SCTP and Diameter Parameters for High Availability in LTE Roaming

University essay from KTH/Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab)


Today mobile network operators utilize IP Packet exchange (IPX) carriers to interconnect their networks with other operators. Mobile network operators are free to choose one IPX carrier for their data traffic and another for their control traffic. This thesis examines the case of control traffic, specifically Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) carrying Diameter protocol traffic arising from users roaming from their home Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to another operator’s LTE network.

The thesis project aims to identify a set of SCTP parameter configurations that can provide improved application/service level availability between two Diameter nodes in different network connectivity environments, specifically for IPX carriers who are Diameter service providers. These service providers provide Diameter connectivity for their customers who are mobile network operators. These mobile network operators in turn provide LTE roaming services to their customers.

Unfortunately, applying the ‘One size fits all’ configuration recommendations given in the SCTP documentation is unsuitable for different network environments. In addition, the amount of Diameter signaling traffic is growing at a very rapid rate. Therefore, it is valuable to identify suitable parameter selection criteria for Diameter service providers to ensure 100% Diameter connectivity reliability for their customers. In this thesis project, author investigated how tuning SCTP parameter values affect Diameter message transmission in terms of Round Trip Delay and identified its determining parameters for packet loss recovery performance. Both IPX carriers and mobile network operators may use these values as reference when attempting to ensure high availability of Diameter transmissions under reliable, semi reliable, and unreliable network transport conditions.

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