Enterprises given chance to inspect service reliability of their carrier’s IP network hardware

The carrier backed MultiService Forum (MSF) will soon announce a range of network telecom products that have been certified to fully support next generation IP networks.

The carrier backed MultiService Forum (MSF) will soon announce a range of network telecom products that have been certified to fully support next generation IP networks.

The initiative will allow enterprises to question their carrier provider about the testing and reliability of the hardware used in their networks to deliver next generation IP services based on SIP (session initiation protocol), for instance.

The certification process is designed to help end-users to make sure that the provider they are using can properly deliver the IP-based service they are paying for.

Speaking at last week's NetEvents networking symposium in Barcelona, MSF president Roger Ward said the first list of products to be certified will be made public on 31 March.

Those not passing the certification requirements by a new MSF permanent testbed will not be made public, said Ward. He said, "The idea of the testing is to encourage as many hardware suppliers as possible to get their products tested for next generation services.

"If end-users do not see the name of the network hardware on the list they are looking for, they can ask questions of their service provider," he said.

Ward, who also works for the Office of the CTO at BT, said that service providers were not being tested, just the providers of the telecoms hardware.

He admitted it may be embarrassing for a major carrier found not to be using certified hardware.

The testing is being carried out by independent UK tester Iometrix, which is considering networking components such as SIP endpoints, SIP phones, residential gateways (CPE), access gateways, trunking gateways, media servers and session border gateways.

Initially, the testing will focus on IP voice applications, considering whether the tested system can overcome potential faults like traffic "jitter" and packet delays.

Richard Dagnall, Iometrix vice-president of sales and marketing, said there were plans to eventually extend the testing to services such as IP TV and video on demand services, which would be useful for content providers.

Although the first list of certified hardware providers will be eagerly awaited in some quarters, not everyone at NetEvents was particularly enthusiastic.

The HP ProCurve team at the event said their products had not so far been put forward for testing, and big enterprise carrier Ethernet provider Hatteras Networks had not so far bothered either.

Hatteras Networks CEO Kevin Sheehan told Computer Weekly, "As an established provider, if our products work with an AT&T they will work with a Telecom Italia, for instance.

"We are all for this type of testing, but we have not put our products forward for testing so far."




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