Test & Measurement

Agilent Technologies, Net-O2 Technologies Announce World's First MEF 21 Conformance Test Suite

Agilent Technologies and Net-O2 Technologies has announced what it says is the world's first MEF 21 conformance test suite. This test suite is the result of integrating Net-O2's ATTEST MEF 21 Link OAM protocol conformance test suites (CTSs) into Agilent's N2X multiservices test solution
Network equipment manufacturers and service providers can use Agilent's N2X to verify conformance of Carrier Ethernet switches and routers to the relevant MEF and IEEE standards for Link Operations Administration and Maintenance (OAM). This helps ensure the reliability of voice, video and data services over a robust and proven Ethernet infrastructure.

The MEF 21 specification -- the Abstract Test Suite for Link OAM -- is the first in a planned series of Type-2 UNI test specifications to be officially ratified by the MEF industry alliance. MEF 21 incorporates Link OAM test procedures, described in IEEE 802.3-2005, to enable measurements such as loopback and to provide metrics for line disturbances on point-to-point Ethernet links. This allows service providers to rapidly detect and locate faults, ensuring the reliable delivery of delay-sensitive revenue-bearing services.

The sooner we see industry-leading test vendors offering conformance test suites for MEF 21, the more confident service providers will be to quickly replace the existing costly manual management of customer circuits with fully automated, industry-sanctioned methods such as Link OAM, said Bob Mandeville, president of Iometrix, the authorized MEF certification lab. The 371 test cases of the Iometrix MEF 21 Test Plan, which form the basis of the MEF's new certification, call for highly automated test procedures if vendors are to keep up with the fast pace of the OAM market.

The Agilent N2X MEF 21 CTSs cover all the cases in the Iometrix test plan and will save the hundreds of hours that would otherwise be needed to comprehensively verify Link OAM capabilities. Equipment manufacturers already using the Agilent N2X MEF 9 and MEF 14 CTSs to verify their Carrier Ethernet implementations can now easily pre-qualify equipment to accelerate the formal MEF 21 certification process. Service providers can use the CTSs to find and prevent interoperability issues with legacy network equipment.

Conformance testing early in the switch-and-router product development cycle is a prerequisite to successful interoperability in multivendor networks, said Toni Piwonka-Corle, general manager of Agilent's Data Networks Operation. Every equipment 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 Net-O2 ATTEST MEF 21 conformance suite recently underwent test trials at Iometrix labs, said Manikantan Srinivasan, chief technology officer of Net-O2 Technologies. ATTEST MEF 21 provides 371 test cases designed to verify the Link OAM protocol and the management support requirements in UNI-N service provider networking devices as well as in UNI-C customer edge devices. Customers who use the test suite early can ensure seamless interoperability, compliance to the OAM standards and the support required in the Carrier Ethernet network deployments.

A result of Agilent and Net-O2's longstanding collaboration, the N2X MEF 21 CTSs combine the robustness and completeness of the ATTEST MEF 21 protocol test suite with the productivity benefits of the N2X conformance test manager.

The Agilent N2X MEF 21 CTSs complement Agilent's N5589A Link OAM emulation, providing the industry's most comprehensive Link OAM test solution in a single platform. These newest conformance test suites are the latest in the range of Carrier Ethernet CTSs offered on N2X, including MEF 9, MEF 14, CFM, BFD, STP, RSTP, MSTP, LACP, VLAN and 802.1x.

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