Heavy Reading
Length: 40 Pages
Price: $3,995
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13 DIAMETER SIGNALING VENDORS COVERED
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DELIVERABLES
40 pages of analysis of the new requirements that are emerging on the control plane, as well as the architecture options to most effectively deal with them
Examination of the changing nature of the Diameter signaling controller (DSC), along with the drivers and use cases that are leading network operators to deploy DSCs
Profiles of 13 leading Diameter signaling and ecosystem vendors, including details of their current and future product capabilities, product differentiators, deployment drivers, market focus, strategic partners and customer footprint
JIM HODGES
Senior Analyst,
Heavy Reading
Jim's primary areas of research coverage at Heavy Reading include softswitch, IMS, and application server architectures and virtualization...
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Length: 40 Pages
Price: $3,995
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Service-Enabling the Control Plane: The Role of Diameter Signaling in Next-Generation Networks

Although Diameter is not a new protocol, in that initial standardization was completed in 1998, it is now front and center. Today's 3G and 4G mobile networks utilize the Diameter protocol similar to how SS7 is used in 2G mobile networks. As a result, the signaling control plane is attracting a new level of interest among vendors and network operators alike.

It wasn't that long ago that the signaling control plane was considered an important, but fundamentally utilitarian network function. However, the momentum of the Diameter growth market in 2012 and 2013 – in large part fueled by early LTE rollouts – provided the impetus for vendors such as Oracle and F5 to step out of their comfort zone and acquire the Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC) portfolios of Tekelec and Traffix Systems.

While such DSC acquisitions may have seemed somewhat limited synergistically at the time, we believe they in fact reflected another key industry shift: The control plane is now transitioning from simply providing infrastructure to support complex service interactions, to playing a significant role in service orchestration. Adding in the impact of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) – which are both focused on leveraging the control plane to support a truly end-to-end services model – it becomes clear that the relevance and role of the Diameter-based control plane in next-generation networks will continue to grow.

An entirely new view of the DSC has emerged in the past 18 months. There has been a recognizable shift among network operators and vendors alike, that the control plane is something more important and that a DSC as a central hub is extremely well positioned to support service orchestration. The control plane is now perceived as a natural starting point for virtualization and "cloudification," and the DSC has emerged as a central signaling point of control that would be suited for interfacing with core virtualized nodes such as PCRFs and CSCFs.

Service-Enabling the Control Plane: The Role of Diameter Signaling in Next-Generation Networks analyzes the evolving role of the control plane and examines the architecture options to most effectively deal with these new challenges. The report also profiles 13 leading Diameter signaling and ecosystem vendors, including details of their products, vision and market strategies.

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This report also profiles 13 leading Diameter signaling and ecosystem vendors. These profiles capture current and future product capabilities, product differentiators, deployment drivers, market focus, strategic partners and customer footprint.

Aligned with the philosophy of "flattening" IP core networks via IMS, the original view architecturally was that each defined node (e.g., PCRF or CSCF) would support Diameter signaling as required on a peer-to-peer basis. While this technically remains a valid option even today, as large IMS deployments began to scale, concerns have been raised about the viability of this approach. In response, as shown in the excerpt below, support for a standalone centralized signaling node similar to the concept of an SS7 Signaling Transfer Point (STP) to support internal signaling (DRA) and inter-network signaling (DEA) gained support, which resulted in the standardization of both (DRA via 3GPP and DEA via GSMA).



While the DSC is still relatively a new network artifact, like all network nodes, the potential to implement a virtualized configuration aligned with an NFV model is rapidly gaining momentum. As shown in the excerpt below, this represents a third architecture option to the standalone physical centralized node and peer-to-peer configurations captured above.


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Report Scope & Structure

Service-Enabling the Control Plane: The Role of Diameter Signaling in Next-Generation Networks is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II considers the new requirements that are emerging on the control plane; the architecture options to most effectively deal with them, including the standalone DSC and virtualized DSC; and the drivers and use cases that provide the impetus for network operators to deploy a DSC.

Section III profiles 13 leading Diameter signaling and ecosystem vendors. These profiles capture current and future product capabilities, product differentiators, deployment drivers, market focus, strategic partners and customer footprint.

Section IV provides conclusions for this report.

Service-Enabling the Control Plane: The Role of Diameter Signaling in Next-Generation Networks is published in PDF format.