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Generating packets to test fragmentation

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Generating packets to test fragmentation

Methods, apparatus and machine readable storage media for testing fragmentation of datagrams by a network under test. A traffic generator may generate a datagram including a header and a payload, the payload containing plural instrumentation blocks, each instrumentation block containing information identifying the datagram and information identifying the location of each instrumentation block within the datagram. The traffic generator may transmit the datagram over the network under test.
Related Terms: Datagram Fragmentation Machine Readable

Browse recent Ixia patents - Calabasas, CA, US
USPTO Applicaton #: #20140043981 - Class: 370241 (USPTO) -
Multiplex Communications > Diagnostic Testing (other Than Synchronization)

Inventors: Alon Regev

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20140043981, Generating packets to test fragmentation.

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This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 12/948, 567, filed Nov. 17, 2010, entitled TESTING PACKET FRAGMENTATION (to be issued on Oct. 29, 2013 as U.S. Pat. No. 8,571,032).

This application is related to application Ser. No. 12/948,582, filed Nov. 17, 2010, entitled TESTING PACKET REASSEMBLY, published as US 2012/0120820 A1.


A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. This patent document may show and/or describe matter which is or may become trade dress of the owner. The copyright and trade dress owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and trade dress rights whatsoever.


1. Field

This disclosure relates to testing a network or network device.

2. Description of the Related Art

In many types of communications networks, each message to be sent is divided into portions of fixed or variable length. Each portion may be referred to as a packet, a frame, a cell, a datagram, a data unit, or other unit of information, all of which are referred to herein as packets.

Each packet contains a portion of an original message, commonly called the payload of the packet. The payload of a packet may contain data, or may contain voice or video information. The payload of a packet may also contain network management and control information. In addition, each packet contains identification and routing information, commonly called a packet header. The packets are sent individually over the network through multiple switches or nodes. The packets are reassembled into the message at a final or intermediate destination using the information contained in the packet headers, before the message is delivered to a target device or end user. At the receiving end, the reassembled message is passed to the end user in a format compatible with the user\'s equipment.

Communications networks that transmit messages as packets are called packet switched networks. Packet switched networks commonly contain a mesh of transmission paths which intersect at hubs or nodes. At least some of the nodes may include a switching device or router that receives packets arriving at the node and retransmits the packets along appropriate outgoing paths. Packet switched networks are governed by a layered structure of industry-standard protocols. Layers 1, 2, and 3 of the structure are the physical layer, the data link layer, and the network layer, respectively.

Layer 1 protocols define the physical (electrical, optical, or wireless) interface between nodes of the network. Layer 1 protocols include various Ethernet physical configurations, the Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) and other optical connection protocols, and various wireless protocols such as WiFi.

Layer 2 protocols govern how data is logically transferred between nodes of the network. Layer 2 protocols include the Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Frame Relay, and Point to Point Protocol (PPP).

Layer 3 protocols govern how packets are routed from a source to a destination along paths connecting multiple nodes of the network. The dominant layer 3 protocols are the well-known Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and version 6 (IPv6). A packet switched network may need to route IP packets using a mixture of the Ethernet, ATM, FR, and/or PPP layer 2 protocols. At least some of the nodes of the network may include a router that extracts a destination address from a network layer header contained within each packet. The router then uses the destination address to determine the route or path along which the packet should be retransmitted. A typical packet may pass through a plurality of routers, each of which repeats the actions of extracting the destination address and determining the route or path along which the packet should be retransmitted.

The IPv4 and IPv6 layer 3 protocols also provide for packet fragmentation and reassembly. A network device may fragment an original packet into two or more shorter packets, which may be subsequently reassembled into the original packet by some other network device. Packet fragmentation and reassembly may be necessary, for example, if a device or path within a network has a maximum allowable packet length that is shorter than the original packet. Packet fragmentation and reassembly may also be used to divide a long data packet into fragments that can be transmitted between periodically scheduled voice or video packets. In keeping with the terminology of IPv4, an original packet to be fragmented will be referred to herein as a “datagram”. Each datagram may be divided into a plurality of “fragments”. Note that both datagrams and fragments are packets as previously defined.

In order to test a packet switched network or a device included in a packet switched communications network, test traffic comprising a large number of packets may be generated, transmitted into the network at one or more ports, and received at different ports. Each packet in the test traffic may be a unicast packet intended for reception at a specific destination port or a multicast packet, which may be intended for reception at one or more destination ports. In this context, the term “port” refers to a communications connection between the network and the equipment used to test the network. The term “port unit” refers to a module within the network test equipment that connects to the network at a port. The received test traffic may be analyzed to measure the performance of the network. Each port unit connected to the network may be both a source of test traffic and a destination for test traffic. Each port unit may emulate a plurality of logical source or destination addresses.

A series of packets originating from a single port unit and having a specific type of packet and a specific rate will be referred to herein as a “stream.” A source port unit may support multiple outgoing streams simultaneously and concurrently, for example to accommodate multiple packet types, rates, or destinations. “Simultaneously” means “at exactly the same time.” “Concurrently” means “within the same time.”

For the purpose of collecting test data, the test traffic may be organized into packet groups, where a “packet group” is any plurality of packets for which network traffic statistics are accumulated. The packets in a given packet group may be distinguished by a packet group identifier (PGID) contained in each packet. The PGID may be, for example, a dedicated identifier field or combination of two or more fields within each packet.

For the purpose of reporting network traffic data, the test traffic may be organized into flows, where a “flow” is any plurality of packets for which network traffic statistics are reported. Each flow may consist of a single packet group or a small plurality of packet groups. Each packet group may typically belong to a single flow.

Within this description, the term “engine” means a collection of hardware, which may be augmented by firmware and/or software, which performs the described functions. An engine may typically be designed using a hardware description language (HDL) that defines the engine primarily in functional terms. The HDL design may be verified using an HDL simulation tool. The verified HDL design may then be converted into a gate netlist or other physical description of the engine in a process commonly termed “synthesis”. The synthesis may be performed automatically using a synthesis tool. The gate netlist or other physical description may be further converted into programming code for implementing the engine in a programmable hardware device such as a field programmable gate array (FPGA), a programmable logic device (PLD), or a programmable logic arrays (PLA). The gate netlist or other physical description may be converted into process instructions and masks for fabricating the engine within an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

Within this description, the term “logic” also means a collection of hardware that performs a described function, which may be on a smaller scale than an “engine”. “Logic” encompasses combinatorial logic circuits; sequential logic circuits which may include flip-flops, registers and other data storage elements; and complex sequential logic circuits such as finite-state machines.

Within this description, a “unit” also means a collection of hardware, which may be augmented by firmware and/or software, which may be on a larger scale than an “engine”. For example, a unit may contain multiple engines, some of which may perform similar functions in parallel. The terms “logic”, “engine”, and “unit” do not imply any physical separation or demarcation. All or portions of one or more units and/or engines may be collocated on a common card, such as a network card or blade, or within a common FPGA, ASIC, or other circuit device.

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Machine Readable

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