3G – 4G/LTE roaming
Interworking between existing 2G/3G networks and new fast growing 4G/LTE networks is becoming a high priority. Service providers are keen to maximize mobile reach by enabling services between LTE and existing networks and to ensure seamless service continuity for their subscribers. For (smaller) operators and MVNOs, acquiring LTE technology is often a big hurdle. BroadForward’s BFX provides a viable alternative.
It enables the existing 3G network to interwork with LTE against much lower costs and without the requirement for upgrading network equipment, thus preventing the need for a long and risky project. With the on-board MAP-Diameter Interworking function, BFX provides operators and vendors with an essential capability for 4G data roaming.
Advanced MAP-Diameter Interworking Function
BFX offers a complete Interworking Function (IWF) between MAP-based Gr, Gf interfaces and Diameter-based S6a, S6d, S13, S13a interfaces, according to the 3GPP technical specification TS 29.305. BroadForward’s productized implementation of the TS 29.305 interworking function opens up immediate opportunities for vendors and operators. Use cases such as 4G/LTE data roaming and Wi-Fi offload are enabled by BFX, as it interacts with the HLR in the SS7 network for subscriber authentication, mobility and profile management. By deploying the BFX Interface Gateway as a ‘Diameter front-end’ to an HLR, operators can offer 4G data roaming without the need to upgrade their HLR to HSS.
Supporting pre-release 8 HLR
Standard MAP-Diameter IWF implementations only work for recent HLR releases (3GPP release 8 and higher). This blocks the opportunity to offer 4G services for hundreds of operators and MVNOs worldwide. BroadForward developed a special 3G-LTE interworking function that connects existing, older generation HLRs (pre-release 8) to 4G/LTE networks. With this special function, BFX supports the creation of KASME security vector information, required for connectivity with a pre-release 8 HLR. Now operators and MVNOs are empowered to break through the typical vendor lock-in situation associated with upgrading to newer generations of HLR/HSS technology.
Wi-Fi Cellular integration
In combination with the BFX RADIUS module, the same solution can also support RADIUS-SS7/MAP interworking, required for Wi-Fi offload scenarios where a RADIUS EAP-SIM server needs to acquire authentication parameters from an SS7 based HLR or Diameter based HSS, for SIM based authentication.
Using BFX for MAP-Diameter interworking has many advantages:
- Immediate availability of complete MAP-Diameter IWF, supporting the 3GPP TS 29.305 specification, including a unique feature for creating KASME security vector information (“KASME derivation function”), enabling connectivity with pre-release 8 HLRs;
- Proven solution, tested and deployed with all major HLR vendors;
- On the fly adaptations to any (proprietary) Diameter or SS7 variant, through built-in flexibility to quickly adjust and customize interfaces to specific customer environments, new use cases and future system updates. No dependency on R&D availability of vendors;
- Future-proof, extendable approach: new interfaces (e.g. various Diameter applications, RADIUS, XML/HTTP, SOAP, REST, LDAP, ENUM, SS7 etc.) and new functions (e.g. DRA/DEA) can be supported by the same solution without the need for software development;
- On-board function of the BFX Interface Gateway, providing a unique combination of DRA, DEA and IWF on a single platform (integrated solution, by design);
- Software based solution, runs on standard hardware, supporting virtualization and cloud deployment.