Agilent offers all-in-one net analysis

Network technicians not only require the brainpower to discern and dissect major network crises, but also require the brawn to carry out all equipment to individual sites. One company claims to have the solution to reduce muscle power while maintaining the intelligence to troubleshoot and analyze all major applications over every critical network infrastructure.

Agilent Technologies has announced the release of its Network Analyzer, a network test tool that allows organizations to troubleshoot increasingly complex networks and services while reducing the high costs associated with downtime.

According to the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, the new Network Analyzer comes in three flavours. In its most powerful form it is a compact portable test system which incorporates two acquisition systems that enable dual-port measurements of WAN, ATM and LAN interfaces. The Network Analyzer comes with a PC, keyboard and display and runs Agilent’s Network Analyzer software. The Network Analyzer is also available in a distributed form that the company says incorporates one acquisition system and is controlled from a PC running Network Analyzer software. The Network Analyzer software can support LAN, WAN and ATM testing.

“We are introducing our next generation of test tools that are aimed at service providers, network equipment manufacturers and large enterprise networks,” said Steve Witt, vice-president and general manager of Agilent’s test division in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Each of the products uses the same user interface. (The most powerful version of the product) has all of the interfaces for LAN, WAN and ATM built in as a set of modules. These modules are about the size of a paperback book and they slide into the product and allow you to configure it to over 16 different interfaces.”

Witt explained that having modular interfaces allows the integration of the capabilities of many different products into one.

He added that the new products are complimentary to Agilent’s existing product family of installation and maintenance solutions. He said these tools deal with all major network challenges including mobile communications, data applications like IP routing, Web applications and data delivery.

And, at least one Agilent partner is satisfied that the equipment is up to par. According to J.P. Larocque, director of OSS for Rogers AT&T Wireless in Montreal, the company is confident in investing and looking at Agilent as a solution provider of network management solutions. Although Rogers has not used Agilent’s Network Analyzer, the company has been using Agilent’s Signaling Advisor, a protocol analyzer that aims to solve signaling problems efficiently.

“We are looking for professional, best of breed solutions with commercial flexibility,” Larocque said. “I don’t think that Agilent puts out products that are not sustainable.”

As far as Roberta Fox is concerned, minimizing downtime is the most critical aspect of network analysis. Fox, president and senior partner of Markham, Ont.-based Fox Group Consulting said that carriers especially are looking to minimize downtime and maintain performance although they are having to do it with fewer staff members than in previous years.

“For carriers, they have to have the tools to be able to get their networks online and minimize the downtime of the client,” Fox said.

However Fox added that tools alone don’t cut it when it comes to network maintenance and analysis. She said that organizations should look for the right tools to compliment processes in order to match business rules.

Available now, pricing for the Distributed Network Analyzer starts at US$7,995 while the Network Analyzer starts at US$22,000.

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