Compliance and Interoperability Work Group (CIWG)

The InfiniBand® Trade Association (IBTA) Compliance and Interoperability Work Group is responsible for developing and executing physical layer, protocol layer and interoperability testing of InfiniBand® and RoCE products. The group ensures that all such products operate in compliance with the latest specification updates. Software Forge team members have been involved with the CIWG program since its inception in 2002 and have chaired the working group for the last 10+ years.

InfiniBand® products are tested for protocol compliance based on the latest IBTA Volume 1 specification. The protocol tests are implemented based on the Volume 3 specification which is only available to CIWG members. The IBTA Volume 2 defines the Electro-Mechanical specifications which devices and cables must comply with. Both InfiniBand® and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) products are also tested for interoperability by the CIWG. Interoperability testing is a full fabric confirmation that the servers, switches and cables all interoperate with each other at the supported speed and without error.

CIWG PlugFests

One of the missions of the CIWG is to organize twice yearly Plugfests at which device and cable manufacturers test their products for compliance and interoperability with the InfiniBand architecture. The events are held in early Spring (usually in April) and in the Fall (usually in October). Plugfest testing ensures that products listed on the IBTA Integrators' List comply with the latest updates to the specifications. These Plugfest also provide invaluable data and feedback to the other IBTA Working Groups such as the ElectroMechanical Working Group (EWG), Link, Management and Software Working Groups which are responsible for developing and updating the IBTA Specifications. Email for inquiries on IBTA PlugFests.

CIWG PlugFest 29 UNH IOL


Faster Compliance Testing With Compliance Test Suite

For the last decade protocol layer testing required an Agilent traffic generator and TCL test scripts. The Agilent hardware is no longer available, so Software Forge wrote a new application, Compliance Test Suite (CTS), to perform the testing and improve the process. The Compliance Test Suite (CTS) allows protocol layer testing to no longer depend on the Agilent generator or TCL test scripts. Software Forge replaced the expensive hardware with a software solution developed in Java with a C++ wrapper around the Open Fabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED). The current version runs on a Linux server with an InfiniBand HCA. CTS does not require the Device Under Test (DUT) to have firmware burned in SDR as was the case with the legacy hardware solution. This greatly reduces the time to complete compliance testing and allows testing of all InfiniBand devices regardless of the speed supported. Therefore, the new HDR (200 GHz) devices can be tested as well as QDR, FDR and EDR devices. Devices that can be tested include HCAs, Switches, TCAs, iSER targets and SRP Targets. CTS automatically discovers the DUT and generates test logs. The reports are automatically created in both HTML and plain text. These logs include DUT information and test descriptions which eliminates a manual and time consuming process as well as the possibility of human error.  The user can elect to save individual test logs or all the logs to a common file. CTS automatically saves failures and warnings to individual logs. CTS provides a pluggable and extensible framework to allow additional tests to be quickly added in the future which can include technologies other than InfiniBand and RoCE.


View a Demo Video of CTS


CIWG Leadership

Software Forge has led the CIWG community and worked with Test Equipment Manufacturers such as Anritsu, Keysight and Tektronix to develop Methods of Implementation (MOI) for all the tests conducted during Plugfests. Software Forge also wrote and maintains the IBTA Volume 3 Protocol Test Definitions which is available to all IBTA CIWG members.


The IBTA makes many of these MOIs publicly available. The available MOIs include the following:

  • Active Time Domain (ATD) tests.
  • Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) tests.
  • Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR)


Other MOIs are available only to IBTA CIWG Members. These include the following:

  • Interoperability testing including both InfiniBand and RoCE
  • Mellanox Eye Opening – used to locate the worst lane on a cable
  • Memory Map Testing. This tool set, developed by Software Forge, allows the user to ensure that the cable EEPROM is programmed correctly and complies with the IBTA specification


Software Forge has also Developed applications that can be used during a variety of Plugfest Testing including Ethernet based Technologies as well as RDMA Technologies. These tools include the following: