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June 12, 2012
SS7 Sets the Standard for VoIP Gateways, VoIP Routers

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

A worldwide standard for telecommunications network exchange of information helps to define the procedures and protocols involved. The SS7 standard fills this need for network elements in the PSTN sent over a digital signaling network to ensure the creation of a VoIP gateway for remote setup, routing and control. 

A recent Patton (News - Alert) tutorial explores the fundamentals involved in the Signaling System No. 7 (SS7). There are a number of variants of the SS7, including those used in North America: the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Bell Communications Research (Telcordia (News - Alert) Technologies). In Europe, the standard is the Telecommunications Standard Institute (ATSI).

Regardless of the location, the SS7 is used to enable the VoIP gateways for VoIP routers, basic call setup, call management and the tear down of the network. It also enables wireless services, local number portability (LNP), toll-free access, toll wireline services, enhanced call features and SMS. 

So why is the SS7 important for VoIP gateways and VoIP routers? Consumers and businesses alike are rapidly adopting VoIP technologies due to the seamless integration and cost benefits the platform provides. With this proliferation, it’s important to understand the technology and the role it plays in the industry as a whole. Within the telecommunications network, everything is based on signaling, from setup to connection to tear down and finally, billing. 

Patton provides products to work within the signaling arena, including Channel Associated Signaling and Common Channel Signaling. Much like the ISDN, SS7 uses a form of CCS, relying on different messaging for call setup and tear down. SS7 allows any SS7-enabled node to talk to another, regardless of whether or not they have direct trunk connections between the two. Quasi-Associated is the preferred mode of signaling for SS7 networks where ISDN-PRI relies on the Associated Signaling mode. All SS7 messages sent through VoIP gateways are 56 or 64 kbps bidirectional channels known as exchanged between network elements. 

Signaling in such scenarios occurs on dedicated channels out-of-band. With SS7 common channel signaling, intelligence is provided on the network and allows for a quicker call setup and tear down, which saves both time and money. Out-of-band signaling enabled with SS7 provides quicker call setup times, more efficiency in the use of voice circuits, support for the Intelligent Network (IN) services, improved control over fraudulent network usage and the lowering of network operating costs through a reduction in SS7 links. 

Finally, the signaling modes enabled by SS7 include Associated Signaling, which relies on one dedicated path between the switches to serve as a signaling link; Non-Associated Signaling, which uses separate logical paths and multiple nodes; and Quasi-Associated Signaling, which uses a minimal number of nodes, which is preferred for SS7.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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