Great tool for testing QoS implementation

After my last post, some readers were asking what tool did I used for testing the QoS and how satisfied I’m with it.

The name of the tool is Packgen. According to its developer developers, “Packgen is a simple network packet generator handling diffserv markers, useful for testing network bandwidth and QoS.” It support features like:
– Network packet flows generation with given bandwidth (packets sent at each time interval depending on the bandwidth to produce and the size of the packets to generate);
– UDP and TCP flows;
– DSCP marking;
– Log generation which gives the possibility to compute statistics on the flows (to come later).

The main difference between IPerf (which is also a great testing tool, especially for bandwidth, jitter, packet loss tests…) and Packgen, is that the last one support diffserv marking natively. Of course you can achieve the same results with IPerf, with and ACL and inbound marking of the packets matched in the access-list, but with Packgen this is straight forward.

I had a little issue when downloading this tool, as the first result in Google search engine directed me to a page with no download link: This contains all the needed information about features, installation and how to use it (actually one of the best README that I ever saw for such tools), but no suggestion where to download the package. I search a little bit and you can download it from this official link.

To install this tool, you need to have Ruby on your system and then just run from inside the unpacked Packgen folder:

ruby ./setup.rb

Now some words about how to use it. From my post about AutoQoS, you can see that you need at least one client and one server. This 2 devices, use different files with Packgen (Don’t worry as the files come in the source package and if not, it’s very easy to create them).
First the server file, called listen.yml (if you create it, you can give whatever name you want) looks like this:



ports: !ruby/range 17000..17002

ports: !ruby/range 5002..5004

As you can see, there are 2 sections defined for UDP and TCP traffic. Then with “!ruby/range” you define a range where the server will listen. However, you can also simply use an Integer port number.

Then on the  client side, there is file called sent.yml:



name: Voice
bandwidth: 700Kb
packet_size: 252B
dscp: ef !ruby/range 0.0..60.0

name: Video
bandwidth: 2.8Mb
packet_size: 750B
dscp: cs4 !ruby/range 10.0..60.0

name: Best Effort
bandwidth: 3.2Mb
packet_size: 1KB !ruby/range 20.0..60.0

name: Background
bandwidth: 3.2Mb
packet_size: 1KB
dscp: cs1 !ruby/range 30.0..60.0

Here it’s a little bit more complex, but still human readable. This file also have 2 sections for UDP and TCP traffic, with the following paramters being defined:

-name: I believe it say everything
-host: ServerIP:port
-bandwidth: bandwidth to simulate
-packet size: packet in size in B, KB
-dscp: value !ruby/range: time intervals

After everything is defined, you just have to run Packgen to test.
On Server side first:

packgen -i listen.yml

Then on Client side:

packgen -i sent.yml

Optional you can add the -l file option, which will log the traffic send:

1258663872.6248 SEND dest=
1258663882.62591 SEND dest=
1258663895.65219 SEND dest=
1258663905.66876 SEND dest=
1258663933.72797 STOP dest=

or received:

1258663869.80496 LISTEN port=16384 proto=udp
1258663869.81079 LISTEN port=16385 proto=udp
1258663869.81441 LISTEN port=5002 proto=tcp
1258663869.81506 LISTEN port=5003 proto=tcp
1258663872.5886 RECV sent_at=1258663872.64102 flow=0 size=252 id=6
1258663872.58893 RECV sent_at=1258663872.64613 flow=0 size=252 id=7
1258663872.58903 RECV sent_at=1258663872.64719 flow=0 size=252 id=8
1258663872.58915 RECV sent_at=1258663872.65052 flow=0 size=252 id=9
1258663872.58924 RECV sent_at=1258663872.6742 flow=0 size=252 id=10

The configuration files and logs excerpt were from my AutoQos test. If you have any issues with using it, please contact me, or just check in details the documentation from developers site.

How to integrate GNS3 with Virtual PC

In this article I want to show you how to extend your posibilities to test a network in GNS3. Sure, it’s simple sometime to use a Loobpack interface on one of your edge routers to simulate an external network, but sometime is useful to have something connected to the router port. Take as an example QoS marking and classification. If you want to mark something inbound, then you need a connection to the router port where you want to mark the packets.

Additional to my example here, which include Virtual PC Simulator, you can find useful tutorial about GNS3 and VMware integration on or how to emulate a voice lab with the same tools on

Even most of you are familiar with GNS3 and maybe Virtual PC Simulator, let me begin with some short description about this 2 software.

GNS3 is a Graphical Network Simulator that allows emulation of complex networks. It allows you to run a Cisco IOS in a virtual environment on your computer (running Linux, MacOS X or Linux). GNS3 is a graphical front end to a product called Dynagen. Dynamips is the core program that allows IOS emulation.

The Virtual PC Simulator (VPCS) allow you to simulate up to 9 PCs. You can ping/traceroute them, or ping/traceroute the other hosts/routers from the virtual PCs when you study the Cisco routers in the Dynamips. VPCS is not the traditional PC, it is just a program running on the Linux or Windows, and only few network commands can be used in it. But VPCS can give you a big hand when you study the Cisco devices in the Dynamips. VPCS can replace the routers or VMware boxes which are used as PCs in the Dynamips network.

Before we start, I assume that you already have these tools installed. If not, please download and install GNS3 and VPCS.

On the following example I will show you how to configure a network topology including 2 Virtual PCs and one router and how to interconnect them in GNS3. This presentation is simulate a basic network, but after you learn how to do it, you can configure more complex one. You can have a look to the topology to understand better what I’m talking about.

Please see the video presentation below: