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.
For most vendors, operators and integrators, adding these interfaces to their Diameter based products usually results in a costly, time- and resource-consuming development project.
Disadvantages of the traditional upgrade approach
Establishing interoperability by upgrading systems or integrating new protocol stacks often requires significant product changes as well as expertise and resources which are only limitedly available in most organizations. And, more importantly, these interface adaptations distract them from their core tasks. And this is not where it stops. Once the new interface is developed, the flexibility to support different applications, releases and (vendor-specific) variants is generally very limited, which leads to additional development and customization work.
BroadForward’s BFX Interface Gateway offers users a flexible and integrated set of routing and service creation capabilities that work across 3GPP based networks (2G, 3G, LTE, IMS) and non-3GPP networks (Wi-Fi, Cable, DSL, FTTH, Fixed), without the need for scripting or development. BFX’s on-board interworking function enables connections to and from virtually any Network or IT interface. BFX features a rich set of translation, conversion and service logic functions for a wide range of protocols, such as Diameter, RADIUS, HTTP, SOAP, REST, XML, JSON, LDAP, SS7 (MAP/CAP/INAP), ENUM, TCP/IP, UDP and SCTP. Due to the modular architecture of BFX, it offers an unrivalled flexibility to add new/other interfaces in a short time frame.
Example use cases
The availability and flexibility of on-board protocols and functions prevents high customization costs or upgrades associated with (legacy) systems that are required to fit within targeted LTE/Diameter based architectures.
Some examples of interworking cases deployed by BroadForward:
• SS7 – Diameter: 3G – 4G interworking for authentication in roaming scenarios;
• RADIUS – Diameter: integration Wi-Fi / Fixed into Mobile core for Policy and Charging (connecting AAA/WAG/BRAS to OCS and PCRF);
• RADIUS – SS7: Wi-Fi to Cellular authentication (connecting AAA/WAG/BRAS to HLR/HSS);
• Network – IT integration: for database interaction, subscriber lookup, roaming steering, legacy billing integration, etc. (LDAP, SOAP, XML/HTTP, REST …);
• INAP – ENUM: for Number Portability lookups, routing, mediation, caching.
Using BFX for protocol interworking has many advantages over traditional upgrade and development approaches:
- Shorter time-to-market for new, innovative use cases. Enabling advanced use cases across vendor and technology boundaries;
- No or minimal software development and expertise required: connectivity operational in a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks or months;
- Lower costs by avoiding expensive interface related CR’s on existing products;
- Extended economic lifetime of systems, BFX adds required connectivity functionality;
- Independent solution, reduces dependency on any particular product vendor and their R&D availability (“vendor lock-in”);
- Built-in flexibility to quickly adjust and customize interfaces to specific customer environments, and to add service logic, mediation and other interfaces and features.