Simulation of test environments has traditionally been an inevitable piece in the world of software testing and test setup. Today, teams test not only in test environments but even in live/production environments – such is the scenario as not all tests can be fully and satisfactorily done before going live, end users may themselves need to be engaged in the testing process, active and passive monitoring of the application in live environments gives insightful inputs that are beyond what can be captured before launch – all these together make testing in production inevitable. In all of this, performance testing is an important area that the product team is particular about for the right reasons that end users are able to seamlessly get the rendering and experiences that have been engineered for them regardless of how many users use the application at a given time or from where and on what network they access from – talking specifically of network performance testing, obviously the experience on a better network will be better than that of a slower and more inconsistent network.
Regardless, the product team would have thresholds defined on what is acceptable and what is not from a performance standpoint across varied network bandwidths. Testing for this is a huge area of demand in today’s global state of application development and consumption. Apps are used in tier 1, 2, 3 cities across developed, developing and underdeveloped nations, across a range of devices, network operators and bandwidths. Bottlenecks could be at varied levels – starting with something that may not even relate to the application, to configuration changes and tuning that the application may need. These together make network bandwidth testing a much sought after area – but thanks to simulation scenarios, a lot of these can be effectively handled by the testers from within test labs. Access to the right data of what is supported, what are the thresholds, what gaps are appropriate to live with, are data points that the test team closely works with business teams on, to determine the test scope and strategy. Once done, a chunk of the testing can be done in house before launch. That said, this is an area where live monitoring post launch is also greatly beneficial. Network parameters on live usage, in field sample tests, feedback from crowd on the field together may open up new tuning options to enable an even better experience.
Network performance testing as a segment of app performance testing services is certainly thus on the rise and should not be seen as just a pre-launch activity – but one that continues in ongoing quality improvements post launch too.