As Ethernet gets more complicated, so must the test systems needed to accurately ensure carriers are providing the best quality of experience for their metro Ethernet solutions. A few weeks back I had a chance to sit down with the team at Ixia and discuss their Carrier Ethernet solutions based on Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) and Provider Backbone Bridge (PBB). The company’s Ixia’s test products for PBT/PBB, along with those for Ethernet OAM/CFM provide network equipment manufacturers and carriers with all the tools needed to test the latest Carrier Ethernet solutions.
Ixia announced the above functionality as well as Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) as part of it’s IxNetwork 5.30 release, which is part of its Aptixia test framework.
Many of the largest service providers have adopted PBT/PBB as it reduces the cost and complexity of Ethernet transport while providing mechanisms for enhanced QoS.
“PBT/PBB is an important new part of the Carrier Ethernet solution over switched Ethernet,” said Michael Howard, principal at Infonetics Research. “Many service providers are evaluating PBT/PBB as a cost effective mechanism to leverage their switched metro Ethernet network and offer back haul for access networks, extend L2/L3 VPNs, and point-to-point (ELINE) services. Equipment manufactures and service providers need to evaluate the functionality, scalability, and resiliency before deployment.”
In my numerous discussions with Ixia management the company has impressed me with the scope of solutions they have released. In addition the short timeframe in which so many releases have been made is even more impressive.
When trying to wrap your head around the myriad solutions from 10GE and IPTV to IPv6 and Metro Ethernet it is almost overwhelming. However the same brain ache the casual observer may feel moves in lockstep with the complexity network managers, equipment manufacturers and service providers must also deal with as the pace of networking and communications innovation continues.
In fact a company like Ixia, who innovates and releases products so quickly, must also look to other manufacturers to help them speed products to market more quickly. For example, technology licensed from Opticom allows full video quality analysis and technology from Telchemy allows voice quality monitoring.
The company is proud to be one of the few vendors who can test myriad technologies with as little as a single box. Others in the market have acquired their way into various markets and as such require a number of boxes to test complete solutions. Still the Do it all (or mostly all) yourself approach has limitations as well.
In the end, Ixia is distinguishing itself as a fast-moving testing vendor on the leading edge of various networking and testing technologies. Certainly there is a great deal of brainpower required to build so many testing solutions from scratch and the California-based company has distinguished itself repeatedly by being ahead of the pack with regards to disparate networking technologies in the carrier and enterprise spaces.

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