Q&A - TL 9000 Product Categories


The Contact Us function at the top of every page on the tl9000.org and questforum.org websites is the preferred means for asking questions and receiving answers from the subject matter experts of the QuEST Forum. Over the last few years many questions have been answered through this means. The number of each question is the ticket number in the Contact Us tracking system.

These questions generally relate to the assigning products to various product categories.

Question 9478 — As per the product category definitions, product category family 7.3 excludes maintenance services provided by OEMs for their product. If we sort the list of certified companies in product category family 7.3, there are number of companies that are not providing the maintenance services as per the definition. Is it because they are providing maintenance service for their products even after warranty?

Answer — You are correct in that product category family 7.3 specifically excludes warranty and standard maintenance activities performed by an OEM in support of their product. However it does not preclude an organization from offering regular multi-vendor network maintenance services, NOC center operations, or operating a multi-vendor spares depot for a customer. Such activities would allow them to become certified in one of more of the 7.3 product categories. A review of the list of organizations currently certified in 7.3 does not reveal any one that definitely does not provide one or more of those types of services. If you believe this is not the case, please let us know and we will discretely follow up with the organization and their certification body. The source of the question will not be revealed.

Question 10022 — I am looking for guidance on determining the product category and OC-1 equivalence of a new product. The product does not readily fit a single TL9000 product category. Product description: “The Packet ONP provides the modular, chassis-level fusion of Connection-oriented Ethernet, ROADM-on-a-card, and SONET transport technologies built on a single addressable optical network class element. It fulfils network aggregation and transport infrastructure needs, delivering high bandwidth, high quality packet-based services in today’s multi-protocol packet environment. The Packet ONP is the first type of network element that delivers both: (1) Packet aggregation agility, traditionally found only in more costly, feature-rich service elements, and (2) bulk transport scalability combined with the operational stability that has defined optical networking.” We checked with two other companies with similar product situations and were told by one they were using SONET and the other was using DWDM. I have been told internally that some of the product’s SONET units have an OC-1 equivalence of 192 OC-1s and 384 OC-1s for other units. Table A-4 and A-5 of the TL Handbook do not list an OC-384.

Answer — A product that combines the characteristics of a SONET transport system and a DWDM system would by definition belong in Product Category 3.2.2.1.2.3 Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM). The normalization units would therefore be the number of optical channels. The OC capacity of each channel would not matter in determining the number of normalization units.

Question 10046 — What is the product category of a Wireless module that is used in a notebook computer? Our proposal is 8.2.3.

Answer — At the time this question was asked 8.2.3 was the appropriate category for a wireless modem. In Release 4.2 of the Product Category Tables a product category, 6.2.3.2, Wireless Data Modems was established for this product so the correct product category now is 6.2.3.2.

Question 10302 — What product category does Lawful Intercept equipment belong in? Lawful Intercept enables telecommunications network operators to comply with government regulations for lawful interception of telecommunications, including voice, data, VoIP, etc. Is a new category needed?

Answer — Product Category 3.4.2, Lawful Intercept, was added starting with Release 4.2 of the Product Category Tables.

Question 10355 — Our product scope is: Design and manufacture of combiners, splitters and radio frequency amplifiers used for cellular mobile telecommunications devices. I'd like to confirm again with our product category: we are registered in 3.3.2.1 and 3.3.2.2.

Answer — Product categories 3.3.2.1 Basic (Base Transceiver System) and 3.3.2.2 Advanced (Base Transceiver System) are intended for fully equipped terminals and/or repeaters. These categories are not intended for the components or sub-assemblies used to construct those terminals or repeaters. Combiners, splitters, and RF amplifiers would belong in the 8.2.x electronic assembly categories. Which specific 8.2.x category applies would depend on the complexity of the assemblies you supply.

Question 10460 — What is the difference between product category 7.7.3 Cable Assembly and product category 8.3 Cable Assemblies?

Answer — 7.7.3 is for contract manufacturers while 8.3 is for design, build, sales, and support organizations.

Question 11455 — When TL 9000 Product Category Table 4.was revised to 4.2, product category 6.2.3 was split into 6.2.3.1 and 6.2.3.2.

Question
1. Will RMS fees increase for the spilt product category?
2. Must the data be separated by product category for reporting to the RMS?

Answer — Product category 6.2.3 was split in PCT 4.2 into 6.2.3.1, wired modems and 6.2.3.2, wireless modems.

If your business includes both types of modems and if you want them to be part of your TL 9000 registration then there will be a fee for usage of the Registration Management System for each product category.

Also, if you keep both product categories then you must keep separate records for each product category.

If one of the product categories does not apply to your business then please reply back and we will delete the unused product category from your registration profile.

Question 11517 — What product category best applies to die-cast metal parts designed for telecommunications applications?

Answer — There currently is no TL 9000 product category for die cast metal parts.

Question 11687 — I am trying to understand the differences between Product Categories 7.1.1 and 7.1.2. What is the difference between Installation and Provisioning?

Answer — 7.1.1 Installation involves the initial installation of a system, expansion or upgrade of that system, or removal of the system. The equipment being worked on is not in service. 7.1.2 Provisioning involves the in-service configuring of system such as assigning phone numbers to specific lines, setting up or changing cross connections, or activating specific services for given customers. 7.1.1 Installation is typically performed by the OEM or a third party on behalf of the OEM. The work is made up of a discrete set of tasks leading to the turning over of the equipment to the customer for acceptance testing. 7.1.2 Provisioning is typically performed by the service provider or a third party on behalf of the service provider. It is performed on a continuing basis.

Question 11931 — In trying to determine which product category our products should be associated with (6.2.3.1 Wired Modems or 6.2.3.2: Wireless Modems) we make the conclusion that the difference is made on the basic connectivity of our gateway with the network of the provider. Currently all of our products connect to the network of the provider via wired DSL access. Based upon this, we believe that the products that we report on at this time are all to be considered “Wired” and as such follow the guidelines within 6.2.3.1 Wired Modems. Please advise if this seems like a logical conclusion.

Answer — Yes, if the connection between your product and the provider network is a physical cable connection, then the correct product category is 6.2.3.1 even if the box itself provides a local wireless network. If the network connection is RF, then category is 6.2.3.2.

Question 12178 — What would be the preferred Product Category for a Contract Manufacturer (CM) producing Optical Components and Assemblies? While 8.5.2.x is a better description of the devices they produce, it is my understanding that all CM work should be in 7.7.x categories, however other than cables (7.7.3) none of these reference any optical devices and the note in PCT Table A-2 does not redirect 8.5.x products back to 7.7.x (it only includes 8.2.1 through 8.4).

Answer — Depending on the complexity of the items being assembled, this CM would fall under 7.7.1 small assemblies or 7.7.2 Printed Circuit Board Assembly.

Question 12507 — For the mobile phone production, which category could be defined? 6.2.1.2.2 or 7.7.4?

Answer — If the registration that makes the mobile phone is a contract manufacturer then the product category is 7.7.4.

If the registration that makes the mobile phone sells the phone on the open marker under its name then the product category is 6.2.1.2.2.

Question 12515 — New R4.5 category 7.2.1.2 has the example "RF Design Engineering (Asset /Arieso)". What is Arieso?

Answer — Arieso is a service company whose end user experience optimization testing has become a quasi-standard within the RF Design and Engineering industry.

Question 12598 — We are an Internet Service Provider. To deliver our services to our customers, we have nodes such as base stations and VSAT teleports/hubs, we also have data centers with equipment such as switches, routers, etc. We would like to understand how to apply the measurements under the maintenance category of 7.3 to the new sub categories 7.3.1 and 7.3.2 for all the measurements. Can you please explain in detail what these new segments mean and what they are meant to capture and how it translates to the new measurements such that it is clear what we may need to capture as numerators and denominators to be used in compiling the measurements?

Answer — 7.3.1 has to do solely with the maintenance of the network equipment at your nodes and data centers. The measurements for 7.3.1 would include the problem reports and callbacks or repeat failures associated with the field maintenance work along with the on time delivery of those maintenance activities. 7.3.2 is concerned solely with your network operations or monitoring center. This is the center that monitors the network alarm and performance. Remote provisioning and configuration are also typically performed from the network operations center. The measurements for 7.3.2 would be problem reports against the activities of the center along with on-time delivery of its services such as a remote upgrade, service restoration via remote reconfiguration of the network, or any other service covered by an explicit or implicit service level agreement with an external or internal customer. Please note that SQ is not reported for 7.3.2.

Question 12613 — For the product 8.1.2 and a silicon wafer manufacturer, it sells the 12 inch wafers for customer. Could you tell me the NPRs shall be quantity of wafers or die (chips) delivered on wafer in past a year?

Answer — 1. If the company is making blank silicon wafers and selling blank wafers, then there is not a product category for them and they cannot have a TL 9000 registration. They can be certified to ISO 9000.

2. If the company is making silicon wafers and creating integrated circuits on that wafer and sells the entire wafer uncut to another company that packages the integrated circuit, then there is not a product category for them and they cannot have a TL 9000 registration. They can be certified to ISO 9000.

3. If the company is making silicon wafers, creates integrated circuits on the wafer, cuts the integrated circuits from the wafer, then packages the individual circuits and sells the individual circuits, then their product category is 8.1.2. The NPRs in this case is the count of the individual integrated circuits and is not the count of the wafers.

4. If the company buys wafers with integrated circuits on the wafer, cuts and packages the integrated circuits, then sells the integrated circuits then their product category is 8.1.2. The NPRs in this case is the count of the individual integrated circuits and is not the count of the wafers.

Question 12829 — Please instruct me on the measurements for TL 9000 categories 7.7.5.1 and 7.7.5.2; what is an “order” for NPR data and how does this differ from a "shipment"? Also can you provide a sample calculation for TL 9000 categories 7.7.5.1 and 7.7.5.2; “order” NPR data? I am confused because it does not appear that orders are counted over the last 12 months and it is not equivalent to units shipped (this is what all of our other TL 9000 product categories use).

Answer — The word “order” here refers to a purchase order in your accounting/ERP system. A given order could be fulfilled with one or multiple shipments. Each TL 9000 product category has normalization factors appropriate to the category. For logistical services, the size/quantity of shipments is not as important a factor as the total number of orders processed.

Question 12929 — Need some guidance on 7.3.1 & 7.3.2. Please consider a managed services organization responsible to maintain customer network that also operates a customer owned NOC. ALL problems arising in the network are recorded by NOC (as tickets) and they follow-up with field maintenance teams for closure of the issue. This organization is also responsible to perform regular preventive maintenance of NE's (but the organization is not the OEM). For such organization, both 7.3.1 & 7.3.2 are applicable. Please guide what data is actually to be measured against various TL measurements for 7.3.1 & 7.3.2 for this organization.

Answer — The measurements required for the product categories are listed in Table A-2 of the product category tables. For 7.3.1 and 7.3.2, the required measures are NPR, FRT, OFR, and OTD. For 7.3.1, SQ is also required. With the R4.5 release of the Product Category Tables, SSO is also now required for both product categories. The number of problem reports, fix response time and overdue fix responsiveness are fairly straight forward. Any problem report against the service being provided would be included in NPR. FRT would be measured against objectives in place with the customer. On time delivery for 7.3.1 is typically determined based on the SLA agreement in place with the customer for field maintenance actions. This would likely include both scheduled and unscheduled events. For the NOC, most of the work is 24 by 7 monitoring of the network and OTD measurement is not as straight forward. Most organization will define response time objectives to various types of event in the SLA with their customer. These can then be used for OTD reporting. SQ for 7.3.1 is simply the number of times a second visit is needed to correct a problem.

Question 13036 — We are producing magnesium frame for 3C products like laptop covers, internal frame and e-book internal parts. Also supplying to telecommunication products. We need to know if necessary to be TL 9000 approved.

Answer — There are no TL 9000 product categories for general mechanical parts; therefore TL 9000 certification is not available for the processes that produce such parts.

Question 13070 — We currently are a certified company under 7.2.1 and 7.1.1. With the Product Category 4.5 change of splitting 7.2.1 two questions: 1) if we retain both 7.2.1 and 7.2.2 will there now be additional charges? and 2) does this mean that our measurements have to be segregated by "fixed" and "mobile".

Answer — You will need to review the work you do to see if you provide network-engineering services for both the fixed and mobile networks. If so then you will need to be able to track your TL 9000 measurements in each category and report the data separately.

If you do not provide services for the fixed network or the mobile network then you should delete the unused product category.

For the January through June 2011 data submissions you have a choice of submitting data in the old category, 7.2.1, or the new categories as appropriate. Once you start reporting data in the new categories then you cannot submit in the old category.

Starting with the July 2011 data, the product category 7.2.1 will not be available for use.

You will be invoiced during your annual renewal month based on the product categories in your registration at that time.

Question 13085 — Could you please indicate in which Product Category should we consider these kinds of products? They are Baseband Units, Compact Intelligent Optical Transports, Intelligent Optical Transport Platforms and Compact multi service edge optical transport platforms. The process that we perform at our facility is basically to assemble the different circuit packs (that are provided directly by our customer) into the final Racks, then test the finish goods and ship to our customer. Please, help us by indicate under which category these products should be considered.

Answer — Your company is a well-known contract manufacturer and I assume from your description that you are performing this assembly work under contract with your customer.

If that is true, then there are four product categories that apply to contact manufacturers, namely, 7.7.1, 7.7.2, 7.7.3, and 7.7.4. Based on your description I would say you belong in 7.7.4, Electromechanical Assemblies but you should verify that by referring to Table A-1 of the TL 9000 Measurements Handbook. This table is available online at http://tl9000.org/handbooks/pct.html. Please open the most recent version of the PCT and scroll to product category 7.7.4 in Table A-1 to read the description.

Question 13110 — Is there a product category that reflects Network Terminating Equipment? I have a customer asking that we submit under that category, but I can't find anything listed in the book.

Answer — There is no single product category for “Network Terminating Equipment”. That attribute could be associated with several of the product categories. Does the customer have a more complete description of the category or possibility the category number that they believe your product belongs in? Doing a quick examination of the general product information available on your web site and comparing it to the categories listed on your TL 9000 certification, it is not obvious that anything is missing from your current category selections.

Question 13188 — Our company produces a software product that takes outputs from a network management system (on-line non-critical) and characterizes the Customer Experience in an attempt to improve network understanding and performance. What product category would best fit this site?

Answer — There currently is no TL 9000 product category for this product.