Transaction Capabilities Application Part (TCAP) defines the messages and protocol used to communicate between applications (deployed as subsystems) in nodes. It is used for database services such as calling card, 800, and AIN as well as switch-to-switch services including repeat dialing and call return. Because TCAP messages must be delivered to individual applications within the nodes they address, they use the SCCP for transport.
TCAP enables the deployment of advanced intelligent network services by supporting non-circuit related information exchange between signalling points using the SCCP connectionless service. TCAP messages are contained within the SCCP portion of an MSU. A TCAP message is comprised of a transaction portion and a component portion.
TCAP supports the exchange of non-circuit related data between applications across the SS7 network using the SCCP connectionless service. Queries and responses sent between SSPs and SCPs are carried in TCAP messages. For example, an SSP sends a TCAP query to determine the routing number associated with a dialed 800/888 number and to to check the personal identification number (PIN) of a calling card user. In mobile networks (IS-41 and GSM), TCAP carries Mobile Application Part (MAP) messages sent between mobile switches and databases to support user authentication, equipment identification, and roaming.