An elegant browser add-on for telecom operators

06 May 2015 | Jet Info, Speaker Elena Fominskaya, Daniil Vinyar

No operator can survive in today’s market without offering a broad selection of high quality services. Moreover, any such services, traditional and new ones alike, need to be advertised and sold with a focus on user-specific needs. To this end, the operator needs a convenient tool for instant two-way communication with the subscriber. Such a tool should also be user-friendly and easy to install.

Meet Jet Toolbar, a component of a traffic management package good for mobile as well as landline broadband networks. It is a small yet powerful widget that appears on every web-page visited and displays information and/or tools for communication between the operator and the user.

Jet Toolbar can be used in several ways. The simplest one is sending service-related information to groups of subscribers to advise them, say, of scheduled network maintenance or a special offer. The second option involves sending standard messages to individual users to inform them of changes in their personal status. As far as two-way communication is concerned, the subscriber can manage the service using additional Toolbar buttons and links; for example, the Turbo button would increase bandwidth for a certain period of time.

In the fourth option the operator-subscriber interaction involves a third party, for instance, an advertising agency that can send targeted ads to the user’s Toolbar. Targeted advertising is based on customer profiles supplied by the operator. Note that these data are anonymous to maintain confidentiality. .

Jet Toolbar advantages
Guaranteed support of all leading web browsers (MS Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox Mozilla, Opera, Apple Safari)

  • Possibility of integration with the operator’s infrastructure and content providers to receive and format information/content for display
  • Completely transparent operation. Requests to the Internet are sent from the user’s IP address. The subscriber receives responses from the IP address of the server. The customer’s browser requires no setup
  • Separation of components responsible for proxying and data formatting for display. Toolbar Proxy just inserts the JSC into HTMP pages. Data is formatted for display via a request to the Toolbar Application Server
  • Only HTTP traffic passes through Toolbar Proxy, and headers are unpacked and read only for HTML pages. Hardware requirements for Toolbar Proxy are therefore fairly modest
  • Support of compressed content (gzip and others) by Jet Toolbar Proxy • Optimal use of DPI ports. The traffic passes DPI only once in each direction. Jet Toolbar thus has a minimum impact on bandwidth and fault tolerance of the network

How Jet Toolbar works

Jet Toolbar is based on the enrichment of information exchange between the user and the server with additional HTML elements. It is completely transparent for the user and requires no complementary software. Any DPI class system may be used by the Toolbar for traffic classification. PCRF class systems such as Jet Subscriber Manager (JSM) are employed for managing subscribers and their status, as well as for matching network IDs with subscriber IDs.

Toolbar consists of several components:

  • Proxy Server, a subsystem working with HTTP traffic and HTML/Java objects;
  • An HTML element (a Java script code) added to the HTML object (web page);
  • Toolbar Application Server to maintain interaction between control functions available to the user and systems that provide services.

Fig. 1. Jet Toolbar
Jet Toolbar

Toolbar Proxy Server (TPS) transparently processes HTML objects to enrich them with an additional Java script code. It works with TCP connections addressing port 80 and divides them into the server leg and the client leg. The script is added only to server responses (HTTP 200 OK) that match text/html content type. Toolbar Proxy Server supports Content-Encoding: gzip. TPS either installs in user traffic gaps (in congestion-free channels) or integrates with traffic steering devices such as DPI or ADC (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Jet Toolbar integration and interaction with the operator’s PCC system
Jet Toolbar integration and interaction with the operator’s PCC system

The added HTML element is a Java script code (JSC) processed by the subscriber’s browser simultaneously with the web page to which it was added. The code provides the necessary content as well as requests the toolbar application server for information to be displayed, including data on the current web page content (e.g. URL of the source page) or on the user agent. The code is also responsible for displaying the widget and its controls, as well as for the generation of response to user commands.

The widget has several system states that can be managed by the subscriber or by the Toolbar application server. The widget and the Java script code are compatible with any computer platform or browser.

Toolbar Application Server responds to JSC requests and interacts with connected operator’s systems (OSS/BSS), as well as with external partners, to receive and format content displayed by the widget in one of the three modes:

  • static (text/picture) mode, with the TAS operating as a web server with static content;
  • dynamic mode, when the server receives information from connected systems and prepares dynamic data or commands for the widget;
  • dynamic interactive mode, when the TAS either executes user commands or acts as a gate to send these commands to connected systems.

Telecom operators and Jet Toolbar

Operators can use Jet Toolbar in a variety of ways. For instance, one of Russian Internet providers has it equipped with a Turbo button; when pressed, it would increase Internet speed for the user for 6 hours. The system distinguishes between «light» subscribers (low Internet speed) and those currently downloading «heavy» content such as Р2Р or video streaming. It also indicates whether balances in user accounts are sufficient for buying a service. Once the service period expires, the system checks whether the user needs an extension.

Jet Toolbar can also help improve customer loyalty and attract new subscribers. For instance, a convergence-oriented operator has been using this solution to track visits to competitors’ web pages offering tariff plans. If the internet user is a subscriber with this carrier, he receives a proposal of a free upgrade to his current plan. Otherwise he would be made an offer that would beat those from competition.

Jet Toolbar as a component of a traffic management system gives the operator/provider a channel of communication with the subscriber for fast delivery of targeted information, offers and ads. On the other hand, the subscriber gets easy access to new services of interest. All this increases customer loyalty, while a more extensive use of extra services generates additional revenue for the operator.

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See examples of Jet Toolbar messages!

Find the icon in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.

Click on it and see some examples of messages that can be created with Jet Toolbar