Oracle8i Application Developer's Guide - XML
Release 3 (8.1.7)

Part Number A86030-01


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Phone Number Portability Using XML Messaging, 4 of 7

The Number Portability Process

Number Portability performs the following tasks:

  1. Links the XML or DTD elements to either a SQL table or a PL/SQL stored function.

  2. Dynamically creates and builds the stored procedure in the background. It also enqueues the XML message for further processing. It builds the XML by extracting/querying values from the table or by dynamically executing the stored function associated with the element.

  3. At run time the user or program executes this dynamically executed procedure which then has the intelligence to create the XML message and enqueue it for further processing.

Number Portability product serves as a work flow manager. It is used for provisioning services requested by customers.

What Happens Behind the Scenes When You Order a New Telephone Service

For example, when you order a new telephone service, the telephone company takes the order and captures the order information using the Oracle Order Management application.

Here is the flow of events that transpire. The Number Portability application is used in all of the following steps and serves as an instance in the process:

  1. A customer places an order for a service such as a new telephone installation

  2. The Provisioning application captures the sales order and starts the specified validating and authorization process

  3. The Provisioning application then communicates with external systems. For example, it checks the customer credit rating or interacts with a third party for other actions.

    This communication could use a protocol defined between the two systems in XML format. Oracle Work Flow is used so that consultants can configure and view business process in a graphical format even at runtime.

What Happens Behind the Scenes When You Change Local Service Providers

Number Portability is also in action when you switch local telephone service providers. Here is the process:

  1. A customer contacts the local service provider.

  2. The local service provider validates your request with your old service provider. This is done through an independent third mediating party. In the United States, this third party mediator is the NPAC (Number Portability Administration Center).

  3. When switching long distance carriers, the mediating party comes online via voice. When switching local provider service, this is done through electronic messaging.

  4. The new service provider sends a message to NPAC so that it NPAC can validate the request and then an approval or authorization can be granted to the new service provider so that they can gain this new customer.

  5. NPAC sends a message to the old provider ("donor"). The donor reviews and approves the order and sends a message back to NPAC again using XML.

  6. NPAC sends the authorization to the new service provider ("recipient").

  7. The order is now approved on both sides.


    All the messaging taking place here uses XML as the main format within the SDP Number Portability product. If another protocol is required, then a custom Adapter could be plugged in to perform the transformation using XSL or custom code. 

  8. On the actual day that the customer wants to switch, NPAC sends a broadcast message to all the telephone service providers throughout the country. At this time, all telephone carriers and companies must update their network elements (network databases) in the process within the system.

XML is the Data Format. Advanced Queuing is Used at Each Point

XML is the data format used for all the messaging. Advanced Queueing (AQ) is used at each point in the process (and system).

The "Message Builder" module creates and enqueues the XML messages. The Communication Protocol Adapter ("Adapter") starts dequeueing the messages and sends them to the external systems.

AQ is essentially used simply to store the messages in queues. It serves as a First In First Out (FIFO) queueing system. The protocol used to send the messages differs with every system and is end-user specified, such as Flat File/CORBA, ....

To summarize then:

Why XML is Used for this Messaging

XML is used because it is a flexible format that can be modified or transformed into any other format required.

For example, one country may need a flat file message format to distribute the messages and provision (update) their network elements (databases). It is a simple matter to use XSL or custom code to transform the generated XML into the required flat file format.

This Number Portability application has been successfully deployed in Belgium where it is used in this manner. Belgium requires a flat file message format.

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