Keysight validates industrial device functionality, interoperability and conformance

Keysight Technologies, a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, announced that testing conducted by the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), with the company’s IxNetwork Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) solution, demonstrated significant advancements in multi-vendor interoperability in accordance with the standards under development by the IEEE 802.1 to enable time-critical applications on Ethernet-based communication networks.

The testing was performed at the recent TSN Plugfest at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, using the IxNetwork TSN solution from Ixia, a Keysight business, and the IIC Time Sensitive Networking Testbed, for conducting functionality, interoperability and conformance tests with industrial devices from participating IIC members.

“We are thrilled that Keysight has leveraged the IIC Time Sensitive Networking Testbed at the recent Plugfest to test the TSN implementation and interoperability of participating industrial vendors,” said Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director, IIC.

“The resources of the IIC, which include testbeds, test drives and IoT challenges, have been designed to give organizations the guidance they need to strategically apply digital technologies and achieve digital transformation.”

TSN is a set of standards that enables time-critical applications on Ethernet-based communication networks. The technology will be used to support real-time control and synchronization in industries dependent on high-performance machines communicating over a single, standard Ethernet network with multi-vendor interoperability and integration.

“TSN is a relatively complex technology, with implementations at early stages where interoperability validation is critical to advance the technology to the point of adoption,” said Aniket Khosla, senior director, product management, Keysight’s Network Applications & Security Group (formerly Ixia Solutions Group).

“When measuring traffic characteristics with high accuracy, IxNetwork tests revealed how differently implementation of the same TSN standard can behave under realistic workloads resulting in varied performance and quality.

“These results help industrial network designers and system integrators better understand how to tune Ethernet-based industrial devices to achieve high accuracy levels and enable time-critical applications in their overall ecosystem.”

The tests revealed two key points about early stage TSN implementations:

  • Time-critical traffic flow: In an industrial network consisting of TSN switches from different vendors, the controller (CNC) needs a standard and efficient way to configure time-critical traffic flow. The reaction of the switch in response to a message from the CNC directly impacts the delay in starting the time-critical traffic.
  • Interoperability and interference: While individual TSN standards work in silos, a system is more prone to failure when multiple TSN functions could interfere with each other, causing frame disruptions and delays to traffic. With line-rate, realistic traffic loads, the IxNetwork system-level test validated the transmission of time-sensitive frames (IEEE 802.1Qbv) alongside frame preemption (IEEE 802.1Qbu) where the lower-priority frame is preempted to allow transmission of time-critical express frames.

The IxNetwork TSN solution works with Ixia’s test platforms to exchange control-plane and data-plane traffic with the device under test (DUT).

To emulate TSN-specific devices, such as a Talker, a Listener, a Grandmaster or a Slave device, or an entire topology of devices, each test port is equipped with an independent processor and substantial memory in addition to specialized traffic stream generation and capture hardware.

The IxNetwork TSN solution offers testing and benchmarking scenarios that span TSN standards, including 802.1AS, 802.1AS-Rev, 802.1Qbv, 802.1Qbu, 802.1CB, 802.1Qci, and 802.1Qcc.

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