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Spirent Tests Triple-Play

Virtually every announcement, event and informal gathering in this convention venue is touting the virtues of triple-play services at this year's Supercomm show. Now, while there is more smoke than fire behind the term at this point -- the standards, especially at the CPE and personal device levels need much work -- as momentum builds to offer voice, data and video services over a single IP infrastructure, a whole new approach to testing network performance is going to have to emerge.

According to officials at Spirent Communications, DSLAM performance is currently tested using a traffic generator/analyzer emulating a single stream of IP traffic through a real modem. While this is acceptable for DSLAMs that only support Internet traffic where packet loss, latency and jitter issues go largely undetected by the end-user, it presents many problems for triple-play enabled DSLAMs. Voice and video traffic is very sensitive to packet loss, latency and jitter, and it is important to verify the DSLAMs management of quality of service (QoS) to ensure voice, video and data traffic are prioritized correctly. In addition, when tests use actual modems, results are obscured by inclusion of the modem performance in the overall results.

The company has thus developed a high port density ADSL2+ platform for testing performance and QoS of new generation triple-play enabled DSLAMs. Dubbed mAX SLAM, the product, according to company officials, is designed to support DSL service providers as they extend their service offering beyond basic high speed Internet services to provide integrated voice, video and Internet services. The product is designed to test technologies developed by network equipment manufacturers, including next-generation DSLAMs that combine the latest ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2+ chipsets.