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Maintenance & Testing: The Testing Scene

Testing technologies have been making some notable strides of late. As a result, a variety of new cable and network testing products and accessories are making their way onto the scene. Here's a roundup...

December 1, 2001  

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Fotec of Medford, MA, has recently introduced a new line of “smart” fiber optic test kits that it says can cut fiber optic network testing time in half via dual wavelength testing. The new DT 300 and DT3000 kits are available for both multimode and singlemode fiber networks.

The company’s smart fiber optic test sources encode wavelength information that is recognized by new power meters during testing. The meters record loss data, including wavelength, and save it in a cable/fiber database that can store up to 500 tests in the meter before transferring the data to a PC.

The DT3000 kits can also measure loss on two fibers at one time.


The new MD1230A Data Quality Analyzer from Anritsu Company of Richardson, TX conducts router performance testing and networking monitoring in one cabinet. Able to measure almost every physical interface and network layer, the MD1230A lets network developers conduct both network performance and QoS evaluations.

The MD1230A also serves network managers who must monitor real time in-service traffic for bandwidth utilization and impairments such as latency and packet jitter.

The MD1230A can analyze a full range of physical interfaces from 10 Mb/s to 10 Gb/s through separate interface modules. Any combination of five interface modules can be installed within a single MD1230A cabinet. Additionally, up to eight MD1230A analyzers can be connected in a cascade via Ethernet, all of which can be controlled from a single MD1230A.


Spirent Communications of Atlanta, GA has introduced an upgraded version of its SmartBits’ SmartxDSL test suite that gives service providers a tool for point-to-point protocol (PPP) performance analysis.

The company says this enhanced version measures key network and network device performance metrics such as throughput, latency, packet loss and session establishment tests.

The SmartxDSL utilizes the company’s existing ATM and 10/100 Ethernet SmartCards to emulate thousands of xDSL end-users and simulate traffic from multiple DSLAMs, transmitting PPP over ATM, PPP over Ethernet over ATM, and PPP over Ethernet packets.

The product’s PPP capacity tests specifically measure the AC’s PPP session capacity by generating a multitude of session requests, negotiating LCP handshake and authentication parameters, and reporting the number of sessions established and failed.


In order to speed up and simplify the process of fiber optic network link certification and troubleshooting, Tempo of Camarillo, CA has introduced a new RIFOCS MT-RJ product line.

The line, which includes the palm-sized 556MT Optical Power Meter, 255MT 1300 nm LED Source and the complementary 263MT Visual Fault Finder, is designed to eliminate the guesswork in finding optical loss problems. An 850 nm LED Source (the 257MT) is also available.

The tools will isolate breaks in optical links, connector loss problems and splices and bends in cabling along the cable route. The visual fault finder’s red laser beam visually verifies end-to-end continuity and helps to pinpoint problem areas in the installation.


Acterna of Germantown, MD has announced the availability of its UMTS Down Converter, a product designed to measure radio frequency (RF) propagation in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) frequency range. UMTS is the 3G wireless technology standard being implemented by European carriers that provides service in the 2 GHz band.

The Acterna UMTS Down Converter is a lightweight, portable, battery-powered instrument designed to measure multiple technologies and networks simultaneously in a single test run. The product provides a sampling rate of up to 100,000 samples per second and a scanning rate of up to 1000 channels per second.


The Pinger Network IP Tester, new from Psiber Data Systems Inc. of San Diego, CA, is a handheld test tool used for installing and maintaining LANs.

The tester uses a “ping” function to: verify connectivity, check transmitted and received data integrity, indicate network traffic loading by measuring round trip time, notify of duplicate IP address responses, provide the MAC address of an IP address and warn when the default gateway cannot be located.

The Pinger identifies reversed polarity for improperly connected wire pairs and includes a “port identification” feature with selectable blink rates. The tester also provides a DHCP client emulation feature that allows the unit to log on to the network, locate the DHCP server and display the assigned IP address, the Gateway IP address and the Subnet Mask.


Fluke Networks Inc., Mississauga, ON, has introduced Network Inspector version 5.0, the newest version of its network monitoring software.

The software was designed to simplify switch port mirroring — a procedure for detailed monitoring and troubleshooting of switched networks. Designed for switched Ethernet LANs, Network Inspector actively monitors and diagnoses problems in TCP/IP, IPX and NetBIOS environments. The software identifies whether the problems lie on the server, client, switch, router or printer and provides a suite of reports identifying all devices in the LAN.

The company says the software has a variety of upgrades over its previous version, including broader and faster network discovery, up to seven days of trending, and new network maps and reports. CS

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