SS7 Overview

Signaling System Number 7 (SS7) is the protocol used by the telephone companies for interoffice signaling. In the past, in-band signaling techniques were used on interoffice trunks. This method of signaling used the same physical path for both the call-control signaling and the actual connected call. This method of signaling is inefficient and is rapidly being replaced by out-of-band or common-channel signaling techniques. A network utilizing common-channel signaling is actually two networks in one: 1. First there is the circuit-switched "user" network which actually carries the user voice and data traffic. It provides a physical path between the source and destination. 2. The second is the signaling network which carries the call control traffic. It is a packet-switched network using a common channel switching protocol. The original common channel interoffice signaling protocols were based on Signaling System Number 6 (SS6). Today SS7 is being used in new installations worldwide. SS7 is the defined interoffice signaling protocol for ISDN. It is also in common use today outside of the ISDN environment. The primary function of SS7 is to provide call control, remote network management, and maintenance capabilities for the inter- office telephone network. SS7 performs these functions by exchanging control messages between SS7 telephone exchanges (signaling points or SPs) and SS7 signaling transfer points (STPs). The switching offices (SPs) handle the SS7 control network as well as the user circuitswitched network. Basically, the SS7 control network tells the switching office which paths to establish over the circuit-switched network. The STPs route SS7 control packets across the signaling network. A switching office may or may not be an STP.

Message Transfer Part: Signaling Data Link Level
The SIGNALLING DATA LINK LEVEL of SS7 is equivalent to Layer 1 of the OSI model. The signaling data link level is defined as a full-duplex digital channel operating at 64 Kbps. In North America, AT&T and Telecom Canada actually run at 56 Kbps.

Message Transfer Part: Signaling Link Level
The SIGNALLING LINK LEVEL of SS7 is equivalent to Layer 2 of the OSI model. This level is responsible for assuring reliable transmission across the link. As a Layer 2 protocol, the signaling link level must ensure that:

Transmitted blocks are delivered with no errors, losses or duplication.

The SS7 specification calls for FISUs to be sent with a single intervening flag whenever the link is idle. this equates to a throughput of 1. LSSU: The LINK STATUS SIGNAL UNIT is used by the signaling link level to bring the link into alignment. only a single-byte SF has been defined. Only three bits of this byte are used.Link Status Signal Unit MSU . problems will be recognized quickly and corrective actions can be implemented with minimal loss of service.333 frames per second. The format of an LSSU is identical to the FISU except that the length indicator is always set to 1 or 2. with a single intervening flag. LSSUs are sent continuously end-to-end. Any equipment used on an SS7 link must be able to handle these high frame rates.• • The blocks are delivered in the proper order.Fill In Signal Unit LSSU .Message Signal Unit The FILL IN SIGNAL UNIT is sent when no other signal units are available. Opening and closing flags are shared between frames in SS7. Like FISUs. The extra bytes in an LSSU are the SF or status field byte or bytes. FISUs include: FLG BSN BIB FSN FIB LI UB CK FLG Opening Flag Backward Sequence Number Backward Indicator Bit Forward Sequence Number Forward Indicator Bit Length Indicator Unused Bits Check Bits (CRC) Closing Flag 8 7 1 7 1 6 2 16 8 Bits Bits Bit Bits Bit Bits Bits Bits Bits FISU: In a FISU the length indicator is always 0. At this time. Thus consecutive FISUs can repeat every 48 bits. The signaling link level contains the three basic types of frames or signaling units listed below: • • • FISU . At the specified 64 Kbps line speed for an SS7 link. The receiver is capable of exercising flow control over the transmitted data. This is recommended so that link-error information is available even when there is no higher-level information to be sent. These bits provide the following status indications: 000 001 010 011 100 "O" "N" "E" "OS" "PO" Status Status Status Status Status Indication Indication Indication Indication Indication Out Of Alignment Normal Alignment Emergency Alignment Out Of Service Processor Outage . In this way.

The length indicator of the MSU can vary from 3 to 63. MSU: The MESSAGE SIGNAL UNIT carries the actual upper-level information. The SIF consists of two sub fields: 1. The subservice field indicates whether the frame is for a national or international network. MSU Service Indicator Bits ------------------------------------------------------0000 Signaling Network Management Messages 0001 Signaling Network Testing and Maintenance Messages 0010 Spare 0011 SCCP .Signaling Connection Control Part 0100 TUP . After a brief proving period. The User Data Message Transfer Part: Signaling Network Level The Signaling Network Level of SS7 is a connectionless (data gram) style service that handles two primary functions: • • Message handling Signaling network management . 2. if ISDN User Part (ISUP) information is to be sent. it will be carried in an MSU. the link goes "in service" and FISUs and MSUs occupy the link in place of LSSUs.- 101 "B" Status Indication Busy Alignment is achieved when both sides of a link are sending "N" or "E" LSSUs.ISDN User Part 0110 Data User Part (call and circuit related messages) 0111 Data User Part (facility registration & cancellation) The bytes following the SIO are the Signaling Information Field or SIF. The Standard Label (which is a 32-bit address field containing source and destination address information). For example.Telephone User Part 0101 ISUP . The bytes preceding the length indicator are the same as for the FISU and LSSU. The SIO is broken into two 4-bit fields: 1. The service indicator bits indicate what type of message is being carried. A length indication of 63 indicates that the Service Info field is 63 or longer. The first byte following the length indicator is the SIO or Service Information Octet. 2.

etc. bypass the SCCP layer.. The SCCP provides additional connectionless services as well as basic connectionoriented services.) [This selection is based on the level 2 SIO. These functions. TUP.] The SIGNALLING NETWORK MANAGEMENT function is unique to SS7. SS7 networks are designed with redundant links and with dynamic rerouting. The combination of the MTP and SCCP conforms to the OSI reference model. This function requires high-speed. low-delay. connectionless communications links.Sequenced Connectionless Service enhances Class 0 by providing sequencing Class 2 . Due to the criticalness of the SS7 networks.Basic Connectionless Service Class 1 .Basic Connection-Oriented Service supports either: . Many of the major functions of an SS7 link do not require these capabilities. the primary value of the SCCP is that it provides a means for allowing higher-layer OSI protocols to communicate over an SS7 link. Thus. That combination (MTP and SCCP) is referred to as the Network Services Part (NSP) of SS7. The signaling management function: • • Monitors the status of all of the various links and makes routing decisions based on its findings Communicates its findings to remote signaling points Signaling Connection Control Part (SCCP) The primary function of SS7 is call control. such as the Telephone User Part. Thus. ISUP. SIGNALLING CONNECTION CONTROL PART (cont) The SCCP provides five PROTOCOL CLASSES OF SERVICE: Class 0 . the Signaling Network Level of SS7 does not provide all of the features required of the network layer by the OSI model.e. The lower three layers of SS7 (the MTP) are designed to optimize the protocol for this type of operation.The MESSAGE HANDLING functions provide: • • • Message Discrimination: Determines at each signaling point if the message is to be forwarded to the message routing or message distribution function Message Routing: Selects the link to be used for each message that is to be forwarded Message Distribution: Determines which user part at Layer 4 is to receive the message (i. this facility is provided within the protocol.

. X .Connection Refused RLSD .Release Complete DT1 . . MSUs carrying SCCP messages have the Service Indicator bits of the SIO set to 0011. X .Expedited Data Acknowledgment RSR . . . . . . . . X 3 .Error Recovery and Flow Control Connection-Oriented Service provides error recovery from messages. .Data Form 1 DT2 . X X . An SCCP message contains five parts: • • • • • Routing Label Message Type Mandatory Fixed Part Mandatory Variable Part Optional Part The message type consists of a single byte and is mandatory in all messages. .Unidata Service ED . . and corrupted messages SCCP messages are carried in MSU-type frames. . .Reset Confirmation ERR . X .A temporary or a permanent connection between nodes Multiplexing of different SS7 connections onto one MTP network connection • Does NOT provide flow-control and sequencing.1 . missequenced messages. . . . . The message types listed on the following page have been defined: MESSAGE TYPE --------------------------------------CR .Data Acknowledgment UDT .Unidata UDTS .Released RLC .Flow-Control Connection-Oriented Service provides: • • • • Connection-oriented service with flow control Expedited data Message-loss detection Sequence checks Class 4 .Reset Request RSCM . X . X . . X . . X X X X . . X X . .Connection Request CC . . . .Data Form 2 AK . X X X X X X X X X X X .Error IT .Expedited Data EA .2 . . . . . • • Class 3 .Connection Confirm CREF . X . This byte uniquely defines the function and format of each SCCP message.4 X X X X X X X X X X . .Inactivity Test CLASS 0 . .

Telephone User Part (TUP) and ISDN User Part (ISUP) The Telephone User Part (TUP) and the ISDN User Part (ISUP) both define the telephone signaling functions supported by SS7. and a number of other telephone signaling functions. Call Supervision Message Circuit Supervision Message Circuit Group Supervision Message Reserved Circuit Network Management Group ISDN USER PART ISUP: The ISUP defines the procedures and functions used within the network in order to provide the users with circuit. ISUP is being deployed in North America. Some of the other services provided by ISUP are: . The ISUP was defined later for ISDN applications. The label consists of 40 bytes and is broken into three fields (codes): DPC .Origination Point: Identifies the origination of the TUP CIC .Circuit Identification: Identifies the telephone circuit among those interconnecting the source and destination The next fields. Unsuccessful Backward Setup Information Msg. The TUP was defined first and is widely deployed outside of North America. heading codes H0 and H1.Destination Point: Identifies the destination of the TUP OPC . (Currently H1 defines 53 different messages. identify message type. The basic service provided by the ISUP is the establishment and clearing of circuit-switched calls. H0 identifies the message group and H1 identifies the message within the group. The first portion of the TUP is the label. but its telephone signaling functions are applicable outside of the ISDN environment. passing charging information. clearing calls.switched services for voice and non-voice calls. Telephone User Part TUP: The TUP is used in establishing calls.) The groups currently assigned by H0: H0 ---0001 0010 0011 0100 0101 0110 0111 1000 1001 1010 ABREV ----FAM FSM BSM SBM UBM CSM CCM GRM CNM MESSAGE DEFINITION --------------------------------------------Forward Address Message Forward Setup Message Backward Setup Message Successful Backward Setup Information Msg.

was submitted to the CCITT as the U.Specifies circuit ID related to the message Message Type . The original implementations of TCAP were created to support calling card and 800-number applications in North America by the North American T1 standards committee.• • • • • • Closed user group User access to calling party address identification User access to called party address identification Redirection of calls Call completion to busy subscribers Malicious call identification The ISUP Message consists of the following six parts: Routing Label • • • Origination Point Code (OPC) Destination Point Code (DPC) Signaling Link Selection (SLS) Circuit ID .Contains mandatory parameters that are variable in length.S. Mandatory Variable .Specifies the type of ISUP message being sent (The definition of the following bytes depends on the message type. contribution to the CCITT TCAP working group.) Mandatory Fixed . Optional Part . referred to as Issue 1 of ANSI TCAP.Contains parameters that are mandatory for the type of message sent. This version.Contains optional parameters There are nine categories of ISUP message types. The . These message types are: • • • • • • • • • Forward Address Message General Setup Message Backward Setup Message Call Supervision Message Circuit Supervision Message Circuit Group Supervision Message In-Call Modification Message Node-To-Node Message User-To-User Message Transaction Capabilities Application Part (TCAP) TCAP: The Transaction Capabilities Applications Part (TCAP) of SS7 is used to control non-circuit-related communications between two or more signaling nodes.

TCAP interfaces directly with SCCP. Connectionless services do not require the services of the ASP/ISP. TCAP is an Applications Layer entity. A TCAP message consists of: • • A transaction portion One or more component portions Each data element of a TCAP message is divided into three parts: • • • Identifier Length of contents Contents The IDENTIFIER uses the two most-significant bits to indicate the Identifier Class. 1 Revision 2 TCAP is based on the encoding rules provided in CCITT Recommendation X. The current implementations of TCAP are all transaction. to have the 1988 CCITT version of TCAP adopted as Issue 2 of ANSI TCAP. ANSI Issue 1.CCITT reworked the North American version of TCAP and this reworked version was released in the 1988 edition of CCITT recommendations. The U. in current implementations. without success. In the OSI model.oriented connectionless services. thus.409. In SS7.S. Revision 2 of TCAP Definition ANSI Issue. CLASS ---------------Universal Application-Wide Context-Specific Private Use BITS ---00 01 10 11 USAGE -------------------------Universal International TCAP Context-Specific National TCAP/Private TCAP . the MTP and SCCP levels of the protocol combine to form a standard OSI Network Layer interface. The ANSI committee responsible for TCAP has agreed to work towards an Issue 2 of TCAP which is compatible with the CCITT version. CCITT committee attempted. The layers between SCCP and TCAP are the: • • • Presentation layer Session layer Transport layer Together they are referred to as the Applications Service Part (ASP) by ANSI and Intermediate Services Part (ISP) by CCITT.

The Identifiers unique to the ANSI implementation of TCAP use the Private Use Class of Identifier. Each information element in a TCAP message has three fields: • • • Tag Length Contents . One of the Transaction Portion elements is the Component Portion. The Transaction Portion contains elements used by the transaction sublayer. The Identifiers currently defined are listed on the following pages: TRANSACTION PORTION IDENTIFIERS ------------------------------------Unidirectional Package Type Query With Permission Package Type Query Without Permission Package Type Response Package Type Conversation With Permission Pkg Type Conversation W/O Permission Pkg Type Transaction ID Component Sequence Invoke Component (Last) Return Result Component (Last) Return Error Component Reject Component Invoke Component (Not Last) Return Result Component (Not Last) Component ID National TCAP Operation Code Private TCAP Operation Code Parameter Set National TCAP Error Code Private TCAP Error Code Problem Code ACG Indicators Standard Announcement Customized Announcement Digits Standard Use Error Code Problem Data SCCP Calling Party Address Transaction ID Package Type Service Key HGFEDCBA -------11100001 11100010 11100011 11100100 11100101 11100110 11000111 11101000 11101001 11101010 11101011 11101100 11101101 11101110 11001111 11010000 11010001 11110010 11010011 11010100 11010101 10000001 10000010 10000011 10000100 10000101 10000110 10000111 10001000 10001001 10101010 1988 CCITT TCAP Definition The 1988 CCITT TCAP recommendation is based on encoding rules provided in CCITT Recommendation X. The TCAP message consists of a Transaction Portion and a Component Portion.209. and it contains the elements used by the Component sublayer.

and administration procedures for the SIGNALLING NETWORK to deal with the following functions: • • • • • • • • • • Management Of Routing Data Circuit Validation Test MTP Routing Verification Test Reception Of A Message From An Unknown Destination SCCP Routing Verification Test Long Term Measurement Collection On-Occurrence Measurement Reporting Delay Measurements Clock Initialization Operations . maintenance. The Tags currently defined are listed on the following pages: TRANSACTION PORTION: MESSAGE TYPE TAG -------------------Unidirectional Begin (Reserved) End Continue (Reserved) Abort COMPONENT PORTION: COMPONENT PORTION TAG COMPONENT TYPE TAG -------------------Invoke Return Result (Last) Return Error Reject (Reserved) (Reserved) Return Result (Not Last) HGFEDCBA -------01100001 01100010 01100011 01100100 01100101 01100110 01100111 HGFEDCBA -------01101100 HGFEDCBA -------10100001 10100010 10100011 10100100 10100101 10100110 10100111 Operations/Maintenance Applications Part OMAP: The Operations and Maintenance Part of SS7 (OMAP) provides for the overall network management of the SS7 network.The CCITT and ANSI Tag definition are similar. The CCITT recommendation specifies the following Operations. The Tag uses the two most significant bits to define the Class. There is active discussion within the CCITT on expanding the role of OMAP to include management of the backbone circuit-switched (User) network.

. Operations and maintenance procedures for both the SIGNALLING NETWORK and the EXCHANGES. 2. TIMER definitions and values. 4. Requirements on the PROTOCOLS used to support the operations and maintenance procedures. and PERFORMANCE TIME definitions and values. Operations and maintenance procedures for the EXCHANGES. 3.The CCITT recommendation also specify the following areas: 1.

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