Recently, Tektronix Communications announced the Spectra2 XL3 tool for
testing evolved packet core (EPC) and IP multimedia subsystem (IMS)
elements for mobile LTE and fixed IP networks. Performing Diameter,
VoIP/TDM and media testing, the XL3 is a third-generation hardware
platform that hosts the Spectra2 IMS and EPC test application.
With this new product, Tektronix Communications aims to help equipment
manufacturers and service providers to reduce the capital and
operational costs associated with testing IMS and EPC elements.
I spoke with Christian Buhlmann, vice president & general manager Core Test Business and Prakash Kanthi, senior product marketing manager,
about the Spectra2 XL3 tool. The problem the developers set out to
address with this product was this: customers simply cannot simulate the
network load. “Using available open-source software, it is not possible
to build complex scenarios,” says Buhlmann, “Our solution can do both
functional testing and load testing at the same time, putting high loads
on the data and signaling network.”
Buhlmann goes on to point
out that no comparative solution can do both functional and load
testing. He notes the cost of 10G test interfaces, that run about
$100,000-200,000 per blade. “We look to build out the server using
off-the-shelf abilities that we also use in our 10G PCIe cards (that
have been developed in Danaher and are commercially available), which we
adapted for the Spectra XL3 tool,” adds Bulmann. He says that this
product can drive 80 Gb/s of line rate at a low price point.
reports that the new network testing tool can generate simultaneous
streams on the IMS core of close to a million messages/second, and on
the RTP side, close to half a million calls. Spectra2 provides the
capability to test AAA, services, and policy management functions
including Diameter routing agents (DRA). The following is a list of
• Policy Interfaces – Rx, Gx, S9, Gxa/Gxb/Gxc
• HSS Interfaces – Cx/Dx, Sh/Dh, S6a/S6d
• Charging Interfaces – Ro/Gy, Rf/Gz
• EIR Interfaces – S13/S13’*
• AAA Interfaces – S6b*, STa*
• NGN Interfaces – Rq, Gq/Gq’, E2/E4
• Simulators – PCRF, HSS, OCS, PCEF, SLF, CSCF, AAA, IMS-AS, MSS
• Signaling Protocols – SIP, Diameter, H.323, Megaco, XCAP, RTSP, HTTP
• Signaling Transports – IP, SIGTRAN (M2PA, M3UA)
• IP Versions – IPv4 and IPv6
• Capabilities – Inject, Detect, DTMF and Capture
• Codecs – G.711, G.723, G.726, G.729, AMR WB/NB, EVRC, H.263/H.263+,
• QoS – Active and Passive, Audio and Video, PESQ, MOS
Europe, regulations for LTE roaming are expected to go into effect in
July next year. As a result, many operators are making plans to operate
with alternate routing providers, and the Spectra2 tool can enable those
test scenarios. One challenge associated with network testing is that
all of the operators have a multi-vendor networks, so interoperability
testing is critical. Tektronix Communications wants everyone in the
supply chain to make reference to the same baseline.
So, how does the testing work? The software application
itself is customized in protocols and codex. After that, you connect to
device under test and initiate a script (the test you want to run
against a device). Users can use built-in test cases or automated
features, or they can port tests from previous generation Spectra tools.
“Users can script 30 scenarios on Spectra2 in the time they can script
one on a competitor’s product,” claims Kanthi, who points out ease of
use is one of the features they concentrated on.
The system itself takes up a 2U rack space and is equipped with 64GB memory and hot swappable 300GB RAID-1 storage.
Price & Availability:
Contact Tektronix Communications for pricing
Product web page
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