Test & Measurement

Field transport tester keeps pace with 100Gb/s data rates

29th October 2014
Mick Elliott

Producing equipment to test communications networks has to move forward at a breathless pace to keep up with the technology and its test requirements. Anritsu’s latest solution is the MT1100A Network Master Flex, a portable transport tester for optical networks which can measure client signals at data rates up to 100Gb/s and which is suitable for testing the next generation of 400Gb/s network equipment.

In a parallel announcement Anritsu also introduced a number of upgrades to the MT1000A, launched in July thisyear, including support for high-speed Fibre Channel and enhanced Ethernet testing. The continuing need for higher speed and higher capacity network links and higher speed data centres, driven by cloud computing and transport of more data intensive content pushes the test and measurement industry to develop new field test tools to ensure full performance of these networks and the corresponding technologies as they are deployed in live networks.

100Gbp/s data links are becoming fully operational and integrated into mainstream network links, and leading edge links are now being deployed to 400Gb/s. Anritsu’s new transport tester is specifically designed for this market need of high speed network testing in the field. It is a versatile instrument on a modular platform with a choice of three plug-in modules.

The MU110010A module supports Optical Transport Network (OTN), Ethernet, SDH/SONET, PDH/DSn and Fibre Channel measurements at speeds from 1.5Mb/s to 10Gb/s.

The MU110011A module extends this capability up to a maximum data rate of 100Gb/s.

The third, MU110012A, module supports OTN and Ethernet at speeds from 40Gb/s to 100Gb/s, meeting the needs of engineers testing equipment and infrastructure used by large-capacity trunk core networks and metro networks. The transport tester offers a four-port configuration which provides for the simultaneous evaluation of 100Gb/s OTN and Ethernet signals – a first for this class of all-in-one measuring instrument. Furthermore, the four-port capability enables the MT1100A, when equipped with two MU110012A modules simultaneously, to support 400Gb/s (that is, 4x100Gb/s) network client signal tests, a valuable capability for equipment and component manufacturers developing the next generation of core network equipment.

It is battery-powered for easy portability and operation both on-site and in back office. It features an easy-to-read, large 12.1in colour LCD and may be operated via a front touch panel, as well as remotely via an internet connection. These capabilities, when combined with simultaneous four-port operation, have been designed specifically to make the work of the optical network installation and maintenance technicians more efficient. The new MT1100A  takes its place alongside the MT1000A in Anritsu’s line-up of optical network testers for installation and maintenance professionals.

Anritsu’s new enhancements to the MT1000A include the ability to test Fibre Channel links up to 10Gb/s. This means that operators with Fibre Channel systems in Storage Area Networks (SAN), alongside other transport technologies such as OTN, Ethernet, and SDH/SONET, can use the MT1100A  alone to meet all their field testing needs.  

Anritsu has also added new features to strengthen the diagnostic capabilities of the MT1000A. For instance, a new IP Channel Statistics feature allows the user to identify error streams, top talkers, and network attacks, as well as to troubleshoot Ethernet and IP network issues more deeply. For advanced Ethernet troubleshooting the MT1100A now captures live traffic frames that can be analysed using the Wireshark protocol analysis software, displaying the details on the MT1100A’s own screen or on a PC.

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