Telstra makes signal control changes in IP core

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Telstra makes signal control changes in IP core

Brought on by 4G rollout.

Telstra is rolling out new controllers to manage the increase in diameter signalling on the core IP network underpinning 4G LTE mobile services.

The telco said overnight it is taking up Ericsson's diameter signalling controller to stay "ahead of the curve with growth in traffic complexity while delivering superior network performance to our customers".

Diameter is one of two signalling protocols found in IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) -based networks. Diameter signalling messages are expected to increase substantially as more telcos move to LTE.

Smartphones generate the messages when they access apps, download data, roam, or are switched on and off, according to an FAQ published by Sonus. (pdf)

"Networks are evolving from narrowband signalling to diameter signalling, and we are leading the adoption of this new signalling architecture," Telstra director of transport and routing engineering, David Robertson, said in a statement.

Robertson said he expected the controller to increase the efficiency of Telstra's 4G mobile broadband network.

Diameter controllers could facilitate load balancing and traffic overload protection, reducing the risk of potential network failures, Ericsson said.

It is not the first diameter signalling technology to be deployed within one of Telstra's operations. Telstra Global has an IP exchange (IPX) product that can be used by other telcos to keep track of LTE users that roam to other LTE networks internationally.

The signalling "hub" underpinning the IPX service is a diameter signalling router provided by vendor Tekelec.

"Since network operators view LTE-to-LTE roaming as complex, they are much more willing to consider utilising a third party such as an IPX provider to support roaming," research firm Heavy Reading said in a report this year commissioned by Tekelec.

"For instance, while only 28 percent of network operators indicated they would utilise a third party to support 3G roaming, for 4G LTE-to-LTE roaming the number increased to 57 percent".

Changes in Telstra's core network come as the telco reached a milestone in its LTE network deployment, lighting up base station number 3000 in Dalby, Queensland.

Telstra's director of devices, Andrew Volard, said the telco is "now just 500 base station upgrades shy of providing 4G coverage to 85 percent of the Australian population".

"We're well progressed on our program to roll out 3500 4G base stations by Christmas," he said.

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