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Interworking escalates Signaling traffic geometrically – New Signaling Architecture is needed

by Sue Rudd | Oct 01, 2014

Signaling is changing because networks are changing. Not only have transport protocols proliferated, but so have APIs and Interfaces that request service functionality in real time for HSS Authentication, Subscriber Data Management, Billing, Policy Enforcement and Interactive Services across multiple networks. Interworking legacy networks and services can geometrically increase signaling.

Several sources have even forecast that LTE will bring an increase in signaling traffic that outstrips the dramatic growth in mobile data traffic.

To support the interoperability of next generation IP and other new services Diameter signaling and SS7, ENUM/DNS and SIP must all work together. Total signaling traffic for Diameter and legacy signaling is likely to escalate as a result of the diversity of applications and new service interworking requirements including:

 Voice over LTE (VoLTE) interworking with legacy voice services to terminate calls or for Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB)

.  Internet to Telecomms. or Machine to Person services that require mapping of IP addresses to telephone and other device identifiers

.  IMS and SIP services that need to terminate on legacy TDM networks

.  The Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) communications that generate message floods from remote sensors or bursts of data for diagnostics e.g. from unmanned oil wells

All these and many more diverse applications will increase signaling traffic and complexity.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) will only exacerbate the problem as every network must now support separate high-performance data and control plane signaling to optimize virtual resource use and traffic load management ‘on the fly’.

Service diversity, interworking and roaming as well real-time service enablement and orchestration create a signaling challenge that operators must address to avoid a ‘signaling storm’.

And to do this for Next Generation Networks it is time to treat the signaling network as a network in its own right. This requires that we rethink the signaling architecture to:

  • Avoid Complexity that might create a geometric increase in signaling transactions and fail to scale
  • Optimize distributed and centralized signaling control
  • Adopt the correct level of functional abstraction for virtualized network elements to ensure efficient high performance in the world of NFV and SDN
  • Separate administrative from real time network functionality in Operations Support Systems (OSS) to ensure instant service logic activation and orchestration

A new architecture requires that we rethink how and where efficient signaling and signaling routing, control and data management are done.

Watch this space to see what the new approach looks like from vendors like NetNumber.

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