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Cable-Tec Expo: Spirent Intros High-Scale Wi-Fi Hotspot Test Suite

Orlando -- Spirent Communications is showing a Wi-Fi testing solution designed to let cable operators test what would amount to an estimated 32 million users having access to hundreds of thousands of hotspots.

The vendor’s Landslide Wi-Fi Offload Gateway Testing solution stress-tests equipment that aggregates data from sources such as mobile video, as well as traditional services such as voice calling and SMS, from a 3G/4G/LTE network to Wi-Fi for transport over cable networks. Spirent is showcasing the solution at the Cable-Tec Expo here.

The Wi-Fi tester can identify capacity limits and verify application performance and test mobility scenarios such as handoffs. All testing is done replicating real conditions with user behaviors, converged traffic and network conditions, said Ross Cassan, director of product marketing, service provider solutions at Spirent. The system can test as many as 300,000 access points and emulate up to 32 million concurrent sessions in one test case.

“The questions the operators are asking are: Can I make the authentication happen to the scale I want, and at the rates I am going to need to offer these services?” Cassan said.

This summer, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks announced the “CableWiFi” initiative. That will let their respective high-speed Internet customers access any of the operators’ Wi-Fi networks for no extra fee via 50,000-plus hotspots.

Cablevision alone has deployed about 40,000 access points, Yvette Kanouff, executive vice president of engineering and technology, said on a panel here Wednesday at Cable-Tec Expo.

“The cable MSOs are leading the Wi-Fi charge,” Cassan said.

Spirent is just starting to approach cable operators about the Landslide Wi-Fi testing solution. “All the MSOs are our customers but they are just starting to use this for this particular test case,” Cassan said.

Vendors in the Wi-Fi infrastructure segment include Cisco Systems, BelAir Networks (acquired by Ericsson this year), Ruckus Wireless, Alcatel-Lucent and Juniper Networks.