Wednesday was a voyage of discovery, down in our office in Fordingbridge, UK. This sleepy little country town is home for the Dialogic guys that specialize in signalling products. They have long been working with SS7, but now find increasing demand for transition to the IP world, and in particular SIGTRAN. I had always imagined that SIGTRAN was all about backbone consolidation, i.e. re-use your MPLS network for signalling instead of running two network infrastructures, but in fact there is a whole different opportunity there. With a signalling gateway it's possible to extend the SS7 functionality out over IP via SIGTRAN, which means that outside the core network you can run applications that control all the SS7 network resources.

This turns out to be a great solution, as a SIGTRAN app does not need any specialized telecom hardware, just a suitable server, O/S and an API. This saves money running a TDM SS7 link to a remote location, so it's a very effective way to implement 3rd party services on the network edge. I'll write more here about the API involved when I understand it better, but for now it's enough to say that we do have a powerful API for SS7, and I saw a nice demo for sending an SMS message from one PC to another via SIGTRAN.