Dynamic fiber layer management for test lab automation

Communications providers and data center operators rely on system test labs to rigorously test new equipment and to verify network service quality, reliability, and security, before deploying in their infrastructure. These test labs are also used to simulate customer network environments so that issues can be identified and resolved quickly without deploying technicians to the field.

As networks rapidly move to higher speeds, 100+ Gbps and beyond, and more connected devices and equipment are required to deliver expected services, the network test lab is becoming increasingly complex and expensive. Traditional optical-electrical Layer 2/3 devices typically used to interconnect equipment in test beds simply can no longer handle the number of connections and higher speeds needed to test configurations with a high degree of accuracy. Furthermore, having to physically switch out network interface modules, or in some cases, perform complete forklift upgrades when a different frame format or data rate is implemented, leads to slower test and verification cycles and can introduce more potential for errors.

Introducing all-optical switching to the network test lab environment brings tremendous flexibility and cost-savings that enables operators to automate their test operations and in these challenging times, operate them remotely. Fiber layer automation also fuels the continuing growth in Lab-as-a-Service offerings.

Benefits of Polatis optical switches include:
  • Reduced OPEX. Connect any port to any port to configure tests instantly with popular lab orchestration tools. Save 75% of setup time by cabling once and reconfiguring in software. Conduct remote testing faster from anywhere in the world and reduce staffing, energy and travel costs.
  • Reduced CAPEX. Share expensive test and network equipment across multiple tests and multiple system test lab environments, reduce recurring equipment purchases and save on scarce real estate resources.
  • Improved Accuracy. All-optical connections are completely transparent to data rate, with speed-of-light latency and no packet processing, so tests are conducted with a high degree of fidelity.
  • Greater Test Coverage. Using integrated variable attenuation and shutter features, optical switches can stress-test system responses to physical layer faults such as connector degradation and difficult-to-trace intermittent fiber micro-breaks.
  • Faster Customer Response. Recreate and simulate customer network configurations quickly to identify potential corner case issues and resolve them faster.
  • Competitive Advantage. The longer it takes to certify network gear, the bigger the challenge for operators to roll out new services ahead of competitors. Fiber layer automation speeds up certification and facilitates deployment of more robust solutions.
  • Future Proof. All-optical switches are transparent to transmission wavelength, direction, protocol and bit rate so the same optically-switched lab infrastructure can be used for any media and speed up to 800Gbps and beyond.
THE HUBER+SUHNER POLATIS ADVANTAGE – all optical switches are not created equal
  • Industry's lowest optical loss and superior performance, critical to ensuring the most accurate test data.
  • Alone in offering the broadest range of symmetric, asymmetric and custom matrix configurations required to meet the evolving needs of test labs.
  • Core component of a system architecture that can scale to support any size network - to tens of thousands of fibers.
  • True dark fiber switching, requiring no light to make and hold connections, is critical when testing with low power, bidirectional on a single fiber, or intermittent signals.
  • Accurate Optical Power Meters (OPMs) precisely monitor signal strength with programmable degrade and loss of service alarms.
  • Integrated Variable Optical Attenuation (VOA) enables rapid simulation of multiple link and span loss permutations.
  • Programmable shutter feature allows introduction of intermittent and repetitive fiber breaks to test system response to unusual fault conditions.
  • Optical Switch Partitioning enables different user groups to share the same switch.
  • Integrated with leading test orchestration and DevOps software to replicate and schedule tests across multiple organizations and coordinate with higher layer equipment and devices.
  • Easy to control, with support for the most popular network management interfaces including NETCONF and RESTCONF Software Defined Network (SDN) protocols.