Healthy VoIP Nets�Part XLV�Network Management Architectures: NetHawk

NetHawk Corporation, a Finnish company with a U.S. branch in Richardson, Texas, was founded in 1991, and since that time, has grown into a multinational organization developing telecommunications network analyzers, simulators, and load testers for use by both network equipment manufacturers and next generation network operators.

NetHawk’s stated objective is to provide its customers with easy-to-use tools and applications for telecommunications network testing, including a broad range of testing services.

In addition to its headquarters in Finland, NetHawk has major offices throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The firm employs over 400 people in 9 countries, and claims to have one of the largest research and development budgets in this industry.

NetHawk posted net sales of over 28 million euros (approximately $40 million) during 2007, with about half of those sales are made in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, 20 percent originating in Asia, and 30 percent coming from the Americas.

The NetHawk network management products fall into two broad categories: network analysis and network simulation. The products run under Windows and Linux operating systems, and are configured with easy and logical user interfaces.

The analyzers are designed for system integration, functional testing, load testing, network rollout, and network operations. They support testing, troubleshooting, and optimization requirements for GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS networks. Advanced applications support protocol monitoring, call and session tracing, quality of service, and radio optimization measurements.

The simulators are used by equipment manufacturers and operators in load testing, regression testing, and functional testing for a wide variety of network applications.

NetHawk’s M5 product is a powerful protocol analysis platform with the capabilities for protocol monitoring, call and session tracing with speech playback, key performance indicator analysis, radio optimization, and quality of service measurements in multi-technology environments, including cellular, WiMAX, href=”” style=”text-decoration:none”>IMS, and UMA (unlicensed mobile access) technologies. The system supports all common physical transport techniques, including STM-1/OC-3, STM4/OC-12, E1/T1 and Ethernet.

The M5 provides a number of applications that support network monitoring and troubleshooting operations, in both real-time and off-line protocol analysis modes. The system also includes the capability to physically separate the data capture from the data analysis functions. The data capture and storage can be performed by one M5 at the network element site, while the data analysis is preformed with an M5 Online Client in a remote lab or office environment. Moreover, multiple users can simultaneously access the monitoring tool for more efficient and collaborative management operations.

Also available is the NetHawk Remote Control Application Programming Interface, an open interface that lets developers build an automated test system using M5s as building blocks, controlling those M5s over a LAN. The M5 system runs on a Windows-based PC and can be equipped with multiple interface adapters depending upon the choice and capabilities of that hardware platform.

NetHawk’s EAST product is a multi-technology testing platform providing simulation and testing services that cover a number of telecommunications technologies, including wireless, VoIP, and legacy networks. Three different models of the platform are available, supporting different technologies.

The EAST LTE supports the next generation mobile architecture, named Long Term Evolution (LTE) and System Architecture Evolution (SAE), as defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP (see href=”” style=”text-decoration:none”> These systems use the Internet Protocol (IP) for all communication, requiring the verification of transmission quality for VoIP services, data applications and video transmission. The EAST LTE can be used for functional testing, allowing it to send or receive any protocol messages on the supported interfaces; or for load testing, which can simulate a heavy load of either control or user traffic.

The EAST IMS is a single product that supports the testing of networks based upon IMS architecture, including solutions defined by the 3GPP (see href=”” style=”text-decoration:none”>, TISPAN (see href=”” style=”text-decoration:none”> and Packet Cable (see href=”” style=”text-decoration:none”> standards. This analyzer enables feature, conformance, interoperability, subsystem, load, and performance testing, and can be used by network equipment manufacturers and service providers for complete life cycle testing.

The EAST WiMAX is a tool for testing different network elements of the WiMAX network (IEEE 802.16e, see href=”” style=”text-decoration:none”> The system supports 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet interfaces, and can incorporate test cases that include SIP and RTP traffic.

Further details on the NetHawk architecture and products can be found at href=”” style=”text-decoration:none”> Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ network management architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2008 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved

Author’s Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E., is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

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