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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Facebooksoftwareapplication developmentDevelopment tools

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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?