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transition from inchannel to a common channel approach

Network control signaling Signaling System Number 7 (SS7) was first issued by CCITT in 1980 and revised in 1984, 1988, and 1992. Designed to be an open-ended common-channel signaling standard for a variety of digital circuit-switched networks. Specifically designed to be used in ISDN: provides internal control and network intelligence essential to an ISDN. Primary characteristics of SS7
optimized for use in digital telecommunication networks in conjunction with digital stored program-control exchanges, utilizing 64-kbps digital channels designed to meet present and future information transfer requirements for call control, remote control, management, and maintenance designed to be a reliable means for the transfer of information in the correct sequence without loss or duplication suitable for operation over analog channels and at speeds below 64 kbps suitable for use on point-to-point terrestrial and satellite links

The scope of SS7 is immense, because it must cover all aspects of control signaling for complex digital networks, including the reliable routing and delivery of control messages and application-oriented content of those messages.

Inchannel signaling

Common channel signaling

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)


SS7 Architecture

Functional Architecture Control messages in a common channel signaling system are short packets routed through the network. Although the network is a circuit-switched network, the control signaling is implemented using packet switching technology. SS7 functions could be implemented as additional functions in circuit-switching nodes ! associated signaling mode Or, the network can have separate switching points for carrying control packets only ! disassociated signaling mode



Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)

Signaling Network Elements Three functional entities in SS7

signaling points (SP): any point in signaling network capable of handling
SS7 control messages, e.g. an endpoint (such as a circuit switching node)

signal transfer points (STP): a signaling point capable of routing control messages, e.g. a pure routing node signaling links: a data link that connects signaling points

Two planes of operation: control plane and information plane

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)

Signaling Network Structures

A complex network may have both SPs and STPs in a hierarchical structure, SPs at lower level and STPs at one or more higher levels. Parameters related to network design and number of levels STP capacities
number of signaling links that can be handled, signaling message transfer time, and the message throughput capacity number of SPs and the signaling delays ability of the network to provide service when STP failures

Network performance

Availability and reliability

ITU-T suggestions for better reliability In a signaling network with a single STP level
each SP that is not an STP at the same time connected to at least 2 STPs the meshing of STPs is as complete as possible (full mesh) each SP that is not an STP at the same time is connected to at least two STPs of the lower level each STP in the lower level is connected to at least two STPs of the upper level the STPs in the upper level are fully meshed

In a signaling network with two STP levels

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)

Example of Links Used in an SS7 Network

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)

Protocol Architecture
SS7 has a layered protocol architecture similar to that of OSI model. Message transfer part (MTP): the lowest three levels providing a reliable but connectionless (a datagram style) service for routing messages signaling data link: a full-duplex physical link dedicated to SS7 (OSI L1)
includes control links between STPs, between an STP and an SP, between SPs provides reliable sequenced delivery of data across signaling data link

signaling link: a data link control protocol, corresponds to OSI layer 2

signaling network: provides routing data across multiple STPs from control source to control destination Signaling connection control part (SCCP): added in 1984 version of SS7 SCCP + MTP = NSP (Network Service Part) contains different network-layer services to meet needs of NSP users NSP is a message delivery system ISDN user part (ISUP): controls signaling needed in an ISDN to deal with ISDN subscriber calls and related functions Transaction capabilities application part (TCAP): provides the mechanisms for transaction-oriented (not connection-oriented) applications and functions Operation, maintenance, and administration part (O&MAP): specifies network management functions and message related to operation&maintenace Application service elements (ASEs): add. modules to support new applicats

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)


Signaling Link Level

corresponds to the data link control layer of OSI model to turn an unreliable physical link into a reliable data link reliability implies that
transmitted blocks of data are delivered with no loss or duplication same order delivery of data blocks as they were transmitted receiver is capable of exercising flow control over the sender

use of well-known data link control protocol (LAPD and LAPB) Signal Unit Formats 1. MSU 2. LSSU 3. FISU




Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)

Message signal unit (MSU)

carries user data from level 4 carries control information needed at the signaling link level transmitted when no other signal units are available

Level status signal unit (LSSU) Fill-in signal unit (FISU)

Definition of different fields in signal units flag: delimits the signal unit at both ends (01111111)
bit stuffing may be used as with LAPB and LAPD Four fields for flow- (sliding-window) and error-control (go-back-N ARQ)

backward sequence number (BSN)

contains the number of last MSU successfully received at the other side; for piggyback acknowledgement negative ack of BSN is indicated by inverting this bit for numbering MSUs uniquely in modulo 128 indications of MSU is new or retransmitted (e.g. after negative ack)

backward indicator bit (BIB)

forward sequence number (FSN) forward indicator bit (FIB)

length indicator (LI)

specifies the length in octets of the following upper-level fields cross-check on closing flag, also a signal unit type indicator
FISU has no user data field ! LI = 0 LSSU has a single user data field of one octet ! LI = 1 or 2 MSU has a data portion that is longer than two octets ! LI = 3 to 63

service information octet (SIO)

indicates the nature of the MSU, consists of two subfields:
service indicator: specifies the type of message being carried subservice field: indicates whether the message is national or internation. Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7) 9

Signaling information field (SIF)

contains information for signaling network level and SS7 level 4 consists of two subfields:
routing label: a 32-bit (14 bits source and destination address each + 4 bits signaling link selection filed, used in traffic distribution) data: user data from some SS7 application or network management data

check bits (CK)

contains an error-detecting code (CRC-16 from all except flags) used to indicate the senders view of the actual status of the link

status field (SF) (only in LSSU)

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)


Operation Basic functions of the signaling link protocol

1. flow control 2. error control 3. error monitoring

flow control
Employs a sliding-window technique Each MSU is given a new FSN, in modulo 128 LSSUs and FISUs not numbered, but carry the last MSUs FSN All three types of signal unit can have negative acknowledgements and piggybacked acknowledgements. In the case of LSSU flow control, if one side is unable to keep up with the flow of data from the other side, busy indication is performed by the status field. For long congestion, timer control is used. Rules are:
If a receiver becomes overloaded, it must send a busy signal to stop transmission from the other side. The receiver withholds ack of the MSUs. If the overload condition persists, the node must repeatedly send a busy indication at intervals of T5 time units (80-120 ms). Other side suspends tx of MSUs. When congestion abates at the receiver, the receiver signals the end of busy condition by resuming positive ack of incoming MSUs. Even if repeated busy indications are received every T5 time units, a node will report the network level that the link is out of service every T6 (3-6 sec).

Error-free signal unit exchange

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)


error control
two forms of error control:
Basic method: applies for signaling links where one-way PD is < 15 ms. Preventive cyclic retransmission method: applies for signaling links where one-way PD is " 15 ms (include signaling links established via satellite).

Basic method is simply a go-back-N ARQ (figure below) When the PD is long, the message unit is relatively short and the link is idle for the most of the time ! low efficiency In this case, it is better not to wait and retransmit all unacknowledged MSUs whenever a node has no MSUs to send. Only positive acks are sent by the other side. Forced retransmission procedure: because of only positive acks, there may be undetected error for a considerable period of time. When a predetermined number of outstanding unacknowledged signal units exists, the transmission of new units is interrupted and the retained signal units are retransmitted cyclically until the number of unacknowledged signal units is reduced.

Transmission of MSUs with error correction

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)


error monitoring two types of signaling link error-rate monitoring

signaling unit error-rate monitor alignment error-rate monitor is employed while the signaling link is in service a means to decide a link be taken out of service due to errors using a counter initially set to zero and manipulated based on:
T: threshold above which an error is signaled to level 3 1/D: the lowest error rate(ratio of signal unit errors to signal units) that will eventually cause an error to be signaled to level 3

signaling unit error-rate monitor

leaky bucket algorithm

counter increments one for each signal unit received in error counter decrements one for every sequence of D received signal units, whether in error or not an unreliable link is that when the counter reaches threshold T for 64-kbps links: T = 64 and D = 256 (1/D = 0.004) detects a consistent error rate not occasional surge of errors is employed while the signaling link is being initialized and aligned alignment: transmitter and receiver are aligned with respect to the opening flag field of each transmitted frame provides the criteria for rejecting a signaling link for service due an excessive error rate using a counter initially set to zero and increments by one for each signal unit received in error If the counter exceeds a threshold before the end of an initial proving period, the proving period is aborted. Five successive failures result in the link being declared unreliable.

alignment error-rate monitor

Common Channel Signaling System Number 7 (SS7)