MediationZone provides a component based architecture built around the following concepts:
The MediationZone Ultra formatting Definition Language manages the decoding of information that originates from any network elements. The information is converted to internal CDRs (call data records) that can be processed by MediationZone agents, such as the Analysis Agent and the Aggregation Agent. It also provides functionality to encode the internal CDRs to different output formats.
Call Detail Records (CDR) from the network layer is collected by file using Disc, FTP or database connectors. The files are usually in binary ASN.1 or ASCII formats. Also note that MediationZone has the capability to decode virtually any format via configuration in the Ultra Format Definition Language (e.g. ASCII, CSV, binary, ASN.1, XML).
Any kind of proprietary vendor format, ASCII or binary based, is supported. The fields comprising the structure can be of the following types:
Fields can have size specifications (static or dynamic), or be defined and separated by a specific character. Field separators can be based on any character, HEX or ASCII. Additionally, CDRs can contain other CDRs as well as lists of primitive or composite types, recursively.
MediationZone includes direct support for ASN.1 format specifications. Any ASN.1 specification can be directly imported into the system and a corresponding BER or PER decoder/encoder is automatically generated. Using this capability, MediationZone can directly support any ASN.1 based specification, such as GSM, TAP/RAP, GPRS, etc.
MediationZone also includes direct support for XML Schema definitions. Any XML Schema definition can be directly imported into the system and a corresponding XML decoder/encoder is automatically generated. Using this capability, MediationZone can directly support the translation from/to any XML document.
CDR’s may be enriched with data before sent to an external system. In normal cases it is used to enrich records with data from an external database before sent to billing. Depending on the size of the external lookup table, it can either be kept in memory on the MediationZone system, or you can query the data from external tables directly (e.g. millions of rows).
The system can be configured to perform lookups towards a subscriber database table containing association of each subscriber to either legacy or new billing system.
MediationZone includes comprehensive functionality to provide auditing and statistical information related to workflows. This function can record audit information on a per workflow basis, or on a consolidated basis. The audit capability covers normal workflow execution as well as reconciliation of re-processed ECS data.
Audit information can include any data available at workflows execution such as workflow name, source filename, route name, source and receiving agent names, number of bytes, CDRs or duration passed along each route in the workflows.
Record reconciliation is also possible using the audit subsystem of MediationZone. Using this mechanism, it is possible to follow and track the history of records while they, for example, reside in error correction.
Example of Audit usage: An external system requires a statistical report on a daily basis from MediationZone to keep track of the traffic. To solve this, all workflows are configured to log the record count to the very same audit table. The daily summary can be calculated using, for instance; an SQL Executor in the Task Manager, or by a workflow collecting, formatting and forwarding the information.
MediationZone offers the possibility to archive data batches for a configurable period of time. The Archiving Agent can be configured to send all data batches it receives to be archived. Each data batch is saved as a file in a specified repository with a corresponding reference to the file in the database. The Archive Inspector, available from the GUI, offers the possibility of browsing and purging these files. The inspector can be used for searching for files for a specified period, in order to re-distribute the files to downstream systems.
MediationZone performs a duplicate check (with configurable time window) for each file and record to ensure no duplicate data are processed by the system. After the duplicate check, files are decoded (i.e. each individual CDR is extracted) and MediationZone then performs a duplicate check on each record (user configurable). Files/Records that did not pass validation are sent to the Error Correction System (ECS) in MediationZone for further reprocessing (or can be discarded). An alarm can also be generated and mapped to any type of action, e.g. SMS, E-mail, Log file, and System Log.
The Aggregation Agent can correlate, consolidate and aggregate records or files of different record types simultaneously form different sources, based on configurable criteria. Simultaneously it can correlate and aggregate multiple data streams from multiple network elements / network technologies. Any aggregation / consolidation or correlation logic can be configured through the GUI. Most commonly the agent is used for correlation of multiple data sources, for example in call forwarding use cases where multiple switches have CDRs that need to associated by common id in order for a full CDR to be sent to downstream system. Another use area is aggregation of long duration call. They may consist of several individual CDR’s that needs to be aggregated into one record before sent to downstream systems. MediationZone provides a powerful aggregation engine that can be configured to handle any aggregation scenario, e.g. definition of a specific aggregation key that identifies CDR’s that belongs to the same long duration call.
The CDR File Editor is used to decode batches and view the decoded batch divided into CDR structures. The CDRs can be opened by double-clicking them and then also edited. If there is an encoder available, it is also possible to encode a new batch. This can be useful in order to test decoder configuration, view key fields of records and generate test data for specific scenarios.
MediationZone contains a storage repository called the Error Correction System (ECS), which is used to store erroneous CDRs and files.
CDRs can be tagged with a configurable case and be routed to ECS at any point in the mediation flow, e.g. from the “Validate” agent.
The ECS Inspector is used to inspect and maintain CDRs and batches located in ECS, view and edit their content, and add them to the Reprocessing Groups of the ECS Inspector.
MediationZone includes the capability to proactively monitor many different parts of the system, and raise stateful alarms in case a configured condition is detected. Alarms can be managed within the MediationZone Web GUI, or be sent to any external source such as a Network Management Systems using protocols such as SNMP traps or E-mail.
An Alarm Detection configuration is set up to define the criteria’s that should result in the generation of alarms. It is possible to create alarm criterion using any events generated by the system, such as Workflow status change conditions, user or system status activity, etc. All alarms configured can be classified as to how severe they are, in relation to priority.
The status of all raised alarm is displayed in the web-based GUI as traffic lights, including the severity of the alarm.
During execution, MediationZone continuously monitors and logs the resource utilization of the different hardware nodes and can provide reports over a given time interval. The throughput of Workflows can also be monitored using this mechanism. The statistical information can be viewed graphically over any period, and be printed.
In MediationZone the system statistics functionality is divided into Automatic Statistics and Customized statistic, as described in the next coming sections.
Automatic Statistics – This includes the System Log, the System Statistics and the ECS Statistics. The System Statistics monitors system resources and record throughout for each Workflow. The ECS Statistics gives information on records sent to and collected from the central error repository. All automatically recorded information can be viewed in comprehensive GUI views.
Customized Statistics - MediationZone further includes comprehensive functionality to provide auditing and statistical information related to Workflows and CDR (CDR) based information, such as record count, field contents etc. related to any sort of processing (association, cloning, manipulation, and so on). The captured statistical data is recorded in user defined database tables.