APAC CSPs prepare core network for signal storm

Doug Suriano
05 Nov 2013

As smartphones and data applications grow in Asia Pacific (ex China), so too will Diameter signalling volumes that affect network performance, service quality and ultimately the customer experience.

LTE Diameter signaling traffic will grow at more than twice the rate of mobile data traffic from 2012-17, according to Oracle Communications’ LTE Diameter Signaling Index. The report predicts that by 2017, worldwide LTE Diameter traffic will reach nearly 99 million messages per second (MPS) – a 140% five-year compound annual growth rate.

A confluence of factors – smartphone penetration, LTE network build outs and mobile-data consumption – will trigger this upsurge in Diameter signalling. Diameter is the authentication, authorization and accounting protocol responsible for orchestrating messaging among IP network elements such as policy servers, online charging systems and mobility gateways.

The region will reach an impressive 35.2 million Diameter MPS by 2017, nearly double the amount in EMEA and 85% the size of North America.

Already, APAC represents the strongest region of growth due to LTE licensing in mainly five countries: Australia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. These countries have high penetration of smartphones and tablets, as well as considerable momentum behind gaming and video applications. As such, these five countries represent most of the LTE subscriptions, with each expected to exceed 50% penetration by 2017. In contrast, developing countries are yet to reach their potential, with India expected to show a 7% penetration rate by 2017.

As LTE penetration grows, smartphone users will generate far more data than their brethren on 3G networks, which will then trigger more Diameter signaling.

While data-capacity concerns can be addressed by a number of methods, including Wi-Fi offloads and small-cell deployment, LTE Diameter signaling growth requires core network technology. For that reason, communications service providers (CSPs) in the region are laying the foundation for Diameter signaling infrastructure today, as even the early LTE stages are showing the weaknesses of edge-based strategies and solutions incapable of scaling to expected Diameter traffic growth.

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