Semiconductor Equipment

New test system supports evolving network equipment and data centers

04 March 2021

A recently announced test system from Keysight Technologies Inc. is squarely designed for evolving network equipment and data centers, where the deployment of 400 gigabit Ethernet (400 GE) speeds and multi-rate speed environments have created new challenges.

The fixed chassis of the  AresONE-S is available in two options, an eight-port (top) and 16-port system, reflecting Keysight’s ‘pay-as-you-grow’ model. Source: Keysight Technologies Inc.The fixed chassis of the AresONE-S is available in two options, an eight-port (top) and 16-port system, reflecting Keysight’s ‘pay-as-you-grow’ model. Source: Keysight Technologies Inc.As Keysight explains, data center operators have widely deployed mature 100 GE non-return-to-zero (NRZ)-based technologies. Higher Ethernet speeds such as 400 GE, however, create new mixed signaling and forward error correction (FEC) implementations. The transition from NRZ to pulse amplitude modulation level-4 (PAM4) requires testing of both types of encoding.

Enter the AresONE-S, a 16 port test system that uses a single, scalable, software-upgradable ultra-high-density chassis to validate complex networks and devices. It provides a 6.4 Tbps load and stress traffic to detect and debug data transmission errors at multiple Ethernet speeds. It also allows multiple systems to be synchronized together to test 25.6 Tbps networking devices and equipment with a single system.

The system provides an ultra-high-density, two rack unit (RU) fixed chassis to deliver optimal rack space footprint. It makes use of the IxNetwork software application, a Layer 2 and 3 protocol emulation platform. To test network infrastructure performance, the platform runs end-to-end tests with an extensive list of networking protocols and data plane traffic. Protocol coverage includes routing/switching, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), broadband access, industrial Ethernet (IE), data center networking and software-defined networking (SDN). IxNetwork generates traffic flows that mimic realistic user applications and scenarios, and it performs rapid isolation of service violations including thorough traffic-flow analysis.

Perhaps more importantly for those working in evolving network environments, the AresONE-S provides investment futureproofing. It can test multiple speeds and FEC methods, including 400/200/100/50 GE PAM4 and 100/50/40/25/10 GE NRZ. Ram Periakaruppan, vice president and general manager of Keysight’s Network Test and Security Solutions Group, noted that “AresONE-S doubles the port density of any other 400 GE test platform and delivers the flexibility our customers need to verify their networks and network equipment, while scaling to meet future requirements.”

The system’s fixed chassis is also available in two options that reflect Keysight’s “pay-as-you-grow” model: the AresONE-S-400 GE QSFP-DD High-Density 16-Port Test System, and the AresONE-S-400 GE QSFP-DD High-Density 8-Port Test System. Customers can start lower-port-count testing by purchasing four ports in the eight port chassis, or eight ports in the 16 port chassis, adding ports and software options in the field to support future test requirements.

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