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ABot – Cloud-Native 4G/5G Network Test Tool

The ABot test orchestration solution validates network functions of 4G, 5G, and O-RAN as per 3GPP Specifications and MEC platform. It includes a plethora of canned test templates for functional, interop and performance benchmark testing. ABot tests both control and user plane by simulating network functions in a containerized cloud-native, virtualized and bare metal environment. ABot can be scaled horizontally to enable performance benchmarking at carrier-grade scale. Logs, events, and KPIs from different layers of the NFV platform are captured during test execution and analyzed by ABot Analytic engine for anomaly detection and data insight.

ABot can simulate any 4G EPC nodes (MME, SGW, PGW, HSS, PCRF, OCS, OFCS) and the eNodeB S1-MME interface with the capability of supporting large number of subscribers. ABot can also support 5G Non-Standalone test cases. In the 5G world ABot has the capability of supporting the 5G SBA Core Network Functions like AMF, AUSF, UDM, SMF, NSSF, UPF, NEF, NRF, PCF, and AF and the gNodeB N1/N2 interface. ABot simulated nodes can work alongside real nodes to emulate incomplete functions of the call flow and can be managed through an orchestrator. ABot REST API can be used to integrate with any CI engine and can be part of a CI-CT-CD solution.

ABot can be used to validate the various MEC exemplary reference architecture deployment models by running use case specific scenarios. ABot currently supports 4G, 5G, and hybrid test cases and generate traffic required to test the application use case on a MEC platform. Its emulated protocol stacks are very lightweight and versatile to fit various architectures of the MEC solution for the different verticals.

Service operators can use ABot’s 4G/5G simulated nodes and canned end-to-end call flows to validate 4G/5G, CIoT and Open RAN scenarios during system integration and interop testing prior to network deployment and production. ABot can simulate both data plane and control plane traffic at carrier-grade scale for performance benchmarking of NFs. Apart from functional testing, ABot is capable of testing the robustness of a telecom node, its capacity, and performance by simulating Gbps level traffic with millions of simulated devices across the network.

ABot can generate traffic specific to each type of network slice (SST 1,2,3) and interoperates with PCF, NRF, NSSF, and UPF accordingly.

ABot test tool can support implementation of call flows and end-to-end use cases as per the latest 3GPP specification. These test cases validate 4G / 5G SA-NSA and ORAN use cases and can certify real telecom nodes.

ABot integrates seamlessly with any CI engine like Jenkins. Test cases of ABot can be invoked from the CI engine with the help of keywords or “Tags\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" which refer to a single or group of Test Cases. These Tags can be used to identify Protocol, Scenario, Sanity, Smoke, Regression, etc. The ABot Analytics engine processes all test results, Mobility & Infra KPIs and correlates them for Root Cause Analysis, thus providing a framework for Continuous Test Assurance. ABot integrates with other Northbound and Southbound applications using REST API. It can also be used as an orchestrator for all other test frameworks and 3rd party test tools for System Level E2E testing. In order to aid in the CI process, ABot comes built-in with Test Case Teardown and a simple Network Topology Builder.

As test cases are executed, ABot Analytic engine ingests all logs and events generated by the network applications and NVFI layer along with the associated system and infra-level KPIs. The Analytics module of ABot presents a deeper analysis of the execution data via an interactive dashboard and storyboards.

Enables continuous e2e/integration testing platform with highly scalable test framework. It helps the operators to build their customized ready-to-use test suite, automate the testing cycle, and do scale testing all in cost-effective manner.

ABot is a test tool for capable of simulating any 4G or 5G telecom network functions along with ORAN CU/DU completely or only certain interfaces/messages. Thus, ABot is capable of testing even a partially implemented telecom node. Its ability to simulate end-to-end 5G Non-standalone and 5G Standalone use cases can accelerate development, integration, and interoperability testing of NFs. ABot can also simulate any protocol and encapsulate it easily in its framework to forward such traffic via 3gpp/LTE data path.

ABot can simulate end-to-end Non-Standalone and Standalone call flows validating any 5G use case-specific implementation. The protocol adapter layer of ABot can be easily extended to validate any protocol enhancement and customization required for supporting Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) and Massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) use cases.

ABot Analytics provides a deeper insight into the test cases executed for faster analysis. It analyzes the test results and classifies the failures by - error in test case authoring, configuration error, or application failure.

ABot supports Config files that enable one to define a Lab configuration in a simple textual manner. Besides network configuration, specific IE values, and other variables related to the Node or test scenario can also be defined. These Config files are hierarchical in nature to facilitate maximum reusability. The Config files representing the Lab setup are referenced in the test cases, thus eliminating configuration related challenges for the testers.

ABot Analytics engine is capable of identifying 3GPP scenarios, procedures, protocols, interfaces, and messages. After each test execution, deep learning statistical models analyses this information along with associated mobility statistics like latency, bearer connection, and session performance indicators, system-level KPIs, logs of the system under tests, and PCAP data. Comparisons with similar test execution data from prior test data are used to make build quality inferences. Build-by-build maturity analysis is generated along with trends to help determine release maturity. A graphical representation of the node maturity is provided with maturity scores based on the pass/fail analysis of the messages and their criticality based on the use cases verified.

The ABot analytic engine correlates data from NFVI, Infrastructure, and VNFs in a data lake for failure analysis. Data correlation is done after every call model test execution from several dimensions - the mobility statistics of the nodes, system KPI of the infrastructure involved, time-series data of log messages & PCAP data of the various nodes, etc. ABot Analytics compares test execution data from prior test data to determine anomalous behavior. The result is presented in an easy-to-understand dashboard for deeper analysis.

Facilitate wraparound testing with missing 5G/ORAN network elements simulation & packaged 3GPP defined test cases, encompassing the OEM’s DUTs and validate the DUTs performance against different scenarios for different deployment models like – MEC/Edge.

ABot can simulate eNodeB and gNodeB (along with 100Ks of 4G/5G UEs), 4G EPC (MME, SGW, PGW, HSS, PCRF, OCS, OFCS), Service Control Exposure Function (SCEF), Services Capabilities Server (SCS).It can also simulate 5G SBA Core Network Functions like AMF, AUSF, UDM, SMF, NSSF, UPF, NEF, NRF, PCF, and AF along with ORAN CU/DU. ABot simulated nodes can work alongside real nodes (Device Under Test) to emulate a network solution. Real nodes and emulated nodes can be switched using easy to use Config file with no changes to the ABot test cases.

ABot comes with 100s of re-usable test templates, written in high-level English like Domain Specific Language that is easy to comprehend and modify. Using these test templates one can validate and certify a network function right out of the box. AI-based Smart Editor for suggesting appropriate Protocol, Interface, Message, and Node names relevant to the Test Scenario makes editing a child's play.

ABot Analytics is based on a Deep Learning engine that has the ability to remember Call Flow executions along with all the correlated collected test data. Both pass and fail test data are ingested into the ABot machine learning engine for analysis. ABot Analytics compares each test run with all previous execution of similar call flows to identify the anomaly.

ABot is cloud-native, platform-agnostic and can be used as Test tool-as-a-Service. Its 4G/5G protocol stacks are containerized to meet the need of multi-cloud decentralized deployment configuration of NFs. Its infrastructure components like GUI, test execution engine, analytics module, etc. can be deployed as micro-services and integrated with other orchestration functions and CI/CD engine. The emulated stacks of ABot are extremely lightweight hence deployable across Edge networks, Telco and Cloud Operator's network. These stacks can be deployed as Work Loads in Pods across the network and orchestrated to simulate any topology.

ABot can be seamlessly integrated into a CI-CD pipeline like Jenkins to provide a Continuous Test Assurance framework. ABot offers a mechanism for easy configuration of testbed and selection of test suite. ABot integrates with other Northbound and Southbound applications using REST API.

Zero touch “pay as you go” 5G/ORAN validation platform to test interoperability scenarios seamlessly at the pre-deployment phase with multi-vendor NFs across different distributed network.

ABot has extensive REST API support to access all the functions of ABot including the generated test artifacts. The REST APIs are classified by the two main functional modules: Network Tool and Analytics.

Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) architecture is required to have the user plane of the packet core to be placed closer to the end-user while the control plane can be placed in a centralized location. The proximity of the user plane reduces latency and ensures high bandwidth. ABot does support CUPS Architecture and simulates 4G-5G Migration-specific use-cases. ABot can simulate hybrid nodes like HSS+UDM, PCF+PCRF, SMF+ PGW-C, UPF+PGW-U to perform 4G-5G migration scenarios with ready-made 4G-5G canned use-cases in a plug and play manner.

For validating 5G Non-Standalone scenarios and an EPC’s capability supporting dual connectivity is a must-have. ABot has Dual Connectivity Support. It can simulate a group of eNodeBs and gNodeBs split data packets as per the guidelines laid down by different options of 5G NSA and in accordance with 3GPP Release 15. Support for NSA Option -3, NSA Option -3a, NSA Option -3x is also there.

ABot supports 7.2 3GPP split RAN (ORAN) architecture by validating the F1 and E1 interface. gnb-DU (PHY high) and gnb-CU (gnb-CU-CP and gnb-CU-UP) can be simulated by ABot. F1AP and E1AP protocols on the F1-C and E1 interfaces respectively along with the scenarios specified in 3GPP 38.401 (NR-RAN Architecture) are supported by ABot.

With respect to latency, bandwidth requirement, speed, guaranteed service level agreement, mobility, energy efficiency, data security ABot can simulate use-cases where different types of video traffic would be sliced as per the SSTs.

ABot architecture's ability to rapidly implement new network protocol messages makes it an ideal MEC Validation tool for Operators and End Customers with any use case scenario. The MEC components and the http-based communication between them can easily be supported by the ABot framework. ABot test cases, its Analytics engine, and the extensive REST support for integration with any Orchestrator and CI/CT/CD pipeline make it an effective tool for MEC validation solutions.

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