Getting off the island

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent..”
John Donne.

Just as no man is an island, no CSP is an island since they all rely on connections with other providers (and customers for that matter).

Carriers will rely on network links or asset sharing with other CSPs to deliver services for customers. Since those off-net links are managed by other providers, they aren’t managed directly via your OSS. This can leave a black hole in your network monitoring map.

Despite the management/ownership gap, I still try to model these leased links or devices using work-arounds using the CSP’s tools.

For example:

  • You can model these links as “cloud objects” or “simulated objects” since there is almost always a known ingress and egress point (ie the points of interconnect with other carriers)
  • This provides a method of visualising areas where you have network reach to customers via off-net “assets”
  • These cloud objects get assigned a higher weighting in terms of routing of traffic because leased links are generally more expensive than on-net links. If your tools provide auto-network design functionality that uses next-hop algorithms, they’ll choose the on-net link before choosing off-net links to reduce interconnect charges. Alternatively, if the leased link is a fixed bandwidth, fixed fee service, you may want to force traffic onto the leased link and reduce congestion on your network
  • Since the other carriers often provide portals that show network health of the leased links, you may be able to provide a programmatic view of the status of these off-net links by scraping the portal
  • Depending on the flexibility of the OSS tools you’re using, you may even be able to establish a hierarchy of objects so that you can see which customers / circuits / services are traversing the leased links
  • You can use this inventory of leased assets to better monitor and manage your interconnect charges. It also helps for the purpose of reconciliation of the other carrier’s bills because it’s common that bills keep arriving for services that are no longer being used, but you have never requested a deactivation from that provider

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