BFX, the Next Generation Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC)
BFX is the Next Generation Signaling Controller and Interface Gateway for 3G, 4G/LTE, 5G, IMS, Fixed, Wi-Fi, Number Portability, IT and M2M networks. BFX is a unique single-design software solution for DRA, DEA and interworking. The service orchestration GUI allows users to freely combine protocols with on-board functions to setup advanced service scenarios, without the need for scripting or development.
Dealing with end-of-life STPs
Even though mobile network technology is evolving fast, older generation networks (2G and 3G) based on SS7 signaling will continue to exist for many years to come. Therefore, STPs will remain vital components in operator networks and will require vendor support for the foreseeable future.
Controlling access to mobile networks
With the massive adoption of smartphones and growing rate of mobile phone thefts and identity fraud, pressure on operators is increasing to implement protective measures. Deploying an Equipment Identity Register (EIR) helps operators to protect their networks and revenues against the use of stolen and unauthorized devices. In a growing number of countries, governments and telecom regulators demand for installation of an EIR solution. In addition to fulfilling regulatory requirements, an EIR also provides an opportunity for operators to offer additional security services to their subscribers.
BFX, the Number Portability Gateway
BFX provides a single, unified access point for Number Portability in the network. It enables centralized operations for service providers looking to streamline look-up access to number and address registries, for Mobile, Fixed and OTT services. BFX enables flexible integration and access to legacy and IP based Number Portability repositories, external as well as internal systems such as STP, CRM, UDR and other subscriber data sources.
Numerous Diameter implementations and variants
With the introduction of LTE, Diameter is becoming the principal connectivity protocol in operator networks. Although the Diameter protocol is specified by standardization bodies, there are over 50 different Diameter interfaces and numerous vendor specific variants. Different nodes in an operator network are implemented towards specific 3GPP releases and versions, and even small differences might have an impact on interoperability and can create service affecting incompatibilities.
Interworking across technologies
Over the last decades, a range of signaling protocols and interfaces have been introduced to mobile networks to provide distinct connectivity, functions and features across many products of as many vendors. Although the industry is moving towards Diameter based connectivity, integration with existing systems in operator networks typically requires interoperability with non-Diameter protocols such as RADIUS, HTTP, SOAP, LDAP, ENUM and SS7 etc.
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.
Integrating legacy pre-paid systems
For decades, operators have been using CAMEL (GSM) or WIN (CDMA) as the signaling protocol for service control in the Intelligent Network architecture, allowing them to enable various unique value added services, including prepaid services, SMS and MMS. Despite the evolution to LTE, the Intelligent Network still has an important part to play and will continue to do so as long as operators have legacy voice and messaging systems or continue to use circuit-switched fallback for their voice services.
In the migration to all-IP LTE networks, the expectation is for Diameter to replace CAMEL/WIN. Without support for the CAMEL/WIN signaling protocol in LTE, and lack of capabilities to link the two technologies, operators end up having to support multiple, silo-based charging environments. This leads to service limitations, inefficiencies, high cost and significant risk for errors as they struggle to keep subscriber and billing information synchronized.
Service continuity between Wi-Fi, Fixed-Line and Mobile network assets
Subscribers use more and more different devices to access the network that they happen to be on (3G, LTE, Fixed or Wi-Fi). When they go online, users want access to their services whatever the network, device and location, at home, on the way or in the office. Communication service providers are looking for ways to monetize and leverage their existing Fixed-Line network assets by associating them with high growth mobile services.
LTE interconnect and roaming
IPX (“IP exchange”) providers provide interoperability of IP services and worldwide LTE roaming between service providers. Roaming between LTE networks requires an efficient international exchange mechanism with guaranteed quality-of-service between visited and home networks. Most IPX providers use traditional Diameter routers. The assumption was this would suffice. However, they are discovering that providing global LTE roaming services means dealing with different technologies (LTE and legacy), different vendors and different types of customers (mobile, fixed, MVNO, OTT, Enterprise etc.).