Diameter Protocol Beginners’ Tutorial
Diameter for Beginners” or what should you know about Diameter signaling protocol even if you are not a telecom engineer
During your average day how much time are you online via your mobile phone?
During your average day how many times do you speak or text on your smartphone, browse on your tablet, or work on your laptop? In the evenings you may read ebooks, play a game on your mobile, or check your Facebook. You go on vacation and watch videos while waiting for the plane, take pictures with your phone and send them to friends back home. You leave your Skype or instant messenger open on your tablet so you can always see who among your contacts are available for a quick chat. In short, you are always connected to the network, meaning that the mobile operator’s network signaling system supporting all your data communications is always on.
Now think about a network’s signaling system as the main means of communication within a network, telling each network element what to do and passing on the information about the subscriber or visitor requesting any particular service.
And remember that the trend to use a mobile network for data is growing in leaps and bounds, and leads to an unprecedented massive amount of signaling. Mobile operators never have experienced this phenomenon before and are not quite prepared for what has become known as “the signaling storm” as unmanaged signaling quantities can disrupt the network to the point of bringing it to collapse.
Your Mobile Network is Moving to IP
To support your constant use of the Internet through your operator’s network, telecommunications providers are deploying 4G technologies like LTE and others that are based on IP (Internet Protocol). 4G requires a signaling protocol that can support millions of subscribers accessing data on the Internet all the time. The particular signaling protocol selected by the telecommunication industry standards bodies is known as Diameter.
Fulfilling the Promises of LTE Mobile Technology
Today’s mobile network operator growth is fueled by data traffic; voice has become secondary. On paper, LTE and other IP-based technologies have made amazing promises to provide you with high quality mobile broadband, sophisticated services, tiered charging plans, better roaming schemes, and much more. However, the implementation of all these promised services takes place in the core network and requires signaling that will tackle the challenges for cost-effective connectivity, scalability and control in the section of the core network known as the control plane.
Data Brings Complexity
In fact, your mobile operator’s focus on data will only increase in time as the initiatives of voice over LTE (VoLTE) take hold, introducing a network where everything takes place over the data plane. Access to data, meaning the web, video, SMS, MMS, presence, and VoIP, requires constant Diameter signaling with a spaghetti of network nodes and interfaces. Network operators need a configuration of Diameter solutions such as gateways to connect the new elements to the old ones, load balancers for scalability to grow the network easily, and routers that ensure the messages from each subscriber go to the right places – in short, to support communications that are becoming increasingly complicated.
Using Diameter to Control the Complexity
Once upon a time, network signaling was activated when a phone call began and ended when the speakers hung up. Now this scenario is no longer relevant, and your mobile operator has far greater challenges to solve. The only way for your mobile operator to successfully manage its network is to focus on its control plane with the right signaling products that provide cost effective, robust and intelligent solutions.
You may not be a telecom engineer, but you want to know that your network will respond rapidly to your request the next time you pick up your tablet or mobile device. Whether you want to send a message home, check your train’s timetable or download an app, you want fast communications. So you see, it doesn’t take a telecom engineer to understand that almost everything you do with your mobile device depends on data communications, and that the right Diameter solution is the key ingredient for high performance, excellent quality of service, and advanced service enablement.