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2018

It is always exciting when the advanced capabilities of your solutions are recognized with prominent industry accolades. So, we were understandably delighted to have recently won major awards for two of our testing products from influential industry organizations.

 

UE Emulation Solution: a 5G technology breakthrough

At the end of February, our UE Emulation (UEE) Solution received the ‘Innovative Breakthrough in Mobile Technology Award’ for protocol testing of NB-IoT at the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) event in Barcelona. The award category highlights major technology enhancements in the entire mobile ecosystem from mobile operators and equipment manufacturers. The UEE solution delivers powerful and flexible test functions, including protocol and load testing for base stations across 5G NR and LTE, and enables emulation of a wide range of demanding usage requirements and configurations to improve network performance validation.

 

The advanced test capabilities of the UEE solution were further underlined at Mobile World Congress 2018, where Keysight announced successful interoperability testing of the solution with Samsung's new 5G base station based on 5G New Radio (NR) standards, to help accelerate the development and deployment of 5G networks. We also demonstrated 5G NR technology using the UEE solution together with Datang Mobile's 5G base station at MWC.

 

The best in field test: K400 load module is an industry first

In March, during the Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) in San Diego, the K400 QSFP-DD-400GE load module was a winner in the 2018 Lightwave Innovation Reviews program, in the Field Test Equipment category.

 

The Innovation Reviews program recognizes cutting-edge solutions in optical communications, with winners selected by an independent panel of judges from across the industry. The awards are presented annually by Lightwave, the leading publication focused on fiber optics and optoelectronics. During their evaluation, the judges said that the K400 load module offers "An important capability for the ecosystem to develop, test, qualify and deploy new 400G datacenter pluggables.”

 

At the OFC conference, the K400 load module was also used as a core component of the first ever public demonstration of 400GE traffic over QSFP-DD optics. The demo saw live, full line rate 400GE traffic being sent to and from Juniper 400G transport technology using LR8 QSFP-DD optics provided by Finisar and Source Photonics. These new optics will be key to accelerating the development of new 400 Gigabit Ethernet network equipment and systems, and will power a range of next-generation services, including 5G.

 

We’re honored that our ability to create innovative test solutions — that enable next-generation communications to be brought to market faster — has been recognized with these prestigious awards. Find out more about our 5G test solutions here, and our 400GE test solutions here.

In February of 2018, Keysight unveiled its vision for a new design and test engineering platform. Named “PathWave”, this platform will improve productivity and accelerate time-to-market by linking parts of the product development workflow that have up until now remained independent and siloed.
 
But wait, you may ask,

"Are product development platforms still relevant?"

 

Historically, in the context of development platforms, the word ‘platform’ has most often been used to describe a collection of tools that work together. In their recent book, “Platform Revolution,” Parker, Van Alstyne and Choudary discuss the platform business model, and the way that companies such as Facebook, PayPal and Uber have revolutionized their respective industries with innovative platforms. One of their observations is that these companies have taken a customer-focused, end-to-end view of the goals that consumers are trying to accomplish. They then single-mindedly built platforms to optimize the rapid and efficient completion of those goals.
 
I believe that this same concept applies to product development platforms. Modern development platforms should be focused on the customers’ ultimate end-goal, and not only on the individual steps along the journey. We constantly hear from our customers that their most important end goal is reducing their time-to-market.
 
It’s not hard to find examples of companies that appeared to be in a leadership position at the technology prototype phase, but who then ultimately failed (were late to market and did not meet their financial targets). These companies overlooked what would be required in the next step of the development process, and essentially had to start over in their quest to develop a robust, ‘manufacturable’ product.
 
Sadly, I have personal experience with this!  Many years ago, as an R&D engineer, I developed a working prototype of a new kind of radar speed detector. My design helped solve one of the most difficult problems associated with these devices: isolating a single vehicle in dense traffic. The prototype worked extremely well in field trials and impressed potential customers. Unfortunately, in my rush to develop the prototype, I hadn’t considered what it would take to bring this product to market. My company determined that their window of opportunity would have passed by the time the product was completely redesigned, and the project was then abandoned.
 

Predicting what's next

Like a good chess player, a good product development platform anticipates what will happen next and prepares in advance. Fatal errors, such as the one that had occurred with my project, can be mitigated with a predictive approach.
 
Allow me to give a really trivial example. When someone writes a document in Microsoft Word, the Microsoft Office platform anticipates that the writing stage is not the end of the process. The platform predicts that you will need to take further steps, such as have someone else review and edit the document, publish it, print it, email it, or use it in another application. It makes the next step easy because it prepares for the next action in advance.
 
It is a mistake to think that a good platform is merely a collection of tools that work together. The best platform providers take their knowledge and experience of the complete end-to-end process and incorporate that knowledge into the platform. I like to think of this as building “process intellectual property” into the platform.
 
At Keysight, we are doing just that. It’s one of the reasons we use the word “predictive” to describe our new PathWave platform. We know that building "process intellectual property" into a platform is not easy to do, but the rewards for users are huge in terms of productivity and time-to-market.
 
(I’ll add that we are also using the word ‘predictive’ to describe another issue that a good development platform should address: the ability to anticipate design and equipment failures before they occur. We'll discuss these issues elsewhere.)


Let me finish by answering the question above

Yes, product development platforms are not only still relevant; they are a necessity in order to stay competitive.  However, a good platform needs to be more than a collection of interoperable tools. A good platform is one that is predictive and makes it easier for users by anticipating their future tasks.
 
I’d welcome your comments!

Jeff Harris

Data Centers on Wheels

Posted by Jeff Harris Employee Mar 28, 2018

As vehicles pack in more and more technology, such as remote diagnostics, on-board GPS, collision avoidance systems, Wi-Fi hotspots for connectivity, cameras and yes, autonomous driving systems, it’s no surprise that they are increasingly being described as ‘data centers on wheels.’

 

Interconnecting all these complex systems involves wiring harnesses, connections, and, of course, data exchange processing. Sensors need to provide feedback to mechanical systems, and as more autonomy is built into vehicles, decision algorithms require central processing in between, often integrating inputs from external data sources. Some estimates state that the use of current, proprietary wiring harnesses in a typical car consumes up to 50% of the labor cost that goes into building it. This conventional wiring can also weigh upwards of 200 pounds (90kg), and each connection requires functional testing.

 

To solve these problems, auto manufacturers are turning to data center technology with the use of automotive Ethernet. This enables a single standard for wiring and cabling across all manufacturers, and can realize significant savings in production-line time and weight by simplifying connectivity.

 

Replacing complex and heavy proprietary wiring in current vehicles with simpler connections based around fast Ethernet also delivers further benefits. Today’s CAN (Controller Area Network) based wiring operates at just one megabit per second. But there are many functions in a vehicle competing for bandwidth — including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, infotainment systems, reversing cameras, automatic braking systems, hybrid powertrain systems and autonomous driving systems interconnecting dozens of sensors, processors and electromechanical system controls. Automotive Ethernet, offering 100 MB or even gigabit speeds, provides manufacturers with a proven method of interconnecting all of these subsystems, while ensuring that everything gets the bandwidth and ultra-low latency it demands.

 

Then comes the transition, as manufacturers migrate their vehicles from existing, proprietary CAN technology to automotive Ethernet. This requires a host of new testing approaches.

 

Putting automotive Ethernet to the test

We helped one of the largest automobile manufacturers in China make this transition. The company planned to upgrade to automotive Ethernet in its vehicles to reduce manufacturing costs and improve owners’ experience by enabling advanced data communications, remote diagnostic and software upgrade capabilities. They were using an older CAN system for their vehicle system bus, which meant using older electronic control units (ECUs) from several external vendors that identified them as end-of-life. The manufacturer had to upgrade, and we helped them move to Ethernet, to connect the cars’ digital instruments, driving data recorder, ECU, and infotainment switches. It turned out that the testing was not only more modern and comprehensive, but was also faster.

 

The manufacturer just needed to be sure the upgrade would work seamlessly before overhauling their manufacturing processes. Defining the new automotive Ethernet network required validation of the new physical layer, protocol conformance and automotive application performance. We ended up demonstrating a series of automated test scripts that provided so much test coverage, they were able to see how they could easily extend it across:

 

• physical layer validation for the 100 Base T1 Ethernet standard
• multiple physical layers validation within an ECU
• conformance validation to the various protocols used in the ECU
• network deployment validation and debugging using automotive data loggers

 

This was a great example to show the power of combining Keysight’s Layer-1 capabilities with Ixia, a Keysight business’ understanding of Layers 2-7. We demonstrated how to validate the physical test layer connection at every point, and follow that up with a full suite of Layer 2 through 7 conformance and performance testing. This was the only way to prove each new automotive Ethernet connection worked and properly interconnected every point within the car’s network.

 

The result enabled this car manufacturer to build a single integrated testbed (Keysight’s Oscilloscope, and IxANVL and IxNetwork from our Ixia business) to get to their desired test coverage and offer remote programming interfaces to achieve automation across testing tools.

 

By replacing an older, more manual test process with a set of modern, automated tests, testing time shrunk from two days down to one day. This is a great example of how upgrading can not only provide better performance, but also save time and money through greater efficiency. You can read the full Automotive Ethernet Case Study and find out more about Keysight’s automotive Ethernet solutions.

Having a strong perimeter for protection has been a core security strategy for centuries, and it’s still the basic foundation for network security today. Enterprises traditionally focus most of their security efforts on stopping unauthorized access and threats at the network border, to protect the applications and sensitive data within.

 

However, that network border is no longer a solid defensive barrier. It’s getting increasingly stretched and fragmented as organizations migrate their applications and infrastructure to the cloud. In its 2017 State of the Hybrid Cloud report, Microsoft found that 63% of enterprises are already using hybrid cloud environments.

 

The result is that gaps are appearing in perimeter defenses, which can be exploited by hackers or malware to steal information and IP. The data breach at credit reference agency Equifax, which exposed the records of 143 million U.S. customers in September 2017, was caused by hackers exploiting a simple vulnerability in a web application. That same month, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Deloitte all suffered breaches from poorly configured Amazon S3 buckets.

 

These issues are forcing enterprises to rethink their approaches to data security. They’re starting to focus less on perimeter defenses, and more on identifying unusual user or network behavior which may be an early sign of a potential breach or attack. Another driver behind this rethink is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25th May 2018.

 

GDPR will force organizations to take greater responsibility over how they secure the personal data they hold, or risk significant penalties if they have a breach. Yet a recent analysis by Forrester found that only 25 percent of organizations are currently GDPR compliant, while just 22 percent expect to be compliant by the end of 2018.

 

Given the need to urgently address these challenges, what actions should enterprises take? Security Week recently published our article describing how organizations can rethink their security strategies to resolve these issues before they get out of control. Here’s a recap of the five key steps it describes:

 

1. Assign roles specific to new threats

Data security is a priority, so don’t spread responsibility for it across your IT department or add it to an existing manager’s workload. Putting a single person or team in charge ensures that it will get the attention it needs.

 

2. Audit data and infrastructure immediately

Enterprises need to know exactly what data they are dealing with, what policies need to be attached to each type of data, who has access to that data, and where workloads accessing critical data are running. This requires in-depth visibility across the entire enterprise network environment. It is also important to document data capture methods for compliance. An initial audit, and ongoing asset discovery is essential to identify what is vulnerable and where, so action can be taken to close the gaps.

 

3. Create baselines
Once the enterprise understands its data profiles, and who should have access to which type of data, this can be turned in to baselines of expected, normal behavior.

 

4. Monitor for abnormalities
Enterprises then need to monitor user and network behavior against these baselines to identify anomalies which could signal a potential breach. Examples are a user downloading terabytes of data, or an employee with marketing credentials accessing server logs.

 

5. Ensure security data is also secured
Enterprise security teams also need to secure their own processes. Personally-identifiable information (PII), included in everything from vlogs to personnel data, needs to be secured through data masking to ensure security itself is not the weak link.

 

In conclusion, security strategies focused solely on perimeter defenses are no longer capable of protecting sensitive data against theft and inadvertent leakage in today’s complex IT environments. Organizations need to be able to quickly identify threats and vulnerabilities inside their networks, to keep PII safe. After all, if they can’t see what’s happening, they have no control over it.

My network of fellow women engineers continues to be a huge support for me, something that began when I was studying Electrical Engineering and was one of just a handful of women in the classroom. Recently I was connecting with a long-time friend and colleague who works at a different technology company. Her management recently changed and she’s finding her new manager unfortunately inept managing a workforce that is different than himself. He’s a super nice person and may be good at what he does, except that he’s stumbling over managing my friend and she’s quickly gone from motivated and high-performing to disempowered and feeling excluded. What she’s discovering however is that it’s not because of any conscious behavior on the part of her new manager, it’s all unconscious behavior to which he just is not aware.  Fast forward in time, and she carefully laid out for him specific examples of what was happening in a manner so not to put him on the defensive. He listened attentively hanging on to each of her words and ultimately expressed gratitude for her sharing. He had had no idea what was going on nor why or how he was contributing. While his actual behaviors will have a long way to go, he is now conscious of how he is affecting others and he is asking for feedback. This is excellent! He is trying and he is learning. Unfortunately for my friend, while it’s appreciated and she is happy to see this beginning of transformation, she’s already moved on. Hopefully though his growth will help foster an inclusive environment to keep all of his employees engaged and high-performing in the future.


This story is one that too many of us can probably relate to and one that continues to frustrate me. It’s often not a blatant behavior making it all the harder to pinpoint and name. Instead, it’s the repeated references and actions that reveal underlying bias. While my friend did a great job managing the situation and taking care of herself – both by finding something better for herself in which she can once more thrive, and also helping to make the environment better for others – the responsibility should not have been hers in the first place. It is important to discontinue the assumed responsibility of the already marginalized to “educate” or “take care of” those to which she/he is different. We each need to take responsibility to recognize how we might be influencing a culture of inclusion or one of exclusion.


I’m grateful to work in a corporate culture where one of our male executives inspires other men to “listen up” to become advocates for women and turn awareness into action, and where I get to represent our company in a long-standing strategic relationship with the Society of Women Engineers. That relationship helps us learn and take action. And as Karen Horting, Society of Women Engineers Executive Director & CEO, stated in her recent Forbes Article “What Role Do Men Play In Creating Diversity In The Workplace?”, "the more we work to achieve diversity, the more we realize the important role men must play in achieving this.”  To all the women, may we be courageous self-advocates. To all the men, may we proactively become aware and then move quickly to action. And to all of us, may we each take on the responsibility ourselves and not expect the person who is marginalized to become she/he who educates us on that particular facet of diversity.
 

I just got back from the giant Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, and the main impression I took away was that the 5G future is arriving fast, with momentum building for the first rollouts of new services and devices later this year.  The delivery of these new solutions is happening much more rapidly than many in the industry predicted just one year ago, at MWC 2017. One of the main reasons for this is that the 3GPP industry group formalized the first set of standards for 5G in December 2017. This was key to enabling network equipment and component manufacturers to start building equipment, and for telcos to start conducting tests.

 

Another key contributing factor was the successful commercial debut of 5G at the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea. The games featured a range of advanced applications, from driverless buses using 5G links to navigate, to live 4K video streaming of key events. The result is that MWC 2018 saw leading mobile network operators including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon all announcing firm timetables for commercial 5G rollouts in the U.S. over the next 18 months. China Mobile and Japan’s NTT Docomo stated that they are targeting 2020 for their 5G launches.

 

Further innovations were announced by chip and device manufacturers: Huawei unveiled what it claims to be the first commercially available 5G chipsets, ready for use in a range of products and applications; and Intel has partnered with PC makers to develop 5G-enabled laptops for 2019.

 

Putting 5G to the test

And with 3GPP set to announce a second set of standards in the summer, the 5G wave is rising fast. Exciting times, but this acceleration towards pervasive 5G also means the industry is facing a range of complex challenges in order to realize the technology’s full potential, and make it truly successful. As the vast array of new services and products are being developed ready for market, they will need rigorous testing to ensure they meet both current and emerging industry standards, and deliver the performance expected of them.

 

That’s why MWC 2018 was a milestone event for Keysight, as we showcased several industry firsts, including the first 5G New Radio (NR)-ready device workflow solution, the world’s first 5G packet core high-scale network test solution, and advanced cloud and analytics capabilities to accelerate 5G NR testing of components and network equipment. It was also exciting to see our technologies showcased in leading 5G innovators’ booths. Qualcomm showcased 4 Gbps data rate with 5G @ 28 GHz frequencies using our network emulation solutions (NES).

 

We also announced a collaboration with Samsung Electronics to enable design and deployment of 5G devices to support early operator trials, and conducted interoperability demonstrations with Datang Mobile.

 

By offering complete end-to-end 5G test solutions, we’re giving the industry the flexibility and scope to deal with thousands of different configurations and test scenarios:  from enabling mobile operators to gain insights into and validate the capabilities of their entire ecosystems, to helping device and chipset manufacturers speed up their 5G product development cycles and gain a winning advantage in the market. 

 

Find out more about our comprehensive range of test solutions and capabilities for the entire 5G lifecycle here

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a complex program with matrixed organizational ownership and accountabilities, making it difficult for any one function to successfully manage it. As a result, it is often bounced around between different departments with pieces of accountability in each related organization – resembling the children’s game Hot Potato, whereby an object is quickly passed between a group of people until an individual, begrudgingly, ends up with it. In this post, I will review an organizational structure that may help stop the bouncing Hot Potato of CSR governance and drive clearer accountability.

 

Why so many Hot Potato players?

Every employee has a part to play in CSR, which means there are many business areas that have some semblance of ownership and accountability. In addition, the varied aspects of the program, including program documentation, internal and external reporting, and annual initiatives that make progress toward the CSR vision, each have their own set of detailed requirements. Take external CSR reporting as an example. This aspect alone has multiple facets across human resources, global sourcing, product, and environmental health and safety functions – just to name a few. And within each of those are a variety of required statistical approaches, measures and goals needed to support different external stakeholder requirements.

 

Add to this a geographically and/or functionally dispersed business, and managing a CSR program with so many organizational stakeholders – or Hot Potato players – can seem daunting at best, paralyzing at worst. But CSR efforts can’t be frozen by the complexity. There are commitments that must be met! So, what are CSR practitioners to do?

 

At Keysight, we looked at similarly complex and broad-reaching programs for organizational inspiration and quickly realized we could apply the same principals as any large, cross-functional program to CSR. What resulted was a governance structure similar to a corporate-level Program Management Office (PMO).

 

Leveraging PMO structure for CSR governance

In a recent blog post, Hamish Gray, Keysight Senior Vice President Corporate Services and CSR executive sponsor, discussed the six steps Keysight took towards an evolved CSR program model upon the company formation. Step six of this evolution focused on engaging a governance team. This was when we investigated how best to organize our CSR program engagement model for success. Maybe it is the engineering in our DNA, or our company’s multiple experiences with complex, leading-edge enterprise efforts, but it seemed logical to consider a PMO structure for our CSR governance.

 

There are varying PMO organizational approaches to consider, but all have the same fundamental structure of governance that can be applied to CSR just like any other cross-functional, enterprise-wide program.

 

  • Identification of a single executive sponsor: It is critical to identify a single executive that is accountable for CSR success. This doesn’t mean this individual owns every functional aspect of these efforts. It simply ensures there is a final strategic decision-maker in place that is ultimately responsible for the success of CSR. This role provides guidance to the team, helps secure resources and organizational linkages, and champions the program throughout the company. In Hot Potato terms, this is where the “potato” lands at the top level.

 

  • Buy-in, guidance and support from an executive steering committee: Representation from the highest available executives and senior managers of the key functions involved in CSR provides a global business priority perspective to key CSR topics, assists in resolving strategy issues and policy decisions, and ensures alignment, control, and resourcing to implement to plan company-wide. This committee also provides an active escalation and decision path for balancing resources and prioritizing emerging trends against business commitments.

 

  • Empowered core team of functional stakeholders to deliver to plan: There are many ways to structure a core team, but essentially there are two critical levels at play in the CSR space.  
    • Governing program team: In Keysight this is a small team with a primary lead, me, that serves as the conduit for day-to-day program needs such as managing the plan of record (POR), commitment tracking, communications and deliverables to ensure program costs and resourcing are in line with our CSR vision and company priorities. Risks, actions, issues, decisions and opportunities are funneled through this central group for disposition, and offers a single CSR escalation path across the company.
    • Functional lead team: A working group where representatives from each function serve as single points of contact within their organizations. These team members represent input from their functional areas into the strategic decision-making process while providing a single point of contact within their organization to manage function-specific deliverables. In Keysight’s case, we further identify individuals from this working group to function as leads for each of our foundational pillars, helping manage any reporting aligned to critical program areas.

 

  • Competent extended team to support deliverables: Given the breadth of CSR efforts, core team members may not be detailed subject matter experts (SMEs) in their functions. Core team members rely on SMEs within their organizations who become the CSR extended team. This is particularly helpful during reporting season, when quickly engaging and communicating can help speed delivery of the multiple data collection requirements.

 

The Hot Potato has landed … and it’s okay!

By taking a PMO approach to CSR governance, Keysight has been able to support the program vision, business commitments and broader community by allowing us to:

  • Strategically manage CSR with key business priority and strategic decision-makers in place.
  • Clarify and drive accountability.
  • More easily gain alignment on resourcing and organizational support to meet CSR objectives across the company – functionally and globally.
  • Implement a defined process that identifies, consolidates, and prioritizes CSR needs while gaining executive alignment for resourcing and implementation.
  • Leverage work and resources to collectively drive program success, while minimizing resource impacts.
  • Proactively assess and prioritize emerging trends and future requirements.

 

So far it has worked for us, but certainly isn’t the only way to effectively organize for successful CSR governance. I’d like to hear from you! How has your company organized to meet CSR program needs? Do you have any learnings you could share that we should consider, or some best practices that have made a difference for your business?