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.
“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.
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
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
“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
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