Lab Automation

Virtualized Patch Panel for Layer 1 Cross-Connect

Wire Once and Never Re-Cable

A significant amount of lab testing time is spent planning and re-cabling the Layer 1 physical topology before any testing even occurs.  Plus, the process of monitoring the health of your infrastructure and troubleshooting connectivity issues can be cumbersome. Not to mention expensive lab equipment like signal generators can be underutilized, and lab setup can be prone to human error.

With the Pluribus lab automation solutions, you can quickly build new topologies in software in a matter of minutes with visibility and troubleshooting built-in, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional Layer 1 matrix switches.

Manage Lab Connectivity and Troubleshooting Virtually


Pluribus VirtualWire switch converts media and physical topologies into virtual ones.

The Pluribus VirtualWire switch is a highly flexible, highly-scalable physical layer non-blocking switching matrix powered by the Pluribus Netvisor® OS. It is designed to build dynamic, high-performance lab connectivity with packet/application/link layer visibility.

VirtualWire enables an engineer to conserve time, maximize productivity, reduce costs and eliminate errors associated with manual patching. VirtualWire also allows users to store well-known physical configurations and reproduce the configurations at will for subsequent testing. VirtualWire also offers a powerful RESTful API to integrate with a customer’s own management and orchestration tools.


  • After initial wiring, Pluribus Virtual Wire acts as a virtual patch panel

  • Scalability – add switches in the Virtual Wire fabric as needed

  • Efficient sharing of expensive test tools (e.g. traffic generators), which can be dynamically moved across test environments with a software command.

  • Save cable configuration for future re-use

  • Fabric-wide flow, packet, link-layer visibility to accelerate troubleshooting of physical layer issues as well as applications

  • Significant CapEx savings versus traditional Layer 1 switches: 1/10th the cost!


  • Virtual Wire 1:1 and 1:n port association

  • Transparency to Ethernet frame and L2 protocols (CRC, Error frame, LLDP, FEX, Instant Access etc)

  • Media/Speed conversion with low latency

  • Link status tracking across Virtual Wire fabric

  • Fabric management can be done via single switch via CLI and/or API

  • Time Machine to replay TCP flows

  • Hardware-based packet filtering, packet capture in PCAP format and packet analysis with VCFcenter

  • sFlow, IPFIX support

  • Highly programmable – CLI, Python, RESTful API and C-based APIs facilitate rapid development

  • Media conversion copper<>fiber

Use Cases

Our Lab Automation Solution:

Manual cabling is time-consuming, error-prone and inflexible as it is limited by device proximity and transceiver/media/speed capabilities. Intra-rack cabling requirements are topology specific and difficult to organize. Reconnecting the same devices in a different topology involves inefficient manual effort. Plus, it is difficult and time-consuming to reproduce previously created topologies.

Instead, with Pluribus VirtualWire:

  • You can program virtual cables between devices

  • Your lab is cabled once, optimally

  • Reconfigure any topology implementation easily via pure software reconfiguration

  • Save and re-use exact topology information automatically

Efficient Lab Equipment Sharing

Lab services are usually very manual: you have to go to the lab owner, then go to any-and-all equipment owners and then determine what to reserve according to your needs. It is a very manual, time-consuming effort which leads to needless reserving of entire block/racks, and has long lead times for both setup and dismantling.

With Pluribus VirtualWire, you have Efficient Lab Equipment Sharing:

  • You only have to rack and cable once, using a programmable patch panel

  • You can reserve equipment and implement any topology – dynamically

  • Increase your lab equipment utilization by 300% or more

  • Avoid teams repurchasing expensive equipment needlessly

High Availability Lab Testing

The challenge with testing equipment for high availability is the fact that equipment may cross data centers and borders, and the ability to rapidly test a failure isn’t so easy – would you have someone stand in a remote data center to just “pull a plug”?

Instead, Pluribus Layer 1 VirtualWire allows you to rapidly configure and test any test scenario of interconnection through our virtual patch panel switch:

  • Avoid cost prohibitive, locally distributed test assets

  • Instead, employ a centralized test center to save on costs

  • Span across encryption-restricted countries by logging in and testing from offshore – no local assets needed.

  • Conduct High Availability regression testing – repeatably.