Technical Committee (TC) Core Network and Interoperability Testing (INT) Activity Report 2021

Chair: Giulio Maggiore, Telecom Italia SpA

Developing core network test specifications to ensure interoperability, conformance, performance and security, together with use cases and requirements for automated & autonomic (self-) management of networks and services. Responsibility includes initiating and supervising interoperability and events related to core networks with other organizations, and for endorsing test specifications produced by other SDOs.

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 (IMSTM), packet and circuit switched networks.

In ETSI our Technical Committee on Core Network and Interoperability Testing (TC INT) develops core network test specifications for interoperability, conformance, performance and security.

The committee develops use cases and requirements for automated and autonomic (self-) management of networks and services. As well as coordinating interoperability efforts with other organizations (including GSMA, IETF, BBF, CableLabs and OMA), it also endorses test specifications from and to other SDOs including ITU-T.

From 2021, TC INT’s testing specifications are now based exclusively on 3GPP specifications. Seeking stronger coordination with the 3GPP community, TC INT has proposed to move its activities inside 3GPP in order to ensure a consistent ecosystem for the testing part and the base specifications.

During the year work progressed on development of various Technical Specifications, include network interoperability test descriptions for emergency services over 5G and VoLTE, and E2E (end-to-end) testing and validation of vertical applications over 5G networks and beyond.

In 2021 the committee published revisions to four Technical Specifications:

TS 183 036 V3.7.1 - Protocol specification for ISDN/SIP interworking

TS 103 571-1 V2.1.1, TS 103 571-2 V2.1.1 and TS 103 571-3 V2.1.1 - Diameter conformance testing for Sh/Dh interfaces (3GPP Release 15).

November saw publication of Technical Report TR 103 747 ‘Federated GANA Knowledge Planes (KPs) for Multi-Domain Autonomic Management and Control (AMC) of Slices in the NGMN(R) 5G End-to-End Architecture Framework’. This provides a mapping and evaluation of architectural components for autonomic network management and control implemented in the EU-funded SliceNet Project to the ETSI AFI Generic Autonomic Networking Architecture (GANA) reference model.

During the year various new Work Items were launched, notably:

  • TR 103 761: Specifications for E2E Testing and Validation of Vertical Applications over 5G and beyond networks,
  • TR 103 762: Specifications for E2E Testing and Validation of Vertical Applications over 5G and beyond networks,
  • TR 103 763: Description of Test Requirements and Approach for E2E Federated Testbeds.

In cooperation with TC MTS, progress was made on two Technical Reports on AI in test systems and testing of AI models. The first (to be published as TR 103 748) addresses the use, benefits and trustworthiness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in test systems used for standardization; the second (to be published as TR 103 749) discusses testing AI models, components, systems and testing metrics.

Work meanwhile continued on development and revision of various other Technical Specifications and Technical Reports.

See the full list of current TC INT Work Items in development here.

In January 2021 ETSI’s Working Group on the evolution of management toward Autonomic Future Internet (AFI) – part of TC INT - presented at the Systems Optimization Imperatives, Techniques, and Opportunities for Future Networks virtual workshop organized by IEEE. Members of TC INT and WG AFI introduced GANA Autonomics, as well as the concept of ETSI GANA Knowledge Plane Platforms and their role in evolving future networks. Autonomic Management and Control (AMC) of 5G Networks were demonstrated with the ETSI 5G Proof-of-Concept (PoC) Project.

The TC INT blog provides an overview of the committee’s recent activities: