Diameter Signaling is the New Cool

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

Diameter Signaling is the New Cool

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Last week, I attended LTE North America, including the Signaling Focus Day, which was comprised of speakers from many companies (including Dialogic) giving updates on implementations and what is going on in the industry.  While some speakers focused only on pushing their products, there were many other excellent speakers who helped push the cause ahead.

Here’s the key takeaway: at a high level, the Oracle Signaling Index shows that signaling has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 140 percent, which is higher than the mobile data CAGR of 66 percent. This means signaling is growing at more than twice the amount of mobile data. As regular readers of this blog, who have followed this mobile data explosion, will know, this represents an incredible step and an incredible opportunity for certain providers. It’s simply amazing, really. Cool.

Why the signaling explosion? Well, for one, when subscribers have access to LTE networks, we tend to use them a lot. Why?  Because they represent a true on-ramp to the Internet, since the network performance is equivalent to what you get in the office or at home. And we get smartphones onto these networks, so we we get over-the-top (OTT) apps and a lot of them. When the OTT apps are open, they initiate network requests, so they can be constantly updated. Maybe these apps are constantly checking for either updates or the latest information every 30 seconds. And maybe (likely) these apps haven’t been optimized from a signaling perspective. So multiply this all out by all the smartphone users, who on average have more than 40 apps on their phones and open eight apps per day, and presto, we have a lot of mobile signaling going on even if users aren’t actively using these apps.  This phenomenon was referred to as “chatty apps” at the conference.

Short of everyone closing their apps once they open them, this level of signaling will clearly continue. Additionally, there is a new category of mobile apps coming online, known generally as “digital lifestyle” apps or the Fourth Wave. For those in the U.S., we’ve probably seen the commercial of the father who hears that his son “stopped at home” on the way to meet him, and the father asks his son if he “closed up the house” and the son goes “sure dad.” But then the father pulls out his smartphone and checks his house, and proceeds to shut the garage door, turn of the lights, etc., all via use of his mobile phone. Think of these apps as smart M2M value-added apps for which you’d be willing to pay. This “fourth wave” will obviously involve a lot of signaling on LTE networks, meaning Diameter signaling.

All of this contributes to the signaling CAGR I mentioned earlier, which means we’ll need all kinds of Diameter Signaling Controller infrastructure (DRA, DEA, IWF). Cool.





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