The IP/MPLS Forum announced the pilot phase of its MPLS in Mobile Backhaul Certification program.
A first of its kind, the program will initially focus on certifying standards-compliant implementations of Circuit Emulation services over MPLS as defined in the IP/MPLS Forum’s MPLS Mobile Backhaul Initiative (MMBI), which defines how MPLS can be used to backhaul TDM traffic for mobile operators.
Part of the impetus to offer certification is the forum wanted to give vendors the ability to cut back on testing time and resources and offer a vote of confidence, via certification, when they’re making sales, explained Drew Rexrode, chairman of the Mobile Backhaul Certification Program of the IP/MPLS Forum and a distinguished member of technical staff at Verizon. The program is not designed to pass judgment or set benchmarks but to let vendors and service providers know the equipment has passed a set of requirements.
Sultan Dawood, vice president of marketing at the IP/MPLS Forum and a product marketing manager at Cisco Systems, noted that the framework will address not only 3G and 4G but 2 and 2.5G networks as well.
MPLS can carry a range of technologies over one single backhaul network, allowing the operator to build once and move from generation to generation of mobile technology without having to rebuild the backhaul network, according to forum members.
The certification program introduces a set of strictly-repeatable test procedures and will be administered through the IP/MPLS forum’s certified lab partner, Iometrix. The tests typically take about one full week to complete, according to Bob Mandeville, head of Iometrix.
The pilot phase of the certification program will conclude in early March, and the forum will announce the first group of certified vendors at the MPLS Ethernet World Congress that will be held in Paris on Feb. 10-13.