Global Test Shows Converged IPTV May Be Closer Than You Think

In global testing involving 27 companies and research labs scattered around the world, participants found state-of-the-art IPTV in better shape than they expected.

William Gardner

November 4, 2008

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

With the IPTV delivery landscape consisting of so many seemingly incompatible technologies, the members of industry collaborative MultiService Forum (MSF) wanted to determine the status of the drive to produce converged IPTV services. In global testing involving 27 companies and research labs scattered around the world, the participants found that state-of-the-art IPTV is in better shape than they expected.

"There are just so many different standards and some of them are still emerging," said MSF board member Naseem Khan of Verizon Communications in an interview Monday. "We were surprised" that the technology is in such good condition. "Of course, some interfaces will need work."

The intensive two-week test is a biennial event that centers on the MSF's Global Multiservice Interoperability testing. This year, the 7/24 test linked U.S. labs operated by Verizon, the National Communication System (NSC) and the UNH-IOL lab in New Hampshire linked with the UK's British Telecom and Vodafone as well as with China Mobile's lab.

The participants tended to be surprised at the success of linking so many different technologies, and Khan attributed the success to the fact that the core server technologies functioned well together. He added that "proof of concept" of IPTV technology and the capability of implementing the technology across a broad swath of industry held up well during the test.

Essentially, the test centered on the refinement of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) in a rapidly developing multi-supplier, multicarrier universe. Today, most IPTV implementations do not utilize IMS, but a wholesale move to IMS is expected in future months and years.

"IMS is more than a platform," said Mark Wegleitner, Verizon's senior vice president of technology, in explaining the test, whose result will continue to be analyzed in the future. "At the simplest level, contact lists, voice messaging, photo files, e-mails and other content or features that currently reside in one place will be universally available, regardless of the equipment you are using or network to which you're connected."

"At the more complex level, services from one realm -- say, Internet-based geo-mapping -- can be combined with services from another realm. The combinations are boundless."

Khan noted that the test examined logistical challenges as well as technical challenges. One important finding of the event was the discovery that technologies as disparate as WiMax and CDMA were successfully linked. Khan pointed out that Verizon Wireless used its CDMA infrastructure and BT used its WiMax infrastructure in the test.

Equipment providers that participated in the test included Acme Packet, Alcatel-Lucent, Codenomicon, Empirix, Fujitsu, Huawei, Ixia, JDSU, Motorola, MuDynamics, NEC, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Nortel, OSI, Sonus, Spirent, Starent, Tekelec, Tektronix, Telchemy, Teles and ZTE. Many of the standards for the test were developed by the ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum.

During the test, Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated that its IMS core technology can handle IMS-based ITV solutions from a variety of vendors. The firm's solution operated successfully over wireless and wireline QoS, location management and Web service integration.

"At both the Europe and North American testing labs," said Michael Cooper, Alcatel-Lucent's vice president of multicore marketing and strategy, in an e-mail, "the equipment met interoperability expectations to show IMS can be successfully deployed in an end-to-end solution or in a multivendor configuration to seamless link between service providers."

About the Author(s)

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights