Here you can find answers to questions about various aspects of the billing functionality of PortaSwitch.

How does PortaBilling handle currency conversion?

Exchange rates can be managed either manually (exchange rates are entered by an administrator) or automatically (PortaBilling updates the exchange rates).

With the automatic update method, PortaBilling performs a daily check online and updates your exchange rates accordingly. You select which conversion website you want to use (either www.yahoo.com or www.xe.com), and PortaBilling updates the rates daily.


Which payment processors does PortaBilling support?

PortaBilling utilizes an online payment framework where communication with a specific payment processor is handled by a plugin module that knows the API details, data requirements, and so on. This allows easy addition of new payment processors. At this moment the following payment processors are supported “out of the box”:


Plugin modules for new processors can be easily added upon request. Also, for payment processors which handle all the credit card/bank details on their side, a web services API is available for adding transactions to PortaBilling.


Can I customize the invoice template for me or my resellers?

PortaBilling supports an unlimited number of invoice templates for use by different operators/resellers or for application to different customers. Invoices can have different styles, layout and graphics, they can contain just the basic totals or a detailed summary of calls, charges, and so on. They can be in any language your customers prefer.

There are two ways to customize the template:

  1. PortaBilling has a powerful web-based WYSIWYG invoice template wizard that enables you to customize the template in your browser – no additional software required. This is ideal for quick adjustments of invoice text, colors, fonts, etc.
  2. You may also upload your own complete template in HTML+CSS format. This is ideal for a full layout redesign via a third-party design agency.

Can PortaBilling handle non-voice traffic-related charges?

Yes. PortaBilling is a converged billing system, capable of much more than just voice call charging. You can use PortaBilling to provision and charge for SMS, Internet, IPTV, WiFi, WiMAX, LTE, or any other type of service your company offers.

In addition, PortaBilling’s Subscription Plan module lets you charge customers additional recurring fees for the services you offer. For example, you may want to charge customers an initial Activation Fee for every new phone line added, or charge them a monthly fee for optional services such as voicemail or call forwarding.


Can I import xDRs/CDRs from other platforms into PortaBilling?

Yes, you can. PortaBilling includes a CDR mediation/import module, which allows easy import of CDR batches from CSV files, proprietary formats such as TAP3, external databases, or other data sources.

The only thing you need to do is define how file contents (e.g. columns) are mapped into CDR parameters (called number, duration, etc.). This can be a simple assignment of names to columns, or you can program individual data translation/manipulation rules using small bits of Perl code. After that, the system will monitor to see if a new CDR file has been uploaded to the server. It will then extract the CDR from the file and perform data manipulation, CDR mediation (e.g. merging several incomplete records into one) and validation. Finally, collections of CDRs are placed in intermediate storage (so they are easily accessible to the administrator from the web GUI), and the CDRs are rated and applied to customer/vendor accounts.

If you do not have sufficient experience with CDR mediation, PortaOne’s engineering team can assist you with the CDR import configuration, any necessary development, and thorough testing.


Can we create our own self-care interface for customers?

Yes. PortaSwitch is an open system, where you are provided with the source code, as well as an XML API and a description of the database model.

An application (such as your own web portal) can easily retrieve and manipulate data using the XML API (SOAP). This allows you to integrate with PortaSwitch using any application running on any operating system and written in any programming language.


Does PortaBilling have a method for tracking commissions for my resellers, distributors, etc.?

Yes. Once you create distributors in PortaBilling, you can associate a percentage commission for every product sold. PortaBilling will automatically calculate the amount that the distributor owes you, minus any commission they keep for themselves.

Additionally, you can create resellers who are white-label virtual operators. You assign the rates that you will charge them and provide them with access to a self-care portal. There the resellers create their own products, adjust their rates for end-users, add new customers, provision their services, and so on – without any intervention on your side.


Can PortaBilling handle tax calculations?

Yes. You can use PortaBilling’s own plugins for doing tax calculations, or you can use an external module from companies like Avalara or SureTax.


Can I use PortaBilling as an OCS for IMS?

PortaBilling supports the Diameter interface, which is the standard protocol for all authorization and charging in IMS. Specifically, it supports the Diameter Gy and Ro applications, which allow PortaBilling to function as an OCS in an IMS environment.


Can PortaBilling enforce data transfer limits and perform content-based charging?

Yes, PortaBilling is able to perform real-time session authorization via Diameter (Gy). For every new data session connected on SAE-GW an authorization request is sent to the PortaBilling OCS. PortaBilling allocates a reasonable quota for this session based on the customer’s available funds or his data transfer bundle (e.g. 50MB), and locks the required funds on the customer’s account. When this amount of data is used up, a quota extension request is sent to PortaBilling and the same process is repeated. If eventually there are no available funds/quota left, the session is disconnected or (alternatively) hot-lined, and the customer is redirected to a web portal which informs him about the situation and allows him to refill the balance.

Content-based charging requires a DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) node, which analyzes IP packets and determines which category of data (social networks, emails, video streaming, etc.) is involved. Sometimes the DPI function is integrated into PCRF; alternatively, it can be a separate network element. PortaBilling provisions DPI with the required service configuration (e.g. whether customer A has separate YouTube and Facebook traffic) and performs charging via Diameter Ro.


Which LTE Evolved Packet Core vendors is PortaBilling compatible with?

PortaBilling follows the 3GPP standard for IMS for real-time charging via Diameter (Gy, Ro, etc.). Therefore, it should work with any LTE EPC. We already have deployments with Huawei and ZTE EPCs, and recently PortaBilling OCS has been certified for interconnection with the Alcatel-Lucent EPC used by Sprint in the US.

The only interface not explicitly defined within IMS is the provisioning of subscriber data from B/OSS into HSS, and so EPC vendors typically use a proprietary web service API for this. PortaBilling has an open architecture for service provisioning, so it is very easy to add a plugin for a specific vendor to accommodate their provisioning API.


PortaSwitch: Service provisioning, billing and web interface

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