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Evolution of Telecom Software Perspectives from a Software Engineer Dr. Jey Veerasamy.

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Presentation on theme: "Evolution of Telecom Software Perspectives from a Software Engineer Dr. Jey Veerasamy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evolution of Telecom Software Perspectives from a Software Engineer Dr. Jey Veerasamy

2 Background: Education BE Electronics and Communication Engineering, Anna University, India 1986-90 MS Computer Science @ UTD, 1991-94 PhD Computer Science @ UTD, 1994-99 – Dissertation: Graph algorithms - improved approximation algorithms for tour problems

3 Background: Software Engineer Mobile Switching Center (MTX) software, BNR/Nortel, 1994-97 – Developed features on MTX platform Base Station & Base Station Controller software, Samsung Telecom America (STA), 1997-2010 – Limited development, worked more on requirements & post-deployment support – Performance trending, troubleshooting & optimization

4 Wireless network : Block Diagram Source: Wiki

5 Snapshot : 1991 Cost for one minute US India phone call? $2.20 Cost for one minute Dallas SFO phone call? Anywhere from $0.25 to $0.60 Long distance carrier business was great!

6 Snapshot: 1994 Telecom companies were doing very well. Focus on Features, capacity & reliability New employees: 6 month honeymoon period All UTD CS/EE graduates: – First stop: Nortel – 2 nd stop: Ericsson – 3 rd : time to think

7 1994: Software development Environment Waterfall model – Documentation heavy – Reviews can be brutal or boring – Weekly load-build was a big deal Proprietary real-time Operating Systems, HW & programming languages, even homegrown source code config. control software! Why? Limited processing power, exercise full control, concerns over reliability & source code leaks … Reluctance to try new tools/environments

8 1994: Telecom Software Engineer Concerned about marketability of skills, but not worried about job security Typical work week: – <50% spent on design work, – ~30% spent on learning standards, – ~20% spent on testing Expensive & complex lab equipment: – 4 hours in setup & 2 hours in testing Who knew the acronyms?

9 Concepts: BHCA capacity Busy Hour Call Attempts 1 Million BHCA central processor should spend < 2.5 milli-second per call (assuming 70% load) Managing BHCA is a system engineering activity, done in every software release. Per-call measurements & optimization

10 Capacity issues 2 types of nodes: – control nodes – transaction processing – CPU load can vary a lot (>60% load is a concern). Use watch- dog timers that automatically reset the node if 100% sustained CPU load is seen. – traffic nodes – actual traffic processing – can safely operate at 90% CPU load Power of Trending

11 Handling Overload Overload can occur during mega-events or new years day Similar to Denial of Service attack Need to shed call requests with minimal effort. Goal is to handle as many requests as possible in reliable manner.

12 Magic of CDMA Single Frequency Channel operation Soft Handoff Coverage vs. Capacity

13 Concept: Real-time OS Traffic processing: every 20 msec once, for each call – load distributed by frame offsets (1.25 msec) Control processing Diagnostic processing

14 Concept: Hard vs. Soft real-time

15 Magic of always connected IP was not designed for mobility. All IP traffic towards the mobiles is terminated at specific node in wireless network. That node takes care of delivering it to mobile using tunneling protocols – also known as Mobile IP.

16 Redundancy Is it for hardware or software? Control nodes: Active/Standby redundancy Traffic nodes: N+1 redundancy Load sharing algorithm? Round-robin or load-balancing Leaky bucket? …

17 Interesting SW bugs Look at the following code: if (sector_id = 1) … Send call setup message to ALPHA Lab tested the code in alpha sector. What happens when this code is applied to field?

18 Blocking printf() Debug port used for logs printf() was used to output messages – cannot use break points due to timers CDMA works based on GPS time Timing drift is not good for soft handoffs handoff failures More time spent in printf() less time in actual call processing less capacity

19 Working with limited pipe There are two types of messages over the air: – Acknowledgement required – No ack required I changed neighbor information message type to improve soft handoff success. Resulted in more handoff failures, since actual handoff processing related messages could not get through.

20 BSC crashes Unexpectedly long message or spurious content from mobiles causes buffer overrun Fixed size stack was used in OS – more local variables added over time.

21 Software efficiency: Do we really care? Goal is to make software work & meet deadline for most industry projects. Game console: Algorithm takes longer to run requires higher-end CPU to keep realism higher price product fails amid competition Web-server: Algorithm takes longer to run (consider 5 seconds vs. 20 seconds) tests web-users patience & requires more web server capacity. Daily data crunching: What if it takes >1 day?

22 Snapshot: 2011 All long distance-only carriers disappeared several years ago. Too efficient for our own good All-you-can-eat or bucket plans – Data usage picking up – carriers struggling to keep up Cost reduction or efficiency is the goal! New interns – help out with testing in the lab on day #1 Continuous fight between Quality & deadlines.

23 2011 Smart phones generate lot of data traffic even when the user is sleeping! Femtocells appealing to carriers. IP has become acceptable protocol. Real-time Linux is popular OS used in lots of telecom nodes. Management nodes use Sun WS with Java applications & web browser. Real-time nodes tend to use C/C++. Focus has shifted to applications for smart-phones.

24 Questions?

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