The MultiService Forum, which aims to promote interoperability of telecoms equipment from multiple vendors, announced today that it is extending its remit to address the testing of next generation networks (NGNs).
Presenting at NetEvents in Evian, the organisation unveiled plans to extend its architecture to embrace web services, and launch a vendor certification programme to ensure NGN equipment interoperability.
The MultiService Forum has been attempting to test multi-vendor interoperability to achieve fixed mobile convergence supporting the IMS service framework.
Camille Mendler, vice president of research at Yankee Group, welcomed the announcement.
"This has demonstrated how far and how stringently IMS interoperability testing has progressed with the MultiService Forum's solid guidance," she said.
"Now the agenda must turn to certification in a broader NGN context, particularly in the area of applications definition, management and integration. "
Roger Ward, office of the CTO at BT Group, and president of the MultiService Forum, unveiled the organisation's NGN certification programme with a pilot programme focused on delivering certifiable specifications based on implementation agreements.
"As the technology matures we need to focus more on developing 'industrial strength' implementation agreements that can be used by carriers in their NGN procurement programmes," he said.
"A pilot NGN certification testing programme will be a key aspect of our work this year with an initial focus on service interoperability.
"With April 2007 set as the target launch date, initial discussions with major test labs have been positive, and the first round of certification testing could begin by the third quarter and be completed early in 2008."
Andy Huckridge, director of IMS solutions at testing firm Spirent Communications, added: "As the pace of development speeds up, we need an easily reproducible set of test cases as well as a less formal ongoing test facility to keep pace."
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