Several traditional test solution vendors have announced that they have discontinued their SS7 product lines. Of course, while we understand that future network evolution is important, at Polystar, we also know that SS7 remains of fundamental importance – which is why we continue to invest in our SS7 support and capabilities. So, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve added MAP support to our test capabilities. MAP – Mobile Application Part – is a set of SS7-based standards that are fundamental to the operation of 2G and 3G networks.
Despite ongoing progress towards universal 4G and evolution to 5G, the fact remains that earlier generations of mobile network technology will remain in service for many years to come. And, many new services will have to span all generations of network technology, not just the latest. Without MAP coverage, you simply can’t test and validate services end-to-end across the entire connected infrastructure. That’s why Polystar is committed to serving all of the market, even if some are choosing to neglect the needs of customers with complex, heterogeneous legacy and NGN networks.
But there are also some important new market drivers that make SS7 essential. First, the ongoing rise of Machine to Machine (M2M) applications. Despite the enormous attention paid to new connectivity technologies, such as NB-IoT (which is based on an evolution to 4G LTE), many M2M deployments are actually based on legacy GSM standards. This means that testing for network performance must also factor in the need to interact with the SS7 elements that support GSM-based M2M services – which means MAP is a prerequisite.
Second, there is also growing awareness that SS7 networks could be vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated fraud and invasive security attacks, particularly as the number of deployed devices grows. There have been several well-publicised attempts to hack SS7 networks and vulnerabilities were exposed at events such as Chaos Communication Congress (31C3, back in 2014). The threat remains high and awareness has grown among the CSP community, just as the number of attacks has also grown. To mitigate these security threats, CSPs are now starting to deploy SS7 security solutions like SS7 firewalls which, in turn, creates a need for more testing of SS7, as well as heightened vigilance.
Third, much of the deployed technology is shifting to cloud-based solutions, often using the latest NFV architecture. Combined, these drivers illustrate how a large increase in traffic (from new M2M devices) together with a shift to new underlying platforms has led to an even greater need to test the robustness of SS7 network elements and services. Incidentally, the same is true following the introduction of new types of network infrastructure, such as SS7 firewalls.
That’s why we’re continuing to invest in our SS7 capabilities, both in terms of protocol support (MAP) and in terms of the test practices that can be enabled. If you’re concerned about SS7 vulnerabilities and are faced with a technology gap after the end of life of legacy solutions, why not contact us?
At Polystar, we remain committed to all generations of network technology, giving you complete coverage and providing you with the confidence to support your growing M2M rollout plans, whichever technology is chosen. To learn more about our MAP support in Solver, please get in touch.
POLYSTAR MEDIA CONTACT
Director of Marketing
Phone: +46 8 50 600 600