A new breed of interoperability testing is making itself heard above the din of industry sponsored bakeoffs and showdowns. Recently, several vendors have moved beyond traditional "in-house" labs to test the level of interoperability with their technologies. Below is a list of initiatives sponsored by carriers and vendors that have recently begun testing live over the Internet. Some are for testing with a particular vendor's technologies; some are geared to an industry-wide acceptance of a particular protocol. But all of these testing initiatives portend one goal: Greater interoperability for next-generation networks.
telecom technologies' INIP Powered Virtual Lab
The INIP Powered Virtual Lab, from telecom technologies, inc., is an online resource for real-time status of the INIP Powered Interoperability Lab. The INIP Powered Interoperability Lab is designed to stimulate interoperability between vendors' products and softswitch technology. Within the lab, partners undergo testing for interoperability with the INtelligentIP softswitch in order to provide carriers with products that can optimize technology within next-generation networks.
The Virtual Lab is designed to enable visitors to gather information from the INIP Powered Interoperability Lab, as well as actually see into the lab from anywhere in the world. Building on telecom technologies' previously launched initiative called the INIP Powered Partner Program, this program uses the interoperability lab to bring about true interoperability between the softswitch and the applications and hardware developed by partners. Almost 50 vendors have already signed up to become "INIP Powered." For more information, visit their Web site.
IMTC's iNOW! Compatibility Program
The International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium's (IMTC) iNOW! Activity Group recently announced that it is completing the worldwide rollout of the IMTC iNOW! Compatibility Program. The purpose of this program is to create a reliable, common set of procedures for testing and announcing the interoperability of Internet telephony equipment and software implementation based on the IMTC iNOW! profile.
With the IMTC iNOW! compatibility program in place, business organizations, carriers, and Internet telephony service providers have greater assurance that iNOW! compatible products will provide "plug and play" interoperability in multi-vendor, Voice over IP network environments.
The IMTC iNOW! profiles are standards-based frameworks for implementation of interoperable IP telephony equipment and services. The IMTC iNOW! Interdomain Profile is based on the ITU's H.225 Annex G, H.323, and T.38 standards. This profile addresses gateway-to-gateway and gatekeeper-to-gatekeeper interoperability in both phone and fax services. The Terminal Profile is based on the ITU's H.323 Annex F, H.323 Annex J, H.323 version 3, and H.225.0. This profile addresses terminal-to-gatekeeper and terminal-to-gateway interoperability for both phone-to-terminal and terminal-to-phone services.
Level 3 Communications' (3)Works
Level 3 Communications recently took the wraps off their new voice certification program, (3)Works, designed to ensure interoperability between Level 3's new (3)Voice services and third-party IP applications and equipment. With this new offering, companies will be able to evaluate the compatibility of their products and services with Level 3's offerings completely over the public Internet. One of the main benefits here is the elimination of the need to send employees and equipment to off-site labs for interoperability testing. 3Com, Allied Riser, BroadSoft, Cisco, dynamicsoft, TalkingNets, telecom technologies, and others have all started participation in Level 3's new initiative.
Level 3 invites participants to apply for the program via e-mail at .
iBasis' SIP Test Network
iBasis, Inc., announced that it is launching a test environment on its global network for Internet developers who want to trial new applications and services powered by SIP (Session Initiation Protocol).
Launching the iBasis SIP test network is an effort to accelerate the introduction of new, enhanced multimedia Internet applications that increase demand for IP-based communications. SIP developers will be able to test new applications on the iBasis Network and connect their services to wireless and wireline phone networks around the world. In support of this test activity, the company has deployed SIP-ready access nodes on their global network. Using these access nodes, Internet developers can now leverage the international iBasis network to test new multimedia Internet devices, applications, and services by routing voice, video, audio, and other content to virtually any location in the world.
Developers interested in testing new SIP-ready devices, applications, or services on the network can learn more about the iBasis SIP test environment and apply for trial eligibility at www.ibasis.net/technology/sip.htm.
Ubiquity's SIP Center
The SIP Center is a portal for businesses to access commercial and technical information relating to SIP and to exchange views. The Web site differs from other SIP sites in that the core objective here is to bring together all the players in the SIP arena to accelerate the commercial development of the protocol. The idea is that the SIP Center will serve as an open forum, serving the industry as a whole.
Ubiquity is offering their User Agent as a free of charge download, and in doing so they hope to ensure a favorable beginning to the initiative. In addition to the free User Agent software download, Ubiquity will host two forums, and will keep visitors to the site up-to-date with the latest SIP developments. The company also plans to offer access to their SIP Proxy Server for testing purposes. The Proxy Server is intended to be a highly scalable, resilient, permanent "bake-off" facility. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is hosted on a Sun (Solaris) system on the UUNET backbone, with 1.2 Gbps of connectivity to the U.S. and mainland Europe. Companies and organizations are invited to submit white papers, press releases, and news items to be published on the site.