The Evolution of Network Test Solutions

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.

Today, we hold smart phones in our hands that provide more computing power than mainframes from decades ago. With powerful desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, just about anyone that wants computing power can have direct and immediate access to it.

We have an analogous situation with network test equipment today. Solutions for testing networks, devices and services have typically been delivered in a mainframe-sized form factor, and protected behind locked doors in a R&D or product verification lab. These systems are incredibly powerful, delivering every capability a test engineer could imagine (and more!), but with a price tag and learning curve that put them out of reach for all but the largest IT organizations.

Just as Moore’s law dramatically increased the computing power available in progressively smaller (and cheaper) form factors, the same trend is now happening for network test equipment, starting with Spirent Axon.

Spirent Axon

Finally, Testing for the Rest of Us

Spirent Axon packages over 20 years of test expertise into a form factor that doesn’t require a dedicated room to house it (in fact, it fits in a single RU). With Axon, you can simulate real, protocol-correct network traffic while plotting latency, jitter, packet loss, and more in real-time so you can see how performance changes as traffic conditions change.

Axon also includes a library of pre-defined tests that cover just about any situation, like testing QoS router configurations, site-to-site vpn connections, application performance, network scalability and more. These built-in test methodologies mean you don’t have to be a network test guru to use Axon. In fact, network engineers with no special training in testing can be up and running in a few minutes, and kick off any individual test in less than 60 seconds.

Multiple Axon devices can be deployed throughout the network, either at the same site or across multiple sites, for easy site-to-site testing. With the Axon appliances in place, engineers can drive tests from any web-enabled device, including a tablet. Axon’s interface is easy to understand; anyone who’s used an mp3 player can quickly grasp the basics of running tests. Different traffic profiles (http, voice, video and more), called “tracks,” can be dragged and dropped onto a “playlist.” Once the playlist is ready, running a test is as easy as hitting the “play” button.

Spirent Axon

In fact, because Axon is so easy to deploy and use, IT professionals are likely to find many new ways to integrate testing into their daily lives. For example, now when rolling out new services such as VoIP, video conferencing or email upgrades, the IT team can deal with bandwidth bottlenecks, incorrect ACL (access control list) configurations or performance choke points prior to deployment, avoiding painful post-rollout problem solving. By testing proactively with Axon, IT managers and network engineers can have confidence that their new services will perform seamlessly from the start.

It is Time to Evolve Testing in Your Organization

The next several blogs will describe how Axon can change the face of testing in your organization. I’ll discuss use cases that include end-to-end visibility, site-to-site performance management, mobile and cloud testing to help you roll out new applications and services with confidence.
Stay tuned to this blog series—or better yet—join in the discussion by posting your questions or comments below.

comments powered by Disqus
× Spirent.com uses cookies to enhance and streamline your experience. By continuing to browse our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies.