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Diameter Routing Agent (DRA)

The Challenge

 

Many operators are beginning to deploy advanced policy control solutions and IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) networks alongside Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networks, which provide parallel mobile data services to 2G, 3G, and 4G subscribers. These deployments enable the creation of new service offerings, including voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi). Another reason for the deployment is to optimize their network core.

One common factor across all these networks is that they all rely extensively on internode communication carried over the Diameter protocol.

The challenge with this extensive reliance on internode communication carried over the Diameter protocol is that with many dozens of connected nodes, a mesh of point-to-point connections presents these pain points:

  • It's expensive
  • Error-prone
  • Administration and troubleshooting becomes complex

To overcome this challenge, an efficient and centralized Diameter routing solution is needed to streamline and simplify core node connectivity. Such a solution will transform an ever-growing n-way mesh into an easily understood and maintained hub and spoke architecture. This is what Titan.ium‘s Diameter Signaling Controller Solution offers.

One of the most important subfunctions of the Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC) is the Diameter Routing Agent (DRA). A Diameter Routing Agent (DRA) controls the traffic within the service provider's network. It's responsible for checking aspects such as if a user is allowed on the network, what they can do once on the network, and how much of the network one is using.

Diameter Routing Function

The Diameter Routing Agent performs these key functions to provide optimized routing and traffic distribution:

  • Versatile and fully configurable request routing and accounting
  • Contextual and deterministic load balancing
  • Compete session management and session binding

Diameter Routing Agent Business Benefits

DRA provides networks with unparalleled scalability, reliability, flexibility, and streamlined management. This makes DRA indispensable for handling massive volumes of Diameter traffic to ensure optimal performance in modern telecommunications.

Simplified Network Management

  • Centralized configuration and control
  • Streamlined troubleshooting
  • Reduced operational overhead

 

Scalability

  • Handling massive volumes of Diameter traffic
  • Optimizing resource utilization
  • Improving network responsiveness

Reliability 

  • Minimizing downtime
  • Ensuring service continuity
  • Protecting against single points of failure

 

Flexibility 

  • Adapting to changing network conditions
  • Implementing complex routing logic
  • Tailoring to specific requirements

The Titan.ium Diameter Routing Solution

Ensures that messages are routed correctly between different nodes, for example:

  • MME (Mobility Management Entity) 
  • SGW (Serving Gateway)
  • PGW (Packet Data Network Gateway) 
  • PCRF (Policy and Charging Rules Function)

Diameter Routing Agent Core Capabilities

Load balancing algorithms 

DRA employs intelligent load-balancing algorithms to distribute Diameter traffic across multiple network elements efficiently.

 

Failover mechanisms for high availability

DRA maintains network uptime by implementing robust failover mechanisms. In case of element failures or overloads, DRA automatically redirects traffic to healthy nodes.

Message manipulation

DRA enables network operators to modify Diameter message headers and filter content based on specific criteria.

 

Session management

DRAs manage Diameter sessions, essential for maintaining context and continuity in communication flows.

Advanced DRA Features

Diameter Protocol Extensions Support 

Comprehensive support for Diameter protocol extensions defined by organizations like 3GPP and ETSI. This ensures compatibility with a wide range of network elements and enables seamless deployment of advanced services such as VoLTE (Voice over LTE), IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), and 5G core network functionalities.

 

Policy-Based Routing

DRA can leverage subscriber profile data to implement sophisticated policy-based routing.  This means that Diameter traffic can be intelligently routed based on parameters like user subscription plans, service levels, or device capabilities.

Real-Time Monitoring and Statistics

Comprehensive real-time monitoring and statistical insights into Diameter traffic flows. Gain visibility into key performance metrics such as message rates, latency, error rates, and load distribution.

 

Integration with Other Network Elements

Seamlessly integrate with other essential network elements, such as the Home Subscriber Server (HSS) and Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF).

Key strengths of Titan.ium's DRA Solution

  • Optimal performance (throughput, latency)
  • Highly scalable
  • Deployment flexibility (hardware, virtual, cloud)
  • Vast integration capabilities
  • 24/7 Vendor support
  • Titan.ium ‘s Diameter Routing solution can run on any infrastructure (hardware or cloud) and is NFV-ready

Core Use Cases of DRA in Telecommunication

In Mobile Networks

LTE/5G core network (authentication, authorization, accounting)IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) for VoIP and multimedia services

In Fixed Networks AAA for broadband access
Policy enforcement for QoS (Quality of Service)

 

The DRA was introduced to address the increased Diameter signaling traffic and growing complexity of networks. Some of these complexities arise from enhanced services, including:

  • Tiered charging
  • Converged billing
  • Policy enforcement control

These services normally require other Diameter-based functionalities to support complex user-service connections. Examples of such functionalities include PCRFs, PCEFs, HSS, etc. A DRA meets this need by effectively managing the Diameter signaling among these functionalities. This ensures that proper connections are made.