The RFC 2544 standard, established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards body, is the de facto methodology that outlines the tests required to measure and prove performance criteria for carrier Ethernet networks.
The standard provides an out-of-service benchmarking methodology to evaluate the performance of network devices using throughput, back-to-back, frame loss and latency tests, with each test validating a specific part of an SLA.
The methodology defines the frame size, test duration and number of test iterations. Once completed, these tests will provide performance metrics of the Ethernet network under test.
In order to ensure that an Ethernet network is capable of supporting a variety of services (such as VoIP, video, etc.), the RFC2544 test suite supports seven pre-defined frame sizes (64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 1280 and 1518 bytes) to simulate various traffic conditions. Small frame sizes increase the number of frames transmitted, thereby stressing the network device as it must switch a large number of frames.