Agilent takes testing to the edge

With core networks built out to the nines, network gear makers are now looking to edge devices to get services up and running. As a result, Agilent Technologies has expanded its test tool line to accommodate this shift in focus.

Last month, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company released its channelized DS3 interface for testing metro/edge IP services. The offering fits into its RouterTester 900 test platform, allowing carriers to verify equipment that handles multi-speed, multi-protocol routed traffic from thousands of users at once.

DS3, a slower legacy technology used to connect to the Internet, is also being utilized by service providers to deliver IP services, including virtual private networks, to a far greater number of customers regardless of their respective network speeds, Agilent said.

The new RouterTester interface card offers six test ports capable of testing up to 1,344 channels per card. The company said each test channel transmits and receives integrated wire speed traffic and routing protocol test streams for capture and analysis.

“The main thing [equipment manufacturers] are able to do that they haven’t been able to do in the past is full, line-rate IP testing over multiple channels simultaneously,” said Trevor Dyck, product manager for RouterTester 900 in Vancouver. “With this new interface, they can load a router with many channels of IP traffic and verify the service.”

The new interface also enables gear makers to simulate other routers in their networks, Dyck added, noting that with previous testing methods, manufacturers would have to perform tests using their own routers as test tools.

“It really isn’t a good test because if you are…testing with something you are building, it doesn’t really bring out the problems,” he said. “This product gives an unbiased opinion…and reduces test costs because they don’t have to use their own equipment, which often costs much more than test equipment.”

And while the new interface card for RouterTester 900 has caught the eyes of large-scale players south of the boarder, including Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, one company closer to home has also set its sights on the tool.

Hyperchip Inc., a network equipment maker in Montreal, has been depending on the functionality of RouterTester for gigabit Ethernet, OC-48, OC-192 and 10 gigabit Ethernet speed interfaces that the company’s routers support. According to Hyperchip, the company is planning to support alternate technologies, including DS3.

“As we continue to evolve our products with lower speed interfaces such as DS3, it is definitely something we will be looking for from Agilent,” said Claudio Mazzuca, senior product manager for Hyperchip. “Just as our customers set out requirements and look for the right product to meet those requirements, we have to do the same in terms of test equipment. We had to pick a partner that we knew would work with us going forward. Agilent was a great fit for that.”

The Agilent channelized DS3 interface will be available this quarter. For details visit the company online at