Optical/IP Networks

Agilent Unveils All-in-One Tester

CHICAGO – Supercomm 2004 – Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is today launching a multiservice test tool aimed at vendor and carrier test labs working on converged networking strategies (see Agilent Intros Multiservice Tester).

The four-card product, called the N2X, combines routing, switching, transport, and SAN test tools into one platform. "This is our big announcement for Supercomm," says Rick Pearson, marketing manager for the vendor's computing and networking solutions group.

Not that Agilent will be hogging the test news limelight. Spirent Communications will also be making a splash when it unveils a major router tester at the show tomorrow (Tuesday).

So what's the big deal with the N2X? Pearson says it can "test multiple services and technologies at very high scale and in real time. We generate and measure traffic across multiple network domains, and can observe the nature of that traffic as it goes from end to end. It's not a batch testing product."

And Pearson claims it allows tests to be set up much faster than before because of its integrated multiservice capabilities.

The N2X has already been in action: The Agilent man says it was used to test the recently-launched Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CRS-1 backbone router (a.k.a. the HFR), and was used in a recent Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) test of core and edge routers.

Pearson reckons the N2X will be targeted heavily at labs testing Ethernet services. "They [Ethernet services] are going to run over different infrastructures, like IP, Sonet, and RPR, that have different restoration times. Up to now, labs have had to test them separately, but now an Ethernet service can be tested across those different network types at the same time. The technical challenge for us has been to bring the different testing capabilities together in one product."

According to one test lab, Agilent has integrated those capabilities successfully. "It's a real breakthrough," says Bob Mandeville at Iometrix Inc. "I've had extensive experience with [the N2X], and I'm very impressed with its massive scaleability and ease of use."

Agilent is also launching an OSS product for monitoring the network performance of managed VPN services over MPLS networks (see Agilent Launches Tester, OSS).

Agilent and Spirent aren't the only ones with test news at Supercomm. Other announcements of note include:

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 1:31:50 AM
re: Agilent Unveils All-in-One Tester With everything from storage backups to voice running over the same IP network, test gear had better get pretty good. Forcing TB backups to share a road with voice calls sounds tricky to me.
particle_man 12/5/2012 | 1:31:40 AM
re: Agilent Unveils All-in-One Tester I agree. You had better pray the test gear is right or you can kiss your market forecasts goodbye. The good knews is that I know the team putting this together and I expect they will do a great job.

Test is an underappreciated field. There are always tons of people ready to help define the next great standard, but unless you have some bullet-proof test gear, wide spread implementation is at risk!
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