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PCRF and DRA Testing Solution — Diameter Testing

The Diameter Signaling protocol is the lifeblood of signaling network. The growing Diameter Signaling traffic is an indication of growth in revenue-generating applications as a result of network complexity, subscriber roaming between access technologies, increasing smartphone subscriptions, data traffic growth and more connected devices (M2M and IoT). In contrast, network failure scenarios can trigger a massive amount of Diameter signaling traffic called a signaling storm, caused by automatic reconnection requests from multiple devices.

The robustness and scalability of signaling network architecture needs to be validated in test labs prior to deployment to verify whether the architecture can handle this growth in Diameter Signaling. This is vital to ensure the high quality and high availability of service delivery to customers even in cases of heavy diameter signaling load, node failures and malicious activities that trigger a signaling storm.

EXFO's Diameter simulator test solution delivers the best scalable high capacity and high performance in the industry, coupled with unmatched flexibility and user-friendliness.

EXFO's solution for Diameter testing brings:

Industry best scalable high capacity and high performance

  • Leveraging COTS multicore servers
  • +200 million subscribers
  • +1,200,000 TPS from a single server

Easy to use yet flexible

  • Create complex scenarios with easy scripting
  • Recreate real work traffic patterns to mimic live network traffic

Flexible licensing model

  • Capital purchase or annual subscription
  • Licensing use across multiple labs and COTS server

Multiple VM applications compatibility

  • License server must be on bare metal but applications can run on VM(s)

Full coverage of Diameter testing

  • DRA/DSC, PCRF, HSS and more
  • Comprehensive set of interfaces support such as s6a, Rx, Gx etc.

Diameter Router Agent (DRA) Testing

The volume of Diameter signaling traffic in LTE and IMS networks is large enough; operators are proactively architecting signaling controllers. Diameter signaling controllers (DSC) or Diameter router agent (DRA) or Diameter agent (DA) is at the core of the Diameter network that helps to alleviate Diameter traffic. The major use cases that needs to be tested are:

  • Centralized routing – aggregates and offloads Diameter routing requirements from individual nodes for congestion control
  • Roaming – LTE to LTE, LTE to 2G/3G and other access networks including interoperability, scalability and mitigating security risks
  • HSS address resolution – maps subscriber identity with HSS by performing subscriber location function
  • PCRF binding – dynamic load balancing across multiple PCRFs, binds subscriber session to ensure correct billing and tracking service usage

Diameter Solution Performance Testing Evolved dsTest

EXFO's Diameter DRA testing is the only solution in the market today that tests all of the DRA use cases generating hundreds of thousands of stateful Diameter transactions with large number of subscriber simulation. Our Diameter testing solution can be used to characterize the DRA that supports different behavior of DRA such as Relay, Proxy, Redirect, and Translation. EXFO's DRA test solution can help you ensure that all the diameter sessions are routed to the correct network element as well as functionality of 3G/4G roaming and interconnect functions of DEA.

DRA Testing Solution Highlights:

  • Wide range of Diameter interface support (S6a, Gx, Rx, Sd, Ro, Sd and more)
  • Mimic real-world conditions across multiple stateful nodes and interfaces
  • Identify capacity and performance ceilings
  • Easy to use even for the test engineers having minimum or no protocol knowledge
  • Flexible to customize messages and behavior for specific network deployment configuration

 

Policy and Charging Function Testing (PCRF Testing)

PCRF acts as the decision point for policy and charging actions in the network by managing rules across subscribers, devices and networks that use Diameter messages. As such, it is one of the most critical components in IMS, 3G and 4G LTE networks. PCRF communicates with PCEF (policy control enforcement function) like packet gateways (PGW) and deep packet inspection (DPI), online charging system (OCS), and offline charging system (OFCS) functions and more. Testing these critical functions in the labs before deployment is important for MNOs to differentiate services and maximize the revenue.

Diameter Solution PCRF Testing Solution

EXFO's Diameter PCRF testing solution offers surround testing of PCRF by emulating devices and interfaces to ensure that appropriate amounts of bandwidth are dynamically allocated to each service in real time, thus making the most efficient use of network resources for delivering advanced services such as VoLTE and WebRTC. It supports the complete set of procedures as defined in 3GPP specifications including but not limited to:

  • Installation, modification and removal of PCC rules
  • IP-CAN Session establishment, termination and modification
  • Gateway control session procedures
  • Binding and QoS parameters mapping
  • Application detection and control
  • Requesting and reporting the usage
  • Failure and restoration

 

Related Resources

 
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EXFO Diameter Testing Solution

Specification sheets

A high-performance and high-capacity Diameter test solution providing complete test functionality for all network elments supporting the Diameter signaling protocol. 

Last updated: 2015-10-05

EXFO Diameter Testing

Application Notes

This application note covers the Diameter protocol enabling critical functions in IMS, 3G and 4G LTE networks, and details the ins and outs of thorough Diameter testing.

Last updated: 2015-10-05


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