This paper describes the results of extensive performance and reliability characterization of a silicon-based surface micro-machined tunable optical filter. The device comprises a high-finesse Fabry-Perot etalon with one flat and one curved dielectric mirror. The curved mirror is mounted on an electrostatically actuated silicon nitride membrane tethered to the substrate using silicon nitride posts. A voltage applied to the membrane allows the device to be tuned by adjusting the length of the cavity. The device is coupled optically to an input and an output single mode fiber inside a hermetic package. Extensive performance characterization (over operating temperature range) was performed on the packaged device. Parameters characterized included tuning characteristics, insertion loss, filter line-width and side mode suppression ratio. Reliability testing was performed by subjecting the MEMS structure to a very large number of actuations at an elevated temperature both inside the package and on a test board. The MEMS structure was found to be extremely robust, running trillions of actuations without failures. Package level reliability testing conforming to Telcordia standards indicated that key device parameters including insertion loss, filter line-width and tuning characteristics did not change measurably over the duration of the test.