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Recommendations until now

Dec 29, 2016

Juniper QFX running on ESXi

Because of my day to day job I'm spinning around networking more and more. Which is not that bad if you ask me. Up until some time ago I was, and I think it's not only me, taking routing/switching for granted - yet another transport layer.
The more I'm getting into it.. it stays as boring as it always was. (joke, but it's boring)

No matter how your views on R/S are recently I found something worth sharing. To be honest, almost each day I'm seeing something from Juniper worth sharing, therefore there will be more resources/links posted here.

Now, in case you haven't noticed, Telecom market is turning towards virtualized solutions. Currently I'm a happy guy as I'm part of the Affirmed Networks, leader in virtaulizing telecoms.
This is also a reason more and more resources will be about boring IT, because virtualization is an IT thing for what 10-15 years by now probably, rather than virtual telecom.

Today I want to share post where David is showing how to run Juniper QFX on ESXi.
This might be useful if you dont have enough to spend on physical appliance of QFX to start fooling around.


Mar 22, 2016

LTE EPC Technology Essentials - Workshop

Few days ago one of my colleagues, Hussien Mahmoud, made slide deck. He shared this slide deck with everyone, I'm here just re-sharing it with you, it's really worth it. All 157 (sic!) packed with knowledge slides, with quality graphics that shows the most important.

Has anyone of you ever tried chicken consomme? It's a soup, like chicken broth but clear and reduced, where flavor is so intense it gives your taste buds a meltdown (..if only this would be possible).
Hussien's slide deck is like that, it's a piece of gold if you ask me. If I only had resource like that back in 2010/11.. oooh boy!

I met Hussien in Cairo/Egypt in 2012, since then he's my good friend but for most he is a great Mobile Packet Core Eng, who also recently joined Affirmed Networks - company I currently sweat blood for.

Have a look, follow him on SlideShare. His slides avail here http://www.slideshare.net/HussienMahmoud2/lte-epc-technology-essentials


Aug 19, 2015

Affirmed Networks - Happy to be part of the future

Some of you know, some of you may know that I work for Affirmed Networks from end of 2013.
All this time to now was a fast joy ride. We got coverage in Feb/2014 because of the AT&T.

 In addition, Affirmed Networks, Inc., has been chosen to work with AT&T on a virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC). [...]
Source: http://www.att.com/
I was dead busy, so blog went on side track. Now I can see I left something to gain something.

Happy and proud to be part of 1bilion USD worth team. We have so many live Customers I lost track who is officially shared to public and who is not - best way to know is to google about it, at least this is what I say.

Yesterday Forbes published
Cisco Systems and Ericsson are among the big companies losing market share to a fast-growing startup — Acton, Mass.-based Affirmed Networks.
Full text below
This startup from Acton, Mass is Affirmed Networks.
Happy to be part of the change in Telecoms, part of its future.

Full Forbes text here

Jul 8, 2015

Cable operators becoming MVNO

Wanted to share good article. It's some promotional thing for their product, but it's decent piece of information.

Wanted to share good article. It's some promotional thing for their product, but it's decent piece of information. I cannot say if advertised products are good or bad, but article itself is a decent one. This is where the Telecom walks now.

Cable operators becoming MVNO: a win-win scenario

[...] As a 2014 report from Adobe already showed, more than 50% of browsing on smartphones and 93% of browsing on tablet comes from WiFi.

Even as they expand their offer, cable providers still see usage limited to home or office hours. On their side, mobile operators continue to upgrade their networks to 4G (and future 5G) technology to deliver more high-quality media content; this makes them competitive in terms of service quality but also results in rising infrastructure investment.
In this post we’ll see how cable companies and MNO can start providing data services using a shared infrastructure, with YateHSS/HLR and the YateUCN unified core.
Mobile data offloading can be an opportunity for both operators and cable companies to provide data access to more users without incurring large expenses. Offloading enables operators to reduce the traffic load on their networks and reallocate bandwidth to other users in case of congestion, by assigning part of the traffic to a WiFi network. For cable companies, it becomes possible to serve subscribers in-between existing hotspots, making them rely primarily on the WiFi network, rather than on the cellular one.

This can be done through MVNO agreements between cable operators and one or multiple MNO, so that the cable provider would share the network assets of the operator to provide carrier-class WiFi access.
As MVNO, a cable company will provide its own SIMs, and its customers will register to and receive data traffic from the MNO’s network. Though some MVNO may choose to also operate their own core network, they are usually likely to hold control over billing, subscriber management and policy control functions, in which case they will only deploy an HLR and/or HSS. In fact, reportsx suggest that it is preferable for MVNO who offer triple or quad-play operating to deploy their own HSS/HLR (to which they can integrate policy control and AAA), because they need to provide a ‘consistent treatment of the user’ across terminals and technologies.

Once the device is known to the core network, YateUCN communicates with the AuC in the YateHSS/HLR using the SS7 or Diameter protocol, depending on the type of services the user has access to. As soon as the SIM is authenticated, the HSS/HLR takes over and manages the SIM and its services. [...]

follow the link to get more - resource.


Mar 20, 2014

Bootstrapping server function (BSF) in LTE

Recently I faced question about role of Bootstrapping Server Function (BSF) function in the LTE network, this made me thinking and digging. On the end I decided to share this woit you in case anyone has ever wondered about that. So what is the role of BSF in LTE?

The BSF queries the Subscriber Locator Function (SLF) over Dz interface, which is Diameter based,  to get the name of the HSS containing the required subscriber specific data.

It's similar to Zh or Zh' (Z-h-prim), dont remember it right now, interface used by BSF to connect to HLR to fetch authentication information.

Check the 3GPP 33.220 for more details http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/specs/archive/33_series/33.220/

Jan 15, 2014

Resource: SIM Card Forensics - Introduction

Just few moments ago I have found quite interesting article that covers in details how the SIM card is build and works. Maybe for Terminal-side guys this is obvious but myself I found few new things for myself.
As the title says this is just introduction, more information could be coming.

SIM Structure and File Systems

A SIM card contains a processor and operating system with between 16 and 256 KB of persistent, electronically erasable, programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). It also contains RAM (random access memory) and ROM (read-only memory). RAM controls the program execution flow and the ROM controls the operating system work flow, user authentication, data encryption algorithm, and other applications. The hierarchically organized file system of a SIM resides in persistent memory and stores data as names and phone number entries, text messages, and network service settings. Depending on the phone used, some information on the SIM may coexist in the memory of the phone. Alternatively, information may reside entirely in the memory of the phone instead of available memory on the SIM.
Fig. 1. SIM Card File System

follow the link to get more - resource.


Jan 14, 2014

Combined Attach in LTE/4G

Some time ago I'v covere the Attach Procedure, from then many times I saw questions about the Combined Attach.
So here it is, the Combined Attach himself.

First it has to be addressed what is the Combined Attach and why it's so different from Attach procedure already covered.

What Combined Attach is?

It's attach for both EPS and non-EPS services, or both EPS services and "SMS only".
The combined attach procedure is also used by a UE in CS/PS to attach for EPS services if it is already IMSI attached for non-EPS services.

How Combined Attach is triggered?

When the UE initiates a combined attach procedure, the UE shall indicate "combined EPS/IMSI attach" in the EPS attach type IE.

If the UE is in EMM state EMM-DEREGISTERED, the UE initiates the combined attach procedure by sending an ATTACH REQUEST message to the network, starting timer T3410 (More about EMM timers? Check the EMM timers or ESM timers article) and entering state EMM-REGISTERED-INITIATED.

If timer T3402 is currently running, the UE shall stop timer T3402. If timer T3411 is currently running, the UE shall stop timer T3411.

Jan 2, 2014

New year, another year online!

Hi everyone!,
It has been 2 years since the blog is up and running, or it will be in exactly 4 days from now. ;-)

Few things has changed during this time in my private life, I have definitely moved forward with what I'm doing for living, and definitely running this blog helped me to evolve.

Your comments and inputs to whatever I'm posting keeps me up to speed and motivated. Anyone of them is important to me, thanks for everything. With few of you I'm having conversations on telecom topics on monthly basis. Thanks for your trust in me.
Thanks for all your questions and for the opportunities to help in problems you had. Solving those also pushed me forward.

If you have any questions or propositions I could take into consideration to write about simply let me know.

Hope you will stick with me next 2 years or even longer.

Wish you all great 2014, success at work and ample of energy to self improve.

Regards, Cheers!,
Bart Barton

Nov 30, 2013

S-TMSI usage and allocation process

During which procedure the S-TMSI  (SAE-Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity) is allocated?

Answer could be put as a one-liner, during the Attach procedure.

Going little bit deeper into the details..
At the time of initial attach (so I would say IMSI not GUTI attach, what is the difference? Check here What is GUTI and IMSI attach) procedure, the UE sends Att Req with IMSI to the Network to process the Request. If it's successful the MME will reply with Attach Accept message which contain the GUTI as one of the IE (Information Element).

Based on article IMSI, TMSI and GUTI - how they are created (and 3GPP Specs) we know that GUTI consist from MCC, MNC, MME Group ID, MME Code and M-TMSI.

What is M-TMSI (MME-Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity)?
M-TMSI represents a TMSI in MME area.

Last statement on allocation topic is left to say that S-TMSI is being created from MME Code and M-TMSI. The S-TMSI represents the TMSI in MME pool area.

During the Attach process MME creates the UE Context and assigns the S-TMSI to it. Later this UE Context holds user subscription information fetched from HSS in Authentication process. The local (in MME) storage of subscription allows faster execution of procedures such as bearer establishment because it removes the need to consult the HSS each time.

own experience,
3GPP Spec

DIAMETER based interfaces in EPC, UMTS and IMS

Recently I've seen question regarding on which interface in LTE or UMTS the DIAMETER protocol is used.

Basically DIAMETER is an Authentication, Authorization & Accounting (AAA)  protocol. That is why any of you will see DIAMETER used for these functions.

                    S6a - Authentication, more in TS 29.272
                    Gy - Prepaid charging, more in TS 23.203, TS 32.299;
                    Gz - Postpaid charging;
                    Gx - QoS/Policy, more in TS 29.211, TS 29.212;
                    Rf - Charging, more in TS 32.299;
                    Ro - Charging, more in TS 32.299;
                    Rx - QoS/Policy, more in TS 29.214;
                    S6d - Authentication;
                    S9 - QoS/Policy;
                    Sh - Subscriber Profile;
                    Cx - Subscriber Profile;
                    e2 - Location.
But also few others specific to IMS