Posts Tagged ‘Softswitch’

Moving from SS7 & Radius to Diameter

Written by Squire Technologies on . Posted in Blog

Diameter is coming, but probably not as quickly as analysts would have you believe. But even if you are not considering Diameter directly, migration in peer networks may have an impact on your network. It’s time to consider how to protect your network and ensure service continuity while partner networks migrate to EPC and LTE.

Today’s telecommunications infrastructure includes a diverse mix of protocols. Most of our customers are aware of the complexity of interconnecting an array of networks and elements and our role in helping them to achieve a co-ordinated, resilient network. Two common protocols play a hugely significant role in networking today – SS7 and Radius.

SS7, of course, is used for the co-ordination of both user session data (voice, video and so on) as well as interaction with key network elements, such as online charging systems, Intelligent Network entities (such as Service Switching Points and Specialised Resource Functions), while Radius is primarily used for AAA procedures (Authentication, Authorisation and Accounting). This means that an SS7 enabled softswitch might need to use SS7 CAMEL to connect to an online charging server for prepaid subscribers, while at the same time checking a user profile database using Radius.

However, as networks migrate towards LTE, the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and IMS, many of these functions will be replaced by a new, common protocol: Diameter. The same softswitch may instead need to be able to communicate with Diameter to deliver the same functions.

Diameter is a protocol of growing importance. It provides AAA capabilities as well as satisfying requirements for location and mobility in 3G, LTE, and IMS networks. It has become the most prominent signalling protocol in NGN networks and is expected to replace both SS7 signalling and Radius, which delivers much of this functionality today, just as SIP is increasingly becoming the predominant session control protocol.

Diameter provides a number of advantages over Radius – in particular, in terms of improving network reliability and resilience – which is clearly of fundamental importance if it is truly to replace SS7 connections. In a further post, we shall explore some of the differences, but the fact that concerns us for now is that much of today’s equipment will need to either migrate towards Diameter or else support interconnection with the new protocol.

There have been a number of forecasts regarding the proliferation of Diameter-enabled devices. While it’s clear that Diameter deployments are accelerating, primarily because of LTE network penetration, the general replacement of Radius and SS7 signalling is a massive task and will take many years. After all, it’s more than a decade since analysts forecast the death knell of SS7 and it’s still going strong.

Instead, what we expect is that network operators that are not migrating to IMS or LTE will increasingly need to interconnect with Diameter-enabled devices in other networks. We also expect that many solutions that are today enabled by SS7 and Radius will be declared end-of-life by their vendors. This means that operators that expect to see a more graceful transition to Diameter may be forced to consider network enhancements earlier than anticipated.

Squire Technologies is preparing to meet this challenge. We are investing in solutions that will prolong the life of existing solutions while helping transition to the next generation of networks. It will be essential to support Diameter / SS7 interworking, which will mean that existing SS7-enabled solution can connect to new solutions that support Diameter as they are brought online.

Our expertise will enable us to support operators through this transition and ensure service continuity, even when existing vendors pull the plug on their systems. The migration from Radius and SS7 to Diameter is going to take years. Even if Diameter isn’t in your current thoughts, it is in the thoughts of your peers. It may be that implementing it in your network is several years away – but you need to consider how migration plans from other operators may affect you.

If, for example, you connect to an HLR in another operator’s network, the chances are that this will migrate towards an HSS supporting Diameter within the next couple of years. When this happens, what options will be open to you? That’s what we are here to help with. We can help ensure that you can continue to connect to services and devices, even when they transition to new protocols beyond your control.

If you are concerned about how general migration to Diameter might affect you, why not give us a call to see how we can help?

Confronting End-of-Life for Softswitches

Written by Squire Technologies on . Posted in Blog

How to protect your investments and maintain SS7 and VoIP interconnections

What do you do if a key vendor announces ‘End of Life’ (EoL) for a critical part of your network infrastructure? It’s a common problem and operators have to plan for such eventualities. Even so, it can be problematic, particularly if the original vendor doesn’t have a replacement or upgrade plan.

Many operators that have invested in third party hardware and software to power their VoIP and NGN networks are becoming increasingly challenged by such end of life (EoL) announcements from industry vendors, most notably Cisco.

For example, Cisco has announced EoL and End of Support programmes for its PGW and ITP products, raising concerns for future operations and investment protection in live networks and leaving operators wondering how they will maintain their valuable interconnection points with VoIP, SS7 PSTN, NGN IP and IMS networks. What should operators do to help them navigate such challenges and avoid service disruptions or unnecessary additional investments?

Squire Technologies, signalling specialists to the telecoms industry, provides a range of future-proof options to help operators overcome such issues. We have reaffirmed our commitment to continue investment and support of our successful range of SS7 Signalling products, which includes the SVI Media Gateway Controller (MGC), SVI Signalling Gateway (SG) and SVI STP solutions.

With deployments in more than 100 countries around the world, Squire Technologies provides the answer to EoL challenges, delivering robust VoIP and SS7 interconnection and enabling a ready-made solution for operators that need to replace legacy products. But it’s not just platforms that are reaching the end of their lives that are threatened – other network elements that are controlled by EoL products as the Cisco PGW are also threatened.

We’ve taken care of this too, as our SVI MGC, SG and STP products can be deployed with third party platforms, ensuring service continuity and that operators can invest confidently in their networks. This means there is no need to replace other solutions that are in place, ensuring that investment is directed where it’s needed and no unnecessary expenses are incurred.

Seen as the perfect replacement for the Cisco PGW and ITP, the SVI SS7 Signalling range enables clients to interface their VoIP networks to SS7 PSTN, NGN IP and IMS networks, allowing the rapid launch of VoIP services while extending the life of legacy Media Gateway solutions from a range of 3rd Party providers.

Our strategy is built on the gradual evolution of our core product line, alongside the introduction of new solutions. This means that new features can be requested by customers and rapidly implemented to suit changing circumstances. Legacy vendors can rarely match this unrivalled flexibility, while EoL notifications mean that future enhancements are uncertain. Squire Technologies removes the uncertainty surrounding investments and provides a stable partnership for future growth.

If you are concerned about EoL programmes for critical network elements such as softswitches, signalling gateways and media gateway controllers, why not get in touch to see how we can help protect your network and provide a solution that helps future growth?