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What is Network Test Automation?

Original article posted on the Network Test Automation Forum (NTAF) Blog.

Hello, this is Todd Law again, vice-president of NTAF and senior product manager at Spirent Communications. Last time I wrote about the various reasons people choose to automate, but this time I wanted to ask an even more fundamental question, namely, what is network test automation?

This question may seem strange to ask since clearly most of us have some feeling and understanding for what automation is. But if you think about it for more than a few seconds, the answer to the question is not necessarily so clear.

Perhaps let me start by stating what automation is not.

Automation is not the writing scripts or programs. There is a common perception in the networking space where automation is often equated with using the API of a product. Most network test tools do indeed provide both a GUI and an API, and both are valid means to using those tools. However, we should not confuse the means for automation with automation itself. It is, in fact, possible to automate using a GUI interface, and also possible to drive many test tools by firing off Tcl commands one by one. With that important distinction being made, I do of course accept that automation is frequently achieved by writing scripts that utilize test tools’ APIs.

So having separated the means by which automation can be achieved from the idea itself, let’s now attempt to state what automation is...

Click here to read the entire blog post, "What is Automation?"

 
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