Spirent’s new wireless test solution optimized for IoT devices

March 2, 2017  - By
Image: GPS World

Spirent Communications is now offering the Elevate IoT Device Test Solution, a new cellular test solution designed to support a wide range of testing areas applicable to Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including end-to-end cloud server connectivity, security vulnerability assessment and battery-life measurement.

The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress, which is taking place Feb. 27 to March 2 in Barcelona, Spain.

The compact and flexible device test solution, available via the Spirent Elevate platform, addresses critical areas that are affected when designing 3G, LTE, and upcoming narrowband wireless technologies into IoT devices.

Innovative IoT developers are emerging worldwide with many of their applications reliant on communicating via a cellular network. Cellular deployment has several benefits including higher guaranteed service quality, more robust air interface security, and broader coverage availability. Yet designing IoT devices can present a myriad of complex challenges, especially when cellular connectivity enters the equation.

Testing on a live network has several limitations: data traffic is not visible between the device and cloud server; the appropriate live network may not be deployed where the development takes place; and there is no ability to control network settings such as power levels.

Spirent Elevate provides easy access to a controllable, lab-based testing environment, allowing developers to explore the special challenges a cellular network presents in a repeatable manner.

A number of recent events, including widespread Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, has illustrated the very real exposure of IoT device security, highlighting the immediate need for developers to ensure devices are protected from known baseline vulnerabilities.

The Elevate IoT test solution facilitates access to Spirent SecurityLabs services, including dedicated teams of experienced security professionals offering comprehensive scanning, penetration testing and monitoring services for embedded devices.

Many IoT devices require operation in hard-to-reach places for extremely long periods of time while in potentially unforgiving environments, making it imperative that batteries perform as expected under variable conditions. The Elevate IoT Device Test Solution allows developers to accurately determine predictable battery life in real-world conditions with actual usage profiles.

“The Internet of Things is here to stay — it represents a cultural and technology revolution, and has serious implications for security,” said Jeff Wilson, research director and advisor, cybersecurity technology, at analyst firm IHS. “The post-IoT threat landscape is complicated, and the consequences of attacks are increasingly severe. If a device is compromised, it can either fail to work itself, or introduce threats into a wider network, or both; the Mirai and LizardStresser IoT botnets used to launch DDoS attacks were just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Successfully managing connectivity, technology and risk will be vital to IoT implementations from this point forward.”

Spirent’s IoT Device Test Solution is an integrated suite of tools centered in a compact network emulator that brings a repeatable cellular test bed into any hardware or software lab, providing the ability to replicate service providers’ wireless networks in a portable desktop system.

When used as part of an expanded Spirent solution that can simulate multiple types and levels of security attacks, the system allows users to accurately understand how a device will hold up against each one and what factors may be impacted.

Emulating as many conditions as possible helps developers understand exactly how devices, including factors such as battery life, may be impacted in the real world.

“For IoT developers, many of them new to cellular technology, it can be dauntingly complex to navigate new technologies, manage power performance challenges, and care for imminent cybersecurity threats,” said Saul Einbinder, vice president of new venture development at Spirent Communications. “Our aspiration is to help developers, operators, and service providers optimize their IoT solutions and get to market faster, while also staying considerate of the budget constraints of IoT device realization.”