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Operations support systems (OSS), operational support systems in British usage, or Operation System (OpS) in NTT, are computer systems used by
telecommunications service providers A telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of communications service provider A telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of communications service provider that has traditionally provided telephone A telephone is ...
to manage their networks (e.g., telephone networks). They support management functions such as network inventory, service provisioning, network configuration and
fault management In network management Network management is the process of administering and managing computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections ...
. Together with
business support system Business support systems (BSS) are the components that a telecommunications service provider A telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of communications service provider A telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of comm ...
s (BSS), they are used to support various end-to-end telecommunication services. BSS and OSS have their own data and service responsibilities. The two systems together are often abbreviated OSS/BSS, BSS/OSS or simply B/OSS. The acronym OSS is also used in a singular form to refer to all the Operations Support Systems viewed as a whole
system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purp ...

system
. Different subdivisions of OSS have been proposed by the TM Forum, industrial research labs, or OSS vendors. In general, an OSS covers at least the following five functions: * Network management systems * Service delivery *
Service fulfillment Fulfillment of telecommunications services involves a series of supply chain activities responsible for assembling and making services available to subscribers. These activities delineate an operational infrastructure whose efficiency relies upon it ...
, including the network inventory, activation and
provisioning In telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of ...
*
Service assuranceService assurance, in telecommunications, is the application of policies and processes by a Communications Service Provider (CSP) to ensure that services offered over networks meet a pre-defined service quality level for an optimal subscriber expe ...
* Customer care


History

Before about 1970, many OSS activities were performed by manual administrative processes. However, it became obvious that much of this activity could be replaced by
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These ...

computer
s. In the next 5 years or so, the
telephone companies A telephone company, also known as a telco, telephone service provider, or telecommunications operator, is a kind of communications service provider A telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of communications service provider that ...
created a number of
computer system A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These ...
s (or
software applications Application software (app for short) is computing software designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itself, typically to be used by end-users. Examples of an application Application may refer ...
) which automated much of this activity. This was one of the driving factors for the development of the
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of multitasking, multiuser Multi-user software is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast t ...

Unix
operating system and the
C programming language C (, as in the letter ''c'') is a general-purpose, procedural computer programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/outp ...
. The
Bell System The Bell System was the system of companies, led by the Bell Telephone Company The Bell Telephone Company, a common law joint stock company, was organized in Boston, Massachusetts on July 9, 1877, by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law Ga ...
purchased their own product line of
PDP-11 The PDP-11 is a series of 16-bit 16-bit microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically ...
computers from
Digital Equipment Corporation Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC ), using the trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights ...
for a variety of OSS applications. OSS systems used in the Bell System include AMATPS, CSOBS, EADAS, Remote Memory Administration System (RMAS),
Switching Control Center System The Switching Control Center System was an operations support system developed by Bell Laboratories and deployed during the early 1970s. This computer system was first based on the PDP-11 product line from Digital Equipment Corporation and used th ...
(SCCS), Service Evaluation System (SES), Trunks Integrated Record Keeping System (TIRKS), and many more. OSS systems from this era are described in the
Bell System Technical Journal The ''Bell Labs Technical Journal'' is the in-house scientific journal In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academ ...
, Bell Labs Record, and
Telcordia Technologies iconectiv is a supplier of network planning and network management services to telecommunications providers. Known as Bellcore after its establishment in the United States in 1983 as part of the break-up of the Bell System The Bell Syste ...
(now part of
Ericsson (lit. "Telephone Stock Company of LM Ericsson"), commonly known as Ericsson, is a Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken pri ...

Ericsson
) SR-2275. Many OSS systems were initially not linked to each other and often required manual intervention. For example, consider the case where a customer wants to order a new telephone service. The ordering system would take the customer's details and details of their order, but would not be able to configure the
telephone exchange A telephone exchange, telephone switch, or central office is a telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, Optical system, optical, or other Electromagnetism, el ...

telephone exchange
directly—this would be done by a switch management system. Details of the new service would need to be transferred from the order handling system to the switch management system—and this would normally be done by a technician re-keying the details from one screen into another—a process often referred to as "swivel chair integration". This was clearly another source of inefficiency, so the focus for the next few years was on creating automated interfaces between the OSS applications—OSS integration. Cheap and simple OSS integration remains a major goal of most telecom companies.


Architecture

A lot of the work on OSS has been centered on defining its architecture. Put simply, there are four key elements of OSS: *Processes **the sequence of events *Data **the information that is acted upon *Applications **the components that implement processes to manage data *Technology **how we implement the applications During the 1990s, new OSS architecture definitions were done by the
ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications and Information Communication Technology such as X.509 for cybersecurity, Y.3172 and Y.3173 for machine learning, and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC for video ...
(ITU-T) in its Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) model. This established a 4-layer model of TMN applicable within an OSS: *Business Management Level (BML) *Service Management Level (SML) *Network Management Level (NML) *Element Management Level (EML) A fifth level is mentioned at times being the elements themselves, though the standards speak of only four levels. This was a basis for later work. Network management was further defined by the
ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic discipline ...
using the
FCAPS FCAPS is the International Organization for Standardization, ISO Telecommunications Management Network model and framework for network management. ''FCAPS'' is an acronym for fault, configuration, accounting, performance, security, the management ...
model—Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance and Security. This basis was adopted by the ITU-T TMN standards as the Functional model for the technology base of the TMN standards M.3000 – M.3599 series. Although the FCAPS model was originally conceived and is applicable for an IT enterprise network, it was adopted for use in the public networks run by telecommunication service providers adhering to ITU-T TMN standards. A big issue of network and service management is the ability to manage and control the network elements of the
access Access may refer to: Companies and organizations * ACCESS (Australia), an Australian youth network * Access (credit card), a former credit card in the United Kingdom * Access Co., a Japanese software company * Access International Advisors, a hed ...
and core networks. Historically, many efforts have been spent in standardization fora (ITU-T, 3GPP) in order to define standard protocol for network management, but with no success and practical results. On the other hand
IETF The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary functi ...
SNMP Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an Internet Standard protocol for collecting and organizing information about managed devices on IP networks and for modifying that information to change device behavior. Devices that typically s ...
protocol (Simple Network Management Protocol) has become the de facto standard for internet and telco management, at the EML-NML communication level. From 2000 and beyond, with the growth of the new broadband and VoIP services, the management of home networks is also entering the scope of OSS and network management. DSL Forum
TR-069 Technical Report 069 (TR-069) is a technical specification of the Broadband Forum The Broadband Forum is a non-profit industry consortium dedicated to developing broadband network specifications. Members include telecommunications networking an ...
specification has defined the CPE WAN Management Protocol (CWMP), suitable for managing home networks devices and terminals at the EML-NML interface.


TM Forum

The TM Forum, formerly the TeleManagement Forum, is an international membership organization of communications service providers and suppliers to the communications industry. While OSS is generally dominated by proprietary and custom technologies, TM Forum promotes standards and frameworks in OSS and BSS. By 2005, developments in OSS architecture were the results of the TM Forum's New Generation Operations Systems and Software (NGOSS) program, which was established in 2000. This established a set of principles that OSS integration should adopt, along with a set of models that provide standardized approaches. NGOSS was renamed Frameworx.


Frameworx models

*An
information model An information model in software engineering Software engineering is the systematic application of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, ...
(th
Shared Information/Data model, or SID
– now more commonly referred to as the Information Framework, *A
process model The term process model is used in various contexts. For example, in business process modeling Business process modeling (BPM) in business process management Business process management (BPM) is the discipline in which people use various methods t ...

process model
(th
enhanced Telecom Operation Map
or
eTOM
eTOM
) – now more commonly known as the Business Process Framework, *An application model (th
Telecom Applications Map
– now known as the Application Framework, an architecture (the Technology Neutral Architecture) and a lifecycle model. The TM Forum describes Frameworx as an architecture that is: *" loosely coupled" *distributed *component based The components interact through a common communications vehicle (using an information exchange infrastructure; e.g., EAI,
Web Services The term Web service (WS) is either: * a service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information ...
, EJB). The behavior can be controlled through the use of process management and/or policy management to orchestrate the functionality provided by the services offered by the components. The early focus of the TM Forum's NGOSS work was on building reference models to support a business stakeholder view on process, information and application interaction. Running in parallel were activities that supported an implementation stakeholder view on interface specifications to provide access to OSS capability (primarily MTNM). The MTNM work evolved into a set of Web Services providing Multi-Technology Operations System Interfaces
MTOSI In telecommunications, Multi-Technology Operations System Interface (MTOSI) is a Standardization, standard for implementing Interface (computer science), interfaces between Operations Support Systems, OSSs. Service providers (carriers) use multiple ...
. Most recently, the OSS through Java initiative (OSS/J) joined the TMF to provide NGOSS-based BSS/OSS
API In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and so ...

API
s.


Ongoing work - Open Digital Architecture (ODA)

Open Digital Architecture (ODA) offers an industry-agreed blueprint, language and set of key design principles to follow. It will provide pragmatic pathways for the journey from maintaining monolithic, legacy software solutions, towards managing nimble, cloud based capabilities that can be orchestrated using
AI
AI
. It is a reference architecture that maps TM Forum’
Open APIs
against technical and business platform functions.


See also

*
Business support system Business support systems (BSS) are the components that a telecommunications service provider A telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of communications service provider A telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of comm ...
* COSMOS (telecommunications) * Loop maintenance operations system *
OA&M Operations, administration and management or operations, administration and maintenance (OA&M or OAM) are the processes, activities, tools, and standards involved with operating, administering, managing and maintaining any system. This commonly ...
* Service Evaluation System *
Switching Control Center System The Switching Control Center System was an operations support system developed by Bell Laboratories and deployed during the early 1970s. This computer system was first based on the PDP-11 product line from Digital Equipment Corporation and used th ...


References

{{reflist


External links


Video: What is OSS/BSS?TM ForumOSS through Java initiativeOSS News ReviewOSS Observer landing page of Analysys MasonPipeline Magazine InsideTelephony OSS/BSS (2017.05.20 via Wayback Machine)Billing & OSS WorldOSS LineTelecommunications OSS and BSSTelcordia SR-2275
Network management Telecommunications systems