MSF Announces Dissolution of Forum
Significant Industry Contribution Spans 15 Years
Fremont, California, March 21, 2013 – The MultiService Forum (MSF) announced today that the forum will close in the coming months. Founded in 1998, the MSF has had an extremely productive 15-year run. The successful RCS/VoLTE Interoperability event, in partnership with GSMA and ETSI, was the most recent in a string of influential industry interoperability events focused on LTE. The MSF conducted interoperability events testing equipment hosted in service provider labs, networked together on a global basis. With the growing maturity of multiservice network architectures, demand for interoperability events of this scale has declined. The industry focus is shifting toward smaller events that are already provided by many other forums.
"All groups have a beginning, productive period and an end. The Board believes this is the appropriate time to close the MSF. Taking action now to dissolve the MSF protects its legacy and preserves the excellent work it has done. The MSF has chosen to end on a high note," said Kyu Ouk Lee, MSF President.
The MSF is known for the contributions it made to interoperability through Global MSF Interoperability (GMI) events. The forum pioneered a ground-breaking approach to interoperability testing, validating important new technologies in a realistic, end-to-end network configuration. Testing was typically conducted between service provider labs, with global interconnectivity. The MSF provided realistic proof of concept testing for a string of emerging technologies, including IP Softswitches, IMS, LTE, IP interconnection and RCS/VoLTE. The feedback provided by GMI events was particularly valuable in the early stages of the transition from service-specific TDM networks to a multiservice IP network.
The MSF attracted key carriers, network equipment vendors, and test equipment vendors. GMI events provided feedback to the industry, which was documented in highly influential white papers. As well, the MSF enjoyed a close partnership with several industry standards bodies, allowing GMI to validate the standards behind the equipment. Ambiguities, omissions and errors in the standards were identified and brought to the attention of the appropriate organizations. Wayne Cutler, MSF CTO noted that "in many ways, the role of "testing the standards" has been the most enduring contribution the MSF made to the industry."
The MSF leaves behind a legacy of Implementation Agreements, Physical Scenarios, Testing Scenarios, Test Plans, Architecture Frameworks and White Papers developed to support its interoperability program. To maximize the ongoing value to the industry, all of these approved MSF documents will continue to be publically available on the MSF website, for unrestricted use.
The MSF's final contribution on behalf of the industry will be an award to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History for American Enterprise, an exhibition opening in 2015, exploring the history of business in America and featuring the critical role played by telecommunications. The exhibit will be on display for 20 years or more. Telecommunications will be highlighted as among the most powerful technologies ever developed. The MSF will be recognized as a donor to American Enterprise at the exhibition, on the museum's website and in the Smithsonian's annual report.
The MSF Q1 2013 meeting in Yountville, California, March 19 – 21, 2013 was the final MSF technical meeting. In addition to completing open work items, the MSF also published a white paper documenting the results of the final MSF IP-NNI (Network-Network Interface) interoperability event in January of this year. The meeting concluded with a session on future industry priorities and emerging technologies. This session leveraged a decade of MSF experience to examine the future of interoperability testing. The results of this session will be posted on the MSF website in the near future.
About the MSF
The MultiService Forum (www.msforum.org) is a global association of service providers, system suppliers and test equipment vendors committed to developing and promoting open-architecture, multiservice Next Generation Networks. Founded in 1998, the MSF is an open-membership organization comprised of the world's leading telecommunications companies. The MSF's activities include developing Implementation Agreements, promoting worldwide compatibility and interoperability of network elements, and encouraging input to appropriate national and international standards bodies.