Paragon-neo/100G: How to create a virtual instrument

It’s possible to run a ‘virtual instrument’ (VI) version of the Paragon-neo and Paragon-100G GUI, which gives full UI functionality without requiring any Calnex hardware. This can be useful for becoming familiar with using the instrument, or for developing automated test processes (scripts).

Note: the ‘capture’ data that is generated by the VI is not related to the configuration of the instrument, and CANNOT be used for analysis. All UI, CAT and PFV functionality is available within the VI and so it can be used with confidence for development and training purposes, but no importance should be placed on the capture data in it.


The virtual instrument must be run in an Oracle VirtualBox environment. This can be obtained from The use of version 6.0 is recommended as later versions have not been validated for use with the VI.

The requirements for the host PC are

  1. at least 4GB of RAM (8GB or more is recommended)

  2. 64-bit MS Windows 7/8/10

  3. Virtualisation extensions enabled in the BIOS (consult your PC’s manual for guidance on how to do this)

To run a VI requires the appropriate LiveCD image for the required instrument. Please email Calnex at from your work email address to request a copy of this. Please state which instrument (Paragon-neo, Paragon-100G or Attero-100G) you require, and a brief explanation of your intended use of the VI.

Note: the installation .iso image or .tar file cannot be used for the VI.

If your PC does not meet the minimum requirements or you do not have the LiveCD, do not proceed until these have been obtained.


Run the .exe file obtained from the VirtualBox link above and accept all installation defaults. Accept any warnings about installing non-signed device drivers.

Note: the installation process will momentarily disconnect your network connection, so ensure any other activities will not be affected by this.

Once VirtualBox is installed, launch the application and click New. In the configuration window, enter the info as shown below:

Name: [a suitable name to identify the instrument and version being configured]

Type: Linux

Version: Debian (64-bit)

If the Machine Folder option is presented, select the folder in which the LiveCD image is located.

then click Next to display the Memory Size configuration. Move the slider to select at least 2048MB. Allowing 3072MB or 4098MB is recommended if PC RAM allows it (i.e. 8GB or more is fitted):

Click Next, then select Do Not Add a Virtual Hard Disk

Click Create then Continue to accept the warning that will be displayed:

You should now have an entry in the VirtualBox Manager for the VI created:

Click once to select this item, then click the Settings icon to display the configuration window

and select the Storage entry

Highlight the Empty entry, tick the LiveCD/DVD box then use the blue circle icon beside the Optical Drive menu to select the LiveCD previously downloaded:

Next, select the Network entry. There are two options for networking:

Host-only Adapter: this only allows connection to the VI from the computer on which VirtualBox is running. It does not require any LAN connectivity.

Bridged Adapter: this enables other computers to access the VI across the LAN and so is of use if configuring a shared VI.

For most installations, the Host-only Adapter option is most suitable, so select the preferred option in the Attached To dropdown menu then click OK.

In the main window, click the green Start arrow to launch the VI. A command window will be displayed, in which (after a minute or two) the VI IP address will be displayed (highlighted in this screenshot in yellow):

Using a supported internet browser, connect to this IP address (in this example,

You can now interact with, and script against, this IP address as if it was a real instrument.

Note: any changes made in the VI will be lost when the VI is closed. Every launch of the VI will start with a default configuration.

To close the VI, simply close the command window using the X

and when prompted choose Power off the machine:

To restart the VI, launch VirtualBox, highlight the VI you want to launch, then click the green Start arrow.