Testers for DWDM, 40-Gbit/s transport, optical Ethernet, and optical network monitoring will be featured at the show this year. That's a good sign, sources say. Since vendors of telecom test kit aim to keep ahead of the demand curve by several months, it looks as if a range of optical gear could be on carrier shopping lists early in 2003. Here are some highlights of what's happening in Atlanta in the testing market this week:
- Spirent Communications is unveiling the AE 7100, a DWDM physical-layer simulator designed to help equipment makers validate the performance of multichannel DWDM systems, including those equipped with tunable lasers. The AE 7100 is meant to replace boxes of rolled-up fiber and other awkward test setups now used in many labs.
The product's unique, some say. "This is the first test tool to combine emulation of different real-world singlemode fibers with remote control,” says Shekar Gopalan, VP of research and consulting at Frost & Sullivan.
On the downside, the AE 7100 performs bit error rate (BER) testing of DWDM channels only when attached to the vendor's SmartBits network analyzers or high-end AX4000/OC-192 traffic generator/analysis system. So even though a standalone AE 7100 starts at about $20,000, customers that don't already have Spirent gear will likely shell out much more if they want to reap the full benefit.
- Ando Corp. is launching a series of lab testers geared to DWDM components. The vendor says its AQ8465 DWDM Passive Component Analyzer series packs a tunable laser, optical power, and analysis capabilities in one device to assist the creation of Arrayed Waveguide Gratings (AWGs), Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs), optical mux/demux, and add/drop mux components.
- Spirent's 40-Gbit/s OTA-4400 tester, designed for high-speed optical transport equipment and connections, has been enhanced to test specific framing used in Sonet OC768 and SDH STM-256 connections. One of the first 40-Gbit/s testers on the market (see 40-Gig Gets Testy), the OTA-4400 also includes jitter testing, an important feature for development and installation of high-speed broadband gear.
- Anritsu Corp. has released the ME7780A Bit Error Rate Test (BERT) system, a series of test modules geared to tracking the characteristics of OC768 transmission components and systems. Anritsu ssays the gear supports 100 Mbit/s to 43 Gbit/s and can be used to track noise and other features of high-speed Sonet links at a range of frequencies.
- Acterna Corp. (Nasdaq: ACTR) also plans a 40-Gbit/s release, according to sources close to the company. Specifics weren't available at press time, but the vendor reportedly plans the addition of 40-Gbit/s capability to its existing gear, providing a single platform for testing high-speed Ethernet and Sonet links in the lab or field. On the downside, it's not clear that the new gear will support jitter testing.
- Ando's 43.5 Gbit/s AP9950 Pulse Pattern Generator and
AP9951 Error Detector Bit Error Rate Test devices work separately or together to test the viability of optical transmission parts and systems.
- Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) will unveil IxAccess, a simulator designed to aid the development of edge routers and high-speed access concentrators that use Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) over Ethernet, via specs developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Ixia claims the emulator sets up hundreds of thousands of sessions over PPP Ethernet links to allow makers of remote access gear to tailor their wares for use in emerging broadband Ethernet services used in metro networks.
Ixia’s also demonstrating the ability to test IP version 6 in gear from Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR). Ixia will pair its tester alongside Extreme’s BlackDiamond 6808 core Ethernet switching platform in an effort to show how it can help vendors of broadband Ethernet gear get their wares in order for emerging services.
- Spirent’s CenterOp for Optical is a series of software and hardware probes and mediation gear that Spirent customizes to fit the needs of a specific service provider. The point, Spirent says, is to give carriers performance monitoring for service-level agreements (SLAs) that supports a combination of legacy telecom services and emerging optical ones.
- Acterna’s FST-2510A TestPad High Speed Optical Analyzer, announced May 30, is a 15-pound portable tester geared to installing and maintaining optical metro network services. It does bit error rate testing for Sonet (Synchronous Optical NETwork) and SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) links from 1.5 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s, and it’s also got a range of tests for DWDM, copper, and DSL networks.
- Nettest will show its recently announced CMA5000, a device that combines multiple layer tests for development, installation, and monitoring of next-generation telecom products and services, including ones for Sonet and broadband Ethernet. “A lot of the tests included in this platform formerly had to be done with separate equipment,” says Frost & Sullivan’s Gopalan. Consolidating a range of multilayer tests in one box is more efficient and economical, he says, and it represents a growing industry trend.
- Ando's AU1500 IP Core Network Probe is meant to assist in monitoring broadband networks, including VPNs based on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). It takes multilayer statistical measurements on Internet Protocol (IP) networks at rates to OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s), Ando says.
- Agilent Technologies Inc.' (NYSE: A) OmniBER OTN verifies the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) -- specs that are helping suppliers create gear for next-generation Sonet networks (see Next-Gen Sonet ).
Agilent's also showing the OmniBER XM, a "multichannel, multiport, multirate" tester for multiservice provisioning platforms; the Transmission Test Set for field installation of Sonet and Ethernet services in metro networks; and the RouterTester for generating traffic and testing protocols in Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), and packet-over-Sonet networks.
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