Table Of Contents
Broadband Access Center
for Ethernet the Home and Business
Cisco® Broadband Access Center (BAC) for Ethernet to the home and business (ETTx) is a subscriber-management application for ETTx networks. Cisco BAC for ETTx manages subscribers and their service entitlements, and enables subscriber self-registration and self-care, thereby reducing service providers' operational costs associated with subscriber and service deployments. The administrative interfaces in Cisco BAC for ETTx give service providers comprehensive views of subscribers and provide subscriber traceability, reporting, and troubleshooting. The open architecture of Cisco BAC for ETTx allows easy integration with legacy systems and new applications as required by the Cisco ETTx operators.
Cisco BAC for ETTx provides subscriber management for ETTx providers. It is specifically designed to address subscriber service deployment, activation, and management. It provides the per-subscriber configuration of network elements required to activate service subscription. ETTx is the abbreviation of "Ethernet to the x", where "x" typically means home, building, or campus. It can also include small or medium-sized business, etc. It is the Ethernet access technology using a metropolitan-area Ethernet infrastructure.
Cisco BAC for ETTx lets service providers add subscribers to the network via an intelligent flow-through process, from service registration and order entry, to service activation, including configuration of the subscriber end devices and of network elements such as setting up the access right and policy at the access switch. Cisco BAC for ETTx also provides self-care support for subscribers to manage their subscriptions. Activation is "zero-touch" for both self-registration and self-care, in the sense that the whole process is fully automated. There is no human intervention in the activation process.
To automate the subscriber-led service-management process, Cisco BAC for ETTx manages the set of subscriber policies and entitlements for service activation and provisioning. It maintains the relationship between the business aspects of a service and the networking aspects. Cisco BAC forETTx lets the service provider define services from the networking perspective that fit their business models.
Cisco BAC for ETTx provides a complete set of subscriber-management features critical for efficient subscriber management and service deployment. The underlying subscriber-management technology of Cisco BAC for ETTx is developed as part ofthe Cisco subscriber-management initiative. It can be used across different Cisco solutions and access technologies. Cisco BAC for ETTx is the first application of this technology in the ETTx environment, providing subscriber management through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) in a shared Ethernetmedia.
Cisco BAC for ETTx Overview
Figure 1 gives a high-level summary of Cisco BAC for ETTx features and capabilities. The blue ring describes the capabilities needed to realize complete subscriber management, from service creation and activation to monitoring, troubleshooting, and modifying. The vertical bars summarize the primary features provided by Cisco BAC for ETTx.
Table 1 lists the features and benefits of Cisco BAC for ETTx.
Cisco BAC for ETTx Architecture
Cisco BAC for ETTx consists of the following five primary components (Figure 2):
Cisco BAC for ETTx Components
The core module is the entitlement- and policy-enforcement point in Cisco BAC for ETTx. It uses role-based access control and provides the programmatic interfaces for managing users, subscribers, services, policies, subscriptions, and their associations in Cisco BAC for ETTx. Authorization partitioning is also supported. Cisco BAC for ETTx supports either a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory or Oracle database.
The network module provides network resources to the subscriber based on the entitlements associated with the service subscription. The network module has the notion of service from the network perspective. Each service defined at the business level has a corresponding service definition in the network module. The network module "programs" the set of network services that the subscriber is entitled to for the service subscription into the network. Cisco BAC for ETTx has the concept of transaction. The network module will undo the configuration an activation task fails, to help ensure network integrity.
The network module is also responsible for providing the DHCP and DNS services, which are a vital component tosupport zero-touch activation. The DHCP server is an integral part of the network module. It manages different IP pools and assigns IP addresses to clients based on services and other criteria.
Cisco BAC for ETTx is designed to address subscriber security and traceability. Cisco BAC for ETTx lets the administrator retrieve subscriber profiles, search the subscriber activity logs, and generate reports including service subscription and IP history of a given subscriber, IP history over a specified time interval, and lists of subscribers perdevice and per service. Cisco BAC for ETTx provides several subscriber-traceability reports with different searchcriteria.
The Reporting and Troubleshooting Engine displays the health of subscribers and subscriber activities in the network. Cisco BAC for ETTx lets the administrator search the subscriber activity logs and different troubleshooting procedures to debug subscriber problems, search event logs, launch component internal administration, and connect to network elements to run further diagnostic tests.
SOAP is a lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. It is an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based protocol.
Cisco BAC for ETTx provides a northbound API using messaging by SOAP over HTTP to provide easy integration to third-party systems such as billing and order-management systems.
The self-care module is the subscriber interface for service self-registration (Figure 3) and self-care enabled by the core and network modules. The self-care module is integrated with the other Cisco BAC for ETTx modules via the open APIs. It can be replaced by third-party systems such as order-management systems. The self-care module can be served as a reference of integration between BAC for ETTx and third party systems.
Zero-Touch Provisioning Illustration
Cisco BAC for ETTx Self-Registration Portal
Cisco BAC for ETTx provides zero-touch provisioning of subscribers. It features complete flow-through provisioning so that subscribers can quickly and easily register themselves and subscribe to their choice of service, without the need of a truck roll.
Consider a customer, Paul, who is interested in signing up for Internet access from an ETTx service provider. Paul simply connects his laptop computer to the Ethernet outlet in his home that has been prewired to the service provider's ETTx network. When the computer is turned on, it automatically requests an IP address from the DHCP server. Cisco BAC for ETTx is easily engaged at this point. It intelligently identifies the source of the DHCP request and recognizes that Paul is not yet a registered subscriber. Paul is then assigned a private IP address, associated with a specially configured DNS server that redirects all URLs to the service provider's registration Web server.
Paul browses through the service catalog and chooses the subscription level, such as 10-Mbps Internet access. He fills in the subscription form with information such as name, address, self-care user ID, and password. A service order iscreated. Cisco BAC for ETTx then completes the service-activation process. An example of activation tasks is configuring the access switch for the access port to offer 10-Mbps traffic rate.
Paul is now registered and his service is activated. He is given a public IP address and can browse freely on the Internet. Paul can also log in to the self-care portal (Figure 4) at any time and change his service subscription.
Cisco BAC for ETTx Self-Care Portal
Activation does not require a technician to visit the subscriber site. Subscribers can activate their own services in a single-click, flow-through manner. The intelligence in Cisco BAC for ETTx allows real-time device and subscriber classification and identification, which provide the underlying support for zero-touch activation.
Subscriber Traceability Illustration
Cisco BAC for ETTx supports subscriber traceability. It is a legal requirement in many countries for service providers to implement strict security and traceability techniques to monitor subscribers (tracking which user has which IP address) at all times. Service providers place a high priority on meeting these requirements. Figure 5 shows the Cisco BAC for ETTx Administrative Tool that can be used to trace subscribers.
Cisco BAC for ETTx Subscriber Traceability Reporting
Cisco BAC for ETTx supports subscriber traceability by recording the MAC-IP mapping every time an IP address isassigned in the network module and associating it with the appropriate subscriber. The service provider can now trace which subscriber has which IP address and at what time. This is critical for generating user-traceability reports. In addition, Cisco BAC for ETTx can export IP history for archiving.
Subscriber Troubleshooting and Reporting Illustration
One of the most critical elements to service provider success is the ability to quickly troubleshoot a subscriber problem. Cisco BAC for ETTx provides troubleshooting and reporting features for subscriber activities in the network (Figure 6).
For example, assume our customer Paul cannot access the Internet and calls the service provider's customer service. The operator can retrieve the detailed subscriber record for Paul, such as service subscription and IP history. Various troubleshooting tasks can also be performed, such as ping and route trace. The network administrator may also view and search through all the event logs in Cisco BAC for ETTx to identify any problems associated with Paul and his user port. Cisco BAC for ETTx also provides a common launch point for other tools and can initiate a Telnet session to a network element to fix a problem or to run further diagnostics.
Cisco BAC for ETTx Subscriber Troubleshooting and Reporting
Cisco BAC for ETTx provides tools to generate different subscriber reports, including detailed subscriber records about service subscription and IP history of a subscriber, IP history over a specified time interval, subscribers per device, and subscribers per service.
Third-Party Integration Illustration
Cisco BAC for ETTx provides open northbound APIs using SOAP over HTTP. The API enables easy integration tothird-party systems. For example, Cisco BAC for ETTx is readily integrated with an order-management system (Figure 7). In this example, the subscriber and service-entitlement management capability of Cisco BAC for ETTx provides the underlying support of self-registration and self-care. By working easily with the order-management system, subscribers experience zero-touch activation.
Integration with Order-Management System
Consider customer Paul who is interested in signing up for Internet access from an ETTx service provider. Cisco BAC for ETTx is engaged as Paul's computer requests an IP address. Before registration, Paul is assigned a private IP address. The DNS server redirects all URLs to the order-entry portal. The order-management system is triggered by Cisco BAC for ETTx at this point.
Paul browses through the service catalog and chooses the subscription level, such as 10-Mbps Internet access. He fills in the subscription form with information such as name, address, self-care user ID, and password. A service order is created. The workflow engine in the order-management system then orchestrates the rest of the activation process, including creating a welcome letter and establishing a billing account for Paul. The workflow engine then makes asimple API call to Cisco BAC for ETTx, for example "create (Paul, 10 Mbps Internet Access)", to complete the networking aspect of the service activation. At this point, Cisco BAC for ETTx is triggered again by the order-management system. Upon receiving the service request, Cisco BAC for ETTx builds the subscriber entry andestablishes the entitlement based on the subscription. It then configures the underlying network to provide thenecessary resources to support the subscription. It acknowledges the order-management system upon completion of the network activation. The workflow engine then completes the rest of the service-activation process (e.g., sending the welcome letter to Paul, etc.). Paul can now use the network.
Cisco BAC for ETTx is readily integrated with any third-party systems with the set of open APIs implemented using SOAP over HTTP. This allows creation of any workflow and order-management process that fits the complex nature of the business environment unique to different service providers.
Cisco BAC for ETTx Value Proposition
Cisco BAC for ETTx offers the following benefits:
•Reduces cost of ownership and cost of growth
•Significantly reduces cost of system integration; all subscriber-management components are preintegrated and fully tested
•Gives service providers control of service definition
•Provides flexibility to define end-user activation sequencing that fits business needs best
•Provides an open API for easy integration with traditional OSSs
•Reduces cost of service activation and increases subscriber satisfaction
•Offers robust design and architecture for extensibility to new business models and new services
Cisco BAC for ETTx runs on Sun Solaris 8 operating system. The minimum recommended configuration for lab trial is one Sun Fire V120 server with an UltraSPARC IIi processor, a 650-MHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, and a 4-GB hard disk. For deployment, the minimum recommended configuration is one Sun Fire V210 server with an UltraSPARC IIi processor, a 1-GHz CPU or higher, 2 GB of RAM, a36-GB hard disk, and one DPE-590 appliance (a self-contained Cisco appliance). Specific system requirements depend on the specific customer environment.