Operation and Maintenance

A modern telecommunications exchange should offer op­eration and maintenance functions that guarantee a high quality of service to the operators and the subscribers. Op­eration is the normal everyday running of the exchange. This includes activities to adapt the exchange to continu­ously changing demands. Examples of operational activi­ties are:

• Connection and disconnection of subscribers

• Change of subscriber data

• Collection of charging data

• Collection of statistics

Maintenance is the prevention, detection, localization, and correction of faults. The faults can be detected auto­matically by the exchange or reported to the operator by the subscribers or other exchanges in the network. Exam­ples of maintenance activities are:

• Fault detection, testing, and repair of exchange hard­ware, for example, trunk lines or subscriber lines

• Fault detection, auditing, recovery and correction of exchange software and data

• Checking of disturbance indicators in various parts of the exchange such as the power system or the control system

In a modern telecommunications exchange there are several approaches to maintenance. One is preventive maintenance that involves a set of routine tasks to check for faults before they occur and requires a high level of effort to achieve a certain grade of service. Another is cor­rective maintenance where faults are dealt with as they occur. This requires a more selective and limited effort but may result in a less consistent quality of service. The best is to have a balance between the preventive and corrective maintenance.

Statistics are used to supervise traffic and performance in the network and to reconfigure an exchange to handle more or less traffic. Particularly for the configuration of location areas and cells within a mobile network, large amounts of traffic data are used as facts to support cor­rective actions.

All operation and maintenance activities should have minimal impact on the traffic handling of the exchange. The ideal situation is an exchange where every subscriber can make a call at any time no matter what happens to the system. In order to achieve this, the system should be ro­bust to operator errors and allow the performance of main­tenance and software and hardware upgrades without af­fecting the execution of traffic events.

An exchange should be able to be operated and main­tained remotely. The ability to access exchanges remotely using an operation and support system (OSS) ensures a high level of service to subscribers and low costs for the op­erator. A centralized operation also contributes to a more reliable operation of the exchange and a reduction in per­sonnel.

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