EtherSAM: The New Standard in Ethernet Service Testing

With multiclass Ethernet services being deployed globally, legacy test standards such as RFC 2544 are no longer adequate to validate today’s service-level agreements (SLA). With customers thirsty for a new test methodology due to aggressive deployment plans, largely driven by the migration to packet-based mobile backhaul infrastructure worldwide, EXFO was the first to introduced the recently approved ITU-T Y.1564 standard (formerly know as Y.156sam) to the market on its modular-based Ethernet testing solution—even before the standard was officially approved.

Having initiated the concept for the new ITU-T Y.1564 standard in June 2009 and working closely with industry experts throughout its adoption process, EXFO recognized the urgent need for a more efficient and complete way to commission and troubleshoot mobile backhaul and business Ethernet services.

Aligned with the requirements of today’s Ethernet services, the EtherSAM test methodology enables complete validation of all SLA parameters in a single test to ensure optimized quality of service (QoS).

Contrary to other methodologies, EtherSAM supports new multiservice offerings. It can simulate all types of services that will run on the network and simultaneously qualify all key service-level agreement (SLA) parameters for each of these services. Moreover, it validates the QoS mechanisms provisioned in the network to prioritize the different service types, resulting in more accurate validation and much faster deployment and troubleshooting.

Since its availability in early 2010, EtherSAM has proven to be instrumental in real-life scenarios—drastically reducing deployment times and eliminating repeats by offering full visibility of all SLA metrics, immediately and accurately. EXFO’s customers embraced EtherSAM for its speed and the high level of accuracy at which they can validate new services.

EtherSAM is comprised of two phases, the service configuration test and the service performance test.

Service Configuration Test

The service configuration test consists in sequentially testing each service. It validates that the service is properly provisioned and that all specific key performance indicators (KPIs) or SLA parameters are met.

For each service, a ramp test is used to gradually reach and exceed the committed information rate (CIR). Measured KPIs include throughput, frame loss, latency and packet jitter. A threshold is applied against all KPIs to obtain a clear pass/fail result for SLA conformance.

One minute per service—that’s all you need to perform the service configuration test.

All SLA parameters are measured at each step throughout the test (throughput, frame delay, frame loss, frame delay variation, out-of-sequence), pass/fail results.

Service Performance Test

Once the configuration of each individual service is validated, the service performance test simultaneously validates the quality of all the services over time.

In this phase, all services are generated at once at their CIR and all KPIs are measured for each service. This can take only a few minutes or it can easily be transitioned to longer term testing such as 24 hours.

Loopback or Bidirectional Testing

EXFO’s EtherSAM approach proves even more powerful as it executes the complete ITU-T Y.1564 test with bidirectional measurements. Key SLA parameters are measured independently in each test direction, thus providing 100% first-time-right service activation—that is the highest level of confidence in service testing.


The benefits of EXFO’s new standards-based EtherSAM are measurable. It allows for complete SLA validation with a single test, eight times faster deployment and 100% first-time-right service activation. Plus, with EXFO’s unique real-time asymmetrical test capabilities, network operators can truly benefit from unmatched service performance visibility—all the while optimizing the quality of service and reducing operational costs.

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