Red Helix enables Test Automation Success for CityFibre

Category: News
Published: 11th July 2024

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Advanced test automation accelerates CityFibre’s speed to market of network upgrades and products


  • Test automation infrastructure from Red Helix and design and implementation expertise from ePlus enables full automation of test environment for network upgrades and product launches

  • Automated testing accelerates speed to market, reducing testing time by up to 99% and increasing test capacity by 300%

  • New testing framework uses Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) to increase network operation efficiency and streamline adoption of emerging technologies.


11th July 2024. CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent full fibre network, has now fully automated its network infrastructure platform test environment – a dedicated facility where all its new products, network technology changes and software upgrades are rigorously tested prior to implementation across its nationwide network.

Advanced test infrastructure provided by test automation market leader Red Helix, combined with a bespoke automation framework designed and built with professional services from ePlus has enabled CityFibre to significantly increase the speed, volume and accuracy of its testing, while also supporting innovation and future introduction of emerging technologies.

The new end-to-end test automation capability has reduced the duration of each test by up to 99% while increasing test capacity by 300%. With tests previously taking 15 minutes now taking just 10 seconds and the ability to run tests outside core working hours, CityFibre’s engineers have more time to address issues raised during the tests themselves. The automation solution also enables rapid analysis and interrogation of test data, while maximising equipment lifecycle by reducing manual touches in an otherwise high touch environment.

The test infrastructure provided by Red Helix combines advanced technologies such as Keysight Ixia Novus and IxLoad platforms to simulate complex network environments and improve equipment lifecycle, reliability and flexibility. To facilitate seamless physical connectivity and eliminate the need for cabling before each test, Huber+Suhner Polatis optical switches and Lepton Systems Layer 1 switches are used. The test infrastructure environment is then controlled using Quali CloudShell test automation software, allowing for continuous remote testing, scheduling, and management of multiple tests through a simple interface, with consolidated reporting.

Design and implementation expertise provided by ePlus helped to deliver the new automated testing framework. The framework, which incorporates robust Open Source Testing Frameworks integrated into Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tooling, enables engineers to schedule and rapidly perform hundreds of tests in a single keystroke, with results then automatically highlighting issues. The same framework also enables CityFibre to fully test any new software release or emerging technology in a consistent and repeatable way.

As a result, CityFibre is now able to accelerate operational readiness and bring new products, network technology and software upgrades to market sooner.

David Tomalin, CityFibre’s Group CTO, said: “Rigorous testing is key to ensuring that new products and network technology upgrades can get to market faster. The new carrier grade, future-fit testing infrastructure and processes we have put in place through our partnerships with Red Helix and ePlus have transformed our capabilities, driving greater speed, volume, accuracy and efficiency. This will deliver even better outcomes for our wholesale partners and the homes and businesses they serve.”

Rob Pocock, Technology Director at Red Helix, added: “CityFibre’s determination to implement a world-class test automation environment has made this project hugely rewarding. We were chosen as a trusted partner due to our proven track record for increasing test environment capability for major network operators. Without the burden of legacy technology and systems, CityFibre is now able to harness the full potential of test automation. This dramatically improves the quality of its testing and the speed at which it can innovate and implement change, maintaining its position as the full fibre market leader.”

Rob Neep, Account Director at ePlus, said: “Our professional services have enabled CityFibre to launch its innovative new testing framework. The framework greatly enhances CityFibre’s operational excellence and testing capabilities by significantly reducing test duration and increasing test throughput. It also helps maximise investment in testing infrastructure and accelerates adoption of emerging technologies. As a long-term partner, we’re excited to help CityFibre leverage innovation in order to maximise service quality, network performance, and security for the benefit of its wholesale partners.”

– ENDS –


About Red Helix

Red Helix is a market leader in network test, monitoring, automation and cybersecurity for network owners large and small.

But we offer more than just optimisation and security. We care about our clients. We are committed to understanding their pain points and helping them navigate the associated complexities and challenges, so they can make the right decisions at every turn.

We listen and understand, to provide the solution that’s right for you. It’s our business to keep your business constantly resilient, protected and performing optimally.

To learn more about the 4 stages of test automation maturity, click here.

Red Helix Test Automation

About CityFibre:

CityFibre is the UK’s largest independent Full Fibre infrastructure platform, providing carrier-neutral digital infrastructure to its wholesale customers and enabling ultra-fast, reliable and futureproof broadband, ethernet and 5G services to serve homes and businesses as well as schools, hospitals and GPs surgeries.

CityFibre’s Full Fibre network rollout programme targets up to a third of the UK market; representing up to 8m homes, 800k businesses, 400k local authority sites and 250k 5G access points. CityFibre has already announced 285 cities, towns and villages that will receive a transformational digital upgrade as part of the nationwide rollout.

As the only 100% Full Fibre wholesale network in the UK, CityFibre is trusted by major Internet Service Providers and mobile operators including TalkTalk, Three, Vodafone and Zen as well as a new generation of smaller regional ISPs dedicated to delivering Full Fibre Broadband.

CityFibre is based in London and is owned by funds managed by Antin Infrastructure Partners and Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Mubadala Investment Company, Interogo Holding and Newlight Partners.

About ePlus

ePlus has an unwavering and relentless focus on leveraging technology to create inspired and transformative business outcomes for its customers. Offering a robust portfolio of solutions, as well as a broad range of consultative and managed services across the technology spectrum, ePlus has proudly achieved more than 30 years of success, carrying customers forward through adversity, rapidly changing environments, and other obstacles. ePlus is a trusted advisor, bringing expertise, credentials, talent and a thorough understanding of innovative technologies, spanning security, cloud, data centre, networking, collaboration and emerging solutions, to organizations across all industry segments.

With complete lifecycle management services and flexible payment solutions, ePlus’ more than 1,890 associates are focused on cultivating positive customer experiences and are dedicated to their craft, harnessing new knowledge while applying decades of proven experience. ePlus is headquartered in Virginia, with locations in the United States, UK, Europe, and Asia‐Pacific.