SIP Ready for Prime Time, Says BT

The results from the Multiservice Switching Forum's latest global test show that SIP is ready for multi-domain deployment, according to the chief voice architect at BT Group plc (NYSE: BTY; London: BTA).

Alan Nunn says the two-week Global MSF Interoperability 2004 (GMI 2004) demonstration, which has involved testing multiple services such as VOIP and video using hundreds of devices across the live networks of four major carriers, has given BT great confidence in its plans for the 21st Century Network, its next generation infrastructure (see BT Moves Ahead With Mega Project, MSF to Test IPv6, BT Picked for MSF's GMI 2004, and MSF Plans VOIP Demo).

The test, involving BT, Korea's KT Corp., Japan's NTT Group (NYSE: NTT), Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), and more than 20 equipment and software vendors, ends today (see Marconi Lauds MSF Test, Alcatel in on VOIP Test, Agilent's OSS in MSF Test, among others).

An executive summary of the findings will be presented during next week's VON Fall 2004 show, while the full details of system performance will be kept confidential.

Before all the data is collected, Nunn says the demo has given him and the other carriers "early visibility that many of the interfaces specified by the MSF are working." The MSF has issued a number of Implementation Agreements (IAs) that define interfaces between network elements, and BT has used some of these IAs in its request for proposal (RFP) issued to vendors for its 21st Century Network.

"It has given us confidence in end-to-end solutions based on the IAs," says Nunn. "It's also given us confidence in the vendors' ability to deliver systems that actually work with each other."

So will the equipment suppliers involved in this demo gain an advantage in BT's RFP process? Nunn says the results of this demo will not play any part in the decision-making process that will lead to BT's main systems partners being announced in 2005. "This test is all about gaining confidence and seeing that configurations based on open standards can work. All sorts of companies can tick off check boxes that show that their equipment conforms to certain standards, but that doesn't mean it'll all work together. This demo has shown that they can."

The demo hasn't only helped the carriers and infrastructure suppliers. David Hill from Spirent plc (NYSE: SPM; London: SPT) says the demo has given the test and measurement companies involved insight into how to build the right test methodologies for next-generation networks.

"When you take equipment out of the test labs and put them into a live network, they work differently to the way you expect," says Hill.

The other test vendors involved in the GMI 2004 were Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), Empirix Inc., and Navtel Communications Inc.

Other equipment firms involved in the GMI 2004 demo include: Acme Packet; Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA); Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Convedia Corp.; Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY); FeelingK; Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702); Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA); IP Unity Inc.; Leapstone Systems Inc.; LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS); Marconi Corp. plc (Nasdaq: MRCIY; London: MONI); MetaSwitch; Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT); Operax AB; Siemens Communications Group; SoftFront; Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONSE); and Teledata Networks.

Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) also patricipated in the demo.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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