Looking to meet service providers' demand for interoperable technologies and reduce the resources and time dedicated to internal compatibility testing, the Broadband Forum on June 13 unveiled a G.fast certification program in partnership with University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL). The Forum also launched the Gfast Council.
The first wave of certifications included products based on chipsets from Broadcom, Metanoia and Skipio (a complete list of devices is available here), with more vendors slated to become publicly available soon, said Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum, in an interview with UBB2020.
The Forum used its prior work in GPON certification as the template for its G.fast certification program, and first surveyed operators about their pain points, requests and areas of interest, Mersh said.
"What really drove it was driving out the separation between mandatory and optional test cases. For GPON it's very much on the level of performance and functionality because we were looking, really, for conformance to the standard," he said. "For G.fast, it was conformance plus interoperability so you could develop as open a market as quickly as possible."
Through the certification program, operators can more assuredly and speedily deploy G.fast, said Mersh.
The Forum and UNH-IOL listened to operators for the test plan, reviewed the feature sets available for stability and robustness and considered G.fast's capabilities, said Lincoln Lavoie, senior engineer, Broadband Technologies at UNH-IOL, in an interview.
"G.fast has got a much wider physical bandwidth that it's using on the line in terms of the frequency and you're slightly more susceptible to noises. Because of that there's a lot of stuff that's been built into the feature set to mitigate those impacts," Lavoie said. "All those features got rolled into the testing to verify the different solutions are robust and stable."
As a result, the certification includes a test plan for each device or pair of devices that features eight to 12 hours of detailed, automated testing, he said.
"If you were to do it by hand it would take at least a week or two. It shows the level of detail that goes into those test cases," added Lavoie. "All of this is being done between Device A and Device B, so it's really a very detailed, very functional set of performance tests that prove out those two devices are able to interoperate with one another."
Meet the council
Membership in the G.fast Council is open to all Broadband Forum members. The group is designed to promote the G.fast certification, centralize and distribute educational materials on the technology and share expertise to accelerate deployment.
"Gfast has become an essential tool for service providers," said Michael Weissman, chair of the Gfast Council in a statement. "The Gfast Council combines the collective intelligence of 150 members of the Broadband Forum to make the rollout of Gfast deployments faster and more successful."
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.