Agilent Unveils Optical Network Testing System

Agilent Technologies this week released a hardware/software product suite that lets customers test and verify the performance and interoperability of hardware and software used in optical networks.

The Optical Routing Test Solution suite consists of the Agilent E5170A Optical Control Plane Analysis software and the Agilent E7890A Controller hardware platform. This provides for testing IP routers, access technologies and services such as voice over IP and supports Agilent's E7901A dual-port OC-48/STM-16 modules, which are stackable up to 32 ports and allow for bidirectional monitoring. The product can test optical products' performance and conformance against protocols such as the Multi-Protocol Lambda Switching and ODSI.

The suite is designed for makers of optical devices that need to test optical switches, routers, networks and other equipment before shipping their product, Agilent says. It will accelerate the development of new hardware and software by giving equipment makers the tools needed to test their equipment against protocols that are not yet standard, the company says. This also will lessen the time it takes carriers to manually test their equipment already on optical networks.

Tellium, which develops and manufactures optical network equipment, uses Agilent's product to test Tellium equipment. Tellium has been working with Agilent for about nine months to develop the product because they couldn't find the type of testing they wanted already on the market, says Mike Becker, Tellium's technical manager. The company began using the product in late September. Agilent's Optical Routing Test Solution provides Tellium three important features: read/write access to all overhead bytes, monitoring of mesh protocols, and scripting of mesh protocols.

Tellium is using Agilent's hardware and software to test its mesh-based optical network systems, for which Agilent's in-band testing capabilities become critical. In-band signaling is only used with mesh-based networks, not ring-based, Becker says.

Pricing for the software alone is $US9,975 and the cost of both hardware and software would be about $US117,000.

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