The Importance of Network Emulation in Application Testing

Network Emulation in Application Testing

There are different techniques to access files that are locally stored and the ones that are at a remote location such as cloud. Today, most of the organizations rely on cloud based services to store data and host different applications. Based on the fact that different organizations have different networked environments, the functionality of an application might differ in different conditions.

In order to ensure a seamless and hassle free performance of such applications, there is a need to simulate realistic network conditions. Most of such applications often work brilliantly in an ideal condition. However, developers and testers might face stiff challenges in the network, especially during busy hours. Moreover, the dynamic network behavior makes it even more difficult for the testers to incorporate any feasible test. High latency, low bandwidth, data loss, etc. are some of the key challenges that are faced by testers on a regular basis. Such worse and uncontrollable situations demand a need to have some effective tests, preferably a realistic network emulation. Here effective test does not necessarily mean long tests, which are often responsible for re-occurrence of bad conditions. Indeed, a realistic operational emulation is the need of the hour.

By simulating a network, one can eliminate the need to use a live network, which is considered to be a challenging task. In addition, it gives a better analysis and understanding of the performance of an application across different network environments. With the ability to create mixed and complex networks, network emulators are considered among the best tools for the testing business. Network emulators allow you to develop realistic scenarios, which are found in corporate networks. It includes creating situations with data loss, errors, jitter, high latency, and low bandwidth. All this can be done without the need to have any cables or devices whatsoever.

The above-mentioned network characteristics have a great impact on the client and the server response time for each other. For example, a lower bandwidth results in a slow access over the resources. The extra time taken to load a page directly increases the use of threads by the application servers. Mobile networks often face the confrontation of having insufficient bandwidth along with high latency as compared to broadband and WiFi.

Latency is yet another important characteristic of a network, which defines the time required to access or load a web page. A higher latency would mean that more time is required to load a page, due to the increased subsequent requests.

With the latency and bandwidth being an important factor in mobile networks and the application of the same in simulated network environments, one can ensure best user experience and better response time.

Network emulators are becoming an important factor in application testing, especially with the dependency on cloud as well as visualization. There are various emulators that can be used, including the multi-routed emulators and the ones that can be downloaded as a software.  Such emulators are capable of replicating networks compromising of LAN, WAN, Cloud, and even the ones that are used by government organizations and military personnel.

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