Lloyd Serra
Ixia Senior Product Manager

Network Emulation Critical in Your Test Environment

November 2, 2017 by Lloyd Serra

Network emulation is one of the key elements of effective network testing, helping you find problems in the lab instead of during deployment. Studies have found that the earlier the defect is found, the cheaper it is to fix. In fact, the Ponemon Institute found that it is 90 times less expensive to resolve defects in development then it is to resolve them once your network is live. Effective network testing requires a robust test setup where the network test environment reflects a realistic network.  The following steps are normally taken to create this test environment.

  • Physical or Virtual Network:  Create the physical or virtual test lab network with the hardware/simulation matching the target network environment. 
  • Target Traffic:  Generate traffic that is the focus of the testing.
  • Background Traffic:  Generate additional background traffic to more closely simulate a real network.

Most testing projects do not progress beyond these 3 areas, but this results in a pristine lab environment with an unrealistic error-free network.  Complete testing requires that you add real-life network impairments to the test mix. The only way to accomplish this is to add a forth step for network emulation. 


Network Emulation adds the necessary realism by adding impairments to the network being tested.  These impairments include delay, packet drop, packet reorder, packet duplication accumulate/burst, modification, and rate limiting.  These impairments are all commonly found in real-life networks and should be added to your test environment.

For more information, see Ixia’s Network Emulator II webpage.