What is an Interworking Function (IWF)?

An interworking function (IWF) acts a gateway to enable 2G and 3G network elements to connect and communicate with 4G LTE network elements, such as between MAP-based and Diameter-based interfaces. This connection is essential; without it, communications service providers (CSPs) would have to totally replace their legacy infrastructure and systems while building out their LTE networks.

When introducing new IMS or LTE elements equipped with Diameter protocol connectivity into the core network, CSPs need to ensure that these elements integrate quickly and interface well with the other network elements regardless of their legacy generation or vendor origin. An IWF ensures that old and new network elements can integrate and connect seamlessly with each other.

The SDC Diameter Gateway enables connectivity between old and new network elements and also supports interconnectivity in roaming. These capabilities are key to preserving existing infrastructure investments and opening revenue streams.

The SDC Diameter Gateway provides seamless connectivity between all Diameter-based and legacy nodes, such as SS7 elements within a mobile network or roaming scenarios with partners who are still using legacy network elements. In addition to SS7, the SDC Diameter Gateway supports a wide range of message-oriented protocols (including RADIUS, HTTP/SOAP, LDAP, GTP’, JMS, and others). The Diameter Gateway supports all existing Diameter interfaces—more than 50—and provides seamless support for new ones.

The Diameter Gateway is part of F5’s comprehensive Diameter signaling offering which also includes a Diameter load balancer, a Diameter Routing Agent (DRA), and a Diameter Edge Agent (DEA).