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Specifying planned changes to a communications network

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000182425D
Publication Date: 2009-Apr-30

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method of specifying changes to a communications network is disclosed. The method uses a network model representing a current configuration of the communications network. Scope information is received defining a subset of the network model to which changes are to be made. Model information relating to the defined subset of the network model is copied in accordance with the scope information, to create a partial model copy. The partial model copy is then modified to represent a planned configuration of the communications network. The partial model may be validated as consistent with the network model for the current configuration, and to reserve resources within it. Changes within the partial model may be passed to other models, including the current configuration.

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Method and system for specifying planned changes to a communications network

The present invention relates to methods and systems for specifying planned changes to a communications network.

Prior art network management systems typically provide a network model, stored in a database, representing a current configuration of a communications network. Planners can use this model to plan changes and enhancements to the network.  After such changes have been implemented in the network, the network model may then be updated to reflect the new configuration of the network.

However, planned changes may often be specified in an ad hoc, informal manner, which does not relate directly to the specific details of the network model. For example, notes may be added to a network model describing future planned modifications. However, if planned modifications are not defined sufficiently rigorously it can be difficult for other users of the network management system to understand the exact nature of the planned changes. Also, this approach does not provide a planner with a clear picture of how planned changes will affect the network.

In some cases, a network planner may modify the network model directly to see how planned changes will affect the network, but this results in the network model no longer corresponding to the actual operational network. To address this, a planner may instead use a copy of the network model database to plan changes. However, it can then be difficult to merge changes made in the copy back into the main model. If multiple planners are working on the model independently, each planner may need a separate copy of the database, exacerbating the problem of collating the planned changes. Also, the entire database may have to be locked if a planner wishes to transfer changes from a copy over into the main operational model database, affecting other users of the network management system.

The present invention seeks to alleviate some of these problems.

Accordingly, in a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of specifying changes to a communications network, comprising:  storing a network model representing a first configuration of the communications network; receiving scope information defining a subset of the network model to which changes are to be made; copying model information relating to the defined subset of the network model in accordance with the scope information, to create a partial model copy; and modifying the partial  model copy to represent a second configuration of the communications network.

            This can allow planning to be performed using a copy of only a relevant portion of the network model, avoiding the need for maintaining and synchronizing multiple different copies of an entire network model database. Also, several planners can simultaneously...