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Steleus GPRS monitoring solution to support Bouygues Telecom GPRS services

Steleusí non-intrusive monitoring solution helps Bouygues Telecom to provide high quality ďpocket internetĒ services to increasingly demanding customers. Steleus enables Bouygues Telecom to have a unified and seamless view of their GPRS network, supplying them with a critical tool on their first, path-setting step to Mobile Internet.

Background
On November 15, 2002, Bouygues Telecom, a French mobile operator acknowledged for its policy of innovation, successfully launched the i-mode services under the slogan the "pocket Internet", developed over a GPRS network.

The services offered are broken down into 12 categories and can be accessed in just three clicks. At the end of April 03, it includes over 130 practical sites for daily life and has already attracted 150,000 users in France; i-mode users have exchanged over 3 million e-mails, showing their enthusiasm for this new means of communication, which is open to Internet messaging services and is very cheap (an e-mail costs less than € 0.03).

One of Bouygues Telecomís challenges was to offer a high level of quality of i-mode services to their customers right from the beginning.

In July 2002, Bouygues Telecom selected SteleusíprOceSS7 GPRS solution to monitor and supervise the end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) on their GPRS network. Bouygues Telecom was an existing Steleus customer: they had been using the Steleus GSM monitoring solution for their international links with regards to troubleshooting and statistics, as well as the SMS Welcome/SMS Bon Voyage offering to serve the needs of their roamers.

The needs set by Bouygues Telecom for their GPRS network monitoring system were to:

  • Trace calls for traffic analysis on all GPRS network interfaces for troubleshooting purposes,
  • Follow-up on Quality of Service offered to end-users and the creation of indicators for reporting purposes,
  • Size their GPRS network by measuring the real congestion rate and providing a clear, end-to-end network traffic overview,
  • Detect network faults and implement alarms management to carry out corrective actions in a proactive manner before receiving any customer complaints.

A non-intrusive GPRS monitoring solution to meet Bouygues Telecomís needs
One could think that the information coming from network elements would be sufficient to cover those needs.

However, the detailed and accurate information coming from the non intrusive probes solution offers additional data to the one supplied by network elements. The non-intrusive monitoring solution is dedicated to measurement and therefore is not impacted by network overloads and failures. It provides a unified and seamless view of the network, including services and customers. Consequently, it ensures end-to-end network management, which is critical in a GPRS environment.

As a matter of fact, Steleus GPRS monitoring solution is independent of network elements. Itís a distributed, scalable system with non-intrusive probes located at the various GPRS network interfaces. The solution mainly relies on the processing of xDRs (Session Details Records/Transaction Detail Records / IP Details Records) generated network-wide in real time and without sampling through protocol messages interception.

The xDRs are stored in a real-time database and can be easily accessed for analysis. The flow of xDRs can be filtered and aggregated in order to generate powerful counters and thresholds triggered alarms.

SteleusíprOceSS7 GPRS solution supervises the Gb, Gn/Gp and Gr interfaces of Bouygues Telecom GPRS network. Bouygues Telecom can then process the information in real time as well as off-line for post-treatment.

The various types of information coming from the different GPRS interfaces allow Steleus to answer Bouygues Telecomís needs by producing KPI/KQI (Key Performance Indicators/Key Quality Indicators):

Network-centric indicators
The Gb and Gr interfaces are the main sources for network indicators. On the Gb interface, the available information is about traffic analysis, BSS performance, mobility and user session activity (PDP context). On the Gr interface, localization, user authentication and authorization information can be found.

Service centric indicators
The Gn, Gp and Gi interfaces are the main sources of information for service indicators. The available information is about GPRS connectivity efficiency (PDP context), roaming traffic, user data with service usage and QoS.

Those KPIs and KQIs provide alarms in real time as well as statistics.

Results
The project was ambitious and required, amongst other things, the monitoring system to be installed and tested before the i-mode service launch.

It allowed Bouygues Telecom to closely follow up the traffic generated by the new i-mode service and its associated QoS during their commercial launch in mid-November 2002.

Today, the monitoring system enables Bouygues Telecom to fully understand their GPRS network behaviour. It gives them a clear picture of traffic flows for network dimensioning and planning purposes. The monitoring system is also used for troubleshooting. It allows preventive maintenance and time savings on problem detection.

The monitoring system generates valuable and easy-to-use reports which different departments can take advantage of within the Bouygues Telecom organisation.

Whatís next?
Today, with GPRS being the first step to Mobile Internet, operators are at the beginning of the path. Mobile Internet is a revolutionary leap for operators in which they have to face new business models as well as new technologies.

The Mobile Internet business model includes a multitude of players sharing a complex value chain: GPRS, GRX, ISP, ASP, content providers, MVNO, shared infrastructures...

GPRS operators will have to select for, and supply the best services to their customers and not just simply carry the information to them. In this respect, they will have to rely on the different players to ensure that attractive services match the needs of the customers. In this context, being able to measure the end-to-end QoS as perceived by the customer, the service usage per customer profiles becomes critical. Monitoring QoS and SLA per content provider and associated services is key to success. With a non-intrusive monitoring solution, Bouygues Telecom has the right tool to do the job.

GPRS operators also have to face technological constraints with a set of heterogeneous networks and a mesh between the centralized telco world and the distributed Internet world. As a result, they will need a unified and seamless view of their network, which they get through a monitoring solution.

In this new business and technological context, itís absolutely vital for GPRS operators to get an accurate view of their networks, services and customers. And this is what Bouygues Telecom has been doing to lead the way and set the trends in an emerging business and technological environment.

For more information, please contact: Virginie Rampon: v.rampon@steleus.com


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