Agilent Technologies and Net-O2, a developer of automated communications testing software, have released Net-O2's integration of its ATTEST Connectivity Fault Management (CFM) protocol conformance test suite into Agilent's N2X multiservices test solution.
Network equipment manufacturers and service providers can use N2X to ensure their Carrier Ethernet switches and routers implementing the CFM mechanisms conform to the relevant IEEE and ITU-T standards, enabling the reliability of voice, video and data services over a robust and proven Ethernet infrastructure.
Defined currently in IEEE 802.1ag draft 8.0, CFM provides end-to-end Carrier Ethernet diagnostic capabilities that allow service providers to rapidly detect and locate faults, ensuring the reliable delivery of delay-sensitive triple play services.
The IEEE CFM mechanisms are similar to those in the ITU-T Y.1731 standard. The tight alignment between these two influential standards bodies attests to the relevance of CFM to the industry.
The Agilent N2X CFM test suite provides the industry's first solution for validating CFM standards compliance.
"Conformance testing early in the switch-and-router product development cycle is a prerequisite to successful interoperability in multi-vendor networks," said Rod Unverich, business manager of Agilent's Data Networks Operation Division.
"Every vendor constantly 'tweaks' their protocol implementations, either as the standards evolve or simply as bugs are discovered and fixed over time. Therefore, ongoing regression testing for each release is mandatory to claim auditable and traceable compliance to their service-provider customers."
"The sooner we see industry-leading test vendors offering conformance test suites on key enabling technologies like CFM, the more confident service providers will be to deploy these technologies," said Carrier Ethernet industry luminary Bob Mandeville, CEO of Iometrix, the appointed Certification Test Laboratory for the Metro Ethernet Forum.
"Lack of end-to-end OAM for Ethernet was one of the final barriers to the wide-scale adoption of Carrier Ethernet. Consequently, CFM-capable test equipment utilised to verify vendor protocol compliance will certainly increase operator confidence levels in the crucial equipment selection process and will also ensure that the aggressive industry analyst predictions for Carrier Ethernet are indeed realised."
"ATTEST CFM conformance suite is currently undergoing beta trials at Net-O2's customer labs," said Manikantan Srinivasan, VP, systems engineering of Net-O2 Technologies. "ATTEST CFM provides around 150 test cases designed to verify the CFM protocols and the management support requirements in service provider networking devices as well as in customer edge devices. Early adaptors of CFM can ensure seamless interoperability once they comply with the emerging 802.1ag standard."
The N2X CFM conformance suite leverages the longstanding collaboration between Agilent and Net-O2 by combining the robustness and completeness of the ATTEST CFM protocol test suite with the productivity benefits of the N2X conformance test manager.
The CFM conformance suite is the latest in the comprehensive range of Carrier Ethernet conformance suites offered on N2X, which include STP, RSTP, MSTP, LACP, VLAN, 802.1 xs, MEF 9 and MEF 14.
To help vendors and service providers anticipate and overcome Carrier Ethernet challenges, Agilent will host a free online educational seminar, Ensuring Carrier Ethernet robustness for IPTV and Business Services, on June 7, 2007.
Attendees will discover how testing at all stages of the development and deployment cycle can reduce the risks and costs of rolling out Carrier Ethernet services and infrastructure.