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11/6/2015

CSCFinVoLTEThePCSCF(Part1of4)LynneExpertOpinionLTEUniversity

CSCFinVoLTEThePCSCF(Part
1of4)
Lynne 12Jun20134:29PM

AsVoLTErollsintotelecomnetworksacrosstheworld,understandingtheIPMultimediaSubsystem(IMS)iscritical
formanytelecomengineers.3GPPRelease5in2002introducedIMS,whichforyearshasbeenasolutionlooking
forakillerapplication.WiththeintroductionofVoiceoverLTE(VoLTE),IMShastheopportunitytoproveits
potentialasthemechanismthatsupportsIPconvergenceinthetelecomspace.
TheIMSnetworkdividesintothreedistinctlayers:theTransportlayer,theSessionandControlLayer,andthe
ApplicationsandServiceslayer.Inthisfourpartseries,wefocusontheSIP(SessionInitiationProtocol)servers
thatoperateintheSessionandControlLayer.TheseSIPserversimplementtheIMScallsessioncontrolfunction
(CSCF).TheCSCFdividesintothreedistinctroles:theProxyCSCF(PCSCF),theInterrogatingCSCF(ICSCF),
andtheServingCSCF(SCSCF).TheseserversusetheSIPprotocoltocommunicatewitheachotherand
ApplicationServers.TheyusetheDIAMETERprotocoltocommunicatewiththeHomeSubscriberServer(HSS)
and/orthePolicyandChargingRulesFunction(PCRF).Inthisseries,Part1examinestheroleofthePCSCF,part
2examinestheroleoftheICSCF,part3examinestheroleoftheSCSCF,andinpart4,welookattheirinteraction
witheachotherandtheothernodesinthenetworkastheyfacilitateaVoLTEcall.

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CSCFinVoLTEThePCSCF(Part1of4)LynneExpertOpinionLTEUniversity

AsanintroductiontotherolesoftheCSCFservers,letsstartwithanoverviewofhowtheyinteractwitheachother.
ThePCSCFisthefirstIMSnodeencounteredwhenaUE(UserEquipment)istryingtoestablishaVoLTEcall.The
PCSCFmustlocateanICSCFfortheuserandtheICSCFmustlocateanSCSCFfortheuser.Thisdivisionof
laborensuresthattheIMSsystemwillscaleasdemandincreasesandsetsthestageforIMSroaming.TheP
CSCF,astheinitialpointofcontact,maybeinthehomeorvisitednetwork.Afterjustafewmessages,theICSCF,
havinglocatedtheSCSCF,bowsoutofthetransaction.TheSCSCFdoestheheavyliftingforaVoLTEcallby
determiningtheresourcesneededtohandleacallsuccessfully.IfthecallterminatesatanotherVoLTEUEinthe
samenetwork,theSCSCFlocatesaPGWtoreachthetargetedUE.IfthecallterminatesataVoLTEUEin
anothercarriersnetworkoratalandlineinthePSTN,theSCSCFlocatestheappropriategatewaystoreachthe
requesteddestinations.
InordertosetupaVoLTEcall,theUEmusthaveadefaultbearerinplace.Letsquicklyreviewthestepsrequired
fortheUEtoreachthisstate.Attachmenttothenetworkisthefirstorderofbusinessand,atpoweron,theUE
sendsanATTACHREQUESTtotheMobilityManagementEntity(MME).TheMMEqueriestheHomeSubscriber
Server(HSS)toretrievethesubscribersprofile.TheprofilecontainstheusersdefaultAccessPointName(APN),
whichforVoLTEcallsisIMS.TheMMEdeterminestheappropriateServingGateway(SGW)andPacketData
NetworkGateway(PGW)forthecall.TheeNodeB,theSGWandthePGWestablishadefaultbearerandtheP
GWsuppliestheUEwithanIPaddress.InadditiontotheUEsIPaddress,thePGWalsoprovidesthePCSCFIP
address.Whentheattachprocedureiscomplete,thedefaultbearerisestablished,theUEhasanIPaddressfor
itselfandtheIPaddressofthePCSCF.
(Note:ItistruethatthereareotherwaysofgettingtheIPofthePCSCFasdesignatedin3GPPTS24.229version
11.5.0AnnexLSectionL.2.2.1EPSbearercontextactivationandPCSCFdiscovery.ReceivingthePCSCFIP
addressfromthePGWwillbethemethodofchoiceduringinitialrolloutofVoLTE.)
OnceattachedtotheLTEnetwork,theUEinitiatestheVoLTEcallbyrequestingSIPregistration.TheUEforwards
theSIPRegistrationmessagetothePCSCF.ThemessagecontainsthehomedomainoftheUEandusingthis
informationthePCSCFconsultsaDNSserverandidentifiesanICSCFintheUEshomenetwork.ThePCSCF
forwardstheRegistrationrequesttotheICSCF,andultimatelyitreachestheSCSCF.Part4addressesthis
messageflow.
EverySIPmessageassociatedwithacallpassesthroughthePCSCF.BesidesactingasthegatewaytotheIMS
networkfortheUE,thePCSCFhasseveralotherrolesthatinclude:
1)EstablishingtheIPSecSecurityAssociation(AS)withtheUE
2)CompressinganddecompressingtheSIPmessagesontheairinterface
3)Providinginformationforbillingandpolicycontrol
4)Identifyingemergencycalls
EstablishingtheIPSecSecurityAssociation(SA)withtheUE
TheIMSstandardrequiresanIPSecSecurityAssociation(SA)betweentheUEandthePCSCF.ThePCSCF
establishestheSAduringtheSIPregistrationprocedure.Theregistrationprocedureisatwostepprocess.TheUE
sendstheRegistermessagetwice.ThefirstRegistermessageallowstheICSCFandtheSCSCFtoauthenticate
theuserbyaccessingthesubscribersprofileintheHSS.ThentheSCSCFreturnsa401Unauthorizedmessage
thatincludesasecuritychallenge.TheUEusesthechallengeinformationtoproduceasecondREGISTERmessage
thatcontainstheuserscredentialsbasedonthesecuritychallenge.InformationintheUnauthorizedmessage
providesthedatatosetuptheIPSecSAbetweentheUEandthePCSCF.TheSAsbetweentheUEandtheP
CSCFprotectthesubscribersprivacyandpreventspoofing.
CompressingandDecompressingtheSIPMessagesontheAirInterface
SIPmessagesareeasilyreadablebecausetheyusetheASCIIcharacterset.Thesetextmessagesmaybeeasyto
readanddebug,buttheyarealsolarge.TheinterfacebetweentheUEandthePCSCFincludestheairinterface,
whichisabandwidthlimitedresource.Compressionimprovesperformanceontheairinterfacebyreducingthesize
ofthemessages.RFC3320definesandRFC4896updatesSigComp,thecompressionprotocolused.TheGm
interface,theinterfacebetweentheUEandthePCSCF,istheonlyIMSinterfacethatimplementssignal
compression.
ProvidingInformationforBillingandPolicyControl
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ThePCSCFgetsinvolvedinbillingandpolicycontrolfortheVoLTEcall.ConsiderthattheIMSnetworkhasno
viewoftheusersdataflowandthatthePGWhasnoviewofthesignalingperformedbytheIMSnodesonbehalfof
theuser.TheIMSsystemandtheLTEnodesproduceChargingDataRecords(CDRs),anddeliverthemtothe
billingsystem.Withrecordscomingfrommultiplesources,somereportingsignalingandothersreportingdatausage,
thecontrolCDRsandthedataCDRsneedamethodforreconciliation.Thisreconciliationissatisfiedwiththe
introductionoftwoidentifiers:theGPRSChargingIdentifier(GCID)createdbythePGWandtheIMSCharging
Identifier(ICID)createdbythePCSCF.ThePCSCFpassestheICIDtothePCRF,whichinturnpassesittotheP
GW.ThePGWpassestheGCIDtothePCRF,whichpassesittothePCSCF,whichpassesittotheremaining
IMSnodesinvolvedinbilling.Withbothidentifiersinhand,nodesthatproducebillingrecordsplacebothIDsinthe
CDRsforthecall.
ThePCSCFalsodeliversinformationtothePCRFthatallowsthePCRFtocreatetheappropriatepolicyrulesfor
thecall.ThePCSCFextractsinformationfromtheSIPmessagesandsendsittothePCRFontheRxinterface
usingtheDIAMETERprotocol.ThisinformationallowsthePCRFtodeterminetheappropriatedatarate,bearertype,
QoS(QualityofService)requirement,andgatingcontrol(packetsallowedordisallowed)forthecall.WhenthePGW
issettingupthevoicedatapathforthecall,itqueriesthePCRFfortheuserspolicyrulesandsetsthecallrules
appropriately.
Identifyingemergencycalls
AsIMSdeveloped,emergencyserviceshaveevolved.ThePCSCF,astheinitialpointofcontactwiththeIMS
network,mustidentifyemergencycallsandroutethemcorrectly.Normally,thegoalofthePCSCFistogetthecall
connectedwithanSCSCFintheUEshomenetwork.Inanemergency,whentheUEisnotinthehomenetwork,
thiswouldnotbetheappropriateaction.Instead,whenthePCSCFidentifiesanemergencycall,itsendsittoan
EmergencyCSCF(ECSCF).3GPPintroducedtheECSCFandenhancementstoemergencycallsappearedin
Releases810.Currently,theplanistoallowthePCSCFtoidentifyemergencycallsandforwardthemalongwith
locationdatatotheECSCF.TheECSCF,usinglocationdatafrommultiplesources,routesthecalltothelocal
PublicSafetyAccessPoint(PSAP),morecommonlyknownasa911Center.Locationservicesarecriticalfor
successfulhandlingofE911callsandtheIMSstandardspecifieslocationservicesforthispurpose.
Summary
ThePCSCFisthefirstIMSSIPserverencounteredinaVoLTEcall.BesidesforwardingSIPmessagestotheother
IMSnodesandtotheUE,itservesinseveralotherroles.Insummary,thefunctionsofthePCSCFareto:
InteractwiththePCRFforbillingandpolicyrulespurposes.
MaintainaSecurityAssociationwiththeUE.
CompressanddecompressSIPmessagesthatusetheairinterface.
IdentifyandforwardemergencycallstothelocalECSCF
Inournextinstallment,wewillexaminetheroleoftheICSCF,thesecondSIPserverencounteredintheIMS
network.

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