Early on, the 3GPP standards body adopted DIAMETER as the primary signaling protocol for AAA and mobility management in IMS. The Home Subscriber Server (HSS), or User Profile Server Function (UPSF), is essentially a more advanced IMS version of a GSM Home Location Register (HLR) and Authentication Center (AUC). Thus, the HSS is the master user database supporting the IMS network entities that handle calls. It contains subscription-related information (user profile data) and control information for user authentication and authorization. It also performs authentication and authorization of the user, and can provide information about the user’s physical location. If multiple HSSs must be called upon then a Subscriber Location Function (SLF) is used to map user addresses. Both the HSS and the SLF communicate via DIAMETER.
The Call Session Control Function (CSCF) performs SIP session management for any user or SIP client requesting access to IMS services. SIP signaling is used to register with the Serving CSCF in the user’s home network. The S-CSCF uses the DIAMETER “Cx” interface both to request authorization information from the HSS in response to a SIP registration request and to retrieve subscriber information. The CSCF uses another DIAMETER interface, the “Dx” to locate the particular HSS serving the subscriber using a Service Location Feature.
Yet another DIAMETER interface, “Sh” is used by the Application Servers or an OSA/Parlay Gateway to retrieve and update subscriber profiles and shared database information such as call directories, screening lists, or presence information made accessible for authorized application platforms.
Finally, IMS charging is performed via the DIAMETER “Ro” and “Rf” interfaces, which support both on-line charging and off-line collection and forwarding of Call Detail Records (CDRs) using a DIAMETER protocol interface. The Ro interface is a 3GPP extension to the Diameter Credit-Control specification.