17 September 2021

Testing backbone infrastructure with EXFO

As the demand for more data capacity continues to grow, 400G technology is becoming the new gold standard. At DE-CIX, the annual traffic at our Internet Exchanges continues to grow by about 30%, and we are working on upgrading and future-proofing our backbone network with 400G capacity. But with higher rates come new challenges, such as different types of transceivers and modulation techniques, and a new set of test tools are required to validate all the elements involved before deploying new connections or during the troubleshooting process.

Validating connection between key locations

We partnered with EXFO to validate the connection between two key locations using routers from one of the major network equipment vendors. As part of the link qualification, important network parameters such as bit error rate, latency, and different streams of traffic were tested using EXFO’s FTBx-88460—400G portable test solution. The FTBx-88460 features EXFO’s unique Open Transceiver System (OTS) design concept, which provides the flexibility and adaptability to host different transceiver types.

Ensuring the best technical quality

During this field trial, the goal was to validate a 2km link. The first step was to use EXFO’s iOptics transceiver validation application to ensure the proper operation of the QSFP-DD 400GBase-FR4 transceivers that were deployed. During the testing process, we were able to identify a performance issue on the point-to-point interconnection, which, if left unresolved, would have impacted the quality of the service. Once the root cause was identified and resolved, we were able to transmit 400G at the full data rate proving that our network was ready to deliver the best possible technical quality and state-of-the-art support to accompany the interconnection needs of our customers.

EXFO develops smarter test, monitoring, and analytics solutions for fixed and mobile network operators, webscale companies, and equipment manufacturers in the global communications industry. Customers count on EXFO’s unique blend of equipment, software, and services to accelerate digital transformations related to next-generation deployments.