Vulcan Layer 4-7 Test Platform

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Overview – Xena’s Layer 4-7 Test Platform

Xena’s L4-7 test platform is used for generating stateful Layer 4-7 Ethernet traffic (at 1GE, 2.5GE, 5GE, 10GE, 25GE & 40GE) and analyzing how advanced networking devices and infrastructure perform in a wide range of real-world scenarios.

Xena’s L4-7 test platform is comprised of two chassis – a portable all-in-one XenaAppliance which can include an optional L2-3 test module (either 1GE or 10GE), or the large XenaScale which is for big-scale ultra-high performance testing. Both come equipped with packet-engines that can be licensed for scalable test performance.

The traffic generation and analysis capabilities of the two L4-7 test chassis are accessed via XenaConnect, a Windows GUI client provided for ad-hoc test execution, and remote management of test equipment located in multiple locations.

Scripting and test automation are also supported by the Xena L4-7 platform.

Xena’s L4-7 test platform distinguishes itself from its competitors by its ease-of-use, highly scalable performance, real-world applications and future-proof cost-efficiency.

L4-7 Hardware
L4-7 Software

Xena’s Layer 4-7 Test Platform -

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Super friendly

Xena’s L4-7 test platform is the industry’s easiest to deploy. Here are some examples:

  • The software is native to Windows, and can be freely downloaded from the Internet. Double-click to launch, enter an IP address and a password, and you are ready to test.
  • Centralized upgrades make it quick and easy to install the latest software across multiple testers for immediate access to the newest features and bug fixes.
  • All devices can be administered from the same user-friendly GUI to ensure fast, efficient testing – without the big learning curve that go with our competitors’ products.
  • To make remote testing even easier, Xena offers XenaWeb – a browser-based (HTML5) user-interface that lets engineers access their test system from any OS.
  • Xena’s L4-7test solutions are also ready for virtualization ensuring low-cost future-proof migration to cloud-based testing.

L4-7 Hardware

Two chassis – multiple options
Xena L4-7 platform consists of two extreme performance Gigabit TCP test chassis for stateful traffic load testing, analysis and characterization of Ethernet equipment and network infrastructure.


This 19” rack-mountable chassis has 24 Packet Engines and comes in three port configurations: 12x10GE ports, a combination of 4x10GE ports and 2x40GE ports, or a combination of 4x10GE ports and 4x25GE ports. Both ports and performance are enabled via upgradeable licenses.

Massive Performance Testing:

Xena’s L4-7 test platform delivers blistering performance and capacity. This means realistic 1G/2.5G/5G/10G/25G/40G traffic generation:

  • 24 million Concurrent Connections (CC)*
  • 6 million Connections Per Second (CPS)**
  • 1.2 million Concurrent TLS Sessions, 14,000 TLS Sessions Per Second
  • 6 million HTTP Connections Per Second, 7 million HTTP Transactions Per Second (TPS)***
  • Capture capacity: 40 million x 128 bytes buffers / 4 million full-size buffers

* 24M TCP Clients and 24M TCP Servers on one XenaScale ** Measured at 1M CC per 10G port *** Measured at 10 transactions per connection


XenaAppliance is an ultra-compact “all-in-one” chassis that supports 1/10GE L4-7 interfaces and can also be equipped with 1G or 10G L2-3 test module, making it a complete L2-7 test platform.

Portable Testing

Smaller than a shoe-box, XenaAppliance is also a portable testing solution that can be brought to the edges of the transport network for performance validation. Examples are the DSLAM/Central Offices for wired access technologies such as ADSL or data plane gateways for wireless networks such as UMTS or 4G.

L4-7 Software

Included with every Xena L4-7 chassis is a valuable portfolio of software. You also receive one year’s free software maintenance, plus of course the option for extending licensing.

XenaScripting softwareXenaConnect is a Windows-based GUI used to configure, generate and analyze traffic via the L4-7 hardware. It is used for application emulation, testing TLS, performance verification, load testing, analysis and characterization of Ethernet equipment and network infrastructure. This includes firewalls, switches, routers, NAT routers, proxies, load-balancers, bandwidth shapers, and more.
XenaScripting softwareXenaAppMix (XAM) is a library of application traffic and protocols in pcap format. XAM makes it easy to set up large-scale realistic traffic from various applications, using pre-defined and customizable mix templates. Up to 200 pre-defined application scenarios can be played simultaneously, each covering a one-client-to-multiple-servers communications scenario that can be scaled up to millions of connections with real-world traffic.
XenaScripting softwareXenaScripting is a free text-based Command Line Interface (CLI) API that makes test automation on Xena testers easy to script from any scripting environment that supports TCP/IP. You can download it from Xena’s website.



TLS Middlebox Performance Testing

Testing TLS performance is vital for balancing security and performance. It is essential that the test equipment can get the encrypted TLS traffic through the DUT that is operating in the TLS middlebox/proxy mode. Otherwise, the test will be invalid.

Adopting the latest encryption standard, Xena TLS gives users high-performance test solutions that can reveal the performance bottleneck of their TLS/HTTPS middleboxes/proxies, address security performance testing requirements, and optimize their security parameters.

Key test parameters are:

  • TLS handshake per second
  • TLS throughput
  • HTTPS connection per second
  • HTTPS transactions per second
  • TLS record size optimization
  • TLS cipher suites and key size impact

Application Emulation and Advanced Replay

The Xena L4-7 test platform delivers highly scalable application emulation based on a pre-defined library of application traffic and protocols called XenaAppMix. Enabled in XenaConnect, up to 200 pre-defined application scenarios can be played simultaneously, each covering one-to-many communication scenarios that can scale up to millions of connections with real-world traffic.

With pre-defined traffic mixes for specific segments e.g. enterprise and finance, users can test DUT throughput performance, which can vary dramatically under different traffic profiles.

Users can also replay their own pcap files on the DUT to verify performance and validate network behavior, using Xena advanced Layer 4 replay function. Being able to choose different replay modes, users can reconstruct the real-world scenarios, or create their own traffic mixes for realistic throughput verification.

Connection-Oriented Traffic Generation

TCP connections can be customized by modifying the MAC/IP/TCP headers to create variations in the generated packets. Traffic rates are specified as a percentage of line rate, frames per second or bit-rate, and traffic generation is controlled by a load profile specifying the speed with which connections are established and terminated. The TCP payload can be automatically generated (random, incrementing) or customized. Payloads can also be loaded from files and different congestion control algorithms can be used to test network behavior.

Transaction-based Traffic Generation

The Xena L4-7 test platform provides great flexibility for users to emulate transaction-based traffic based on the request-response communication model. With the customizable HTTP template and configuration transactions per TCP connection, users can create millions of HTTP transactions for HTTP capacity testing, e.g. HTTP connections per second, HTTP transactions per second, and HTTP throughput at various response sizes.

Lab-based Performance Testing

The Xena L4-7 test platform is ideal for validating network device performance in development and production environments. High port density means large port-count test beds can be set up at a fraction of the cost of existing test solutions with test topologies ranging from L2 forwarding such switches, over packet routing, to caching and network application servers. These can be tested individually or combined into functional networks.

Lab-based testing during development is used to load routers and other forwarding devices with large-scale, realistic stateful TCP sessions to verify forwarding performance. Key metrics are:

  • maximum number of concurrent TCP connections (TCP CC),
  • maximum connections per second (TCP CPS),
  • maximum HTTP connections per second (HTTP CPS),
  • maximum HTTP transactions per second (HTTP TPS),
  • throughput and packet forwarding rates at various TCP segment sizes.

Network Infrastructure Test

The Xena L4-7 test platform can do capacity and performance testing for service providers and large enterprise networks. Here the focus is less on the individual forwarding devices and servers and more on system-wide performance.

Examples of relevant parameters are optimal MSS, prioritization of different types of network traffic using Differentiated Services (DS) and other QoS mechanisms, and to verify guaranteed bandwidths according to SLAs. For carriers, testing is done to qualify performance before service roll out. Network infrastructure testing can also take place over large geographical distances requiring simultaneous control over multiple traffic generators.

Ease of Use & Debug

The Xena L4-7 test platform is scalable and can be used to quickly and easily generate millions of TCP connections with specified load profiles and configurable IP/TCP/Payload parameters. Real time stats and test reports provide an in-depth overview of the DUT/SUT characteristics.

Xena’s L4-7 test modules are suited for multi-user environments at the level of per-port reservation. Packet Engines (PE’s) mean performance can be allocated individually depending on the test scenario, for full operational flexibility.

Enabling the capturing function, users can record communication traffic between test ports as a pcap file for in-depth analysis of the network behavior of the DUT/SUT.

Wire-Speed Software Packet Processing

Xena’s L4-7 solutions use the state-of-the-art technologies in software-based packet processing. The platform is based on Intel x86-64 and achieves wire-speed performance using a combination of hardware-based offloading technologies, distributed processing and advanced algorithms.