These posts focus on the use of Diameter and SIP in an IMS / VoLTE context, however these practices can be equally applied to other networks.
The RFC’s definition is actually pretty succinct as to the function of the Server-Assignment Request/Answer:
The main functions of the Diameter SAR command are to inform the Diameter server of the URI of the SIP server allocated to the user, and to store or clear it from the Diameter server.
Additionally, the Diameter client can request to download the user profile or part of it.RFC 4740 – 8.3
The Server-Assignment-Request/Answer commands are sent by a S-CSCF to indicate to the Diameter server that it is now serving a specific subscriber, (This information can then be queried using the Location-Info-Request commands) and get the subscriber’s profile, which contains the details and identities of the subscriber.
Typically upon completion of a successful SIP REGISTER dialog (Multimedia-Authentication Request), the SIP Server (S-CSCF) sends the Diameter server a Server-Assignment-Request containing the SIP Username / Domain (referred to as an Address on Record (SIP-AOR) in the RFC) and the SIP Server (S-CSCF)’s SIP-Server-URI.
The Diameter server looks at the SIP-AOR and ensures there are not currently any active SIP-Server-URIs associated with that AoR. If there are not any currently active it then stores the SIP-AOR and the SIP-Server-URI of the SIP Server (S-CSCF) serving that user & sends back a Server-Assignment-Answer.
For most request the Subscriber’s profile is also transfered to the S-SCSF in the Server-Assignment-Answer command.
The same Server-Assignment-Request command can be used to register, re-register, remove registration bindings and pull the user profile, through the information in the SIP-Server-Assignment-Type AVP (375),
Common values are:
- NO_ASSIGNMENT (0) – Used to pull just the user profile
- REGISTRATION (1) – Used for first registration
- RE_REGISTRATION (2) – Updating / renewing registration
- USER_DEREGISTRATION (5) – User has deregistered
Cx-User-Data AVP (User Profile)
The Cx-User-Data profile contains the subscriber’s profile from the Diameter server in an XML formatted dataset, that is contained as part of the Server-Assignment-Answer in the Cx-User-Data AVP (606).
The profile his tells the S-CSCF what services are offered to the subscriber, such as the allowed SIP Methods (ie INVITE, MESSAGE, etc), and how to handle calls to the user when the user is not registered (ie send calls to voicemail if the user is not there).
There’s a lot to cover on the user profile which we’ll touch on in a later post.
Other Diameter Cx (IMS) Calls
User-Authorization-Request / User-Authorization-Answer
Server-Assignment-Request / Server-Assignment-Answer
Location-Info-Request / Location-Info-Answer
Multimedia-Auth-Request / Multimedia-Auth-Answer
Registration-Termination-Request / Registration-Termination-Answer
Push-Profile-Request / Push-Profile-Answer