Telecom and datacom analysis in one

For field engineers in the carrier space, analyzing telecom and datacom optical networks typically used to mean lugging around several handheld devices. In an effort to make network analyzing easier, Montreal-based Avantas Networks has released the STG Series handheld optical network analyzer that combines features and capabilities of multiple test functions on one unit.

According to the company, the STG Series provides full test capabilities for DS0 to OC-192/STM-64, IP/Ethernet, SONET/SDH, datacom and telecom on one platform enabling field engineers to increase optical network test abilities as well as lower the overall cost of ownership.

“What typically happens is that a service provider will go into an enterprise network and essentially provide an optical service,” said Giovanni Forte, vice-president of product management for Avantas. “They would also typically do a carrier interconnect. (For example) a Bell Canada would do an optical hand-off to a Rogers AT&T. What needs to happen is that (both) need to commit to certain service level agreements and measure the quality of service. What our equipment does is it will hook up to those optical systems and look at the actual performance of the circuits and compare the performance of those circuits to the contractual requirements between the two carriers.”

Avantas said the STG Series features automatic test scripting to allow service providers to customize test case-script on a per-equipment or service-type basis to maintain consistency and standard test methodologies across a network. Forte said that because a lot of people are not as trained as they should be in the field, Avantas has simplified the device to allow almost anyone to commission tests.

The STG also features a smart user interface (SUI) for simplified circuit browsing, as well as the integration of the Avantas Visual Guardian Element Management Systems (EMS) to enable field testing remotely. Forte noted that the Visual Guardian not only manages the thousands of optical probes within the network, but reports crossings and alarms to the operator’s operational support systems.

According to Patrick Kelly, senior analyst for service assurance with San Francisco-based RHK Consulting, network analysis tools are important for service providers who are rolling out IP and data services. These tools allow them to qualify the line and get visibility into not only the physical layer but performance as well.

“It is critical for carriers, particularly (those) in pre-deployment, to take a look at the quality of the trunk and access lines, and at the same time have visibility to be able to measure the overall performance,” Kelly said. “I think the advantage of the Avantas STG Series is that they have consolidated a lot of the functionality into a single unit.”

Kelly said that in addition to the various media connections the STG has, Avantas is doing multi-layer protocol testing, which essentially allows carriers to limit the amount of test gear that they need to purchase, and gives Avantas an edge over competition.

“In the past they may have had two or three different handheld devices,” Kelly said. “(With the STG Series) it is a lower cost and you are reducing the number of handheld units.”

The STG Series is now available and pricing begins at approximately US$30,000. For more information, visit Avantas Networks at