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Why are TDRs so interesting for Comfone engineers?

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When somebody overhears talk about a TDR, their first thought might be about the WHO's Research and Training for Tropical Diseases, 'ticket deposit receipt' or even a Yamaha TDR motorcycle... 

However, I work at Comfone, so when somebody mentions 'TDR', my mind jumps straight to 'Transaction Data Records'.


Most people in roaming might think that TDRs are more relevant to colleagues working in Comfone's Clearing Services. However, us engineers also use TDRs in our daily business.


In this blog, I will share with you my insights into what TDRs are and how they benefit engineers and customers at Comfone. 


What is a Transaction Data Record?

This is a record produced either by telephone, signalling exchange or other telecommunications equipment that holds details about a transaction. They are also sometimes referred to as CDRs (Call Data Records).


 Why are TDRs so important to Comfone engineers?

Put simply, they help us with our daily work and allow us to move on faster.


Our current IPX signalling applications allow us to generate TDRs for signalling transactions. These transactions include any signalling message either received, processed, or transmitted.


This refers to SS7 and Diameter signalling traffic and for some signalling applications like the firewall.


What are the benefits of generating TDRs for Comfone engineers and customers?

There are a lot of benefits to generating TDRs. I have listed some of the largest below...


 1. Providing a high-level overview of signalling traffic

This includes:

  • Monitoring traffic levels in our Diameter Routing Agents (DRAs) and Signalling Transfer Points (STPs)
  • Quickly detecting any traffic change. This is important, as if for example there was an increase, it could indicate either a signalling loop, a network overload or a more general problem either for Comfone or the customer
  • Keeping track of the overall traffic during planned maintenance, where a node is brought down and other nodes take over the traffic

 
2. Excellent statistical tool

This includes:

  • Viewing the amount of traffic exchanged between signalling points
  • Understanding the nature of this traffic, i.e. whether it is transit traffic or addressed to Comfone
  • Seeing the traffic details on different layers – MTP, SCCP and MAP layer details, Diameter AVPs


3. Precise and reliable advanced troubleshooting and verification tool

This includes:

  • Relying on data generated in the DRA or STP, making it independent from external infrastructure
  • Having the flexibility to set up TDR templates according to our needs. This allows us to control the content of the TDR
  • We can follow the signalling message process within Comfone, so we know if and where it might fail. Should it fail in Comfone node, the TDR would include detailed information about what is missing and what the reason is for failure (for example, a missing GT entry, unavailable destination, etc.)
  • Having the possibility to verify special Comfone or customer-specific routing during the activation and whilst operational


I hope I have now showed you why engineers as well as DC and FC colleagues at Comfone are passionate about TDRs. Maybe next time somebody mentions a TDR, your mind will consider Transfer Data Records as well as motorbikes, receipts and tropical diseases!

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