Ottawa firm bridges gap to 1X networks

When Bell Mobility made its single carrier radio transmission technology (1xRTT) CDMA network commercially available last February, they needed something to authenticate, manage and authorize users. That’s why Bell selected three software packages from Ottawa-based Bridgewater Systems Inc. – its AAA Service Controller, Revenue Collector and Revenue Formatter.

Running only Solaris operating systems, these three products were introduced into the market about a year ago and now support 1xRTT wireless devices. Next year Bridgewater expects to add 802.11 wireless LAN capabilities to these products.

The AAA Service Controller authenticates, authorizes and manages user accounts for both wireline and wireless networks.

“Because it’s a mobile environment, the subscriber may be moving around, so they may be handed off from different pieces of network equipment,” said Russ Freen, executive vice-president of research and development at Bridgewater.

Every time the user is handed off to a new piece of equipment, the AAA Service Controller would authenticate the service, provide the user with the grade of service dependent upon their plan, and then send out a start messages indicating the session is in progress.

Afterwards, the Revenue Collector would pull together all the start messages, or accounting records from the AAA Service Controller. According to Freen, there may be several AAA Service Controllers running for redundancy and geographic coverage

He said the Revenue Collector would pull together all the accounting information from different locations, put together in a central repository and correlate it.

Since the AAA Service Controller only stores 30 days worth of data, the Revenue Collectors are pulling information at frequent intervals, perhaps as short as one minute, Freen said.

Finally, the Revenue Formatter streamlines the data into any standards-based AAA billing system, such as Amdocs Enabler by Amdocs Ltd, Portal Software Inc.’s billing platforms, and other billing platforms by Convergys and Geneva. Freen said Revenue Formatter could even be configured to work with billing systems developed in-house by users.

Right now the scalability has been tested up to 30 million users on a single system at Sun Microsystems Inc.’s labs in Oregon. But Freen said the system could scale “in terms of running it on very large machines or on a large number of machines scattered over a wide geographic area,” or by running multiple systems on top of it.

Philippe Jett