The NetMaut platform is an extensive policy management system which controls the access of mobile customers into the data network.
Your individual tariff portfolio is exactly mapped in the NetMaut system. Through a sophisticated set of rules NetMaut determines who may access the internet and other service offerings in which quality of service. To control a session NetMaut considers for example the tariff settings, the location and the device of a customer.
As an enabler in the service layer of a mobile network infrastructure NetMaut has interfaces to the relevant databases and CRM systems of the mobile operators.
Components of the NetMaut Platform
The NetMaut platform includes the following modules:
- NetMaut Tariff Designer - allows the modular design of an almost unlimited number of tariffs as required.
- NetMaut PCRF - the brain of a mobile data network which decides on the quality of service for data connections.
- NetMaut RADIUS Server - authenticates and authorizes subscribers accessing a mobile network via gateways (GGSN, PGW), which require the RADIUS protocol for setting up the connection.
- NetMaut OCS (Online Charging System) - manages available quota in terms of data volume, time or units (e.g. number of SMS).
- NetMaut SPR (Subscriber Profile Repository) - manages subscriber information such as tariff data and booked options.
Integration of the NetMaut Platform
A significant advantage of the NetMaut platform lies in the strong integration of its components and the "short ways" within the platform. All NetMaut modules access the same data. Thus multiple data storage and multiple updates can be avoided.
Acctopus NetMaut as a platform is designed for high throughput and low latency at very high transaction rates. To maintain this even over a long term capacity evolution, the NetMaut platform is organized in software functional blocks, called layers.
All of these layers might be mixed and matched over one to multiple systems (hardware or containers), depending on the expected load figures and/or redundancy requirements. Additionally, this approach helps to separate functionality during updates, to gather load views and plan for extension.
The Frontend Layer is connected to the signaling network e.g. Packet Gateways or MSC. It gets the packets from its clients/peers, unpacks and normalizes them to pass them on to the Application Layer. As soon the packets are processed and answered by the application, the Frontend Layer sends the required answer to the requesting client/peer.
The Application Layer is the soul of the system. Being the major part of the business logic and flow processing, the application logic defines the OCS (or any other entity) within the Acctopus NetMaut platform. It gets packets from the Frontend Layer, processes them, decides on the next actions and replies to the Frontend Layer.
Database Connect Layer
The Database Connect Layer serves for all layers to connect to the database storage nodes.
It uses the APIs to the certain database systems like SQL databases, Memcache engines or Acctopus proprietary stores.
Database Data Nodes
The Database Data Nodes contains the subscriber, session and configuration data. As this requires real-time responses, carful decisions have to be made whether to virtualize this layer.
The Management Layer serves as administrative entry point to manage the system, monitor system status and graphs, to install, rollout and activate new configurations and/or software. In most installations, the admin GUI is served by a web server in the Management Layer.
The API Layer serves any kind of customer’s business support systems e.g. CRM, Customer Care, User Repository or TopUp Servers for provisioning, subscriber management or self-service.
Hardware or Virtualization or Linux Containers
Acctopus is using the principles of several software layers since 2008, having huge success in updating the system and expanding its capacity, by just rolling out a new software version or configuration or by horizontally adding new hardware to a layer, where the next capacity expansion is required.
With upcoming and evolving virtualization and Linux container technologies, it was obvious to go this same path.
Today, Acctopus can build the NetMaut platform on bare metal, in virtual machines or as Linux containers, where the latter gives the best options for scalability and software distribution from development into the production environment, via test and staging systems. Containers are also preferred, as they are sharing the Linux kernel, with helps saving resources and startup time of applications.
If containers are used, Acctopus preferers DOCKER and consequently separates data and configuration information from the application images.
It is advised to use application aware load balancers to share the load, the clients and the peers over the frontend systems. These load balancers might be a software solution or hardware, where the latter gives normally more performance, lacking a little bit in flexibility.
Depending on the used load balancer, it might be configured to monitor a configured host and port range per application.
As soon as NetMaut starts up a new process or container of a certain type (application) the load balancer detects the appearance and starts involving this application into the overall packet delivery.
This benefits to the scalability, redundancy and load sharing of the system.
Variety of Protocols
The NetMaut platform currently is the only system that implements policy and charging control based on the RADIUS and Diameter protocols consistently within one tariff system. This results in a consistent data service experience for the customer.
With NetMaut we support a smart path from the established RADIUS world to the Diameter world, which is increasingly reaching market readiness. As a mobile service provider you can thus generate a smooth transition from the 'old' RADIUS world to the 'new' Diameter world without any drop in sales and without personnel changes being required.
Benefit from the significant advantages NetMaut offers when investing in new access systems such as GGSNs and PGWs.