Launching an all-new Ethernet Test Tool - ‘PacketExpert™ 10GX’ with incredible features

7th, Aug 2018

Welcome to August 2018 issue of GL's Newsletter providing information and insight into our all-new Ethernet Tester - PacketExpert™ 10GX, which extends testing capabilities for 10 Gbps and 1 Gbps networks. PacketExpert™ 10GX hardware unit is a more compact than its predecessor and includes multiple user-configurable TTL trigger I/O ports and combined 10Gbps/1Gbps capability. The device can run all 4 ports at 1-Gbps Electrical/Optical, including the 10 Gbps downshift to 1 Gbps. Read below for more details and comparisons.


The high-speed Ethernet links are widely found in the local area networks, industrial devices and applications, metropolitan area networks, wide area networks, and lately in mission critical networks. Testing network performance of high-speed Ethernet links is challenging and requires specialized test tools. The performance of Ethernet-based networks cannot be evaluated based only on the bit-error-rate (BER) and loopback testing. To quickly pinpoint and report issues, or to fully validate network performance of Ethernet / IP network, the network operators need Ethernet Testers that can capture and decode packets-of-interest, generate events-driven triggers and actions, multi-stream playback, generate impairments, perform RFC2544 / Y.1564 / RFC6349 tests, Stacked VLAN/MPLS tests, and many others.

GL launches PacketExpert™ 10GX portable hardware unit, which supports all interfaces, functionality and port capacity similar to that of previous PacketExpert™ 10G version. However, PacketExpert™ 10GX is more compact and adds 12-port user-configurable TTL trigger option as an important enhancement.

PacketExpert™ 10GX Portable Hardware (PXN100)

PacketExpert™ 10GX Portable Hardware (PXN100)

PacketExpert™ 10GX Rackmount Unit (PXN104)

PacketExpert™ 10GX Rackmount Unit (PXN104)

12-Port PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ 1U Rackmount

12-Port PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ 1U Rackmount

24-Port PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ 2U Rackmount

24-Port PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ 2U Rackmount

Advantages of PacketExpert™ 10GX (vs Standard PacketExpert™ 1G-10G)

  • Two ports at 10 Gbps (Optical); These are combined 10Gbps/1Gbps ports that support 10 Gbps downshift to 1 Gbps allowing for all four ports on the device to run at 1 Gbps (Electrical/Optical)
  • Wirespeed BERT and Smart Loopback on all 4x 1 Gbps ports
  • Full support for USB 3.0 – higher USB data transfer speeds
  • Narrow body allows up to 3 PacketExpert™ 10GX devices to be placed in a mTOP™ rack enclosure offering a higher density GigE ports form factor solution; GL’s mTOP™ is a 1U rack mount enclosure, w/ Single Board Computer (SBC) and Windows® 10 64-bit
  • Optional 4 to 12 -Port SMA Jack Trigger Board (TTL Input/Output) on the back panel of the unit; 12- TTL I/O ports enhancement supports user-configurable ‘Filter to TTL’ mapping
  • Multi-functions - Wire speed BERT, Smart Loopback, RFC 2544, ExpertSAM™ (Y.1564), Record and Playback, PacketBroker, IPNetSim™, IPLinkSim™, Multi-stream Traffic Generation and Analyzer, and ExpertTCP֭™ (RFC 6349) functionalities.
  • Independent Ethernet/VLAN/MPLS/IP/UDP layer-wise testing at wirespeed
  • Playback the record files on all 4x 1 Gbps ports with onboard memory of 8 GB DDR3
  • PacketBroker - 2 SPAN (pass-through) ports and 2 DROP (Output) ports; SPAN ports can be 10Gbps/1Gbps, while DROP ports can be 1 Gbps only.

PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ Rackmount (coming soon)

High density Gigabit Ethernet Network Switches can have 12 or 24 ports, each supporting full bidirectional 1 to 10 Gbps traffic rate, totalling to 24 Gbps or 48 Gbps rate simultaneously on all ports. Testing such multi-port switches require Ethernet testers to generate traffic at line rate (24 Gbps or 48 Gbps) and analyze the traffic returned from the switch for errors.

All 12 ports of a multi-port switch can be simultaneously tested by configuring PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ (1U) to test Port Pairs as shown in the figure below. On one end, the Ethernet Tester generates multi-stream traffic at 10 Gbps line rate, and on the other end, multi-device 12-Port PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ can operate in All-Port loopback to test all ports of a multi-port switch.

A 1U mTOP™ supports 3 PXNs devices. Similarly, a 2U mTOP™ supports 6 PXNs devices. All 12/24 ports can be controlled within single software. These rackmount systems can be easily deployed and securely fixed to a rack enclosure. mTOP™ systems not only provide space efficiency, but also account for easier scalability and reduced licensing cost per port.

This multi-device PacketExpert™ 10GX mTOP™ hardware incorporates all the features of a PacketExpert™ 10GX unit, along with a Single Board Computer (SBC) hosted on Windows® OS, remote accessibility via Ethernet Remote Desktop, and user-friendly GUI or CLI for test automation. Each GigE Port of the device supports auto‐negotiation and flow control.

The chassis of the unit comprises of both electrical and optical (fiber) interfaces. The Electrical Ports can operate up to 10/100/1000 Mbps line rates in Full Duplex mode, while Optical Ports can operate up to 1 GigE or 10 GigE line rate in Full Duplex mode.

Trigger TTL on Packets-of-Interest (Packet Analyzer)

The PacketExpert™10GX Hardware can be used as a unique Packet Analyzer or Packetizer hardware capable of generating or accepting Packets and TTL triggers based on real-time packet capture, detection, and filter as necessary. As depicted in the diagram below, this feature is useful in detecting and timing important events propagating over communication networks, specifically mission critical networks such as VoIP ED-137 ATM (Air Traffic Management) networks.

Some examples of ‘Events of Interest’ that can be detected within RTP and ED-137 headers in a VoIP ATM Network and timed precisely by PacketExpert™10GX Hardware are listed below -

  • Transitions in RTP Payload and Headers
  • Voice Transmission to/from CWP and Radio
  • Events in the ED-137 headers
    • PTT Activation and Deactivation
    • Squelch Enable and Disable
    • SCT: Simultaneous Call Transmission
    • PTTS: PTT Summation
    • PTTM: PTT Mute (Mute PTT from CWP)
    • Radio Switching events (Main to standby switch over, Mute and unmute of receivers)
    • Radio frequency selection
Trigger TTL on Packets-of-Interest

The accompanying Packet Broker application allows PacketExpert™10GX Hardware function like a transparent Ethernet tap, through which bidirectional Ethernet traffic flows through at line rate. Simultaneously, the hardware can filter certain packets of interest from both directions without disturbing the traffic. The filtered packets from both directions are aggregated and forwarded over a single output port. The optional Programmable I/O (Input/Output) ports on the hardware can generate TTL signals for each filter match.  The TTL signal output (representing the Filter match) are connected to Oscilloscope for measuring precise timing between any two events.

before forwarding the filtered packets, the filtered packet's first 12 bytes of the MAC header can be modified (overwritten) with useful information such as the filter number, port number, timestamp, and device ID. These modified packets are also useful in identifying the packet source and precise timing of events.

When 1G ports are configured as pass-through ports, the filtered packets (modified/aggregated) are sent out on 1G Output port as a single stream.

Filter and trigger on 1G ports

Alternatively, the filtered traffic from 10G ports (modified/aggregated) can be sent out on 1G Output port as a single stream.

Filter and trigger on 10G ports

In both cases, the ‘Filter to TTL’ mapping may be set as follows:

  • Port-1 Aggregate Filter Match -> To Generate Signal at TTL Output Port 1
  • Port-2 Aggregate Filter Match -> To Generate Signal at TTL Output Port 2

With the new 12 TTL I/O enhancement (coming soon), the ‘Filter to TTL’ Mapping is completely user-configurable, that is up to 12 filter outputs can be configured to generate or trigger TTL pulses. The pulses so generated on TTL I/O is carried over SMA cables to the Oscilloscope for monitoring events.

Monitor TTL to Generate Packets (Packetizer)

The PacketExpert™10GX Hardware can work in tandem with a 4-wire device such as Audio Analyzer that supports PTT interfaces to convert analog events into corresponding packet events. The Packetizer monitors the TTL output from the Audio Analyzer on a regular interval, and for every trigger pulse received, it generates and transmits a timestamped IP packet indicating which pulse it received. This indicates a certain discrete event has occurred.

Other Important Functions

Wirespeed BERT capability measures Bit Error Rate on Layer1, Framed Ethernet (Layer2), MPLS (Layer2.5), IP and UDP layers.  It supports generating various PRBS patterns such as 29-1, 211-1, 215-1, 220-1, 223-1, 229-1, and 231-1 including constant patterns such as All Ones, All Zeroes, Alternate Ones-Zeroes and user-defined test patterns ranging from 1 bit to 32 bits. Selection of optional sequence number insertion allows detecting out-of-sequence packets and packet loss.

Smart Loopback and automatically swaps the MAC, IP and UDP address/port and loops back incoming frames at full wirespeed of 10 Gbps. Loopback is useful in many testing situations, where there is a need for a remote device looping back the test traffic.

RFC 2544 Tests for the performance benchmarking of individual network elements. These include Throughput, Latency, Frame Loss, and Back-to-Back tests. Similar to BERT, RFC 2544 can be done over Framed Ethernet (Layer2), Stacked VLAN (Q-in-Q), Stacked MPLS, IP, & UDP.

ExpertSAM™ is intended for multiservice testing to measure the maximum performance of the device or the network under test.  ExpertSAM™ is a set of procedures that test the ability of Ethernet-based services to carry a variety of traffic (voice, data, and video) at defined performance levels.

Wirespeed Capture and Playback module allows network administrators to capture traffic at wirespeed, and precisely simulate/recreate live network traffic conditions. A powerful wirespeed hardware-based filter allows to capture only packets of interest, reducing the bandwidth needed to transfer to host.

PacketBroker™ acts as a network tap and captures wirespeed traffic in both directions. It also supports wirespeed filtering to capture only traffic of interest. It also allows certain packet modifications to insert useful information such as timestamp into the packet before sending out on DROP ports. Simultaneously the filtered packets can be monitored with TTL signal generation.

IPLinkSim™ and IPNetSim™ products support WAN emulation. These products are capable of emulating a WAN link, and introducing typical WAN impairments like Bandwidth Throttling, Latency, Jitter, Packet Loss, Packet Reordering, Packet Duplication, Packet Corruption, Congestion emulation etc.

ExpertTCP™ test methodology is based on the RFC 6349 to measure bi-directional TCP throughput, RTT and optimal window size. Generate and Analyze up to 12 UDP streams of traffic of various packet lengths. ExpertTCP™ supports both Upstream (Client → Server) and Downstream (Server → Client) direction testing.

MTGA (Multi-stream Traffic Generation & Analysis) generates multi-stream Ethernet traffic of varying packet length and analyzes the loopback traffic. Generate and Analyze up to 16 UDP streams of traffic of various packet lengths. This tool finds itself especially useful for end-to-end testing of 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps WAN (Wide Area Network) links.

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