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February 06, 2020

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

BackgroundCutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

Network performance testing, especially in 5G network topology, is a highly complicated and specialized expertise in the IT industry. As network infrastructure becomes increasingly cloudified into software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) popularized, optimization of network efficiency has become a hot topic discussed by IT engineering and operations teams in technical forums, especially concerning CAPEX and OPEX, as they reach for the ultimate goals of achieving simplified and fast-tracked trial testing with low-cost deployment.

 

Network and communication equipment developers used to acquire costly testing equipment from established brand names, such as IXIA and Ciena, incurring huge expenses not only from the initial purchase of hardware, application packages, and training but also subsequent maintenance services. This high capital investment has kept many network appliance producers from achieving network technology leadership.

 

But there’s another choice. By adopting automated test solutions that are based on both NEXCOM’s high-performance and reliable product lines and O’Prueba’s long-established and industry-specific expertise in real-world traffic emulation and automated network testing tools with its own ACTS (automatic control testing system), developers can easily execute comprehensive test planning and validation without traversing the long route of budgeting, approval, and purchasing.

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

 

This white paper demonstrates the ACTS testing solution based on NEXCOM’s NSA 7141 platform. As Figure 1 shows, NSA 7141 is an 1U rackmount appliance supporting a single Intel® Xeon® scalable processor and memory size up to 256GB DDR4 RDIMM. The system accommodates four LAN module expansions for a wide range of bandwidth configurations to allow simulation and testing of diversified network test cases and applications.

 

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

Figure 1. NEXCOM NSA 7141 network testing platform

 

 

System Configuration

As shown in Table I, the system configuration consists of NSA 7141 and NX 140F, a LAN module powered by Intel® XL710 and supporting four 10GbE SFP+ ports.

 

 

TABLE I
SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

Equipment
Description
Platform
NEXCOM NSA 7141
CPU
Intel® Xeon® Gold 6150 CPU @ 2.70GHz
Total Memory
DDR4 256GB
Storage
1 TB
LAN Module
NEXCOM NX 140F

 

 

Single NX 140F TX Throughput Test (4 Ports per LAN Module)

The topology for testing a single LAN module NX 140F is shown in Figure 2. The tester is the Spirent N4U system. This 4x 10GbE module is connected via 10G DAC cables to Spirent N4U, with packet size set to 64 bytes to generate unidirectional packet traffic. One transmit queue is allocated for each port with affinity set to unique logical cores. Table II shows the test results. Compared with the theoretical maximum throughput frame size of 64 bytes displayed in Table III, the TX rate falls between 81 to 83%. Table IV displays Intel’s limits for its Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X710-DA4’s 4x10 GbE performance with 64-byte packet sizes, and Figure 3’s zero packet loss testing results further demonstrates that 64-byte packet sizes cannot reach a 100% TX rate.

 

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

Figure 2. Single NX 140F TX throughput test (4 ports per LAN module)

 

 

TABLE II
TEST RESULTS FOR SINGLE NX140F TX THROUGHPUT TEST (4 PORTS PER LAN MODULE)

Port
Throughput (FPS)
TX Rate (%)
Port 1
12216182
81.72%
Port 2
12223121
82.14%
Port 3
12231141
81.19%
Port 4
12201234
81.99%

 

 

TABLE III
THEORETICAL MAXIMUM FRAME RATES FOR DIFFERENT FRAME SIZES

Theoretical maximum Frame Rates (frames/second) for different frame size (bytes)
Speed
64
128
256
512
1024
1280
1518
10 Mbps
14881
8446
4529
2350
1198
962
813
100 Mbps
148810
84460
45290
23497
11973
9616
8128
1000 Mbps
1488096
844595
452899
234963
119732
96154
81275
10 Gbps
14880952
8445946
4528986
2349625
1197318
961539
812744
25 Gbps
37202380
21114864
11322463
5874060
2993295
2403846
2031859
40 Gbps
59523809
33783783
18115942
9398496
4789272
3846153
3250975
100 Gbps
148809523
84459459
45289855
23496240
11973180
9615384
8127438

 

 

TABLE IV
INTEL® TEST RESULTS FOR INTEL® ETHERNET CONVERGED NETWORK ADAPTER X710-DA4[2]

Packet Size (Bytes)
Throughput (Mpps)
Line Rate %
64
36.5
61.33
128
33.78
100
256
18.11
100

* Note: All packet sizes over 128B reach line rate.

 

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

Figure 3. RFC2544 Zero packet loss test on
Intel® Ethernet converged network adapter X710-DA4[2]

 

 

Dual NX 140F TX Throughput Test (2 Ports per LAN Module)

The topology for testing dual NX 140F 10GbE modules is shown in Figure 4. The tester is the Spirent N4U system. Each NX 140F module consists of 2x 10GbE, and a total of 4x 10GbEs are interconnected via 10G DAC cables. The traffic is unidirectional with packet size of 64 bytes. In this test, each slot only uses two ports. One transmit queue is allocated for each port with affinity set to unique logical cores. Test results appear in Table V. ompared with the theoretical maximum throughput frame size of 64 bytes (Table III), the TX rate reaches 100%.

 

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

Figure 4. Dual NX 140F TX throughput test (2 ports per LAN module)

 

 

TABLE V
TEST RESULTS FOR DUAL NX 140F TX THROUGHPUT TEST (2 PORTS PER LAN MODULE)

Port
Throughput (FPS)
TX Rate (%)
Slot1-Port 1
14880952
100%
Slot1-Port 2
14880952
100%
Slot2-Port 1
14880952
100%
Slot2-Port 2
14880952
100%

 

 

Dual NX 140F TX Throughput Test (3 Ports per LAN Module)

The topology for testing dual NX 140F 10GbE modules is shown in Figure 5. The tester is the Spirent N4U system. Each NX 140F module consists of 3x 10GbE, and a total of 6x 10GbEs are interconnected via 10G DAC cables. The traffic is unidirectional with packet size of 64 bytes. In this test, each slot only uses two ports. One transmit queue is allocated for each port with affinity set to unique logical cores. Test results appear in Table VI. Compared with the theoretical maximum throughput frame size of 64 bytes (Table III), the TX rate reaches 100%.

 

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

Figure 5. Dual NX 140F TX throughput test (3 ports per LAN module)

 

 

TABLE VI
TEST RESULTS FOR DUAL NX 140F TX THROUGHPUT TEST (3 PORTS PER LAN MODULE)

Port
Throughput (FPS)
TX Rate (%)
Slot1-Port 1
14880952
100%
Slot1-Port 2
14880952
100%
Slot1-Port 3
14880952
100%
Slot2-Port 1
14880952
100%
Slot2-Port 2
14880952
100%
Slot1-Port 3
14880952
100%

 

 

Multiple NX 140 TX Throughput Test (2 Ports per LAN Module)

Topology for testing multiple NX 140F 10GbE modules is shown in Figure 6. The tester is the Spirent N4U system. Each NX 140F module consists of 2x 10GbE, and a total of 6x 10GbEs are interconnected via 10G DAC cables to NSA 7141. The traffic is unidirectional with packet size of 64 bytes. In this test, each slot only uses two ports. One transmit queue is allocated for each port with affinity set to unique logical cores. Test results appear in Table VII. Compared with the theoretical maximum throughput frame size of 64 bytes (Table III), the TX rate reaches 100%.

 

Cutting-Edge and Affordable Network Performance Testing Solutions: a NEXCOM and O’Prueba Collaboration

Figure 6. Multiple NX 140F TX throughput test (2 ports per LAN module)

 

 

TABLE VII
TEST RESULTS FOR MULTIPLE NX 140F TX THROUGHPUT TEST (2 PORTS PER LAN MODULE)

Port
Throughput (FPS)
TX Rate (%)
Slot1-Port 1
14880952
100%
Slot1-Port 2
14880952
100%
Slot2-Port 1
14880952
100%
Slot2-Port 2
14880952
100%
Slot3-Port 1
14880952
100%
Slot3-Port 2
14880952
100%

 

 

Conclusion

Testing results of the above configurations leads to the conclusion that NSA 7141 paired with NX 140F’s 10GbE ports can realize a 100% TX rate in 64-byte packet sizes, with utilization of up to two ports per LAN module and integrated with optimized DPDK, CPU core allocation, and software. The solution thus offers a stable 10GbE line rate as with other branded packet generators. Because of the collaboration between NEXCOM, a leading network and communication solution provider focused on high- performance and reliable computing platforms and network technology, and O’Prueba, dedicated to building easy-to-use and cost-effective testing solutions for the network and communications industry, state-of-the-art network performance benchmark testing solutions are now affordable, reliable, and serviceable.

 

References
[1] Spirent Communications, FS S5800-48F4S switch 1/10GE Ethernet performance validation. Calabasas: 2014. https://img-en.fs.com/file/report/fs-s5800-48f4s-1ge-and-10ge-ethernet-switch-performance-test-report.pdf
[2] Intel DPDK Validation Team, DPDK Intel NIC performance report release 18.02.
2018. https://fast.dpdk.org/doc/perf/DPDK_18_02_Intel_NIC_performance_report.pdf

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