Agilent's FrameScope Pro enables Gigabit Ethernet testing

Jan. 17, 2005 - The device uses an auto-test feature that measures the performance of network resources.

The latest generation of Agilent Technology's FrameScope will enable contractors to test Gigabit Ethernet.

The FrameScope, a handheld network performance tester, is one of two new products which will be displayed at BICSI. The other is a field-portable polarization mode dispersion differential group delay analyzer.

The NB2620A FrameScope Pro allows network technicians to test Gigabit Ethernet by running RFC 2544 performance benchmarking to verify throughput at full line rate. The device uses an auto-test feature that measures the performance of network resources. It was designed for Metro networks or enterprise end user networks.

"This will help the customer troubleshoot the network, and give them the capability to do more than cable testing," says Siegfried Gross, vice president and general manager for Agilent's (Palo Alto, CA; www.agilent.com) Digital Verification Solutions Division.

The FrameScope Pro is designed to be a cost-effective, easy-to-use tool for Ethernet metro network deployment.

"A benefit here is cost," says Jean Manuel Dassonville, product manager for storage networks test for the Digital Verification Solutions Division. "You buy one piece of hardware with two applications. The other benefit is the time you invest in test development, design work together. With this it is easier to define a test."

Chuck Ganimian, business development manager for Agilent's Photonic Measurement Division, says the FrameScope Pro was designed to be lighter than any similar tools on the market. Agilent designed the latest generation of the FrameScope after working with service providers and enterprise end users. This led to the creation of a smaller, lighter FrameScope with a longer battery life.

"We have strong relationships with service providers worldwide, and we've worked with those in North America and gotten feedback from all of them," says Ganimian. "They've told us what they liked, what they didn't like."

But most importantly, the tool can be used to test 10/100/1 Gigabit Ethernet copper connections and optical fiber connections via a standard small-form-factor pluggable (SFP) interface for 1000 Base-SX/LX/ZX, addressing both the performance measurement requirements for RFC 2544 and the troubleshooting requirements of everyday Ethernet maintenance on all Ethernet physical layer types. This single tool approach is designed to give the installation technician the flexibility to solve problems without the assistance of protocol analyzers.

"This will break down the steps to individual operations, show you delays, and tell you where there is a bottleneck," says Ganimian. "They need (this) to verify that their link is up and running, and demonstrate to the customer that they are providing the bandwidth that the customer is paying for."

A second tool is the Agilent N3909A, a field-portable polarization mode dispersion differential group delay analyzer. The analyzer is designed to bring laboratory quality accuracy and reliability to field-testing applications. It utilizes a new implementation of the Jones Matrix Eigenanalysis method, and is fully compliant with industry standard TIA-455-122-A, which reduces troubleshooting time and network downtime.

The N3909A measures polariziation mode dispersion, giving the user valuable information about an optical fiber's useable bandwidth. Decisions on bandwidth potential can now be based on more reliable information, enabling service providers to make the best use of the installed optical fiber plant. This new implementation of the JME method makes this analyzer suitable for field use with a high robustness against optical fiber movement.

The analyzer is designed to deliver wavelength-resolved differential group delay data. It is designed to provide critical differential group delay and spectral attenuation at the same time, making network troubleshooting possible whenever polarization mode dispersion might be involved. By knowing the differential group delay behavior, faults can be quickly and accurately identified and isolated. This reduces the time required to fix network problems.

The N3909A is part of the modular network tester N3900A product series. It is designed to make the modular network tester a complete test tool for fiber certification and installation and maintenance of optical networks. It is available with a full range of OTDR modules, a high-end optical spectrum analyzer module and a chromatic dispersion analyzer module. It works over a wavelength range of 1525 nm to 1625 nm with a polarization mode dispersion accuracy of 50 fs. It exhibits a wavelength resolution of 50 pm for differential group delay and spectral loss.

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