As Service Providers roll out new wireless broadband services, they need to assure that their network is robust, scalable and resilient and Vendors can provide that. Deploying a new technology is always a risk and a wise Service Provider will do everything possible to minimise the risk factors. The key to reducing risk is testing to ensure that the network does indeed perform as desired under load.
The novel solutions by PRISMA are the industry’s first wireless broadband load & stress testing ones. They are based on PRISMA’s well proven hardware and software platform, which is used by some of the largest wireless mobile Service Providers and leading infrastructure Vendors to test 2, 2.5, 3G and 4G networks and network elements.
With the new radio interface solutions, equipment Vendors as well as Service Providers and System Integrators can now load & stress test wireless broadband networks and network elements, to validate performance and determine real versus theoretical limits. Furthermore, the same equipment can be used to monitor the behavior of the deployed networks and to replay traffic to reproduce problems.
Load & stress testing is the only way to identify some sorts of device level bugs, as it is only under load that certain parts of the device, such as the queuing mechanism, get tested. Many edge events, such as race conditions, are exacerbated under load and become frequent rather than rare.
In the same way, stressing an entire network or part of a network helps to identify the scalability of the solution and to determine its behavior under sub-optimum conditions. Only by overloading a network is it possible to verify that critical services are maintained and that service degradation under overload is graceful and equitable. In particular, stress testing allows the vendor to demonstrate that prioritisation and fairness algorithms in adjacent pieces of equipment work together synergistically and do not end up countering each other.
In addition, stress testing may help identify the optimal network architecture for a particular service model. Different architectures show different modes of degradation under stress, and what may work well for one service model may be unacceptable for another. It is critical to determine the practical maximal for numbers of subscribers, subscriber range and so on for the particular services offered and to determine the effect of proprietary vendor features, such as packet classification and prioritisation.
Stress tests simulate worst case conditions and thus can provide assurance that the network will continue to function under such conditions. Moreover, stress testing allows Vendors to assist Service Providers in correctly sizing their networks, so as to provide a consistent Customer experience as the number of subscribers increases, and to verify that the introduction of new services will not affect the existing ones.
Without the ability to simulate a large network, it is impossible to reproduce an actual Customer’s network. This means that there is no way to validate a Customer’s network without trying it and no way to troubleshoot it except by flying support personnel onsite.
Network Equipment Manufacturers can benefit from four different but interoperable testing solutions.
Please refer to the dedicated web pages for more details.