Monday, March 4, 2013

Favorite Tools to stress-test a connection

Recently at work I turned up a new Metro connection between two locations. Once it was up, I was asked how I verified that indeed I was getting the full 100mb/s that we were paying for. I had to find a tool that would "stress-test" the connection to it's max to prove that it was working.

Here are two of the tools that I used and how I used them:

First tool is: "iperf"  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iperf)

Great little tool that just works. Tons of options but basically you put it on a laptop at both ends of the connection. One is the client and one is the server. You turn on the server with this command from the command prompt:

    iperf -s

Yup, it's that simple. Then take the other laptop to the other end of the connection and type this command from the command prompt:

    iperf -c <ip address of the server>

Again, it's that simple. The client will contact the server and will run as fast as it can flooding the connection. Once it's done, you will get a report that shows how long it took to send the packets and the max throughput. Great tool, especially for contractors to prove that everything is working.


Second tool is "Pathtest" (http://www.testmypath.com)

This is very similar in the way it works to iperf. Same setup as before, just replace the "iperf" with "pathtest" in the commands. The reason I like this one is the report/output is a little neater and easier for none-techie people (like the CFO) to read and understand. They like seeing reports with neat graphs and Pathtest gives them that.

Both tools are ran from the command prompt. The easiest way to open the command prompt is to following these steps:

1. Press and hold the "Windows key" (usually located just left of the space bar) and then press "r"
2. Type in the RUN box the following:  cmd
3. Press enter (or click OK)
4. This will bring up a black box. That is the command prompt.


Good luck and I hope this helps next time you need to prove to the bean counters that you are getting what they are paying for.

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