Adtran takes the reins on Broadband Forum's application-level testing project

The Broadband Forum is adding application-level testing to keep up with the complexities that NFV adds to networks.(Pixabay)

Adtran has taken a leadership role in the development of the Broadband Forum's new application-level testing initiative.

Application-level testing allows service providers, vendors and testing labs to create a reference implementation that allows them to conduct lab-based testing for the verification of the performances for various applications. The goal of the project is to create application-level testing that can be duplicated in labs around the world to better manage increasingly complex subscriber traffic on networks.

With the advent of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), multiple stakeholders are competing to use the same resources in order to put their applications on networks.

"When that is all implemented on top of a virtualized infrastructure it becomes even more important than ever to be able to verify that performance," said Ken Ko, Adtran's senior staff scientist and the project leader of the application level-testing project. "Being able to do this with application-level traffic has been important for some time, but it's taking on increased importance right now because the industry is going through this huge transition with virtualization and software-defined control.

"Because of the increased virtualization, we're getting opportunities for a lot of features enabled in the network that weren't really practical before. "

The project defines and specifies model test traffic at the application level that recreates the real-time behavior of multiple applications that are being used by multiple subscribers.

"We have been doing this for a portion of our own testing for some time now and have gotten very good results," Ko told FierceTelecom. "It's totally independent of the access technology, so it works across wired, wireless, copper, fiber and coax."

The current implementation of the project is focused on high-speed internet access for residential subscribers, but Ko said business applications, which were more varied and complex, were also on the road map.

Service providers could use the application-level testing to verify their subscribers were getting the quality of experience that was required at the application level.

Vendors would do exactly the same kind of testing to demonstrate to their service provider customers that their applications were meeting the desired performance levels, or to optimize their own systems internally like Adtran has done.

Testing labs would use it for either vendors or service providers as part of their certification plans as test cases were written, according to Ko.

"There are a lot of conditions where multiple stakeholders share resources and the resources need to be designed for peak bursty conditions that are not necessarily being tested for now," Ko said. "Those peak bursty conditions are the kind that applications generate. What we are talking about here is not a replacement of the testing that people have been doing, but complimenting that testing."

The first project in the application-level traffic generation for the Advanced Broadband Testing Project Stream is expected to be finished later this year with additional projects slated for early 2019.