Stress Testing Switches and Routers

The Xena testers can verify traffic forwarding performance, protocol scalability and services delivering capabilities of switching and routing devices across the enterprise, metro/edge and core. High traffic loads place demands on the hardware and software components of a Layer-2 or layer-3 networking device. Before deployment, its interfaces, memory, buffering and scheduling mechanisms, switching and routing tables must be thoroughly stressed to ensure the device can switch and route traffic from its input buffers to the appropriate output queues at full line rate.

This application note describes how to use a Xena tester to perform a simple stress test on a Layer-2 device’s data plane and forwarding capability. You can build many different packet protocols, vary packet sizes, traffic profile, offered loads, and other test parameters, and then view real-time measurements to observe the effect on your router or switch. Because the Xena test platform can generate and measure Layer-2 or Layer-3 traffic with equal facility, you can easily adapt this test for a router forwarding IP traffic.