Archive for the ‘Diameter’ Category

Looking for gold under a standard DRA

Peter Nas F5 Traffix

Peter Nas, Senior Solution Architect, F5 Networks

People have often told me that I should share some of the content of my discussions with customers. So here goes: while speaking to a customer I begin to reflect on why DRAs (Diameter Routing Agents) usually interest core network signaling engineers; it’s because they are the ones who are building the Diameter signaling network and require a solution for optimal network scaling. Our conversation focuses on how much more efficient, smarter, flexible, cost effectively, and securely we can manage the signaling load for Diameter messages and other protocols.

Most people who are involved in mobile broadband or LTE are not that interested in Diameter signaling. At least I find this to be true when I address Diameter directly in pure technical language. However, when I speak about what great things we can do by using the information contained in every signaling message, you get a complete different conversation, and an interested audience. Typically, when discussing Diameter signaling the interest is in terms of what a DRA and DEA (Diameter Edge Agent) should be able to do according 3GPP and GSMA specifications. But as there are now more vendors claiming to have a DRA/DEA (although only a few are actually deployed) … customers are usually surprised at the possibilities of adding services, increasing security, and optimizing the network when deploying a DRA.

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Interview: Director of Engineering, Union Wireless (USA): “Right now we are still in a wait-and-see approach on VoLTE.”

Kevin M. Kleinsmith, Director of Engineering, Union Wireless (USA)

Kevin M. Kleinsmith, Director of Engineering, Union Wireless (USA)

Kevin M. Kleinsmith, Director of Engineering, Union Wireless (USA) is speaking on the subjects of VoLTE and backhaul at the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the details of what is required to implement VoLTE on a network.

Is there any difference between the challenges of VoLTE roaming within the US, and roaming internationally?

There are several key differences in domestic roaming and international roaming. The biggest challenges come from the way the VoLTE call would be handled by a local breakout or would it have to go all the way back to the home network. Breaking it out as local as possible would be ideal, however, now we have to change the way the billing is currently handled. The GSMA-NA groups related to this, such as IREG and BARG, are trying to resolve the best practices, but until the industry agrees on a practice, a lot of smaller companies are simply going to have to rely on their major partners or third-party vendors on the proper solutions given their specific relationships.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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Interview: General manager of the Traffix Division of F5 Networks: “We’ve had great resonance in the market, which increased visibility supporting our work.”

Ben Volkow, general manager of the Traffix Division of F5 Networks

Ben Volkow, general manager of the Traffix Division of F5 Networks

Following the successful LTE Awards 2013, we speak to Ben Volkow, general manager of the Traffix Division of F5 Networks, about the company’s win in the ‘Best LTE Core Network Element’ category.

Tell us more about your entry in the LTE Awards 2013.

F5’s Traffix Diameter Signaling Delivery Controller (SDC) enables operators to control and steer signalling in ways that optimise, monetise and secure an LTE network for maximum revenue generation. You can find the SDC in more field deployments than any other Diameter signalling solution. It is the market’s most mature product as our DRA was the first in the market to be deployed, in 2009. It’s a comprehensive Diameter signalling solution offering a DEA, DRA, IWF, Diameter Gateway all consolidated into one platform powered by an extensive central network management system that not just reports and displays network statistics, but is configured to prevent network problems.

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LTE Interworking: Is it really necessary?

This post is by Jim Machi, VP Product Management at Dialogic.

This post is by Jim Machi, VP Product Management at Dialogic.

In LTE there are many signaling interworking scenarios to consider. With more than one million Wi-Fi networks, over 1,000 2G networks, over 500 3G networks, over 400 cable networks, even more DSL networks, and 163 live LTE networks, the number of signaling interactions is simply enormous.

A spec called TS 29.305 covers interworking between Diameter and SS7/MAP, which would occur whenever an LTE and 3G/2G network need to interact.  Of course, interworking needs to happen between LTE networks as well, and there are many different Diameter variants are out there. Without universally-endorsed standards, it’s easy to either interpret or implement the spec a little differently.

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Diameter interactions also need to occur outside of 3GPP networks. Interactions with Wi-Fi will need to occur when an LTE-enabled tablet moves into a Wi-Fi area, and the billing and authentication switchover needs to occur seamlessly. When this happens, interworking between Diameter and Radius needs to occur and similar interactions could occur even with cable and DSL networks.

Service providers will need to address all these interactions by adopting solutions that normalise protocols and facilitate any-to-any communications until LTE becomes the dominant network architecture – which is still several years away.

The next Signaling Day, focusing entirely on signaling issues, will be taking place ahead of the LTE Asia conference, taking place at the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Diameter Signaling: Change Determines Survival

This post is by MK Chang, vice president, product marketing for Aicent.

This post is by MK Chang, vice president, product marketing for Aicent.

The promise of 4G LTE and its native IP packet based technology is quickly proving its value on the world telecom stage. The number of LTE network installations on a global level helps support this claim with over 400 operators in over 124 countries investing in LTE according to GSA and up to 175 networks already commercial. This is also apparent in the rising number of greenfield opportunities for data service providers helping drive growth with new services through innovative business models.

All these influence the momentum behind the explosive interest and growth of LTE networks, which in turns gives rise to the evolution of Diameter signaling and may eventually take over the critical importance of SS7 in the signaling world.

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With the exponential growth of data, the mobile industry has been guardedly awaiting the impending data surge that is building from the increased adoption and expansion of data devices. The result, is the expectation for the Diameter signaling market to double this year (2013), with revenue from signaling controllers jumping to well over 900% from 2012 to 2011, according to Infonetics.

This push into Diameter signaling comes at a cost, and that cost is to the more outmoded and aging SS7 network, lessening its importance and creating a tremendous amount of turbulence in the traditional telecom wholesale world – where change determines survival.

So what are the impending factors that will impact SS7 and continue to drive the development and expansion of Diameter Signaling?

  • Improved Scalability and Management

Newer technologies, such as Diameter, are able to handle higher volumes (data) with the same or smaller physical footprint. The Diameter infrastructure simplifies network management through a singular centralised signaling architecture reducing costs (Opex) and the complexity of the core network, while allowing the network to grow incrementally to support an expanding base of data hungry mobile subscribers.

  • Long-Term Consumption

As subscriber adoption and penetration eventually levels off and starts to decline as a result of the rapid shift by global operators to LTE networks, 3G traffic will become relatively flat. This will have direct implications on operator demand for SS7 signaling services, which will gradually decelerate, equating to a decreased demand for SS7 supporting equipment.

  • VoLTE

Over the coming years, improved services, reduced capital, and operating expenses will drive operators to minimise their support for SS7 signaling at the core, as it is replaced with new and advanced services such as VoLTE, that benefit from Diameter’s ability to handle an all-IP network landscape. This transition will only quicken as IP to IP calling becomes more mainstream.

  • Competitive Landscape

The increasingly competitive telecom services market, drives carriers to focus more attention on subscriber retention by raising customer service levels and injecting new and updated services in order to build strong customer satisfaction, support, and retention (lowering churn), all while reducing costs. The injection of new services is an opportunity to offer differentiated services that increase customer spending, while improving customer satisfaction.

  • Role Of The Wholesaler

LTE roaming is predicated on the existence of an IPX. As Diameter signaling volume grows, operators may be increasingly encouraged to use the IPX as a direct bilateral method for services like inter-carrier voice as well as SS7 signaling. This might translate into a diminished role for the international carrier acting as a wholesale agent between carriers. Certainly, the overall signaling and voice market will be big enough to sustain both IPX and wholesale players, yet there is no doubt of the increasing pressure on these international wholesalers to change in order to survive. Consolidation of the wholesale international market may be an eventuality.

There is no question, the SS7 network infrastructure will continue to exist in the near term for several reasons. One being the investment costs associated with equipment and the other is supporting a legacy mobile market that despite quickly redirecting its attention to LTE (probably the fastest adoption of a new technology in mobile’s short history) will still need to support existing users while the industry transitions over the next 5 to 10 years. This is also the case for operators within countries that are just at the cusp of transitioning from 2G to 3G services and will maintain this model for some time. The future trend will continue to focus on 4G LTE networks supporting the dynamic growth of data centric devices.

To talk further with Aicent, head down to Pod 10 on the exhibition floor of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Aicent are also nominees for the Best LTE Roaming Product or Service at the LTE Awards 2013, taking place at the 25 June 2013, De Duif, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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