News Column

Patent Issued for Remote Network Device Component Testing

August 20, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Li, Xianzhi (Santa Clara, CA); Luo, Michael (San Jose, CA), filed on February 9, 2010, was published online on August 5, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8797880, is Juniper Networks, Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Computing and communication networks typically include network devices, such as routers, firewalls, switches, or gateways, which transfer or switch data, such as packets, from one or more sources to one or more destinations. Network devices may operate on the packets as the packets traverse the network, such as by forwarding or filtering the packet-based network traffic.

"Network devices may include several types of cards (e.g., input/output cards, connectivity/configuration fault management (CFM) cards, etc.) that provide different functionalities for the network devices. Each card may include several types of components (e.g., processors, memories, interfaces, etc.) that provide functionalities for the card. In one example, each card may include a primary component (e.g., a main application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a main field-programmable gate array (FPGA), etc.) that controls the operation of the card.

"An oscilloscope and a logic analyzer may be typically used to analyze and debug network device components (e.g., a FPGA). The oscilloscope/logic analyzer arrangement requires connecting signals provided by a network device component to pins provided externally to the network device so that a waveform (e.g., associated with analysis) may be captured by the oscilloscope and the logic analyzer (e.g., externally to the network device). In-circuit debug is a new technology that uses FPGA on-chip logic and memory to analyze a particular component of a network device (e.g., via direct connection with the network device), and to capture the waveform inside the network device. For example, a user can analyze the particular component (e.g., via direct connection with the network device) and capture the waveform via a FPGA joint test action group (JTAG) port. With in-circuit debug, a user can analyze the particular component with a single JTAG cable and software tools, and an oscilloscope and logic analyzer may be omitted.

"Network device components (e.g., FPGAs) have become faster, denser, and more complex over the years, and, thus, field issues associated with such network device components have grown dramatically. Some field issues are difficult to reproduce in a lab environment. If an analysis of a network device component in a real field environment is required, a field technician must travel to a customer's site, shutdown the customer's system, remove a card (or board) containing the component, and connect a JTAG cable between the component and an external personal computer. The field technician may then perform an analysis of the component via the personal computer. Such an arrangement is time consuming, inconvenient to the customer, and expensive."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "According to one aspect, a method may be implemented by a network device. The method include receiving, by the network device and from a remote user device, a requested test that includes test Internet protocol (IP) packets, and converting, by the network device, the test IP packets into hardware test commands. The method may also include performing, by the network device and based on the hardware test commands, the requested test on a component of a network device card to produce hardware test results. The method may further include converting, by the network device, the hardware test results into test results in an IP packet format, and providing, by the network device, the tests results in the IP packet format to the remote user device.

"According to another aspect, a network device may include a routing engine to receive, from a remote user device, a requested test that includes test Internet protocol (IP) packets, and provide the test IP packets to a control processor. The control processor may convert the test IP packets into hardware test commands, and provide the hardware test commands to a control manager of a network device card. The control manager may perform, based on the hardware test commands, the requested test on a component of the network device card to produce hardware test results, and may provide the hardware test results to the control processor. The control processor may further convert the hardware test results into test results in an IP packet format, and may provide the test results in the IP packet format to the routing engine. The routing engine may further provide the tests results in the IP packet format to the remote user device.

"According to still another aspect, a system may include a user device to generate a requested test, and a network device remotely connected to the user device via a network. The network device may receive, from the user device, the requested test that includes test Internet protocol (IP) packets, and may convert the test IP packets into hardware test commands. The network device may also perform, based on the hardware test commands, the requested test on a component of a network device card to produce hardware test results. The network device may further convert the hardware test results into test results in an IP packet format, and may provide the tests results in the IP packet format to the remote user device."

For more information, see this patent: Li, Xianzhi; Luo, Michael. Remote Network Device Component Testing. U.S. Patent Number 8797880, filed February 9, 2010, and published online on August 5, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8797880.PN.&OS=PN/8797880RS=PN/8797880

Keywords for this news article include: World Wide Web, Internet Protocols, Juniper Networks Inc..

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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