Local firm tests vital data networks
By Bridge Carney 02/13/2014
Many of our prized technology development companies in Ventura County are not household names nor huge in size, but they provide unique and vital industry solutions used around the world. This Plugged In column has covered many of these in the past year to give you a sense of the diverse and high-level technology made in Ventura County and used worldwide.
This month let us take a look at one, Absolute Analysis of Newbury Park, that creates and produces network analyzers used by the network development and installation companies, the U.S. military and, more recently, telco (cell phone) companies around the world.
A network has billions of bits of data flowing through it each second of every day. These bits of data are organized into very small “packets” that show where they came from, where they are going and the actual payload of data itself. A single serial network cable could have data flowing to and from hundreds of thousands of network users, like you and me, each second!
What if there is a problem with this network? How do the engineers who install these networks check and confirm that the network is running correctly? This is where one of the leading providers of network data test tools, Absolute Analysis, plugs in. Its flagship product, the Investigator TM test tool, can be programmed to look at each and every one of those hundreds of thousands of packets of data each second and isolate specific packets for the engineers to examine. The Investigator can see all network activity such as: whether the packets are correctly formed, whether there are too many collisions (resulting in data loss), whether appropriate network protocols (protocols are the various standard and/or custom formats of data packets) are being handled correctly. The Investigator can generate its own network traffic and see if it gets back what it expects. The Investigator can find and isolate precise occurrences of packets that match whatever search criteria are programmed in by the development/support/test engineers.
It is always a challenge to keep up with the evolution in new capabilities and transmission speeds of Ethernet- and fiber-based networks. With the continued need for ever more speed in our communication networks, the Absolute Investigator is used in all sizes of data networks worldwide as well as the U.S. military to check out the latest networks in the newest and most sophisticated aircraft flying today. Its newest uses now include telecom (cell phone) companies as they roll out their 4G/LTE radio access networks, the next generation of connectivity for our cell phones and other mobile devices. To meet the need of portability and specific requirements of telco and data center support engineering, Absolute Analysis introduced in 2013 a new product called IntegrisTM that will simplify the testing process in the field. The Integris is portable and rugged and features a simple front panel/LCD screen to give IT teams fast, powerful testing capabilities at a lower price-point then the full-featured Investigator.
Absolute Analysis, originally known as Computer Bus Tools, has had its design, development (both hardware and software), sales/marketing and product production and support operations in Newbury Park for more than 20 years. This core team of engineers has worked together for much of that time and is among the most knowledgeable high-speed serial data communications experts in the world.
“One thing is clear, that the evolution of new networking technologies [is] never done. We’ve seen so many changes over the years, and at each step we think networks have achieved a new level performance only to see them quickly enhanced again with new ideas and standards,” said Dennis Murphy, CEO of Absolute Analysis. “Absolute’s challenge is to keep pace with the newest industry standards and provide our newest generation of tools to meet the needs of all those involved, from the designer engineers to the field-support engineers and all those in between”
Plugged In is a monthly column focused on new technology in and around Ventura County and it will be featured the second week of every month. Plugged In authors Bridge Carney and Karl Geiger are chairman and past chairman, respectively, for the Ventura Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE], the world’s largest professional organization, with more than 800 local members in Ventura County. Please find them at www.ieee-bv.org.