The University of New Hampshire's InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) held its first multivendor high-bit-rate DSL (HDSL2) testing period recently at its facilities in Durham, N.H. AccessLAN Communications, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel, Conexant Systems, Globespan, Intel Corp., Larscom, Level One, Metalink, PairGain Technologies, and Westell all participated in the event. These companies are members of the HDSL2 Consortium, whose formation was announced at Supercomm last June.
Some experts believe the high-rate, symmetrical, and extremely robust HDSL2 technology will spell the death of ADSL, but this may not happen for some time yet. The delay is due to one impediment that HDSL2 still faces—the high standards for robustness set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Interoperability, a crucial part of the technology's success, is up in the air as well.
The UNH-IOL's results aren't in the public domain. Even so, all of the consortium's members are committed to product development that meets the strict criteria of the proposed ANSI T1E1.4 HDSL2 standards committee. In this first-ever round of HDSL2 testing, vendors had the opportunity to examine early HDSL2 interoperability in a technology-driven environment. The testing schedule let participants examine the ANSI T1 HDSL2 draft standard. They also got to look at HDSL2 from both a technology and an implementation standpoint. The event's final goal was testing the HDSL2 draft standard details as written while compiling recommendations in the draft standard for clarification or detail.
According to Scott Valcourt, manager of the consortium, "This group test period examined the implementations of the HDSL2 draft standard. The group work, developed by all of the participants at this event, will allow for more extensive testing of HDSL2 at future group test periods and in the laboratory on a daily basis."
The UNH-IOL encourages vendors to conduct such testing by providing facilities for a multivendor test environment. These facilities also have the capacity for remote testing. To date, vendors have concentrated on the interoperability of products within a campus environment and in the DSL area, working toward the customer's desire for a truly heterogeneous network. The lab also offers interoperability testing for 10Base-T, IEEE 1394, ADSL, ATM, Bridging Functions, Fast Ethernet, FDDI, FDSE, Fibre Channel, Gigabit Ethernet, HDSL2, IP/Routing/Voice over IP, MPLS, Network Management, Token Ring, VG-AnyLAN, and Wireless communications.
For more details, go to the UNH-IOL web site at www.iol.unh.edu.