If you are a small Internet Service Provider and just start working, it may make sense for you to choose simple and inexpensive tools for your tasks. For example, you can use the open-source solution ACCEL-PPP to create a high-performance Linux-based VPN/IPoE server and routing. Thereby you can easily and cost-effectively combine different popular VPN technologies in a single application and configure subscribers direct access to the Internet. But with the growth of the subscriber base, the moment will necessarily come when you’ll have to choose another system. We will tell you how exactly the tasks of telecom operators are changing at the same time with its growth and what is the best way to solve them.
Temporary pros and permanent cons
ACCEL-PPP is created by several developers from Russia and has no restrictions on free usage. The advantages of this solution include:
- The performance of the equipment is limited only by the free memory and processor;
- Configuration flexibility;
- It’s free.
This last advantage may be decisive at the beginning of the provider’s work but it will quickly become clear that this solution is only free at the installation stage. The more complicated your daily tasks become, the more expensive it will be for your employees to solve them with ACCEL-PPP.
Because it’s a non-commercial product, it has its special features:
- No one would be responsible for it;
- The lack of qualified technical support;
- Dependence on the specific hardware configuration. If it changes, new failures and malfunctions may occur. Also, it may become a serious problem as the number of devices grows;
- The solution is not able to do a deep traffic analysis. And at a certain stage of development it becomes critical for the provider to know as much as possible about the subscribers in order to provide them with relevant offers.
Therefore, at some point it will inevitably become more profitable to switch to a commercial product with full support than to keep special employees to do it.
What to switch to?
There are different products but usually they are not universal. Typically, hardware solutions from Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei and others are considered. As for their advantages, you can note a narrow focus and fine-tuning for specific tasks and compatibility with other products of the same manufacturer.
However, we should not forget about their weaknesses:
- They become obsolete pretty quickly;
- They have high cost of components and spare parts, and sometimes there may be problems with their availability;
- Their functionality is often limited and you have to pay for its expansion separately;
- Additional options in the system could be heavy load on the CPU;
- Problems with compatibility of products from different vendors;
- High amount of consumed electric power.
The deep traffic analysis platform Stingray Service Gateway has none of these disadvantages. It performs BRAS functions, it doesn’t depend on hardware vendors (you can install it on any hardware) and can be flexibly adapted to any business requirements.
Among the advantages are:
- Work with more than 6,000 protocols;
- It can be configured to work according to different schemes: traffic mirroring, in-line or asymmetry of outgoing traffic;
- It is possible to scale the Stingray Service Gateway to handle traffic up to 3.84 Tbps;
- Management of subscribers with dynamic IP-addressing and with multiple IP-addresses;
- Free testing.
If for some reason you plan to remain a small provider, it’s probably not necessary for you to switch to a new solution. But if you are going to increase the number of subscribers, you will have to change the technologies you work with anyway. And the right step here is to choose a more technologically advanced solution.