Spirent Tests Broadband, VOIP

Spirent Communications automates VOIP service and triple-play DSLAM testing

September 21, 2004

7 Min Read

VENICE -- Spirent Communications(TM) (NYSE:SPM; LSE:SPT) today announced a new VoIP diagnostic software module that helps wireline, wireless, and cable companies better detect and resolve problems with commercially deployed IP and Ethernet services. The Spirent SmartSight(TM) VoIP Diagnostic Assistant will be the latest addition to the company's SmartSight integrated portfolio of VoIP diagnostic software and hardware. Spirent's SmartSight portfolio is on display at booth # 1100 at Broadband World Forum.

The software module, part of Spirent's centralized VoIP diagnostic solution, will automate complex analysis of VoIP service problems such as dropped packets, jitter, latency and other issues that impede performance. According to OSS Observer, an industry analyst firm, centralized diagnostic systems are critical to the cost-effective and successful growth of VoIP services. "These centralized diagnostic systems provide valuable VoIP service measurement data and testing capabilities, eliminate expensive truck rolls and improve overall quality assurance," said Patrick Kelly, partner, OSS Observer.

"For VoIP services to continue to grow in Europe and worldwide, providers need tools that increase visibility and diagnostic capabilities in the network, and which support emerging VoIP applications," said Jim Schleckser, president of Spirent Communications' Service Assurance-Broadband group. "Our centralized and automated diagnostics solution will significantly accelerate VoIP service troubleshooting and performance measurement."

---In a separate release---

VENICE -- Spirent Communications (NYSE:SPM; LSE:SPT) today announced an integrated test solution for the installation and end-to-end maintenance of broadband services in the local loop. A prototype of the product will be shown at the IEC Broadband World Forum trade show in Venice (September 20th - 23rd) at Spirent's booth (#1100) and Teradyne's booth #1158.

This integrated solution will help broadband service providers leverage existing investments and improve service quality by providing faster trouble identification and resolution. Both companies are able to offer the combined capabilities of Spirent's CopperMax broadband services testing and Teradyne's Celerity(R) broadband loop testing. The prototype will demonstrate Spirent's CopperMax upgrade to Teradyne's installed-base Loop Diagnostic Unit (LDU100(TM)) for Central Offices, which also will upgrade Teradyne's planned LDU for remote terminal applications. Spirent will also integrate the Teradyne LDU100 physical layer functionality into the new 3577B CopperMax/RT product, also shown in the Spirent booth.

In addition, the functionality of Spirent's CopperMax OSP Far End Unit (FEU), a device that assists field forces in isolating loop problems, will be included in the integrated test head. Integrating the FEU functionality prevents field engineers from having to visit the exchange when testing copper pairs at the street side or at a customer premises, thus slashing the wasted travel time that is all too often required to resolve problems.

The integrated testing platform is consistent with the strategic objective of many leading telecommunications companies to drive down operating costs by reducing equipment deployed in the network and by leveraging the installed base to support future services as VoIP, VDSL, ADSL2+, and video. The system provides advanced expert analysis of measurement results to quickly pinpoint physical layer, DSL sync, and IP related problems. Integrating the voice and broadband functionality also reduces the need for expensive rack space, power, and engineering and installation costs by combining all functionality into a compact 1U space, thus greatly reducing the total cost of deployment for new installations and leveraging the installed base for expansion.

Commenting on the anticipated benefits of the integrated test head, Geoff Zeidler, president of European operations for Spirent Communications said: "This initiative is about experienced companies creating a more cost effective way to help customers deliver multiple services over the existing and new networks. We address both centralized and field force testing with a single solution, demonstrating our commitment to meeting carriers' needs to reduce costs and enhance service quality without increasing risk through unproven solutions."

Bob Copithorne, vice president and general manager of Teradyne's Broadband Test Division said: "The goal of these joint activities is to enable our customers to leverage their extensive installed base of test heads by cost effectively migrating to end-to-end broadband service assurance solutions from Teradyne and Spirent."

---In a separate release---

VENICE -- Spirent Communications(TM) (NYSE:SPM; LSE:SPT) today announced that it has developed the world's first high port density ADSL2+ platform for testing performance and quality of service (QoS) of new generation Triple-Play enabled DSLAMs under realistic loads in either ISDN or POTS over ADSL2+.

Today's DSL service providers need to extend their service offering beyond basic high speed Internet services by offering packages targeting the 'Triple-Play' of voice, video and Internet. To address this requirement, many of the leading Network Equipment Manufacturers (NEMs) are developing new DSLAMs that combine the new generation of ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2+ chipsets, which enable higher DSL data rates, with the ability to support the QoS and protocol requirements of Triple-Play services.

The additional functionality and intelligence demanded by Triple-Play services, combined with increased DSL port density and sustained high throughput, requires new testing techniques. Recognizing its customers' testing requirements, Spirent has developed two high port density ADSL/2/2+ mAX SLAM interface cards for its market-leading AX/4000 traffic generator and analyzer. The mAX SLAM modules are now available in the European market with either ADSL2+ over ISDN or ADSL2+ over POTS interfaces. With 12 ports taking the space of a single modem, and systems scaling from 24 to over 12000 ADSL/2/2+ ports, mAX SLAM reduces lab space requirements and simplifies test system management.

"The European DSL Service Providers and Network Equipment Manufactures have demonstrated leadership in offering Triple-Play services over DSL. However, many issues like integration of quality of service to support voice and video are still being resolved," said Steve Courtney, vice president of marketing for Spirent Communications Access Emulation unit. "Our first-to-market test solution is intended to boost the confidence of DSLAM vendors and service providers by providing realistic high density Triple-Play testing of QoS. This mitigates the technical risks associated with the transition of DSL Triple-Play services to converged networks, replacing large racks of CPE and wiring, and providing a new standard of testing for Next Generation DSLAMs."

Currently, DSLAM performance is tested using a traffic generator/analyzer emulating a single stream of IP traffic through a real modem. While this is acceptable for DSLAMs only supporting Internet traffic where packet loss, latency and jitter issues go largely undetected by the end-user, it presents many problems for Triple-Play enabled DSLAMs. Voice and video traffic is very sensitive to packet loss, latency and jitter, and it is important to verify the DSLAMs management of QoS to ensure voice, video and data traffic are prioritized correctly. In addition, when testing using real modems, results are obscured by inclusion of the modem performance in overall results.

Spirent's mAX IP G/A and mAX SLAM interfaces for the AX/4000 can generate and analyze multiple streams of Layer 3 control and data plane traffic, revealing interactions between traffic of different QoS levels. Additionally, the test platform provides new functionality and granularity to test analysis by introducing support for protocols such as IP multicasting for video delivery and isolation of performance analysis to the DSLAM without including performance of modems bundled in test results.

Leading NEMs and Service Providers use Spirent's mAX SLAM solution to test the performance and QoS of the new generations of higher bandwidth, intelligent DSLAMs. The addition of the high port density ADSL2+ platform allows them to assess packet loss and service interactions between voice, video and data in the lab, before deploying in the live network, mitigating service disruption and lost productivity. In addition, pre-deployment testing and verification of multi-service networks allows customers to ensure optimal scalability without added cost, maximize performance with inherent reliability, and guarantee interoperability with proven voice quality. This allows for bundling of services, which increases customer subscription rates for DSL and with added services, per user revenues.

Spirent Communications

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