Diameter and SIP: User-Authorization-Request/Answer

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 Diameter User-Authorization-Request and User-Authorization-Answer commands are used as the first line of authorization of a user and to determine which Serving-CSCF to forward a request to.


When a SIP Proxy (I-CSCF) receives an incoming SIP REGISTER request, it sends a User-Authorization-Request to a Diameter server to confirm if the user exists on the network, and which S-CSCF to forward the request to.

When the Diameter server receives the User-Authorization-Request it looks at the User-Name (1) AVP to determine if the Domain / Realm is served by the Diameter server and the User specified exists.

Assuming the user & domain are valid, the Diameter server sends back a User-Authorization-Answer, containing a Server-Capabilities (603) AVP with the Server-Name of the S-CSCF the user will be served by.

I always find looking at the packets puts everything in context, so here’s a packet capture of both the User-Authorization-Request and the User-Authorization-Answer.

First Registration

If this is the first time this Username / Domain combination (Referred to in the RFC as an AOR – Address of Record) is seen by the Diameter server in the User-Authorization-Request it will allocate a S-CSCF address for the subscriber to use from it’s pool / internal logic.

The Diameter server will store the S-CSCF it allocated to that Username / Domain combination (AoR) for subsequent requests to ensure they’re routed to the same S-CSCF.

The Diameter server indicates this is the first time it’s seen it by adding the DIAMETER_FIRST_REGISTRATION (2001) AVP to the User-Authorization-Answer.

Subsequent Registration

If the Diameter server receives another User-Authorization-Request for the same Username / Domain (AoR) it has served before, the Diameter server returns the same S-CSCF address as it did in the first User-Authorization-Answer.

It indicates this is a subsequent registration in much the same way the first registration is indicated, by adding an DIAMETER_SUBSEQUENT_REGISTRATION (2002) AVP to the User-Authorization-Answer.

User-Authorization-Type (623) AVP

An optional User-Authorization-Type (623) AVP is available to indicate the reason for the User-Authorization-Request. The possible values / reasons are:

  • Creating / Updating / Renewing a SIP Registration (REGISTRATION (0))
  • Establishing Server Capabilities & Registering (CAPABILITIES (2))
  • Terminating a SIP Registration (DEREGISTRATION (1))

If the User-Authorization-Type is set to DEREGISTRATION (1) then the Diameter server returns the S-CSCF address in the User-Authorization-Answer and then removes the S-SCSF address it had associated with the AoR from it’s own records.

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


3GPP Specification #: 29.229

RFC 4740 – Diameter Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Application

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