Mobile Applications, with their increasing demand and popularity, have become invincible for the facilitation of online business activities, social networking, financial transactions, and so on. This calls for a superior and uninterrupted user experience.
However, due to wireless network heterogeneity, diverse device characteristics, user-mobility, network sharing, and unremitting increase in data traffic; a common concern is unreliable networks posing connectivity challenges thus impacting the overall performance of the app. To address these concerns, the application needs to be resilient to the external and internal environmental annoyances. This means the application should be tested rigorously, taking into account the ‘variability’ on a mobile network besides other important performance factors. But what is the reason for network variability?
What Causes Network Variability?
The wireless networks have several inherent inconsistencies like fluctuating bandwidths, signal loss, and interference from other networks causing variations, along with the disparity in technologies supported by the networks for data transfer like GSM, CDMA, and LTE etc. This causes the apps to behave differently in diverse network environments.
Impact of Network Variability On Mobile Apps
Network Variability may cause Mobile Apps to behave erratically causing apps to freeze or exit abruptly, or it may lead to UI related troubles caused by bandwidth variation or signal loss. Additionally, functional defects, performance defects, and database corruption may occur when the app is running on a particular network in a specific location. This reiterates the need for testing the apps on different networks to ensure that the app functions properly on everything from a slow network to an excellent Wi-Fi connection. However, network testing has its own ordeals, and is not a painless task, but surely a crucial one.
Challenges In Network Testing
Traveling to each and every network operator location can be a costly and time-consuming task, thus making Live Network Testing an unviable option. Moreover, with a variety of mobile devices with different OS, features, and functionalities, it is not possible to test with real devices in real environments either. To overcome these challenges, a controlled lab environment to assess the impact of network variation on apps functionality using device emulators appears to be a good solution. This calls for comprehensive Network Impact Testing Solutions, which can cover the entire range of network issues.
Network Impact Testing
In a simulated lab network, testers have the advantage to replicate a range of network conditions for testing mobile apps by simply altering the uplink and downlink bandwidth, latency, loss percentage and other parameters. Additionally, different network scenarios can be recreated to address potential network issues.
Moreover, Cloud-Based Testing Services can effectively handle testing on potentially countless scenario combinations, in addition to simultaneously accessing and running tests on the real devices. Simulators and emulators covering varied networks and scenarios are available through these services, thus reducing the time to market and offering a cost-effective solution.
However, the best approach involves a strategic mix of both automated network simulations and manual testing in real network conditions, wherever possible, to ensure consistent behavior of the app.
In the contemporary scenario, businesses thriving on mobile apps understand the ever-increasing significance of Network Impact Testing to ensure their apps are robust and perform well under varied network conditions; for a poor user experience can have a critical impact on the brand image and reputation of the enterprise that created the app, thus resulting in monetary losses as well as credibility issues. Therefore, Network Testing Solutions, involving a right blend of simulated and real network testing, must be well integrated into the overall test plan of the mobile app to ensure the app success.