You’ve written an awesome app, and the whole company is banking on how well it does. You’ve done the tests; it has passed QA. It’s exactly what everyone says they need. So your company launches the product, and you wait for the awesome reviews to come rolling in.
A week goes by; maybe two weeks or more pass by, and you’re hearing crickets. The sales guys say that the first week looked astonishingly bright, but now the sales have tapered off. Then, your boss goes on a business trip. The next day, you get a phone call. The app isn’t performing as you expected. Your boss brought the app up using the hotel’s Wi-Fi, and the word “sluggish” doesn’t even cut it. The performance is abysmal, and now you’re looking for a new job because you know what’s going to happen next.
The problem is neither the cloud nor the hotel’s Wi-Fi network. The problem is that you have failed to take into account how your app will work in the real world. Your app may work well on an Enterprise LAN that handles traffic flawlessly, but the real world isn’t always like that. You’re likely to have customers who use your app in various settings and on various platforms. When it comes to real world app usage, basic testing for improving functionality isn’t enough. You have to take into account situations that will occur when your app is out in the field. You have to worry about someone else’s bandwidth, and whether you can scale down your app to meet their general needs.
Broadband speeds are increasing to the point where in 2019, we’ll see speeds twice as fast as they were in 2015. This makes app developers believe that as networks are getting faster, emulating and testing real-world scenarios isn’t necessary. This mindset is quite dangerous and can lead to the types of disasters faced by Everpix and Spork — apps that died on the vine before they ever had the chance to grow a significant user base.
An app that runs smoothly in the LAN is by no means guaranteed to be a success in the cloud. A lot can still go wrong in the Internet including lost packets, corrupted data, jitter, packet delay, packet duplication, and packet reordering. All these can cause a variety of problems including diminished throughput and poor service quality for your cloud-based application.
The user experience, and by extension your app’s quality of service, is only ever as good as your application’s ability to smoothly handle whatever network challenges the Internet throws at it. You need to have some way to simulate potential problems your application may face in the real world and find real solutions to those problems. You have to address a majority, if not all, of the problems and situations your customers are likely to experience. Getting your app ready for the cloud may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to network emulation, you can easily test and optimize your application for the kind of network impairments your application will see in the real-world and prepare for a successful launch.
Network Emulators offer a no-risk means of seeing how your app will perform under a very specific set of network conditions. This provides a more accurate sense of the optimizations required before releasing your app to the world. Nothing can kill the excitement and success of an app quicker than performance issues at launch; users will quickly move on to the next app if there is even a hint that they are wasting their time on a product that hasn’t been fully formed prior to release. Starbucks, LinkedIn, and other major corporations have suffered shaky app launches, so regardless of how large or how talented your team may be, you are not immune to networking pitfalls.
Want to learn how applications perform on the network — even under adverse network conditions?