Automatic Test Packet Generation

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Executive Summary

Networks are getting larger and more complex; yet administrators rely on rudimentary tools such as ping and trace-route to debug problems. The authors propose an automated and systematic approach for testing and debugging networks called "Automatic Test Packet Generation" (ATPG). ATPG reads router configurations and generates a device-independent model. The model is used to generate a minimum set of test packets to (minimally) exercise every link in the net-work or (maximally) exercise every rule in the network. Test packets are sent periodically, and detected failures trigger a separate mechanism to localize the fault. ATPG can detect both functional (e.g., incorrect firewall rule) and performance problems (e.g., congested queue).

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