NBN Co has provided additional information on how ISPs will be able to test their services in ‘sandpits’ on the National Broadband Network.
Sandpits are pre-certification testing sites where ISPs with NBN Co wholesale agreements will have the chance to test configuration and products on a quarantined portion of the NBN.
It is part of the NBN Co accreditation process and will aid understanding on how an ISP’s products will work with the NBN.
Sandpits will initially be located at each first release sites’ temporary point of interconnect (PoI).
According to the NBN Co Access Seeker Accreditation paper released late last year, these test sites are to be available in Q2 of 2011.
At the NBN Co Access Seeker Industry Interface Workshop, the company outlined the roadmap for access seekers to use the NBN and provided more details on the NBN sandpits.
ISPs will connect at the business-to-business (B2B) gateway and behind that will be a full emulation of NBN Co’s business and operations support systems.
“The emulation capability is important as it not only allows testing on normal sunny day scenarios but, more importantly, lets [access seekers] test exception conditions as well,” NBN Co industry integration manager, Martin Pittard, said. “Environments are going to be flexible so we are going to be able to support multiple versions of the interface concurrently.”
ISPs can not only conduct component and integration testing at the sandpits but they can also develop new capabilities and patches in their own production environment.
The sandpits will function the same as the certification environment which means ISPs will be able to use them for certification as well, according to Pittard. Once an ISP goes through certification for business processes and products they wish to procure from NBN Co, they can move into the production phase.
"We plan to build this environment ahead of when [access seekers] need it," Pittard said. "Clearly that is a challenge because we're all building at the same time but we recognise its value is really when we have the capability at the time [access seekers] need it in [their] build and integration timelines."
In terms of the roadmap to concerning access seekers, NBN Co is currently in the end-user trial phase. It is getting ready for the commercial services phase where it expects to have more products available including fixed wireless services which will be incrementally released.
NBN Co will then begin to on-board additional access seekers and move on to eventually migrating services from the copper network to the new fibre network.