In my last blog post Developments in Ethernet Monitoring, I discussed the need for Ethernet monitoring and testing capabilities. I also covered why many of those capabilities weren’t yet realized. So, the next logical question is what sort of testing does XO do for its Ethernet services? There is some good news to share.
Which Test and What Will it Tell You?
RFC 2544 is the de facto standard for a TDM test and turn up procedure or evaluating the general health of a circuit. It isn’t an Ethernet centric test, but it works and enjoys industry-wide familiarity. XO currently performs an RFC 2544 test on Ethernet circuits on an as-needed basis. It isn’t done for all Ethernet circuits because it requires truck rolls, techs need to be coordinated with test sets on both ends of the circuit, and the test sets are a limited resource. Logistically, it isn’t feasible to implement for every circuit. The results show Throughput at various frame sizes, Frame Delay (aka “Latency” in the TDM world), and Frame Loss. If something looks amiss, troubleshooting begins. Interframe Delay Variation (aka “Jitter”) isn’t part of the RFC 2544 spec.
Here’s Where it Gets Better.
The majority of XO’s edge devices have been enhanced to act as RFC 2544 reflectors. XO also deployed Spirent’s centralized test platform. Now that XO has testing intelligence in the core and at the edge, tests can be run immediately and remotely.
This is a great diagnostic tool to have at our disposal and will benefit XO and our customers in the following ways:
- Testing for all: XO can perform RFC2544 tests on all Ethernet circuits now that the intelligence is built into the network
- Reduced time to test: Testing can be done immediately instead of taking days to reserve test sets, schedule coordinated techs, and rolling trucks. This benefits other areas as well
- Reduced turn up intervals: The on-demand nature of the test is expected to improve service delivery
- Improved troubleshooting: Repair can diagnose the circuit and get resolution quicker
So, the first half of 2012 brings substantial intelligence to XO’s Ethernet network and powerful tools to our Operations teams. Spirent’s centralized test platform also allows XO to implement newer, developing test standards as they become more widely available. This is just one of many improvements in XO’s Ethernet service for 2012. You may have heard rumblings of an entirely new metro Ethernet network on the horizon. We can tackle that topic another day.
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