Optical/IP Networks

Test Lab Targets Ethernet Access

Test lab firm Iometrix Inc. has set up a new operation in San Jose, Calif., to offer carriers third-party test services and facilities, with an initial focus on emerging Ethernet access technologies (see Iometrix Opens West Coast Lab).

Iometrix founder Bob Mandeville hopes the new facility will establish itself as the leading lab for independent conformance testing of equipment based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)'s forthcoming 802.3ah standard for Ethernet in the first mile.

That standard is due to be ratified some time in June, and Iometrix has "conformance test code ready to go" for when the IEEE adds its rubber stamp.

Ensuring that equipment conforms to industry standards is a major concern for carriers, especially in an emerging market, according to Mandeville, who also is employed as Light Reading's Ethernet Project Director: "Operators are more concerned with conformance and interoperability testing, while performance testing is the key factor for LAN managers in the enterprise."

Mandeville says the lab's tests not only save the carriers time and money from not having to develop and set up the test plans themselves, but it also "encourages the industry [vendors] to get on the same page" and base their products on the full range of standards from organizations such as the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), as well as the IEEE (see Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled).

Part of Mandeville's plan is to introduce a certification process based on the Iometrix tests, but it's "too early to say what form that will take." It's not clear whether any such process would be backed by industry groups such as the MEF or the Ethernet in the First Mile Alliance (EFMA).

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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