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  1. 1. CASE STUDY Verizon and GMI are “Standards without interoperability Putting Testing to the Test are like a cake without icing,” But when it comes to testing products Testing the Waters for proclaimed Mark Wegleitner, senior in their labs for qualification, selec- vice president of technology for tion and pre-deployment purposes, to IMS, IPTV Interop Verizon on day 10 of the GMI event. whom does Verizon turn? One answer “We’ve signed up for IMS as our is upstart Mu Dynamics, which Hosting and participating in a heavily convergence vehicle for the future. provides testing systems primarily to attended social event in your home We’ve gone bleary-eyed testing inter- operators, but also to their equipment may seem challenging, especially the suppliers. cleanup. “The weakness in products that opera- So consider yourself lucky given the tors buy is that they can cause latent extra heavy lifting involved in hosting downtime in all services,” claimed two global testing events in your lab, Adam Stein, vice president of market- including 22 vendors and more than ing for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based 225 devices, and some 1,000 firm. “Mu identifies the weaknesses individual tests in the span of 12 proactively and provides documents super-grueling ’round-the-clock days. for our customers to use.” Specifi- cally, they include XML templates of Don’t forget that you’re the sole U.S. how the problem was found, a PDF carrier site for this massive and ambi- with an executive report and packet tious testing event sponsored by the Mark Wegleitner captures. Multiservice Forum (MSF) and includ- Senior VP of Technology ing the Alliance for Telecommunica- Verizon Mu products are used in product tions Industry Solutions (ATIS). selection, remediation and tuning. faces to IMS. But every day we move “We also do load and performance Though understandably exhausted, the ball a little further down the field.” testing, which becomes increasingly Verizon Communications Inc. sees the important as services become more Global MSF Interoperability (GMI) The intra- and inter-lab testing at or complex,” added Stein. event, which it also hosted in 2006, as between Verizon, BT, China Mobile, a landmark in the evolution of both its the UNH-Interoperability Lab and the Verizon has several labs, many IPTV and IMS efforts, and as an National Communications System brought in through past acquisitions, example of priceless progress. facility focused on the maturity of that handle systems integration and specs for voice, data and video testing. Among them is the Waltham, GMI Event (full) services over IP. With countless stan- Mass., facility. The telco also has Lessons learned, both glass half-full dards already on the books, testing and glass half-empty, are valued video the implementation of them in prod- education nonetheless, with Verizon ucts for use in practical situations is looking to fuel its FiOS package paramount. forward. The goal is the integration of wireline and wireless offerings over a That’s why the event targeted testing common infrastructure that enables of 42 total MSF implementation blended services. agreements, 26 of which were new.
  2. 2. VERIZON AND GMI TEST THE WATERS certification labs that test product to undertaking between the MSF and Standards vs. Timing work operationally with other gear ATIS IIF. “We want to get away from the secret already in the field sauce,” emphasized Jim McEachern, “We need to know what the quality of who handles carrier VoIP standards “We’ve found that a standard doesn’t experience expectations are because strategy at IMS-driver Nortel and is a necessarily guarantee vendor interop- this is a core metric,” explained Dan member of the MSF board. “It’s not erability,” quipped Stu Elby, vice O’Callaghan, a principal member of what’s possible to do, it’s how easy it president of network architecture for Verizon’s technical staff and the chair is to deploy,” he said of the MSF’s Verizon. “We’re in a complex environ- of the ATIS IIF. “We’re working on how ongoing testing efforts. ment that changes quickly,” he said of devices are attached to the network. the IPTV ecosystem. “That makes it Our ultimate effectiveness is The goal for Verizon, and likely other the toughest one to work in.” impacted by vendors not wanting to operators, is to drive service develop- reveal all that we need, and they all ment and enhancement based on The GMI events provide Verizon with have their secret sauce,” he said in standards, though that’s more of a far more than just a multicarrier, reference to vendor embellishments make-or-break balancing act between multivendor, multicontinent testing to standards. the time involved in creating stan- opportunity. dards and the need to get to market in Add-ons to standards, a critical area a timely manner and in a fiercely Goal(s)! for testing, is a sore spot with those competitive video services industry. “Verizon’s GMI objectives are to trying to advance IMS’ adoption and assess the maturity of IMS for service bring services including, but not How do you reconcile the two and convergence and to identify gaps limited to, IPTV over a single core in a achieve an optimal balance? between standards and implementa- seamless manner. tions,” explained Naseem Khan, principal member of the carrier’s technical staff and an MSF board member. His remarks underscore the impor- tance of ensuring vendors implement the standard in a way that doesn’t make their products interoperability- challenged. To that end, the GMI event featured testing of several IPTV stan- High-capacity, QoS-enabled dards that already had been created IP Global Network by the ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF). It was a first-of-its-kind
  3. 3. “That’s the eternal question,” admit- “Our overall objective is to reduce routing and privacy issues. ted Mike Nawrocki, director of wireline service delivery cycle times,” stressed standards and technical regulatory for Verizon’s O’Callaghan. The fifth scenario covers Service- Verizon. Oriented Architecture (SOA), and The Value of Testing integrates IMS with Web-based A case in point? The value of the GMI event, for ATIS, services. ATIS IIF and Verizon, from an IPTV Well over a year ago, Verizon wanted to perspective, is clear. IPTV Challenges create a whole-home DVR feature for The last scenario addresses manage- its FiOS TV service. It worked with the “We anticipate the validation of key ment issues, specifically the online Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standards developed by ATIS IIF that management of IPTV set-top boxes and incorporated much of their speci- will provide critical groundwork for and the collection of IPTV-related fication work for home networking, coordinating and managing elements stats, “without the cost and delay that but had to add some of its own work and services in the IPTV ecosystem,” the MSF contends results from the and technology to launch what said Susan Miller, president and CEO service truck rolls of today’s TV became its innovative and early-to- of ATIS, in comments before the event. systems,” according to an MSF press market Multiroom DVR offering. “This will be a springboard for increas- release. ing real-world deployments of IPTV Some GMI 2008 Stats and set the stage for standards to This test proved challenging as none support advanced IPTV services.” of the vendors provided a physical 5 networked host labs The six testing scenarios for the GMI set-top box for the event, but instead provided software clients designed to in 3 continents event include, and extend beyond, support the traditional device’s 6 practical networked IPTV. functions. ATIS IIF has written a spec deployment scenarios for a set-top box with the desired The first two physical scenarios test capabilities, but both the group and 22 vendor participants end-to-end session control with QoS, the equipment vendor community for access technologies including have some work to do. 42 MutiService 3GPP, WiMAX, 3GPP2 and TD- Forum IAs (26 new SCDMA, over a converged core Early results from the testing event, for GMI 2008) network. detailed toward the end of the biennial GMI event, revealed some 225 devicesunder test The third scenario addresses IPTV, important realities. with an emphasis on specs developed 82 basic tests by the ATIS IIF. The MSF claims this is the first time standardized IPTV is For example, since video systems have evolved largely separately from (1,000 unique test cases) being put to the test in a network IMS and other services, such as VoIP, context to validate automatic configu- information specific to IPTV services is 125 registered host ration of set-top boxes and to deliver quality of experience. contained in video application servers, rather than in centralized site test engineers repositories that could help feed IMS over 600 pages The fourth scenario addresses location-based services, including in support of blended services. of test plans
  4. 4. This finding underscores the impor- Subscriber Data Everywhere? So while rigorous testing raises at tance of a central IMS holding place Until interoperability is achieved, least as many questions as it answers, with key data needed to support service providers will not be able to all forms of testing are crucial to the multiple IP services over its core. provide truly seamless, blended IP development of truly converged Service-specific data is, to a lesser services to support longstanding services. extent, housed in VoIP-specific gear three-screen video pledges. “We want as well, the testing found. all subscriber data in a single data- All parties involved in the GMI event, base containing user profiles for and in ongoing testing by Verizon for Interfaces between these service- multiple services,” said Khan. But that its wireless and wireline services, specific devices, such as servers, and also raises questions over just how agree that it’s important not to lose the IMS core are paramount. much info needs to be contained in sight that lab testing is much more such databases. than just attempting to connect Discussing initial observations after devices and networks to see to what the first week or so of testing during “You have to ask and decide what’s extent they do and don’t interoperate. GMI, Verizon’s Khan remarked: “The being kept in there and what isn’t,” IMS core is mature, but interfaces to added William Goodman, a director “We don’t make standards, but we the extended IMS components still with Verizon. “Does every single work with those who do,” said Nortel’s need work. There’s limited interoper- subscriber channel-change need to be McEachern of the MSF. “And we’re ability between the IMS core and IPTV contained inside? Some say yes and trying to test them in practical network application servers.” others say no.” scenarios.” web: | email: address: 686 W. Maude Ave., Suite 104, Sunnyvale, CA 94085, USA phone: (866) 276-4640 or (408) 329-6330 | fax: (408) 329-6317 Copyright © 2009 Mu Dynamics. All rights reserved. Mu Dynamics, Mu-4000 and the Mu Dynamics logo are trademarks of Mu Dynamics. WP0904901D