This post is by Jorgen Trank, signaling expert and product manager, Tieto
Most mobile operators world-wide are currently expanding their networks to provide 4G services and coverage. This includes building up a whole new set of infrastructure network elements that uses Diameter signaling to exchange information. Diameter signaling is replacing the legacy SS7 signaling that was the blood and veins of the 2G/3G systems.
Although 4G promises very high speeds and also new types of services, existing services from the 2G/3G networks are still expected to work. One way to enable that would of course be to keep the old 2G/3G infrastructure services untouched and have them duplicated in the new 4G network. This is a rather costly approach, since you will need to maintain duplicated service nodes.
Our proposal is to move all services, which are technically feasible to move, over to the new service infrastructure in the 4G network. The idea is that the modern and possibly cloudified service nodes and applications in 4G network would also provide services to the legacy 2G/3G networks, resulting in decreased OPEX and increased revenues.
This can easily be handled by using the Tieto virtualized Diameter Signaling Controller – vDSC, which enables intelligent interworking between Diameter and most legacy signaling interfaces. It provides, for example CAMEL-CAP (over SS7) to Diameter Gy interworking used to provide online charging service (“pre-paid”). There is no straight mapping between CAMEL-CAP and Diameter, so the mediation function has to have intelligent flow handling combined with extensive parameter manipulation capabilities like arithmetic operations etc. There is also a need to have the ability to store intermediate parameter values for later use. The message flows must be easily adaptable so that the operator quickly and swift can react to changes in the services and to changes in the network.
The mediation function of the Tieto virtualized Diameter Signaling Controller has a built-in mediation message flow editor, which allows for real-time changes in the mediation logic between for example CAMEL-CAP and Diameter. The changes can easily be performed by the operator’s support personnel, which significantly reduce lead-time and cost for changes/adaptations.
Besides using the vDSC for enabling interworking with legacy equipment, it can also be used to build new and innovative services. One example is to provide mobile VoIP client authentication using Radius-to-MAP or Radius-to-Diameter access to HLR and/or HSS. The Mediation Gateway also has the capability to mix several different interfaces in the same flow, so in the case of VoIP authentication, there could be an intermediate step to retrieve user information from an LDAP server for example.
The vDSC is also ready for deployment in telco cloud environment built according to the principles setup by ETSI NFV. This provides yet another way to reduce operating cost and to provide really easy scalability using virtualization on standard vanilla Linux servers.
Mr. Trank has spent more than 30 years performing product development and research within the Ericsson and Tieto in the field of data- and telecommunications. He was responsible for development of complete range of portable software products for Signalling System No.7, which today are used in most of Ericsson´s core network nodes. Moving to Tieto in beginning of 2002, he was responsible to establish the new signaling products area within the company. He is currently Strategic Product Manager for Tieto´s range of telecom signaling products, such as Diameter Signaling Controller and Mediation Gateway.
The Signaling Focus Day is taking place on the 23rd June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI.