Colorado Springs, Colo. Agilent Technologies Inc. has upgraded its N2X multipurpose test system with a hardware/software test suite specifically designed for Ethernet-based passive optical network (PON) systems. The system is available in a fully bundled fashion for first-time N2X customers or as upgrades for existing N2X users, said product director Guy Trotter.
While ATM-based broadband passive optical network and Gigabit PON remain important markets in some regions, Trotter said, the ubiquity of Ethernet framing drove Agilent to offer EPON capabilities first. Agilent anticipates a market for the tester among chip developers wishing to ensure compliance with the IEEE 802.3ah Ethernet in the First Mile spec; among network equipment manufacturers and chip developers to ascertain fair-sharing algorithms for triple-play services; and among carriers for verifying interoperability and network scaling.
The optical-networking units (ONUs) used in PON networks must synchronize over very tight time windows to prevent transmission overlap, Trotter said, which is why active testing with fault isolation has been a necessity. In addition, EPON uses both dynamic bandwidth allocation protocols and multipoint control protocols, which must be analyzed on multiple layers in the Open Systems Interconnect protocol stack.
Agilent uses end-to-end traffic generation of Ethernet packets with real-time "on-PON" measurements of traffic, allowing the isolation of performance problems to specific problems with an ONU or optical line-termination unit. The N2X can display the alignment of ONU traffic to specific transmission windows, and relate problems in performance with issues in multipoint control, OAM or dynamic bandwidth protocols.
Agilent planned to show the test platform at last week's Telecom 05 show in Las Vegas.