Updated March 17, 2023
Introduction to Protocol Testing
Protocol Testing is a process of verification and validation of a pre-set collection of rules designed for a specific network. This testing is applicable to the protocols employed on any type of network, including the networks with switches, a LAN network, routers, a wireless network, or even VoIP. The several kinds of protocol testing performed on a network are validation for correctness, testing for interoperability (meaning, operational ability, and compatibility with other similar or different networks), Latency checks, monitoring the Bandwidth, etc.
What is Protocol Testing?
Protocol in general terms means the specific procedure or system of rules to be followed to perform anything. It involves testing protocols in the domain of Switching, Routing, Wireless, and VoIP. The structure of the packets that are sent over the network is tested. While communicating between the computers over the network, both the routing protocols (signals) and routing protocols need to follow the instructions.
There are the 3 most important things that are tested:
- Proper decoding of data is performed in transmission (by checking the structure of packets sent by the devices).
- A proper session analysis is done.
- Full use of Simulator for simulation of different units of networking components.
Various Types of Protocol Testing
The below-mentioned aspects are tested:
- Latency: Time needed to send the packet from the source node to the destination node.
- Bandwidth: Number of data packets that can be sent in one second.
- Correctness: Checks the correctness of the packet received for the individual protocol.
- Interoperability: Ability of computer system to transmit the data packets from source to destination.
In order to test the above-mentioned aspects, we need the proper testing of Protocols. In the broad category, It is divided into Stress and Reliability testing which includes Load testing, Stress testing, and Performance testing, and Functional testing which basically checks the main functionality and includes Positive testing, Negative testing, Conformance testing, Interoperability testing, etc.
Testing types are mentioned below:-
- Stress and Reliability Testing: Includes the non-functional testing and overall performance testing of the protocols.
- Functional Testing: All the behavioral aspects and the overall functionality of the protocol is tested.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Below are the advantages and disadvantages:
Below mentioned are some of the advantages:-
- Transferring the data with maximum efficiency, reliability, and security from one computer to another is of utmost importance. Hence it needs to be performed in order to reduce the risk of failure.
- There are several times when the overall performance disrupts when the load increases or the number of packets transferred per second increases which can create many issues. In-depth Protocol performance testing can help to raise these scenarios before failure.
- Decoding and encoding data packets when transmitting from one place to another is important and so does its testing.
- Performing negative tests like entering the invalid key, user authentication and authorization is very important.
- It is very important to check that the full bandwidth is utilized along with the speed which can be tested.
Below mentioned are some of the disadvantages:-
Apart from the advantages, there are some disadvantages that should be understood clearly by the test manager before opting for Protocol testing in a project:
- The specific test team is required for the Protocol testing, so it could hamper the project budget.
- Sometimes testers go deep into the Protocol testing test case creation and test execution which is very time-consuming and cause a delay in the release cycle of the project.
- For the performance testing, proper automation tools are required which are costly and could raise the bar of the project budget to very high.
- Very skilled testers are needed for the Protocol testing which would demand high salaries.
Tools for Protocol Testing
There are a lot of tools available in the market. Some of them are given below:
- TTCN: TTCN is basically a programming language that is used for test case design and implementation in Protocol testing. It can be used to define the test scenarios, test variables, test steps, timers, etc whatever is required for complete test case creation. TTCN can be used in various fields like mobile communication, smart cards, Internet Protocols but Protocol testing is used to test behavioral responses.
- Wireshark: Wireshark is also one of the commonly used tools used for Protocol testing. It has one important feature that captures the data packets and converts them into a human-readable form. It helps to get complete in-depth detail of network traffic when the data packet is established, the session starts, and the size of data sent at a time. The decryption of data packets with Wireshark supports various protocols like SSL/TLS, IPsec, etc.
- Scapy: Scapy is one of the most powerful tools which is basically used for data packet manipulation. It creates the data packets, encodes and decodes the packets, analyzes the packets, and sends them into the network. The main work of the Scapy is handling the transferring and receiving packets with different requests. It can also handle trace-routing, probing, attacks, and network discovery. Scripts for the transfer of packets in Scapy is written in Python language.
The above article clearly describes Protocol testing and its importance in the field of testing. As this is very new and different from another testing, it would be interesting for a person freaky to learn new things. It is recommended in order to get in-depth knowledge of Protocol testing, one must go through the various tools and use them by yourself so that exact working would be more clear.
This is a guide to Protocol Testing. Here we discuss the introduction to protocol testing along with the types along with the advantages and disadvantages. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –