Testing conformance to a specification can give confidence that an implementation supports the functions defined in the specification and will also, if the tests are well defined, interoperate with other implementations. If a specification has no optional features, then conformance testing alone will give reasonable assurance that different implementations will interoperate.
However, many communication protocols have characteristics that are conditional upon support of optional features and it is possible that different implementations support different sets of features or similar features in different ways and so may not interoperate. It is therefore useful to demonstrate the interoperability of equipment. Interoperability testing also, by its very nature, tests a complete protocol stack rather than testing each component in isolation, as may be the case with conformance testing.
Interoperability testing is usually performed in the development phases of a technology and can be very useful in both testing the equipment and the standard specifications that are being implemented, whereas conformance testing and certification is usually performed on products that are being introduced to the market.
ITU-T Recommendations aim to ensure the interoperability of products produced by different vendors. Conformity to ITU standards does not imply interoperability of equipment, services and systems but significantly increases the probability of interoperability. In accordance with the Council-09 decision to implementWTSA-08 Resolution 76, ITU organizes and facilitates Interop events in order to test and ensure interoperability of products and services of different manufacturers. This activity forms part of ITU's Conformance and Interoperability (C&I) activities.
Services offered by ITU for Interop Events:
Local arrangements (arranging sites with hosts, shipment, hotels, networking opportunities, visa support, etc.), Logistical arrangements (registration/payment, legal aspects (NDAs), etc.)
IT support, test bed, test session scheduling, etc.
Promotion, media involvement, press releases, event website, inviting prospective customers, etc.
- E-health Interop event, Dubai, UAE, 18-20 November, 2012 (postponed)
- NGN Interop Event organized by HATS (Japan), supported by ITU, Tokyo, Japan, 11-13 July, 2012
- IPTV Showcasing, Telecom World-2011, Geneva, Switzerland, 24-27 October 2011
- IPTV Showcasing, Dubai, UAE, 20-22 September 2011
- 4th ITU IPTV Interop Event, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 18-22 July 2011
- 1st G.hn Interop Testing, Geneva, Switzerland, 23-27 May 2011
- 3rd ITU IPTV Interop Event, Pune, India, 14-17 December 2010
- 2nd ITU IPTV Interop Event, Singapore, 23-24 and 27 September 2010
- 1st ITU IPTV Interop Event, Geneva, Switzerland, 20-23 July 2010