Can small ISPs beat big Telco operators? Yes, they can!

Today Splynx is a team of 30 specialized and dedicated staff members that help achieve great results to countless small to medium-size ISP and VoIP providers all around the world.

We work on a daily basis with more than 400 ISP companies from different regions – Europe, the Americas, South Africa and Africa, Australia and New Zealand. We must admit that in many countries the Internet and Voice providers face strong competition with large telco operators. And it’s not easy for them to succeed in this battle. Of course, how a company with 10 or even 50 employees can compete with such big companies with thousands of people and billions of dollars such as Vodacom or AT&T.

Judging from our experience we can see that these small companies compete and in many cases, they beat these huge companies. What is the key to the success of these companies?

Actually there are only two:

The first key is the selection of zone and understanding of the people’s needs in the zone.

Let’s call it your niche. Of course, it’s impossible to compete with large operators in the middle of Barcelona where fiber is everywhere, but if you drive 50 km far, the situation with coverage is not that ideal. Spain is #1 in FTTH, but there is still space, like in small towns that are below 5000, where we can take advantage and benefit.

The second key is to organize the business itself.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Are our processes good enough?“, “Can you manage your orders, connections efficiently and quickly as the big guys do it?”, “Can you set the billing correctly to charge the customers in the right form?”, “Is your network working well, is it automatic, is it redundant?” All these questions will help you to set the right processes inside your company.

Here is the check-list of steps and processes that you should сontiniously optimize and track. Splynx will perfectly help you to:

  • Define tariff plans, discounts, up/downgrade policies;
  • Manage sales, orders and connections;
  • Set the billing correctly, use the right payment options;
  • Track installs and repairs, track all issues using tickets;
  • Set your network to do everything automatically;
  • Save money by saying “NO” to a bunch of tools and subscriptions like Salesforce, Freshdesk, Zendesk, FreeRadius, Radius Manager, Mikrotik Usermanager, UBNT, WHMCS, QuickBooks, Xero accounting, PortaOne, A2Billing, Bash scripting etc.

Setting up processes, defining roles, choosing correct tools and all these tedious tasks that must be done on a daily basis. With the first step we cannot help you, because there should be involved a unique business intellect of the businessman together with good knowledge and understanding of the local environment. But this is maybe 20% of the success. 80% of your success is in building the business itself. And that’s the area where we come and help you a LOT

We provide the tools and help to build processes that all big ISPs already have, but you must have them as well and you must have them much better if you want to beat these millions and billion dollars monsters. And the best thing is all those processes can be efficiently managed withing the Splynx platform. During the configuration and deployment process we define several steps and processes together with our customers to optimize their business:

 

Step 1. Management of sales, orders and connections.

  1. Splynx has the ability to use Towercoverage to help you understand where your existing and potential clients are located. In combination with self-registration add-on, you get a winning combo that really helps to increase the customer base.
  2. In case you are not providing self-registration, you should stop losing your leads and react quickly. Our CRM allows you to manage your deals, quotas, it improves your leads tracking and communication significantly.
  3. Our customers use Splynx scheduling platform to optimize their teams to connect customers quickly and manage the work of their engineers.

 

Case Study: Wireless Nation, New Zealand.

This is what we did as the first step with our client Wireless Nation. This is an established company with years of experience that had all processes already on a high level. The main goal for them was a shift to an all-in-one solution to cover their business needs as their in-house software was not able to succeed with all the requirements. Wireless Nation reduced costs on software development in three times by using Splynx and ALL processes were moved to one platform.

 

 

  • TowerCoverage to track potential customers.
  • Self-registration with the possibility to pay instantly and get the service in a few days.
  • CRM and Ticketing platform to track all registration requests and follow-up with leads.
  • Scheduling functionality allows to track and manage all installation projects efficiently.

 

 

Step 2. Set billing, payments and accounting

  1. Splynx billing engine gives a possibility to set recurring or prepaid billing periods.
  2. ISPs can charge for Internet, VoIP , One-time services or any custom created service.
  3. Every business is about money and its collection. You are able to get payments via different channels in one place.
  4. Splynx provides the possibility to export your billing data to accounting platforms and has direct integrations with SageOne, Xero, and Holded accounting platforms.

Case Study: Fitel Network, Spain.

Slynx has helped Fitel to grow 2 times in one year. One of their requirements was to separate recurring customers from prepaid as they are located on the coast of Spain and a lot of customers use their services seasonally. 

“We had a need to separate recurring customers and prepaid. In our region, there are many clients who come for vacation and they need a fully prepaid scenario. Also, the ability to self start and stop service was very important.” Says Paul Gerhardt, CTO of Fitel Network

“Crucial for us is to process direct debit and then export all data to an accounting platform. We are using Holded.com cloud accounting software”

 

 

  • Voice and Internet services are at one place and charged simultaneously.
  • Invoice PDFs were customized per customer’s requirements. 
  • Every month all the invoices are automatically exported to Holded accounting platform.

 

Step 3. Automate your network

We provide our own RADIUS server which functions and stability are proved by hundreds of ISP networks.

Splynx helps you to:

  • Authenticaticate your  subscribers, blocking non-paying customers;
  • Control bandwidth of users with limits, FUP and contentions;
  • Understand what happens in the network with weathermaps;
  • Get central device backups;
  • Provision third party systems quickly.

We have a team of network experienced developers who work directly with MikroTik, Junipers, Cisco, LTE integrations etc. That allows our clients to make successful integrations with various custom solutions that are essential for their business.

Case Study: Skywire, South Africa

South African company Skywire uses our software to optimize their network. They have hundreds of towers, so the company uses weathermaps to display backbone links, fiber links, their usage and how good they work. Also they have IP address management and monitoring tools that are all in one place.

 

 

Step 4: Provide awesome support

Once all the above steps are completed and continuously improved, you also have to provide good support as in most cases customers prefer the services with better support experience. In our company we spend a lot of time to analyze the support tickets and processes to find the right answers and solutions to deliver 5-star customer experience. 

 

 

It is all done within Splynx platform, you do not need to use ZenDesk or Freshdesk or any other 3d party solution. We have integrated all the features that most of helpdesk companies offer you:

  • Your email connection;
  • Incoming mail configuration and parsing;
  • Assignments of tickets per agents, teams;
  • Tasks creation inside the tickets;
  • All data is connected with your customer base, so you can manage everything quickly and efficiently.

 

 

 

So considering all the facts provided above, Splynx is the best solution for:

  1. Established providers with over 10 000 subscribers;
  2. Managers of mid-size providers with 1000 to 10 000 subscribers;
  3. Owners of small providers with below 1000 subscribers;
  4. Start-up providers that have around 100 subscribers and want to grow.

You will be able to :

  1. Groww quickly and focus on the right things;
  2. Improve the overall management of the company;
  3. Become competitive to large Telco operators.

You will get rid of:

  1. Many non-connected tools where you had to continuously switch between them;
  2. Subscriptions and costs for tools that you can replace;
  3. A lot of manual work.

Splynx is more than a software. We spend a lot of time with our customers, deployments and support. We do one to one calls to make sure all requirements are met and the solution is created. Our approach allows us to deliver custom-tailored solutions, so customers always receive the software that ideally fits their needs.

Do not lose time, just click the link and start beating them now!

 

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Splynx Sage One Integration

After a recent integration with Sage One, Splynx allows Internet and Voice providers to manage the business more efficiently. It is possible to automate the accounting process synchronization easily.

In this article, we would like to share the information on how Splynx synchronizes with Sage One and other accounting platforms.

It is important to understand how the synchronization works. This process can be divided into 3 steps.

First of all, we push out Items from Sage One to Splynx, as they will help us to identify and track account numbers, to see where transactions go when we create certain services, etc.

Everything is managed inside Splynx, so we take customers from Splynx’s database and push them out to Sage One. While Items are synchronized once, the customers are synchronized every hour. It is also possible to enforce this process by pressing the button ‘Customers’ in Config > Integrations > Splynx Sageone Accounting, so you will be able to push customers into Sage One instantly.

The second step is the synchronization of Invoices and Transactions with correct account numbers by pushing them out to Sage One. This is an automated process, however, you can always enforce the synchronization by clicking ‘Invoices’ in Config > Integrations > Splynx Sageone Accounting.

The last step is to receive payments. They are done inside the Sage One, you can easily connect your bank account or Sage Pay and push them out, so the invoices will be immediately marked as ‘Paid’ in Splynx.

 Please review the video description to see the Sage One integration in action:

Should you have any questions or further information is needed, please contact us or schedule a call with our engineer.

Voip CDR auto processing from FTP server in Splynx

Nowadays every business is seeking to achieve the minimization of manual effort in the essential processes. Great news for our customers, who need the Voice billing engine to rate VoIP calls, LTE data transfers or work with full mobile services. Starting from Splynx v.2.3 it is now possible to automate the CDRs processing.

Our voice billing engine allows to automatically import the CDRs from your provider’s FTP server to charge the customers and print the register of calls in their invoices.

The process is quite similar to the manual CDR import, however, now it is possible to import multiple CDRs at once. To configure the automatic import from FTP server, first of all, we need to add the “Import Data Source” in the system.  This can be done at Config > Voice > Import Data Source.   

In this menu, we need to add the import source for our CDRs and the folder path. There are 3 possible types of data source:

  • FTP – we need to set a server host, port, your credentials
  • SFTP – the same parameters as for FTP plus RSA private key
  • Local – if you select “Local” then you will need to set only Title and Folder path

The next step is the configuration of CDR autoprocessing.

After the selection of recently added Data Source, we need to specify the file name pattern to process all the files that have pattern entrances in a file name. The system uses Regex for filtering the file names (PCRE syntax). The examples can be found here.

Pattern Description
AB Will filter the file names that have ‘AB’ symbols
CDR Will match all 3 files
2019 Will match the first two files which contain ‘2019’ in their names
516891[A-Z] Will match the first two files with matches 516891F, 516891C
516891[F2] Will match the first and the third files with matches 516891F, 5168912
516891[F2]-\d{6} Will match only the first one

The auto processing frequency is set by the option “Launch time interval“, it allows you to choose the suitable time interval.

In the last step, we choose the required columns for the import, such as Source, Datetime(or separate Date, Time columns), Destination, Duration, etc. Note that the number of columns and their order should be the same as it is in the imported file.

Once the Auto CDR processing is configured, you will be able to start it manually or the process will be automatically started at the previously scheduled time frame. In case something is failed during the import, it is possible to see the History log or even reproduce the errors.


Should you have any questions regarding the configuration or need assistance, feel free to contact us or schedule a call with our engineer.

Juniper Radius configuration with variables

This article is the second part of the Juniper MX Radius configuration tutorial – https://splynx.com/4873/radius-juniper-mx-configuration/

In the first article, speed limitations were set by two Juniper Radius attributes

ERX-Ingress-Policy-Name = “{{ tariff_name }}”
ERX-Egress-Policy-Name = “{{ tariff_name }}”

These attributes matched the Juniper firewall filter/policy to tariff name in Splynx.

We can set up an advanced option when tariff names and firewall filters matching is not involved. The setup is quite advanced, but also elegant, variables are used to define policies and speed.

RADIUS
Let’s start again with basic Radius configuration :


profile RAD {
authentication-order radius;
domain-name-server {
8.8.4.4;
8.8.8.8;
}
radius {
authentication-server 192.168.1.5;
accounting-server 192.168.1.5;
options {
nas-identifier JUN;
accounting-session-id-format decimal;
}
}
radius-server {
192.168.1.5 {
secret "$9$bLYJUjHqPTz7-UiHqQzRhcSvW"; ## SECRET-DATA
source-address 192.168.1.6;
}
}
accounting {
order radius;
immediate-update;
coa-immediate-update;
address-change-immediate-update;
update-interval 10;
statistics volume-time;
}
}

 

Important is to apply the access profile in global configuration :
access-profile RAD

DYNAMIC PROFILE
Second part is defining dynamic profiles using variables.

svc-local-pppoe {
variables {
var-bw-download;
var-bw-upload;
var-ff-out-download {
equals "'INET-' ## $var-bw-download ## '-CLIENT-DOWNLOAD'";
uid;
}
var-ff-in-upload {
equals "'INET-' ## $var-bw-upload ## '-CLIENT-UPLOAD'";
uid;
}
var-plr-download {
equals "'plr-' ## $var-bw-download";
uid;
}
var-plr-upload {
equals "'plr-' ## $var-bw-upload";
uid;
}
}
interfaces {
pp0 {
unit "$junos-interface-unit" {
family inet {
filter {
input "$var-ff-out-download" precedence 100;
output "$var-ff-in-upload" precedence 100;
}
}
family inet6 {
filter {
input "$var-ff-out-download" precedence 100;
output "$var-ff-in-upload" precedence 100;
}
}
}
}
}

As you can see we can define policies for IPv4 and IPv6 customers.
Juniper Radius attribute that Splynx should send to Juniper MX router is

RADIUS ATTRIBUTE :

ERX-Service-Activate:1 = “svc-local-pppoe(3072000,2048000)”
where 3072000 is download speed and 2048000 is upload speed.
It means that Juniper will set var-bw-download = 3072000 and var-bw-upload = 2048000. Then it will var-ff-out-download and var-ff-in-upload variables and set it to input and output filter names on the pp0 interface.

SETTING FIREWALL
The last step is to define Filter rules


firewall {
family inet {
filter "$var-ff-in-upload" {
interface-specific;
term POLICE {
then {
policer "$var-plr-upload";
service-accounting;
service-filter-hit;
accept;
}
}
term SERVICE-FILTER-HIT {
from {
service-filter-hit;
}
then accept;
}
}
filter "$var-ff-out-download" {
interface-specific;
term POLICE {
then {
policer "$var-plr-download";
service-accounting;
service-filter-hit;
accept;
}
}
term SERVICE-FILTER-HIT {
from {
service-filter-hit;
}
then accept;
}
}
}
policer "$var-plr-download" {
logical-interface-policer;
if-exceeding {
bandwidth-limit "$var-bw-download";
burst-size-limit 1m;
}
then discard;
}
policer "$var-plr-upload" {
logical-interface-policer;
if-exceeding {
bandwidth-limit "$var-bw-upload";
burst-size-limit 1m;
}
then discard;
}
}
}

$var-plr-download and $var-plr-upload were created using values from Juniper Radius attribute ERX-Service-Activate:1. We create dynamic policers using these values and then apply them in dynamic filters.

If you have any questions regarding Juniper Radius configuration, please feel free to ask us at support@splynx.com

Radius Juniper MX configuration

Juniper Networks is one of leading vendors producing networking equipment. Together with Cisco, Juniper defines where networks are moving. The company sells different solutions starting from routers, switches and up to software-defined products such as Open Contrail.

In Internet provider’s network, Juniper is mainly used as a BRAS equipment (broadband remote access server). The MX series routers ideally fit as BRAS with the ability to process gigabits and hundreds of gigabits of traffic together with providing such access services as PPPoE, bandwidth limitation, policing and NAT.

We have deployed Splynx in different networks running on Juniper MX80, MX104 and MX960 routers. JunOS versions from 14 to 18.
The configuration below should work on any MX router and is based on a combination of Dynamic profiles and Policy names.

1. RADIUS SERVER definition
In the first step we should define the Access and describe Radius configuration. Radius server IP is 192.168.1.5 and Juniper router IPs is 192.168.1.6.

access {
profile Splynx {
accounting-order radius;
authentication-order radius;
radius {
authentication-server 192.168.1.5;
accounting-server 192.168.1.5;
options {
nas-identifier JUN;
accounting-session-id-format decimal;
}
}
radius-server {
192.168.1.5 {
secret "$9$TFCuIEyMWxO1hSrlMWJGUHP5TQ3/ApmPO1Rcle"; ## SECRET-DATA
timeout 300;
retry 3;
max-outstanding-requests 1000;
source-address 192.168.1.6;
}
}
accounting {
order radius;
accounting-stop-on-failure;
accounting-stop-on-access-deny;
immediate-update;
coa-immediate-update;
update-interval 10;
statistics volume-time;
}
}
}

The next line in configuration should be setting the access profile Splynx to Juniper MX router up level configuration:

access-profile Splynx;

2. DYNAMIC PROFILES
The next step is to define Dynamic profiles. This configuration can be a bit tricky and complex. Depends on how complex is your overall setup, how VLANs are organized, if there are Port Aggregations or PPPoE services are running directly on Gigabit and 10G Ethernet interfaces. The example below shows the PPPoE profile that is ready for dynamic VLANs that are running on Aggregated interface ae0.

dynamic-profiles {
PPPOE {
interfaces {
demux0 {
interface-mib;
unit "$junos-interface-unit" {
vlan-id "$junos-vlan-id";
family pppoe {
duplicate-protection;
dynamic-profile ppp-profile;
max-sessions 16000;
}
}
}
}
}
ppp-profile {
interfaces {
pp0 {
interface-mib;
unit "$junos-interface-unit" {
no-traps;
ppp-options {
pap;
}
pppoe-options {
underlying-interface "$junos-underlying-interface";
server;
}
keepalives interval 30;
family inet {
rpf-check;
filter {
input "$junos-input-filter";
output "$junos-output-filter";
}
unnumbered-address lo0.0;
}
}
}
}
}
}

Few words to the configuration above – as you can see dynamic profile ppp-profile is encapsulated into other dynamic profile PPPoE. The speed limitation filters are set in dynamic ppp-profile interface pp0.
When dynamic profiles are defined, we apply the profile PPPOE on AE0 interface :

ae0 {
description "PPPOE LINK aggregation ";
flexible-vlan-tagging;
auto-configure {
vlan-ranges {
dynamic-profile PPPOE {
accept pppoe;
ranges {
100-200;
}
}
}
remove-when-no-subscribers;
}
mtu 4000;
encapsulation flexible-ethernet-services;
aggregated-ether-options {
lacp {
active;
}
}
}

3. SPEED LIMITATIONS
The last step in configuration is to define the Firewall filter and policers to control subscriber’s bandwidth.
Here is the example of filter and policer for 10 Mbps plan :

firewall {
family inet {
filter 10Mbps {
interface-specific;
term 1 {
then policer p_10Mbps_limit;
accept;
}
}
}
policer p_10Mbps_limit {
if-exceeding {
bandwidth-limit 10m;
burst-size-limit 1m;
}
then discard;
}

4. JUNIPER RADIUS ATTRIBUTES
The attributes that are used to set the Filter name in Radius Access accept are :

ERX-Ingress-Policy-Name = "{{ tariff_name }}"
ERX-Egress-Policy-Name = "{{ tariff_name }}"

These attributes are configured in Splynx -> Config -> Radius -> Selection of NAS type -> Juniper -> Rate-limit attributes

Tariff name should be set in Splynx “10Mbps” as on picture below :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Should you have any questions regarding Juniper MX configuration or further information is needed, please contact us or schedule a call with our engineer.