Agilent's N2X tester used to validate Alcatel-Lucent's triple-play architecture

MAY 10, 2007 -- According to the companies involved, the test was the first in the industry to validate an entire end-to-end network architecture under a scaled mix of residential triple-play and enterprise VPN services.

MAY 10, 2007 -- Agilent Technologies Inc.'s (search for Agilent Technologies) N2X multiservices test platform was used by Isocore Corp. to validate the performance of the Alcatel-Lucent Triple Play Service Delivery Architecture (TPSDA). According to Isocore, the N2X was the exclusive test system employed in its independent evaluation of the forwarding performance, service prioritization, and recovery mechanisms of the Alcatel-Lucent TPSDA.

According to the companies involved, the test was the first in the industry to validate an entire end-to-end network architecture under a scaled mix of residential triple-play and enterprise VPN services.

Emulating the architecture, subscriber profiles, traffic types, and protocol state characteristics of today's multi-service networks within a controlled lab environment was a significant challenge, say the companies. The test bed included multiple Alcatel-Lucent 7750 Service Routers and 7450 Ethernet Service Switches, as well as 58 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE)/10-GbE ports of the Agilent N2X (search for N2X). Isocore says it chose N2X for its ability to simulate, scale, and make measurements for the magnitude of subscribers and service traffic required to emulate mass deployment conditions.

"Before service providers deploy IPTV and other multi-play services, they need the confidence that their network can deliver those services at scale and with the quality their customers expect," explains Rod Unverrich, business manager of Agilent's Data Networks Operation. "N2X allows NEMs and service providers to cost-effectively simulate the scale and complexity of real-world multi-play deployments and validate that their network architectures can meet strict performance, reliability, and QoS requirements."

"The scalability and usability of the Agilent N2X was pivotal in evaluating the performance of the Alcatel-Lucent Triple Play Service Delivery Architecture," adds Dr. Bijan Jabbari, president of Isocore. "We wanted this to be the industry's most comprehensive and valid assessment of a working triple-play network. N2X equipped us with the ability to quickly emulate a very large number of triple-play subscribers with different profiles and generate multi-class traffic to create a very realistic test environment."

Agilent says its N2X test measurements confirm that the Alcatel-Lucent TPSDA performed very well under extreme scaling conditions. Traffic forwarding measurements that were run repetitively and overnight demonstrated minimal latency and low packet loss. Media Delivery Index video quality metrics were used to validate that quality of experience expectations were met on a per-subscriber basis. The full Isocore test report, including test parameters, is available here.

According to Agilent, the N2X helps NEMs and service providers improve the time to market and quality of triple-play service deployments by:

  • Simulating tens of thousands of subscribers;
  • Emulating dynamic subscriber behaviors such as channel zapping, new Internet connection requests, and DHCP session flapping;
  • Generating multi-class triple play video, voice, and Internet traffic, including 500 channels of standard and high-definition video and stateful TCP traffic;
  • Analyzing multi-class traffic-forwarding performance for thousands of subscribers per port, including Media Delivery Index metrics for IPTV;
  • Scaling multicast traffic, IGMP and multicast routing protocols to test whether a network solution is ready for widespread production roll-out; and
  • Replaying captured video and using protocol decodes to achieve better insight into performance problems.


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