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Why Virtualized Chaos is still Chaos – Operators need to Simplify before they Virtualize Signaling Networks

by Sue Rudd | Oct 09, 2014

Axel Clauberg credits a colleague at Deutsche Telekom with the quote that ‘Virtualized Chaos is still Chaos’. There have been dire predictions that signaling traffic will show exponential growth that is two to three times faster than data traffic growth itself. This will occur if interoperability between 2G, 3G, 4G and legacy Telco and IP networks requires every interface to link to every other interface –and so produce disproportionate geometric growth.

But what if Operators step back and consider how to simplify this interworking rather than replicating and immediately virtualizing every possible combination. What if they simplify the architecture in advance to minimize future ‘Virtualized Chaos’?

Operators can simplify their Signaling Networks by designing them to be:

(a) Physically or logically distributed for optimal distance from the required processing

(b) Logically centralized processing platform that reduces internode signaling messages and limits cross-network transactions for every service request/response.

Next Generation Signaling Networks would be able to achieve this if they:

Simplify Signaling Interworking

As we noted in the earlier Blog ‘Interworking escalates Signaling traffic geometrically – New Signaling Architecture is needed’ Network Function Virtualization (NFV) does not eliminate the need to interwork the vast range of signaling protocols, and the multiple vendor variations, that exist today. Nor does it diminish the increasing diversity of protocols needed for each database and server interface. For example there are over 85 interfaces for DIAMETER alone defined for 3G, LTE and IMS networks. Interworking can be minimized, however, both by the design of the service logic ‘chain’ and by supporting the most common interworking across the backplane of a single logically shared platform – so that signaling is internal.

Minimize Signaling Traffic Escalation

The diversity of network and user services also has the potential to create geometrical growth in signaling even when user traffic is only growing linearly. A point-to-point ‘any-to any’ mesh of service interactions could escalate to the point where the signaling network ‘chokes’. Minimizing this with a new signaling architecture is becoming essential.

Avoid Proliferation of ‘Pesky’ Proprietary Network Appliances

Unless operators are careful, signaling control for NFV/SDN could increase the number of new ‘appliance’ instances as well as Diameter Routing Agents, Diameter Edge Agents etc. To ensure that virtualization does not make congestion worse the signaling network should be designed concentrate the most frequent interactions onto virtualized platforms that co-locate tightly coupled events.


All too often vendors today want to sell a separate ‘appliance’ or element for every virtualizated network function (VNF). It is essential not only to avoid solutions on monolithic proprietary hardware but also to reject ‘open’ virtualized solutions that in fact create a separate ‘appliance’ for every functional element in the signaling network, as discussed in the Blog ‘Virtualizing Chaos Still Results in Chaos’. 

Inappropriate per function or per ‘appliance’ virtualization or proliferation of unnecessary signaling entities could actually create a ‘signaling tsunami’ where none would otherwise exist

Check out Related Information at NetNumber Site: Why Virtualized Chaos is still Chaos – Operators need to Simplify before they Virtualize Signaling Networks

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