Facebook engineering tool mimics dodgy network connectivity

Facebook's Augmented Traffic Control (ATC) can simulate network traffic on 2G, Edge, 3G, or LTE networks

Facebook has developed a tool, initially for its own engineers, that can simulate the slow and erratic throughput of older, slower networks.

Facebook has developed a tool, initially for its own engineers, that can simulate the slow and erratic throughput of older, slower networks.

While developers may enjoy robust wireless connections, those using their apps may not always be as well connected. As a result, such users may quickly get frustrated when an app crashes or slows to a crawl from a dodgy connection unanticipated by the developer.

To deal with this issue, Facebook developed a tool, initially for its own engineers, that can simulate the slow and erratic throughput of older, slower networks. The social networking giant has now released the software, called Augmented Traffic Control (ATC), as open source, for other developers and software engineers to use.

The ATC application can simulate the connectivity of a portable telephone accessing an app over 2G, Edge, 3G, or LTE network. It can also simulate weak and erratic WiFi connections.

An application may perform well with a strong network connection but may falter on an unreliable connection if it's not been designed to work with over that type of faulty connectivity. The ATC simulations can be handy to show how an application may perform over a less-than-optimal network connection.

The simulations can give engineers an estimate of how long it would take a user to download a file, for instance, given varying network connections. It can help engineers re-create problems that crop up only on very slow networks.

For a company aiming for global reach, such a tool could be invaluable. Facebook itself has simulated the network connections of various countries around the world, including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

Facebook Messenger, launched as a standalone app in 2011, benefitted from being tested with ATC, according to Facebook. The developers were able to see how the app worked across a range of different networks, which helped them determine how long the software program should wait for a response from a server before issuing an error message.

Mobile application developers need as much help as they can get. About 75 percent of IT pros feel their mobile applications aren't updated frequently enough, according to the results of a survey released Monday by Forrester Research.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Development toolsapplication developmentsoftwareFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?