Sunday, October 19, 2008

MSF's GMI 2008 Testing Event Gets Underway at Carrier Labs

The biennial Global Multiservice Interoperability testing event, which is sponsored by the MultiService Forum, is being held October 20-31 in the test labs of Verizon, the National Communication System (NCS) and the UNH-IOL in North America, British Telecom and Vodafone in the United Kingdom, and China Mobile in Asia. The carriers are linking their labs to create a global ecosystem for testing standards for a variety of service configurations, including those developed by the ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF).

In 2006, the MultiService Forum's Global Multiservice Interoperability (GMI) event promoted the refinement of IMS in multi-supplier, multicarrier deployments. This year, GMI 2008 features product implementations supporting the MSF Release 4 architecture. Interoperability of critical NGN elements will be tested in practical scenarios supporting IMS-based fixed/mobile convergence. Specific service capabilities such as Quality of Service (QoS), Location Management, IPTV and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) will be included to validate key NGN concepts.

"IMS is more than a platform; it is a system that will enable the true convergence of services, using some very interesting blends of network and Internet functions," said Mark Wegleitner, Verizon senior vice president of technology.

IPTV is a key focus of the testing. Currently, most IPTV implementations do not use IMS but it is expected there would be great benefit in doing so. Non-IMS implementations create silos of proprietary infrastructure, limiting the potential for IP video to interact with other services. For example, there would be limitations on how users move video to a mobile phone or play games on multiple platforms. GMI participants will work to test early IMS-capable IPTV products, as well as IPTV service-management solutions that are able to analyze the quality of the IPTV service.

In addition, there will be substantial work on the nuts and bolts of IMS functions, including quality of service standards and inter-platform contact setup and tear-down processes. Many additional services besides IPTV will be tested as well.

Participating this year will be 22 equipment companies: Acme Packet, Alcatel-Lucent, Codenomicon, Empirix, Fujitsu, Huawei, Ixia, JDSU, Motorola, Mu Dynamics, NEC, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Nortel, OSI, Sonus, Spirent, Starent, Tekelec, Tektronix, Telchemy, Teles and ZTE.

"Early critics described IMS as a wonder technology in search of a killer application" said Roger Ward, Office of the CTO, BT Group and president of the MSF. "That killer application turns out to be service integration, and IMS will provide network services the flexibility to move with the market just as nimbly as with the Internet. IPTV is just one example of a new wave service that operators seek to deliver on a variety of underlying infrastructures and we anticipate major media interest in our GMI 2008 IPTV-related scenarios that compare IMS and non-IMS based solutions"

Results of the testing will be published some time after the event, after which the standards for interoperability would be applied, and services created and launched.

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