A Diameter load balancer distributes signaling traffic across multiple servers in a network. This load balancing capability is essential for communications service providers (CSPs) 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 CSPs 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, CSPs must implement a flexible solution that enables unlimited scalability. Using native Diameter session-oriented load balancing technology, the SDC distributes Diameter signaling traffic across multiple servers based on various load balancing policies.
The SDC enables CSPs 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.
The SDC load balancer is just one component of the broader SDC platform that provides CSPs with comprehensive Diameter signaling capabilities. The F5 SDC also includes an interworking function (IWF) for SS7/Diameter connectivity, a Diameter Routing Agent (DRA), and a Diameter Edge Agent (DEA).