Cisco Service Control Solution Overview
This chapter provides a general overview of the Cisco Service Control
solution. It introduces the Cisco service control concept and capabilities.
It also briefly describes the hardware capabilities of the Cisco
Service Control Engine (Cisco SCE) platform and the Cisco-specific applications
that together compose the Cisco service control solution.
Cisco Service Control Solution
The Cisco service control solution is delivered through a combination
of hardware and specific software solutions that address various service
control challenges. Service providers can use the Cisco SCE platform to support
classification, analysis, and control of Internet and IP traffic.
Service control enables service providers to:
- Capitalize on existing infrastructure.
- Analyze, charge for, and control IP network traffic at multigigabit
wire line speeds.
- Identify and target high-margin content-based services and enable
As the downturn in the telecommunications industry has shown, the
business models of the IP Service Providers require rework to make them
profitable. Having spent billions of dollars to build ever larger data links,
providers have incurred massive debts and faced rising costs. At the same time,
access and bandwidth have become commodities where prices continually fall and
profits disappear. Service providers have realized that they must offer
value-added services to derive more revenue from the traffic and services
running on their networks.
Cisco service control solutions allow IP Service Providers to capture
profits from IP Services through detailed monitoring, precise, real-time
control, and awareness of services as they are delivered.
Service Control for Broadband Service Providers
Service providers of any access technology (DSL, cable, mobile, and so on) targeting
residential and business consumers must find new ways to get maximum leverage from their
existing infrastructure, while differentiating their offerings with enhanced IP
The Cisco service control application for broadband adds a layer of service intelligence
and control to existing networks that can:
- Report and analyze network traffic at subscriber and aggregate level for capacity
- Provide customer-intuitive tiered application services and guarantee application
service level agreements (SLAs)
- Implement different service levels for different types of customers, content, or
- Identify network abusers who are violating the acceptable use policy (AUP)
- Identify and manage peer-to-peer traffic, NNTP (news) traffic, and spam
- Enforce the AUP
- Integrate Service Control solutions easily with existing network elements and
business support systems (BSS) and operational support systems (OSS)
Cisco Service Control Capabilities
The core of the Cisco service control solution is the network hardware
device: the Cisco Service Control Engine (Cisco SCE). The core capabilities of
the Cisco SCE platform, which support a wide range of applications for
delivering service control solutions, include:
Cisco SCE Platform
The Cisco SCE family
of programmable network devices performs application-layer stateful-flow
inspection of IP traffic, and controls the traffic based on configurable rules.
The Cisco SCE platform devices use ASIC components and reduced instruction set
computer (RISC) processors to exceed beyond packet counting and expand into the
contents of network traffic.
The Cisco SCE
- Are programmable.
- Provide stateful inspection
of bidirectional traffic flows, and mapping these flows with user ownership.
- Provide real-time
classification of network use. The classification provides the basis of the
Cisco SCE platform advanced traffic-control and bandwidth-shaping
Where most bandwidth
shaper functionality ends, the Cisco SCE platform provides further control and
shaping options, including:
Figure 1. Common
Deployment of a Cisco SCE Platform in a Network
- Layer 7 stateful wire-speed
packet inspection and classification
- Robust support for more than
600 protocols and applications, including:
- General—HTTP, HTTPS, FTP,
Telnet, Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
(SMTP), Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3), Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP),
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), and others
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file
sharing—FastTrack-KazaA, Gnutella, BitTorrent, Winny, Hotline, eDonkey,
DirectConnect, Piolet, and others
- P2P VoIP—Skype, Skinny,
DingoTel, and others
- Streaming and
Multimedia—Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), Session Initiation Protocol
(SIP), HTTP streaming, Real Time Protocol (RTP) and Real Time Control Protocol
(RTCP), and others
- Programmable system core for
flexible reporting and bandwidth control
- Transparent network and BSS
and OSS integration into existing networks
- Subscriber awareness that
relates traffic and usage to specific customers
The Cisco service
control solution includes a complete management infrastructure that provides
the following management components to manage all aspects of the solution:
- Network management
- Subscriber management
- Service Control management
interfaces are designed to comply with common management standards and to
integrate easily with existing OSS infrastructure.
Figure 2. Service Control
The Cisco service control solution provides complete network Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance, Security (FCAPS) Management.
Two interfaces provide network management:
Command-line interface (CLI)—Accessible through the Console port or through a Telnet connection, the CLI is used for configuration and security functions.
SNMP—Provides fault management (through SNMP traps) and performance-monitoring functionality.
Where the Cisco service control application for broadband (Cisco SCA BB) enforces
policies on different subscribers and tracks usage on an individual subscriber basis,
the Cisco Service Control Subscriber Manager may be used as middleware software for
bridging between OSS and Cisco SCE platforms. Subscriber information is stored in the
Subscriber Manager database and can be distributed between multiple platforms according
to actual subscriber placement.
The Subscriber Manager provides subscriber awareness by mapping network IDs to
subscriber IDs. It can obtain subscriber information using dedicated integration modules
that integrate with AAA devices, such as RADIUS or DHCP servers.
Subscriber information may be obtained in one of two ways:
- Push Mode—The Subscriber Manager pushes subscriber information to the Cisco SCE
platform automatically upon logon of a subscriber.
- Pull Mode—The Subscriber Manager sends subscriber information to the Cisco SCE
platform in response to a query from the Cisco SCE platform.
Service Configuration Management
Service configuration management is the ability to configure the general service
definitions of a service control application. A service configuration file containing
settings for traffic classification, accounting and reporting, and control is created
and applied to a Cisco SCE platform. The Cisco SCA BB application provides tools to
automate the distribution of these configuration files to Cisco SCE platforms. This
standards-based approach makes it easy to manage multiple devices in a large
Service Control provides a GUI to edit and create these files and a complete set of APIs
to automate their creation.
Data collection occurs as follows:
- Cisco SCE Platform analyzes
and process the data passing through it and generates Raw Data Records (RDRs).
- Cisco SCE Platform then
forwards these RDRs to Cisco service control management suite collection
manager using a simple TCP-based protocol (RDR-Protocol).
The collection manager software is an implementation of a
collection system that receives RDRs from one or more Cisco SCE platforms.
- The collection manager
collects these records and processes them in one of its adapters. Each adapter
performs a specific action on the RDR.
RDRs contain various information and statistics, depending on the
configuration of the system. The main categories of RDRs include:
RDRs—Records generated for each
transaction , where a transaction is a single event
detected in network traffic. The identification of a transaction depends on the
particular application and protocol.
- Subscriber Usage
RDRs—Records generated per subscriber, describing the traffic generated by that
subscriber for a defined interval.
- Link RDRs—Records
generated per link, describing the traffic carried on the link for a defined
- Zone RDRs—Records
generated per zone, describing the traffic carried on the zone for a defined