NTS'  Triple Play Test Capability Debugs Telecommunications Systems

CALABASAS, CA – October 20, 2005 – National Technical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTSC) (NTS) announced today new comprehensive test suites to validate operational performance, compatibility and conformity of new hardware and switching software for so-called “Triple Play” systems. Telecommunications carriers have coined the term Triple Play to mean the delivery of next generation voice, Internet/data and video services to a business or residential subscriber over the same connection. While standards exist for each component of the transmissions, telcos propose to use converged systems transmitting over wire, fiber or radiowaves to deliver the end product to consumers. NTS tests the system components to determine if they meet these various standards, assess the performance level achieved under various transmission loads and how well the new system integrates with the telcos’ equipment and existing infrastructure.

“The content and performance delivered to the consumer on these converged systems are the end game for the telecommunications carriers,” notes Curt Wheeling , the NTS' General Manager. We are one of the few laboratories capable of conducting these complex test suites, and probably the only independent laboratory to do so.”  

NTS provides these test suites to two different types of customers: the carrier that seeks to deliver a Triple Play solution and the equipment manufacturer that provides the necessary equipment at the NTS’ NAIL (Network Architecture and Interoperability Laboratory) facility in Santa Rosa, California .  The NTS NAIL is designed to carrier-class standards and provides a one-of-a-kind environment to combine the various elements to simulate a carrier’s or service provider’s actual network to test the impact of Triple Play service delivery without impacting customers.  It allows manufacturers to test their voice, data and video solutions in one place at one time, and for carriers to test interoperability of next generation solutions with their existing networks before deploying them on live networks.

The NAIL provides a telecommunications infrastructure of both legacy and next generation equipment in a test environment. Voice interoperability can be validated with the NAIL's four Class 5 central office switches: Lucent 5ESS, Nortel DMS100, Siemens EWSD and Nortel CS2000 softswitch.  Numerous Legacy Digital Loop Carrier (DLC) platforms and DSL Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs), produced by Adtran, Alcatel, Calix, Catena, ECI, General Bandwidth, Lucent, Marconi, Tellabs/AFC and others, are available for interoperability testing. 

Data interoperability can be validated with DSL Forum certified test beds for ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+ and VDSL2 broadband modem testing and certification against the variety of host DSLAMs listed above.  Video solutions are provided with Harmonic, Inc. encoders for both video overlay and IPTV video streams.  

The NAIL also contains an FSAN (Full Service Access Network) compliant test bed for end-to-end FTTP (Fiber to the Premise) and FTTN (Fiber to the Neighborhood) passive optical network and component testing. 

Complementing the NAIL's test bed infrastructure is a battery of state-of-the-art test equipment for bulk voice and data traffic generation, copper and optical loop simulation, and QoS (Quality of Service) measurement for voice (legacy and VoIP), data and video services.  A number of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) devices are also available to validate interoperability. 

Editors Note 

Triple Play is a very broad definition that requires further clarification in order to understand the true impact of Triple Play services on a carrier's network. Variations include the type; legacy circuit-switched or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and number of voice services being delivered; the data services being delivered; and the delivery speed. Also there are variations in the type of video services provided; a few broadcast channels, hundreds of channels, movies on demand, HDTV, interactive gaming, video conferencing or a mixture.  And finally, the last mile connection to the customer; by means of copper wire, fiber directly to the premises, wireless or, a mixture of technologies. Regardless of the technology, subscribers ultimately insist that any new offerings be equal to or better than what they are currently getting in both quality and quantity of services. 

The carriers must select the various new network elements from a number of different equipment manufacturers, and then face the task of network integration and ensuring interoperability between the new devices.  A second challenge is the seamless integration into the existing network infrastructure.  Manufacturers conduct tests at NTS to prove and validate  to the carriers the interoperability of their equipment with the other network elements the carrier is considering to use. While the largest of the carriers often have internal test laboratories, the midsize and smaller carriers and the equipment providers rarely do.  

For more information or a generic article on the demands for Triple Play systems and the contingent testing requirements, contact The Rankin Group, Ltd.  

About National Technical Systems, Inc.

National Technical Systems, Inc. is a business-to-business services company providing organizations in the aerospace, defense, information technology (IT) and high technology markets integrated testing, certification, quality registration, systems evaluation and engineering solutions.  For additional information about National Technical Systems, visit its web site at www.ntscorp.com.

The statements in this press release that relate to future plans, events or performance, are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with uncertainties pertaining to operating new facilities, customer orders, demand for services and products, development of markets for the companies' services and products and other risks identified in the company's SEC filings. Actual results, events and performance may differ materially.  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.  The companies undertake no obligation to release publicly the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.