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Test & Measurement

Mu Dynamics Evolves Testing for Real-World IP

Mu Dynamics has been in the testing game for five years, but it's never had to deal with the level and complexity of traffic that carrier networks are experiencing today. For that matter, neither have the carriers. (See Mu Dynamics Tests IP Services.)

That's why the company is introducing Mu Studio Scale today. The company claims it dynamically recreates real-world customer usage, providing a more realistic way of testing big scenarios -- thousands of voice-over-IP users, an IPTV deployment, thousands of voice calls on Android, or 100,000 Facebook users -- in the lab.

Mu's new approach comes in response to the transformation in the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) space, according to Mu CEO Dave Kresse. Whereas traditional networks used to host traditional apps, now there's an explosion in a new class of IP services -- something carriers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) know all too well. (See AT&T Unveils Mobile Data Plans.)

"If you are deploying one of these new services, voice, video, cloud, or the smart grid," Kresse says, "the question we ask is, are you ready to handle the Internet generation? How are you prepared to move your mission-critical applications from a physical service to hundreds of virtual machines?"

Kresse calls older protocol testing systems "bit-blasting" tools, because they only generate synthetic traffic from canned tests. Vendors offer products that either record and replay on the software side or only test bits on the infrastructure side, he says.

Whereas a standard traffic replicator can indicate what 100,000 sessions of texting might do to the network, Mu's Active Service Replication (ASR) technology can show what people texting in New York, Los Angeles, even Omaha, actually feels like to the network. Through a cross between a hardware-based traffic simulator and a software-based app tester, the operator can observe how the network acts and rectify any problems that arise.



"We can transform actual service interactions, real captures, into parameterized transactions. We understand the end points, the service and apps being run. As a result, our test tool can actually tweet or log into a pay-per-view service and be billed for it.

"Similar to an application-testing model, the services we are testing can't tell the difference between if we are a test tool or actual transactions happening in a real environment."

Mu is already a supplier to most leading carriers across the globe, including Cox Communications Inc. and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which raises the question of why the network operators still aren't getting it right. Kresse says it's not their fault. They just never had an alternative before.

"It's not because they are lazy, but because there aren't solutions out there to solve the problems," Kresse says, noting that the problems include high-profile outages or degraded quality.

Kresse says Mu Studio Scale can also save its more than 100 customers -- which include wired and wireless network equipment vendors, government agencies, and service providers -- months in development and millions in production costs by isolating performance and scalability bottlenecks as soon as services are developed and deployed.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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