As operators migrate to IMS and LTE, and thus IP architectures, SS7 signaling has seemingly been left behind. After all, Diameter is all the rage today as that is where all the growth is. There are lots of Diameter market size reports but alas, no new SS7 market size reports that I can find. In fact, I think the last one was many years ago and I probably have it. But has SS7 really been left behind?
First of all, the number of 3G subscribers is still growing and is expected to continue this growth even into next year. SS7 is used in many of the value-added services on these networks – key services such as messaging, texting, and payments. And because of the billions of 3G subscribers, SS7 will be in these networks for many, many years because these networks will continue for many, many years.
And even in the 3GPP, there are technical specs in the TS29 series that include many related to SS7. Why? Because of the need to connect to these existing networks and as descrbied above, for many years to come. Interworking of Diameter to SS7 is critical for LTE network success.
But there are other reasons as well. The MAP (Mobile Application Part) protocol is typically associated with SS7. It is used in interactive mobile applications like voice messaging. MAP defines the end-to-end protocol between applications which may be located in an SS7 network, and/or other networks supporting the MAP protocol. And guess what, the IMS network supports the MAP protocol. Just google “MAP Protocol IMS” and you’ll see. So it can be used for SMS over IMS.
SS7 has changed role with the advent of IMS and LTE networks. No longer the star signaling player, it has continued to stay in the game because of the immense value it continues to bring. Dialogic has a complete line of SS7 and Sigtran signaling servers and gateways, and software, to help with your SS7 signaling needs.