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Published on May 6, 2016

Simplifying Ethernet testing for today’s network reality

With fierce competition prevalent in the telecom industry today, along with the increase in bandwidth-intensive applications, communications service providers (CSPs) are faced with many new challenges. For one, they need to turn up more complex, cutting-edge Ethernet services more quickly to get to revenue faster—but without impacting the delivery of reliable quality of service and unparalleled quality of experience to their customers. All this, plus they have to implement cost-saving strategies to lower OPEX and CAPEX. That’s a lot to keep up with!

Let’s take a look at the world of Ethernet testing as it stands today to understand some of the dynamics at play. In the last 20 years, the telecom industry has undergone a tremendous technological shift from traditional time-domain services to the point where packet-based Ethernet services are now ubiquitous in the network.

With multiclass Ethernet services now being deployed across the globe, the legacy RFC 2544 test methodology (which was introduced over 15 years ago for performance benchmarking of network elements) is no longer adequate for turning up next-generation Ethernet services. However, RFC 2544 has been in use for so long that many consider it the de facto standard test methodology. And let’s face it, the reality is that it’s always easier to work with the familiar than to learn and adapt to a new methodology.

CSPs who are still using the limited RFC 2544 need to be aware that this test methodology was designed to test Ethernet equipment in a lab environment, and therefore it does not efficiently qualify active networks. In addition, because RFC 2544 was not designed to test multiple services simultaneously, it is unsuitable for today’s next-generation Ethernet networks.

Let’s fast-forward to today and look at some commonly cited challenges that apply to turning up and troubleshooting next-generation Ethernet services:

  • Lack of clearly defined methods of procedures, resulting in inconsistent manual testing
  • Complex configuration of Ethernet tests and its parameters
  • Limited Ethernet knowledge on the part of field technicians
  • Time-consuming and expensive truck rolls for troubleshooting of network issues

With service providers’ challenges in mind, EXFO brought to market an industry-first application that was developed in response to studying real-world Ethernet network deployments. Based on the ITU-T Y.1564 and RFC 6349 standards, iSAM—EXFO’s intelligent service activation methodology—is a comprehensive test application that allows for significantly faster yet simpler testing of all Ethernet services, from GigE all the way up to 100 GigE. Here are just some of the benefits that iSAM brings to the table:

  • Service-level agreement validation for Ethernet services in three simple steps
  • Integration of layer 2/3 (ITU-T Y.1564) and TCP layer 4 (RFC 6349) into one complete solution
  • Preconfigured MEF-compliant performance thresholds
  • Repeatable and consistent test processes for 100% first-time-right results

To learn more about all the benefits iSAM has to offer, we invite you to read our detailed application note, which takes a closer look at why it has never been easier to migrate to an Ethernet testing methodology developed for today’s advanced Ethernet network reality.