Operations support systems (also called operational support systems or OSS) are computer systems used by telecommunications service providers. The term OSS most frequently describes "network systems" dealing with the telecom network itself, supporting processes such as maintaining network inventory, provisioning services, configuring network components, and managing faults. The complementary term business support systems or BSS is a newer term and typically refers to “business systems” dealing with customers, supporting processes such as taking orders, processing bills, and collecting payments. The two systems together are often abbreviated OSS/BSS, BSS/OSS or simply B/OSS.
Different subdivisions of the BSS/OSS systems are made, depending on whether they follow the TM Forum's diagrams and terminology, industry research institutions or BSS/OSS vendors own view. Nevertheless in general, an OSS covers at least the application areas:
- Network management systems
- Service delivery
- Service fulfillment, including the network inventory, activation and provisioning
- Service assurance
- Customer care
A network management system (NMS) is a combination of hardware and software used to monitor and administer a computer network or networks.
Individual network elements (NEs) in a network are managed by an element management system.
Tasks and operational details
An NMS manages the network elements, also called managed devices. Device management includes faults, configuration, accounting, performance, and security (FCAPS) management. Management tasks include discovering network inventory, monitoring device health and status, providing alerts to conditions that impact system performance, and identification of problems, their source(s) and possible solutions.
An NMS employs various protocols to accomplish these tasks. For example, SNMP protocol can be used to gather the information from devices in the network hierarchy.
The NMS collects device statistics and may maintain an archive of previous network statistics including problems and solutions that were successful in the past. If faults recur, the NMS can search the archive for the possible solutions.
- A network management system is a combination of hardware and software used to monitor and administer a network.
- Network management refers to the maintenance and administration of large scale computer networks at the top level. Network management is the execution of the set of functions required for controlling, planning, allocating, deploying, coordinating and monitoring the resources of a network including performing functions such as fault management, configuration management, accounting management, performance management, security management and bandwidth management.
- A large number of protocols exist to support network and network device management. Common protocols are SNMP, TL1 and JMX etc.
- Operation deals with keeping the network (and the services that the network provides) up and running smoothly. It includes monitoring the network to spot problems as soon as possible, ideally before users are affected.
- Administration deals with keeping track of resources in the network and how they are assigned. It includes all the "housekeeping" that is necessary to keep the network under control.
- Maintenance is concerned with performing repairs and upgrades—for example, when equipment must be replaced, when a router needs a patch for an operating system image, when a new switch is added to a network. Maintenance also involves corrective and preventive measures to make the managed network run "better", such as adjusting device configuration parameters.
- Provisioning is concerned with configuring resources in the network to support a given service. For example, this might include setting up the network so that a new customer can receive voice service.
A common way of characterizing network management functions is FCAPS—Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance and Security.
Functions that are performed as part of network management accordingly include controlling, planning, allocating, deploying, coordinating, and monitoring the resources of a network, network planning, frequency allocation, predetermined traffic routing to support load balancing, cryptographic key distribution authorization, configuration management, fault management, security management, performance management, bandwidth management, Route analytics and accounting management.
Data for network management is collected through several mechanisms, including agents installed on infrastructure, synthetic monitoring that simulates transactions, logs of activity, sniffers and real user monitoring. In the past network management mainly consisted of monitoring whether devices were up or down; today performance management has become a crucial part of the IT team's role which brings about a host of challenges—especially for global organizations.
It includes the following topics -