EXTREME Testbed®

Testbed Goals


EXTREME stands for EXperimental Testbed for ResEarch on Mobile nEtworks (EXTREME Testbed®). Its flexibility allows evaluating any networking scenario that could be of interest to both industrial and research communities on the cloud computing, data networking, and mobile networking. Particular emphasis has been put on those scenarios having a remarkable wireless component, including technologies such as LTE, UMTS/HSPA, 802.11, 802.11ac, and 802.11ad (mmwave).

The EXTREME Testbed® is being developed to allow its users to test networking algorithms and technologies, services, and applications in a fully-instrumented close-to-real SDN- and NFV-based scenario. Its main design goals:

  • High flexibility in the types of networking scenarios tested, from wired to wireless.
  • Rapid adoption and evaluation of new emerging technologies in a pre-production environment.
  • Reducing time from scenario conception by the user to the start of the measurement phase.
  • Easy operation by providing and abstraction of the underlying physical resources to users.
  • Generic framework to ease the realization and analysis of performance measurements.
  • Experimental validation of theoretical results.
  • Tangible developments for industry as outcome of a research partnership with the CTTC.

Video Gallery of the EXTREME Testbed®

General Overview

Detailed Description

Testbeds built over the EXTREME Testbed®

System Architecture

The core of the EXTREME Testbed® lies on a Central Server. It is the interface between the experimenter/user and the Testbed, hiding its complexity and offering high-level experimentation services to the user.

A serie of reconfigurable network nodes can be customized and used as network nodes for experimentation purposes (e.g. traffic emulation, routing, switching, acting as access points, wireless clients, capturing packets…). Each of these machines is connected to both a control network and a data network. The interconnection pattern of nodes for each experiment is configured in the backbone switch-router.

Commercial equipment (traffic generators, networks emulators, and measurement equipment) is integrated in the testbed. External connectivity is offered through the CTTC production network and through connections to external production and research networks.

Regarding operating system (OS) and application software, for control and core development purposes mainly open source software is used, but any type of software can be integrated in the platform.

Configuration and Experiment Management Engine

Testbed Concept

In the context of networking experimentation, an experimenter in the EXTREME Testbed® follows the following phases:

  • Experiment design. The researcher defines the experiment at a high-level using some description files.
  • Autoconfiguration software maps this high-level description into a physical topology.
  • Experiment load and configuration. The autoconfiguration tools are in charge of controlling the node booting process, disk image loading, and execution of configuration files into the nodes.
  • Execution of the experiment. The experiment execution control software is in charge of executing, at the chosen instant, the applications, in selected nodes, to follow the intended experimentation.
  • Data collection for EMMA analysis can also be programmed using the execution control software.

Wireless Infrastructure

The development of a wireless networking testbed must deal with challenges such as repeatability, scalability and mobility in a very different manner from that of wired networking testbeds.

Hardware platform. The testbed offers a wide range of wireless devices: traffic generators and receivers, sniffers, mobile nodes and mesh nodes using commercial WLAN gear (Access points, 802.11a/b/g cards, 3G/WLAN cards, mobile phones) and heterogeneous computing nodes (laptops, PDAs, embedded PCs) with wireless capabilities.

Software support. The testbed combines open source drivers, APIs for wireless devices, and custom made code to integrate the wireless infrastructure into the control infrastructure.

Measuremente Architecture: EMMA

Measurement Architecture: EMMA

The EXTREME Measurement Architecture (EMMA) provides a framework for the researcher to monitor the system under test while freeing him/her from the low-level details of the configuration of the traffic generation and capture tools.

A control server is at the core of EMMA, carrying out a series of functions:

  • Interaction with the user. It provides a single point of interaction between the user and EMMA.
  • Configuration of all transmit, receive, and monitoring (wired and wireless) nodes, i.e. the user is able to configure sources and destinations, flow characteristics, parameters to measure for both active and passive measurements.
  • Scheduling of measurement events by the user.
  • Gathering of traces and/or computations carried out at monitoring and/or end-nodes.
  • Presentation of graphical results based on information gathered.
  • Rapid evaluation and integration of new hardware and software monitoring tools.

EMMA allows multiple instances to be created, each monitoring a different experiment when more than one scenario/experiment are running concurrently in the reconfigurable testbed.

Active measurements, based on injecting synthetic traffic flows, serve to characterize paths segments, and potentially end-to-end paths.

Passive measurements, based on analyzing a copy of the traffic at a given point or observing certain variables without affecting real traffic, serve to characterize the traffic or other operational parameters at a particular point in the network.

The experimenter can specify how many flows are generated, source and destination of these flows, their characteristics, and where the monitoring machines are placed in the network, capturing and/or analyzing these flows.

Testbeds built over the EXTREME Testbed®

The EXTREME Testbed® is also used to build and integrate specialized testbeds:

Publication describing the design of the EXTREME Testbed

EXTREME: Combining the ease of management of multi-user experimental facilities and the flexibility of proof of concept testbeds , published in Proc. 2nd International IEEE/Create-Net Conference on Testbeds and Research Infraestructures for the Development of Networks and Communities (TRIDENTCOM 2006). Barcelona (Spain), March 1-3, 2006.  A bit outdated.

Most publications listed here have an experimental component provided by the EXTREME Testbed.