Case Study
The University of Liverpool –
Using JAR:Emulate to bring real world condition testing to inform laboratory based network research.

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The University of Liverpool’s,

School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science offers research-led teaching. Students are exposed to current research initiatives and study problem and enquiry based modules. They are taught about research methods and processes relevant to their discipline often with a practical element included as well as undertaking their own individual projects.

The school has a specific Advanced Network research group led by Professor Alan Marshall. The group is concerned with all related research into telecommunications and computer networks. Projects include novel network architectures for Quality of Service (QoS), programmable networks, network management and network processing, adaptive packet scheduling, denial-of-service attack behaviour recognition in wireless networks, and programmable routing protocols for ad-hoc and sensor networks.

The department’s laboratory serves as the main focus for research into all aspects of computer and telecommunications networks related research. The laboratory contains state-of-the-art facilities to allow research into fixed and wireless networks, network management systems; and distributed video/audio and video conferencing systems. This allows research into heterogeneous networks, and future fast packet switching technologies.

The Challenge

The University of Liverpool were seeking a network emulation solution to add to their laboratory testbed.

They wanted to test out the impact of varying network conditions and designs on the output and performance of products and initiatives under their research. Due to the range of projects undertaken in the lab, the network emulator needed to be able to provide an extensive list of impairments, enable high speed testing (10G) whilst being flexible and mobile so that it could be used in the classroom environment for teaching.

Some real life testing scenarios carried out in the lab are:

  • Analysing how delay affects the Quality Service Metrics (QSM) for networked devices designed to test and analyse the human senses.
  • Student research looking at the ability to control a robot in China from a base in Liverpool using emulated links to analyse the impact of the network performance on the robotic controls.

Key considerations when selecting a solution were:

Affordability, flexibility, ease of use and ability to work with the solution provider.

The Solution

We provided an affordable combined network emulation solution which included a JAR:Emulate 10G unit and a Lite unit.

The JAR:Emulate solution offered an affordable and flexible network emulator with over 45+ impairments, covering the range of conditions required for the various multiple use cases and scenarios under research.

The JAR:Emulate rack mounted (10G) product provided the high speed connections for use in the lab as part of their wider testbed. The Lite unit provided a desktop/hand held hardware unit that enabled accurate virtual network environments to be created for projects that did not require a high level of throughput. The flexibility of the Lite unit also enabled it to be shared between teaching resources and moved around the University from laboratory to classroom.

“JAR Technologies were easy to work with to define the most appropriate network emulation solution to meet our needs. The Lite option was particularly attractive due it its flexibility for use in both the Lab and the classroom. As a desktop unit it is easy to move around and share between locations for teaching.”

Professor Alan Marshall,
Head of Department, Dept of Electrical Engineering & Electronics, University of Liverpool.