CableLabs® Completes Another Round of PacketCable™ Interoperability Testing
Louisville, Colorado, October 5, 1999—A group of 11 supplying companies participated successfully in a second series of PacketCable™ interoperability tests hosted by Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) last month.
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 plant. 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.
All 11 attending vendors demonstrated equipment, which represented 5 multimedia terminal adapters (MTA), 5 call agents, 3 gateways, and 2 test equipment platforms, developed according to PacketCable specifications.
This round of testing at CableLabs focused on establishing voice, fax, and modem calls over multi-vendor networks. Different codecs were examined, as well as several class features. In total, more than 75 experiments were conducted, including voice calls, multi-codec calls, fax transmissions, modem transmissions, class feature demonstrations and testing over a virtual private network (VPN).
"We are beginning to enter a new phase in the PacketCable project, where we make the transition from specification to implementation," noted Ed Miller, Director of PacketCable. "It is exciting to see the PacketCable architecture come to life as the suppliers demonstrate increasingly higher levels of functionality and interoperability during our PacketCable testing events."
Participants included: 8x8; Telogy, a Texas Instrument Corporation; Clarent; IPCell; NetSpeak; Broadcom; AudioCodes; Tekelec; Xybridge; Motorola; and Catapult Communications. These companies bring the total to 16 vendors who have participated in PacketCable interoperability events so far this year. Several more have signed on for future events in 1999.
A "virtual" test network, allowing vendors to interconnect their labs securely over a CableLabs-managed VPN, complements the onsite interoperability initiative. This functionality allows any vendor connected to the VPN to access clients, call agents, PSTN gateways, and other equipment being developed in accordance with PacketCable specifications. The VPN test network provides vendors with 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 testing. This greatly reduces the traditional development cycles to achieve interoperable products.
"We're really quite pleased with the amount of progress that was made here last week," said Tom Thompson, Interoperability Program Leader. "The PacketCable architecture and network is really starting to demonstrate itself as a viable platform for delivering IP-based multimedia services over cable." The next onsite interoperability event is scheduled for the last week of October, and will expand the range of vendors, equipment and protocols being tested, with a focus on end-to-end system testing.
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 web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
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