Inside RDK

Inside RDK – The State of Automated RDK Testing

Enhancing its RDK tools portfolio, RDK Management revealed the Test Development Kit (TDK) for Broadband during the INTX show in Boston earlier this year. Since then, operators, OEMs, SoC manufacturers and systems integrators have deployed the tool. The RDK Code Management Facility (CMF) uses the TDK-Broadband to validate RDK-B code releases to the community.

As the saying goes, the best customer care call is the one that never needs to be made in the first place. Especially now, when it doesn’t take much to prompt someone to switch providers — which 60% of 28,000 consumers interviewed by Accenture said they’d do, if they had a poor viewing experience. (That’s up 17 points from the same survey last year.)

Getting to the hallowed state of the call that never needs to be made, however, requires a vigorous and continual state of “test, test, test” — and the more automated those tests can be, the better.

That was the refrain during a panel discussion about the state of automated RDK testing at the RDK EuroSummit, where technologists from Comcast, Telenet, Accenture and Tata Elxsi shared their strategies and progress. What follows is a compilation of their lessons learned and best practices:

  • Planning an automated test environment for RDK devices isn’t a matter of making a list of manual tests, then automating them — more, it’s about pre-identifying desired metrics, defining tests, and deciding how much test coverage is optimal.
  • Some operators are up to 80% automated test coverage, with a target of 85%. The remaining 15% represents more complicated or difficult tests that are better handled manually.
  • Panelists cautioned against selecting the hardest cases first, for automation — for best results, start with smaller tests.
  • An important lesson learned is that test automation isn’t a matter of “flipping a switch” — it takes measurements, comparisons, and a heavy focus on defining the tests themselves.
  • Operators are benefitting from the hundreds of automated tests and test cases contributed into the RDK by Time Warner Cable, now Charter. Before that, MVPDs had to build their own tests, because they hadn’t been invented yet.
  • A workable way of optimizing software development cycles is to prioritize the Jira backlog list, which can often fix problems and processes.
  • One operator, partnered with Tata, is investing heavily in automated testing by way of a wide and deep test suite, including beta stage tests with “friendlies,” to add customer feedback into the process. If a feature doesn’t test well with consumers, it can be quickly rolled back. To that end, Tata noted that it’s already developed 2,500 test cases for RDK-V, and 2,000 for RDK-B.