F5 Buys Diameter Signal Router Startup


F5 Networks will acquire Traffix Systems, a specialist in Diameter-based signaling products for 4G/LTE networks, the company said this week.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not provided, although Israeli news source Globes reported a $130 million purse. Traffix was founded in 2005, based in Hod Ha'sharon, Israel, and last fall took in a $7 million funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners.

Diameter, first developed in 1998, is now the widely accepted protocol for network signaling in 4G/LTE networks. Traffix was founded with the intention of developing Diameter products, and from 2009 launched what was then the industry's first Diameter routing agent. Last year, Traffix debuted its Signaling Delivery Controller (SDC), an all-in-one product for Diameter-based routing, load balancing and gateway connectivity.

According to Traffix, about 60 percent of LTE operators already use Traffix products to address and manage their signaling traffic. Signaling traffic from mobile devices, as opposed to the raw data traffic those devices also create, is a commonly cited cause of network congestion, and Diameter signal routers are gaining increasing acceptance as solutions as part of the emerging market around 4G infrastructure tools.

[Related: What the Future of Mobile Internet Traffic Looks Like]

"With the load and complexity of mobile data network traffic growing dramatically, mobile operators require expertise in the data and application plane, in the form of converged IP services, and in the control plane with advanced Diameter routing, load balancing and gateway capabilities," said John Byrne, research director for wireless and mobile infrastructure at IDC, in a published comment on the deal.

John McAdam, F5's president and CEO, said that convergence is crucial to scaling, securing and optimizing 3G, 4G/LTE and IMS traffic.

"The result is a dramatic reduction of complexity and costs, making service provider networks more agile," McAdam said in a statement. "With this move, F5 continues to execute on the company's vision of delivering an adaptable architecture to enable its customers to create a smart, converged carrier IP infrastructure."

Channel powerhouse F5 has continued to expand beyond its load balancer and application delivery controller roots to emphasize its broader role as a security, infrastructure and data center vendor of choice. F5's last acquisition was application delivery specialist Crescendo Networks, which was in liquidation proceedings in Israel at the time it was bought.