Technical Committee (TC) Core Network and Interoperability Testing (INT) Activity Report 2019

Chair: Giulio Maggiore, Telecom Italia SpA

Responsible for the development of core network test specifications for interoperability, conformance, performance and security, based on but not limited to specifications developed by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPPTM) (including Virtual, Layered and Autonomic Networks). Responsibility includes initiating and supervising interoperability and events related to core networks with other organisations, and for endorsing test specifications produced by other standards development organizations.

Interoperability is crucial to ensuring Quality of Service and Quality of Experience in complex end-to-end systems such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE) that bring together Internet Protocol (IP) Multimedia Subsystem (IMS™), packet and circuit switched networks.

Our Core Network and Interoperability Testing committee (TC INT) produces specifications to facilitate the implementation of Internet Protocol (IP) based networks that can carry both fixed and mobile services simultaneously. The committee seeks to fill the standardization gap for network performance, in particular for new Cloud-based solutions.

In 2019 we revised our Technical Specification [TS 183 036] for interworking between ISDN DSS1 protocol and SIP.

We extended the set of validated test specifications to cover Diameter on the Sh and Dh reference point, publishing a three-part Technical Specification on Diameter Conformance testing for the Sh/Dh interfaces (3GPP Release 13). This addresses Protocol Implementation Conformance Statement (PICS) [TS 103 571-1]; Test Suite Structure (TSS) and Test Purposes (TP) [TS 103 571-2]; and Abstract Test Suite (ATS) and partial Protocol Implementation eXtra Information for Testing (PIXIT) pro forma specification [TS 103 571-3].

We published a Technical Specification [TS 103 427] describing a framework for e2e Internet related performance measurements for fixed and mobile networks, representing a transposition of Recommendation ITU-T Q.3960.

We published a Technical Specification [TS 103 397] on VoLTE and ViLTE interconnection, interworking and roaming test specification with QoS/QoE (3GPP Release 12).

We revised the second part of our Technical Specification [TS 101 597-2] providing the Test Suite Structure and Test Purposes for the Closed User Group (CUG), using the IP Multimedia (IM) Core Network (CN) subsystem (3GPP Release 12).

We also revised the second part of our Technical Specification [TS 101 595-2] covering Malicious Communication Identification (MCID) using the IP Multimedia (IM) Core Network (CN) subsystem (3GPP Release 12).

We published the second part of a new Technical Specification [TS 101 572-2] that addresses interworking between SIP-I based circuit-switched core network and other networks; this covers SIP-I/SIP NNI Test Suite Structure and Test Purposes (TSS&TP).

Following the ETSI PoC Demo-3 on 5G Network Slices Creation, Autonomic & Cognitive Management and E2E Orchestration, TC INT WG AFI launched a new work item on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Test Systems, Testing AI Models and the ETSI GANA Model's Cognitive Decision Elements (DEs) via a Generic Test Framework for Testing ETSI GANA Multi-Layer Autonomics and their AI Algorithms for Closed-Loop Network Automation.

STF 574 started work on the development of VoLTE/ViLTE interoperability test descriptions over 4G/early 5G in physical/virtual environments (3GPP Release 15). These test descriptions will cover the complete end-to-end communication chain, with conformance checks of the exchanged messages on all involved IMS and EPC interfaces.

A new STF (STF 579) on validation of the Conformance Test Specifications for the Diameter Protocol over the Sh and Dh reference points was approved. The test specifications under validation had been developed by STF 544. Validation testing will take place against real and simulated AS and HSS equipment.

During the year the committee proposed to have a strong coordination with 3GPP, or moving TC INT activities inside 3GPP, in order to ensure a consistent ecosystem for testing and base specifications.

Look out for in 2020 – TC INT work in progress

  • Multi-part Technical Specification (TS) on VoLTE/ViLTE interoperability test description over 4G/early 5G in physical/virtual environments; (3GPP Rel. 15)
  • TS on Test Suite Structure and Test Purposes for Closed User Group at the Access Gateway Control Function (AGCF) connecting legacy access using IP Multimedia Core Network subsystem in compliance with relevant requirements
  • Revision to multi-part TS on Diameter Conformance Testing for Sh/Dh interfaces (3GPP Release 13)
  • Revision to TS on Network Integration Testing between ISDN-ISDN and ISDN-PSTN over SIP II NNI / SIP-I NNI
  • Revision to TS on ISDN/SIP interworking
  • Technical Report (TR) on GANA - business drivers for autonomic networking
  • TR on GANA implementation architecture - Part 3: Guidelines to instantiating GANA onto a target implementation-oriented reference architecture
  • TR on autonomic network engineering for the self-managing Future Internet (AFI); Autonomicity and Self-Management in IMS architecture
  • TR on impact of selected emerging technologies on AFI GANA model and its instantiations
  • TR on confidence in autonomic functions; guidelines for design and testability
  • TR on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Test Systems and Testing AI models