UCI Forum Blog Entry – July 2014
The UCI Forum has just announced the acceptance of a documentation, software and services package from the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) to implement its SIP Over IPv6 Networks (SIPv6) Test Program. This is a milestone for UCI Forum since it is the first test program to be completed.
Members of both UCI Forum and International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium, which will merge in 2014 and operate under the IMTC banner, will all benefit from the test program for SIP Over IPv6 Networks.
The UCI Forum was founded to further the cause of interoperability among unified communications implementations. However, merely to print out the existing specifications created by the various standards bodies would denude a small forest. The founders decided that adding to this list of specifications was insufficient; the mission of the UCI Forum had to include the creation of interoperability tools and programs to enable vendor members to verify compliance with standards.
As has been described in an earlier blog entry, the Test and Certification Working Group (CWG) was chartered in 2012 to implement the recommendations of the Voice Study Group. Specifically, the charter mandated that CWG create a test tool and verification program to close a significant gap in the readiness of SIP networks and technologies to interoperate over IPv6.
In order to be credible, the selected base interoperability profile had to have certain important qualities:
- It had to represent a complete and coherent set of requirements to ensure inter-vendor interoperability.
- Compliance with the profile needed to be a meaningful goal that UCI Forum vendor members would already be aspiring to achieve as part of their product plans.
The closest match for these qualities was the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Unified Capabilities Requirements 2008 Change 3 (which was referenced by the later UCR 2013). This document defines the requirements for SIP technologies to be certified to operate on a DoD IPv6 network. All major vendors aspire to comply with this standard in order to be approved as a supplier for U.S. DoD contracts. Given the multi-national nature of many 21st century military operations, even non-U.S. DoD communications networks owned by coalition partners aspire to achieve this certification. However, preparing for a certification session at the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) is a time-consuming, resource-intensive and onerous task for UC vendors.
The overall goal of the SIPv6 program was to implement a pre-certification program that would enable vendors to establish their readiness for the JITC certification process. The program required the definition of likely test cases and scenarios and a method of exercising those in an automated and consistent manner. The benefits would be that vendors could reduce their cost of preparing for certification and improve their likelihood of gaining certification.
After an extensive RFP process, UNH- IOL was short-listed by UCI Forum in early 2012 as an approved vendor of test programs and tools. Later that year, CWG awarded the contract for the SIPv6 program to UNH IOL. The contract required UNH-IOL to deliver:
- A comprehensive test plan that would establish compliance with the UCR 2008 Change 3 requirements.
- An automated test tool that would implement the test plan.
- A secure IPv6 test network to conduct the testing
- A test environment that would contain various components (e.g. IPv6 compliant routers) to simulate a comprehensive SIPv6 network.
The test plan was delivered and approved in 2013. This very detailed 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
- Path MTU
- Addressing Architecture
- Comprehensive SIPv6 session scenarios
The test tool and test network deliverables were made to UCI Forum in late March this year. Since then, UCI Forum vendor members, led by Sonus Networks, have been working through the acceptance testing of the deliverables. The test tool is based on the UNH-IOL INTACT™ test scripting platform. The test network allows UCI Forum members to conduct interoperability testing with other members as well as to interoperate with equipment that is hosted at UNH IOL.
The test plan and test tool are available for download free of charge by the UCI Forum/IMTC members. The test network can be used to conduct bi-lateral interoperability testing between consortium members; it can also be used to conduct interoperability plug-fests and similar events. Furthermore, the UNH-IOL offers a service to act as an independent third-party test lab to implement the test suite against a vendor’s SIPv6 implementation.
With the completion of the SIPv6 test program implementation, UCI Forum and IMTC members now have free access to an invaluable tool that saves time and resources, and provides a credible metric of SIP over IPv6 interoperability. Special thanks go to Tim Carlin of the UNH IOL, as well as Brad Chalker of Sonus Networks and Sam Bedekar of Microsoft, for their contributions to this project.
For more information about IMTC, please visit www.imtc.org