Difference Between SS8 and Signaling System

Signaling protocols used in telecommunications networks include SS8 and the Signaling System. The Signaling System is a series of protocols designed by ITU-T for usage in telecommunication networks, whereas SS8 is a proprietary Signaling protocol developed by SS8 Networks.

Read this article to find out more about SS8 and Signaling System and how they are different from each other.

What is SS8?

SS8 is a proprietary Signaling system that is used for lawful network interception and monitoring. It was developed by SS8 Networks, a US-based telecommunications and network security company.

On telecommunications networks, SS8 provides real-time access to voice, data, and video communications. It allows targeted communications to be intercepted and gives access to call metadata and content. SS8 is used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate illegal activity and acquire evidence for legal proceedings.

Deep packet inspection, call filtering, and real-time analytics are among the advanced features of the SS8 protocol for intercepting and monitoring communications. The protocol can also be used to intercept encrypted communications using Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP).

The SS8 protocol is commonly used on network components such as switches, routers, and gateways. It intercepts communications at these network nodes and forwards them to a lawful interception management system for processing.

What is Signaling System?

ITU-T developed the Signaling System protocol family for use in telecommunication networks. These protocols are used to control calls and send signals between network elements such as switches, routers, and gateways. In telecommunications networks, the Signaling system offers services such as call setup, call routing, and call teardown.

The SS7 protocol operates on a separate network layer and communicates between network nodes using a packet-switched technique. SS7 messages are used between network elements to carry call setup and Signaling information, allowing calls to be routed through the network and connected to their intended destinations.

Signaling System 6 (SS6) is a legacy system that is still used in traditional telephone networks. SS6 is in charge of call setup and Signaling between network switches. Unlike SS7, SS6 operates on a circuit-switched network layer and communicates between network devices using a message-oriented method.

In addition to SS7 and SS6, there are other Signaling system protocols such as Signaling System 5 (SS5) and Signaling System 8 (SS8), which are used for specialised applications such as remote control of network devices and lawful interception and surveillance of telecommunications networks, respectively.

Difference between SS8 and Signaling System

The following table highlights the major differences between SS8 and Signaling System −



Signaling System

Protocol Type

Proprietary protocol

Family of protocols developed by ITU-T

Network Layer

It uses existing network layer protocols such as VoIP and SIP.

It operates on a separate network layer and uses a packet-switched approach for communication between network elements.


SS8 supports deep packet inspection, call filtering, and real-time analytics.

Enables features such as caller ID, call forwarding, and call waiting.

Data Interception

It provides real-time access to call metadata and content.

It is not designed for the interception or monitoring of communications.


SS8 can intercept encrypted communications.

The Signaling system is not designed to intercept encrypted communications.


provides an objective measure of technical quality.

takes into account human perceptions of quality


In conclusion, SS8 and Signaling System are two different Signaling systems that are used in telecommunications networks. While SS8 is designed for lawful communication interception and monitoring, the Signaling System is used for call control and Signaling between network elements.

Anyone working in the telecommunications industry or involved in the development of telecommunications equipment and systems must understand the differences between these protocols.

Updated on: 15-May-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started