In the name of full disclosure, I have what my colleagues consider an obsession with the plumbing of the telecom industry. More precisely, in looking at a world that is becoming mobile, social and virtualized, and where networks are becoming “programmable,” “elastic”, “adaptable” etc., I worry not just about pipes and switches but about the signaling that will actually enable the future.
Back in March of this year I gave a glimpse as to my fascination about the subject and why everyone in the industry needs to be paying attention. The data tsunami we all know is heading our way has an associated and equally as important signaling tsunami wave associated with it. Indeed, woe to those who are not prepared.
The previous article detailed the criticality of Diameter signaling and its evolution to accommodate the requirements of what we know is heading our way. The focus was on Tekelec’s vision of this evolution. The vision continues to gain market traction with the announcement that T-Mobile USA, as part of the acceleration of its 2013 launch of LTE service, has selected Tekelec’s Diameter Signaling Router (DSR) as a critical part of its buildout.
The value of next generation IP-centric signaling
Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced its aggressive $4 billion network modernization plan which includes the introduction of LTE services in 2013. To do so it must have a core LTE signaling network to support not just tens of millions of subscribers but be ready for the exponential growth in traffic those subscribers smartphones are going to generate.
What is T-Mobile getting with the new DSR-based network? The benefits to T-Mobile are in its ability to:
- Cost-effectively scale the LTE network. A centralized Diameter network eliminates the need to update all network elements when adding new equipment or when adding new roaming interconnections, thus controlling costs as the LTE network and interconnections grows.
- Intelligently route Diameter messages and avoid signaling storms. The DSR transmits signaling messages based on real-time network conditions. For example, the system avoids sending messages to congested equipment by spreading the signaling volume across multiple network elements such as charging systems, policy servers and subscriber databases. This eliminates ‘signaling storms’ which can cause congestion and service disruptions.
This is a big deal. How big? Abdul Saad, senior vice president of Network Technology, T-Mobile USA stated that, “T-Mobile’s innovation and modernization of our 4G network encompasses the entire infrastructure – from the core out to 37,000 cell sites, providing subscribers with a fast and dependable 4G experience…Tekelec’s Diameter Signaling Router provides us with the network architecture and scalability we require in order to deliver innovative mobile data services that meet the needs of our customers today and in the future.”
Tekelec for its part views implementations such as this as enabling customers to go after the market opportunities aggressively with the knowledge that the investment is allowing the customer to be fast to market, and fast in the market. “T-Mobile is stepping on the LTE accelerator to launch new services next year,” said Doug Suriano, CTO of Tekelec. “By implementing a new LTE Diameter Network from the start, T-Mobile will be able to scale and rapidly add LTE subscribers, devices, applications and service tiers.”
This latest win for Tekelec obviously is great news for them, but as importantly it is a very positive sign that the service providers. They understand the business imperatives of what will be required to be successful in the not too distant future. They are moving aggressively to assure their networks are ready and capable of providing the kinds of customer experiences user expect as well as the new business models and revenue generation opportunities they need to excel. Tekelec now has 19 Diameter Signaling Router customers, including five Tier 1 LTE operators in North America. In addition, Infonetics Research has named Tekelec as the “front runner” of the Diameter signaling control market. In addition, Exact Ventures estimates Tekelec has 75 percent to 85 percent share of the market.
Plumbing may not get a lot of attention, but reality is we cannot live without. You may not agree with me that it is sexy, but there is no arguing it is essential.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman