Press release

Keysight Technologies Launches First Forward Error Correction (FEC)-Aware Layer 1 Test System

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Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, announced two new solutions – the N4891A 400GBASE Forward Error Correction (FEC)-aware compliance test solution, which finds performance and interoperability issues early in the design and validation process of data center-related devices, and the A400GE-QDD 400GE multiport test system, which characterizes and quantifies the actual bit error rate (BER) and forward error correction (FEC) performance of silicon communication devices.

Cloud solutions are driving deployments of 400 Gigabit Ethernet speed interfaces in data centers. However, 400G Ethernet technologies, based on the 56Gb/s electrical lane signaling rates, increase the level of complexity in the development of stable port electronics in networking devices. The challenge is characterizing and quantifying the BER along with FEC performance of silicon devices, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), fiber and copper interconnects, optical transceivers and port electronics of switches and routers.

Keysight has combined the functionality of its A400GE-QDD 400GE Layer 1 multiport test system with that of the M8040A high-performance BERT system resulting in a new solution, the N4891A 400GBASE FEC-aware receiver test solution. This new solution provides the industry’s first FEC-aware compliance testing solution for measurement of frame loss ratio in 400G Ethernet links using FEC by supplying one stressed lane and maintaining the proper FEC striped test pattern data, without placing stress on the other lanes.1

“Keysight’s new test solution fills a gap in high-speed Ethernet testing by combining best-in-class technologies from analog and protocols,” said Jerry Pepper, Fellow, Keysight Technologies. “Until now, the industry had no way to verify FEC performance while simultaneously stressing one of the lanes according to the IEEE 802.3 recommendation. This innovation enables customers to enter systems testing with higher confidence and deliver their 400GE products to market faster.”

“It’s exciting to see the contributions we are making to the industry to fully master the challenges that are associated with 400GE by combining our Ixia and Keysight technology leadership,” stated Joachim Peerlings, vice president and general manager, Network and Data Center Solutions, at Keysight.

Demonstrations at ECOC 2019

The N4891A 400GBASE FEC-aware receiver stress test solution will be demonstrated for the first time at the European Conference on Optical Communication Exhibition 2019 (ECOC 2019) in Hall 1, Stand 136 in Dublin, Ireland, September 23-25. The demonstration will include Finisar’s market-leading QSFP-DD 400G-LR8 transceiver as the Device Under Test. There will also be a demonstration of the A400GE-QDD test solution with the following QSFP-DD optical physical medium dependents (PMDs): FR4 from Cambridge Industries Group (CIG) with QSFP-DD MSA’s Common Management Interface Specification (CMIS) revision 4.0; a DR4 from Innolight; and electrical loopback plugs from Amphenol.

About Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) is a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world. Keysight’s solutions optimize networks and bring electronic products to market faster and at a lower cost with offerings from design simulation, to prototype validation, to manufacturing test, to optimization in networks and cloud environments. Customers span the worldwide communications ecosystem, aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, semiconductor and general electronics end markets. Keysight generated revenues of $3.9B in fiscal year 2018. More information is available at

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Additional Information

Images of Keysight’s N4891A 400GBASE Forward Error Correction (FEC)-aware compliance test solution are available at

1 The test method is prescribed in the IEEE 802.3 standard clauses 121,122,123, 124 (former 802.3bs) and 136, 137 and 138 (former 802.3cd).