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Telco Operations Support Systems [OSS]

Operations Support Systems [Operational Support Systems or OSS] are computer systems most frequently used as a "network support system", supporting processes such as:

  • Maintaining network inventory
  • Provisioning services
  • Configuring network components
  • Managing faults

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 BSS/OSS or simply B/OSS.

Business / Operational Support Systems run the Telco network and business. Typical activities include:

  • Receiving customer orders
  • Configuring network components
  • Creating a bill
  • Managing faults


Elements of OSS

There are 4 key elements of OSS:

  1. Processes - the sequence of events
  2. Data - the information that is acted upon
  3. Applications - the components that implement processes to manage data
  4. Technology - how we implement the applications

Automated interfaces between the OSS applications are referred to as OSS integration.


OSS Standards

The ITU-T established a 4-layer model of TMN applicable within an OSS :

  1. Business Management Level [BML]
  2. Service Management Level [SML]
  3. Network Management Level [NML]
  4. Element Management Level [EML]

ITU Functional Model

ITU-T TMN Functional model for the technology base of the TMN standards M.3000 - M.3599 series:

  • Performance and Security
  • Configuration
  • Fault
  • Accounting


The TMF’s [1] NGOSS programme in 2000 established a set of principles and standardised approaches for OSS integration.

  1. Information model - the Shared Information/Data model, or SID
  2. Process model - the enhanced Telecom Operation Map, or eTOM
  3. Lifecycle model

The TMF describes NGOSS as a loosely coupled, distributed, component based architecture. Together with functioning applications, a complete IT suite has been detailed for any Communications Service Provider.


Since 2000, with the growth of broadband, VoIP services and home networks the scope of OSS and network management has expanded. DSL Forum TR-069 specification has defined the CPE WAN Management Protocol (CWMP), suitable for managing home networks devices and terminals at the EML-NML interface.

The TeleManagement Forum [TMF] has developed a communications domain model that provides the basis for clarifying the distinction between OSS and BSS systems.

  • The OSS supports the traditional Resource and Resource Facing Service domains.
  • The BSS supports the more Customer Facing domains

OSS Solutions

OSS solutions are primarily proprietary and custom technologies.

The most recent developments in OSS architecture align with the TMF's NGOSS programme.

The TMF NGOSS architecture components interact through a common communications vehicle, using an information exchange infrastructure such as EAI, Web Services, EJB.

The behavior can be controlled through the use of process management and/or policy management to orchestrate the functionality provided by the services offered by the components.

Using NGOSS reference models on process, information and application interaction, interface specifications for access to OSS capability evolved into a set of Web Services providing Multi-Technology Operations System Interfaces MTOSI.

Most recently, the OSS through Java initiative (OSS/J) [2] joined the TMF to provide NGOSS-based BSS/OSS APIs.

Considerable work remains to mature the OSS systems, primarily in building reference models needed to support a business process driven and SOA styled approach.

These models can then drive development for specifying the additional implementation stakeholder interface specs (for SOA Web Services, EJB and EAI) to more adequately meet the demands of Service Providers operating using the IMS architectural framework and NGN communications networks.

Next: Data Retention


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