USA: Transaction Network Services (TNS), a leading global provider of data communications and interoperability solutions, Diametriq, a leader provider of LTE signaling solutions, and ClearSky Technologies, a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, jointly announced that they successfully completed interoperability testing for LTE roaming.
The collaboration interconnects ClearSky's hosted LTE Service Suite with TNS's recently announced Data Services Hub IPX service while using Diametriq's Diameter Edge Appliance to manage traffic at the edge of the IPX network and to simulate third party roaming partners. The objective of the trial was is to simulate various elements in the visited network that would enable TNS to exercise roaming test scenarios with its operator clients, enabling smooth on-boarding of new operators. Trial results will be made available to the clients of ClearSky and TNS.
While LTE (Long Term Evolution) is now the worldwide standard for 4G networks, there is almost no roaming between network operators. This lack of interoperability between networks creates islands of service with limited coverage, frustrating consumers and hindering the widespread adoption of LTE. The dearth of LTE roaming is partially due to technical complexities.
LTE standards require the use of Diameter signaling over IP to connect networks - a completely new approach not compatible with 2G/3G roaming networks. LTE roaming also requires an operator's Home Subscriber Server (HSS), Mobility Management Entity (MME) and Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) to connect to the roaming partner's MME, HSS and PCRF, creating an unmanageable number of individual connections as the number of roaming partners increase.
The 3GPP standards bodies have recognized these limitations, defining the role of centralized IPX networks to carry the Diameter signaling and Diameter Edge Agents to manage multiple connections while insulating LTE core network components from direct connections.
Endorsed by the Competitive Carrier Association, TNS's Data Services Hub performs all the necessary IPX functions in a package designed specifically to speed LTE roaming deployment among regional operators and provide connectivity to Tier 1 operators. Using the Diameter Edge Appliance as a platform, Diametriq offers a cost-effective edge agent to isolate carrier's LTE network components and has also developed simulators for each of the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network elements used in LTE roaming, including the HSS, MME and PCRF.