Cisco Packet Data Serving Node

Cisco Packet Data Serving Node (PDSN) Data Sheet, Release 3.0

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Data Sheet
The Cisco ® Packet Data Serving Node (PDSN) Release 3.0 helps mobile operators offer Code Division Multiple Access 2000 (CDMA2000) packet data services. Specifically, it provides gateway services between third-generation (3G) networks such as CDMA2000 1xRTT and 1xEVDO, and fourth-generation (4G) networks such as HC-SCDMA Radio Access Networks (RANs), and between IPv4 and v6 networks. The Cisco PDSN supports mobile-station (single stack or dual stack) access to the Internet, corporate intranets (through secure VPNs), and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) servers. Standards-compliant, Cisco PDSN uses proven Cisco Systems ® hardware and software and offers several features to enhance availability, scalability, and security.

Cisco PDSN Solution Overview

The Cisco PDSN solution is a standards-compliant solution that helps enable packet data services in a CDMA environment. The PDSN acts as an access gateway and provides simple IP and Mobile IP access, foreign-agent support, and packet transport for virtual private networking. It acts as a client for authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) servers, and also enables prepaid billing services. Standalone PDSNs can also be logically tied together in a clustering architecture to provide scalability, redundancy, load sharing, and more. Figure 1 illustrates how the Cisco PDSN fits in a CDMA network.

Figure 1

CDMA2000 Network with a Cisco PDSN and Other Required Components for Packet Data Services 1
Cisco PDSN supports all required standards, including the Third-Generation Partnership Project 1 Technical Specification Group P and X (3GPP2 TSG-P, TSG-X) standard and the Wireless IP Network Standard (also known as TIA/EIA/IS-835), which defines the overall structure of a CDMA2000 network. It includes features such as enhanced Mobile IP, carrier-class accounting, compression, security, and authentication. Cisco PDSN also supports 3GPP2 TSG-A, the Interoperability Specification for CDMA2000 Access Network Interfaces (also known as TIA/EIA/IS-2001). The 3GPP2 TSG-A standard focuses on the RAN and the interfaces between RAN and the PDSN. In addition, Cisco PDSN also complies with the Nortel Closed RP interface specification.

Cisco PDSN Hardware Platform

Cisco PDSN today is offered on two platforms. The first is the Cisco 7206VXR Router platform, equipped with a Cisco NPE-G1 Network Processing Engine. Hardware assistance for IP Security (IPSec) is available through the use of the Cisco VPN Acceleration Module 2 Plus card (part number SA-VAM2+) for scalable encryption acceleration and the IPSec software bundle. The service adapter can be added to a deployed PDSN as long as a slot is available and bandwidth point rule respected. The physical interfaces supported on a Cisco 7206VXR for the R-P interface (facing the RAN) can be Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, ATM, or Frame Relay. The PDSN Internet (P-I) interface (facing the IP network) can be any media. The Radio Network PDSN (R-P) and P-I interfaces are independent of physical media. Typical physical interfaces used include Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet.
For deployments requiring a higher density, the Cisco PDSN also runs on the Cisco Multiprocessor WAN Application Module (MWAM) for the Cisco 7600 Series Router and Cisco Catalyst ® 6500 Series Switch, where each MWAM runs five PDSN images as virtual routers. Hardware assistance for IPSec operations is available with the use of the Cisco 7600/Catalyst 6500 IPSec VPN Services Module. The physical interfaces supported on the Cisco 7600 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series for both the R-P and P-I interfaces can be Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, FlexWAN (ATM, Frame Relay), and the new series of Cisco Shared Port Adapter (SPA) and SPA Interface Processor (SIP) line cards.

PDSN Details: Features and Specifications

The Cisco PDSN solution provides all standard interfaces, and includes value-added features that enhance the customer experience and improve availability, scalability, and security. Some of the supported IETF Requests for Comments (RFCs) and features are outlined in Table 1.

Table 1. Cisco PDSN Features and Benefits




Standards compliance
• Complies with 3GPP2 TSG-P, TSG-X (TIA/EIA/IS-835), and 3GPP2 TSG-A (TIA/EIA/IS-2001)
• Provides interoperability with other standards-compliant components
Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) over generic routing encapsulation (GRE)
• Complies with Packet Control Functions (PCFs) using a slightly different A10 encapsulation than 3GPP2
• Fully interworks with PCFs following 3GPP2 but using a different A10 encapsulation
Nortel compliance
• Certified and compliant with Nortel Closed RP
• Fully interworks with PCFs running Nortel Closed RP interface
Proxy Mobile IP
• Provides IP mobility for mobile stations that are not capable of Mobile IP node services
• Enables nonmobile IP clients to maintain their IP address while changing PDSNs
• Improves the customer experience by maintaining IP applications during roaming without having to upgrade the phone
• Eases migration toward Mobile IP
PDSN clustering and intelligent PDSN selection
• Selects best PDSN in a cluster, based on current mobile-station session distribution
• Integration of Closed RP and Open RP in the same cluster
• Helps enable optimal performance
• Scales without disrupting service
• Minimizes occurrence of disruptive hand-offs
• Offers logical geographical distribution
• Allows hand-off between Closed and Open RP
IPv6 support
• Supports dual-stack Mobile node as per IS-835C
• Allows user to use SIPv4 or SIPv6 or both
• Allows user to use SIPv4 and MIPv4
• Allows user to use SIPv6 and MIPv4
• Allows user to use SIPv4, SIPv6, and MIPv4
• Provides IPv6 routing protocols
• Provides IPv6/v4 tunneling and translation mechanism
• Increases flexibility for provider
• Helps introduction of IPv6 users
• Helps solve problems of IPv4 address space
Session redundancy
• Provides stateful session redundancy
• Available intrachassis
• Available interchassis
• Avoids session disruption
• Fails over transparently
• Software and hardware upgrade and replacement are transparent to end user
• Increases availability and reliability
Multiple IP flows
• Offers multiple mobile stations with unique network access identifiers (NAIs) that can share a single PPP connection
• Increases flexibility by enabling multiple clients (PCs, personal digital assistants [PDAs], etc.) to share a common mobile access device
Prepaid billing (IS-835C)
• Allows use of prepaid billing service, taking advantage of AAA servers as interface points to billing server
• Allows prepaid billing based on quotas, volume, time measurement, or tariff
Standard Cisco hardware platforms
• Offers Cisco hardware platforms that are proven in some of the largest networks in the world
• Minimizes risk; speeds rollout of network
Cisco IOS ® Software Feature Set
• Runs with the standard Cisco IOS Software Feature Set, which includes rich IP, security, Mobile IP, voice and data integration VPN, and Network Address Translation (NAT) capabilities
• Helps enable faster time to market with advanced features
• Provides a more competitive solution
Resource management
• Offers Mobile IP revocation (IS-835C)
• Offers Packet of Disconnect (POD) (IS-835C)
• Helps enable faster resource release
• Enables provider to have greater control and to take action toward specific users
AAA fine-tuning
• Offers AAA group, retry, timer
• Offers broadcast
• Offers home-agent redirection, enhanced authentication granularity based on Electronic Serial Number (ESN), Mobile Station Identifier (MSID), and service option
• Offers Mobile IP re-authentication and hand-off fine-tuning
• Offers dynamic RADIUS load balancing
• Offers per-domain and per-user full local authentication
• Offers AAA accounting synchronization for session redundancy
• Improves AAA availability (groups and broadcast)
• Minimizes RADIUS messages toward AAA servers
• Helps provider to migrate customer base using static home-agent address to dynamic home-agent address
• Helps provider to further authenticate mobile users for accounting purposes
• Helps provider to better scale the AAA server resource by load balancing based on the AAA real-time load
• Helps ensure accounting integrity for session redundancy
Mobile-node address management
• Offers local pool
• Offers Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) with AAA
• Offers on-demand address pools (ODAPs)
• Offers alarms thresholds
• Supports public and private addresses
• Supports NAT/PAT
• Enhances mobile-node address management efficiency and minimizes provisioning
ACL per user
• Uses Cisco ACL feature
• Per-user access list information can be retrieved from AAA to fine tune access to network resource and services
A11 session update
• As per Cisco IOS Software Release 4.3
• Provides ability to update session parameter toward PCF with the always-on feature and the Radio Network Packet Data Inactivity (RN-PDIT) parameter
Always-on feature
• Offers always-on feature as per IS-835B
• Helps enable push-to-talk (PTT) services
QoS per user
• Allows users to take advantage of Cisco IOS MQC
• Complies to IS-835B QoS profile
• Provides ability to shape and police traffic
• Applies per-user predefined (retrieved from AAA) authorized DSCP marking to enter the network or to be overwritten
• Offers ability to identify, classify, and mark traffic
• Offers ability to retrieve per-user (from AAA) policing and shaping information
• Helps to enhance user experience for services such as VoIP and PTT
Short Data Burst (SDB) indicator marking
• Based on 3GPP2 contribution A30-20030818-006
• Ability to identify specific packets for SDB marking indication
• Helps to enhance user experience for services such as VoIP and PTT
Advanced QoS capability
• Can interwork with policy decision function (PDF)
• Can dynamically assign and change QoS based on traffic type
Advanced billing and service selection capability
• Offers advanced billing feature
• Offers advanced service selection feature
• Significantly improves billing capability by looking at transaction and content all the way to Layer 7
• Provides per-user "walled" and "open garden" service
Advanced and user-friendly debugging
• Conditional debugging is based on username and MSID
• Allows multiple simultaneous conditions
• Provides trace functionality
• Provides GUI full packet decoding capability
• Helps troubleshooting
Service provisioning
• Cisco PDSN Service Manager is available to simplify configuration and provisioning
• Provides GUI tool
• Simplifies configuration and provisioning task

Relay Layer: R-P Interface Features

The Cisco PDSN supports the A10 and A11 interfaces defined in 3GPP2 TSG-A, including:

• All control messages to establish R-P sessions, dismantle R-P sessions, extend the life of R-P sessions, update session parameter, and receive accounting information

• Generic routing encapsulation (GRE) to carry data over the A10 interface

• PDSN selection and load balancing among a predefined cluster of PDSNs using A11 control messages and code 136. Intelligent PDSN selection is a Cisco value-add and is described in Table 1.

The Cisco PDSN also fully complies with Nortel Closed RP interface.

Link Layer Protocols

• PPP, RFC 1661

• PPP Asynchronous High-Level Data Link Control (HDLC), RFC 1662

• PPP over GRE

• Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) Authentication, RFC 1334

• Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) Authentication, RFC 1994

• IP address assignment - In the simple IP case, the dynamic IP address assignment occurs in the IP Control Protocol (IPCP) phase of PPP setup. The address is obtained from a RADIUS server or can be assigned from a local pool on the PDSN. In the case of Mobile IP, the address is obtained from the home agent through the foreign agent.

• IP Control Protocol (IPCP), RFC 1332

• IPv6CP (RFC 2472)

• PPP Compressions Negotiation, RFC 1962

• PPP payload compression 1

– Stac-LZS, RFC 1974

– Microsoft Point-to-Point Compression Protocol, RFC 2118

• VPN, including Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) (Multiprotocol Label Switching [MPLS] VPN in the future)

Network Layer Protocols

• IP, RFC 791

• IPv6, RFC 2460

• Mobile IPv4, RFCs 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006

• NAI extensions for Mobile IP

• Foreign Agent Challenge Response

• Reverse Tunneling, RFC 3024

• IPSec/Internet Key Exchange (IKE), RFCs 2401, 2402, and 2406

• Van Jacobson TCP/IP Header Compression, RFC 1144

Simple IP Access Methods

• MSID-based simple IP routing access without PPP, CHAP, or PAP

• Simple IP routing access based on the username or NAI provided during CHAP or PAP

• SIPv4 and SIPv6

• Simple IP virtual private dialup network (VPDN) based on the NAI provided during PPP, CHAP, or PAP

– L2TP


Simple IP Services

• Static private and public IP addresses

• Dynamic private and public IP addresses

• Accounting according to the model defined in TR45.6

• Automatic ingress filtering as defined in TR45.6

• Packet filtering using Cisco IOS Software access lists

• L2TP


• Always-on feature per IS-835B

Mobile IP

• Static private or public IP addresses

• Dynamic private or public IP addresses

• FA CHAP and response, MN-FA challenge, MN-AAA (RFC 3012)

• Mobile node-home agent authentication

• Mobile node-foreign agent authentication

• Foreign agent-home agent authentication

• IP-in-IP encapsulation, RFC 2003

• GRE, RFC 1701

• Reverse Tunneling, RFC 3024

• Foreign Agent, RFC 2002

• Home-agent redundancy supported in Cisco IOS Software using extensions to Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP)

• NAI is required to identify the mobile user and the network that the mobile user intends to access

• Proxy Mobile IP client

• Mobile IP extensions to support A11 interface messages to set up GRE tunnels and sessions

• Multiple flows over the single session by registering with the same NAI multiple times with a unique, statically assigned IP address for each registration

• Per-Mobile IP flow accounting

• Address overlapping

• Binding update message for clearing the resources after a PDSN hand-off (Mobile IP revocation)


The AAA services provided by the Cisco PDSN follow:

• Acts as a RADIUS client

• Performs user authentication through RADIUS

• Performs local authentication, authorization

• Supports TR45.6 accounting model

• Supports AAA services for simple IP

• Supports PAP and CHAP authentication

• Supports accounting session information

• Supports IP address allocation for the mobile station

• Supports retrieval of realm for MSID-based access from a RADIUS server

• Supports AAA services for Mobile IP

• Offers a configurable option to skip authentication during PPP upon receiving (NACK) message from the mobile station

• Supports foreign-agent CHAP authentication through Mobile IP registrations

• Simple IP and shared-secret management through a RADIUS server

• Supports accounting session information

• Supports service provisioning using an AAA server

• Supports prepaid billing as per IS-835C

• Supports POD as per IS-835C

Network Management

• Cisco PDSN configuration management can be achieved

– Through command-line interface (CLI) with the Cisco IOS Software

– Through GUI with the PDSN Service Manager

• The Cisco PDSN supports the Cisco platform MIBs in addition to a proprietary MIB called the CISCO-CDMA-PDSN-MIB for PDSN-specific objects and an AHDLC MIB

• The Cisco PDSN supports as well a specific MIB CISCO-CDMA-PDSN-CRP-MIB for Nortel Closed RP support

• The Cisco PDSN supports the Mobile IP MIB, RFC 2006

• The Cisco PDSN offers a conditional debugging on a per-user basis

Mobility Management

• The Cisco PDSN supports inter-BSC/PCF hand-off, and for Mobile IP or proxy Mobile IP users, inter-PDSN hand-off

• The Cisco PDSN supports hand-off between 1xRTT and 1xEVDO

• The Cisco PDSN supports hand-off between Open RP and Closed RP

Ordering Information

• Detailed ordering information is available in the PDSN/Home Agent R3.0 Product Bulletin; 12.3(14)YX Release, located at

1CDMA is one of three primary mobile communication technologies, the other two being time-division multiple access (TDMA) IS-136 and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). CDMA2000 is the third-generation CDMA technology that offers packet data.
2Software Application Support (SAS) is required for the Cisco PDSN. The Cisco PDSN is not covered by the Cisco SMARTnet® contract for chassis hardware.