Overview of TCN Ethernet Design & Analysis Suite

Product overview

TCN Ethernet Design & Analysis Suite consists of three products (modules) and they all share the very same graphical user frontend.

  • TCN Ethernet Simulator™ - using network simulation, predict Ethernet link bandwidth utilization as well as latency and jitter of time-sensitive signals
  • TCN Ethernet StreamAnalyzer™ - inspect data packets by real-time capture of traffic passing a physical Ethernet link during a test bench experimentation
  • TCN Ethernet TimeAnalyzer™ - compute best- and worst case bounds on packet forwarding latency in a model based network analysis tool.

TCN Ethernet Simulator™ is an application for simulating data-frame traffic-forwarding over a virtual switched Ethernet network. Using simulation, insights into network behavior and performance can be gained regarding existing network setups, but especially allows for evaluation and test of network design options well in advance of acquiring and testing any physical network equipment, saving money and development time.

During a network simulation, the behavior of the virtual network devices and the traffic they forward mirrors that would be occurring in the physical Ethernet-network counterpart. As in a true network, hosts are the sources of data traffic. The size of data frames sent by hosts can range from small to very large depending on their payload content. Large packets, e.g., carrying radar- or video frames needs to be fragmented by the IP-stack into many smaller Ethernet frames. Thus, large frames result in a burst of packets being injected into the network.

After having traversed a link, the Ethernet frames are typically received and temporarily stored in an Ethernet switch. While being re-transmitted onto the next link by the switch, the burst can cause contention on the egress link resulting in increased forwarding latency and jitter for other frames entering the switch through another ingress port, but wanting to exit through the same egress port as the burst. If these data packets carry time sensitive control information, it becomes evident that the increase in latency and jitter might conflict with real-time constraints they might be subject to.

TCN Ethernet Simulator™ allows simulating data frame forwarding in a virtual Ethernet network setup. By analyzing the collected data frame latency statistics, the user can gain insights into, for example:

  • How a certain network topology copes with different traffic loads
  • How the traffic behaves under different network configurations
  • Verify that timing constraints applied to data frames carrying time critical information are satisfied.