EmulationEngine Provides Selectable Multimode 802.11a/b/g Scalability and Load Testing

EmulationEngine Provides Selectable Multimode 802.11a/b/g Scalability and Load Testing


Extending its leadership in Wi-Fi test and analysis, Communication Machinery Corporation (CMC) today unveiled its second generation EmulationEngine™ Family, enabling Wireless LAN designers and network engineers to test 802.11a, b or g products and systems using a single emulator. The EmulationEngine Family delivers a powerful new hardware platform that supports the extensive feature set of the company’s original EmulationEngine and creates a foundation for testing 802.11a, b, and g protocols as well as WLAN system capacity through user control of up to 64 concurrent 802.11 virtual stations (vSTA™).

For the first time, engineers can load, capacity and stress test these basic 802.11 protocols and products through their choice of the EmulationEngine 11a, EmulationEngine 11b, or the EmulationEngine 11a/b/g, a multi-mode selectable emulator that delivers maximum flexibility for tri-band, multimode requirements. With CMC’s EmulationEngine Family, users can reduce capital costs, complexity and test processing. The EmulationEngine 11a and 11b products are field upgradeable giving companies with immediate 802.11a or b testing requirements and future needs for multi-mode testing of 802.11a/b/g a built-in migration path, which protects their initial investment.

“The EmulationEngine Family of products is designed to deliver the breadth and flexibility in 802.11 testing our customers demand as their Wireless LAN products and systems grow in sophistication and use,” said Dave Swan, vice president of sales and marketing for Communication Machinery Corporation. “CMC’s EmulationEngine Family is the first Wi-Fi testing platform designed specifically to provide designers and network engineers with an emulated ‘wireless LAN user community’ for ‘user-in-the-loop’ traffic and load stress testing of their 802.11a/b/g WLAN devices and systems.”

Traditionally designers and network engineers have had to extrapolate test results from LAN tools used with a single station front end, in the form of a PC with an 802.11 NIC card. This approach did not approximate the real world, multi-user, conditions 802.11 products encounter. Using this single-user methodology, potential design problems that are dependent on the user load on the system and appear only with increasing numbers of stations or users will not be evident or uncovered. Alternatively, product manufacturers have had to invest in capital and time intensive PC Farms to approximate multi-user real-world conditions for their tests.

Only with EmulationEngine, can engineers create a true 802.11 user community by emulating radio level Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b or g stations, allowing them to run tests with 1 to 64 concurrent users, ensuring more accurate and consistent results from capacity, load and stress testing of 802.11 devices and WLAN systems. These user communities can be utilized to test either the WLAN network or Wi-Fi appliance to measure the impact of scaling the station load and the resultant effects on their product effectiveness and utility.

The EmulationEngine allows the user to create up to 64 configurable, concurrent, Virtual Stations. A test run can be set so that the vSTAs are configured to emulate 802.11a, b, or g Wireless Local Area Network stations. Each vSTA has a unique, user configurable, MAC and IP address allowing it to fully authenticate, associate, deauthenticate and disassociate as well as transmit and receive frames using IEEE 802.11a/b/g. The EmulationEngine, with its vSTAs, appears and performs to the device or system under test like 64 PCs with Wi-Fi NIC cards.

This second generation of EmulationEngine not only tests core specifications of Wi-Fi (802.11a, 11b, 11g) but also offers improved throughput per vSTA for data traffic used during testing. Test data traffic can be generated per individual concurrent vSTA and actively injected through these 802.11a/b/g vSTAs into AP and WLAN systems under test in either Internal or External modes. Using the Internal mode, fully configurable ICMP Echo Request/Reply traffic (Ping) is sent to selectable hosts from each vSTA. Separate receive and transmit processes use each individual vSTA’s IP address then increments vSTA statistics and computes packet round trip times.

In External Mode, the EmulationEngine delivers more sophisticated testing. Traffic is introduced through the use of common third party traffic generator products integrated with the emulator over 802.3 Ethernet, mapped to each vSTA by IP address, and forwarded over 802.11a/b/g to the WLAN under test by the emulator. These external traffic generators drive data through the EmulationEngine which acts as a fan out of 64 users all passing individual streams of data at the 802.11 radio level to the Access Point and Wireless LAN under test.

The emulator allows designers and network engineers to easily measure, monitor and capture key 802.11 statistics during a test in a variety of critical areas including: management counters; ping statistics; signal quality indication; frame counts, and error statistics. By interacting with the vSTAs in real-time, users can display and analyze selected statistics while a test is running. At the conclusion of a test users may utilize EEAnalyst™ to view and print test results in multiple reports, including a time stamped (microsecond) log of commands, responses and notifications directed at each vSTA during testing. Test results and event logs can be saved in the emulator or exported to a PC in a comma-separated values (CSV) file for archiving or use in other reports and applications.
Users can command, control and configure the EmulationEngine through a Web-based user interface (Windows 2000/XP) or by using Telnet and CLI (command line interface). Test configurations are established using EEScenario™ and can be saved on the emulator or a PC for repeated testing or to allow users to share test set-ups. Each vSTA can be configured for WEP support for 64, 128, 152 bit, shared static keys.

Price and Availability

EmulationEngine 11a and EmulationEngine 11b are priced at $4,600.00 USD. The EmulationEngine 11 a/b/g is priced at $6,500.00 USD. These products will ship beginning July 31, 2003. The upgrade option for the EmulationEngine 11a and 11b, EE-UG13, is priced at $2,900.00 USD and will ship July 31, 2003. Volume discounts are available. For additional information contact Dave Swan, Communication Machinery Corporation, 402 E. Gutierrez Street, Santa Barbara, CA, 93101; Phone: 805.879.1521; Fax: 805.564.7188; [email protected]; www.cmc.com.