CableLabs® Hosts PacketCable™ Interoperability Testing
Louisville, Colorado, July 8, 1999—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) hosted 11 supplying companies that participated successfully in the first of a series of PacketCable™ interoperability testing events the week of June 21st.
CableLabs manages PacketCable as a fast-track effort aimed at developing interoperable interface specifications for delivering advanced, real-time multimedia services over two-way cable plants. Built on top of the industry's highly successful cable modem infrastructure, PacketCable networks will use Internet protocol (IP) technology to enable a wide range of multimedia services, such as IP telephony, multimedia conferencing, interactive gaming, and general multimedia applications.
More than one dozen specifications will be established as part of the PacketCable project. Approximately 240 companies from the cable, telecommunications, and computer industries are working together on the initiative.
All 11 vendors attending had equipment being developed to be compliant with PacketCable specifications. The combined group of next-generation vendor equipment represented 5 multimedia terminal adapters (MTA), 4 call agents, and 2 test equipment platforms.
"It was notable that 11 vendors brought equipment that implemented the first released PacketCable specification only three months after the specification was released. This reinforces the fast track nature of the PacketCable project," said David Bukovinsky, director of PacketCable.
This round of testing at CableLabs was focused on the network-based call signaling (NCS) and codec specifications. The bulk of the tests were oriented around establishing phone calls using NCS with a variety of PacketCable specified codecs. Calls were established according to specification in over 30 scenarios, with the majority utilizing the G.711 codec, and a subset demonstrating compliance with the additional codecs specified by PacketCable.
Participants included: 8x8; Arris, a Nortel Networks/ANTEC Venture; Com21; HotHaus; Telogy; Clarent; IPCell; NetSpeak; Telcordia; Hewlett-Packard; and Catapult Communications. The interoperability event also was the first demonstration of test equipment vendors providing support to vendors implementing PacketCable specifications.
A "virtual" test network, allowing vendors to connect their labs to a PacketCable network over a secure virtual private network (VPN), complements the onsite interoperability initiative. This functionality allows any vendor participating in the PacketCable initiative to access clients, call agents, PSTN gateways, and other equipment being developed in compliance with PacketCable specifications.
"The VPN test network gives vendors the opportunity to perform testing against other vendors' products from their own lab facilities on a continuous basis, allowing many of the more common protocol incompatibilities to be worked out prior to arriving onsite for the more formal compliance testing. This greatly reduces the traditional development cycles to achieve interoperable products," said Tom Thompson, Interoperability Program Leader.
The next onsite interoperability event is scheduled for September, and will expand the range of vendors, equipment and protocols being tested, based on the suite of PacketCable specifications being released throughout this summer.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains additional web sites at www.cablenet.org.
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