The Importance of Load Testing WebRTC Applications

Building software applications is a complex process, and this is even more true for applications with real-time requirements. A key element to overcome this complexity and guarantee the success of a software product is to implement a thorough testing process – one that not only makes sure that things works as is, but that it continues working when used at scale.

This is applicable for all kinds of live video and chat apps like video conferencing, interactive broadcasting, online education, multiplayer games and more. That’s why in today’s topic, we will take a look at how load testing can be that key element that will allow your WebRTC application to succeed.

What is load testing?

Testing an application to make sure it doesn’t contain bugs or errors and that it does what it has to do is one thing. Ensuring this is true when tens, hundreds or thousands of users are using it simultaneously is a different topic!

One thing that top-tier video conference applications like Zoom and Google Meet have in common with successful video games like Fortnite and popular communication applications like Discord, is that they all exchange real-time data (some using WebRTC) and they are also used simultaneously by many, many users around the world.

Load testing allows you to make sure your product can do the same. It measures the behavior and performance of a software application by introducing a simulated real-word load. It provides metrics that give the visibility you need to make the right decisions in order to guarantee that your software product will be able to support the expected amount of users.    

How can my app benefit from load testing?

Black Friday is an event that many people anticipate. What’s better than being able to buy things you don’t need at fake deals essential appliances for your home at a huge discount, right? The truth is, visiting stores on such a day is not a fun experience with long lines and big crowds. When there are so many people clamoring for the same smartphone deal, the user experience is affected. 

This is also true for software applications: the more people using a service means that the underlying resources struggle to keep up with demand. Users have to wait longer and the customer experience quotient suffers. 

The thing with software is that users are not patient. While someone might wait in line to score a 65’’ TV, they will likely leave your application after even a couple of extra seconds of waiting. Worse, they may head to your competitor’s application. So what can you do to keep your users?

Getting back to our beloved celebration of consumerism, when stores know that their demand will increase, they hire more people or extend their opening hours. In other words, they implement strategies that will allow them to support that extra load.

Once again, the software industry is not that different. When you know your current capacity vs. your impending load, you make decisions about how to deal with the increase. But how do you know what and how many resources to add? For how long? What specific processes need optimization? And of course, how do you make this cost effective?

Load testing helps you understand the limits of your infrastructure and identify potential bottlenecks in your applications. This will give the information you need to make the right decisions and make your users happy.

The right way to perform load testing

The one thing more important than performing load testing in general, is to do load testing right.

  1. The Right Tools – Load testing is performed using specialized software that is available in both open source and paid flavors, each one with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. 
  2. The Right Strategy – Building the right strategy starts by identifying the key processes that need to be measured and continues through building the right set of data and test scenarios. Only the right strategy for load testing will produce the right information as its outcome.
  3. The Right Team – Don’t leave the testing of your video application to just anyone. You need the right team with the right set expertise to get the most out of load testing. Remember that the idea is to simulate real usage. This is why it’s important to have someone with not only deep knowledge of the application, but also experience thinking like a user.

Trust the Experts at WebRTC.ventures

Load testing a live video application is a crucial element in its success. It guarantees that its behavior and performance will be as expected when it’s used at scale. At WebRTC.ventures, we’re experts not just in building and integrating high quality real-time applications. We also have a tremendous Quality Assurance (QA) team in Panama City, Panama that is able to explore the inner workings of your application and identify potential break points before your users do. Our various approaches to testing are detailed in this blog post: Layers of Testing for WebRTC Applications.

Interested in the technical details of load testing? Read Load Testing for WebRTC using Loadero, written by one of the talented members of our QA team.

If you want to know more about our testing services, contact us and let’s make it live!

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