In this current age of data explosion, real time traffic over the internet is growing rapidly. Streaming applications are one of the most important areas where real time data is captured and delivered instantly. The streaming information is not only used in entertainment but also essential for business and operations. The examples of streaming applications can be online instructional training, remote security monitoring, telemedicine, live news (video) etc.
Data streaming can be defined as a mechanism of transferring data between memory and instruments. The memory can be on a host PC or a hard disk etc.
For any streaming application, seamless streaming must be ensured for better performance. There are different streaming protocols available in the market, like RTPM (flash based), HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) which is HTTP based and many more. HLS is supported by both iOS devices and HTML, so it is widely used.
The testing of these streaming data and applications are very critical. So a proper testing is a must before using it in real time/production environment.
Streaming data testing accurately measures TCP socket to socket connections for jitter. This is one of the key area affecting real time streaming applications. This test measures and detects TCP delays which causes jitter. It also shows the impact on the streaming data flow.
Following are some tests performed during data stream testing for video/audio or any other forms.
- Network connections are tested and verified by using RTCP and RTP over a UDP connection. Data stream is also analyzed for multimedia performance.
- In this phase connections are tested with real time streaming protocols. It will check network connections using RTSP over a TCP connection. This is the most common protocol used for video over IP.
- In this step, jitter and packet losses are measured. As most of the video streaming data is transmitted over TCP protocol, packet loss is very rare but jitter is a common issue. If a packet is dropped during transmission, TCP will transmit it again but a jitter spike will degrade the quality of the output.
In most of the stream data testing, artificial data stream is generated for a specific target. In this process, various patterns and loads of data can be generated. Simulators generally create NetFlow packets containing specific traffic patterns for specific testing. There are different tools available which can generate these traffics (which are basically data streams) and then monitor the streaming data movement.
Now we know about the streaming data and the related applications. We also know that the testing of streaming data is very critical for the success of all stream based applications.