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.
Optimizing Diameter interoperability
The industry clearly has a requirement to find an effective way to deal with incompatibilities and better ways to enable and maintain connectivity between these – still evolving – interfaces. Using BroadForward’s BFX delivers significant reduction of R&D efforts and cost, as it achieves the required interoperability and compatibility through configuration rather than core development.
BFX optimizes Diameter interoperability by supporting conversion of protocol messages on a per-event (e.g. 3GPP Gy CCR-I) and per-AVP (e.g. Destination-Host) basis whereby both field names, values and header flags can be manipulated. It can perfectly be used to deal with proprietary extensions of the protocol that only one of the interface end-points support.
Using BFX for Diameter interface mediation does not require software development or scripting. Instead, a comfortable GUI can be used to manage the conversion rules that apply to a given event and field. BFX supports many operations that can be applied to any field in the message, ranging from simple mapping operations (e.g. COPY, MOVE, SET) to complex operations on attribute value level. BFX also supports stateful scenarios involving storing/retrieving of values over multiple messages in a session, using the on-board high available BFX Session Store.
Supporting any Diameter application
BFX is fully compliant with RFC6733 and supports any Diameter application, including Gx, Gy, Gz, Rx, Ro, Rf, Sy, Sh, SLh, S6a, S6b, S6d, S9, S13, SWm, SWx, Cx, Dx, Wg (NASREQ), Wx, Diameter SIP Application and SCAPv1/v2. It supports all transport mechanisms defined for Diameter: IPv4 or IPv6, TCP or SCTP and TLS over TCP or SCTP.
By means of protocol templates, BFX supports all Diameter applications such as 3GPP Gx or Rx. Support for different Diameter applications or application versions or variants is a matter of producing a protocol template for this application. With BFX, protocol templates for the most common Diameter applications will be provided.
Adapting to changes ‘on the spot’
BFX allows users to quickly react to upgrades of existing interfaces, or integration of new EPC, IMS, OSS/BSS or IT systems causing interface incompatibilities. Adapting to changes is as simple as using the GUI to change the conversion rules and apply them. At any time, updated conversion rules can be implemented without a need to re-start BFX, enabling ‘live’ installation and modification of new services without service down-time.
Using BFX for Diameter interface mediation has many advantages over traditional customizations and bespoke professional services:
- Extensive mediation capabilities: on the fly adaptations to any Diameter variant, through built-in flexibility to quickly adjust and customize interfaces to specific customer environments, new use cases and future system updates;
- Wide range of mediation and service logic functions, enabling the user to quickly set up new connections, allowing to work with different Diameter products and brands, and smoothly solving Diameter incompatibilities;
- GUI based configuration, no vendor dependency and no need for R&D or scripting;
- Extendable solution, through on-board support for multiple network technologies: works across Diameter, RADIUS, SS7 and various IT protocols. Other interfaces and functions (e.g. DRA/DEA) can be supported by the same solution without re-linking and integration;
- Low CAPEX & OPEX: single integrated platform for Diameter routing and interworking, running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware or virtualized / hosted;
- Network-wide capacity license: one throughput capacity license across all customer regions, sites, locations and (virtual) machines (so no ‘per-box pricing’) and across all Diameter applications and variants.