What is a Diameter Load Balancer?

A Diameter load balancer distributes signaling traffic across multiple servers in a network. This load balancing capability is essential for service providers (SPs) to achieve high scalability and availability.

The ability to scale and ensure network uptime is key to growing the network and the subscriber base. The most cost-effective way to do this is to scale the Diameter control plane rather than the data transport layer.

However, scaling the control plane requires that SPs overcome significant challenges, including:

  • Managing increased data traffic as a result of advanced data- and service-centric networks such as LTE and IMS.
  • Managing increased signaling from new services, policy enforcement, and new charging models.
  • Dealing with fragmentation of the control plane into an expanding number of network functions. 

Meeting these challenges requires the use of a Diameter load balancer.

To successfully manage control plane traffic and signaling, SPs must implement a flexible solution that enables unlimited scalability.  Using native Diameter session-oriented load balancing technology, BIG-IP distributes Diameter signaling traffic across multiple servers based on various load balancing policies.

BIG-IP enables SPs to scale and flex by implementing comprehensive Layer 4–7 load balancing solutions, including smart Diameter session stickiness, Diameter server failover recognition, dynamic flow control, and transparent traffic redistribution. It also supports subscriber- and service-aware contextual load balancing strategies and provides multiple, advanced Diameter bi-directional load balancing capabilities.

BIG-IP load balancer is just one component of the broader BIG-IP platform that provides SPs with comprehensive Diameter signaling capabilities. BIG-IP also includes Diameter Routing Agent (DRA) use cases, and a Diameter Edge Agent (DEA) use cases.