Ready for VoIP: Spirent Communications

Spirent Communications, with headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, is a
worldwide provider of telecommunications test and measurement

Spirent’s customers deploy this technology in both the laboratory and on
real-world networks, with a goal of maximizing the subscriber’s quality of
experience (QoE) for a number of networking technologies, including
broadband, convergence, wireless, and optical.

The company boasts a number of technological “firsts,” including test
systems for 10G Ethernet, VPNs,voice over IP, the IP Multimedia Subsystem
(IMS), Galileo satellite emulation, and wireless location based service

Spirent claims to have over 1,500 global customers, including network
equipment manufacturers Cisco, Intel, Motorola, and Nokia; communications
providers AT&T, British Telecom, Siemens, and Sprint; wireless service
providers Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, China Unicom, and Verizon Wireless, and
large enterprises including the Bank of America, Daimler Chrysler, Deutsche
Bank, eBay, IBM, and MSNBC.

Spirent has 1,900 employees operating in 14 countries, and in 2006
produced revenues of over $533 million.

The company was the recipient of a 2007 Global Product Line
award from consulting heavyweight Frost &
for the “development of unique and innovative IMS test
products that cover various applications—from fixed mobile
convergence (F/MC) to access and the transport plane.” The research firm
ranked Spirent number one in the overall world IMS testing and measurement
market in 2007, citing the breadth of the company’s technological coverage
and product offerings, revenues in the IMS marketplace, and end-user

Spirent’s Abacus product line supports the converged networking
marketplace. The Abacus 5000 is a fully integrated IP and PSTN
telephony test system in a single platform. The system includes integrated
analog, TDM, and Ethernet interfaces for the comprehensive testing of
converged IP telephony elements—including support for IP telephony
convergence (PSTN-to-VoIP systems) and IMS convergence (fixed to

With these capabilities, the Abacus 5000 is capable of testing the
performance of Session Border Controllers (SBCs), IP PBXs, media gateways,
media gateway controllers, signaling gateways, trunking gateways,
softswitches, IP phones, servers, firewalls, and integrated access devices

This test system is designed to characterize a system before a field
trial, validate system scalability, identify capacity limits, measure call
performance, and automate regression testing. It supports a wide range of
protocols, including analog, fax, ISDN, SS7, SIP, H.323, MGCP and MEGACO,
and can generate media payloads that include H.261 and H.263 video, and
cellular, and various codec formats, including G.711, G.723.1, G.726 and

The Abacus 5000 SIP Registrar emulates the Session Initiation
Protocol (SIP) Registrar function, and is designed for testing SBCs,
firewalls, and other network security elements. This product accepts
REGISTER requests, places REGISTER information into the Location Service
for the domain that it handles, and binds contact address or addresses with
a SIP user. The system emulates real-world signaling traffic scenarios,
with up to 200,000 SIP signaling endpoints and up to 845,000 simultaneous
registered SIP users per chassis.

For additional SBC testing, the Abacus 5000 IP Telephony Migration
Test System
lets network equipment manufacturers and service providers
test SBC core functionality during development and deployment. The system
simulates real-world network conditions with hundreds of thousands IP
telephones and/or gateways, generating the SIP signaling endpoints and
Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) streams to execute performance and
scalability tests. The system can simulate over 100,000 concurrent RTP
streams on a single chassis, and can generate and terminate over 7,500
calls per second with RTP per chassis.

The Abacus 5000 supports synchronized measurements with other
specialized Spirent test systems. The Abacus 50 Ethernet-VoIP Analysis
and Call Generator
test system simulates VoIP calling functionality by
originating and terminating calls on a standalone platform that is designed
for either laboratory or distributed testing. The Abacus 50 Ethernet can
troubleshoot and monitor any channel for verification and
analysis—generating and terminating calls—and is available in
two versions, one supporting 10/100Base-T Ethernet, and the other
supporting 10/100/1000Base-T and fiber systems.

The Abacus 50 Analog test system provides analog circuits
emulating the subscriber side of an analog two-wire circuit, and can
execute a call setup and teardown for each channel, simulating a wide range
of applications associated with switch and network testing. The Abacus
50 T1/E1
simulates TDM call generation for lab and distributed PSTN

Spirent simplifies the testing of converged applications and devices
with the fully integrated Abacus 5000 platform to test next generation
networks, extending across IMS, Triple Play, and VoIP; with equipment that
enables service providers and network equipment manufacturers to test
migration from legacy to converged networks.

Further details on the Spirent Communications architecture and products
can be found at Our next
tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ network management

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