How can interoperability between various implementations of a standard or specification be verified

Validating implementations is an important step in a standardization process as it generally enhances the quality of the final standardization deliverable, for example by providing feedback into the standardization process. For this purpose, standards organizations produce deliverables defining conformance testing suites to check conformity to the standard, of products implementing this standard. They sometimes organize interoperability events, either on an ad-hoc basis, or as a more permanent service (for example the ETSI Plugtests Service, that was installed to test telecommunication, internet or information technology standards). Interoperability events also establish opportunities for engineers from competing organizations to meet together in a commercially secure environment, in order to iron out potential issues, and improving interoperability between their implementations.

Interoperability testing may also happen before technical specifications are adopted. Some specification developing organizations for example require two or more interoperable implementations before the technical specification can be adopted. In this case the interoperability testing happens at a time when the specification can still be changed to accommodate implementation experience (e.g. the IETF with its slogan: "Rough consensus and running code").

Deliverables relating to conformance and interoperability (e.g. test applications or reference implementations and guidelines) aim to support interoperability between, and easy roll-out by market players of equipment and services based on standards or specifications. They have an informative character and are usually produced in a relatively short timeframe (6-12 months).

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See also

  1. How do standardization processes work
  2. What are the different types of deliverables that may result from a standardization process

Created by Bart Brusse & Rigo Wenning
last updated $Date: 2007/01/15 15:51:53 $