a converged system; it can be used as a single administration interface to manage and bill for multiple services, including those provided by third-party network elements (for instance, LTE SAEGW or WiMAX ASN-GW), while charges for the different services will be grouped on a single bill.
As B/OSS, PortaBilling communicates with elements of the telecommunication network, provides its nodes with authentication or authorization, and gathers billing events, i.e. data about services rendered to the customers. Based on this information, PortaBilling performs rating for the services, creates transaction records, and modifies customer balances accordingly.
PortaBilling Architecture Options
PortaBilling is available in 2 options that are exactly the same in terms of functionality and available features but differ in scalability and redundancy options:
- standard PortaBilling with MySQL database
- PortaBilling Oracularius with Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) database
All this happens in real time, so the billing data is updated as soon as a session is completed. PortaBilling acts as the nerve center of the network and acts a unified platform for multiple services allowing to charge clients for their voice calls, messages, data transfer, and other services like IPTV subscriptions or video-on-demand (VoD) thus effectively deploying triple-play on a single network.
PortaBilling with MySQL database
PortaBilling in its standard configuration with MySQL database is normally installed on 4 physical servers with main and replica databases located on separate machines to provide database redundancy:
- Billing engine (RADIUS) server provides authentication, authorization, and both interim (keep alive) and service accounting processing.
- Main database server contains all system's data.
- Server for web-interfaces and replica database hosts administration interface, account and customer self-care pages, resellers' helpdesk, vendor self-care pages, representatives' self-care pages, and online web signup interface. It also contains scripts for calculating various statistics, provides data redundancy, and hosts XML API (SOAP) interface for integration with external applications.
- Configuration server is a single point for efficient management and seamless update process of the whole installation set up. It is also used as a logging storage to remove the analytical task loads from the servers directly involved in the operational processes.
Enhanced PortaBilling with Billing and Web Clusters
In addition to the ability to run several RADIUS processes in parallel on the same machine, the standard MySQL-based PortaBilling architecture allows to be expanded to utilize multiple physical servers in a cluster so it can process more RADIUS requests. To take advantage of additional servers' capacity, the MySQL databases can be installed on dedicated servers while the extra web servers may create its own cluster too.
This expansion requires more licensed servers and provides extra performance, since incoming requests are distributed for processing among all the available clustered servers. It also offers improved reliability, as when one of the servers is down due to hardware failure, the remaining servers in the cluster will continue operating.
- Oracle RAC instead of MySQL
- Complete redundancy
- Unlimited scalability
The architecture PortaBilling Oracularius addresses specifically the issues of the ultimate reliability, performance, and virtually unlimited scalability achieved with the deployment of Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) environments.
Since MySQL database cannot be clustered for real time applications such as B/OSS, the high availability and ability to scale up system's capacity can only be achieved with PortaBilling Oracularius running on Oracle RAC database. Sharing absolutely the same feature set with standard PortaBilling, PortaBilling Oracularius has a fundamentally different architecture of 3 clusters:
- The database back-end deploys multiple (at least 3) servers in the Oracle RAC database. In case one of the servers in the cluster should fail, the database will continue to operate. Also, if more performance is required, additional servers may be added to the cluster to linearly increase capacity.
- The billing engine runs in a distributed fashion on 3 separate servers, which are organized as a cluster. This provides fault-tolerance - if one of the servers in the billing cluster goes down, this does not affect the service.
- Administrative functions (administrator web, self-care web, XML API, etc.) run on 2 web servers in a cluster, enabling load-sharing and quick disaster recovery.
- A configuration server is used to maintain and manage the configuration of all the other servers. This greatly simplifies tasks such as adding a new server to an installation of PortaBilling Oracularius, relocating components (e.g. one of the billing servers) to a new physical machine, or changing some other parameters.
For more information about PortaBilling Oracularius technical capabilities, architecture, and pricing please download Oracularius Concepts Guide and contact our sales team.
PortaBilling within PortaSwitch
Combined and fully integrated with PortaSIP, a class 4 (SBC functionality) and class 5 SIP softswitch, PortaBilling is a core basis of PortaOne's flagship product — PortaSwitch, an ultimate telecommunication services and subscriber management platform.
Clustered version of MySQL-based PortaBilling is a basis of PortaSwitch Procinctus, a fully redundant high performance version of standard PortaSwitch where each business critical element of the platform is placed in a cluster of multiple servers to deliver exceptional redundancy of all essential functionality; in addition, transparent load-sharing increases the capacity level of the whole system.
To overcome catastrophic events such as natural disasters, power outages at the collocation provider, network routing errors, etc., provide uninterrupted service and zero downtime updates, PortaBilling can be complimented with a remote site redundancy.
PortaBilling licensing model is based on a one-time per-installation basis. The license is perpetual, e.g. lifelong with no recurring fees are required to operate the software and unlimited with no extra charges based on the number users, customers, ports, minutes or channels - ever. More specifically, the license includes:
- Oracle Linux OS, and MySQL or Oracle RAC DB (minimal value of $984,000) embedded into the product
- Full source code with DB description and XML API allowing to make any changes to tune up the software to meet the most sophisticated business model requirements
- Post-installation services: initial configuration, remote monitoring, and optimization
- Customized training at your office (travel costs excluded)
- Complimentary period of PortaCare subscription: 24/7 technical support services and access to all new feature updates
With the embedded license for Oracle Real Application Cluster, supplied with PortaBilling Oracularius, all required Oracle licenses are included into the cost of PortaBilling Oracularius - this provides drastic savings comparing to the cost of purchasing the Oracle licenses separately. The powerful advantage allows users to grow quickly through an all-in-one product, without having to renegotiate or reconfigure their customer support platform.
PortaBilling comes with unlimited license and since there are absolutely no artificial limitations on the software side, and the only thing that limits its performance is the processing power of the servers it is installed on. Of course, the actual performance will depend on the system's configuration, traffic patterns, and the types of services provided. From our experience, at least the following numbers may be expected with modern equipment and industry-standard traffic quality:
|Indicators||MySQl based PortaBilling||Billing servers in a cluster|
|Call attempts per second||50||100|
|Busy Hour Call Attempt (BHCA)||180,000||360,000|
|Concurrent Internet access sessions||20,000||40,000|
|Monthly traffic in minutes||20,000,000||40,000,000|
The ability of PortaBilling Oracularius to linearly scale up the capacity of an installation addresses the situations when higher volumes are expected and better system performance is required.
For more detailed information on PortaBilling performance please refer to the respective chapter of PortaBilling Administration Guide on the Documentation page.
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Coquitlam, BC, V3B 2P7