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Scale Your 400GE Testing With The New High Density AresONE-S 16-port 400GE

2021-02-16  |  6 min read 

AresONE - Industry leading 400GE test
AresONE-S 16-port 400GE Test Solution

At Keysight we take great pride in the software test products we made – IxNetwork for L2/3 network infrastructure performance testing being one example. However, as proud as we are of all the various software offerings we have, at the end of the day that software has to run on something and if you are going to be testing 400GE you are going to need some specialized hardware.

And that is where the latest evolution of the AresONE comes in – the AresONE-S 400GE QSFP-DD test system.

As the world’s first to market and highest density QSFP-DD test solution, AresONE-S is available in both 8 and 16 port versions. Before we get too deep into the nitty gritty of AresONE-S, let’s step back and take a look at some of the market drivers behind 400GE and with it, the need to test 400GE.

Connected 4K TV driving bandwidth consumptionThe world is increasingly digital and data increasingly lives in the cloud. Even on the consumer side, media has been largely replaced by streaming. Incredibly convenient but that streaming content hits the network hard, particularly in higher quality/resolution forms. The Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018-2023), updated March 9, 2020, shows that there will be close to a billion 4K TVs streaming by 2023 and that each of those sets will consume up to 9x as much bandwidth as a traditional SD set.

Combine this with the rise of IoT and machine to machine communications, growth in the number and speed of wi-fi access points and ever faster commercial and private internet service connections and it is clear that the rapidly rising tide of data consumption is not going to wane any time soon. 

Additionally while data centers have widely deployed 100GE based on NRZ, faster flavors of Ethernet, including 400GE, will be leveraging PAM4. This transition from NRZ to PAM4 implies a need to be able to test both types of encoding.

Other trends driving change in the data center include rapid development of switching ASICS (25.6 Tbps silicon is shipping now), a mix of 100GE, 200GE and 400GE in data center fabircs including scenarios where the titans deploy 400GE capable solutions with 100GE and 200GE optics as they wait for the cost of 400GE optics to come down help drive the need to test all 7 SERDES speeds.

Network disaggregation, which brings along with it whitebox switching and open network operating systems such as SONiC (we covered SONiC, The Linux of Networking earlier), is at the same time driving a wider variety of networking solutions.

With that in mind, unmatched density and extreme flexibilty for 400GE testing sounds like a pretty good idea. AresONE-S is a 2RU fixed chassis system supporting all 7 speed SERDES with PAM4 and NRZ – 400/200/100/50/40/25/10GE. By the way, if you want to deep dive on PAM4 vs NRZ, here’s your video

It Grows With You

AresONE-S fixed chassis is available in variety of options. Customers have options to start anywhere from 4 ports to 16 ports in a chassis giving them a “pay-as-you-grow” model. There are 2 hardware variants of 8-port and 16-port chassis options with 4 or 8 ports and 8 or 16 ports enablement respectively. 

AresONE-S is also stackable. Each chassis has built-in star topology synchronization ports to connect to 5 additional compatible chassis systems. These can be time-synchronized together and managed and run as a large test bed of up to 96 ports of 400GE in a single test, or in any groups of parts as desired.

IxSuiteStore – more software magic

IxSuiteStore, the industry’s first fully automated IEEE 802.3bs-based test suite enables automated validation of 400GE implementations on AresONE-S, including testing of physical coding sublayer (PCS) lanes, bit error rate (BER), and KP4 FEC bit-error distribution with error insertion and link stability.

In Conclusion

So to wrap things up the demand for bandwidth continues to rise and for reasons will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This implies that the need for faster connections in the data center will follow suit and with it the need for 400GE network products. This puts the AresONE-S in the sweet spot for many network developers who need to balance the need to get up and running today while controlling costs while protecting that initial investment with the ability to scale later as their testing needs grow.

Learn more about AresONE-S:

Thanks for reading.