Overview of Mobile Solutions
Mobile network operators are confronting several technology challenges:
- Migration from Signaling System 7 (SS7) to Diameter Signaling
- The challenge of deploying IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
- How and when to deploy Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi (VoWiFi)
- 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.
The migration from SS7 to Diameter is happening in parallel with the 2G/3G to 4G/LTE and VoWiFi/VoLTE. The key to a successful migration is 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 solution protects a Service Providers’ capital investment in SS7, eases the transition to next-generation networks, secures the interworking between networks and reduces the operational impact of deploying Diameter signaling.
Voice over LTE (VoLTE), which requires IMS, is the logical next step for many carriers looking to re-farm their 2G/3G spectrum and utilize 4G/LTE as the communications’ medium. The transition to VoLTE is underway and will continue to ramp up, and with that increase there will be a dramatic growth in Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Diameter traffic in the mobile carrier’s network. Mobile carriers need to be concerned with security and scalability to handle this increased traffic at the edge and core of their network. Sonus’ portfolio of Session Border Controllers (SBCs), Diameter Signaling Controllers (DSCs), 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. Also at the heart of this network convergence is a key opportunity for Sonus’ Virtual Mobile Core, as it provides the most cost effective first step to mobile IP communications via its VoWiFi configuration, and a logical and easy migration to include VoLTE services.
Wi-Fi Calling or VoWiFi has become the logical first step for operators to begin their migration to IP-based communications. Indoor coverage is the mobile industry’s most challenging and longest running issue. The industry has looked at different deployment solutions for years, like femtocells, but all were too costly for the subscriber or operator. Today, Wi-Fi calling has solidified its position as the indoor coverage solution of choice. Operators all around the world are adopting it for coverage, to combat over-the-top (OTT) application services, and as a logical roaming solution for travelers. It is also being used as a key service enabler for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and other new types of service providers that are modeling their business with VoWiFi as an integral service. Sonus offers an end-to-end solution set for VoWiFi deployments that includes its Virtual Mobile Core (VMC), Session Border Controllers (SBCs), and the Sonus Mobile Client. The Sonus VoWiFi solution set is capable of being deployed without IMS, and at a fraction of the time and cost of competing solutions.
IPX is a technical and business model standard defined by the GSMA that mobile service providers use to transit LTE Data, VoLTE, LTE signaling, roaming and other services outside of their own networks. Mobile service providers 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. Today SS7 is a critical part of the global telecommunications infrastructure. 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 were potential SS7 vulnerabilities adequately addressed.
There are multiple ways to stop SS7 attacks, but Sonus and 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.