PathTest FAQ
by January 18, 2017

Filed under: Networking Technology

Download PathTest, our network capacity testing tool, for free!

What is PathTest?

PathTest is a free IP-based network capacity testing tool designed with flexibility and accuracy in mind. It allows you to determine the maximum capacity between any two IP-addressable network endpoints using precision packet-flooding techniques to fill up the network delivery path to its absolute maximum capacity. PathTest is designed to be easy to use, produce very accurate results (up to full Gigabit line rates) and has flexible options to meet your capacity testing requirements.

While packet-flooding can be an effective tool for short-term testing AppNeta’s main focus is continuous low-overhead monitoring. For more information check out PathView here.

How does PathTest work?

PathTest is a command-line tool that uses packet flooding to either completely fill the network path to its maximum possible capacity or to send a user-specified amount of traffic over the path.  PathTest can test a network path using either TCP, UDP or ICMP protocols for layer 3 or layer 4 capacity testing and it supports DSCP markings to adhere to your QoS policies.

What does PathTest require in order to run effectively?

For ICMP-based (layer 3) measurements, PathTest only requires that the target is “ping-able” from the system running PathTest.  For either UDP or TCP (layer 4) testing, PathTest runs in client /server mode; this requires that one side be in “server mode” so that the other side can act as a client and test to and from it.   User specified UDP/TCP ports can optionally be specified when in client/server mode.

WARNING: PathTest is a high-performance packet flooder and it will attempt to completely fill the network pipe by default.  You must obtain permission to test to any third party networks or endpoints before testing with PathTest as testing without permission to third-party networks/end-points could be considered a denial-of-service type threat.

WARNING: Do not run PathTest on production networks during business hours when it could impact critical business applications.

What aspects of PathTest can I customize?

Users can customize bandwidth, direction, QoS, duration, packet size and protocol.

Bandwidth – PathTest flood at maximum capacity by default. Users can select specific levels according to needs.

  • Flag: b
  • Default: 0 (maximum bandwidth)
  • Range:
  • Example:

Direction – Single ended tests show round trip time. Bi-directional testing will check the upload and download of the path.

  • Flag: bidi
  • Default: not set (unidirectional client to server)
  • Range:
  • Example:

QoS – Users can test the capacity of specific QoS queues.

  • Flag: q
  • Default: 0 (not set)
  • Range:
  • Example:

Duration – PathTest will run at a maximum timeframe of 10 seconds by default. Users can select a timeframe according to needs.

  • Flag: t
  • Default: 5 Seconds
  • Range: 1 Second to 10 Second
  • Example: Run a 10-second test via ICMP to 192.168.1.5
  • pathtest –icmp t 10 192.168.1.5

Packet Size – Users can simulate specific applications by altering the size of test packets.

  • Flag: packet-size
  • Default: 0 (MTU)
  • Range:
  • Example:

Protocols – ICMP is used for single ended testing. UDP and TCP test bi-directionally.

  • Flag: ICMP
  • Default: UDP
  • Range:
  • Example:

What will PathTest results show me?

PathTest is designed to measure and show the maximum achievable network capacity, transmit and receive buffer size, and actual MTU size at a single point in time.   PathTest can test one-way network performance or simultaneous bi-directional (send and receive at same time). It also supports DSCP markings which allow you to test a specific queue’s maximum achievable capacity.

Some sample PathTest results are shown below:

Uni-directional UDP Test (layer 4):


Testing to 108.59.243.196:42437...

Done!

Test Settings:

-------------

Protocol: UDP

Direction: outbound (client to server)

Duration: 10 seconds

Socket buffer: 262144 bytes (256K)

Info:

----

Client                                                 Server

------                                                 ------

Local IP: 108.59.243.194                               Local IP: 108.59.243.196

Remote IP: 108.59.243.196                              Remote IP: 108.59.243.194

Default RX buffer: 110 KB                              Default RX buffer: 110 KB

Actual RX buffer: 255.998 KB                           Actual RX buffer: 255.998 KB

Default TX buffer: 110 KB                              Default TX buffer: 110 KB

Actual TX buffer: 255.998 KB                           Actual TX buffer: 255.998 KB

MTU: 1500                                              MTU: 1500

Results:

-------

Sent                                                   Received

108.59.243.194               966.187 Mbps              108.59.243.196

1.208 GBytes ----->------>------>------>------>------> 1.208 GBytes

805356 packets                                         805345 packets

10.000 seconds                                         10.000 seconds

Bi-directional UDP Test (layer 4):


Testing to 108.59.243.196:42437 ...

Done!

Test Settings:

-------------

Protocol: UDP

Direction: bidirectional (outbound and inbound simultaneously)

Duration: 10 seconds

Socket buffer: 262144 bytes (256K)

Info:

----

Client                                                  Server

------                                                  ------

Local IP: 108.59.243.194                                Local IP: 108.59.243.196

Remote IP: 108.59.243.196                               Remote IP: 108.59.243.194

Default RX buffer: 110 KB                               Default RX buffer: 110 KB

Actual RX buffer: 255.998 KB                            Actual RX buffer: 255.998 KB

Default TX buffer: 110 KB                               Default TX buffer: 110 KB

Actual TX buffer: 255.998 KB                            Actual TX buffer: 255.998 KB

MTU: 1500                                               MTU: 1500

Results:

-------

Sent                                                    Received

108.59.243.194                731.993 Mbps              108.59.243.196

915.012 MBytes ----->------>------>------>------>-----> 915.012 MBytes

610008 packets                                          610008 packets

10.000 seconds                                          10.000 seconds

Received                                                Sent

108.59.243.194                778.493 Mbps              108.59.243.196

973.302 MBytes <-----<------<------<------<------<----- 973.302 MBytes

648868 packets                                          648868 packets

10.000 seconds                                          10.000 seconds

Uni-directional TCP Test (layer 4):


Testing to 108.59.243.196:42437 ...

Done!

Test Settings:

-------------

Protocol: TCP

Direction: outbound (client to server)

Duration: 10 seconds

Window size: 262144 bytes (256K)

Info:

----

Client                                                   Server

------                                                   ------

Local IP: 108.59.243.194                                 Local IP: 108.59.243.196

Remote IP: 108.59.243.196                                Remote IP: 108.59.243.194

Default RX window: 85.332 KB                             Default RX window: 85.332 KB

Actual RX window: 255.998 KB                             Actual RX window: 255.998 KB

Default TX window: 16 KB                                 Default TX window: 16 KB

Actual TX window: 255.998 KB                             Actual TX window: 255.998 KB

MTU: 1500                                                MTU: 1500

Bi-directional TCP Test (layer 4):


Results:

-------

Sent                                                     Received

108.59.243.194               464.766 Mbps                108.59.243.196

581.244 MBytes ----->------>------>------>------>------> 581.244 MBytes

35689 I/O calls                                          35490 I/O calls

10.000 seconds                                           10.000 seconds

Testing to 108.59.243.196:34067 ...

Done!

Test Settings:

-------------

Protocol: TCP

Direction: bidirectional (outbound and inbound simultaneously)

Duration: 10 seconds

Window size: 262144 bytes (256K)

Info:

----

Client                                                    Server

------                                                    ------

Local IP: 108.59.243.194                                  Local IP: 108.59.243.196

Remote IP: 108.59.243.196                                 Remote IP: 108.59.243.194

Default RX window: 85.332 KB                              Default RX window: 85.332 KB

Actual RX window: 255.998 KB                              Actual RX window: 255.998 KB

Default TX window: 16 KB                                  Default TX window: 16 KB

Actual TX window: 255.998 KB                              Actual TX window: 255.998 KB

MTU: 1500                                                 MTU: 1500

Results:

-------

Sent                                                      Received

108.59.243.194                 283.454 Mbps               108.59.243.196

354.417 MBytes ------>------>------>------>------>------> 354.417 MBytes

21655 I/O calls                                           21923 I/O calls

10.000 seconds                                            10.000 seconds

Received                                                  Sent

108.59.243.194                 283.526 Mbps               108.59.243.196

354.458 MBytes <------<------<------<------<------<------ 354.458 MBytes

21769 I/O calls                                           21684 I/O calls

10.000 seconds                                            10.000 seconds

Uni-directional ICMP Test (layer 3):


Testing to 108.59.243.196 ...

Done!

Test Settings:

-------------

Protocol: ICMP

Direction: bidirectional (outbound and inbound simultaneously)

Duration: 10 seconds

Socket buffer: 262144 bytes (256K)

Info:

----

Client

------

Local IP: 108.59.243.194

Remote IP: 108.59.243.196

Default RX buffer: 110 KB

Actual RX buffer: 255.998 KB

Default TX buffer: 110 KB

Actual TX buffer: 255.998 KB

MTU: 1500

Results:

-------

Sent

1.011 GBytes -->------>------>------>------>------>------>------>------>

673920 packets                                                          |

10.001 seconds                                                          |

Total = 1.617 Gbps | Each way = 808.549 Mbps                            |

                                                                        |

Received                                                                V

1.011 GBytes <------<------<------<------<------<------<------<------<---

673918 packets

10.000 seconds

How long does it take to download and install?

PathTest will download within 10 seconds.  There is no installation required; once the executable is downloaded and uncompressed, it can be run immediately from the command line.

What operating system does PathTest run on?

PathTest runs on Linux and Windows. PathTest is only available in native 32-bit form currently, but native 64bit versions for Linux and Windows will be available in the future.

Note Windows7 and Windows 2008 Server may see slightly lower capacity results on ICMP and UDP tests due to how the operating system’s packet scheduler behaves – these results typically only show up on full GigE network paths.

When should I use PathTest?

Use PathTest anytime you need to verify the maximum possible capacity of an end-to-end network path or to verify a specific amount of network path capacity is possible (i.e. generate a network load of 45 Mbps).

How do I remove PathTest?

Delete the PathTest executable image. There are no residual files or installers and PathTest does not touch the Windows registry.

Can I get PathTest as a permanent tool to use on my network regularly?

PathTest’s capacity measures are just one feature of the many capabilities available in the PathView Cloud Network Performance Management Solution. Unlike flooding tools (like PathTest…), PathView Cloud is a light-weight, comprehensive network performance solution that can run continuously on your production network 24/7 without impacting the network environment and offers unmatched performance insight including:

  • Continuous bandwidth capacity measurement
  • End-to-End QoS verification
  • Advanced troubleshooting diagnostics
  • Remote Netflow analysis
  • Simple, Secure remote packet capture

You can try out the full solution in our demo environment here: PathView

What else should I be aware of before running PathTest?

PathTest requires that both ends of the network be able to “see” each other – so depending upon the specifics of the network under test, certain ports may need to be opened on firewalls.  It’s also important to note that by default, PathTest will always attempt to run at full speed for the duration of the test (maximum of 10 seconds). This means that running PathTest on a production network can affect other traffic.  Smaller time periods and maximum capacities can be configured, but it is still best to not run PathTest on any network during time periods when applications or users could be adversely impacted.

  • Nata

    Is it possible to generate 3 different QoS traffic in order to check if QoS is properly applied between the client and the server ?