Quality Guru's – Home of QA/QE SW Testing Workshops

February 28, 2010

Test Status to SMS/MMS: Sending SMS messages with dedicated GSM modem device

Filed under: Test Status to SMS/MMS — natiku @ 4:48 pm

This entry is part of Test Status to SMS/MMS workshop.

Sending SMS messages with dedicated GSM modem device

Selecting a Modem device and Mobile Provider

As a GSM mode device I select a simple & bheap USB stick – my preference is Huawei E160, it is sold across Europe,
can attach optional antenna and it’s have direct support in Linux kernel from 2.6.20+ without need to install
any additional drivers and/or configurations.

As GSM network Mobile provider I select Prepaid cars Twist for T-mobile, it has good signal at my home and
support checking of credit balance and expiration date over SMS, which I will demonstrate later.

Looking on SMS Functionality and Modem Commands first

If you are new to modems (Hayes stuff) and/or to SMS functionality I recommend to study Short Message Service/SMS Tutorial
Don’t worry if content looks too technical for you, we will use later a bunch of different tools to provide this tasks,
however is good to know basics of direct communication with modem in case then you will need debug thinks later.

Installing GSM modem and sending your first SMS

I recommend you to attach USB GMS modem with 3m long USB extension cable,
especially if don’t have external antenna, it will help you find place with best GSM signal.

Put SIM card into E160 modem (near USB connector) and connect it to USB slot.

Power of computer and boot some latest Linux distro, in my case Fedora 12


February 26, 2010

Test Status to SMS/MMS: Using SMS service v.s. Getting your own GSM device

Filed under: Test Status to SMS/MMS — natiku @ 5:10 pm

This entry is part of Test Status to SMS/MMS workshop.

Using SMS service v.s. Getting your own GSM device

For sending SMS/MMS you can use some external services, but most of them use Internet connection and they can impose unpredictable delays in similar way as e-mails.
Plus most of them reliable ones want some fixed monthly fee, so benefits of such 3rd party services are disputable.

For building in house solution is ideal to use your own GSM/UMTS Digital Mobile Network device connected to PC,
but many today’s mobile phones don’t have needed HW capabilities of hardware modems plus mobile phones get
overheated over time because they contain batteries.

To be able make a good reliable solution you need a so called GSM modem, device which is designed to be connected to computer.

Ideal GSM modem device will be:

  • Works with your local digital GSM/UTMS mobile provider (Will not work with most analog networks)
  • Must support an extended AT command set for sending/receiving SMS messages, as defined in the ETSI GSM 07.05, 3GPP TS 27.005
  • Will easily attach to your PC and will not need a proprietary drivers (Preferable both Linux and Windows)
  • Selected device still have active support, so you can get firmware updates and real help
  • You can attach to it an external antenna (remember you will want to have final solution inside buildings, may be even in data center)

Generally, two options are available:

  1. Simple & Cheap USB stick – my preference is Huawei E160, it is sold across Europe, can attach optional antenna and it’s have direct support in Linux kernel from 2.6.20+
  2. Professional device – Teltonika ModemCOM/G10 – Example of industrial set which also includes antenna

Hint: You can check your local Linux forums, how actual GSM modems offers are supported, for example in Czech Republic we have dedicated ABCLinuxu GSM forum

Selecting you Mobile Provider (Mobile Carrier in US)

Your digital Mobile Provider will give you a SIM card which will activate your GMS modem and will provide you access
to Provider’s mobile network, while services provided by different Providers can be very similar, quality of network in
your location can vary. Many Providers offer lending of equipment for actual usability test.

You will be mostly sending SMS with optional access to Internet (DATA), so ask you Provider to design for you best
user program (In Europe we call it usage tariff), my for example include 100 free SMS per Month.

PS: If you will plan to use a prepaid SIM card, it’s also good to select provider which allow you to check left amount
of credit (deposit) and SIM card expiration time with SMS. This is not standard SMS service and is very useful, you don’t
need to take SIM card out from GSM modem to check credit/expiration, if SMS check is not available, select provide
which will at least allow you to check credit from another phone.

Test Status to SMS/MMS: E-mails to mobile as PULL v.s. SMS to mobile as PUSH

Filed under: Test Status to SMS/MMS — natiku @ 5:09 pm

This entry is part of Test Status to SMS/MMS workshop.

E-mails to mobile as PULL v.s. SMS to mobile as PUSH

When I start to work in Telco, I get a PAGER, device which was able to deliver me a text messages up to 2040 chars long.
Messages was possible to send over Internet or Phone, we have connected our NOC to PAGER center to get even faster responses.

Today Mobile Phones are able directly to use Internet: read E-mails & access Web pages, this is called PULL mode, your phone regularly connect to network to get e-mail headers.
But even if you massively use internet based services in your mobiles you can be interested into getting PUSH like SMS services into your Testing (or even IT) infrastructure.
Push like SMS service can give you additional fast independent channel for communication, which we use in my past as following:

  • Sending Test Reports to Technicians located outside towns, where mobile data quality is bad
  • Sending Automatic Escalations, when thinks go wrong (Lost of internet access, DOS email attacks, and so on
  • Sending a Confirmation SMS directly to customers then theirs services are back to 100% operation

I personally like very much receiving Test Status results over SMS, when I was working for US customers from Europe,
you receive escalation in about 15:00 Europe time, you fix ti, start testing, go home at 17:00 when your regular work
time is finished and in Metro (Underground) you just receive Test Status SMS. This significantly reduce my over time work from home.

PS: In Europe GSM mobile signal in Metro(Underground) is limited, so you can’t really use Mobile Internet there.

Overview of Mobile PUSH services

Short Message Service (SMS)
WAP Push as part of Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

There is some useful Open Source solutions for creating SMS like PUSH mobile services, I will try to demonstrate then in next parts.

Tester’s Tools: Can I do all testing processes just with Open Source Tools ?

Filed under: Tester's tools — natiku @ 8:09 am

Well, yes, I you don’t mind use a specialized tools per task, looks to this Open Source tools directory

Tester’s Tools: Load Generation (stress) and longevity (end-to-end) testing

Filed under: Tester's tools — natiku @ 8:06 am

There are a lot of open source tools for this testing in this areas, but I will recommend you to first look on HP Load Runner (Formerly Mercury Interactive), look more on HP Load Runner and HP LoadRunner Monitors
Load Runner can teach you not only how to define web user and how to generate spread of load, but also will demonstrate to you a need for good instrumentation (probes which monitor application performance) and reports which you can easily sell to customer at the end of project 🙂 (Lack of good instrumentation and reports is paint of most Open Source load/stress generation tools).

Alternatively you can take look on IBM Perfomance tester (Formerly Rational), new versions like v8.x is based on Eclipse IDE, so you can use on machines with less computing resources or Linux platfroms.

From Open Source you can look at most popular Apache JMeter , but I don’t have good experience with quality of load generated by JMeter, as a result in our large scaled project we was forced to switch to grinder tool.

With JMeter we was not able to generate load distribution like this one with 3 peaks (It’s simulation reaction on advertisement in local Radio Station) on high scale web e-commerce system.

February 24, 2010

Tester’s Tools: Memory debuging from OS and progaming levels

Filed under: Tester's tools — natiku @ 9:48 am

Even when you will work with just purely internet projects you will need time to time to debug incorrect memory usage, for example from third party SOAP wrapper and so on.

As a multi platform alternative you can try IBM (Rational) Purify

February 23, 2010

Tester’s Tools: JIRA a better bugs & project management – free for open source projects

Filed under: Tester's tools — natiku @ 7:31 pm

This entry is part of Tester’s Tools, Libs & Progs

JIRA a better bugs & project management – free for open source projects

What ever bug & project managing tools you will use soon or later you will need a good metrics,

JIRA give you a good ideas how such metrics can be created, organized and presented like average time in status and so on.

Click more for Screen Shot

February 3, 2010

XML Prague 2010 Conference (13-14 March)

Filed under: Tips Tricks — natiku @ 11:18 am


February 2, 2010

Tips&Tricks: Firefox is my best friend for couple years

Filed under: FireFox Plug-Ins, Tips Tricks — natiku @ 8:12 pm

Firefox is a powerful Web browser with unique flexible and easily extensible UI User Interface base on XML. Firefox using a XUL XML User Interface Language, which allows to write powerful handy tester tools as Firefox Add-ons.

Potential of so powerful tool was of course identified by Web Tester community and couple of interesting Firefox Add-ons (Plug-ins) was created with testing need in mind. I will try in this serial pressed my favorite Firefox testing (QA/QE) related Add-ons (Plug-ins).

Here is a sample of testing under Firefox from 2006 (Around Firefox 1.5 version)
Hacking Web 2.0 Applications with Firefox

Here is sample how my colleagues use Firefox for troubleshooting
Troubleshooting OpenSSO with Firefox Add-Ons

Here is sample hoe colleagues use Firefox under Selenium as regular testing tool
Rajesh’s Weblog – Selenium Category

In next posts I will show my Favorite FireFox Plug-ins

February 1, 2010

Tips&Tricks: Possible savings from SMP Aware Compression Utilities

Filed under: compression, imaging, Tips Tricks — natiku @ 8:56 pm

As part of testing optimization , I test parallel compressors to determine possible savings.

Mapping possible Space and Time savings by using SMP aware (threaded) compression Utilities ?

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