Holding to a Higher Standard

Technical and product standards are important: they indicate credibility and help to set people’s expectations. Unfortunately, wherever there are standards, there are people, products, and companies who falsely claim to meet them.

As a software vendor, deeply entrenched in device access, I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen large hardware vendors failing to follow standards that they themselves developed or helped design. I’ve seen CPE vendors who forget to read the fine print or choose to interpret a standard in their own way. I’ve seen small manufacturers who are pressured to comply with standards, but who fail miserably because compliance was delegated to University students as a class project.

Standards are supposed to hold companies accountable! But the truth will always reveal itself.

Noncompliance was very apparent in the early stages of IPv6 Interop. Devices that had been previously “certified” simply didn’t work according to the standards. Most of the last two years was spent waiting for vendors to comply with the new standards, until finally the last Interop set was a success.

I just wish that these offending vendors would invest the time in providing standard-compliant solutions. It’s shameful that when I asked a large SIP phone vendor “What is SNMP anyways?”, he replied “I think we have a college kid working on it.”

This is exactly the problem with implementing standards. Vendors need to care about compliance because misleading customers is frankly bad practice.