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.
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 20 years or so, 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.).
Struggle to speed up innovation
MVNOs, MVNEs and smaller operators are at a disadvantage compared to larger operators. They are even more dependent upon their network vendors to roll out new services and to resolve integration issues. This undermines one of their key advantages: their ability to deliver tailored and innovative services quickly. The flexibility to innovate at the speed of the ecosystem is increasingly important in the MVNO world.
VoLTE and VoWi-Fi picking up quickly
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) are taking center stage for service providers to deliver HD quality voice and multimedia services. The number of commercial VoLTE and VoWi-Fi deployments is rapidly increasing. Launching VoLTE and VoWi-Fi services require mobile operators to not only deploy the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS), but to also integrate it with the policy and charging rules function (PCRF).