Ethernet was originally developed for academic environments and local area networks, not for telecom transport, and consequently it lacked critical components such as a synchronization mechanism, as well as Operations, Administration and Maintenance functionality. By testing the Ethernet Synchronization Messaging Channel (ESMC) protocol against switching products in wireless backhaul applications, Agilent's first-to-market solution helps NEMs and service providers build networks that are in synch and ensure that base-station handoffs are successful. The solution also helps to build networks that drop fewer calls and keep subscribers happy as they roam from location to location. Agilent will also be conducting Operations, Administrations and Maintenance (OAM) systems testing, and using devices to simulate real network traffic.
Effective test solutions are of paramount importance for the evolution of Ethernet into a carrier-class technology, said Toni Piwonka-Corle, general manager, Agilent Data Networks Operation. Ethernet is extremely attractive to carriers because it promises to be far less expensive than traditional technologies on which wireless operators have depended for the wireline components of their networks. But without synchronization and OAM they will struggle to keep subscribers satisfied. NEMS and carriers critically need the test solutions Agilent offers to bring Ethernet up to par and their products and services to market quickly.
The Importance of Synchronization
Synchronization is achieved by clocking, which means the distribution of frequency information through the network so that all of the oscillators on each of the switches are in step. The synchronization of switches is accomplished by establishing a hierarchy, or tree-like structure, with all other clocked elements deriving their timing from a master clock downwards. Establishing the clocking tree introduces a problem of clock selection -- in other words, forcing switches to choose the best clock from multiple ingress ports. The ESMC protocol enables the best clock selection. In August 2009 Agilent released its Synchronous Ethernet ESMC Protocol Emulation Software as one component of its N2X Carrier Ethernet solution to test ESMC protocol against routers and switches. The software essentially simulates a number of upstream clocks on a number of ports, and allows the device under test to choose the best one. This is the synchronization tool that will be employed at the interoperability event.
The CEWC Berlin Carrier Ethernet interoperability event at the Carrier Ethernet World Congress 2009 is organized by the European Advanced Test Center (EANTC). Multiple vendors will showcase a single integrated Ethernet network that supports MEF-defined business services, triple-play services and mobile-backhaul solutions. Results of a two-week hot-stage test will include mobile-backhaul synchronization, Ethernet OAM implementations, and Global Interconnect solutions. Tests will validate the interoperability of various transport technologies including MPLS, early MPLS-TP solutions, and PBB-TE.
A total of 24 vendors are participating in the test: Agilent, Albis Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent, Calnex Solutions, Ceragon Networks, Ciena Communications, Cisco, ECI Telecom, Ericsson, Ethos Networks, Harris Stratex Networks, Huawei Technologies, Ixia, JDSU, MRV Communications, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks, RAD Data Communications, SIAE Microelettronica, Siklu, Spirent Communications, Symmetricom, Tejas Networks and Telco Systems.