Oracle: Policy, online charging drive increase in LTE Diameter signaling

The rollout of LTE networks worldwide is driving adoption of the Diameter signaling protocol, and Oracle Communications is predicting LTE Diameter signaling traffic will grow more than twice as fast as mobile data traffic in general through 2017.

Global LTE Diameter signaling traffic will increase at a 140 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), from 1.2 million messages per second (MPS) in 2012 to nearly 99 million MPS by 2017, according to Oracle's second annual LTE Diameter Signaling Index .

Oracle's LTE Diameter signaling index forecast.

In its initial report, issued in 2012, Oracle predicted a rate of nearly 47 million Diameter messages per second (MPS) by 2016. The company said it used "an evolved methodology" to come up with its latest forecast. "We have increased our predictions about signaling traffic growth from last year, especially in the out years, based on the acceleration in 4G LTE deployments around the world and what will be a rapid adoption of digital lifestyle services and personalized mobile data plans," Joanne Steinberg, director of product marketing at Oracle, told TechZone360.

Diameter messages are used for authentication, authorization, charging, mobility management and policy. Network policy is the primary driver behind the growth in Diameter signaling volume, according to Oracle's new report. "Policy-related signaling is growing at a 164 percent CAGR through 2017, due to both the number and complexity of use cases," the vendor said.

Policy is called into use by service providers seeking to offer more personalized mobile data services, including shared data plans, mobile advertising and sponsored data usage, machine-to-machine (M2M) services and multimedia content partnerships. Oracle predicts that by 2017, policy will account for 62 percent of signaling volumes.

However, online charging is the fastest-growing Diameter use case, with a global CAGR of 180 percent through 2017, the company said, noting online charging is especially important in regions where prepaid charging is dominant.

North America is expected to lead in Diameter signaling traffic each year during the forecast period. In 2017, the region is expected to reach nearly 43 million MPS, Oracle said.

However, the Asia Pacific markets of Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea will likely account for the majority of LTE Diameter signaling expansion. Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Latin America should see Diameter signaling growth exceed 200 percent per year through 2017.

Oracle noted that software-defined networking (SDN) will likely further enable new mobile data services, which will drive additional Diameter traffic over time.

Earlier this year, Oracle announced it was buying Tekelec for an undisclosed amount, adding to Oracle's network control capabilities and also extending its service control solutions with the addition of policy control and subscriber data management.

For more:
- see this Oracle release
- see this TechZone360 article

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