Welcome to a non multi-million dollar testbed

While I enjoy a fantastic – and fantastically useful – relationship with my two key test equipment partners Ixia and Spirent (the latter, for example, providing a $2m testbed for our soon to be launched mobile handset test labs), it’s refreshing to hear of a low-cost alternative in the Ethernet world that should bring proper, scientific test capabilities to a far broader range of folks.

The company is question is Xena Networks, a start-up based in Copenhagen (a great place to be so long as someone else is buying the beer). I had a chat with Xena’s Dale Smith (ex Force 10 so he knows a thing or two about Ethernet) and he explained that the aim of its XenaCompact product is to bring Gig/10Gig testing as close to the masses as possible, with a platform that is a fraction of the price of the mainstream competition but is still totally scalable in terms of port count and features.

Xena claims the price/performance breakthrough has been achieved without compromise, so long as L2/L3 is your game and not L4-7. I’m thinking, therefore, that a combination of the Xena hardware, to give you wire-speed Gig and 10Gig over copper or fibre, plus an Ixia iXchariot laptop-based L4-7 traffic generator sounds like a great, affordable proposition for any enterprise, let alone, service provider or product vendor etc.

Importantly Xena claims the product is very easy to use – important bearing in mind the broader target market. I’m thinking the only answer is to put it to the test in its own right. So which of my fine clients fancies putting one of its Ethernet devices into a Xena testbed? You know where to find me…

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