Test & Measurement

Mu Makes Breakthrough at Chunghwa

Mu Dynamics has signed up its first carrier customer for its Mu Test Suite by striking a deal with Chunghwa Telecom Laboratories , the research and development arm of fixed and mobile service provider Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. (NYSE: CHT), the leading carrier in Taiwan. (See Chunghwa Telecom Reports 2009.)

Chunghwa is to use Mu's platform for two specific service test scenarios, according to Simon Berman, the vendor's VP of products.

The first is field issue replication. Chunghwa has a number of intrusion prevention system (IPS) devices on its network that scan for malformed traffic or security infringements. When an alert is triggered by the devices, Mu's suite automatically captures that service traffic and creates lab test cases that replicate the network problems, fixes them, and then validates the repairs.

This should help Chunghwa avoid security breaches such as the one AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) recently experienced with the iPad.

The second use case is pre-deployment security testing. Chunghwa will use actual customer traffic to test services prior to their rollout. Using the Test Suite, Chunghwa can also perform protocol fuzzing, denial of service, and published vulnerability analysis.

Mu Dynamics is expecting to announce further carrier deployments soon. "This is the first in what you can expect to see is a series of announcements from operators, vendors, and government agencies around the solution," says CEO Dave Kresse.

Landing such deals is tough, though, as competition is intense in the network test and service-assurance sectors. Chunghwa, for example, already uses systems from Spirent Communications plc and JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) to test its cloud computing developments and monitor its mobile data traffic, respectively, while the likes of Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA), Tektronix Inc. , Azimuth Systems Inc. , and Sunrise Telecom Inc. (Nasdaq: SRTI) are just a few of the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) vendors competing hard to win the carriers' attention and purchase orders. (See Chunghwa Picks JDSU's LTE Test, Spirent Pushing New Testing for Cloud Security , Sunrise Telecom Rises to the Challenge , and Tektronix Buys Into Security.)

And with so many vendors pitching network simulation capabilities, differentiation is becoming harder. Kresse says the real-world nature of Mu's test scenarios, and its focus on user behavior (and not just traffic volumes) is what sets Mu apart from static, bit-blasting rival platforms.

The good news for the test system vendors is that the world's carriers are having to focus more than ever on their security and customer experience strategies, now that their businesses rely increasingly on delivering high-quality data services. "Mitigating, monitoring, and addressing security attacks is an increasingly important priority for mobile operators and the vendors that supply them," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Patrick Donegan. "In the voice era, attacks on the network were a minor irritant. In the broadband multimedia era they are a lot more threatening to network efficiency as well as the end user experience."

Mu has just made the Leading Lights Awards shortlist in the Best New Product (Telecom) category for its Mu Studio Scale platform (part of its Test Suite not currently being used by Chunghwa). The vendor claims its platform replicates real-world customer usage conditions by generating test cases based on actual service interactions from a production network. (See Leading Lights: Telecom Product Finalists and Mu Dynamics Evolves Testing for Real-World IP.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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