This post is by Pieter Veenstra, Lead Solution Architect, NetNumber
After a long wait mobile operators worldwide are testing and launching the long expected VoLTE services in their high-speeds LTE data networks now the VoLTE enabled smart phones spread the market in big numbers. With this, customers are finally offered a carrier grade voice app that offers the same comfort and trust to which they have become accustomed to with circuit-switched mobile voice services.
Despite these undisputable advantages to customers, the new VoLTE services introduce extra routing and control complexity in the underlying carrier networks. This especially applies to those operators with an extensive customer base that use the circuit-switched voice services, because the VoLTE services require new additional routing and control technology. The following picture is a typical representation of the signaling and control functions in today’s carrier networks with the parallel signaling silos (DNS/ENUM, SIP, DIAMETER, SS7/C7).
The additional routing complexity refers to the analysis of each individual incoming voice call to determine if the customer is to be served via the circuit-switched voice services or via the VoLTE services. This requires a per-call routing capability to branch between the two different technology platforms. In the beginning this routing distinction can be handled in an indirect manner, by e.g. default routing all incoming traffic to the circuit-switched platform and forwarding calls to the IMS platform for customers using the VoLTE services. But this involves more network resources, extra licensee costs and potentially service-interworking issues that will force operators to look for more advanced and direct routing capabilities when the volume of VoLTE customers increases.
The additional control technology is caused by the fact that VoLTE is standardized and built as an application of the IP Multimedia Sub-system (IMS). This is an impressive set of standards and the working of each IMS service (and thus also VoLTE) requires the consistent collaboration of many functions.
In many networks operators started to built their IMS platform with a multi-vendor best-of-breed policy that worked initially with not many functions. However, over the years new functions were added resulting in increasing complexity that has now caused operational issues such as multiple end-of-life issues, the huge costs of system integration and the alarming OSS/BSS complexity.
In addition, there is a knowledge issue as both the circuit-switched technology platform and the IMS technology platform need to be operated.
Recently, independent research institutes such as Strategy Analytics and Infonetics Research have recognized the issues caused by the growing complexity in routing and control. This is why their analysts now start to promote the concept of Centralized Signaling and Routing Control (CSRC) to the industry. With combining multiple functions in one single technical platform multiplicities in functionality and processes can be taken away with which huge advantages in operational efficiency can be made, as well as faster service innovation.
In this regard NetNumber has 14 years of experience delivering innovative signaling control solutions. The NetNumber TITAN platform supports the Centralized Routing Engine (CRE), by which the complexity in routing and signaling control can be substantially reduced. The following picture illustrates the effects of introducing a multi-protocol signaling-control platform as TITAN into the network.
The result is a dramatically simplified network architecture. Simplicity that translates into ongoing cost savings that can be measured in:
- licensing cost savings
- systems integration savings
- upgrade savings
- network monitoring savings
- ongoing OSS/BSS integration savings.
TITAN also drives complexity out of the NFV model by delivering a single platform that supports multi-protocol signaling-control services. The may result in a 15x reduction in operational complexity. TITAN resolves the existing signaling control chaos and avoids that the same chaos is virtualized with NFV.