Service providers typically have infrastructure from multiple vendors installed in their networks. Mostly this is by design since they don’t want to be locked into a single vendor, but some of this is also determined by consolidation that they have done, etc. Either way, there is equipment from various infrastructure providers that make a telecommunications network run.
As such, when selling new gear to a service provider, they will typically want to see what interop tests (IOT) you have completed. When installing mature type of equipment, like a switch or a gateway, this makes sense. When installing equipment in a very dynamic space this only partially makes sense. The reason is that IOT tests are backward looking to what exists today. Dynamic environments today include Media Servers and Diameter Signaling Controllers so IOT testing there leave you vulnerable to future incompatibilies.
For a media server, there are new codecs, such as WebRTC codecs like Opus, VP8, and VP9 and wireless codecs such as HD Voice codecs like AMR-WB that need to be addressed. IOT tests with older media servers or gateways would not yield the desired results for the new media server requirements.
IOT tests have an even greater uselessness now when it comes to Diameter Signaling Controllers. As readers of this blog know, I see different phases to the DSC and the DSC market is intensely dynamic today. The basic Diameter Routing Agent DRA was the first phase. The second phase, which we are now in, includes signaling interworking to wireless networks like 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi and offloading to these networks. In other words, the requirements are changing and when the requirements are changing, IOT tests do not tell the whole story! Adaptability is really key in a dynamic environment, and is the question that really needs to be asked to make sure the product you buy will be one you can rely on for the long term.
Let’s take a closer look at the Diameter Signaling Controller. As this stage of the market, interworking with different Diameter variants, Wi-Fi variants, SS7/MAP, LDAP, etc. variants are going to determine a much longer life for the DSC than any backward looking IOT ever will.
From a Dialogic perspective, our media server, PowerMedia, is a software-based media server where support for new codecs can happen in a matter of weeks, as opposed to having to wait a year or more for new codecs to appear in DSPs, let alone the time it takes to integrate the DSPs into the boards in your hardware system. Helix, our DSC, incorporates protocol templates that allow for protocol adaptation in a matter of hours.
So look forward to your future needs. This is way more important in a dynamic market than any IOT tests.