Title page for ETD etd-08242010-162008


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Subramoney, Kennedy Pregarsen
Email kennedy.subramoney@eskom.co.za
URN etd-08242010-162008
Document Title A secure client / server interface protocol for the electricity prepayment vending industry
Degree MSc
Department Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof G P Hancke Supervisor
Keywords
  • webdienste
  • spesifikasie
  • protokol
  • standard oordrag spesifikasie
  • verkoopstele
  • UML
  • voorafbetaalde
  • unified model language
  • verenigde modelleringtaal
  • elektrisiteit
  • web services
  • specification
  • protocol
  • electricity
  • STS
  • standard transfer specification
  • vending
  • prepayment
Date 2010-04-14
Availability unrestricted
Abstract

Electricity prepayment systems have been successfully implemented by South Africa’s national electricity utility (Eskom) and local municipalities for more than 17 years. The prepayment vending sub-system is a critical component of prepayment systems. It provides convenient locations for customers to purchase electricity. It predominantly operates in an “offline” mode, however, electricity utilities are now opting for systems that operate in an “online” mode.

“Online” mode of operation or online vending is when a prepayment token is requested from a centralised server that is remote from the client at the actual point of sale (POS). The token is only generated by the server and transferred to the POS client, once the transaction, the POS client and the payment mechanism has been authenticated and authorised. The connection between the POS client and the server is a standard computer network channel (like Internet, direct dial-up link, X.25, GPRS, etc)

The lack of online vending system standardisation was a concern and significant risk for utilities, as they faced the problem of being locked into proprietary online vending systems. Thus the South African prepayment industry, lead by Eskom, initiated a project to develop an industry specification for online vending systems.

The first critical project task was a current state analysis of the South African prepayment industry, technology and specifications. The prepayment industry is built around the Standard Transfer Specification (STS). STS has become the de-facto industry standard to securely transfer electricity credit from a Point of Sale (POS) to the prepaid meter. STS is supported by several “offline” vending system specifications.

The current state analysis was followed by the requirements analysis phase. The requirements analysis confirmed the need for a standard interface protocol specification rather than a full systems specification. The interface specification focuses on the protocol between a vending client and vending server and does not specify the client and server application layer functionality and performance requirements. This approach encourages innovation and competitiveness amongst client and server suppliers while ensuring interoperability between these systems.

The online vending protocol design was implemented using the web services framework and therefore appropriately named, XMLVend. The protocol development phase was an iterative process with two major releases, XMLVend 1.22 and XMLVend 2.1. XMLVend 2.1 is the current version of the protocol. XMLVend 2.1 addressed the shortcomings identified in XMLVend 1.22, updated the existing use cases and added several new use cases. It was also modelled as a unified modelling language (UML) interface or contract for prepayment vending services. Therefore, clients using the XMLVend interface are able to request services from any service provider (server) that implements the XMLVend interface. The UML modelled interface and use case message pairs were mapped to Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) and schema (XSD) definitions respectively.

XMLVend 2.1 is a secure and open web service based protocol that facilitates prepayment vending functionality between a single logical vending server and ‘n’ number of clients. It has become a key enabler for utilities to implement standardised, secure, interoperable and flexible online vending systems.

AFRIKAANS : Voorafbetaalde elektrisiteitstelsels is suksesvol deur Suid-Afrika se nasionale elektrisiteitsverskaffer (Eskom) en plaaslike munisipaliteite geïmplementeer vir meer as 17 jaar. Die Voorafbetaal verkoop-subsisteem is 'n esensiële komponent van voorafbetaal elektrisiteitstelsels. Dit laat gebruikers toe om elektrisiteit te koop by ‘n verskeidenheid van verkooppunte. In die verlede het hierdie stelsels meestal bestaan as alleenstaande verkooppunte maar elektrisiteitsverskaffers is besig om hulle stelsels te verander om in n aanlyn modus te werk.

Aanlyn verkoop is wanneer 'n voorafbetaalkoepon versoek word vanaf ‘n sentrale bediener wat vêr verwydered is van die kliënt se verkooppunt. Die koepon word slegs gegenereer deur die bediener en gestuur aan die kliënt nadat die transaksie, die kliënt self, en die betaling meganisme, gemagtig is. Die koppeling tussen verkooppuntkliënt en die bediener is ‘n standaard kommunikasie kanaal, (byvoorbeeld; Internettoegang, direkte inbel skakel, X.25 en “GPRS”)

Die gebrek aan 'n standaard vir aanlynverkoopstelsels was 'n bekommernis en beduidende risiko vir elektrisiteitsverskaffers, aangesien hulle ‘n probleem ondervind dat hulle ingeperk sal word tot ‘n eksklusiewe ontwerp vir so ‘n aanlynverkoopstelsel. Dus het die Suid Afrikaanse voorafbetaal industrie, gelei deur Eskom, 'n projek begin om 'n industriespesifikasie te ontwikkel vir aanlyn verkoopstelsels.

Die eerste kritiese projek taak was 'n analise van die huidige stand van die Suid-Afrikaanse vooruitbetaling industrie, die tegnologie en spesifikasies. Die voorafbetaal sektor is gebou rondom die Standaard Oordrag Spesifikasie, bekend as “Standard Transfer Specification” (STS). STS word algemeen aanvaar as die industrie standaard vir die oordrag van elektrisiteit krediet vanaf 'n Verkooppunt na die voorafbetaalmeter. STS word ondersteun deur verskeie alleenstaande verkoopstelsel spesifikasies.

Die analise vir die huidige status was opgevolg deur ‘n studie van die vereistes vir so ‘n stelsel. Die vereistes analise het die behoefte bevestig vir 'n standaard koppelvlak protokol spesifikasie, eerder as 'n nuwe spesifikasie vir ‘n volledige oorafbetaalstelsel. Dit bepaal alleenlik die protokol koppelvlak tussen 'n voorafbetaalkliënt en die bediener. Dit spesifiseer nie die program vlak funksionaliteit of prestasie vereistes, vir die kliënt en bediener nie. Hierdie benadering bevorder innovasie en mededingendheid onder kliënt- en bediener-verskaffers, terwyl dit nog steeds verseker dat die stelsels wedersyds aanpasbaar bly.

Die aanlyn verkoopprotokol ontwerp is geïmplementeer met die webdienste raamwerk en staan bekend as XMLVend. Die protokol vir die ontwikkeling fase was 'n iteratiewe proses met die twee groot weergawes, XMLVend 1.22 en XMLVend 2.1. Die huidige weergawe van die protokol - XMLVend 2.1, adresseer die tekortkominge wat geïdentifiseer is met XMLVend 1.22, terwyl dit ook die bestaande gebruiksgevalle opdatteer en verskeie nuwe gebruiksgevalle byvoeg. Dit was ook geskoei as 'n verenigde modelleringtaal (UML) koppelvlak, of 'n kontrak, vir die voorafbetaal verkoopsdienste. Kliënte is daarom in staat om, met behulp van die XMLVend koppelvlak, dienste te versoek van enige diensverskaffer wat die XMLVend koppelvlak ondersteun. Die UML gemodelleerde koppelvlak- en gebruiksgevalle- boodskappare was gemodeleer in die Web Dienste Definisie Taal (WSDL) en skema (XSD) definisies onderskeidelik.

XMLVend 2.1 is 'n sekure en oop webdienste-gebaseerde protokol wat dit moontlik maak om voorafbetaalfunksies te fasilliteer tussen 'n enkele logiese verkoopbediener en 'x' aantal kliënte. Dit het 'n sleutelrol aangeneem vir verskaffers om ‘n gestandaardiseerde, veilige, wedersyds-aanpasbare en buigsame aanlyn verkoopstelsels moontlik te maak.

Copyright © 2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Subramoney, KP 2009, A secure client / server interface protocol for the electricity prepayment vending industry, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08242010-162008/ >

E10/453/gm
Files
  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  dissertation.pdf 10.31 Mb 00:47:45 00:24:33 00:21:29 00:10:44 00:00:55

Browse All Available ETDs by ( Author | Department )

If you have more questions or technical problems, please Contact UPeTD.