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Network Condition Simulator


In today’s scenario many networked applications run on our smartphones. These applications interact with network components over public internet. For some of the applications like video applications, performance and hence the user experience depends upon the performance of the network connectivity.

The various parameters which characterise the quality of the network connectivity are as follows:

  • Bandwidth
  • Packet Delay / Latency
  • Packet Loss
  • Packet jitter (variable delay)

These characteristics differ for different types of underlying technology providing network connectivity. Even for a single technology, these network parameters change with time and at different locations depending upon the resources being used by the ISP providing the network connectivity.

Since the network connectivity is not controlled by application provider, application provider needs to test its application performance over different network conditions to ensure that application is usable under different scenarios in the field.

Network condition simulation aims at simulating the real-life value of these parameters in lab environment during testing.

Features of Network Condition Simulator:

Salient features of the network condition simulator are as follows:

  • Linux and python-based Network Simulator
  • Simulation of network condition in lab environment for Network conditions like bandwidth, delay, packet loss
  • Provides capability to automate the network impairments to be introduced in the network at specific intervals of time (using the JSON file).
  • Can be used to manually introduce a specific impairment by passing network parameters using a command line interface
  • Ability to degrade Bandwidth, introduce delays and packet loss in the data over the network interface in a time-varying manner
  • Various network profiles like Drop Profile, Ramp up Profile, Oscillating Profile
  • Support for hand-crafted as well as “recorded” profiles
  • While simulating the network conditions the simulator logs all the impairments being introduced. During the Post processing, this log serves for correlating the impairment and the network traffic capture for the Player and analysing the Player performance

Use Cases

Network Condition Simulator can be used in measuring performance of the OTT application/Player performance under different network condition. In a test automation scenario, network condition simulator can be used as part of a larger test setup, facilitating regression testing under predetermined network conditions. It also helps in comparison of application performance across different releases/different platforms etc. In a specific scenario, it can be used in the setup for measuring/evaluating encoder performance in different network conditions.

The following approaches can be considered for the network simulator in the test setup.

  • Identify and record real-world network behaviour.
  • Virtualize network conditions within the test environment.
  • Integrate with testing automation tools.
  • Conduct thorough results analysis to identify potential bottlenecks and validate performance objectives.
  • Enable rapid remediation and optimization, including the ability to calculate the ROI on optimization initiatives.

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