Dialogic Blog

Will service agility really drive Diameter Signaling Controller deployments?

by Thomas Schroer

Oct 22, 2014 12:14:00 PM

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When you think of orchestration, what comes to mind? Probably not Diameter Signaling Controllers (DSCs), but that’s exactly what next generation signaling controllers do. In a Heavy Reading white paper on Control Plane Orchestration, Jim Hodges stated this really well in his description of DSC evolution: “Orchestration scope incudes the ability to translate Diameter and non-Diameter message flows with intelligence from external data repositories, as well as apply conditional statements based on deep packet inspection of events and AVP attributes.”

I recently hosted a webinar with Jim where we discussed “Why the Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC) of yesterday won’t meet the needs of your Diameter networks today.” We covered signaling control plane orchestration and real-world use cases for next generation DSCs.

During the webinar we asked the audience for their input on the question,
“What do you consider Blog2-imagethe 
leading implementation driver for Control Plane Orchestration?” Not surprising, the leading response was Service Agility or Time-to-Market as the biggest driver- by a significant amount.

To me, this is telling because It reinforces what service providers are saying to us; namely that with LTE, it’s all about the services.  In a recent blog, “Can Diameter Signaling Controllers Help Monetize 4G Mobile Networks?,” I posed the question, “how OCS proxy applications have a monetization angle?” This OCS Proxy use case for DSCs is in large part about vendor interoperability. One of the hottest use cases brought to us by service providers has to do with helping them mediate Diameter protocol-based signaling to solve interoperability problems between their OCS platform and mobile core nodes both internal and external to their network. What they are realizing is that next generation DSCs can help them rapidly fix these issues saving them both time and money.  In addition, a next generation DSC provides them a platform for innovation allowing them to enhance signaling flows and accommodate differentiated services.

I recently led round table discussion at the Signaling Day event during the LTE Asia Conference in Singapore.  The round table consisted of service providers, equipment vendors, and telecommunications consultants, and we discussed use cases enabled by DSCs. Some of the applications the group came up with included:

  •          Using inspection of the signaling messages for analytics
  •          Improving customer experience, and
  •          Managing costs.

What I realized is that we’ve come a long way from thinking about DSCs as primarily a technical solution to route signaling messages.

The next most popular driver for control plane orchestration was Personalized Service Delivery.  Again, delivering services - not just managing protocols – is front-of-mind for service providers. Service enforcement (access) and security rounded out the last two picks.  I don’t think this indicates security and service enforcement are not important, but rather they are considered more or less table stakes for DSCs and control plane orchestration.

What do you think the top implementation drivers are for Control Plane Orchestration? Let us know by sharing a tweet with us at @Dialogic using the hashtag, #Control-Plane-Orchestration. I’ll also be talking about these concepts more at the upcoming LTE North America 2014 in Dallas and LTE Africa 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Topics: Guides: How-to's, Infographics, and more, Signaling