Application delivery and security systems specialist F5 Networks Inc. has agreed to buy next-generation mobile signaling system vendor Traffix Systems for an undisclosed sum, though Israeli publisher Globes reported the price as US$130 million.
Traffix has developed a number of individual and integrated Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) products (gateway, router, load balancer) for the management of Diameter signaling traffic. Diameter is the signaling protocol designated by the 3GPP for authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA) on HSPA+, LTE and IMS networks and is also vital for the management and control of signaling messages on LTE networks. (See Traffix Opens LTE Diameter Interop Lab, Traffix Opens Its Gateway and Traffix Supports LTE.)
F5 already offers operators various products that help with the secure management of traffic across their networks and believes that adding the Traffix portfolio and know-how to its existing data and applications management systems will give it "the unique depth and breadth to make the transition from 3G to 4G and IMS much simpler, cost effective, and non-disruptive for carriers."
Traffix, an Israeli company that has been in business since 2005 and claims to be profitable, says it has more than 100 Diameter product deployments, including some at what it calls "top tier telecom operators."
Traffix raised a $7 million round of funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners in November 2011 and according to Globes has raised about $13 million in total. Its other investors include StageOne Ventures and Shaked Ventures. (See Traffix Grabs $7M for 4G Signaling Funding.)
Why this matters
Diameter protocol traffic management is going to be critical for advanced 3G and LTE networks operators as they tackle the complexities associated with key capabilities, namely: managing growing volumes of signaling traffic; exchanging policy control data; introducing and charging for new applications and data services. (See LTE Signaling Woes Ahead? and Talking Next-Gen Core Networks.)
So having the Traffix team and portfolio on board is important for F5's pitch to the world's mobile operators as they move towards LTE networks and services. And being part of a company that generated $1.15 billion in revenues in its most recent fiscal year and which boasts all of the world's 10 largest communications service providers as existing customers will help get Traffix's SPIT technology more broadly marketed and distributed.
F5 and Traffix aren't alone in identifying Diameter as a key technology for LTE network operators, though. In addition to the major network equipment vendors, Acme Packet Inc., BroadHop Inc., IntelliNet Technologies Inc., Openet Telecom Ltd. and Tekelec Inc. are all fighting for attention in the niche but important Diameter protocol management market. (See Tekelec on a Tear, BroadHop Works With DPI Majors, Tekelec Intros LTE Solution and Acme Unveils Policy Exchange Controller for LTE.)
F5 is covering a lot of key technology bases with its product developments while still generating healthy profits:
â€” Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading