Specialized path-based technique to test Internet of Things system functionality under limited network connectivity

Matej Klima, Miroslav Bureš, Bestoun S. Ahmed, Xavier Bellekens, Robert Atkinson, Christos Tachtatzis, Pavel Herout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Contemporary Internet-of-Things (IoT) systems are hindered by several reliability-related issues, especially, the dynamic behavior of IoT systems caused by limited and often unstable network connectivity. Several intuitive ad-hoc approaches can be employed to test this behavior; however, the effectiveness of these approaches in detecting defects and their overall testing costs remain questionable. Therefore, we present a new specialized path-based technique to test the processes of an IoT system in scenarios wherein parts of these processes are influenced by limited or disrupted network connectivity. The proposed technique can be scaled using two levels of test coverage criteria to determine the strengths of the test cases. For this purpose, we propose two algorithms for generating test cases to implement the technique: an ant colony optimization-based search and a graph-traversal-based test case composition. We compared the efficiency of the proposed approach with possible solutions obtained using a standard path-based testing approach based on prime paths computed by a set-covering algorithm. We consider the total number of test case steps as the main proxy for test effort in experiments employing 150 problem models. For the less intensive of the two used test-coverage criteria, EachBorderOnce, an ant colony optimization-based algorithm, produced test sets with the same averaged number of steps as the graph traversal-based test-case composition; however, this algorithm performed with averaged number of steps 10% lower than a prime paths-based algorithm. For the more intensive test coverage criterion, AllBorderCombinations, these differences favoring the ant colony optimization-based algorithm were 18% and 25%, respectively. For these two types of defined test coverage criteria, the ant colony optimization-based search, graph-traversal-based algorithm, and standard path-based testing approach based on prime paths achieved the best results for 93 and 78, 14 and 24, and 13 and 17 models for AllBorderCombinations and EachBorderOnce criterion, respectively. Therefore, to guarantee the best test set, all compared algorithms are combined in a portfolio strategy that yields the best results based on the potential of the produced test sets to detect simulated defects caused by limited network connectivity. Additionally, this portfolio strategy also yields test sets, implying the lowest test effort for experimental problem instances.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100706
Number of pages27
JournalInternet of Things
Early online date3 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Internet of Things
  • IoT
  • reliability
  • path-based testing
  • model-based testing
  • test automation
  • limited network connectivity
  • test case generation


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