Signalling System No. 7 (SS7) is a set of telephony signaling protocols which are used to set up most of the world’s public switched telephone network telephone calls. The main purpose is to set up and tear down telephone calls. Other uses include number translation, local number portability, prepaid billing mechanisms, short message service (SMS), and a variety of other mass market services.
It is usually referenced as Signalling System No. 7 or Signalling System #7, or simply abbreviated to SS7. In North America it is often referred to asCCSS7, an abbreviation for Common Channel Signalling System 7. In some European countries, specifically the United Kingdom, it is sometimes called C7 (CCITT number 7) and is also known as number 7 and CCIS7 (Common Channel Interoffice Signaling 7). In Germany it is often called as N7 (Signalisierungssystem Nummer 7).
There is only one international SS7 protocol defined by ITU-T in its Q.700-series recommendations. There are however, many national variants of the SS7 protocols. Most national variants are based on two widely deployed national variants as standardized by ANSI and ETSI, which are in turn based on the international protocol defined by ITU-T. Each national variant has its own unique characteristics. Some national variants with rather striking characteristics are the China (PRC) and Japan (TTC) national variants.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has also defined level 2, 3, and 4 protocols that are compatible with SS7:
- Message Transfer Part (MTP) level 2 (M2UA and M2PA)
- Message Transfer Part (MTP) level 3 (M3UA)
- Signalling Connection Control Part (SCCP) (SUA)
The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) allows phone calls and similar communication sessions to be made over the Internet, private data networks, or cellular networks. It defines the messages that are sent between parties (signaling) which govern establishment, termination, and other essential elements of a call (or, more generally, a session, hence the name).
SIP is an IETF-defined signaling protocol and is widely used for controlling communication sessions such as voice and video calls over Internet Protocol (IP). The protocol can be used for creating, modifying and terminating two-party (unicast) or multiparty (multicast) sessions. Sessions may consist of one or several media streams, such as voice or video data.
SIP is an application layer protocol designed to be independent of the underlying transport layer; it can run on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP),User Datagram Protocol (UDP), or Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP). It is a text-based protocol, incorporating many elements of theHypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).