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Leading Lights 2016 Finalists: Outstanding Test & Measurement Vendor

Brian Santo
5/18/2016
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You can plan to build the most astounding thingamabob, but if you can't verify its functionality as you build it, if you can't demonstrate the final product works as advertised, and if you can't assure it continues working the way it's supposed to once it's deployed? Good luck getting anyone to buy it. T&M is as critical an endeavor as any other in electronics.

Leading Lights consequently takes a broad view of T&M. The category includes classic bench and handheld testers for use in labs and in the field, but also encompasses products for system and network monitoring, as well as technologies evaluating service quality and assurance -- basically anything useful in making sure everything runs smoothly.

In recent years, some of these categories have blurred into each other; test and monitoring used to be two very distinct endeavors, but as more systems and applications get virtualized and the DevOps model gains traction, some vendors in this space have lost interest in delineating between the two.

All of the nominees for Outstanding Test & Measurement Vendor are experiencing varying levels of growth, and for many, their success has been predicated on estimable innovations. Several of the nominees have introduced entirely new products; some have improved or extended standing products; others have been transforming their businesses to remain successful as the virtualization trend accelerates and as new technologies (e.g., DOCSIS 3.1, 5G wireless, silicon photonics, etc.) are developed and deployed.

The winner will be announced at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held during the evening of Monday, May 23, at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas, ahead of the Big Communications Event May 24-25 at the Austin Convention Center. For more details, see this Leading Lights 2016 awards dinner page. The following day, the Big Communications Event 2016 opens its doors for two days of networking and learning.

Here's a closer look at our finalists:

Accedian
The company's SkyLIGHT Performance Platform's virtualized instrumentation provides full lifecycle performance assurance, QoS and QoE monitoring, enabling entire networks to be instrumented and monitored in real-time. Employing NFV-based, standards-based monitoring and remote packet capture allows existing network elements to become part of the monitoring fabric, bringing a unified view of performance and user experience from multi-vendor, multi-technology, physical and virtual networks. Since April 2015, Accedian converted pilot projects with six Tier 1 mobile operators -- SK Telecom, Telefonica, Reliance Jio, NTT, SoftBank, and T-Mobile -- into large-scale nationwide LTE monitoring deployments. In the same period, Colt / KVH, CenturyLink, and Comcast deployed SkyLIGHT at scale for business services monitoring. In total, Accedian's footprint grew by nearly 500,000 sites worldwide.

Exfo
As EXFO (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF) transforms itself into an end-to-end network and service solution provider (multi-layer, multi-domain, analytics and more), the company has been introducing one test solution after another, including TestFlow, which guarantees MOP compliance and quality; a solution to testing 100G port density on the LTB-8 together with the FTBx-88200NGE offering advanced testing capabilities and CFP4 and QSFP28 interfaces; a remote management system for a lab environment; and a portable 10G service performance validation tool.

Netrounds
Netrounds is a programmable test and service assurance solution using software-based and traffic-generating probes; the solution is delivered from the cloud as a SaaS solution or deployed on-premises in NFV environments. The company continues to collaborate with key customer Telenor, and recently was a participant in the first multivendor NFV interoperability test conducted by the European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) on behalf of the New IP Agency.

Netscout
NetScout Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: NTCT) extended the data analysis capabilities of its nGeniusONE Unified Performance Management platform to provide support for mobile and fixed line voice services, including VoLTE, Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), VoIP and legacy circuit switched voice deployments. Within the last year, the company completed the acquisition of Danaher Corp.'s Communication business (announced the year before), which included Tektronix Communications, Arbor Networks, VSS Monitoring, and certain parts of Fluke Networks.

The company meanwhile is targeting new growth-oriented market sectors such as cyber intelligence and business intelligence analytics.

VeEX
VeEX Inc. had a busy year. The company introduced the first DWDM OTDR, to help MSOs as they switch from single wavelength and CWDM to DWDM. Although DWDM has been around for some time, MSOs have specific requirements to verify the service on DWDM wavelengths and having a DWDM OTDR is critical to these successful deployments. The company opened a new R&D facility in Montreal to support its RF/CaTV portfolio of products, and launched an optical component division to help with its core optical design and innovation. The company picked up significant new customers.

Viavi
Viavi Solutions Inc. hangs its reputation on its range of network test, activation and assurance instruments, addressing mobile, wireline, edge, core, physical, virtual, cloud and hybrid networks. The company's equipment and test solutions are used by all types of communication service providers (mobile, cable, telco). Viavi's range of products are critical to the development of nearly every major network trend, from gigabit connectivity to NFV, self-organizing networks (SON) and 400G cores.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

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