Communications service providers (CSPs) are facing significant challenges in the control plane. The constant use of mobile data has generated exponential growth in signaling messages just as signaling functions evolve with next-generation, all-IP 4G LTE networks. To provide better customer experiences, CSPs are moving toward shared data plans and other advanced policy and charging schemes enabled by Diameter signaling. Thus in 4G LTE networks, signaling supports the enforcement of preset policies per subscriber; manages the path of billing messages, subscriber profiles, service levels, and application data; and controls the overall flow and quality-of-service in the network. In this complex environment, F5 provides solutions that enable CSPs to intelligently control, optimize, and secure signaling and data traffic, conserve network resources, and quickly deliver profitable services.
The control plane infrastructure in 3G and 4G LTE networks contains a number of increasingly important components that serve as catalysts for optimal customer experiences, including user authentication and accounting, subscriber profile management, DNS resolution, and policy management. Networks are evolving rapidly into all-IP environments, while 4G LTE technologies introduce new elements and different signaling traffic patterns. This service evolution—which comes with new elements, interfaces, and architectures—can enhance network performance, but, if not properly planned, it can also significantly increase network complexity.
The explosion of signaling traffic also has increased deployment and operational costs, the likelihood for network failure, and the difficulty of scaling effectively. Because existing control plane infrastructures were not originally designed or built for this load, they can deliver poor customer experiences.
Another result of moving to all-IP networks is that CSPs must also defend against security threats that are increasing in both volume and diversity. Roaming agreements and third party content providers complicate the situation, while the addition of products to address specific threats can increase costs and architecture complexity. Success requires a fresh, strategic approach.
The F5 BIG-IP platform and the F5 Traffix Signaling Delivery Controller (SDC) enhance network scalability, security, and flexibility to solve problems across the CSP control plane infrastructure. F5 delivers the subscriber and business intelligence needed to offer innovative customer experiences while enabling CSPs to scale and secure signaling and policy management implementations, reduce deployment and operating costs, and successfully manage growth.
The F5 Traffix SDC enables full Diameter signaling solutions from an “all-in-one platform” that includes:
BIG-IP products complement the F5 Traffix SDC with intelligent traffic and DNS management solutions that provide the highest carrier-grade performance, reliability, capacity and scalability to help CSPs manage rapid traffic growth and the most demanding network evolutions.
F5 solutions provide a strategic point of control in the signaling infrastructure to simplify the network architecture, efficiently manage resources, respond in real time to changes, and enable the quick deployment of new services for the ultimate customer experience.
These other critical solutions for service providers are addressed in more detail in separate profiles:
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