Electronic Design

Network Simulator Enhances ADSL CPE Equipment Use

The Liberator ADSL network simulator has been created as a tool for the development, testing, and demonstration of ADSL CPE equipment. Simulating an ADSL access multiplexer (DSLAM) to mimic the appearance of a live Internet connection, it lets ADSL product developers, test engineers, test technicians, and field sales representatives connect their products to a virtual Internet in a controlled environment. Its manufacturer, Broadframe Corp., boasts that it's the world's first complete ADSL simulator.

This device consists of a chassis with one interface card, one processor card, and application software that runs on a host PC. The interface card, the first family of which simulates a DSLAM based on chip sets from Alcatel and other ADSL chip-set vendors, complies with the ITU G.992.x specification. It plugs into the Liberator to provide a specific ADSL interface. Features of the embedded MPC860 processor card include an advanced communications microcontroller, RAM, 8-Mbyte Flash memory, an Ethernet card, and a 10Base-T port. Connected via Ethernet to a user-supplied host PC, the processor card controls the Liberator system.

The host PC runs a simple graphical user interface (GUI) utility and a web server. The GUI configures the Liberator system and controls such parameters as IP address and Flash download. Also, the web server provides a virtual Internet for the development or demonstration of the user's application. Essentially, the user's CPE product plugs into the DSLAM simulated by the interface card within the Liberator.

Then, this DSLAM connects via Ethernet to a virtual Internet. Once connected to this virtual Internet, the CPE product can ping IP addresses on the host side of the DSLAM. Protocol support includes RFC 1483 LLC/SNAP. In this manner, connection to the virtual Internet lets the user develop or demonstrate the CPE application over a live network.

As a self-contained unit requiring only a 100- to 240-V ac power supply, the Liberator is highly adaptable for use in developing, testing, and demonstrating ADSL CPE products. Providing a controlled connection to a DSLAM in a lab environment, this device functions well as a development and testing system. The interface cards are easily swapped and can simulate a variety of DSLAMs featuring different vendors' chip-set solutions. As a result, the Liberator offers developers a standard platform for interoperability testing of ADSL modems, routers, and other CPE devices. Also, designers can use it in conjunction with other DSL test tools for performance-analysis purposes.

A user-supplied host PC controls the Liberator. Users should run the simulator on a host PC with a Pentium III or equivalent CPU. The Windows 98 OS and 64-Mbyte memory also are recommended. Other specifications include a 10/100 Ethernet and hub and a CD-ROM drive.

Available now, the Liberator costs $15,000 per unit. Volume discounts are available. It's shipped with the Liberator chassis, containing the processor card and ATU-C interface card, a 3-ft. FireWire-to-Ethernet patch cable, an RJ11-to-RJ11 phone cable, a power cord, the Liberator Installation CD-ROM, and the Liberator User's Manual. A 90-day warranty and technical support are available through the company.

Broadframe Corp., 4029 S. Capitol of Texas Hwy., Ste. 220, Austin, TX 78704; (512) 373-4225; fax (512) 447-1024; www.broadframe.com.

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