Is It Time for Telco Testing to Go Beyond End-to-End?

For many telco operators, testing can seem like an onerous requirement. It’s often costly and time consuming, and as telecom networks grow more complex and customer use cases and devices become increasingly fragmented, verifying service with any level of confidence is harder than ever.

Because of this high degree of complexity, testers need to achieve higher test coverage than ever before in order to maintain network quality—resulting in the relatively widespread adoption of end-to-end testing among those in the industry. Rather than testing voice protocols and Wi-Fi connectivity from a handful of user devices, testers are walking through entire systems and subsystems in the ways that users are likely to do.

This has the potential to improve testing quality and coverage, resulting in improved quality of service, but it also presents some questions: in an era of increasing use case complexity, how can end-to-end testing be performed in an efficient and scalable manner?

Is end-to-end testing enough to meet service verification needs in the modern era, or are there additional steps that businesses could be taking to better address latent service issues?

The Case for End-to-End Testing

Let’s back up a step: end-to-end testing is a fairly common buzzword, but what does it actually mean? In software development, end-to-end refers to the verification not just of functionality within the app or program itself, but with regard to the apps, programs, and interfaces that it ultimately interacts with.

From a telecom perspective, this makes an intuitive kind of sense: an end user on his or her smartphone will variously access 4G, for instance, not in an abstract way, but using particular applications. Perceived service quality will depend on how well those apps function.

Even if your 4G service, or your VoIP, or mobile broadband, or anything else that you might be offering as a service provider is ostensibly “strong,” a bug or malfunction that occurs somewhere between the cell tower and Venmo can still convince a user that your network is low quality.

So, in one sense, end-to-end is a no-brainer for telcos. On the other hand, it does necessarily increase the scope of your functional testing. Your typical test engineer can only get through half a dozen use cases per day on average, which means that a test framework designed around developing a large number of use cases for verification is going to be so time and labor intensive as to seem utterly overwhelming.

This tends to lead testers away from true end-to-end testing and into more efficient forms of service verification that can be scaled up more easily. Sure, it’s possible to automate an end-to-end framework in such a way as to maintain integrity while improving your test coverage

But in many areas it’s more common to see the use of simulated tests or tests on rooted devices standing in for real end-user devices, resulting in disconnect between lab conditions and actual network usage.

Beyond End-to-End

If end-to-end testing stretches from the first moment of network usage for a given use case (e.g. logging into one’s email app while roaming on a 3G network) to the last (sending the email and getting confirmation of the send), it’s worth asking what, if anything, remains to be tested.

If the potential limitation of end-to-end testing that we sketched out above (i.e. that it’s too labor intensive) is the only issue that testers are likely to come across, then it seems like end-to-end per se—as opposed to the difficulty of truly implementing end-to-end frameworks—isn’t the problem. Thats certainly true to some extent; at the same time, however, it is possible to improve test coverage beyond end-to-end and gain value in the process.

Let’s look at a real-life example: several years ago, Google experimented with ways to reduce latency times for its users. It began with an end-to-end approach, redirecting users to whichever server was offering the lowest latency times at any given moment.

Strangely enough, they found that this approach didn’t yield the lowest possible latencies—in part because the queueing process for server allocation was causing slowdowns and in part because inflated latency times turned out to correlate more closely with particular interactions between the nodes than the conditions at the end points in particular.

Here, we see an example of what going beyond end-to-end could look like. Sure, this example isn’t squarely within the telecom domain, but it’s easy enough to imagine an equivalent case for a telco operator: in verifying voice functionality, for instance, you might look beyond the end-points (i.e. the two users having a phone call) and analyze signaling patterns, etc.

Many systems will continue to function even when one or more elements fail or run inefficiently, and this type of testing enables you to catch the kinds of failures or bug that aren’t immediately impacting functionality (but carry some latent risk).

Measuring ROI

At this point you might be thinking: “That’s all well and good, but test budgets are stretched thin as they are, and going beyond end-to-end hardly seems practical under current market conditions. Verifying service with current test coverage levels really has to cut it for now if I want a positive ROI.”

This is a reasonable objection. But let’s take it one step further: you can’t really stick with manual testing at all if you want a positive ROI, because reaching a critical mass of test coverage is becoming increasingly time consuming. If you want end-to-end testing, you need to automate your testing framework.

By automating your tests (using out-of-the-box devices), you can increase the number of uses cases verified each day from dozens to hundreds, resulting in better test coverage and reduced costs in the form of reduced person-hours. In this way, moving beyond end-to-end starts to become feasible: since tests can be performed quickly, you can essentially assume that your ROI goes up as your coverage improves (since better coverage should continue to improve your quality-of-service).

Thus, you put yourself in a position in which it’s feasible to analyze not just end-point results but signaling, alarms, logs, etc. in order to gain an even better command of what’s happening on your network.

Not only does this improve your odds of uncovering any latent bugs, it puts you in a position to create granular documentation that will cover not just test cases by mission critical data about the health of your services. In this way, testing beyond end-to-end becomes a strategic investment in short- and long-term quality-of-service improvements.

Network Testing
Michael Sedlacek

Michael Sedlacek

Michael has a long history in the telecoms industry and served many international projects as Senior Network Engineering Expert and Integration Consultant, which gave him profound insights and experience in mobile technology and its requirements before starting up SEGRON Test Automation Solutions.

Interested in our Products ?

Scroll to Top
SEGRON Logo Black Blue

Senior SaaS System Administrator

Job description, responsibilities:
  • Oversee the sysadmin related tasks in our SaaS infrastructure (partially cloud based, partially bare metal)
  • Daily operation and maintenance of the system
  • Analysing and resolving incidents
  • Follow and help improving the incident and change management procedures
  • Design procedures for system troubleshooting and maintenance
  • Incorporating base OS updates and security patches
  • Ensure that systems are safe and secure against cybersecurity threats by raising change requests where potential threat is possible
  • Performing SW updates for the Segron SaaS SW stack (distributed architecture with clusters)
  • Configuring solutions like reverse proxy, firewalls, etc.
  • Building tools to automate procedures & reduce occurrences of errors and improve customer experience
  • Tutoring & coaching newcomers & less senior experts in the team
  • Interworking with the architects and IT admins of Segron to have the SaaS procedures inline with the Segron processes
Requirements / Skills:
  • We are looking for a self-motivated, self-improving individual with a highly independent mindset and open and straightforward technical communication to help us to improve and maintain our cloud infrastructure of our powerful end-to-end testing solution ATF (Automated Testing Framework)
  • 3+ years hands-on experience with operation and monitoring of cloud / linux systems
  • 3+ years of hands-on experience with network devops elements: configuring routers, switches, networks
  • Hands-on experience with running live systems with infrastructure as a code mode of operation
  • Specific knowledge which brings direct advantage: Docker, Docker Compose, Grafana, Prometheus, Ansible, Debian Linux OS administration, Security
  • Experience in building and maintaining distributed systems (incl. redundancy, resiliency, load-balancing) is welcome
  • Excellent knowledge of English
  • Full time job (employment)
  • Offered salary: from 1800 Euro (depends on seniority and skills level)
  • Variety of financial benefits
  • Place of work: Bratislava (partially home office possible)
SEGRON Logo Black Blue

Senior Python Backend Developer

Job description, responsibilities:

  • Develop, apply and if needed refactor, back-end architecture for ATF GUI
  • Compile and analyze data, processes, and codes to troubleshoot problems and identify areas for improvement.
  • Cooperate with the front-end developers and other team members to establish objectives and design more functional, cohesive codes to enhance the user experience.
  • Researching, designing, implementing, testing, and managing software
  • Recommend and execute improvements to software.
  • Writing and implementing efficient and clean code
  • Integrate software components and third-party programs.
  • Verify and deploy programs and systems.
  • Troubleshoot, debug, and upgrade existing software.
  • Maintaining and upgrading existing systems
  • Create technical documentation for reference and reporting.

Requirements / Skills:

  • 7+ years in SW development
  • 3-5+ years in following technology stack:
    • Backend: Python
    • Database: PostgreSQL
    • Frameworks: Django
  • Knowledge and hands-on experience with microservices: RabbitMQ, celery, etc.
  • Git knowledge
  • Experience with Atlassian Tools (BitBucket, JIRA, Confluence)
  • Experience in working in agile processes and teams.
  • Strong communication skills with both technical and non-technical stakeholders (stakeholders (Project Managers, Product Owners, etc.)
  • Willingness to write e2e testcases in Robot Framework and use Jenkins CI for code testing.


  • Full time job
  • Offered rate: from 30 Euro/hour (depends on seniority and skills level)
SEGRON Logo Black Blue

Linux IT Engineer

Service summary

  • Understand SEGRON’s technology, product, and IT systems
  • Design, set-up, install and transition SEGRON IT services towards Linux cloud deployments
  • Administer and manage applications of SEGRON Linux IT system landscapes
  • Act as direct contact person for an external team of Linux security experts and be responsible for service operations (requests, changes, problems, incidents)
  • Provision and maintain Linux clients/servers in production and development environments
  • Preparing cost estimates for System security enhancements
  • Testing the final security system and updating and upgrading it as needed.
  • Responding quickly and effectively to all security incidents and providing post-event analyses
  • Monitoring the IT security supplier, cultivating a sense of security awareness within our organization, and arranging for continuous education
  • Remaining up to date with the latest security systems, standards, authentication protocols, and products
  • Representing SEGRON in case of security audits driven by suppliers

Skills & Qualifications

  • Interest in digital system landscapes, web technologies and cloud computing
  • Enthusiasm for innovation, technology, learning and knowledge
  • Solid Python scripting knowledge
  • Strong technical problem-solving skills and experience in IP networking and static routing FTP, SSH, SMTP, DNS, HTTP/S, DHCP, SMB/NFS, Syslog logging facility
  • Solid understanding of operating databases and file systems
  • Solid understanding of server deployment, configuration and troubleshooting common issues
  • Experience with automation/configuration management using Ansible and YAML playbooks
  • Experience of monitoring tools and statistics – InfluxDB, Grafana
  • Excellent customer communication skills
  • Team player, willing to help, flexible
  • Excellent knowledge of English


  • Full time job
  • Offered rate: from 35 EUR/hour (depends on seniority and skills level)