Access Incognito's library of Guides, Tips / Tutorials and more.

Optimize DHCP: Beyond Broadband Command Center

Published on 29 Feb 2016

Three Ways to Make the Most of Your Existing DHCP Investment



Ready to maximize your existing investment?

Efficiently managing and making the most of Big Data is one of the biggest issues facing service providers. When it comes to DHCP data, hundreds of thousands of active and historic leases are regularly added to the exponentially growing data stream and operators are legally obligated to store and manage this lease information.

An automated DHCP solution such as Broadband Command Center makes it easier to provision devices and automate processes to decreases time-to-market, but could you maximize this solution — and optimize DHCP lease data — further?

If you or your team are relying on spreadsheets or other homegrown solutions to track DHCP data, monitor and report fraud, or even manage firmware updates, you may not be maximizing the available efficiencies the solution provides. Worse yet, you could actually contribute to extra strain on the DHCP service.

This is because homegrown solutions that rely on manual processes to manage lease data and identify subscribers can be error-prone. At the same time, third-party platforms may not easily integrate with other parts of your network or continually poll the DHCP service, affecting performance.

Similarly, add-ons or manual methods for updating DOCSIS firmware can create multi-step and error-prone processes for network engineers and operations teams. This can in turn lead to increased OPEX and take essential resources away from other priorities.

Could inefficient or poorly integrated add-ons be holding you back from making the most of your DHCP investment?


Boost Network Efficiencies with Broadband Command Center Extensions

Make the most of your existing DHCP investment with extensions to Broadband Command Center designed to eliminate manual processes on your network and decrease OPEX.

Three add-on modules for Broadband Command Center are available to meet the challenges of service providers operating in complex environments.


1. Central Lease Service

DHCP lease data plays an important role in subscriber identification. It is used in a variety of use cases, from lawful interception or acceptable use policy violations, to automatic authentication of third-party applications and troubleshooting.

You need to be able to track, manage, and access DHCP lease data at any time to meet lawful interception requests or other use cases requiring subscriber authentication. Many providers rely on ad-hoc or homegrown solutions, tracking lease data in enormous databases or relying on processes that require manual extraction to retrieve specific information.

Simplify the storage and management of DHCP lease data with a single, central repository. Central Lease Service from Incognito automatically compiles and consolidates historical and active lease data from Broadband Command Center to enable a fast and efficient lease lookup process.

Data streams directly from the Broadband Command Center DHCP service to Central Lease Service, providing a central repository that ensures you have access to active and historical information at your fingertips.

This data can be used to:

  • Map IP addresses to MAC addresses and vice versa
  • Quickly associate subscribers to devices and obtain lease history for law enforcement compliance
  • Enable new revenue generating services such as DNS opt-out by providing a fast and simple way to associate client device to subscriber account

By mapping an IP address to a subscriber device, not only can you quickly pinpoint which device has accessed or is trying to access your network at any point in time, but you will also know which gateway it came from.

Efficient DHCP

This approach also lets you take advantage of lease data for subscriber authentication purposes. It also reduces the load on the DHCP service — and increases the performance of the DHCP service — by streaming information to one central repository, instead of multiple third-party consumers of lease data.

Lease transactions are written in the background to the Central Lease Service database without affecting the performance of the DHCP service.

Improved Workflows

Instead of spending time on gathering, administering, and organizing multiple sets of information, you can focus on tracking and auditing network usage. Manual processes are replaced with one-click lookups to find all the relevant information associated with a lease in less than a minute.

Simple Integration

Set up automatic queries with APIs and a simple user interface that makes it easy for other northbound systems to quickly query the Central Lease Service database. For example,  integration with CRM systems make it simple to carry out complex queries efficiently and see devices associated to subscribers.


2. Fraud Management

Further capitalize on your Broadband Command Center and Central Lease Service investment with the additional capabilities of the Fraud Management module.

On its own, Broadband Command Center mitigates the potential for unauthorized connectivity on your network in a number of ways, including the use of single-use, dynamically generated configuration files; matching cable modem IP addresses to the requested configuration file name; supporting advanced encryption and standards for DOCSIS 3.0; and utilizing anti-roaming.

However, should a device with a cloned MAC address appear across multiple DHCP servers, the DOCSIS provisioning stack is unable to detect the intrusion. Instead, you have to manually review the audit records of each instance in order to identify these devices — a tedious and error-prone process.

A centralized view of all DHCP leases on your network enables you to completely eliminate these manual steps. By centralizing and intelligently analyzing the lease audit records gathered from Broadband Command Center, the Fraud Management module helps you easily identify, inspect, and block fraudulent devices across your network.

Reduce Time Spent on Fraud Identification  

Accurately identify fraudulent devices so that your subscribers are not affected. With Fraud Management you can access a list of potential fraudulent devices that share a MAC address in an overlapping period of time and review gateway and lease histories to accurately discern authorized devices from unauthorized ones.

In certain cases — such as a node split — legitimate devices might appear behind two different Broadband Command Center instances. In those cases, you can ignore the duplicated MAC addresses so that they do not appear as potential issues.

Intelligently Block Access

Control the banned device from further access through Broadband Command Center with configurable options for limiting usage. For example, automatically restrict the banned device to a walled garden, or refuse access completely from the network.

Generate Reports

All the details of the potential rogue devices can be easily exported into reports that can be passed on to the relevant department or stakeholder.


3. Firmware Management

The final step in eliminating inefficiencies on your network lies in automating one of the most complex parts of device management — firmware updates.

As an ever-increasing number and variety of cable modems are continually released into the market, operators around the world are struggling to organize and manage the number of firmware update packages required for each device iteration.

But knowing what firmware packages are available and which devices require them is only the first in a number of challenges posed by end-to-end firmware management. Orchestrating bulk firmware updates to multiple device types pose a risk to your customers’ quality of experience. Unexpected service interruptions, bricked devices from firmware update failures, and a general lack of visibility into ongoing firmware management processes can all negatively affect the subscriber experience — increasing the risk of subscriber churn.

Leverage the capabilities of Broadband Command Center to extend firmware upgrades, downgrades, and changes with an end-to-end Firmware Management Solution for DOCSIS devices.

With complete visibility throughout the end-to-end firmware update process, you can orchestrate automated firmware updates with an easy-to-use scheduling platform, allowing you to run firmware updates while reducing the risk of interrupting your subscribers’ services.

With a configurable firmware-recipe library, you can organize and deploy firmware updates to subscriber devices based on numerous groups of criteria. From there, it’s a simple process of selecting which firmware package a device requires — whether it’s a firmware upgrade or downgrade — and scheduling the automated update process during times of low service usage.

Maintain Subscriber QoE

Flexible scheduling enables you to run firmware update test groups to ensure a successful bulk-update to singular or multiple vendor-device types. Choose specific dates and times to schedule an automated firmware update for the least impact on subscriber service.

Real-time updates and live monitoring reduces the risk of mass firmware errors and gives you the option to resolve any issues quickly and easily.

Save Time and Reduce OPEX

Rather than spending all night setting up scripts and watching firmware upgrades complete, simply schedule updates ahead of time. This process is further simplified with a network-wide inventory of active device models and firmware versions. With an automatically populated and organized list of vendor devices with firmware packages ready for deployment, you have complete control over how many devices to update and can filter specific device types or upgrades. This reduces the staffing levels required for regular firmware management.

Track and Record Firmware Updates

A configurable firmware-recipe library lets you organize firmware updates based on certain criteria. From there, it’s easy to schedule the update and keep track of whether it was successful, when it took place, and when the next update is scheduled.

Ready to take Broadband Command Center to the next level? Find out how Central Lease Service, Fraud Management, and Firmware Management Solution can work for you — schedule a demo today.