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

May 5, 2010

Enlil Network Emulator: Our Need for Open Source on Cheap HW based Handy WAN Network Emulator

Filed under: Enlil Network Emulator — natiku @ 8:34 am

This entry is part of Enlil Handy Network Emulator

We are using in our QA practice for long time a Linux based Network Emulator in small Mini-ITX based box:
– Originally we run one as Via Epia 32Bit with 2x 100MBit Ethernet connections and 256MB of RAM
– Now we run on ZOTAC Atom N330 64bit board with 2x 1GBit Ethernet, WiFi b/g/n connection and 4GB of RAM

We run on them Live-CD based on Gentoo with netem, basically our system is very similar to Debian/Knoppix WANem live-CD

Pitfalls for current Mini-ITX solutions

Main issue is size and weight, YES systems is compact, you can easily move it locally in office and data center,
but its still 10cmx25cmx30cm brick with 6Kg weight and it’s not 100% quiet because it has fan and hard drives.
This system can’ be easily use on Customer site when we do a demonstrations, but its still too large, laud and
extensive to leave in on customer site for longer time.

Ideal system will be unit size of small desktop switch

Ideal system will be:

– Size of small office desktop switch, max 0,5Kg including power source, so small sized so I can easily pack it together with my notebook
– Enough powerful so both me as Demonstrator and Client as evaluator can be connected in one time (So at least 3 network ports)
– Support both 2 major open source Network Emulation implementations netem with Linux origin and DummyNet with *BSD origin
– Ideal performance will be more then 100Mb (So I can fully emulate on wire up to 2x WiFi 802.11n connections)
– Ideally be capable to clone traffic from one port to another (be a network probe)

Of course, there are commercial solutions which can fit our needs, but their price is larger then our current Mini-ITX solution:

Apposite Technologies – Linktropy Mini2 (1560 EUR)
InterWorking Labs – Mini Maxwell (1795 US$)

Starting our Open Source Project – Enlil

So we will try to use experience with OpenWRT and start new project based on it with goal to utilize small router HW targeting cost about 100 EUR.

We select a name Enlil for our new project enlil.sourceforge.net,
because most our testing is connected to more and more popular mobile segment,
Enlil was Sumerian GOD and name mean Lord of the Open / Lord of the Wind,
Enlil is also an acronym = ‘E‘mulating ‘N‘etwork ‘L‘ike ‘I‘n ‘L‘ive

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