Overview of Mobile Solutions
Mobile network operators are confronting several technology challenges:
- Migration from Signaling System 7 (SS7) to Diameter Signaling
- Deployment of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
- Deployment of Voice over WiFi
- IP Exchange (IPX) Interconnect
- Signaling Security
Each of these alone is a substantial challenge, but together they require the support of an experienced vendor to navigate.
This is happening in parallel with the 2G/3G to 4G/LTE /VoLTE transition. Key to migration success will be the ability to seamlessly and efficiently interwork these two signaling protocols while handling very high traffic volumes. This can be accomplished by a highly scalable, cost-effective solution that integrates an SS7 Signaling Transfer Point (STP) and a Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC). This will protect a service providers’ capital investment in SS7, ease the transition to next-generation networks, secure the interworking between networks and reduce the operational impact of deploying Diameter signaling.
VoLTE and IMS are the next steps of 4G/LTE deployment. This transition has already begun and will continue to ramp up quickly. As this happens, it will dramatically increase Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Diameter traffic in the mobile carrier’s network, which means mobile carriers need to be concerned with security and scalability to handle this traffic at the edge and core of their network. Sonus portfolio of Session Border Controllers (SBC), Diameter Signaling Controllers (DSC) and policy management (PSX) are key to routing messages more efficiently, preventing network overloads, providing network and application security, and interworking different variations of protocols between network elements and devices.
Mobile operators are increasingly recognizing the value of WiFi to complement the coverage of their cellular infrastructure for voice services. Many operators have begun to offer Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) to address coverage shortcomings. Because VoWiFi is based on VoLTE standards, more and more handset manufacturers are supporting VoWiFi as a native feature, thereby bringing seamless interworking between the WiFi and cellular domains as VoLTE is rolled out. To support these mobile operators, Sonus is partnering with leading VoWiFi vendors to enable VoWiFi in either a pre-IMS/VoLTE or standard IMS/VoLTE network with strong security to authenticate the VoWiFi domain, protect the mobile network edge, and provide secure transport over the Internet.
IPX is a technical and business model standard defined by the GSMA that mobile carriers will use to transit LTE Data, VoLTE, LTE signaling, roaming and other services outside of their own networks. Mobile carriers could have unilateral or bilateral IPX arrangements with other network operators, but that quickly becomes an inefficient way to manage interconnect. Thus IPX network providers create value by providing multi-lateral, global connectivity. Sonus portfolio of Session Border Controllers (SBC), Diameter Signaling Controllers (DSC) and policy management (PSX) are key to routing messages more efficiently, preventing network overloads, providing network and application security, and interworking different variations of protocols between network elements and devices.
Deployed for the past 35 years, SS7 provides signaling that enables mobile and fixed network operators to setup/teardown calls, to route text (SMS) messages, support inter-network connectivity and transparent roaming, and to provide per-session information such as caller ID. As such, SS7 is a critical part of the global telecommunications infrastructure. However, because SS7 networks were originally designed to work within an operator’s trusted domain or to interwork between trusted operators, security was not a top design consideration, nor have SS7 vulnerabilities been adequately addressed in the intervening years.
There are multiple ways to stop SS7 attacks, but Sonus and its partner Cellusys believe the optimal path is to implement a multi-layer security solution that leverages existing STP gateway screening capabilities and incrementally adds Signaling Firewall capabilities to address the need for context-sensitive assessment on SS7 messages.