• beyond 3G;
  • signaling;
  • security;
  • performance


The Third-generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 6 is an important step towards next generation mobile networks, integrating the IP Multimedia Subsystem, a core network completely based on IETF protocols. At the same time, the access network is being redefined to be able to support a variety of different wireless technologies, enabling the use of new, multi-interface, powerful end-devices. Security will necessarily represent a critical issue for the success of this new architecture, especially for the signaling plane, where the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) plays a key role. SIP does not offer any built-in security features, therefore 3GPP technical specifications require SIP to be protected by IPSec security associations. This can lead to significant computational and spatial overheads both in the core network and in the terminals, which might affect their performance. In this paper we analyze the overheads due to security mechanisms designed to protect signaling in Beyond-3G core networks and mobile terminals. We show that in both cases such overheads can have a significant effect on the performance of the entire architecture. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.