The UNH IOL G.fast Consortium will host the first ever official Broadband Forum Virtual Plugfest, beginning December 7th. Registered companies will remotely access their devices to perform tests with other companies, who are also remotely controlling their equipment. The G.fast Consortium and its sister consortium, DSL, have held several Plugfests for emerging technologies in the past, the motivation to establish a virtual Plugfest came after the beginning of the G.fast interoperability beta program. The beta program itself is a study into the interoperability of this technology and having the ability to open a Plugfest when necessary will further advance it.
Inspiration for the virtual Plugfest came from DSL’s own membership perk of “remote debugging." The DSL consortium offers, among standard testing, remote testing and debugging for its members. The vendor is given access to a special, private network inside the IOL and after instruction to the DSL Test Engineers, will have their own test setup within the DSL test bed for remote access. This gives members a unique opportunity to debug and test their devices that are within our lab without the hassle and additional costs of traveling. They are also given the opportunity to communicate specific needs to the DSL Test Engineers to make physical changes to their test setup.
A virtual Plugfest would be similar to DSL’s remote debugging on a larger scale. Members will be able to convey physical test setup needs to the engineers while performing interoperability testing on their devices. This adds the step of developing remote communication between members as they test and troubleshoot.
As the industry itself establishes into a more virtual environment, it’s relevant for companies to discover ways in which they can also virtualize their services. Network-function virtualization is a concept that aims to entirely virtualize networks or network devices and its advancement is met with enthusiasm and new improvements. Networks themselves can be virtualized through Software-defined networking. Network technicians can virtualize their infrastructures and solve network-related issues remotely. Extending these beneficial capabilities to the testing world can create easy-access debugging which would strengthen the development of new and emerging technologies like G.fast.
The goal of G.fast’s virtual Plugfest will be to go through Broadband Forum’s OD-335 test plan. G.fast opened the consortium in January 2015 and launched their beta program last October, 2015. There have been seven physical Plugfests for both chipset and system integrators since January G.fast as a technology is new and requires a level of education and cooperation to continue to launch its success. The virtual Plugfest aims to gain more knowledge and experience with the interoperability between member devices and expand into the concept of making Plugfests easier to put together and easier for members to join in a time where the study of a new technology is most crucial. The education earned will guide the beta program into a rewarding conclusion.
If you are interested in learning more about the G.fast testing consortium or about the Broadband Forum Virtual Interoperability Plugfest, which is underway, please email Lincoln Lavoie for additional information.