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On campus beta site: architecture designs, operational experience, and top product defects

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5 Author(s)

Testing network products in a beta site to reduce the possibility of customer found defects is a critical phase before marketing. We design and deploy an innovative beta site on the campus of National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan. It can be used for developers to test and debug products, while maintaining network quality for network users. To satisfy the needs of developers, we set up environments and mechanisms, such as a variety of test zones for multiple types of products or systems under test (SUTs), remote control, degrees of traffic volume, and traffic profiling. For network users, we set up mechanisms of failure detection, notification, and recovery. The beta site network users are all volunteers. Test results show that beta site testing is good for finding stability and compatibility defects. The period starting from the beginning of a test until the next defect is found is called the time to fail (TTF). We call it converged if the TTF exceeds four weeks, and the convergence ratio is the percentage of SUTs that reach convergence. We find that the TTF increases with longer test duration, meaning that product quality improves through beta site testing. However, the convergence ratios are only 7 and 20 percent for test durations of one month and one year, respectively, meaning that few products operate faultlessly for a long duration. The convergence ratios also indicate that it takes much more time to enhance product quality to be converged. Therefore, if considering both marketing timing and product quality, one month is our suggested minimum TD for low-end and shortlife- cycle products. However, we recommend one year as the minimum TD for high-end and long-life-cycle products.

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 12 )