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1. WO2020112154 - PROCÉDÉS, SYSTÈMES ET SUPPORTS LISIBLES PAR ORDINATEUR POUR DISTRIBUER DES CONNEXIONS SIGTRAN ENTRE DES PROCESSEURS DE MESSAGE D'UN POINT DE TRANSFERT DE SIGNAL (STP)

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AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 18 October 2019 (18.10.2019)

CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method for distributing Sigtran connections among signal transfer point (STP) message processors, the method comprising:

providing a connection load balancer as a front end to plural message processors of an STP;

publishing, by the connection load balancer, an Internet protocol (IP) address to SS7 peers;

initializing the message processors of the STP to listen on the IP address published by the connection load balancer;

receiving, at the connection load balancer, a Sigtran message addressed to the IP address;

determining, by the connection load balancer, whether the Sigtran message is an initial message or a subsequent message for a Sigtran connection;

determining, by the connection load balancer, whether the Sigtran message is for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has been assigned; and

forwarding the message to one of the message processors or dropping the message based on whether the message is an initial message or a subsequent message and whether the Sigtran message is for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has been assigned.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the message processors comprise physical message processors of a physical STP.

3. The method of claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the message processors comprise virtual message processors of a virtual STP.

4. The method of any of the preceding claims comprising associating the IP address with loopback interface of the message processors.

5. The method of any of the preceding claims wherein publishing the IP address to the SS7 peers includes broadcasting, by the connection load balancer, gratuitous address resolution protocol (ARP) or Internet control management protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) neighbor discovery messages that associate the IP address with a medium access control (MAC) address of the connection load balancer.

6. The method of any of the preceding claims wherein the Sigtran message is an initial message for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has not been assigned and wherein the method further comprises assigning one of the message processors to the Sigtran connection for which the initial message is intended to initiate establishment using a load balancing algorithm.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein assigning one of the message processors to the Sigtran connection using a load balancing algorithm includes a maintaining a group count for each of the message processors, where the group count is indicative of a number of Sigtran connections assigned to each message processor, calculating, for each message processor, a group count difference between the group count for the message processor and a lowest group count of the message processors, and including, as connection distribution candidates, message processors having a group count difference that is less than a link distribution threshold.

8. The method of any of the preceding claims comprising detecting failure and reconnection of one the message processors and, in response, using the reconnected message processor as a candidate for Sigtran connection distribution.

9. The method of any of the preceding claims wherein determining whether the message is an initial message or a subsequent message includes determining that the message is a subsequent message associated with a Sigtran connection, determining whether one of the message processors has been assigned to the connection includes determining that one of the message processors has been assigned to the connection and wherein forwarding or dropping the message includes forwarding the message to the message processor assigned to the connection.

10. The method of any of the preceding claims comprising forwarding egress traffic from the message processors of the STP to the SS7 peers in a manner that bypasses the connection load balancer.

1 1 . A system for distributing Sigtran connections among signal transfer point (STP) message processors, the system comprising:

a signal transfer point (STP) including a plurality of message processors for routing Sigtran messages received on Sigtran connections;

a connection load balancer that operates as a front end to the message processors of the STP, wherein:

the connection load balancer is configured to publish an Internet protocol (IP) address to SS7 peers;

the message processors are initialized to listen on the IP address published by the connection load balancer;

the connection load balancer is configured to receive a Sigtran message addressed to the IP address, determine whether the Sigtran message is an initial message or a subsequent message for a Sigtran connection, determine whether the Sigtran message is for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has been assigned, and forward the message to one of the message processors or drop the message based on whether the message is an initial message or a subsequent message and whether the Sigtran message is for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has been assigned.

12. The system of claim 11 wherein the message processors comprise physical message processors of a physical STP.

13. The system of claim 11 or claim 12 wherein the message processors comprise virtual message processors of a virtual STP.

14. The system of any of claims 11 to 13 wherein the IP address is associated with a loopback interface of the message processors.

15. The system of any of claims 11 to 14 wherein the connection load balancer is configured to broadcast gratuitous address resolution protocol (ARP) or Internet control management protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) neighbor discovery messages that associate the IP address with a medium access control (MAC) address of the connection load balancer.

16. The system of any of claims 11 to 15 wherein the connection load balancer determines that the Sigtran message is an initial message for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has not been assigned and assigns one of the message processors to the Sigtran connection for which the initial message is intended to initiate establishment using a load balancing algorithm.

17. The system of claim 16 wherein the connection load balancer is configured to maintain a group count for each of the message processors, where the group count is indicative of a number of Sigtran connections assigned to each message processor, and wherein the connection load balancer is further configured to calculate, for each message processor, a group count difference between the group count for the message processor and a lowest group count of the message processors, and include, as connection distribution candidates, message processors having a group count difference that is less than a link distribution threshold.

18. The system of any of claims 11 to 16 wherein the connection load balancer is configured to detect failure and reconnection of one the message processors and, in response, using the reconnected message processor as a candidate for Sigtran connection distribution.

19. The system of any of claims 11 to 16 or claim 18 wherein the message processors are configured to forward egress traffic from the STP to the SS7 peers in a manner that bypasses the connection load balancer.

20. A non-transitory computer readable medium having stored thereon executable instructions that when executed by a processor of a computer control the computer to perform steps comprising:

providing a connection load balancer as a front end to plural message processors of an STP;

publishing, by the connection load balancer, an Internet protocol (IP) address to SS7 peers;

initializing the message processors of the STP to listen on the IP address published by the connection load balancer;

receiving, at the connection load balancer, a Sigtran message addressed to the IP address;

determining, by the connection load balancer, whether the Sigtran message is an initial message or a subsequent message for a Sigtran connection;

determining, by the connection load balancer, whether the

Sigtran message is for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has been assigned; and

forwarding the message to one of the message processors or dropping the message based on whether the message is an initial message or a subsequent message and whether the Sigtran message is for a Sigtran connection to which one of the message processors has been assigned.