CALIENT Technologies

Move the light, not the fiber

Lab Automation Proves Value in SDN World

For the last five years, network test lab automation has been a growing field as networking vendors needed to improve efficiency and productivity to roll out new 10G, 40G and now 100G networking systems.

But now that we’re in a virtualized and software-defined network (SDN) age, the complexity of network testing has increased as labs add servers and storage to fully test next-generation functionality.

And where complexity is high, the value of lab automation is also high.

CALIENT’s S320 has always been a preferred solution for lab automation applications. Now with the SDN-driven increased demand for lab automation, we’re putting a bigger emphasis on the market including developing new lab automation features.

How the S320 Simplifies Lab Automation

In a non-automated lab, technicians must wire each device under test (DUT) to a piece of test equipment before conducting a test. When that’s through, they disconnect the DUT and reconnect it to the next piece of equipment, and so on. This laborious process slows throughput and results in overworked staff and idle test equipment.

Using the S320, a high-performance fiber-optic infrastructure can be built where test gear is “wired once” into the infrastructure and then available to any DUT at any time.

The S320 is a 320-port optical circuit switch with each port being transparent to bit rate and thus supporting any data speed from 100 Mbps to 100Gbps. The S320 has a total throughput of more than 32 terabits per second. The switch allows any-to-any, layer-one network connections with almost no latency and can be reconfigured on demand.

Using network management, lab technicians can switch any ingress port on the S320 to any egress port and then reconfigure that connection. This flexibility means that the network can be configured for a test and then automatically reconfigured for the next test involving different test equipment (or DUT) in microseconds. A series of test scripts can be programmed to run leaving the technician free to work on other projects until those tests are complete.

This dynamic connectivity makes testing faster and more reliable – since manual connecting of the equipment is one of the leading sources of configuration errors. It also means that network labs can run 24/7 without overtime as long tests can be scheduled for night time or weekend hours.

Test equipment sharing is another cost saving advantage, as the network can be extended across multiple labs and can be accessed remotely from anywhere to allow specialized personnel to remotely to run tests.

New to the S320 lab automation solution is a pure optical multicast feature for applications that need data flows from a data generator to go to multiple DUTs. With the built in amplifier and splitter functions, the S320 can now deliver a very flexible optical multicast solution. This new functionality is expected to be generally available in Q2 2015.

With new features added to a proven system, the S320 is the perfect tool for taming the complexity of network testing in an SDN era. Learn More.

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