1. Overview

In addition to acting as a powerful Internet router and firewall/VPN gateway, mbox allows enterprises or ISP to periodically measure end-to-end maximum network performance & capacity. It is integrated with some of the most popular and widely used traffic generators, eg. iperf, DITG, and mfusion agents for user simulations.

Having testing & measurement capabilities built into a router & firewall, mbox is an ideal solution for following requirements:

  • Internet Service Providers (ISP) who use mbox as a standard CPE device, with integrated testing capabilities to measure ISP link and network performance and capacity.

  • Enterprises who have many remote branches running end-to-end critical application, and need to have clear visibility on their providers' network quality and desirable performance in order to support their business requirements.

Test & measurement features

By integrating with mfusion platform for remote control and reporting, mbox provides comprehensive network performance measurement capabilities:

  • Wide range of testing protocols supported. The traffic generator supports both IPv4 and IPv6, generating TCP, UDP, ICMP, SCTP, DCCP, Telnet, DNS, VoIP traffic, and can specify different packet size and packets per second, etc. With mfusion agent that also supports measuring HTTP performance up to individual page level (page downtime speed, response time etc); the total solution provides a comprehensive test and measurement solution. Briefly, following parameters are supported:

    1. throughput

    2. round trip delay

    3. jitter

    4. packet loss/up-time

    5. HTTP page download speed

    6. HTTP page response time

    7. simulated applications (by protocol and port number, eg. TCP/22, TCP/3306; by custom scripts on requests basis)

  • Multiple thread support. The end-points also support generating multi-threading, simulating multiple concurrent user access, and accurately measure mass end-user performance.

  • Flexible and ease of control. Testing can be done on ad-hoc basis from console, or can be scheduled from mfusion portal

  • Testing data retention and reporting. The test data is parsed and stored into SQL database on mfusion server, and results can be viewed and reported for any period from the portal.

  • Ease of deployment. With mbox "call-home" integration with mfusion portal, it's 100% plug-and-play for remote end in a DHCP network. Once the mbox gets an IP with direct Internet access, it connects back to mfusion portal, where testing parameters can be provisioned at fingertips.

Test & measurement framework

mbox integrated with mfusion enables an end-to-end test frameworks. Main components are:

  • test end-points (mbox). Each mbox can be used as either a test server or test client. For end-to-end throughput tests, the test server has to be an mbox; for application tests (eg. web testing), the server is a web server.

  • traffic generator (mbox). Each mbox is built with iperf, which is the most popular and proven open source traffic generator, and it's primarily used for throughput tests. Application simulation tests (eg. end-user simulation for web monitoring, script tests for proprietary applications) are performed by mfusion agent on mbox.

  • control server (mfusion). mfusion platform provides flexible and centralized control to control the traffic generators, and centralize data processing & reporting. The mfusion agents are installed together with iperf on each mbox, then control commands are remotely issued centrally from mfusion to run each tests, for any combination of scheduling. Results are sent back to mfusion server, parsed and inserted into SQL database for further processing, eg. Real-time reporting, historical reporting, 95% percentile calculation, threshold alerting, etc.

  • front-end portal (mfusion). mfusion also provides Apache/PHP based front-end portal for end user or administrator's easy viewing of test results. The built-in graphing modules takes measurement data from SQL database and allows extremely flexible reporting formats. Results can be automatically send to defined email addresses on daily, weekly or monthly basis.