GL adds PacketBroker Ethernet tap to PacketExpert Ethernet/IP tester

Test and measurement specialists GL Communications Inc. says it has upgraded PacketExpert quad-port Ethernet/IP tester with a non-intrusive wire-speed Ethernet tap called PacketBroker. The new feature enables the PacketExpert system to capture packets at up to 1 Gbps non-intrusively over Ethernet (electrical) and optical ports at what the company asserts is "nano-second precision."

Test and measurement specialists GL Communications Inc. says it has upgraded PacketExpert quad-port Ethernet/IP tester with a non-intrusive wire-speed Ethernet tap called PacketBroker. The new feature enables the PacketExpert system to capture packets at up to 1 Gbps non-intrusively over Ethernet (electrical) and optical ports at what the company asserts is "nano-second precision."

The PacketBroker software application enables the PacketExpert to capture real-world traffic, define multiple filters for reaching traffic of interest, generate triggers based on packet filters, and transmit filtered/aggregated packets for deep-packet data analysis, said Jagdish Vadalia, a senior manager for product development at the company. It supports both Tapping (Pass through mode) and Tap-Filter-Aggregate-Modification modes. As the PacketExpert operates bi-directionally, both transmission directions are simultaneously processed.

The Tapping feature helps forward traffic between the pass-through ports (Port 2 and Port 3) on the system without modification or delay, Vadalia went on to say. The Ethernet link connected between Ports 2 and 3 thus acts as a transparent full-duplex Ethernet link and does not interrupt operation of the connected devices or networks under test.

The Tap-Filter-Aggregate-Modification modes supports wire-speed filtering of Layer 2/Layer 3/Layer 4 Ethernet packets, with each port featuring up to 16 simultaneous filters. PacketBroker also supports Mono Trigger and Continuous filter modes. Users can set up to 16 simultaneous filters each of 40 bytes in length. The filter can be set to any offset within the packet, meaning the system can filter any field header including the payload, Vadalia added.

Meanwhile, a Packet Modification feature modifies filtered packets using an in-band method of conveying information such as timestamp, board serial number, port number, and filter number, to the (output port) packet analyzer by carrying this information in the packet's MAC header. This requires modification of the filtered packet's MAC header's Destination MAC Address (6 bytes) and Source MAC Address (6 bytes) fields.

Finally, an aggregation feature combines filtered traffic from different ports. As the aggregated stream rate can exceed the wire-speed rate of a single port, the aggregated traffic is buffered in onboard 2-GB DDR2 RAM before being sent out. The aggregated traffic on the output ports can be analyzed using packet analyzers such as WireShark or GL's PacketScan application, as well as custom packet analysis tools.

The application provides detailed port-level statistics such as total frames/bytes received, Rx frame rate, Rx data rate, and more.

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