The RA solution that flagged up the missing switch problem, is the oldest and probably one of the best – I checked my bill! I kept a log of all calls and events I made from my mobile and once I month I would check them off against an internal bill. Once I had found a number of events missing from the bill I had to perform the hard part of RA – the route cause analysis. After trudging through suspense buckets, mediation dropped records and being unable to find the CDR’s, I conducted a couple of hundred test calls. From the results of the test calls I could see that the missing calls were completely random. This led me to work with the engineering department – who were completely convinced the issue must be IT related. We conducted test calls whilst monitoring the known switch – the first 3 events completed successfully and were all monitored on the switch, the fourth event completed successfully, but at no point did it show up on the switch. The engineer of course declared, that this was an impossibility but further testing proved that only about 50% of events were appearing on the known switch. An urgent meeting was organised with the hardware vendor and the issue was uncovered.
By checking my bill, I had managed to uncover a very significant revenue loss. The only other methodology for finding this loss would have been the use of Test Call Generators (TCG’s). A TCG operates in pretty much the same way as me and my handset – just a bit more automated and a lot more expensive!