Update on SIP over IPv6 Test Program

An early goal of the #UCIForum was to facilitate inter-vendor interoperability of SIP implementations.  The Voice Study Group was formed in 2011 to examine the state of voice interoperability.  Its conclusion was that there was a significant gap in the readiness of SIP networks and technologies to interoperate over IPv6.

IANA allocated the final blocks of IPv4 addresses in February 2011.  With the rapid expansion of the internet and the end-points that operate on it, in particular various classes of mobile devices, it was therefore inevitable that the bulk of voice traffic would be carried on IPv6 networks in the future.  Nevertheless, there was no global standards group or forum that had established interoperability guidelines or certification for SIP over IPv6 (SIPv6).  The closest to such a standard was a set of US Department of Defense documents (Unified Capabilities Requirements 2008 Change 3) defining the requirements for SIP technologies to operate on an IPv6 network; although few, if any, vendors were able to demonstrate compliance with this specification.

The ‘SIP over IPv6’ (SIPv6) Task Group of the Test and Certification Working Group (CWG) was chartered in 2012 to address this challenge.  Using the UCR Change 3 requirements as its starting point, it defined a plan for a pre-certification program that would enable vendors to establish their readiness for the JITC certification process.  The goals of this program would be:

1.    A comprehensive test plan that would establish compliance with the UCR Change 3 requirements.

This test plan would comprise a set of test cases that would exercise either a client element (e.g. a SIP-enabled device) or an infrastructure element (e.g. a ‘SIP Proxy’) with repeatable procedures and expected results.

2.    An automated test tool that would implement the test plan.

This test tool would run in a test network that would initiate various connections that would exercise the test plan and produce results of the test.

3.    A secure IPv6 test network over which testing could be conducted

4.    A test environment that would contain various components (e.g. IPv6 compliant routers) that could be used to simulate a comprehensive SIPv6 network.

After CWG had established its Test Vendor program, the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) was selected to implement the SIPv6 program.  Rapid progress has been achieved over the last few months and the test plan is in the final stages of acceptance by UCI Forum members.  This very comprehensive document is 400 pages long containing all of the test cases required for compliance with the UCR 2008 Change 3 document, including:

·         IPv6 Core Operations

·         Neighbor Discovery

·         SLAAC

·         Path MTU

·         ICMPv6

·         Addressing Architecture

·         DHCPv6

·         Comprehensive SIPv6 session scenarios

The test tool is based on the UNH IOL INTACT™ test scripting platform and was demonstrated to the UCI Forum membership in October.  Completion of the remaining 3 deliverables was completed in December and acceptance testing is currently being conducted by the CWG.

Once the deliverable has been accepted, this tool will be available for download free of charge by the UCI Forum members on completion of acceptance testing.  In the future, it will also be possible to use the test network to conduct interoperability testing with other members as well as to interoperate with equipment that is installed in the test environment that is hosted at UNH-IOL.  UCI Forum has plans to use this network not only to verify SIPv6 compliance but also to conduct public demonstrations and interop events throughout 2014 and beyond.

With the accelerating deployment of IPv6 voice and data networks, 2014 promises to be the start of a new era in unified communications.

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