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Agilent Technologies Introduces World’s First BFD Test Solution, Ensuring IP/MPLS Network Robustness


Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced the availability of the industry’s first single-platform solution for protocol emulation and conformance testing of Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD). Network equipment manufacturers and service providers can use the Agilent N2X multiservices test solution to ensure their routers conform to the new IETF BFD recommendations and confidently meet scalability requirements. BFD deployment significantly reduces fault durations, allowing carriers to offer robust triple-play services over converged IP networks.

Defined in four IETF draft recommendations, BFD is a new protocol that provides rapid detection of device and link faults in IP/MPLS networks, enabling faster fault recovery and service restoration. This is particularly important in Ethernet networks, which have no intrinsic fault-recovery mechanism and consequently could suffer from longer outages. BFD is therefore essential for reliable delivery of delay-sensitive triple-play services.

The industry-first Agilent N2X BFD emulation software permits testing of an IP/MPLS device’s BFD implementation against many thousands of similar emulated devices, enabling robustness and recovery performance validation in carrier-scale networks without a costly test-bed of thousands of real devices. The software is complemented by a new BFD conformance test suite that validates device compliance to industry standards. By releasing both products on a single platform, Agilent’s N2X delivers the world’s first test tool to measure the performance as well as ensure the interoperability of BFD-enabled devices in very large, multi-vendor networks.

“BFD was recently co-invented by Juniper Networks and submitted to the IETF as a draft recommendation, and it is encouraging to see our industry leadership mirrored via a test vendor simultaneously offering emulation and conformance on this Ethernet resiliency-enabling technology,” said Jeff Nai, scaling and performance engineer at Juniper Networks, based in Sunnyvale, Calif. “Conformance testing is a prerequisite to regression-test each software release. In addition, scalability and performance testing via protocol emulation independently and efficiently proves to our customers that our routers and switches meet their needs. The two test approaches fit together like a lock and key.”

“The new BFD emulation and conformance tools complement our existing N2X Graceful Restart and MPLS Fast Re-route capabilities, strengthening Agilent as the market leader in High-Availability test,” said Rod Unverrich, business manager of Agilent’s Data Networks Operation. “Combining BFD with the many other N2X protocol emulations allows customers to rapidly create the most realistic and scaled test scenarios to characterize network recovery in today’s complex, multi-protocol networks.”

The Agilent N2X test solution includes:

industry-first products for testing Carrier Ethernet protocols, including LACP, CFM, MEF 9 and MEF 14;
emulations for all carrier routing, MPLS signaling and OAM, and access protocols;
layer-2 and layer-3 conformance test suites providing the fastest time-to-insight; and
productivity applications for High Availability and IPTV.
To help vendors and service providers anticipate and overcome Carrier Ethernet challenges, Agilent is hosting a free online seminar, “Ensuring Carrier Ethernet Robustness for IPTV and Business Services,” on June 7. Attendees will discover how testing at all stages of development and deployment can reduce the risks and costs of Carrier Ethernet roll-out. Registration is available at


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