Service Schedules Overview

Service schedules define when specified services will be activated or deactivated and can also indicate when specified services are available or unavailable to subscribers. You can configure a service schedule for all subscribers to a service, or for a selected subscriber or subscribers. Schedules are composed of a number of rules expressed as schedule entries in the schedule configuration.

You can exclude specified times, such as a day of the week, a specific date, or a time interval, from schedule rules. These times are referred to as schedule exclusions.

There are three types of schedules:

Event-Based Schedules

For each rule in event-based schedules, you specify a time at which the SAE activates or deactivates a specified service. In most cases for schedules configured under the global service configuration (for example, o=Services), a subscriber must be logged in at the time that the event occurs. For example, if a service is scheduled to be activated at 8 AM, the subscriber must already be logged in to the system at 8 AM.

You can extend the time at which a scheduled action can be initiated by configuring the following for event-based schedules:

Extending the time gives subscribers flexibility in when they can log in and in the time they can perform a task. It also gives the system time to complete a transition from one state to another and distributes the load on the system.

You can also configure an interval after a scheduled time that an action can occur for individual schedules and event-based schedules.

Action Threshold

The action threshold indicates the maximum delay that a service allows for a time-related change to occur. For example, you can allow a 15-minute delay so that if an event is scheduled for 5:00 AM but the system is not able to perform the event at 5:00 AM, the SAE attempts to perform the action until 5:15 AM, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Sample Action Threshold

Sample Action Threshold

Preparation Time

Because the transition from one state to another does not occur instantaneously, the SAE uses the preparation time to allow for the time that the SAE needs to make the transition. For example, if you have a pay-per-view service and many subscribers need to have the service activated by a certain time, you can configure the service schedule preparation time to begin the process early to make sure that everyone gets his or her service activated by the time the event starts. Or you could schedule a few minutes of preparation time for setting up a videoconference.

A preparation time applies only to subscribers who have a service schedule and who are logged in to their subscriber session before the preparation time starts. For example, if you define a service schedule that activates service Audio-Gold at
8:00 AM, this service is activated only for subscribers who are subscribed to this service and are logged in as of 7:55 AM (assuming a default preparation time of 5 minutes). The service is not activated for subscribers who log in between 7:55 AM and 8:00 AM, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Sample Preparation Time

Sample Preparation Time

Note: To avoid applying the preparation time of a service to scheduled deactivate events of the service, set the disable-preparation-time option under the [edit shared sae configuration time-based-policies] hierarchy. When this option is set, the SRC software does not calculate the preparation time for scheduled events that contain only deactivate actions. You can enable the disable-preparation-time option to ensure that the preparation time is applied only to activate events at the beginning of the service and not to deactivate events at the end of the service. The preparation time is applied to scheduled events that contain various action types (such as activate, deactivate, deny, and deny-deactivate) even though the disable-preparation-time option is enabled.

Authorization Schedules

SAE uses authorization schedules to restrict access to both activate-on-login (AOL) services and manual services during a specified time period. For an authorization schedule, the types of action can be:

For authorization schedules, a service is either available or unavailable. You can configure intervals during which subscribers can log in and activate a specified service and intervals during which subscribers cannot activate a specified service. In addition, an authorization schedule can deactivate a service at a specified time for subscribers who are using the service.

For example, you could use an authorization schedule to offer a service only between 5 PM and 8 PM. In this case, you can configure a schedule that denies activation of the service during any other time period. If a subscriber attempts to activate the service at a time other than between 5 PM and 8 PM, the activation is denied.

You can configure authorization schedules only for services that use authorization; that is, a service configured to use an authorization plug-in, such as the scheduleAuth plug-in provided by the sample data.

State-Based Schedules

For state-based schedules, you create service schedules that are controlled administratively. A state-based schedule defines when a service is available or unavailable.

For example, you could configure a schedule to provide a service at 5 Mbps from 8 AM to 4 PM and another service at 2 Mbps from 3:45 PM to 8:15 AM. The time overlap ensures that one of the services is available at transition time.

You create state-based service schedules from:

 

Effective Period for Service Activation or Deactivation

You can configure an effective period for a schedule rule to give subscribers an opportunity to take advantage of a scheduled action for a specified amount of time, rather than for one specific time. If users log in after a scheduled action but before the end of the effective period, they can take advantage of the service. Although similar to an action threshold, an effective period can be configured for each schedule rule, whereas the action threshold applies to all schedules on an SAE.

An effective period is active for service schedules assigned to subscribers under the subscriber tree (for example, o=Users), but not for services under the global service configuration or a defined service scope (for example, o=Services or o=Scopes).

An effective period applies to subscribers who:

An effective period does not apply to subscribers who are already logged in to the system.

For example, you could create a schedule that includes a scheduled event to start at 9 AM and an effective period of 2 hours; subscribers can log in between 9 AM and 11 AM and have the event take place, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Sample Effective Period

Sample Effective Period

You can use effective periods rather than activate-on-login for subscriptions. If activate-on-login is configured for a subscription, we recommend that the service for the subscription not have an effective period configured.

Note: If an effective period is configured so that it overlaps with an excluded time, the scheduled event does not take place because it is within an excluded time period. To clearly define when a scheduled event can occur, do not configure an effective period to overlap with an excluded time.

One-Time Events and Recurring Events

You can specify service schedules for numerous situations. For example, you can set up:

Schedule Availability to Subscribers

Which subscribers a service schedule affects depends on the configuration for the schedule. Table 5 shows which subscribers are affected by a schedule.

Table 5: Schedule Availability to Service Subscribers

Schedule Configured
for This Object

Applies to These Subscribers

Service

All subscribers to that service

Scope

All subscribers to the specified service in that scope

Retailer

Any subscriber subordinate to the retailer for whom the service schedule is configured

Subscriber

The subscriber for whom the service schedule is configured or, in the case of enterprise subscribers, any subscribers subordinate to that subscriber

When a service provider or IT manager creates a schedule and attaches it to a service, the service schedule can be assigned to enterprise subscribers or residential subscribers. In some instances, subscribers can also create their own service schedules. When the scheduled action occurs, it applies to subscribers who are logged in and have a subscription to the scheduled service.

Schedule Exclusions

You can also exclude specific time intervals from a service schedule. For example, you can set:

Excluded times can apply to event schedules and authorization schedules. You can create numerous exclusion intervals to specify different actions and different times.

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