Building a Personal OSS Sandpit

Being Passionate About OSS, I’ve used this blog / site to share this passion with the OSS community. The aim is to evangelise and make operational support tools even more impactful than they already are.

But there’s a big stumbling block – the barrier to entry into the OSS industry is huge. The barrier manifests in the following ways:

  • Opportunities – due to the breadth of knowledge required to be proficient, there aren’t many entry-level, OSS-related roles
  • Knowledge / Information – such is the diversity of knowledge, no single person has expertise across all facets of OSS – facets such as software, large-scale networks, IT infrastructure, business processes, project implementation, etc, etc. Even within OSS, there’s too huge a range of functional capability for anyone to know it all. Similarly, there’s no single repository of information, although organisations like TM Forum do a great job at sharing knowledge. On top of all that, the tech-centric worlds that OSS operate within are constantly evolving and proliferating
  • Access to Tools – OSS / BSS tools tend to be highly flexible, covering all aspects of a telco’s business operations (from sales to design to operations to build). OSS tend to cost a lot and take a long time to build / configure. That means that unless you already work for a telco or an OSS product vendor, you may struggle to get hands-on experience using the tools

It’s long been an ambition to help reduce the third barrier to entry by making personal OSS sandpit environments accessible to anyone with the time and interest.

The plan is to build a step-by-step guide that allows anyone to build their own small-scale OSS sandpit and try out realistic use-cases. The aim is to keep costs to almost nothing to ensure nobody is limited from tackling the project/s.

The building blocks of the sandpit are to be open-source and ideally reflect cutting-edge technologies / architectures. The main building blocks are:

  1. Network – a simulated, multi-domain network that can be configured and tested
  2. Fulfilment / BSS – the ability to create product offerings, take customer orders for those products, then implement as services into a network
  3. Assurance / Real-time – to perform (near) real-time monitoring of the network and services using alarms / performance / telemetry / logging
  4.  Resource / Inventory – to design and store records of multi-domain networks that spans PNI (Physical Network Inventory), LNI (Logical Network Inventory), OSP (Outside Plant), ISP (Inside Plant) and more
  5. Data Visualisation & Management – being able to interact with data generated via the abovementioned building blocks. Interact via search / queries, reports, dashboards, analytics, AR/VR, GIS, 3D models, APIs and other forms of data import / export

OSS Sandpit Concept Diagram

Until recently, this sandpit has only been an ambition. But I’m pleased to say that some of these building blocks are starting to take shape. I’ll share more details in coming days and update this page.

This includes:

  • Introduction to The Resource / Inventory Module with the following use-cases:
    • Building Reference Data like location hierarchies, device types, connectivity types, containment, device layouts, templates, flexible data models, etc
    • Creating Device Instances including rack views
    • Creating Physical Connections between devices
    • Creating Logical Connections between devices
    • Creating Services and their relationships with resources / inventory
    • Creating Outside Plant Views on geo-maps that include buildings, pits, splice cases, cable management, splicing, towers, antenna, end-to-end L1 circuits
    • Assigning IP Addresses and subnets with an IPAM tool
    • Creating an MPLS network
    • Creating an SDH network
    • Data import / export / updates via APIs including Service Impact Analysis (SIA)
    • Data import / export / updates via a Graph Database Query Language
  • Designing the Inventory / Resources of a 5G Network including:
    • Hosting infrastructure
    • NFVI / VIM
    • A 5GCN (5G Core Network)
    • An IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem)
    • An RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller)
    • Virtualised Network Functions (AUSF, AMF, NRF, CU, DU, etc)
    • Mobile Edge Compute (MEC)
    • MEC Applications like gaming servers, CDN (Content Delivery Networks)
    • Radio Access Network (RAN) and Remote Radio Units (RRU)
    • Outside Plant for fibre fronthaul and backhaul
    • Patching between physical infrastructure
    • End to end circuits between DN (Data Network), IMS, 5GCN, gNodeB, RRU
    • Logical Modelling of 5G Reference Points
  • Designing the Inventory / Resources of a Satellite Network including:
    • A Satellite
    • Earth Stations
    • Satellite Aggregation Site
    • Beams (including Beam to Earth Station mappings)
    • Customer services
    • Satellite Dishes
    • Satellite Receivers (ODU / IDU)
    • Satellite Modems
    • Leased Lines (backhaul)
  • Designing the Inventory / Resources of a Smart City / IoT (Internet of Things) Network including:
    • A Command and Control Centre (CCC)
    • Satellite Earth Stations
    • Smart Buildings including:
      • Compute / Hosting (VxBlocks)
      • Comms (incl Unified Comms and In-Building Coverage)
      • Security (eg CCTV, Access Control)
      • Building Management Systems (BMS)
      • Public Address / Audio-Visual
      • HVAC 
    • An optical fibre ring network and direct fibre backhaul links to radio towers
    • Towers / masts that are affixed with 5G and LoRa antenna and radio heads as well as point to point microwave antenna
    • 5G infrastructure
    • LoRaWAN infrastructure (including LoRa antenna / gateway, LoRa network server,  app servers and the join server)
    • IoT Sensors including:
      • Power Management Systems
      • Smart Meters
      • Parking Sensors
      • Traffic Control Systems (TCS)
      • Variable Messaging Systems (VMS)
      • Tollway Systems
      • Rail Control Systems (RCS)
      • Vehicle Detection Systems (VDS)
      • IoT Asset / Logistics Management
  • Designing the Inventory / Resources of a Fixed Wireless (FW) Network, including:
    • A fixed wireless core network
    • Radio Links across licensed and unlicensed (5 GHz and 24GHz)
    • Line of Sight analysis of each Radio Link and Viewshed
    • Fibre links (including cable management)
    • Tower Management
    • Routing and Switching
    • Layer 2 and Layer 3 service modelling (eg VLANs, VPLS tunnels, etc)
  • Designing the Inventory / Resources of a GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network), including:
    • Passive Optical Network (cables, patch panels, splices, splitters, containment, multiports, other splice joints)
    • Active GPON equipment (OLT, ONT)
  • Designing the Inventory / Resources of a Telco Cloud / Data Centre, including:
    • Hosting Services including:
      • IaaS (VMs, storage, network – FlexPod)
      • PaaS (ONTAP-AI a hosted AI solution, hosted voice)
      • SaaS (email, secure keys)
      • Internet ecosystems
      • Cloud provider ecosystems
      • CoLocation / Rack Management services
    • Leased Lines including:
      • International Submarine cable routes
      • Core / DC Interconnect
      • Local customer links
      • ISP links
    • Carrier MPLS network modelling, including:
      • IPAM (IP Address Management)
      • VPN / VLAN management
      • VRF and AS management
    • Virtualisation and application management (including service management and billing)
    • Equipment Layout art for:
      • Routers
      • Switches
      • Cisco FlexPod Chassis
      • NVIDIA ONTAP AI Chassis
  • Designing the cross-over Inventory / Resources of Power / Supervisory / Telco networks, including:
    • 1) Power Network including:
      • Wind Turbines (WT)
      • Solar Panels
      • Transformers
      • Circuit Breakers (CB)
      • Substations (Generation, Transmission and Distribution)
      • Transmission Towers
      • Power Poles
      • Smart Meters / AMI
      • Inverters
      • Power cabling, including OPGW (Optical Groundwire, which bundles ground wire and optical cables together in a common sheath)
    • 2) Power Supervisory network including:
      • IED / PLC / DAQ
      • Meteorological Mast and weather station (for monitoring the conditions that the Wind Turbines are operating within)
    • 3) A Communications network that carries traffic from:
      • VOIP Telephony
      • CCTV
      • Power Supervisory equipment (listed above)
  • Radio Planning (RF Engineering) Example
    • Model transmitting devices in inventory
    • Incorporate key radio planning attributes (eg make/model, height, azimuth, etc) for each transmitting device in inventory
    • Push inventory data into RF modelling tool
    • Visualise Radio Coverage Maps
  • Gathering, presenting and visualising data including:
    • Many unique example graph types

More details and use-cases to come, including:

  1. Inventory modelling of:
    1. HFC / CableCo
    2. SDH Transmission
    3. More network virtualisation (SDN), in addition to the virtualisation scenarios covered in the 5G prototype (see above)
    4. Are there any other scenarios you’d like to see???


If you’d like to know more about our Personal OSS Sandpit Project, fill in the contact form below.

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve been interested in this topic for the last twenty years of my career in telecom and when I recently started learning Python I was introduced to Graph database and I quickly recognized that it was imo the answer to resolving the OSS paradigm and for this Kubaiwa is this most promising solution I’ve seen.

  2. Hi Denny,

    I’m with you on the promises of GraphDB and Kuwaiba!
    They both bring great strengths to the situation

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