Until now, new Physical Layer test solutions were required as new and different DSL Standard were created.  A most complicated matter, difficult to compare, replicate and track test results. This was an on-going investment in new testing solutions due to the fast evolution of broadband technologies in the local loop, buildings and homes.  With Sparnex Instruments solutions, this is finally history.

Expertise in compliance and interoperability testing, for more than 25 years with a strong focus on the Physical Layer, has resulted in a new innovative product range of test systems that are modular building blocks of a fully integrated and automated test platform. Sparnex Instrument brings a programmable Physical Layer test solution that can be used to test performance and interoperability between different xDSL access product vendors.  This takes into account that new requirements and technologies will be defined for the next generation of access network technology.

More than interoperability the Service Providers are concerned about maximum speed at the lowest level of bit rate failure, in other words the performance of the technology in their access network. This is reinforced by the immense growth in demand for broadband network capacity due to new bandwidth consuming services like IPTV, Gaming and VoIP.  For such services, the Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) are directly related to the quality of the Physical Layer and the way Equipment Vendors and Chip Designers manage these challenges. The move from 'compliance' towards 'performance' is an obvious evolution in view of the market trend.  It is setting new benchmarks and standards for the broadband Equipment and Chip Vendors, in their race to win contracts for next generation access product technology.

With new test systems like LSX 2030, Sparnex Instruments customers will be able to develop better solutions for their customers, since the testing solutions are targeting better performance, taking into account the true limits of broadband services imposed by the Physical Layer.  Interoperability testing is still in place, but will no longer be sufficient to make better products.  The most complicated and very specific competence of the Physical Layer is an asset when testing solutions for next generations of technologies and products.  Sparnex Instruments brings a number of new testing methodologies that will provide better and more sophisticated solutions in order to fulfill the demand for more stable, robust and higher access speeds from/to the desktop in offices and at home in front of the PC-TV or TV-PC.

  • Line Simulators: the base of a Physical Layer test platform is the Line Simulator of the access network cables.  Other than a real test instrument, a Loop Simulator is not a measurement system.  Simulating something like 'a cable' is very much depending on the implementation concept of the simulator and the way how the simulator can manage with issues like: stable behavior under all circumstances like temperature, injected noises, sent PSD levels, out-of-calibration components, accuracy of the simulator; and how good all different analog elements of the cable are simulated. It has been a lively debate over the years on what is best for accurately simulating  the spectrum of a wireline needed to transmit DSL signals, which is far beyond the spectrum used by telephones.  On top of this most complex matter, the controversy is even increasing with the bandwidth that DSL technology is using.  The debate on active or passive simulators, analog or digital has never stopped.  Sparnex Instruments came to the conclusion that the benefit of a good simulator primarily lies in its capability to keep all Physical Layer parameters under control. If it can be done for the whole bandwidth from DC up to 30 Mhz with an accuracy that is better than the DSL technology that is under test.  At that point it doesn't matter what technology is inside the simulator.
    The outcome of over 25 years of Physical Layer experience resulted in Sparnex Instruments' product offering in Line Simulators to be the most complete and versatile product range on the market, going from a simple passive single Line Simulator to the most sophisticated programmable Line Simulation platform that can simulate any network characteristic, any cable, loop, bridge tap and or noise.  Sparnex Instruments can answer any demand of Service Providers who want to test modems with a simulator that accurately simulates their very own network cable characteristics, in order to find the best performing DSL modem. This is backed with libraries, like i.e. the LoopGrabber™ and NoiseGrabber™.  These proprietary libraries contain thousands of lines, loops and noises collected over the years and that can be reproduced on any of the programmable Sparnex Instruments physical layer test platforms.
    The benefit is in:
    • better testing,
    • better DSL technology ranking,
    • better development of access products,
    • better replica of problems,
    • more possibilities to investigate new transmission technologies. 

The technology evolved in such a rapid pace that a simple DSL Loop Simulator can no longer be used to develop the next generation of DSL technology.  The test instrument should test the technology, not vice versa. The DSL technology has reached a level that requires new testing solutions.   Sparnex Instruments re-engineered their accurate LSX Loop Simulators to allow testing under an extremely low noise level of  -150 dBm/Hz for Standard Compliance testing.  It is only a small step towards performance testing with programmable simulators.  The Sparnex Instruments programmable Loop Simulators have: an impressive dynamic range, extremely good by-pass crosstalk characteristics and lowest possible distortion levels, with PSD's of -20 dBm or 40 Vpp.  These masterpieces of analog design are setting the new benchmark in DSL testing for the next decade.

  • DSLAM - Modem Simulators:  it has been recognized that DSLAM integration and report generation is often a labor intensive activity with on-going changes of software releases that require new test campaigns. As part of the new Sparnex Instruments concept, for those customers who don't want to spend the time or who might not have the resources for such activities, Sparnex Instruments has developed an easy and seamless integrated solution for modem vendors.  It enables users to test their modems on compliance to interoperability, new firmware/software releases.  It can also be used in an automated production environment.  All DSLAM emulators work with the universal ICL automation software and Sparnex Instruments modular and easy to use interfaces.
  • Noise Generators:  Sparnex Instruments experience in noise measurements and generation is huge. The ANG 2005 is top of the bill and a great success in the market with a powerful combination of internally developed Noise Creation Software packages and specific noise generation hardware, focused on the DSL frequency domain, with clever and non-intrusive injector probes that are the best one can find in the market.  Sparnex Instruments has various hardware solutions for Noise Generators, going from simple White Noise to pre-programmed Standard noise to real live measured noises, stored in the NoiseGrabber™ library.  Unique in that respect is the development of the network and spectrum analyzer (ICXACT) that is compatible with the optionally built-in ANG in the LSX Physical Layer DSL test platforms, which can instantly reproduce measurement files of the ICXACT.
  • Analyzers:  Sparnex Instruments' focus is on Physical Layer is from DC up to 50