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Passive interoperability testing for communication protocols

Nanxing Chen 1
1 DIONYSOS - Dependability Interoperability and perfOrmance aNalYsiS Of networkS
Abstract : In the field of networking, testing of communication protocols is an important activity to validate protocol applications before commercialisation. Generally, the services that must be provided by a protocol are described in its specification(s). A specification is generally a standard defined by standards bodies such as ISO (International Standards Organization), IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), etc. The purpose of testing is to verify that the protocol implementations work correctly and guarantee the quality of the services in order to meet customers expectations. To achieve this goal, a variety of testing methods have been developed. Among them, interoperability testing is to verify that several network components cooperate correctly and provide expected services. Conformance testing verifies that a product conforms to its specification. Robustness testing determines the degree to which a system operates correctly in the presence of exceptional inputs or stressful environmental conditions. In this thesis, we focus on interoperability testing. The general architecture of interoperability testing involves a system under test (SUT), which consists of at least two implementations under test (IUT). The objectives of interoperability testing are to ensure that interconnected protocol implementations are able to interact correctly and, during their interaction, provide the services predefined in their specifications. In general, the methods of interoperability testing can be classified into two approaches: active and passive testing. Among them, active test is the most conventionally used technique, which aims to test the implementations (IUT) by injecting a series of test messages (stimuli) and observing the corresponding outputs. However, the intrusive nature of active testing is that the tester has the ability to control IUTS. This implies that the tester interrupts inevitably the normal operations of the system under test. In this sense, active testing is not a suitable technique for interoperability testing, which is often carried out in operational networks. In such context, it is difficult to insert arbitrary testing messages without affecting the normal behavior and the services of the system. On the contrary, passive testing is a technique based only on observation. The tester does not need to interact with the SUT. This allows the test to be carried out without disturbing the normal operations of the system under test. Besides, passive testing also has other advantages such as: for embedded systems to which the tester does not have direct access, test can still be performed by collecting the execution traces of the system and then detect errors by comparing the trace with the behavior of the system described in its specification. In addition, passive testing makes it possible to moniter a system over a long period, and report abnomality at any time.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 10:11:13 AM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 5:03:39 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, January 10, 2014 - 4:22:27 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-00869819, version 1


Nanxing Chen. Passive interoperability testing for communication protocols. Other [cs.OH]. Université Rennes 1, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013REN1S046⟩. ⟨tel-00869819⟩



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