The anticipation of broader 5G deployments is one of the driving factors for fiber-optic testing and monitoring needs in data centers, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. The analyst firm said that the shift from multi-fiber push-on (MPO)-8 to MPO-12 is another factor in data center testing needs, as is the transition from 100G to 400G, the use of carrier aggregation techniques, and the migration from “large, pedestrian data center infrastructure” to data centers that are smaller, modular, virtualized and software-defined. The latter shift in particular will result in more demand for equipment that will be able to test the data center “at a component level,” Frost said.

The firm expects the test and monitoring market for data centers to grow from $5.58 billion to $11.67 billion by 2024.

“The rollout of 5G will encourage the adoption of underlying technologies such as faster transceivers and Ethernet interfaces which will, in turn, drive the need for equipment and solutions with superior testing and monitoring capabilities,” said Rohan Joy Thomas, industry analyst for Measurement & Instrumentation with Frost & Sullivan. “As 5G will be engineered to handle higher data transfer speeds and lower latencies, the network infrastructure will have to be re-engineered. This includes upgrading conventional transceivers with faster, more energy-efficient systems, and traditional copper wiring with a denser fiber medium.”

In other test news:

Spirent Communications is claiming an industry first in application testing, with a new boost to its Spirent TestCenter that enables full-stack testing of Layers 2 through 7 in a single platform. The company said that the new functionality “provides much greater visibility into how business-critical applications perform in complex networks and offers important new insights into the anticipated app performance, stability and actual quality of experience being delivered to end users.

“Until now, testing could only occur in layer silos with a focus on the device, but with cloud-based apps generating substantial traffic and new latency challenges, the game has changed for measuring an application’s true performance capabilities,” said Malathi Mall, Spirent’s marketing director for cloud and IP.  “By unifying how Quality of Experience is tested and emulating real-world cloud services between endpoints to validate network equipment performance, we are taking the onus off our customers to make inferences about how applications will perform, and addressing critical blind spots that have existed in predicting how apps will perform in complex network environments.”

Anritsu said this week that its MT8000A Radio Communication Test Station is being used by Qualcomm for performance verification of 5G features includingDynamic Spectrum Sharing in sub-6 GHz frequencies in the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System.

Fine Point Technologies has introduced a software module that enables bulk broadband speed testing, for use in documentation and reporting of broadband deployments as part of the Connect America Fund II, which come with specific performance requirements.

“The FCC CAF II reporting requirement has driven demand for a broadband performance testing tool in the US, however, we have been fielding requests for this type of testing from customers across the globe,” said Todd Ruelle, CEO and Chairman at Fine Point Technologies. “Oftentimes, once the FCC issues a requirement, other governing bodies follow suit. We are anticipating continued demand for this module across our global client base.”

EXFO unveiled a new solution for Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing channel power validation and optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) fault-locating capabilities on a single port. Its Optical Wave Expert provides automatic measurement, diagnosis and troubleshooting of fiber links for field technicians.

“Even field technicians with no DWDM network experience become instant experts in diagnostics and troubleshooting,” said Stéphane Chabot, EXFO’s VP of Test & Measurement, in a statement. “The Optical Wave Expert, which is easy-to-use, compact, and portable, fills an existing gap in the market by eliminating the need for multiple instruments and seamlessly isolating problems for quick resolution.”

-Keysight Technologies said that test lab group PCTest will use Keysight’s 5G network emulation offerings in order to provide testing related to regulatory requirements for 5G devices established by the Federal Communications Commission, including over-the-air testing and certification for EMC and SAR testing.

In related news, Keysight’s Ixia has launched a new visibility offering called IxProbe, which it described as an inline monitoring solution to help managed network service providers (MNSPs) with “access to real-time monitoring of computing that resides at the edge of a customers’ network, typically a branch office, to increase quality of service and profitability.”

As edge computing becomes more widespread, MNSPs “face significant challenges in meeting service level agreements,” Keysight said, if they are not able to monitor network and app performance in customer branch offices which are outside their service area.

“Managed network service provider customers are increasingly dependent on computing performed at branch offices outside of their enterprise network, known as edge computing,  while new SLAs are tied directly to business performance,” said Kevin Formby, VP of product management for access products at Keysight’s Ixia Solutions Group. “With IxProbe, these service providers can access the network intelligence they need, including computing at the edge of the network, to deliver high customer satisfaction and consistent service quality.”


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