Networking technologies are going through rapid changes of many kinds, from
small innovations to revolutionary leaps forward. Each change offers new
business opportunities, but change also comes with potential risks and unforeseen
Testing overcomes these uncertainties. It is an essential component of every
successful networking project because testing helps manage risks to deliver
predictable quality outcomes.
Sound investments in technology require accurate, timely and reliable
information. Aggressive rollouts from sales brochure to purchase
order to deployment often result in unexpected surprises, costly
outages, wasted resources, decreased productivity, lost time, missed
expectations, rework or additional outlay to rectify the problems.
Considering what's at stake, investing in new technology without
a strategy for risk minimisation is a recipe for disaster.
Each vendor always has the best and only products and buyers must
beware of things like quality variations, product idiosyncrasies
or over-investing in wasted resources, capacity or future-proofing.
Selecting the right products that work together as expected can
be an overwhelming task.
Testing is a practical results-oriented approach to qualifying outcomes
and minimising risks.
Significant challenges to tackle include:
Gaining sufficient information about the technology
prior to financial commitment
Verifying that the product or solution does everything
the vendor claims it does
Developing new services and applications without
adversely impacting users on production platforms
Qualifying proposals to ensure solutions are fit
for purpose and meet quality and technical specifications
Overcoming uncertainties or incredulousness about
achieving the desired business outcomes
Uncovering problems or defects before your customers
Tuning and optimising performance to get the most
from your assets.
Proof-of-concept testing allows an initial risk free evaluation
of the proposed product or solution. It is used to demonstrate the
feasibility and basic functionality of the concept, experiment with
potential options and gather sufficient information to begin deployment
planning and design. Proof-of-concept testing takes place in a test
lab or development site on a small scale mock-up of the proposed
Acceptance testing is a rigorous process to determine whether the
proposed product or solution complies with necessary technical standards
and specifications and is fit for purpose as intended. It is typically
performed on a sample product, as an independent entity or from
an interoperability perspective within an end-to-end system, in
a controlled test lab environment. Acceptance testing aspects will
include functionality, performance, interoperability and conformance.
It is also used to determine scaleability constraints, operating
stress and load limits and to identify flaws or deficiencies. Acceptance
testing is often linked to commercial acceptance, where approval
forms a major payment milestone.
Once the product or solution meets the acceptance criteria it is
approved for use independent of unit quantity or location, conditional
on the intended purpose. Further criteria may need to be meet before
the product is acceptable for future applications. In addition,
product modifications such as revision upgrades will also be subject
to acceptance testing.
A prototype is a more complex trial of the planned network, proposed
service offerings or new applications. Prototyping is usually a
fully functional test of part or all of the end-to-end solution.
It is used to prove the design and optimise configuration to get
the greatest benefit out of your project's deliverables. The prototype
may also be used to develop and confirm implementation plans, migration
plans and service descriptions.
Staging provides an opportunity to test and configure all components
before they arrive on the customer's site. It is used to integrate,
configure and test site-specific software and hardware, burn-in
equipment, label units, assign numbering and addressing plans, record
serial numbers, create backup images and perform scenarios such
things as for disaster recovery planning. Staging is a critical
step in out-of-the-box turnkey installations.
Pilots and field trials offer opportunities to gather vital information
about end-user experience and operational knowledge, before ramping
up to full-scale deployment. Pilots are used to evaluate end-user
feedback to functional and performance characteristics in a real-world
environment. This information is used to optimise technical and
operational processes and develop targeted marketing campaigns.
Commissioning testing is used to verify new installations are ready-for-use
and meet the necessary operational requirements to carry production
traffic. Commissioning tests check network connectivity with neighbouring
nodes, traffic flows as expected, management systems have visibility
to gather alarms and statistics, and that deployment practices and
procedures have been executed in accordance with the design and
implementation guidelines. Successful commissioning testing may
form the official handover from implementation into operations,
and is often associated with a major payment milestone.
In-service testing is an essential operational capability that allows
you to instantly and remotely check, diagnose and troubleshoot faults
and performance issues. Automating in-service testing processes
and systems enhances visibility and knowledge of live platforms,
simplifies complex troubleshooting and maintenance, prevents unnecessary
no fault found dispatches, reduces manual intervention and streamlines
service assurance work. Pre-emptive in-service testing reduces downtime
and increases productivity to meet SLAs and deliver greater customer
care and satisfaction.
Network Enablers provides a range of
testing services effective throughout the development life-cycle. At each
stage, the scope and degree of testing will depend upon your project.
Network Enablers' testing services
are tailored to suit your specific requirements, giving you the freedom
and flexibility to control your project's success.
There is little doubt that introducing new technology is a complex
and difficult activity with many associated risks. Testing provides
a mechanism that facilitates a smooth transition onto new technology
by delivering a number of benefits.