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Livingston rental company and EXFO: Teaming up for 100G and beyond

With 100G deployments in full swing all over the world, the need for powerful, effective and comprehensive 100G testing solutions is bigger than ever. To respond to this need, Livingston was one of the first companies to invest in our new FTB-88100NGE testers. I had the chance to speak with, Marketing and Inventory Director at Livingston, who was kind enough to provide a few insights about the reasons behind Livingston’s decision to invest in our solution.

Mr. Treur has over 15 years of experience at Livingston, Europe’s largest test equipment rental company. He has held various positions at the company, starting at the internal sales desk and working his way up to managing director. He currently oversees all Livingston inventory, from procurement to disposal, in addition to fulfilling marketing and communication roles. Livingston has been in the rental business for some 50 years, having developed a strong focus on telecommunications enabling it to provide its customers with the best value for their money. For every inquiry, Livingston employees are able to advise customers and find the best instruments for them.

Here are a few excerpts from our conversation:

JB: The FTB-88100NGE combines a small form factor with the ability to go from 10M to 100G testing rates on one platform. It offers complete scalability with flexible software and reduces training time, making testing easy with accurate results the first time around. It also offers a floating license option. Livingston is one of the first investors in that technology. What was your reaction to the solution the first time you were introduced to it?

RT: When we saw this solution, it was clear to us that this type of product is really focused on deployment and subcontractors, Livingston’s main market. So, if we want to serve this market, we need to have this product available. 

Second, it is very much in Livingston's strategy to always have the latest test equipment available, which is very much about having a quick turnaround time for test equipment. This may sound simple, but if you see a very strong ramp up in 100G, it is because we started to buy these testers as a direct response to the needs of the market. The purchases facilitate our forecasted need for an increase in 100G testers, and I definitely think that, at the present time, this is the best unit on the market with this capability.

JB: Based on your own experience and expertise, what in your opinion are the key benefits of this sort of solution for customers?

RT: Subcontractors are not only dealing with 100G at this moment, but they are also getting requests for high-speed fiber channel links and 10G links. So, if we give them a one-box solution supporting all the transmission protocols that goes a long way. Second, the fact that we can equip this tester with options makes it even more flexible in supporting that part of the market. In addition, the fact that the FTB-88100NGE has a small form factor, runs on the latest platform, and has the capability to accept lower data rates makes it the perfect solution for supporting the subcontractor business.

JB: We are at the turning point of 100G becoming mainstream, so we designed this solution in response to customers’ needs, including the capability to use various floating licenses. This fits into Livingston's model as well.

RT: This provides us with a clear advantage, because we can be more competitive with projects involving 10G and 100G by responding to both requests with one tester, thus maximizing the test equipment investment. The floating license approach enables multiple users to share the license for a software option. The need for a different tester for each application is always more expensive. I think that the FTB-88100NGE is a good option if customers are looking for a risk-free investment in comparison with what was available a year ago. Looking back at the last 12 months, we can see that a lot has happened. One thing is for sure: development is pacing ahead quickly, and prices are changing in line with demands from the market. Since no one knows what the future will bring, our advice at Livingston is to keep things flexible.

JB: We’ve developed our hardware with upgradable software solutions in mind. Take for example EXFO’s OSA, which is available today with DWDM, but will soon be upgradable with additional applications.

RT: That is exactly what I think the market is requesting right now.

JB: With changing technologies, economic situations and so on, it is extremely important for our customers to be in a position to make informed decisions, and to have the ability to grow in scale when needed. With the delivery of this new hardware platform, and with the software roadmaps, scalability and flexibility that we are offering, we are really giving service providers a platform that will allow them to make informed choices that are future proof and offer peace of mind. Going forward, I think that together, EXFO and Livingston will give customers the ability to make even more informed choices.

RT: This will be beneficial for both of our businesses.

For more information about how Livingston’s rental business is responding to the 100G challenge with the help of EXFO’s FTB-88100NGE testers, in addition to news about future industry trends from a rental business expert, read EXFO’s Use Case 007 for the full interview with Reinier Treur.