Commetrex has led the industry effort for T.38 interoperability since January 2002 when it launched the T.38 Interoperability Test Lab. Cisco, Lucent, NMS, Sonus, Ricoh, and Excel, were among the T.38 Interop Test Lab users. However, over time, scheduling a mutually convenient time for our test engineers and that of our testing partners became a major obstacle. Consequently, the no-charge Test Lab was closed in 2004. But before it closed, The Lab gave the new ITU recommendation a big boost in interoperability.

More recently, however, extensive testing has been done in the field with Commetrex’ T.38 Fax Relay and Terminating T.38 products. Here are a just a few of the vendors we have field-tested with:

And, as a replacement for the T.38 Interop Test Lab, Commetrex has introduced the BladeWare Fax Interop Test Suite (FITS), which allows the OEM to perform the same testing in-house as was done in the T.38 Interop Test Lab. BladeWare FITS is a ready-to-use system comprised of a client application based on the BladeWare stand-alone IP-based media server. This provides the developer with a T.38 and G.711 pass-through interoperability testing facility. Over three years of interoperability testing in The Lab produced 16 tests that, if passed, yield a high probability of interoperability in the field. With BladeWare FITS, a developer can perform the same tests with the same reference platform to his own schedule.

BladeWare may also be used to test PSTN-IP gateways and fax-capable media servers. BladeWare’s interface with the balance of the test environment can be both the IP and TDM/PSTN connections. This means that it can directly test an IP-fax-capable media server without additional network elements being required. It can also connect with the IP side of a gateway under test that has a connection with a fax terminal, fax board, or a TDM loop back to a PSTN-IP gateway, with the IP connected back to BladeWare for a complete loop-back.

And our latest offering is FaxTap NG, which picks up where Wireshark leaves off. Wireshark does have SIP and a degree of T.38 analysis, but does not support any analysis for G.711 modem pass-through calls. Further, the analysis it does provide is not always accurate. Its identification of packets following a T.38 re-Invite as T.38, even if they are RTP, can lead to misinterpretation (flags them as “Malformed T.38 packets”). It interprets HDLC image frames during ECM transmissions as if they were T.30 negotiation frames. Of course, Wireshark performs only limited T.30 protocol analysis, and doesn’t render the image for you. Finally, the user must switch between the versions of T.38 manually.

These affordable products are complemented by the test equipment provided by nearly every vendor in the industry that offers FoIP testing, and every one of them base their products on licensed fax technology from Commetrex. See the full list.

Commetrex—and now NetGen—has progressively led the industry in the quest to make FoIP work, first in the enterprise and now in carrier networks—“the final frontier”. We are doing it with BladeWare Trident, which includes Bladeware FITS, FaxTap NG, and our Platinum support package to work with the service provider and carrier to iron out the kinks in their approach to FoIP.