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For Immediate Release

Network Vendors use RMON Test Summit to Address Inconsistencies in RMON Standard

More Sophisticated Testing Yields Better Results, Demonstrates that Vendors Are Shipping Robust Network Management Applications

CAMPBELL, Calif. (December 15, 1997) - After three days of intensive testing for RMON and RMON2 conformance and interoperability at InterWorking Labs' RMON Test Summit, leading networking vendors isolated ambiguities in the Remote Monitoring (RMON) MIB extension for the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). By highlighting these ambiguities and uncovering discrepancies in their implementations through interoperability testing, leading manufacturers of networking hardware and software have been able to come to an agreement on how to best implement RMON to promote accurate reporting across networking platforms.

Interoperability and standards conformance testing was conducted at the third annual RMON Test Summit, sponsored by InterWorking Labs and held at the facilities of Stardust Technologies' Winsock Labs here from December 2-5, 1997. Network vendors participating in the RMON Test Summit included 3COM, Bay Networks, Cisco Systems, Desktalk Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Intel Corporation, International Network Services, NetScout Systems, Solcom Systems, and Technically Elite. The purpose of the RMON Test Summit was to give networking vendors a secure, neutral interoperability testing environment where they could test products and applications for compliance with the RMON2 Management Information Base (MIB). All the vendors on hand demonstrated robust, interoperable RMON implementations.

"What we uncovered were different interpretations of how the RMON standard should be implemented," said Andy Bierman, software engineering manager at Cisco Systems and working group chair for the Internet Engineering Task Force. "By gathering the major networking vendors in the same room, we were not only able to uncover inconsistencies in the implementations, but we were able to come to immediate agreement on the appropriate way to interpret the standard. Now vendors can be assured that their RMON solutions will interoperate."

Those vendors testing their RMON solutions for interoperability uncovered a variety of ambiguities in the standard that could lead to interoperability concerns as RMON standard gains wider acceptance. Specific concerns were addressed over the implementation of gauge vs. counter, bit encoding conventions, sets and resets for rows and columns, and use of usrHistory objects. These RMON discrepancies have been documented are available on the World Wide Web at ftp://ftpeng.cisco.com/ftp/rmonmib/ietf40_washdc_slides.ps.

"Even with mature networking standards, it is important to continually test for standards conformance and interoperability," said Steve Waldbusser, principal architect at International Network Services. "As these RMON2 tests demonstrated, there is always room for misinterpretation and error, even in mature technology. That's why testing events like the RMON Test Summit are invaluable to developers."

Many vendors participated in creating the RMON test environment so that a network with "real", live traffic could be simulated. The Netcom SmartBits product was used to generate errors and traffic at ISO layers 1-3 on both the 10BaseT and 100BaseT test networks. The Shomiti Systems Surveyor 2.2 Software with the Century Tool Kit Batch File Control generator was used to generate HTTP, SMTP, and SNMP traffic. Precept Software contributed IP/TV to generate RTP/RTPC traffic using an MPEG video multicast to the test network.

Conformance testing was performed using RMON Test Suite, Revision 5, a customizable suite of standards tests developed by InterWorking Labs. These tests consist of 92 tests to verify compliance with the Remote Monitor Management Information Base (RFC 1271), and 80 tests for RMON2 (RFC 2021) and the Remote Network Monitoring MIB Protocol Identifiers (RFC 2074). These tests are designed to verify protocol compliance, error and exception handling, boundary conditions, and performance under heavy network loads. The RMON test suite also includes general agent tests from InterWorking Labs basic SNMP Test Suite.


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