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SS7 Stack



ISUP (p. 2)



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SS7 Protocol Stack

The hardware and software functions of the SS7 protocol are divided into functional abstractions called "levels". These levels map loosely to the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) 7-layer model defined by the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Figure 3.  The OSI Reference Model and the SS7 Protocol Stack

Figure 3. The OSI Reference Model and the SS7 Protocol Stack

Message Transfer Part

The Message Transfer Part (MTP) is divided into three levels. The lowest level, MTP Level 1, is equivalent to the OSI Physical Layer. MTP Level 1 defines the physical, electrical, and functional characteristics of the digital signaling link. Physical interfaces defined include E-1 (2048 kb/s; 32 64 kb/s channels), DS-1 (1544 kb/s; 24 64kb/s channels), V.35 (64 kb/s), DS-0 (64 kb/s), and DS-0A (56 kb/s).

MTP Level 2 ensures accurate end-to-end transmission of a message across a signaling link. Level 2 implements flow control, message sequence validation, and error checking. When an error occurs on a signaling link, the message (or set of messages) is retransmitted. MTP Level 2 is equivalent to the OSI Data Link Layer.

MTP Level 3 provides message routing between signaling points in the SS7 network. MTP Level 3 re-routes traffic away from failed links and signaling points and controls traffic when congestion occurs. MTP Level 3 is equivalent to the OSI Network Layer.

ISDN User Part (ISUP)

The ISDN User Part (ISUP) defines the protocol used to set-up, manage, and release trunk circuits that carry voice and data between terminating line exchanges (e.g., between a calling party and a called party). ISUP is used for both ISDN and non-ISDN calls. However, calls that originate and terminate at the same switch do not use ISUP signaling.

Telephone User Part (TUP)

In some parts of the world (e.g., China, Brazil), the Telephone User Part (TUP) is used to support basic call setup and tear-down. TUP handles analog circuits only. In many countries, ISUP has replaced TUP for call management.

Signaling Connection Control Part (SCCP)

SCCP provides connectionless and connection-oriented network services and global title translation (GTT) capabilities above MTP Level 3. A global title is an address (e.g., a dialed 800 number, calling card number, or mobile subscriber identification number) which is translated by SCCP into a destination point code and subsystem number. A subsystem number uniquely identifies an application at the destination signaling point. SCCP is used as the transport layer for TCAP-based services.

Transaction Capabilities Applications Part (TCAP)

TCAP supports the exchange of non-circuit related data between applications across the SS7 network using the SCCP connectionless service. Queries and responses sent between SSPs and SCPs are carried in TCAP messages. For example, an SSP sends a TCAP query to determine the routing number associated with a dialed 800/888 number and to check the personal identification number (PIN) of a calling card user. In mobile networks (IS-41 and GSM), TCAP carries Mobile Application Part (MAP) messages sent between mobile switches and databases to support user authentication, equipment identification, and roaming.

Operations, Maintenance and Administration Part (OMAP) and ASE

OMAP and ASE are areas for future definition. Presently, OMAP services may be used to verify network routing databases and to diagnose link problems.

The SEGway™ Signaling Gateway supports MTP Level 1, 2, and 3, and SCCP layers of the SS7 Protocol Stack.

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