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Documentation -> Tutorials -> Diameter Authentication and Accounting

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How to configure and deploy Diameter Authentication and Accounting

by Liviu Chircu

1.  Setting up freeDiameter

This tutorial has been written for a Xubuntu 20.04 LTS, which comes with freeDiameter v1.2.1 packages, which is the only version we've tested so far. Other distros, such as Debian 10, are also known to offer standard package-based support for freeDiameter v1.2.1, so they are expected to be compatible just as well.

First, let's go ahead and install the server:

  apt install freediameter

2.  freeDiameter Client

The client side is represented by both the "aaa_diameter" OpenSIPS module and the freeDiameter client library. In this section, we will perform the necessary steps in order to configure the freeDiameter client library.

2.1  DNS

It seems freeDiameter is strongly tied to DNS hostnames, so let's add entries to the /etc/hosts file nominating the client and server. For this tutorial, we will be using the "diameter.test" realm, with the "client" and "server" subdomains. In my case, I point both records to the local machine: client.diameter.test server.diameter.test

2.2  Packages

The aaa_diameter OpenSIPS connector module makes use of the libfdcore.so and libfdproto.so shared libraries. These libraries can be installed via:

  sudo apt install libfdcore6 libfdproto6

2.3  Creating TLS Certificates

Even though we will disable TLS support, freeDiameter will not start unless we plug some certificates into it. So let's clone the freeDiameter project, which contains some nice built-in helper tools. For ease of use, we will generate wildcard-certificates resembling "*.diameter.test":

  # clone the freeDiameter source code
  sudo apt install mercurial
  mkdir -p ~/src; cd ~/src
  hg clone http://www.freediameter.net/hg/freeDiameter
  cd freeDiameter
  hg checkout 1.2.1

  # generate a certificate/key pair for the client
  cd contrib/PKI/ca_script2
  make init topca=my_diameter_ca
  make newcert name="*.diameter.test" ca=my_diameter_ca

  # notice that the certs have been created under the "ca_data" directory (I suggest you browse its structure a bit, it's quite fun!)
  # Extra: running "make help" will list all commands available within this tool

2.4  The freeDiameter client configuration file

Edit /etc/freeDiameter/freeDiameter-client.conf and provide the following:

Identity = "client.diameter.test";
Realm = "diameter.test";
Port = 3866;
SecPort = 3867;

TLS_Cred = "/path/to/freeDiameter/contrib/PKI/ca_script2/ca_data/my_diameter_ca/clients/*.diameter.test/cert.pem",
TLS_CA = "/path/to/freeDiameter/contrib/PKI/ca_script2/ca_data/my_diameter_ca/clients/*.diameter.test/certchain.pem";

ConnectPeer = "server.diameter.test" {

Notice how we instruct the client to establish a TCP-based Diameter connection to the "server.diameter.test" Diameter peer.

3.  freeDiameter Server

The server side is represented by the app_opensips freeDiameter application, running within the freeDiameter daemon.

3.1  Compiling app_opensips

  apt install mercurial cmake flex bison gcc make build-essential \
    g++ libfreediameter-dev libidn11-dev ssl-cert debhelper fakeroot \
    swig libsctp-dev libgcrypt20-dev libgnutls28-dev

  # for Digest Auth support, the MySQL devel library is needed.  On Debian, for example:
  apt install libmariadb-dev libmariadb-dev-compat

  cd /path/to/freeDiameter
  # copy or symlink the app_opensips directory into the freeDiameter extensions/ directory
  cp -r /path/to/opensips-master/modules/aaa_diameter/app_opensips extensions/app_opensips

  # enlist the app_opensips extension for compilation
  cat >>extensions/CMakeLists.txt <<EOF
FD_EXTENSION_SUBDIR(app_opensips "OpenSIPS Diameter integration for SIP Authorization, Authentication (RFC 4740) and Accounting" ON)

  # also, fix a strange compilation issue specific to this revision, by applying this patch:
  patch -p1 < <(base64 -d <<EOF | gzip -dc

  # create a build configuration (one-time operation, feel free to disable some of these flags or include others!)
  mkdir fDbuild
  cd fDbuild
  cmake \

  # now build both freeDiameter and its extensions (any time you change the app_opensips code)
  make -j

If done correctly, you should be able to see the "app_opensips.fdx" freeDiameter extension module:

  [liviu@Z370 fDbuild]$ ls extensions/app_opensips.fdx -la
  -rwxrwxr-x 1 liviu liviu 112048 iun 16 22:58 extensions/app_opensips.fdx

Congratulations for making it this far, as the hard part is over!

3.2  DNS

If your freeDiameter server is running on a separate machine, edit /etc/hosts once again and populate the appropriate DNS entries on that box as well: client.diameter.test server.diameter.test

3.3  Packages

As we will be using the "dict_sip" freeDiameter extension, install the appropriate package (FWIW, you've already built it in the previous step, but it's nicer this way):

  sudo apt install freediameter-extensions

3.4  The freeDiameter server configuration file

Edit /etc/freeDiameter/freeDiameter.conf and provide the following:

Identity = "server.diameter.test";
Realm = "diameter.test";
Port = 3868;

# Notice we're using the same wildcard certificate!
TLS_Cred = "/path/to/freeDiameter/contrib/PKI/ca_script2/ca_data/my_diameter_ca/clients/*.diameter.test/cert.pem",
TLS_CA = "/path/to/freeDiameter/contrib/PKI/ca_script2/ca_data/my_diameter_ca/clients/*.diameter.test/certchain.pem";

# Load the standard SIP AVP dictionary, as well as the app_opensips module!
LoadExtension = "/usr/lib/freeDiameter/dict_sip.fdx";
LoadExtension = "/path/to/freeDiameter/fDbuild/extensions/app_opensips.fdx";

# Per your preference: the server may optionally also establish the Diameter connection to OpenSIPS on startup (useful after a server restart)
ConnectPeer = "client.diameter.test" {
  port = 3866;

Let's test that app_opensips boots properly by launching freeDiameter in full logging mode, in a separate console:

$ freeDiameterd -dd
23:18:24  NOTI   libfdproto '1.2.1' initialized.
23:18:24  NOTI   libgnutls '3.6.13' initialized.
23:18:24   DBG   Core state: 0 -> 1
23:18:24  NOTI   libfdcore '1.2.1' initialized.
23:18:24   DBG   Generating fresh Diffie-Hellman parameters of size 1024 (this takes some time)... 
23:18:24   DBG   Loading : /usr/lib/freeDiameter/dict_sip.fdx
23:18:24   DBG   Extension 'Dictionary definitions for SIP' initialized
23:18:24   DBG   Loading : /home/liviu/src/freeDiameter/fDbuild/extensions/app_opensips.fdx
23:18:24   DBG   opensips entry
23:18:24   DBG   [AUTH] connected to MySQL
23:18:24  NOTI   All extensions loaded.
23:18:24  NOTI   freeDiameter configuration:
23:18:24  NOTI     Default trace level .... : +1
23:18:24  NOTI     Configuration file ..... : /etc/freeDiameter/freeDiameter.conf

If it worked, make sure to give yourself another pat on the back! You are an excellent developer!

4.  OpenSIPS configuration

As long as you can compile aaa_diameter with the below command, you only need to worry about the opensips.cfg file after this step:

make modules module=aaa_diameter

make[1]: Entering directory '/home/liviu/src/opensips-3.3/modules/aaa_diameter'
Compiling aaa_impl.c
Compiling aaa_diameter.c
Compiling peer.c
Compiling app_opensips/avps.c
Linking aaa_diameter.so
make[1]: Leaving directory '/home/liviu/src/opensips-3.3/modules/aaa_diameter'

4.1  Digest Authentication

For now, app_opensips will connect on startup to a MySQL OpenSIPS database, hardcoded to "mysql://opensips:opensipsrw@localhost/opensips", where it will access the subscriber table data, so make sure to provide the necessary infrastructure. As the application becomes more sophisticated, this section will also be updated.

Here are the relevant opensips.cfg sections to perform SIP digest authentication via Diameter:

log_stdout = yes # very important, to see the freeDiameter library logs
alias = udp:sipdomain.invalid:5060
loadmodule "auth.so"

loadmodule "auth_aaa.so"
modparam("auth_aaa", "aaa_url", "diameter:freeDiameter-client.conf")

loadmodule "aaa_diameter.so"
modparam("aaa_diameter", "fd_log_level", 0) # max amount of logging, quite annoying
modparam("aaa_diameter", "realm", "diameter.test")
modparam("aaa_diameter", "peer_identity", "server")
route {

    if (is_method("INVITE")) {
        if (!aaa_proxy_authorize("sipdomain.invalid"))

And here is what a Diameter authentication request and a "success" reply look like in Wireshark:

4.2  Accounting

As of now, app_opensips will append each CDR to a hardcoded file path of "/var/log/freeDiameter/acc.log", rotating this file daily, around midnight. Also, there is no way of configuring the custom AVPs required by "acc_extra", however this section will be updated as soon as that is in place.

To enable Diameter accounting support in your opensips.cfg file, make sure to set:

log_stdout = yes # very important, to see the freeDiameter library logs
loadmodule "acc.so"
modparam("acc", "aaa_url", "diameter:freeDiameter-client.conf")

loadmodule "aaa_diameter.so"
modparam("aaa_diameter", "fd_log_level", 0) # max amount of logging, quite annoying
modparam("aaa_diameter", "realm", "diameter.test")
modparam("aaa_diameter", "peer_identity", "server")
route {

    if (is_method("INVITE")) {
        do_accounting("aaa", "cdr");

And that's it! Your OpenSIPS will be sending each CDR to freeDiameter now!

Page last modified on May 12, 2022, at 05:54 PM