Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spirent Smartbits

We have obtained on loan two old Spirent SmartBits traffic generators. They are configured with two 1GB ports on the front, presumably for sending and receiving data. We assigned them IP-numbers successfully but I can't get them to work in a master-slave relationship with the supplied ethernet cable. Maybe that is not he right cable. I will try a straight through cable (don't know about the one I am using but it's not cross-over). There is only one application that comes with it to do anything. It is rather out of date, but it is also not made any more by Spirent. It is a 30 day trial license, which should be enough. SmartFlow sends traffic through the Device Under Test or DUT and measure the latency and frame loss. The flows are variable to some extent but the way it works is that it packages up the packets with sequence numbers, time sent etc, so it can see (in the UDP case at least) how many packets got dropped, and in all cases how long they took to come back. I don't know how to do it yet but it would be a good way to test the maximum throughput of the testbed. We need to write down the results because it should become part of a paper. The only problem may be that the modern equipment we are using won't be able to be outpaced by the SmartBits generators. If so, then we can't get it to drop packets, and won't be able to measure maximum throughput.

The manual keeps warning you not to connect cables without Ferrite Blocks. I bought one for $3.00 from Dick Smiths at Buranda, but it seems we need perhaps two more to actually do the tests. (One is needed for the monitoring cable). Otherwise there is a risk of blowing out the ports. Hmmm.

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