Sunday, February 17, 2008

MSF Outlines Scope and Activity in 2008

In 2008, the MultiService Forum (MSF) is expanding its interoperability focus beyond its Global MSF Interoperability (GMI) event with the addition of two new programs: a permanent NGN Interoperability Test Bed focused on emerging NGN interfaces and the MSF Certification Program, which provides vendor independent certification of critical NGN functionality.

The GMI event will tie it all together by validating products in the latest standards based architectural framework using realistic global network deployment scenarios meaningful to major carriers. GMI 2008 will be the MSF's highest profile interoperability event ever, according to Roger Ward, Office of the CTO, BT Group and President of the MSF, who expects the event will expand beyond the foundations for global IMS implementations to include new services that can be build on an NGN -- notably IPTV and other high value services that can ride on IMS.

The MSF plans to test IMS based IPTV service integration and interoperability during GMI 2008 to help assess the maturity of IPTV solutions and identify gaps in the current industry standards. In addition, other key areas announced for GMI 2008 include: testing of QoS control for multi-service IP networks serving both fixed and mobile clients; demonstration of important service enablers such as "location" information; and the interoperability of a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) gateway with the core IMS capability.

The MSF permanent NGN Interoperability Test Bed at the UNH InterOperability Lab provides MSF members with a permanent environment to conduct focused interoperability testing of MSF Implementation Agreements. The inaugural event, entitled the "Open Mc Interface Interoperability Event," will test the MSF "Mc Interface" Implementation Agreement based on 3GPP Release 7 specification of the MSC-Server / Media Gateway interface. Open implementation of this key interface is seen as essential to the successful cost effective evolution of the mobile circuit switched domain to IP.

The MSF Certification Program was launched in the third quarter of 2007 and the first certifications will be announced shortly. The MSF's official certification laboratory, Iometrix, is testing and certifying compliance to the Forum's technical specifications. The initial program includes certifications of RTCP implementations of NGN networking components such as SIP end-points, SIP phones, residential gateways (CPE), access gateways, trunking gateways, media servers and session border gateways. RTCP is a protocol that allows the sender of a media stream to receive information, in the form of reports certified by both sender and receiver, about the packet loss, delay and jitter that were encountered by the RTP stream as seen by the recipient. This information is subsequently passed up to the management domain of the operator's network.