by Bostjan Pintar, Axel Rennoch, Peter Schmitting and Stephan Schulz
Future telecommunication networks will use Internet technology. The European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI) is developing a standardized test infrastructure to enable industry to provide high-quality open telecommunication services. The testware is based on the Testing and Test Control Notation (TTCN-3) that has been successfully deployed worldwide in a variety of industrial domains.
Today telecommunications is one of the key areas in which technology is bringing mobility and freedom to daily life. The market is moving in two dimensions from ISDN/PSTN to Internet-based networks, and from previous national monopolies to a variety of network and/or service providers. European residents are looking for economic solutions but still require the reliability and quality of conventional telecom services. As one of the major players, the European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI) has developed a technical base for future telecommunication services that will allow interworking between existing PSTN-based (ISDN) and new IP-based networks (SIP/IMS).
The main differences between past and future telecommunication networks can be identified by technical issues such as packet-switched data transport, text-based encoding and a mix of public and private network elements. Obviously these innovations need to be checked to ensure functionality and quality constraints. ETSI has therefore initiated the development of a collection of testing artefacts and events that accompanied the definition of telecommunication standards. This catalogue of ETSI products includes not only the definition of test objectives and test programs with libraries implemented with the Testing and Test Control Notation (TTCN-3), but also interoperability test events.
TTCN-3 is a standardized test definition and implementation language applicable for test modelling and automatic test execution. Several commercial and open-source tools are available to compile TTCN-3 to, for example, Java or C programming code. The tests defined by ETSI using TTCN-3 are freely available from the ETSI websites. One example of ETSIs work in the area of test specification for Internet technology is the development of standardized conformance and interoperability tests for assessing IPv6 core, mobility, security and transitioning functionality. More recently ETSI has started a number of Specialist Task Forces (Figure 1) to develop tests for basic calls (call establishment, release) and supplementary services (call diversion, conferences etc), for both interworking between PSTN- and IP-based networks and between multiple IP-based networks. More concretely, this work focuses on SIP-ISUP interworking, IMS services that fall under national regulatory requirements, and conformance, network integration and interoperability tests for IMS core networks.
Testing experts at ETSI are developing and validating their test programs together with the latest telecom equipment from ETSI members. This helps to assure the quality of the future telecommunication technology at an early time of system development. The expert teams have also been applying new test methods including model-based testing (MBT) approaches.
The efforts at ETSI are supported by its members from industry and academia as well as the European Commission. They enable a base for the open communication between different national and international telecom equipment providers and operators worldwide. The ETSI approach of open standards gives a common technology base in order to facilitate future Internet-based telecommunication. It provides a general and non-proprietary value for Europe since communication will have a significant influence on our future.
ETSI produces globally applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and Internet technologies, and is officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization. For more information, please visit: http://www.etsi.org
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