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Pronto: Efficient Test Packet Generation for Dynamic Network Data Planes
Yu Zhao, Huazhe Wang, Xin Lin, Tingting Yu and Chen Qian
University of Kentucky, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of California at Santa Cruz, Universtiy of Kentucky, University of California at Santa Cruz

Computer networks are becoming increasingly complex today and thus prone to various network faults. Traditional testing tools (e.g., ping, traceroute) that often involve substantial manual effort to uncover faults are inefficient. This paper focuses on fault detection of the network data plane using test packets. Existing solutions of test packet generation either take very long time (e.g., more than one hour) to complete or generate too many test packets that may hurt regular traffic. In this paper, we present Pronto, an automated test packet generation tool that generates test packets to exercise data plane rules in the entire network in a short time (e.g., several seconds) and can quickly react to rule changes due to network dynamics. In addition, Pronto minimizes the number of test packets by allowing a packet to test multiple rules at different switches. The performance evaluation using two real network data plane rule sets shows that Pronto is faster than a recently developed tool by more than two orders of magnitude. Pronto can update the probes for rule changes using less than 1ms while existing methods have no such update function.