Interoperability & its importance

The basis of all network technologies is interworking communications. The fundamental step therefore in introducing new technologies is "can devices, embedded processors and software communicate and interoperate?"

Interoperability is the building block for choice, healthy competition and is a prerequisite for certified compliance to published standards. It’s an applied science that has been developed by the Forum and its test partners for several decades and that begins by making the first connection and continuing with plug fests and event demonstrations such as those at the annual Broadband World Forum held in Europe. It provides an invaluable accelerator to product and service introductions continues with the evolution of product lines and services.

The advent of open source/proprietary, non-standardized solutions that are not of sufficient quality and lack of interoperability have been recently flagged as the top barriers to the implementation of NFV and supporting SDN management means that Interoperability has taken on a new and very valuable role.

Testing is typically performed at BBF accredited test labs and leverage their vast skills and experiences that otherwise would have to be resourced by equipment manufacturers and providers - even if such skills were available.

How does it make a difference?

This page shares the thoughts of the Forum members on the importance of the topic. We will be adding more shortly.
What's your perspective? We'd like to hear so please contact us and let us know

Mike Fargano of Centurylink & BBF TC Chair:

Mike Fargano, BBF Technical Committee Chair shares his perspective: The best way to understand the value of interoperability to consumers, enterprises and society as a whole is to imagine a world without interoperability.

"Such a world would be characterized by higher customer costs, ultra high barriers of entry for start-up companies, less choices for consumers and enterprises, domination of supply chains and monopolistic behaviors. Fortunately in the real world there are organizations like Broadband Forum  where companies voluntarily come together to promote openness, standards and interoperability.

Why would companies voluntarily participate in organizations like Broadband Forum and promote interoperability? Basically all actors in the supply chain, all the way to and including the consumer/enterprise customers, are looking for best of class systems and services at the best prices possible that seamlessly work together. The actors in the supply chain and end customers are looking for maximum benefits from robust competition and free and open markets.

Interoperability is at the foundation of such competitive environments. As the Technical Committee Chair of Broadband Forum, I'm proud that the Forum is key to interoperability and facilitating competition in broadband systems and services -- with consumer and enterprise customers reaping the economic benefits in the end."

Manuel Paul of Deutsche Telekom and BBF Board member


"Bringing together key industry players' architects, users and implementers, BBF continues to be one of the key driving forces for the development of the broadband industry worldwide. Setting standards and best practices for broadband for more than two decades, BBF stands for real-world operator network deployments and multi-vendor implementations.

Interoperable solutions are of utmost importance for large integrated telecommunication companies, concerned with the deployment of large, heterogeneous network environments. Here, BBF plays an important role – helping to transform innovation into broad market adoption and interoperable solutions.

Focusing on Broadband 20/20, with a mission of promoting open standards supporting innovative services, BBF is well positioned within the industry framework of standards-setting organizations as well as open source reference implementations."

Making a difference