Testing Mobile Networks and IoT services

The telecommunication market is extremely dynamic and highly competitive. Customer demands on network performance and quality are continuously increasing.
The IoT market ist one of the fastest growing technology segment where the speed of development and immideate error dedection are the biggest success factors.

With our simulation framework Acctopus Degust® we provide you with a powerful tool for constantly optimizing the existing functionality of your services and for testing the feasibility and conformance of new functionalities.

Acctopus Degust® allows you to quickly create thousands of reproducible end-to-end tests. In the easy to use cockpit you also control the execution of the configured test scenarios. With Degust® you can easily configure numerous aspects of the traffic flow, lots of devices, and the behavior of the simulated nodes. You can choose to configure the settings manually or to import trace files, enabling you to rapidly create a large number of tests.

Acctopus Degust® checks if the configuration behaves correctly, identifies any errors and generates detailed reports for all executed sessions as required.

Additionally Acctopus Degust® lets you control real IoT devices, robots, mobile phones or VoIP phones to do real end-to-end tests. Our Android client, which can quickly be downloaded and installed on your device, supports you in easily running end-to-end tests in mobile networks on real devices. Configure the network and traffic behavior worldwide remotely from your desk.

Click here for more technical details on Acctopus Degust.

Acctopus Degust®

Acctopus Degust® is our easy-to-use cloud-based tool for creating, managing and executing tests to check the technical feasibility and conformance of mobile and fixed network functionalities.

Degust® incorporates the unique ability to

  1. emulate real user behavior, capturing the experience users would get at their equipment,
  2. simulate the signaling traffic to core interfaces as these messages would be exchanged between, operator’s systems,
  3. gather information like log files or subscriber information from operator's systems,
  4. start packet traces and investigate them and
  5. start admin tasks on operator's systems

to get an comprehensive view on the End to End services to the customers.

1) Emulation uses real devices at user’s prospected location to involve the complete E2E network, starting at the radio network involving all operator’s service platforms, up to the content delivery platform. To support this function, Degust offers a SIM card distribution system to transfer the required SIM card to the device used for the test, regardless of its location. This emulation supports real web automation to steer remote browsers/devices including clicking, selecting, entering information or even taking screen shots.

2) Simulation uses Degust® client components, to trigger signaling traffic against operator’s core interfaces, pretending user sessions with certain session or data characteristics.

3) Degust gathers information from 3rd party platforms like (e.g.) log files, directory queries, DB selects or HTTP requests.

4) To trace packets from the wire, Degust interfaces to 3rd party probes and systems to initiate traces. After the test has been issued, Degust downloads the trace files and accesses them according to the requirements of the test.

5) If commanded by the test, Degust will issue commands on remote 3rd party systems to e.g. change operational parameters or even run a prepared workaround.

 

Degust® enables the operator to confirm

  • the correct granting of tariff options to the end customer
  • the expected QoS (speed) of the established data sessions
  • the correct signalling inside his domain by evaluation logs and traces
  • the display of correct tariff options for purchasing
  • the correct SMS text, received by the users UE from the operators billing system
  • the correct session termination in case of roaming (e.g. late disconnect detection)
  • the correct deduction of the used data from the available monthly volume
  • ...

Degust offers a wide range of support functions e.g.:

  • generating comprehensive reports
  • distibuting reports and evidence as email, into messengers, into into bug tracking or trouble ticket systems
  • intergation into Jira, Redmine, Bugzilla ... 
  • integration into Slack, Mattermost, Toodledo...
  • starting log sessions on Cisco Routers, Packet Gateways, Serving Gateways, on several directory servers and 3rd party AAA servers

Acctopus Degust® runs as Cloud Service and powers Degust® Active Probes to simulate signaling messages 

  • to operators policy and authentication services
  • to operators subscriber databases
  • to steer gateways and servers for logging
  • to gather logfiles, trace files and CDRs for evaluation.

It also connects to its globally installed devices and SIM card management system to emulate real user behaviour in national, roaming and even traveling situations.

For best results and reporting, the Degust® Active Probe typically runs inside of the operator's network, connects to the authenticating and policy building entities and simulates user behavior like

  • accessing the network
  • using the network to consume volume and time quotas
  • using different devices
  • changing locations to roam within a mobile network or between different mobile networks
  • booking tariff options and quota topups

Degust checks the responses of the entities for errors on protocol or application level, like comparing sent attribute values against the expected values or value ranges.

Operators not opting to run a local Degust® Active Probe will use one of Acctopus' cloud based Active Probes by just configuring their network/firewalls to receive signalling messages from the external Active Probes. Acctopus provides firewall rules templates to support this scenario. 

Functionality

As mentinoed, in contrast to most other available solutions, Degust supports two major test scenarios:

  • simulation of network signalling traffic, mimiking user behaviour
  • emulation user behaviour by using real devices, which will incormorate the complete operators network possibly including roaming partners networks

The speciality of Degust is to combine these tests to hybrid tests, where we could provision the subscribers data into your subscriber and product databases, to get them tested in real E2E scenarios.

In most cases, mobile operators will present the user with different tariff options, depending of their prior usage and their location.
We believe we buildt the unique solution to test user QoE (Quality of Expirience) in traveling situations, not just in roaming situations. In a single test, Degust will provision the user to your systems, trigger a national test, followed by a virtual flight to another country, accessing and using the network from abroad.

In this scenario, Degust will simulate operators internal signalling for provisioning and then uses real SIM cards, devices and Networks, to check the conformity of the evaluated system reaction.

In the simulation scenarios, Acctopus Degust simulates both sending provisioning data into the core network and possibly the behavior of network nodes such as GGSNs and PGWs. It receives and processes the responses from the core network and checks if they meet the requirements.

In turn, Degust simulates the role of several core network components (such as PCRF, RADIUS Server, OCS, LDAP Server) to enable testing a broad range of EPC and MOP core components both separately and in combined setups.

In the end, Acctopus Degust coordinates the signaling of different nodes to set up IP CAN sessions, simulates the usage of volume and time quotas and simulates complex interactions between networks and services.

Acctopus Degust provides standard-based RADIUS flows and Diameter applications. It supports standard RADIUS and Diameter dictionaries, which again, might be entered and modified manually or simply uploaded using the IETF or 3GPP dictionaries or application specification documents.

Supported Protocols

RADIUS
RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service) is used to carry authentication, authorization, and configuration information between a Network Access Server to authenticate its links using information and rules on an Authentication Server. You can find more about RADIUS here.

Degust assumes the role of a GGSN, a PGW, a BRAS or even an standard router with analog or digital modem racks. It simulates users, initiating data sessions from an PC via router, a mobile phone via SGSN/SGW/GGSN/PGW or even an xDSL router via a DSLAM and BRAS.

The configured testcase expects a certain behavior of the authentication server, identifies wrong attributes or values and acts according to the configuration (throw a warning, an error, stop or resume the testcase, use alternative access methods).

RADIUS is either initiated by the Degust client simulation or is captured and evaluated from network probes, sitting in between the access server and the RADIUS/AAA Server.

Diameter
The Diameter protocol is the successor of the RADIUS protocol. Having a similar structure it has a lot of advantages over RADIUS, which can be read here. In general the Diameter protocol suite knows a lot of applications, which are common between at least two Diameter reference points. One could configure and train Degust to support all of this applications, but to our users the most common applications are:

  • DCCA OCS (Gy)
  • DCCA PCRF (Gx)
  • Diameter Sy
  • Diameter Rx

To build a new Diameter dictionary you can simply upload a new 3GPP documentation PDF onto Degust. In the test case configuration you can then bind this dictionary to the virtual NAS to let Degust assume the role of this device, having this dictionary configured locally. Of course you can also build your own custom dictionary by adding attributes manually, which you will find useful when you are testing systems ahead of 3GPP specification or with your own vendor dictionary.

DIAMETER is either initiated by the Degust Diameter peer simulation or is captured and evaluated from network probes, sitting in between the peers on the access servers, the policy servers or the charging solutions.

SIP
The SIP Protocol is used to simulate Voice over IP (VoIP) signalling and calls to test your VoIP switches as well as the interaction of fixed and mobile network calls.

SIP is either initiated by the Degust SIP client or is captured and evaluated from network probes, sitting in between of VoIP phones and your VoIP PBX.

Telnet/HTTP/SSH
These Protocols are used to drive a VoIP phone or trigger log file creation on remote devices

FTP/SCP
These Protocols are used to collect log files, packet trace files and CDRs from certail platforms, to include them and evaluate results into the reports.

LDAP
The LDAP protocol ist used to retrieve user or subscriber data from central repositories. It also ist commonly used to retrieve device data or tariff configuration information.

Degust assumes the role of any LDAP client, retrieving the relevant information from your servers. These information might then be incorporated into the test case flows to either test the LDAP server itselve or to evaluate the results of responses or messages from the above mentioned authentication, billing or policy systems.

HTTP
The HTTP protocol ist commonly used to setup billing information, upgrade tariff options or even volume quota.
Degust is able to issue such upgrades and incorporate these functions into the test flows. With Degust you will be able to virtually access the network, examine a QoS downgrade due to exhausted volume quota, upgrade the quota on the quota management plattform - usually a SPR - and then expect the QoS upgrade sent from the authentication server via RADIUS CoA or from the PCRF via a Diameter RAR.

DHCP
IP address assignment is required, either within the RADIUS authentication flow issued by the authentication plattform or seperately issued by the access router (e.g. GGSN, PGW, BRAS).

Degust will be able to similate such IP address requests to these plattforms. You could incorporate this function in the session setup test flows in order to check whether the DHCP server is assigning the IP addresses from the correct pools or from the database for fixed IP addresses in certain scenarios.

Graphical User Interface

In the Graphical User Interface (GUI) you can easily configure various aspects of the traffic flow, lots of devices and the node behavior.

You can choose to configure the settings manually or to start with importing existing trace files in order to quickly create a large number of tests.

In the GUI, you can also control the execution of the configured test scenarios.

Acctopus Degust checks if the configuration behaves correctly, identifies any errors and generates detailed reports for all executed sessions as required.

Online Version Available

Additionally we provide a free of charge online version of Degust. To use this version, just register and start testing.

If you want to test entities within your network you need to configure your firewalls to pass the required protocols from our server into your network to the systems to be tested. For most of our users this is not a big issue, as the used protocols are not known to be vulnerable to be used to harm your network.

Real End to End Tests Available

Using Degust RAT, our satellite application running on standard smartphones, or involving a Degust Global Client, you can set up real E2E test scenarios.
The advantage is the integration of Degust Server in the operator's network, combined with the ability to run network and roaming tests, using real devices over home or visited networks.

Imagine the lifetime of a tariff option:
(Legend: green = Operator's entities, blue = Degust Server, red = Degust RAT)

  1. Degust Server creates subsciber in MO's databases
  2. Degust Server books tariff option
  3. Degust Server checks status
  4. Degust Global Client connects to the GSM network
  5. Degust Global Client downloads files
  6. OCS detects volume usage, sends status SMS to the Global Client and status change to PCRF, PCRF limits QOS
  7. Degust Global Client downloads more files, detects low speed
  8. Degust Global Client receives the SMS and might answer with a purchase of more volume at high bandwith
  9. Degust Global Client reports status to Degust Server
  10. Degust Server checks OCS status from Global Client results, detects limit status
  11. Degust Server 'orders' volume top up at TopUp Server
  12. OCS triggers PCRF to update QOS
  13. Degust Global Client downloads more files, detects high speed
  14. Degust Server checks status
  15. ...

Sample Use Cases

The following use cases are examples for the usage and the flexibility of the Degust test system.

As Degust is based on protocol standards it is fairly easy to add test clients and applications by just configuring the characteristics of these applications. For example, setting up the Diameter Sy client and application didn't involve a single line of code - it was just configuration work.

Test your RADIUS Server using Degust RADIUS Client

Degust incorporates a RADIUS client to evaluate the proper functionality of your AAA/RADIUS Server. This client acts according to the IETF specification and is able to use any standard vendor dictionary. It comes with several dirctionaries of the IETF RFC, the 3GPP as well as the dictionaries of several vendors like Cisco Systems, Huawei or Starent Network (now part of Cisco). If any dictionary is missing, you can upload it in your user space and bind it to a client.

 

The client will be used to

  • create and send RADIUS Access Request messages
  • receive and evaluate the content of RADIUS Access Response messages
  • create and send RADIUS Accounting Request messages
  • receive and evaluate the content of RADIUS Accounting Response messages

It also incorporates a service to handle dynamic authentication requests received from the AAA/Radius Server

  • receiving and handling of Packet Of Disconnect messages (POD)
  • receiving and handling of Change of Authorisation messages (COA)

Test your Online Charging System using Degust OCF Client (Diameter Gy)

Degust incorporates a Diameter Gy client to evaluate the proper functionality of your Online Charging System. This client acts according to the 3GPP DCCA specification and is able to use any standard vendor dictionary. It comes with several dictionaries of the IETF RFC, the 3GPP as well as the dictionaries of several vendors like Cisco Systems, Huawei or Starent Network (now part of Cisco). If any dictionary is missing you can upload it in your user space and bind it to a client.

 

The client will be used to

  • create and send Diameter Gy DCCA Credit Control messages (CCRi, CCRu, CCRt)
  • receive and evaluate the content of the Credit Control Response messages (CCA)
  • receive and handle server-initiated Credit Re-Authorization (RAR)
  • receive and handle server-initiated Abort-Session-Request (ASR)

Test your Policy Control and Rule Function System using Degust PCEF Client (Diameter Gx)

Degust incorporates a Diameter Gx client to evaluate the proper functionality of your Policy Control and Rule Function System. This client acts according to the 3GPP Gx specification and is able to use any standard vendor dictionary. It comes with several dictionaries of the IETF RFC, the 3GPP as well as the dictionaries of several vendors like Cisco Systems, Huawei or Starent Network (now part of Cisco). If any dictionary is missing you can upload it in your user space and bind it to a client. 

The client will be used to

  • create and send Diameter Gx Credit Control messages (CCRi, CCRu, CCRt)
  • receive and evaluate the content of the Credit Control Response messages (CCA)
  • receive and handle server-initiated Re-Authorization (RAR)

Test your Online Charging System using Degust PCRF Client (Diameter Sy)

Degust incorporates a Diameter Sy client to evaluate the proper functionality of your Online Charging System. This client acts according to the 3GPP Sy specification and is able to use any standard vendor dictionary. It comes with several dictionaries of the IETF RFC, the 3GPP as well as the dictionaries of several vendors like Cisco Systems, Huawei or Starent Network (now part of Cisco). If any dictionary is missing you can upload it in your user space and bind it to a client. You can combine the Sy test with a Gy test.

The client will be used to

  • create and send Diameter Sy Spending Limit messages
  • receive and evaluate the content of the Spending Limit Report Answers (SLA)
  • receive and handle server-initiated Spending-Status Notification Request (SNR)

Test your Data Directories using Degust LDAP Client

Degust incorporates a LDAP client to evaluate the results of responses or messages from any system with a LDAP interface like for example your subscriber or customer repositories, billing or policy systems. 

The client will be used to

  • create and send LDAP requests (Search, Add, Modify, Delete)
  • receive and evaluate LDAP responses