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ROUTING ARCHITECTURE FOR ONLINE AND OFFLINE PROCESSING

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132580D
Publication Date: 2005-Dec-22
Document File: 22 page(s) / 1M

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A system, method and computer program product are provided for billing purposes. Initially, a customer is associated with a policy. In use, an event is received that is associated with a customer and a category. It is then determined whether to process the event using an online charging platform or an offline charging platform based on the policy and the category. If it is determined that the event is to be processed using the online charging platform, the event is processed using the online charging platform for authorizing and/or charging the event immediately. On the other hand, if it is determined that the event is to be processed using the offline charging platform, the event is processed using the offline charging platform for billing the user at the end of a billing period.

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Routing Architecture for online and offline processing

Field of the Invention

            The present invention relates to billing systems, and more particularly, to online and offline billing systems.

Background of the Invention

           

Traditionally, billing systems typically employ two modes of charging. The first is online charging which is where the user effectively pre-pays for a service, and the second is offline charging where a user is billed after the service. Thus, the first charging method is implemented as a “pay-as-you-go” system, whereas the second method is implemented where the user is billed at regular intervals for services which the user has used.

The availability requirement from online charging platforms is typically much higher with respect to offline platforms.  In addition, there are events that are processed using the online platform in order to ensure low latency, e.g., 200ms, while other events do not require such a low latency.  Further, network events that are processed by the charging platforms may arrive from many network elements and in different modes, i.e., as synchronous requests, batch files, etc.  These factors lead to the need for bolstering the resources associated with online charging platforms.

Unfortunately, a problem often arises in that it is difficult to efficiently route events, such that only events that must be processed using the online charging platform are routed to such system, in order to reduce the volume and cost of online charging platforms. The difficulty in addressing this problem is further exacerbated due to the fact that there is no simple way of controlling this routing.  For example, the arrival mode of an event (i.e. synchronous, batch, etc.) does not provide a clear indication as to whether the event is to be processed online or offline.

There is thus a need for overcoming these and/or other problems associated with the prior art.

Summary

           

A system, method and computer program product are provided for billing purposes.  Initially, a customer is associated with a policy.  In use, an event is received that is associated with a customer and a category.  It is then determined whether to process the event using an online charging platform or an offline charging platform based on the policy and the category.  If it is determined that the event is to be processed using the online charging platform, the event is processed using the online charging platform for authorizing and/or charging the event immediately.  On the other hand, if it is determined that the event is to be processed using the offline charging platform, the event is processed using the offline charging platform for billing the user at the end of a billing period.

                       

                       

Brief Description of the Drawings

Figure 1 illustrates a network architecture, in accordance with one embo...