With the wireless industry moving toward a unified IP network carrying both voice and data traffic, policy and charging rules function (PCRF) will be taking on an increasingly important role in managing the service provider’s network resources and monetization of service usage. And, with the planned adoption of Voice over LTE (VoLTE), PCRF will be playing an increasingly vital role in the network.
A key component of building a fast and reliable wireless network includes extensive testing of the network elements (NEs), in this case PCRF in the test labs before deployment. In test labs, PCRF is normally tested with other real NEs, such as PDN GW. Such a test setup does not fully exercise the functionality, performance or capacity of PCRF, because PCRF not only communicates with single PDN GW, but multiple PDN GWs. PCRF also communicates with policy control enforcement function (PCEF), such as deep-packet-inspection (DPI), online-charging-system (OCS), and offline-charging-system (OFCS) functions, as well as other PCRFs (visited), call session control function (CSCF), serving gateway (SGW), gateway GPRS support node (GGSN), traffic detection function (TDF) and more.