Monday, November 20, 2017

Service Assured: No Broadbandits Here!

Providing Ethernet services is usually never easy, and configuring them can be a wild west shootout. Sometimes services don't always burn-in as intended. On other occasions, factory configurations become field modifications. Even if everything goes perfectly at installation, problems can occur when services are upgraded. Pushing the gas pedal on a 10G link to 40G and beyond may bring to light fiber characterization issues you weren't prepared to deal with. Back reflectance values in the network that were once tolerable, are now stealing your valuable packets.

Well, I have good news for you. New devices and applications make it easier to not only verify the speeds of an Ethernet link and check for packet stability, you can maintain SLAs with greater efficiency and visibility.

Let's take a look at three products that further simplify service assurance and verification testing.

The EX1 from EXFO is an elegantly simple device that should become to the telecom service technician what the Non-Contact Voltage Tester is to the electrician. Use the EX1 paired with an Android device to qualify broadband connections delivered to both resident and business Ethernet customers. This platform will soon be available for iOS as well, and it allows service providers to quickly validate delivery of full line rate Gigabit Ethernet speeds to their subscribers.

The on-board power of the EX1 is a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) circuit that provides an open-platform. This is a critical feature that will help the EX1 keep pace and provide reliable results for years to come. This tester also features a partnership with the industry-leading Speedtest by Ookla, which provides a simple, easy-to-read interface you can share with your customers.

The EX1 is capable of hosting EXFO's Active Verifier Virtual Network Functions (VNF) to deliver a complete level 3 to level 7 service assurance solution. When activated, the Verifier VNF can offer a suite of more than 140 performance tests for the EX1 including Y.1564, IP connectivity, VoIP qualification, internet experience and more.

Furthermore, the EX1 can be left on site for temporary troubleshooting, or permanently deployed as a fixed performance endpoint that continuously reports on network and service performance. The cost of leaving the device behind might certainly be less than rolling a truck with a service technician qualified to troubleshoot Ethernet links.

The next product fits a wider range of applications. Are you transitioning your network from legacy technologies over to Ethernet? We know a device that can replace up to 8 sleepy, older test sets with a new one capable of verifying up to 10G Ethernet. Utilities, municipalities, E911, data centers and service providers alike can benefit from the power packed into Greenlee's DataScout® 10G.

The 10G can test multiple services simultaneously including Ethernet, DS0 (TIMS), DS1, DS3, T1, DDS and more. There is a separate unit capable of DDS, but all other services can reign on one device with easily navigated menus on a 7 inch color touchscreen. The 10G is fast, and it powers up 3 times faster than competitive devices.

It is a tablet-based design that comes loaded with standard applications including a web browser, email, document viewer and more. You can control the DataScout® 10G remotely via bluetooth, or a standard web browser. This instrument is also proudly designed, manufactured and supported in the United States.

Finally, I would like to discuss a powerful application that can pay dividends for those who take advantage.

Technicians who maintain Service Level Agreements (SLAs) undergo significant amounts of training to understand ITU-U Y.1564 and RFC 6349. Not only for commissioning services, but monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) is a significant challenge in our industry. In a highly volatile world of mergers and acquisitions, lit service providers must juggle deployment standards when new networks come online. If the goal of a merger is continued sales growth, how can you ensure that your new technicians are fully trained in periods of explosive growth? Meet iSAM.

As a leader in test and verification equipment, EXFO is no stranger to designing simple GUIs and platforms that put time back into a technician's day. EXFO's iOLM interface revolutionized how OTDR traces are performed, and many competitors today offer link mapping integration. iSAM is another innovation for Ethernet Service Activation, and is available for multiple EXFO platforms.

Designed for end-to-end validation of layer-2/-3 and TCP layer-4 services, iSAM handles everything from GigE to 100 GigE in a simple 3-step process. That simplified process translates to a reduced test time of up to 10x, thus increasing the number of tests that can be done in a day's work. With service turn-ups and assurance testing that takes less time, service providers can take advantage of the greater revenues resulting from better service.

So don't forget, old singlemode fiber is out there. 100 GbE is going to find your macrobends and your high back reflectance that may not effect 10 Gig. Or are there issues with the networking equipment causing jitter? These problems are out there today to rob your network of valuable packets and performance. Find those hidden Broadbandits before they cause damage to your valuable services.

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