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5G user experiences rely on a tightly synchronized 5G fronthaul network, highly accurate time synchronization testing will be key to assuring the promise of 5G.

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Read about ETSI NFV Plugtests 2019 highlights and how NFV suppliers are resolving interoperability challenges to realize the benefits of virtualized environments.

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Blog discusses latest tools for reducing network testing complexity and accelerating product verification cycles through the better understanding dynamic behavior of systems under test.

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Blog discusses the future of the data center and risks involved with migrating applications and workloads to the Cloud and best practices for overcoming related challenges.

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Spirent blog discusses highlights and take-aways from Wi-Fi World Congress USA 2019 and the latest trends being discussed by the Wi-Fi industry.

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Learn about best practices for accelerating cloud migrations and be on your way to a successful “cloud-first” journey.

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The latest V2X OmniAir Plugfest exposed that the need for testing basic V2X requirements is still strong. Read how Spirent tools help to achieve cross-vendor interoperability, device readiness for certification, as well as conformance to the latest safety and security standards.

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At the latest OmniAir Texas Plugfest, key players in this arena came together to re-assess their readiness for V2X deployment. Read about current developments on efficient test tools that speed-up the deployment of V2X technology, help enhance road safety and intelligent transportation systems.

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Most projects or product developments are rarely on-time or on-budget. The culprit is usually a breakdown in communication and a lack of mutual understanding of what is being planned, defined or even recommended. All structures need a good foundation, especially for high speed, high bandwidth applications like Ethernet. This blog discusses why testing takes on a whole new meaning as Automotive Ethernet becomes the backbone of vehicle functions and its operation needs to be seamless and reliable to meet future demands for safety.

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Spectre and Meltdown are modern processor vulnerabilities that surfaced earlier this year, read blog to learn about tools businesses are using to test the effects of Spectre and Meltdown patches on their infrastructure to help identify their real-world performance impact.

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In the sequel of this blog, learn why cloud performance must be verified using the intended workload, what tools exist for evaluating the performance impact of cloud updates for a specific workload, and how to adjust cloud resourcing after changes to infrastructure to maintain performance levels.

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Cloud infrastructures are constantly shifting, as various new elements are rolled out. While such changes can be benign, they can also affect application performance. Blog explains how to mitigate these risks by using the appropriate tools to manage change.

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Anyone building a scalable, robust application should consider a microservice architecture, that’s what it means to be “cloud native”. App performance is now joined at the hip with network infrastructure performance, the two are becoming more intertwined than ever. Blog discusses tips for a successful transition to cloud-native applications.

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Real-time communication is an absolute necessity in Automotive manufacturing. Goal is to equip one single network with TSN enabled components for time-critical data transmission in and between vehicles, and in all future industrial environments. Spirent supports different setups for TSN + OPC UA Smart Manufacturing testbeds for IA and Automotive

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OmniAir plugfests enable chipset, Tier2, Tier1 and OEM’s to participate in intensive bench and field testing to achieve V2X conformance/interoperability and trusted device communication. Spirent supports such events with OmniAir certified conformance test equipment for WAVE-DSRC (V2X) technology ensuring SAE and IEEE standard compliance.

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Spirent participated in the fourth OPNFV Plugfest hosted at the Intel campus near Portland, OR. Read about the plugfest highlights and the ever-growing potential of NFV technology.

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Read about the challenges of M2M/IoT development and how you can make sure your IoT hardware and software solutions are compatible, flexible and future-proof.

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Read how vendors of Automotive Ethernet devices can ensure that their latest components are performing at high speed, with low latency, zero packet loss, and the highest reliability.

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In San Jose last week at the IEEE-SA Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day event, there was non-stop action in the presentation and the exhibit halls. It provided attendees with an update on the research numerous companies are conducting in the areas of high performance computing, distributed software-defined networks, smart switching architectures and reliable Real-time Ethernet communications for safety critical applications. These technologies are shaping the future of connected and automated vehicles.

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We’ve been continuously developing methodologies for testing NFV and the cloud. Importantly, we have learned that test tools on their own are insufficient – what is required is an entire test solution, including expertise. For example, with C-RAN NFVi testing, one of the key elements depicted in the Technical Report, multiple test tools were used together, including tools sourced from Spirent and open source communities, as well as custom hardware and software tools. The combination of these various tool sets and specialized expertise enabled Spirent to deliver testing services to our service provider customers.

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By Alain Vouffo On October 30, 2017
Networks
Automotive, testing, GNSS

Last Week, the third WAVE-DSRC plugfest took place in the Bay Area. Organized by the OmniAir Consortium,  with support from several sponsors, including Spirent, over 170 participated from more than 40 different organizations. The event was a real success and marked another milestone in the deployment of 802.11p-based V2X technology to enhance driver safety.

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Test using AUTOSAR, OPEN Alliance or Avnu test suites to ensure conformance to industry standards for TSN and Latency measurements.

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Our concept of what a car does is being turned upside down, and it is advanced communications, sensing and control technology which is causing the disruption. So how can simulation testing help guarantee the safety and performance of the new automotive network systems required to support these new features?

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Virtualized regression means the Device Under Test (DUT) and test tools are either VMs or containers that run on commodity servers with little to no requirement for specialized hardware testing.

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NFVi performance benchmarking is one of the first challenges that the networking industry is trying to address in order to get Service Providers (SP) closer to the deployment of NFV based networks. At this point in time, NFV solutions from different vendors (both NFVi and VNF) are trying to get to the plug and play mode envisioned by ETSI NFV where SPs may be able to buy NFVi and VNF components from any of the vendors in order to optimize performance, reliability and resiliency.

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How frightening would it be for the driver of a car if turning up the air-conditioning fan to full power stopped the brakes from working? Or if sounding the horn made the headlights switch off? These might sound far-fetched, but they are conceivable scenarios. Car makers have to be sure this could never happen in the real world.

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Spirent CloudStress is a synthetic workload generator that can simulate the physical footprint of any virtual machine and model various applications. Achieving virtual and cloud infrastructure readiness, defining the right infrastructure and making virtualized applications predictable in the cloud are a few clicks away with this smart application.

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There is considerable market demand for a cost-effective solution that new speeds between Gigabit and 10 Gigabit offer. Market forces are driving the need for 2.5G and 5G BASE-T products to help optimize existing structural cabling, allowing enterprises and SPs to reap the benefits of higher performance and cost savings.

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Performance Consistency is one of the key aspects of providing confidence to SPs in deploying VNFs. An automated test methodology to effectively characterize the performance of NFV service chains and associated components is required to accelerate deployment and lowering the test times in lab as well as live environment.

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The demands for increased bandwidth in the data center are driving the creation of a new generation of data center switch platforms. These platforms, whether they are top-of-rack (ToR) or aggregation switches, are designed to support hundreds of gigabits/sec per slot—even terabits. 

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As a network architect or designer, imagine being able to setup, change, test, verify and tear down your company's Cisco Network Design in a matter of minutes! Well you can.

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Fortinet selected Spirent to independently validate the performance of its new Data Center firewall: the FortiGate-3810D. One of the objectives was to determine that there is no performance degradation between IPv4 and IPv6 traffic on Fortinet’s new Network Processor (NP6).

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By Pratap Ramamurthy On March 2, 2015
Networks
No tags assigned.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most popular public cloud infrastructure on the market, and there are loads of different options that AWS gives you. How do we know that we are using the right EC2 instance type? Even if we decide to overprovision, we need to know what we are getting out of it. End users have to test various scenarios before and after deployment.

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Spirent partners with OpenDayLight project and Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) – is just what organizations need in order to have a holistic approach to their SDN and NFV initiatives – industry standards that are vendor-neutral and Spirent experts that you can rely on to accelerate deployments.

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Service providers are moving beyond the last mile, and looking to delivering connectivity within their customers’ four walls. There’s plenty of opportunity for service providers in these connected homes and businesses, but they’ll need to leave their service-to-the-door approach at the door (as it were) so they can deliver service everywhere.

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As more organizations take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of a cloud-based, OpenStack, Continuous Integration (CI) environment for development, they naturally look to extend those benefits to the rest of the product lifecycle. But the test lab poses significant challenges for this process, including a rapidly changing code base that must perform on multiple operating systems and cloud management platforms.

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One of the most exciting changes taking place in the world of lab automation is the massive amount of attention being given to REST APIs. For a decade or more in the networking world, test automation was synonymous with writing Tcl or Perl scripts to drive test equipment, devices under test, and other lab equipment. Especially within large equipment vendors, labs have long been established where test automation experts focused on monolithic test tools.

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It’s common knowledge that Ethernet is engrained in the enterprise IT and telecommunication networks, but is just starting to heat up in the automotive industry. Since this technology is still in its infancy stage, what should automotive designers focus on when devising the next generation of in-vehicle networks?

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As Nemertes Research, voke’s ITO (Infrastructure Test Optimization), and Gartner research notes, and numerous other sources observe, implementation of IT initiatives such as data center network design, consolidation, and virtualization represent significant infrastructure and budget commitments that carry considerable risk.

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A manual test team conducts most of its testing directly from a written test plan or tests in an ad-hoc manner. Few if any automation solutions or scripting skills are used by the team. Organizations with manual test teams include: service providers, network equipment manufacturers, network equipment resellers, and enterprise IT departments.

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A diverse array of component devices and applications in a unified architecture may cause network failure.

While individual devices and applications may work as planned, the complexity of an entire network, however, with configurations and associated firmware out of synch, can create a critical potential vulnerability that must be tested for defects that can bring down your network.

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Not all test and lab automation solutions are similar. Test environments come in all shapes and sizes. Organizations have a broad range of testing needs. From extensive experience in delivering automation solutions, Spirent’s test automation specialists have been able to define organizational categories for test automation. By understanding these organizational categories before integrating test automation, Spirent is able to define the right solution for our customers.

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A test lab is usually complex and comprised of a wide variety of equipment. Equipment may be shared by multiple users across a number of different test beds. Managing and maintaining a test lab can become extremely difficult.

Traditionally a test or lab automation solution is an answer to a productivity challenge. But a test lab automation solution needs to take into account the physical setup of the lab and its test beds, the users of the lab and the tests that need to be performed in the lab. Failure to consider all aspects of the testing environment will typically lead to rework and delays.

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Simply put, the network failure threshold is the point at which your network breaks under real-world applications and user bandwidth. So is it better to know that before or after you launch your IT initiative?

To put it another way, from Nemertes Research’s perspective (from their classic issue paper Strategic IT Initiatives need Strategic Testing): “Without proper testing, such strategic initiative can fail with serious unforeseen consequences, including significant hard dollar and opportunity costs.” They also observed the gains expected from an IT initiative can be minimized or erased if the testing is not implemented before an initiative goes live.

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The need for a comprehensive system testing to assure reliable solution quality multiplies exponentially over time. Poor planning for expanding product testing requirements will increase the risk of brand damage and leads to productivity and revenue loss. Automated testing is essential in keeping pace with the ever expanding product and system testing requirements.

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As is the case with all marketing collateral, a company puts the best face on the product they want you to buy. In network equipment, part of that includes stating the capabilities of device, backed up by testing against particular requirements. While the device will likely perform exactly as described in the environment established by the vendor, how it performs in your network with your devices and your requirements is an entirely different proposition. “Results may vary.” Indeed.

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The crucial nature of testing the success of any data center initiative is widely recognized, but all testing is not created equal. Proper testing is required and is a critical element of ensuring this success. The set of industry best-practices described below were identified and defined after numerous data center testing engagements, across lines of business and around the globe, by Spirent’s team of Professional Services engineers.

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According to Network Computing and the Meta Group, the hourly cost of an hour of downtime ranges from $90 thousand for media to $6.48 million for a brokerage service, with telecom hitting in the middle at $2 million.* You don’t have to look far to find dramatic examples of the consequences of inadequate testing, or perhaps no testing at all.

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If I conducted a poll of IT executives and asked them to name some of their core network concerns, many would likely say “ensuring network uptime” and “managing complexity.” Given these concerns, it is always surprising to see many companies not place enough emphasis on network testing, viewing it as an afterthought instead of a key component of their strategy.

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OFELIA, a pan-European environment for the research community, is conducting experiments in an OpenFlow-enabled wide-area network. OFELIA is based on a set of ten “islands” that create a diverse OpenFlow infrastructure that allows experimentation on multi-layer and multi-technology networks provided by the different islands.

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Infrastructure Test Optimization (iTO) first appeared a few years ago, and has attracted critical acclaim and a lot of strong advocates, but the full potential of the strategy has yet to be embraced by the global testing community.

Given the competitive landscapes in which companies operate these days it’s more critical than ever to reduce time-to-market and improve product quality. Equally important is generating better returns on investment (RoI).

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Remember the days when mainframe computers were hidden away in a locked “computer room”, accessible only to the guy with the pocket protector? Many of you reading this probably weren’t even born back in those days and can’t imagine a time when users didn’t have direct access to a computer. “Back in my day”, we submitted “data processing requests” and waited for results in the form of reams of paper to show up on our desks.

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Welcome to the first in my series of SDN blogs!

In the last decade, networks and networking technology have been evolving gradually—changes have been incremental and expected, such as increased throughput in Ethernet networks and enhancements to routing protocols to improve fault detection and resiliency. However, these gradual changes have been insufficient to handle the need for making networks highly programmable and the tsunami of data flooding the networks. The data explosion is forcing vendors and service providers to make big, disruptive changes to the network and has led to the emergence of software-defined networks (SDN) and OpenFlow.

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This is the fourth post in a six-part series on lab management challenges. For more information, check out the original post, “Top 5 Challenges of Lab Management.

Technologies like virtualization and cloud computing have revolutionized the way organizations develop software, hardware and IT products. The services and sites we rely on today run across integrated hardware and software platforms that include many different networks, servers, routers, applications and virtual machines.

With this complexity comes an increased opportunity for error. A single bug in a product’s infrastructure can damage its ability to function, erode consumer faith in an established product or brand, and even destroy the market share of a new one.

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This is the third post in a six-part series on lab management challenges. For more information, check out the original post, “Top 5 Challenges of Lab Management.

Despite its complexities and drain on testing resources, manual lab configuration is still a go-to practice for many industry experts. However, service providers and network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) are aware of the potential pitfalls associated with only utilizing manual testing, and have integrated automated testing to their QA processes.

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This is the second post in a six-part series on lab management challenges. For more information, check out the first post, Top 5 Challenges of Lab Management.”

The efficiency of the testing process is dependent on the integration of a savvy testing team and a highly versatile testing solution. Each team member plays a pivotal role throughout production, and therefore must have the ability to clearly communicate results and happenings to the rest of the team.

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You get a patch or an upgrade for your firewall from the vendor. They say it fixes that one problem that’s been bugging you for the last few months. But you can’t just install the update, right? You have to test it first.

No problem. You upgrade the backup firewall, throw together a few scripts to hit it with traffic, and use a packet sniffer to make sure the right stuff comes out the other end. Simple, right? Maybe not.

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This is the first post in a six-part series on lab management challenges. Check back for future posts that dive further into each of the following obstacles faced by test teams.

Product testing is critical to any pending product release or feature. If a flaw is overlooked during development, and the product is released to the public without correction, it can impact sales, and be detrimental to the company’s image and reputation in its market. A leading brand can be forever damaged by the release of a single dysfunctional product feature.

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The Next Generation Network Delivery Solutions conference, hosted by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and the NTAF, was held at Hilton Doubletree, London on Nov. 27-28 2012. High profile speakers gathered from the around the globe to discuss Infrastructure Test Optimization (ITO), as well as the relevancy and performance of current test automation providers doing business within the telecommunications market. Spirent Communications sponsored the industry-wide event, among other solution vendors.

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) presents a different operating model for the corporate IT department, bringing along both some nice benefits, and of course, some thorny challenges.

Instead of IT taking the lead and dictating which of the latest gadgets are to be used and supported, it is now the user who is empowered.  Users have already selected the devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) that they desire for personal use, and now they want to use them at work, as well.

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Although analysts track industry growth in multiple segments, it is difficult to forecast new technologies. The test experts at Spirent have a unique perspective of the industry by working with the world’s largest network equipment manufacturers and service providers developing and deploying next-generation solutions.

Here are a few of our predictions of the top trends for 2013:


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Spirent has always been on the cutting-edge of video and audio testing. When the hot technology was Microsoft’s MMS, we added that. When RTSP rose, we implemented it with a myriad of player emulation (Microsoft, Apple, Real, BitBand …). When RTMP (Flash) video was the next best thing, we added that too. These are just a few examples.

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I’m looking forward to the NGN Delivery Solutions 2012 event which will be held November 27-28 in London. Since Network Automation is one of the themes of this year’s event, it’s definitely a good fit for NTAF. In addition to co-sponsoring the event, along with the MEF, NTAF will be well represented in person by its President, Keith Kidd, and by its Marketing Vice Chair, Ameya Barve, both of whom will be speakers. Keith will deliver opening remarks for the conference where he ...

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If you have a smartphone, you’ve probably downloaded an app in the last couple of weeks.  And if you didn’t, you’ve probably used a non-approved IT app at some point. Today, the line that separates professional work from personal work is blurred. Working professionals often work longer than the 9-5 that once was a typical ‘work day’.  Workers also often use the company phone or computer to check personal emails, websites unrelated to work, or current event...

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During this year’s annual conference of the Australian Network Operators Group (AusNOG), Spirent and Brocade demonstrated a 100G OpenFlow network with live traffic, as well as an example of an advanced SDN application replicating flows for lawful intercept. It was a double premiere of the industry’s first live demonstration of 100G OpenFlow and as the first public demonstration of the Spirent TestCenter interactive SDN application for testing high Speed Ethernet OpenFlow devices.

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Network infrastructure is the foundation for all applications and services, even in virtualized and cloud computing environments. Today’s businesses rely on that infrastructure in some way for nearly every business objective they have, some of which are mission-critical. This creates the need for the entire network infrastructure to have high levels of performance, availability, scalability and security. The only way to be sure these objectives are met is through comprehensive infrastructu...

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By Rajesh Rajamani On June 1, 2012
Networks
No tags assigned.

Enterprises everywhere, under pressure to improve productivity and save travel costs, make extensive use of Unified Communications capabilities such as telepresence, web and video conferencing, and HD video. However, these productivity-enhancing services place a high demand on campus routers and switches. Campus and branch routers need to provide an order of magnitude higher throughput and routing performance without compromising the Quality of Experience (QoE) that end users expect. In addition...

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By Spirent On May 15, 2012
Networks
No tags assigned.

Adapted from an email by Laura Owens, Vice President of Human Resources, to Spirent employees. Spirent Team, Spirent is truly a company built to last!  Seventy six years ago today, Jack Bowthorpe founded a company that we all know today as Spirent Communications.  Bowthorpe started Goodliffe Electric Supplies, at No. 8 Eagle St., London, with capital provided by his brother’s father-in-law and his two sons—the Goodliffe family.  Soon thereafter, he hired his first em...

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Resolution, precision, and accuracy–three words that get thrown around a lot, often interchangeably. That’s not surprising, considering that some dictionaries actually list one or more as synonyms for the other. But these three words actually mean three different things and that distinction becomes very important when testing devices and networks for latency, particularly in switch fabrics designed for data centers and cloud computing. ... the difference is on how reliable and rep...

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Visit us at Booth #735! The convergence of the Mobile Internet and Cloud Computing is inevitable as consumer demand for mobile devices and applications continue to grow exponentially. However, can devices and networks handle the data storage and data processing offloaded from mobile devices? Will consumers be able to access their mobile applications, share data, collaborate and multi-task? And can all of this be accomplished with security, without a noticeable difference in performance in Applic...

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Original article posted on the Network Test Automation Forum (NTAF) Blog. Hello, this is Todd Law again, vice-president of NTAF and senior product manager at Spirent Communications. Last time I wrote about the various reasons people choose to automate, but this time I wanted to ask an even more fundamental question, namely, what is network test automation? This question may seem strange to ask since clearly most of us have some feeling and understanding for what automation is. But if you think a...

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Cloud computing and virtualization are expanding demands on the data center and are pushing the limits of scalability in network switching. The need for any-to-any connectivity is forcing network designers and equipment manufacturers beyond the traditional hierarchical model of switch ports to the full-mesh approach of switch fabrics. And as usual, the expectation of reduced time to market and deployment continues to accelerate. Enter software-defined networking (SDN), which fosters greater flex...

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The advent of cloud computing in data centers has precipitated the transition from Ethernet switches forming a network to fabrics consisting of multiple switches. While a switched network favors a hierarchical tree topology with a unique path to each element, a fabric is all about achieving high availability and low latency through a mesh topology, fully utilizing all available links. The fabric is not new to the data center. Switch fabrics via Fibre Channel have been around for a few decades, b...

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Re-posted from Arnaud Castaner's blog Synsynack.  Arnaud is a Senior Systems Engineer at Spirent. Recently, a Proxy equipment vendor was asking me how to randomize the MIME-Type of the files retrieved over HTTP using their Avalanche. They do different things to different file types – don’t cache JavaScript, but cache images, for instance. It’s easy to specify a static percentage of MIME Type you’re going to get in your test. If you create an Action List, make 10 GET ...

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By Jurrie Van Den Breekel On April 2, 2012
Networks
No tags assigned.

The cloud is looming. By 2014, Gartner expects 90 percent of personal consumer devices to have integrated cloud services and IDC predicts cloud computing will create 14 million new jobs by 2015. As the cloud gains momentum, expectations for data center throughput, reliability, and availability increase and network equipment manufacturers are taking the challenge head on. While the analysts were declaring the age of the cloud had arrived, Spirent was doing its part to make those predictions c...

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By Spirent On March 31, 2012
Networks
No tags assigned.

Disclaimer: This blog post was written for April Fools' Day. It’s been a year since we launched blitz.io, an awesome multi-tenant application performance testing/monitoring platform running on AWS and Heroku. Looking back at the year, it’s been an amazing ride and we’ve helped a pretty diverse class of users that have no intent on becoming performance experts to really understand the difference between concurrency and hits. But I’m pretty disillusioned right now. Not to m...

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Original article posted on the Network Test Automation Forum (NTAF) Blog. My name is Todd Law, and I am the Vice-President of NTAF, as well as a senior product manager at Spirent Communications.  I’m happy to have this chance to communicate through the NTAF blog. Most of the blogs posted to date in this space have been primarily focused on NTAF’s formation and organizational progress in getting new members or standards written.  In this entry, I wanted to take a step back...

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How do you test a data center switching fabric that scales exponentially beyond legacy platforms? By Jurrie van den Breekel The implications go beyond the QA department. Of course, system testing is required as part of the product lifecycle and a large-scale system requires large-scale testing. But such a system poses an equally daunting challenge to marketing and sales—demonstrating to customers that high performance and high scalability can be achieved in their environment. Independent t...

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Will the new high-speed, high-port density switching fabrics perform at the level required to deliver high-bandwidth, low latency content? Not long ago we were debating whether there was a market for 40G and 100G Ethernet. Now we can't get it fast enough. At the Technology Exploration Forum in Santa Clara, CA in September, 2009, Facebook engineer Donn Lee said that the Facebook network would require a 64 Tbps data center aggregation layer by the end of 2010. Unfortunately, the technology didn&rs...

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By Chris Chapman On January 20, 2012
Networks
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By Gail Ferreira, Product Marketing Manager at Crossbeam, and Chris Chapman, Technical Marketing Engineer at Spirent Crossbeam and Spirent recently partnered with EANTC, an internationally recognized test center, and Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown to define and emulate the most realistic real-world conditions within mobile networks, and evaluate the performance of Crossbeam X80-S as a network security device under these demanding conditions. We agreed on one key requirement — we...

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By Spirent On January 17, 2012
Networks
Blitz, Cloud, CouchDB, DevOps, Redis, Scalability

At blitz.io, for a while there, we were only relying on CouchDB clusters as the primary NoSQL database with some in-memory caching. As we grow (rapidly) and scale out, there are aspects of what we collect and store that are transient and real-time. While CouchDB is awesome for the map/reduce, replication and incremental view indexes, the real-time queues (emails, counters, stats, etc) natural lend themselves to, yup, redis. We are in the process of rolling out geo-located redis instances as part...

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By Chris Chapman On December 20, 2011
Networks
No tags assigned.

Joint post by Gail Ferreira & Chris Chapman What do you look at to size a network solution, to make sure that it has adequate capacity for your network? What measurements should you focus on when evaluating the capacity of a component in a network? 1) Gbps of throughput?  But how much traffic is being dropped in the process of reaching peak Gbps of throughput? 2) Connections per second?  Will there be enough CPS to cover peak loads? 3) Or maybe total number of connec...

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In the new world of next-generation networks, pretty much every leading network equipment manufacturer (NEM) today has application-awareness built into their products. Whether it’s an application firewall, serving gateway or edge router, they’re all using deep packet inspection (DPI) to look deep into the network traffic to identify the specific application. For example, Cisco has Application Visibility & Control, Juniper has AppSecure, Palo Alto Networks has App-ID, Sandvine ha...

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a mobile internet revolution going on. The signs are all there: a rapid increase in the number of mobile subscribers, the number of devices those subscribers use, and the type and quantity of content and services those subscribers want. Consider one household on my block: two people, fifteen IP-addressable devices. Seriously. They have three laptops, one desktop, three smartphones, two iPads, one PlayStation 3, one DVR, one network p...

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By Spirent On November 30, 2011
Networks
Blitz, Cloud, DevOps, Performance

This is a repost of my Atlassian’s guest blog, announcing a Bamboo plugin for blitz.io. The pig of a problem We all know what happens when your app performs like a pig. You lose users, customers and revenue. Your app is slow, the failing pigs don’t amuse your customers and you hear about it as the trending topic on Twitter. In most cases you don’t even know that it’s slow until you push the app into production, multiple times a day. How can you identify performance bo...

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By Spirent On November 13, 2011
Networks
4G, LTE, TestCloud

Ever been in a situation where you have four full bars but can’t make a call? I have, and that’s what made me realize that signal strength is but one of many factors that affect connectivity. Fancy wireless techniques like spatial beam forming and frame aggregation between the cell tower and the phone sounds really cool but if the network is congested at the back end then magic on the radio side won’t amount to much for the user. One of the major challenges faced by operators ...

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By Spirent On November 8, 2011
Networks
4G, billing, GTP, LTE

The hype, and in many cases concern around DPI has always been strong. It has triggered provocative debate on the Internet around privacy, end user rights, the role of the operator, and the extent to which they can monitor what applications we send and receive on the Internet. The truth is that DPI isn’t just an emerging technology; it’s actually a reality, showing up on traditional fixed line networks, enterprise networks and most recently on mobile networks. Recently, Telefo...

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By Arnaud Castaner On November 8, 2011
Networks
No tags assigned.

The latest General Availability build of Avalanche (and Spirent TestCenter) has been released. I won't cover Spirent TestCenter, but for Avalanche, it's a pretty big release. Major features Action List Generator: You can now use a built-in tool to generate action list. For each action, you pick a protocol. The mandatory parameters are directly shown, and you can add the optional ones by the click of a button. I'll cover this in more detail in a future post. Easy T...

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By Spirent On November 7, 2011
Networks
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In the previous versions of the Spirent (formerly Mu) App Quadrant we first compared the most popular video services, and then specifically focused on Netflix across multiple endpoints. Now, in this third edition we have looked at Skype. Not only is it one of the most popular voice apps on the internet with over 30 million users online at peak times, it’s also one of the biggest bandwidth guzzlers, due in part to the P2P nature of its architecture. The Spirent (formerly Mu) App Quadrant ...

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By Brett Wolmarans, Spirent On October 20, 2011
Networks
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Sort of. By now, all of us in networking have read about the four-day Blackberry outage or experienced our own personal Crackberry withdrawal.  We also know it was a core switch failover event and backup-switch-gone-bad that is shouldering the blame for this. (According to RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, the outage occurred “when a dual-redundant, dual capacity core switch failed and its backup switch failed to activate.”) I feel for those who were working in the networking depa...

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By Spirent On October 15, 2011
Networks
Blitz, Cloud, DevOps, Heroku

Okay, not the greatest, ground-breaking, coolest, earth-shattering feature ever. Let’s just get that out of the way. But, in the process of troubleshooting various latency issues for our customers, we found ourselves logging on to various EC2 instances of blitz.io to run traceroutes to our users sites/apps to diagnose problems. We are developers, hanging out in TextMate, vim and our terminals and the ability to take a local Unix command and run it remotely while staying in our zone (s...

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Today, Juniper announced Junosphere™ Lab, an innovative on-demand service that gives service providers and enterprises immediate and low cost access to a virtualized environment for designing and testing networks. Very cool stuff – leveraging the power of the cloud and helping customers dramatically reduce their TCO while accelerating the time to model networks. Real Traffic in a Virtual Environment So when you spin up a network environment and model a production topology, you&rs...

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By Spirent On September 19, 2011
Networks
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We are super excited to bring blitz.io to CloudFlare‘s users. We’ve been slow rolling this over the course of the week and it has been pretty amazing to see CloudFlare users using blitz.io against their direct domain/origin server to see the benefits of performance and security provided by CloudFlare. CloudFlare is now the 7th blitz.io partner, in a growing list of ecosystem partnerships. In the era of PaaS, DevOps and Continuous Deployment, blitz.io makes load and performa...

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By Spirent On September 19, 2011
Networks
apps, test content, TestCloud

In a previous blog I discussed how we had started to build out the test content for different kinds of applications across categories like P2P, video, chat and social media in our Spirent (formerly Mu) TestCloud store. Fast-forward to today, and we’ve now got well over 2,000 tests, with coverage for hundreds of different apps. We’ve also got lots of customers who are actively using these ready-to-run tests for a wide range of use-cases – everything from verifying applicati...

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By Spirent On September 5, 2011
Networks
Blitz, CouchDB, EC2, Scalability

Over the weekend, I was experimenting with CouchDB to see if it can pass the C10K barrier. Some of the performance optimizations I made along the way are really OS-level optimizations that affect MochiWeb (erlang web server) and fairly well documented in many blogs. This one by @metabrew in particular is a pretty good read, since it focuses on Erlang and MochiWeb. While I am a performance junkie, I am not an Erlang hacker. So this is a call for help to the CouchDB hackers for recommendation...

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Enterprise networks are being attacked on multiple fronts—hacking, data breaches, and denial of service attacks—sometimes simultaneously. Are your IT departments adequately prepared to address these multi-dimension security challenges without impacting business productivity? To effectively stop attacks on the network, many IT departments increase their network security, sometimes at the cost of reducing access to legitimate traffic and end users. The key to successful data center...

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By Spirent On August 24, 2011
Networks
No tags assigned.

We recently launched the Spirent (formerly Mu) Studio Performance Suite. It introduced many exciting new capabilities including instant access to Multiple thousands of tests on Spirent (formerly Mu) TestCloud, Multiple tracks, Multiple performance engines etc. While these are certainly very useful features that bring tremendous benefits to the user, what really got users excited and had an emotional impact was not the features but the design (UXD). To me, what’s been really cool to ...

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I attended Cisco Live yesterday morning in Simi Valley. I was able to watch live on my 63” Samsung Plasma the live broadcast from Las Vegas. It’s better than being there live (no pun intended). A very short commute upstairs, best seat in the house and unlimited supply of coffee. Unfortunately there was no golden ticket under my seat for the Cisco party. For some time, I have been thinking about the tsunami of data that is going to hit the Internet as video usage continues its logarit...

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By Spirent On July 8, 2011
Networks
DLP

Spirent (formerly Mu Dynamics) is uniquely qualified to offer DLP Testing solutions because our ancestry is in Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS). Our founders and principal architects designed the first IPS at One Secure (later acquired by NetScreen and ultimately Juniper). Fundamentally, an IPS and the Data in Motion (DiM) functionality of a DLP system perform nearly identical functions in opposite directions. They act as filters across a network element, determining which data may safely be a...

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In our first edition of the Spirent (formerly Mu) App Quadrant, we compared the run-time aspects of the most popular desktop video applications – Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video on Demand – and showed that Netflix is not particularly friendly to both Consumers and Operators. It’s not just the apps – devices matter too! Operators continue to struggle with the unpredictable growth of applications and the devices used to access them. With millions of people runni...

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By Alan Way On June 8, 2011
Networks
No tags assigned.

World IPv6 day is nearly upon us and many networks are not ready to repel borders (hackers). As the world becomes more aware of IPv6, more people will try to exploit potential weaknesses in our IPv6 defenses. My recommendations, even if your network is not connected directly to an IPv6 connection are: Turn off Teredo (Shipworm support on your PC’s). This is literally one of the IPv6 support protocols of last resort, and can leave your network vulnerable to attack. This worm (Tered...

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Well, as you might have guessed, they both need to do more network testing! Two recent news stories highlight this: First, instead of picking on Amazon (see my earlier blog post on cyber security this year), maybe Lady Gaga's entourage needs to buy some network testing equipment like, yesterday, and start doing some P.A.S.S. ( Performance, Availability, Scalability and Security) testing.  Read how technical issues impeded the high-profile promotion of Lady Gaga's latest album here...

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Video and P2P Rule! The traffic making up today’s networks is in a rapid state of flux. Just last week Sandvine, in their Spring 2011 Global Phenomena Report, noted that real-time entertainment continues to increase, and within North America represents almost 50% of peak fixed access traffic (much of this of course is due to Netflix). P2P traffic also continues to carve out a sizeable piece of the pie at around 20%. The rest is a mix of voice, business apps, games, Facebook and chat. Wha...

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By Arnaud Castaner On April 28, 2011
Networks
No tags assigned.

If you’re a big Avalanche user, you probably one day or another had an old test that you needed to import in a recent version of the Avalanche Commander. To optimize the data structure and therefore improve the overall performance of the tool, sometimes the XML structure gets updated. This doesn’t happen between every version but when it happens there is a chance that these are not backwards compatible. There is one caveat: any given version will only know about its own XML dat...

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There’s been a lot of debate recently about the impact of video apps on the network. According to Nielsen, Netflix alone now accounts for 20% of downstream traffic during peak times in the United States. In a previous blog Kowsik explained the behind-the-scenes interactions that are happening unbeknownst to you when you watch a Netflix movie. So that got us thinking – are all the popular video apps as network-intensive as Netflix? Are some video apps more user-friendly with their ban...

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Personally, as a consumer, I love Netflix, but it hasn’t been the darling of service providers and ISP’s lately. You can read about the Canadian ISP saga here. Our imminent next release of Spirent (formerly Mu) Studio will enable our customers to recreate 1,000,000 concurrent Netflix users watching a movie, so they can understand the impact of their application aware networks. One thing is pretty clear: compared to YouTube, Netflix inflicts so much more pain on the network....

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IPv6 is suddenly hot news. Running out of Internet addresses has a suitably Armageddon sound to boost news headlines, and we are all sufficiently hooked on the Internet to shiver at the thought of losing it. You would think that IPv6 had just leapt out of the unknown like some marauding beast, but that’s far from true. We’ve been helping organisations test their support for the new [IPv6] protocol and dual stack functionality since 2004. I was helping some organisations, inc...

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I’ve been in the testing business for many years now and I’ve come across a lot of grandiose claims by test tool vendors with regards to features and capabilities that just sound too good to be true. And in many cases, they are. When it comes to today’s world of smartphones and tablets and the explosive growth of web and mobile applications, it’s mind-blowing to see the sheer quantity of apps out there. If you look at the number of apps available today on just three of t...

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By Spirent On March 23, 2011
Networks
Cloud, DevOps

This week there’s been much talk about NoOps with posts from @adriano, @allspaw and @krishnan, to name a few. It all started with this infographic from @appfog. The challenge is that the combination of the words No and Ops is wide open for [mis]-interpretation. Somebody Else’s Problem I think what we are witnessing is rapid emergence of services that started with the infrastructure (storage, compute, network) and rapidly moving up the application stack. PaaS, of course,...

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By Arnaud Castaner On March 11, 2011
Networks
No tags assigned.

Using Avalanche to test MAC address capacity of stateful network devices Using a lot of MAC addresses in an Avalanche test is something we see on a regular basis. This can be used for Network Access Control, RADIUS, 802.1x, or simply to stress the MAC table of a switch. Avalanche can do that; in two different ways, even. One way is simple but gives you less flexibility than the second, more complex solution that gives you more control. TL; DR: Here's a 3.60 SPF file that contains two tests, o...

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Can we trust the cloud? Cloud security is receiving a lot of attention nowadays, because fears about data security in the cloud remain the biggest hurdle to mass acceptance. Cloud computing removes many of the familiar physical control points for protecting sensitive data – from personnel screening to PIN and smartcard access to the datacentre. Instead of visible, tangible security systems, we must put our trust in specialist IT skills, and the people with those skills, to safegua...

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I just spent a week getting ready for this advanced testing seminar. It’s been a whirlwind of activity, mostly involved in getting my lab ready for the demo. Let me tackle each of these in turn.   First, I upgraded to VmWare 4.1. For anyone who has been through this, you know what I am talking about here. Suffice it to say, quite a bit of effort and a bit of trial by fire for me, but nothing I couldn’t handle.   Second, I learned how to install the Cisco Nexus 1000v. Cisc...

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By Alan Way On January 26, 2011
Networks
No tags assigned.

Were the Mayans correct in predicting the end of the world in 2012? Or did they get some mixed signals on the state of the Internet and the availability of IPv4 addresses? For many years the pundits have been preaching imminent disaster as we near the exhaustion of the IPv4 address pool, but somehow we kept dodging the bullet. This year however there is no doubt, the end is nigh.The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is down to less than 2% of the available IPv4 address pool (at...

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By Ankur Chadda On April 28, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

Cloud computing offers business benefits without the risk of a degraded user experience. The challenge is determining whether or not virtualized data center environments deliver on that promise. A virtual machine (VM) performs at the most fundamental level of content generation, which poses a serious challenge for those who need to understand real performance numbers, which means getting a per-VM view of performance versus utilization. Traditional methods of validating inter-server performance...

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By Michael Lynge On April 28, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

While the terminology surrounding cloud services may be a bit cloudy itself, the goal is clear—to create the dynamic data center and infinite scalability, which can reduce the labor-intensive, tactical aspects of providing IT services, freeing managers to pursue innovation and strategic planning. This makes cloud computing testing an imperative. An IDC survey shows that the top concerns of IT enterprise organizations are performance, security and availability. Cloud services address perfo...

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By Sailaja Tennati On April 12, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

If you don’t already know, network convergence is central to what’s driving complexity in the communication networks of today. And despite technology, development and deployment of devices and networks, there are significant challenges facing service providers. How can service offerings be expanded to support enterprise customers? Is the network ready to deliver secure and reliable enterprise applications? Are they prepared for challenges of interconnecting to other large and complex m...

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By Spirent On March 16, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

Maybe it’s possible to maintain a competitive feature set and release schedule without test automation, but I don’t see how. These days, test case automation is table stakes for survival and full test environment automation streamlines development to give you a competitive edge. Here are a few suggestions for those looking to take advantage of the CapEx and OpEx savings that full automation can give you. What: If your test engineers aren’t already Tcl experts, look for a ...

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By Chris Chapman On March 2, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

Well, it’s official. Testing exclusively with best-effort traffic is dead. Today, even the simplest network implements Quality of Service (QoS). Testing with exclusively best-effort traffic used to be acceptable for numerous reasons: Simplification of testing, the experience of the end user, and the premise that more bandwidth solves all problems. As with all industries, both the people who make the products (network equipment manufacturers) and the people who consume those products (s...

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By Chris Chapman On February 9, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

One of the great features of Spirent TestCenter is its ability to directly test services over structured Ethernet. This is critical to carriers because their business model is becoming increasingly dependent upon revenue from IP video. With Spirent TestCenter, you have the ability to completely isolate the carrier Ethernet DUT, regardless of its role. Say the device under test is an MPLS P router. With Spirent TestCenter topology emulation technology, you can model routers behind route...

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By Ankur Chadda On January 26, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

Is your network ready for telecommuting? Institutional resistance to working remotely (aka telecommuting, telework) continues to crumble. While the H1N1 virus may force the issue, it will merely be the final drop that breaches the dam. There are many drivers and corresponding benefits for the organization that adopts telecommuting. Energy savings. Going green saves resources (and dollars) for business and personal budgets. The company can light, heat and cool fewer square feet and pow...

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By David Newman, Network Test On January 18, 2010
Networks
No tags assigned.

If there’s one overarching conclusion I’ve drawn from three months of testing 10-gigabit top-of-rack data center switches, it’s that “switch” and “data center switch” are very different beasts. Understanding the latter means testing new features like virtualization support and storage/data network convergence, while also driving unicast and multicast scalability benchmarking to new heights. In a project recently published in Network World, we compared switches from six vendors, eac...

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By Spirent On December 17, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

As of this writing, the World Health Organization H1N1 virus pandemic alert is still at phase 6, the highest level, and has been for six months. The WHO defines the top two phases as follows: Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, ...

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By Michael Lynge On November 5, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

An end-of-life (EOL) announcement on a product that is an integral part of your test strategy is disruptive to schedules, and possibly revenue, as gap analysis is done and transition plans are formed. On the other hand, it forces you to evaluate your lab infrastructure against available solutions, an important exercise that is often pushed to the back burner in the urgency of day-to-day operations and task oversubscription.  Automation In the test and measurement world, inves...

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By Michael Lynge On November 3, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

An end-of-life (EOL) announcement on a product that is an integral part of your test strategy is disruptive to schedules, and possibly revenue, as gap analysis is done and transition plans are formed. On the other hand, it forces you to evaluate your lab infrastructure against available solutions, an important exercise that is often pushed to the back burner in the urgency of day-to-day operations and task oversubscription. Alternatives Every buying decision is an op...

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By Michael Lynge On October 29, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

An end-of-life (EOL) announcement on a product that is an integral part of your test strategy is disruptive to schedules, and possibly revenue, as gap analysis is done and transition plans are formed. On the other hand, it forces you to evaluate your lab infrastructure against available solutions, an important exercise that is often pushed to the back burner in the urgency of day-to-day operations and task oversubscription. Support The key issue in creating a...

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By Michael Lynge On October 27, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

The announcement that Agilent is taking the N2X platform to end of life (EOL) in 2015 raises questions about testing strategy for many customers. An EOL announcement is inevitably disruptive to schedules and possibly revenue, but often it causes people to refocus on issues that been unaddressed too long. Support. The first issue that comes to mind when you hear that a platform you rely on daily is being discontinued is support. What happens when something goes wrong? H...

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By Paul Mooney On October 22, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

Modern wisdom says you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much bandwidth. There may be some debate about the first two, but it appears that the third is right on the money. In the discussion about the need for faster Ethernet we hear of drivers like HD video, mobile backhaul, and point-to-point applications. Social media doesn’t immediately come to mind, but it is a significant factor. (How often have you submitted a tweet only to get the “Twitter is busy” screen?) According to...

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By Jurrie Van Den Breekel On September 19, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

It’s no secret what’s driving the move to virtualization in data centers. The demand for new and expanded software systems is growing, but the geographic and carbon footprint required for scaling underutilized dedicated servers is too costly on many levels. This issue has led to the maturation of the virtual server, where increased reliability and stability means reduced risk, making virtualization of the data center a viable solution. Virtualization makes it possible to replace physic...

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By Paul Mooney On September 19, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

Everybody’s talking about 40/100G Ethernet. It will replace SONET in a decade. It’s a revenue playground for those with the vision and expertise to deliver in a timely fashion with quality and reliability. This group is doing a trial. That group has released a product. And, from a market perspective, the time for 40/100G is here. Due to the abundant proliferation of mobile applications and the explosion of IP video, not to mention a host of other applications dumping new traffic on ...

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By Jurrie Van Den Breekel On August 27, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

Maybe it’s not easy being green, as the infamous flannel frog pointed out decades ago, but being un-green is no picnic, either. Many data center managers rate their top three concerns as security, availability and energy. Data center costs, including energy, have climbed eight-times since 1996. When high-density blade servers can push power requirements past 30 kilowatts per rack, the transition to more efficient systems can have a huge impact not only on energy usage, but operating expen...

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By Brett Wolmarans, Spirent On August 25, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

Maybe it only seemed like the world stopped for the Michael Jackson memorial on July 7, but there’s one thing we know for sure that did stop. The City of Los Angeles set up a website to accept donations to offset the $1.4 million required to support the memorial with services like security, traffic control and sanitation. According to CNN, the website crashed repeatedly Tuesday and Wednesday, sometimes for periods as long as 12 hours. Clearly they didn’t test the system to verify it...

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By Brett Wolmarans, Spirent On August 13, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

IPTV is on the rise, more quickly in some places than in others. While some areas have already hit double-digit market penetration, others, like the US, are still in single digits. Growth rates vary by region from 20% to over 100%. More than half of the video rights holders and distributors surveyed said they are distributing video online today, and only 10 percent said they had no plans to do so1. As the new kid on the pedestal, IPTV must deal with viewer expectations set by decades of...

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By Andrew Armstrong On July 29, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

Last week I almost did lunch with a friend, an IT guy. We picked a new deli close to his office and, after a long wait, I finally had a nice Reuben all alone. I texted him and he texted back with apologies and tales of application performance issues. Being a nice guy, I got a sandwich and chips to go and stopped by his office. I knew I would be welcome. While it might be prudent to beware Greeks bearing gifts most people are glad to see geeks bearing food. Especially when they had to work throu...

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By Brett Wolmarans, Spirent On July 21, 2009
Networks
No tags assigned.

Find and fix your bugs before your customers find them for you Remember what Jack Nicholson told Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men? “You can’t handle the truth!” That’s the kind of thing you don’t want a customer saying about your product. “Sure, it works fine in the lab where everything is well-behaved, but it can’t handle the real world.” So, what exactly is the real world? In the movie, reality for Nicholson was different from reality for Cruise. ...

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