Supplied Tests

Test are supplied as Python files and can specify commands to run etc. For a full list of the tests supported by flent, see the --list-tests option.

The Realtime Response Under Load (RRUL) test

This test exists in a couple of variants and is a partial implementation of the RRUL specification as written by Dave Taht (see https://github.com/dtaht/deBloat/blob/master/spec/rrule.doc?raw=true). It works by running RTT measurement using ICMP ping and UDP roundtrip time measurement, while loading up the link with eight TCP streams (four downloads, four uploads). This quite reliably saturates the measured link (wherever the bottleneck might be), and thus exposes bufferbloat when it is present.

Simple TCP flow tests

These tests combine a TCP flow (either in one direction, or both) with an ICMP ping measurement. It’s a simpler test than RRUL, but in some cases the single TCP flow can be sufficient to saturate the link.

UDP flood test

This test runs iperf configured to emit 100Mbps of UDP packets targeted at the test host, while measuring RTT using ICMP ping. It is useful for observing latency in the face of a completely unresponsive packet stream.

Test parameters

Some test parameters (set with --test-parameter) affect the way tests behave. These are:

upload_streams
download_streams

These set the number of upload or download streams for the tcp_nup, tcp_ndown and rrul_be_nflows tests. If set to the special value num_cpus the number of streams will be set to the number of CPUs on the system (if this information is available).

tcp_cong_control

Set the congestion control used for TCP flows, for platforms that supports setting it. This can be specified as a simple string to set the same value for upstream and downstream, or two comma-separated values to set it separately for the upstream and downstream directions. On Linux, any value in the sysctl net.ipv4.tcp_allowed_congestion_control can be used.

If a congestion control is specified that is not available on the system running the test, setting it will simply fail. In addition, some tests override the congestion control for one or more flows. The actual congestion control used is stored in the CONG_CONTROL per-test metadata field.

udp_bandwidth

This sets the bandwidth of each UDP stream in the udp_* tests. The option is passed to iperf so can be in any syntax the iperf understands (e.g. 20M for 20 Mbps).

burst_length
burst_ports
burst_psize
burst_tos

These set the length, number of ports to use, packet size and TOS value for the packet bursts generated in the burst* tests.

cpu_stats_hosts
netstat_hosts
qdisc_stats_hosts
wifi_stats_hosts

These set hostnames to gather statistics from from during the test. The hostnames are passed to SSH, so can be anything understood by SSH (including using username@host syntax, or using hosts defined in ~/.ssh/config). This will attempt to run remote commands on these hosts to gather the required statistics, so passwordless login has to be enabled for. Multiple hostnames can be specified, separated by commas.

CPU stats and netstat output is global to the machine being connected to. The qdisc and WiFi stats need extra parameters to work. These are qdisc_stats_interfaces, wifi_stats_interfaces and wifi_stats_stations. The two former specify which interfaces to gather statistics from. These are paired with the hostnames, and so must contain the same number of elements (also comma-separated) as the _hosts variables. To specify multiple interfaces on the same host, duplicate the hostname. The wifi_stats_stations parameter specifies MAC addresses of stations to gather statistics for. This list is the same for all hosts, but only stations present in debugfs on each host are actually captured.

The qdisc stats gather statistics output from tc -s, while the WiFi stats gather statistics from debugfs. These are gathered by looping in a shell script; however, for better performance, the tc_iterate and wifistats_iterate programmes available in the misc/ directory of the source code tarball can be installed. On low-powered systems this can be critical to get correct statistics. The helper programmes are packaged for LEDE/OpenWrt in the flent-tools package.

ping_hosts
ping_local_binds

These are used to define one or more extra host names that will receive a ping flow while a test is run. The ping_hosts variable simply specifies hostnames to ping (several can be specified by separating them with commas). The ping_local_binds variable sets local IP address(es) to bind to for the extra ping flows. If specified, it must contain the same number of local addresses as the number of ping hosts. The same local address can be specified multiple times, however.

voip_host
voip_local_bind
voip_control_host
voip_marking

Similar to the ping variants above, these parameters specify a hostname that will receive a VoIP test. However, unlike the ping parameters, only one hostname can be specified for VoIP tests, and that end-host needs to have either D-ITG (and the control server) or the IRTT server running. The marking setting controls which DiffServ marking is applied to the VoIP flow and defaults to no marking being set.

control_hosts

Hostnames to use for the control connections for the rtt_fair* tests. Comma-separated. If specified, it must contain as many hostnames as the number of target hostnames specified for the test.

markings

Flow markings to use for each of the flows in the rtt_fair* tests. Comma-separated values of markings understood by Netperf (such as “CS0”). Only supports setting the same marking on both the upstream and downstream packets of each flow (so no “CS0,CS0” setting as can be used for Netperf). If not set, defaults to CS0 (best effort). If set, each value corresponds to a flow, and any extra flows will be set to CS0.