Prepaid calling cards (using a gateway)

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Setting up your network components

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Please refer to the Appendices for the instructions applicable to your specific type of gateway.


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Use this checklist to check off the operations you have completed while performing the system setup according to the instructions in this chapter. Please be sure to perform all of the operations in the order designated (all of the boxes should be checked), otherwise, the service will not work.



General configuration

General configuration has already been performed according to the instructions in the Prepaid calling cards handbook

Network configuration

Create a node for your gateway

Configure your gateway

Rating configuration

Perform the standard rating configuration for the prepaid services as described in the  Prepaid calling cards handbook

In the rating list (of the prepaid product) include an entry that will contain gateway node and tariff containing the prepaid calling rates

Account provisioning

Create a retail customer who owns the prepaid cards

Generate a batch of accounts (PINs) for this customer


Try to make a test call

Create nodes

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This step is only required if you have not entered your gateways into the system before. In this case, you must enter your gateways as nodes. PortaBilling requires some key information about your network equipment such as IP address, Node ID, Radius shared secret, etc.

  1. On the navigation menu, select Infrastructure, then Billing data sources, and click Nodes.
  2. On the Create node panel, fill in the node details:
    • Name – type a short descriptive name for your SIP server (that will be used in the lists).
    • Node ID – h323-id (recommended format: hostname.domainname).
    • IP – IP address of the gateway.
    • Manufacturer – select Cisco or Quintum.
    • Type – VoIP node type. Select VOIP-GW.
  3. Click Save.

    Create a node

  4. On the Communication with billing section use the slider to enable Communication with billing and fill in the node details:
    • Client protocol – select RADIUS to enable the gateway (node) to communicate with PortaBilling via RADIUS in order to validate the prepaid card PIN.
    • Radius key – enter the RADIUS secret key you have specified in the configuration of the gateway.
    • Radius source IP – see the Node ID, IP and Radius source IP section of the PortaBilling Administrator Guide. Unless your gateway has multiple network interfaces, the value here should be the same as IP.
  5. Click Save.

    Add a node

  6. Repeat steps 2–5 until all of your nodes have been entered.

Create a product

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Create a product

Add the services

  1. On the navigation menu, select Service catalog and click Products.
  2. On the Create product panel, fill in the product details and add the services. Please refer to the Create Product chapter of the Basic Residential VoIP Service section for a detailed description of the product creation process.

Create a rating entry for the product

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  1. On your product’s panel, click Charges, then click Usage charges.
  2. On the Usage charges panel, click Add.
  3. Fill in the required information:
    •  Service – select Voice calls.
    • Node – select the node where your IVR will be running.
    • Access code – you can also use an access number for rating entry. For example, if you have a node with two access numbers, local (1-212-1234567) and toll-free (1-800-12345678), you can set up the product’s rating list in such a way that if a customer calls via a toll-free line, he will be billed using a different tariff (one which includes surcharges).
      The Access code feature requires modification of Cisco platform application scripts. For more information about this feature, see the System Concepts section of the PortaBilling Administrator Guide. The Access Code feature on the Quintum platform requires the ACCESSCODE feature (available in the recent firmware).
    • Tariff – select the tariff that will be applied to your prepaid calling card customers.
    • Overdraft protection – to configure overdraft protection for this product, consult the Configure Overdraft Protection Section within the Product section in the Overdraft Protection Configuration handbook.

      Add usage charges

  4. Click Save.

Create a customer

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Add a customer

  1. On the navigation menu, select Sales, then select Customers.
  2. On the Create customer panel, fill in the customer details. Please refer to the Create a Customer chapter of the Basic Residential VoIP Service section for a detailed description of the available parameters.
  3. Click Save.

Generate accounts

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  1. On your customer’s panel, click Accounts.
  2. On the Create an account panel, click Account generator.
  3. In the Account generation dialog, fill in information about accounts (please refer to the Generate Accounts chapter of the Prepaid Calling Cards handbook for a detailed description of the available parameters).

    Account generation

    Account generation

  4. Click Generate.
    Account generation tasks are executed every few minutes, and it may take a while to generate large numbers of accounts.
Notification about the generated cards will be sent by email to the user who created them. A .csv file with information about the new accounts will be attached.


Information about created accounts

tips In case the original email message was lost or accidentally deleted, the file containing generated accounts is stored on the PortaBilling web (admin) server in the /porta_var/<Server_IP>/ directory, sub-directory cards.

Test everything together

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  1. Start Radius debug on GW.
  2. Try to make a call and use one of the accounts.
  3. Browse information using Log Viewer.

Verify call history for account

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  1. To view the xDR of an account, go to Customers, select the Customer owning the accounts, and open the Accounts panel; or, alternatively, on the navigation menu on the left, select Toolbox and click Find account.

View the xDR

tips You can also go to the account self-care page (accessible via the Accounts menu item in the Home popup menu). The only difference is that account’s owner does not have the option of seeing incomplete (failed) calls when using the self-care interfaces.

Log in with the account’s web access login and password. After that you will be able to see the account’s dashboard interface. On the Billing Information tab, click Transactions.

Log in to account self-care

Define search parameters

Browse the service usage history

Choose the date range for which you want to see a list of calls, and click Show Records. In the results table you will see call charges and other fees, such as maintenance fees or refunds (if any). The report can be also downloaded by clicking the image027  Download icon.

Check call history

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If you want to see a list of all calls going through the system, or perhaps only those for a particular destination, use the Trace Session.

  • On the navigation menu, select Toolbox, then select Trace session.
  • On the Search session panel, specify the Time interval and Service type search criteria. To narrow the call log search, extend the search query by enabling additional filters and defining their values.
  • Click Apply filters to produce the call attempts list.

The advantage of this method is that you can see all call attempts, including unsuccessful calls, with disconnect reasons displayed. Also, you can see the billing history for a call.

For the administrator’s convenience, account xDRs can be also reached from the Account list panel by clicking the xDRs icon for an account.

Common symptoms/problems

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Common Symptom / Problem

Description / Solution

Radius debug on GW shows requests, but PortaBilling Radius debug does not.

There are several reasons why communication may be unsuccessful:

  1. Wrong radius server IP configuration in GW. Verify and correct.
  2. Wrong radius port(s) configuration in GW. Verify and correct.
  3. IP network problems. Verify that your network is configured correctly, including cables and firewalls.

PortaBilling Radius debug shows requests arriving but says “request from unknown client”.

Verify and correct Node IP address in PortaBilling. Consider any propagation delay, which may require 15 minutes.

Arriving PortaBilling Radius debug showing requests displays a “failed to decrypt” message.

Verify if PortaBilling Node Radius key configuration is the same as GW radius key (shared secret).

PortaBilling replies with authentication reject.

Verify product rating list and account status.

Debug session looks normal but GW hangs up (or says nothing) after receiving authentication confirmation.

The most common reason for this is the lack of a particular prompt on IVR prompt servers. This situation may occur only for specific monetary or time values.

Account balance not decreased after successful call, and call does not appear in call history.

Verify that the GW is transmitting stop accounting records. Set accountingtype 2 for Quintum or gw-accounting h323 vsa for Cisco.

Advanced prepaid service with roaming

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Deploying prepaid card products with roaming is easy with PortaBilling. Just install additional gateways in different geographical locations and enter the corresponding nodes in PortaBilling. Then create tariffs which reflect your service charges for different geographical locations, and extend the product rating list using new nodes and tariffs.

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