RFC 2544 Test

  • Posted on 2015-07-24 12:47:16
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Welcome back to my networking blog. I am extremely motivated and happy for having viewers and readers here and that is why I want to continue providing short but valuable information, for example the RFC 2544 Test. I think this topic is very real world and very important for people that are interested in the networking world. At my job there are a lot of RFC tests done during the month. The reason why is because the RFC test is a standard made by the IETF to measure and provide performance data according to the SLAs. First lets start with what is a SLA. Here is a description by Palo Alto Networks:

"A service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a service provider (either internal or external) and the end user that defines the level of service expected from the service provider. SLAs are output-based in that their purpose is specifically to define what the customer will receive. SLAs do not define how the service itself is provided or delivered. The SLA an Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide its customers is a basic example of an SLA from an external service provider. The metrics that define levels of service for an ISP should aim to guarantee:

  • A description of the service being provided – maintenance of areas such as network connectivity, domain name servers, dynamic host configuration protocol servers
  • Reliability – when the service is available (percentage uptime) and the limits outages can be expected to stay within
  • Responsiveness – the punctuality of services to be performed in response to requests and scheduled service dates
  • Procedure for reporting problems - who can be contacted, how problems will be reported, procedure for escalation, and what other steps are taken to resolve the problem efficiently
  • Monitoring and reporting service level – who will monitor performance, what data will be collected and how often as well as how much access the customer is given to performance statistics
  • Consequences for not meeting service obligations – may include credit or reimbursement to customers, or enabling the customer to terminate the relationship.
  • Escape clauses or constraints – circumstances under which the level of service promised does not apply. An example could be an exemption from meeting uptime requirements in circumstance that floods, fires or other hazardous situations damage the ISP’s equipment.
In covering these areas, the document aims to establish a mutual understanding of services, areas prioritized, responsibilities, guarantees, and warranties provided by the service provider."

Now that is when the RFC test comes into play. For example, if Verizon decides to run an RFC test through their network from end-to-end, and it fails, the ISP has to check their SLA, test the network, look for the problem, and if the problem is not found, run the RFC test with the Verizon technician at the same time. The RFC test will measure several things like Throughput, Frame Loss, Burstability, Latency, and Jitter (optional but recommended.) It uses frame sizes minimum of 64 bytes and up to 1518 bytes to stress the network. Usually the Test and Turn up team will run the RFC test before making the site live but in many cases the customers test their networks again to ensure the ISP is meeting the SLA requirements. By the way, Test and Turn up is a department where they test, modify, and ensure that your enterprise internet service will be fully functional and then make your site live and allow the network to pass traffic. The RFC test is very real world and anyone starting from CCENT and up should know the basics of what is involved with a RFC 2544 Test because they will definitely come across it while working as a Network Admin or Network Engineer. So today you now gained valuable real world knowledge, knowing what a RFC 2544 Test is, what a SLA is, and what is Test and Turn up. These 3 things come together in an enterprise environment and knowing the basics will definitely help you in the long run. Thanks for reading and you can email me at nd008957h@gmail.com or DM me on my Instagram account called fiber_nexus.

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