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Test Vendors Target VOIP, IPV6

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
6/16/2004
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The telecom sector's test-and-measurement vendors haven't waited for next week's Supercomm show to splash the news of new product releases and capabilities. VOIP testing has dominated recent announcements (see Agilent Launches VOIP QOS Tool, Telchemy Upgrades VOIP Tester, Brix Expands VOIP Testing Portal, VOIP Healthcare Takes Hold, and Report Touts VOIP Test Market ).

The latest vendor to join in the throng is NetTest, which has just launched its first VOIP test product for carriers (see NetTest Launches VOIP System). But isn't it a bit behind the curve, following in the wake of so many other players?

NetTest's marketing director, Karl Erik Traberg, doesn't think so. He says the timing of the launch is coinciding with the VOIP strategies of many wireless carriers, which make up the majority of NetTest's 35 or so carrier customers.

Traberg says: "Many of them are introducing and planning 3G services and push-to-talk [PTT] services, which has taken off in the U.S. and is now coming to Europe. That's all VOIP, and we already have one Tier 1 wireless carrier signed up for our VOIP test product," though he can't name the carrier at the moment.

And Traberg believes this is also a good time to be marketing the product to fixed-line carriers. Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) and Inet Technologies Inc. have been dominating the fixed carrier test market for a long time, but "the emergence of a new technology in the form of VOIP will create an opportunity for companies such as us to break their hold on the wireline sector."

So who are the main VOIP test systems competitors, whether for fixed or wireless systems? Traberg reckons Inet and Empirix Inc. will be the companies to beat.

Another emerging technology that's creating new opportunities for test firms is IPV6, which is picking up momentum outside of its current Asia/Pacific stronghold (see Verio Launches IPV6 Services, TeliaSonera Gets IP Address Tranche, and IPv6 Coming to America). Spirent Communications has already identified that emerging opportunity by including IPV6 in its recently launched ServiceEdge program (see Spirent Makes Services Play).

Now Agilent is looking to capitalize on the growing demand for IPV6 products by adding extra functions to its N4180A NetworkTester (see Agilent Unveils IPV6 Test Tool).

Rick Pearson, business unit manager for the vendor's Computer Network Solutions group, says the product is the first specially designed to test IPSecV6 (IP Security Version 6) devices and IPV6 VPN services, and is designed to be used by vendors and carriers looking to stress-test IPV6 firewalls and VPN concentrators.

Pearson says security specialist Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) is already using the product, and that other functions will be added as other technologies emerge.

The Agilent man says the security product test sector is particularly hot at the moment, along with Ethernet services and next-generation Sonet.

Other recent test news announcements of note include:

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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