Test and Measurement: 40% of businesses see network ‘brownouts’ multiple times a week, Accedian finds

Forty percent of enterprises are frequently experiencing network performance degradation, slow-downs or congestion that impact applications but don’t rise to the level of complete outages, according to new research from Accedian.

“Since COVID-19, businesses across industries expedited digital transformation efforts to facilitate remote working and continue business operations,” the company said. “As a result, networks and applications have become heavily strained, causing an influx of network brownouts and a sudden shift in traffic patterns for enterprise applications.”

Accedian’s survey drew on responses from more than 1,000 U.S.-based senior IT decision makers, 40% of whom said that their organizations experience so-called “network brownouts” at least several times a week, with 20% saying that they see them on a daily basis.

Sixty percent said they had had an increase in end-user complaints around degraded performance, “excessive slowdowns” and network congestion since the pandemic began. Accedian noted that this is likely an undercount of the actual issues, because on average 27% of application performance issues don’t even get reported to IT.

Thirty percent of the IT execs said that their organization had issues with Office 365 and other software-as-a-service cloud applications, and 26% reported issues with audio/video conferencing apps — which are being heavily leaned upon for remote work.

The sources of the brown-outs were reported as issues with the enterprise’s network connectivity provider (47%) with increased website/database traffic and performance of maintenance and upgrades both coming in at 43%, and third-party tech providers blamed for the issues 36% of the time (respondents could choose multiple options).

“COVID-19 or not, it would be wise for businesses across industries to fortify their networks so they can work more efficiently in this remote, distributed era,” said Sergio Bea, VP of global enterprise and channel sales for Accedian. “If there’s one thing the current pandemic has taught us, it’s that networks and applications are the backbone of the digital economy. In order for businesses to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape, it is important for leaders to understand how the pandemic impacts network performance, as well as the causes and effects of poor network performance on their business productivity, IT teams and end-user experience.”

In other test news:

Rohde & Schwarz and Viavi Solutions have teamed up to verify each others’ test equipment and have been working with each other over the past year to accelerate integration of a number of 5G New Radio features. They’re cooperating on radio frequency performance testing, protocol stack verification and maximum IP data throughput testing, among other tests.

The two companies said that they work together to implement new 3GPP 5G NR features at the same time and understand the integration challenges involved, using the R&S SCMX500 as a network infrastructure emulator and the Viavi TM500 UE emulator as an alternative to an actual device, in order to verify complex testing of features such as dynamic spectrum sharing, LTE and 5G NR carrier aggregation combinations, 5G signaling for NSA and SA modes in sub-6 GHz frequencies and high-bandwidth test in millimeter-wave spectrum.

“When developing a new feature, virtual testing is an option, but ultimately a UE device is necessary to verify the newly developed feature,” the two companies noted, going on to add that using their equipment cooperatively in this way enables both companies to provide “stable, mature and wider 5G 3GPP feature coverage at an accelerated rate.”

-Also this week at Rohde & Schwarz, the test equipment company said that it has verified Assisted-GPS (AGPS) performance in a commercial mobile device, while simultaneously transferring data using 5G millimeter wave, using its TS-LBS Location Based Services test system.

The mmWave frequency range “creates unique challenges for mobile devices in terms of power consumption and heat,” Rohde said, and as mmWave support becomes more common in mobile devices in North America, “performance of critical services such as E911 emergency calls cannot be allowed to degrade when utilizing this mmW spectrum.”

-It was a busy week for Keysight Technologies, with the company announcing a new high-performance 5G base station test solution focused on enabling network equipment and small cell vendors to validate designs for 5G mmWave small cells; laying claim to an industry first on submission of 3GPP protocol test cases for verifying 5G devices with IMS support; and introducing cloud processing clusters for its signature Pathwave design software suite, to remove computational limits and improve its reliability.

-In their latest step toward stratospheric drone-based communications, Softbank’s HAPSMobile JV and Alphabet’s Loon recently completed an LTE video call among multiple ground users, connected via HAPSMobile’s Sunglider drone, flying at an altitude of 62,500 feet. Read the full story here. 

Anritsu recently launched its Signal Quality Analyzer-R MP1900A bit error rate tester with expanded capabilities for PCI Express receiver testing. The BERT now supports PCIe 6.0 designs that use PAM4 32-Gbaud technology, for testing high-end servers, high-performance computers and 400 GbE equipment, among other products.

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