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Why Homegrown Subscriber ID Solutions Limit Problem Solving

Najla Dadmand

Most service providers are aware that there needs to be a simple, fast way to identify subscribers. Unfortunately, in reality, mapping IP addresses back to subscribers for identification purposes — such as lawful interception requests or acceptable use policy violations — can be complicated. It usually involves analyzing data sets, completing manual audits, or reliance on multi-step solutions.

Lease data plays an important role in subscriber identification, and developing your own database of historical and/or active leases can be helpful to fulfill law enforcement requests and other related tasks. However, homegrown solutions can be limiting. In my experience, homegrown databases have limited scope due to integration issues, may have poor performance or strain the existing DHCP system, and perhaps most importantly, do not necessarily save much time.

This is because most of the time database solutions are just data-dumps, useful only for looking up information and comparing data sets. While there is certainly some value in this kind of system, large service providers that need to keep track of a multitude of subscribers, IP addresses, and MAC addresses can become overwhelmed by these kind of simplified single-use databases.

By automating the storage of active and historical leases in one central repository solution, it's easy to track MAC addresses back to IP addresses and vice versa without straining the DHCP service. By mapping an IP address to a subscriber, you can quickly pinpoint which device has accessed or is trying to access your network at any given point in time, and which gateway it came from.

The result is faster and more accurate responses to lawful interception requests, with a bonus — it's much easier to add additional use cases. For example, the same centralized lease solution used to answer lawful intercept requests could also be used to interrogate or command a modem for reboot, add custom notifications for subscribers, or be used for troubleshooting. This is thanks to REST APIs which allow for easy integration with third-party applications. Integration aside, streaming network-wide data into a single repository makes it much quicker to access information, reduces the risk of errors, and helps break down operational silos.

Beyond lease queries, there is also the potential to add onto the solution with cable fraud detection and automated DOCSIS firmware management. Learn more about how you can move past homegrown solutions for lawful interception requests in this article.

By Najla Dadmand, Product Manager at Incognito Software Systems
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