The Impact of TLS on SIP Server Performance

Charles Shen; Erich Nahum; Henning G. Schulzrinne; Charles P. Wright

The Impact of TLS on SIP Server Performance
Shen, Charles
Nahum, Erich
Schulzrinne, Henning G.
Wright, Charles P.
Technical reports
Computer Science
Electrical Engineering
Persistent URL:
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports
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Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Publisher Location:
New York
This report studies the performance impact of using TLS as a transport protocol for SIP servers. We evaluate the cost of TLS experimentally using a testbed with OpenSIPS, OpenSSL, and Linux running on an Intel-based server. We analyze TLS costs using application, library, and kernel profiling, and use the profiles to illustrate when and how different costs are incurred, such as bulk data encryption, public key encryption, private key decryption, and MAC-based verification. We show that using TLS can reduce performance by up to a factor of 20 compared to the typical case of SIP over UDP. The primary factor in determining performance is whether and how TLS connection establishment is performed, due to the heavy costs of RSA operations used for session negotiation. This depends both on how the SIP proxy is deployed (e.g., as an inbound or outbound proxy) and what TLS options are used (e.g., mutual authentication, session reuse). The cost of symmetric key operations such as AES or 3DES, in contrast, tends to be small. Network operators deploying SIP over TLS should attempt to maximize the persistence of secure connections, and will need to assess the server resources required. To aid them, we provide a measurement-driven cost model for use in provisioning SIP servers using TLS. Our cost model predicts performance within 15 percent on average.
Computer science
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Suggested Citation:
Charles Shen, Erich Nahum, Henning G. Schulzrinne, Charles P. Wright, 2009, The Impact of TLS on SIP Server Performance, Columbia University Academic Commons, http://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:9298.

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