How IoT Testing differs from traditional testing and its challenges

Posted By :Nuzhat Siddique |30th November 2022

The "Internet of Things," or IoT as it is more often known, has swept the globe. We are surrounded by Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors all the time. IoT is present in everything around us, including smart wearables, smart cars, smart manufacturing, smart farming, smart shopping, intelligent pharmaceuticals, and smart cities.


Creating test strategies and scenarios is a challenge that hasn't been encountered before because IoT is a mesh of hardware + software + firmware + protocols + operating systems + network.


What are the challenges?


There are some basic challenges:


💢 IoT is a hybrid of hardware and software. Both of their combinations must be examined at the same time. Although testers are accustomed to evaluating either of these, they now must test both. They must run numerous tests, from functional checks to network bandwidth checks. In essence, they must push the entire IoT ecosystem, which is a difficult task.


💢 We are accustomed to creating a test lab and installing the software under test (SUT) in it for testing. This provides us with a working prototype in the real world. Creating a virtual test lab for IoT is difficult. Since real-world situations are greatly enlarged versions of laboratory testing, it is not possible to completely rely on the laboratory results.


💢 The testing procedure itself requires modification. A variety of user devices, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, light sensors, altimeters, GPS locators, and countless other types of sensors, now provide the data instead of just user input. An enormous challenge in and of itself is to evaluate and finalize the data structures.


💢 Various protocols, like XMPP and MQTT, are used by IoT devices to handshake with one another. For the data to flow properly, all protocols must be compatible with one another. Data security and privacy become major concerns with such large amounts of data, thus testers need to come up with methods to test these.

Smart device testers will need to field test their devices, as mobile testers have learned. Consider examples from the real world to test outside of the lab. We may have patchy network connectivity, inaccurate location determination, and a range in step heights, from the small ornamental steps in a parkway to the terraced granite going to Mount Everest.

Testers will learn more about the smart device's sensors and evaluate them.


How should I approach testing IoT devices?


There are countless testing variations, and many of them will be used in this instance. We should choose tests that are specific to the industry we are testing for by being aware of them beforehand. Your initial test plan is complete once you add a generalized testing set to it. View this image to see the tests that will be performed at each layer.

Layer 1: Application


At this layer, intelligence is increased by data processing and analysis. Middleware or other software that can better understand data is connected to IoT systems. Here, the following testing kinds must be conducted:


  • Testing localization
  • Testing API
  • Functionality evaluations
  • Testing for compatibility
  • Usability evaluation


Layer 2: Services


It is at this layer that interoperability occurs. Here, the following tests must be performed:

  • Compatibility between devices and protocols
  • Testing API
  • Functionality evaluations


Layer 3: Network and Gateway


In this location, network packets are exchanged. Here, the following tests must be performed:

  • Access to networks
  • Support for networks


Layer 4: Sensor


These IoT layers act as a bridge between the digital and physical worlds and are a component of the physical architecture of the internet. Here, the following tests must be performed:

  • Functionality Testing
  • Security Testing 


Before starting your test setup and real testing, you should plan the following types of tests:


• Performance - Needs to be addressed at the application, network, and gateway levels (using protocols like MQTT, CoAP, and HTTP), as well as the system level (using databases, processing, and analytics). For instance, compare the response time to a benchmarked time under specific connectivity conditions.


• Security - Several factors, including sensor networks, real-time data gathering applications, middleware, M2M protocols, and interfaces, could increase injection points and new security risks. Verify, for instance, that there has been no unwanted access to the device or that the data on compromised devices may be remotely erased.


• Compatibility- A key need for the IoT framework's Application layer and Network layer. It all comes down to making sure that the operating system, communication protocol, software, and hardware of the device are compatible with one another. Verify, for instance, that IoT software is compatible with a specified range of devices or that device-to-device communications protocols are supported.


• End to End Testing - Covers all functional use cases of an IoT application. For instance, check if the IoT application's needed functionalities are functioning by the standards, or see if the User Experience (UX) is satisfactory.


• Device interoperability - This checks the connectivity of all the IoT setup's devices and protocols. Regardless of make, model, manufacturer, or industry, interoperability testing at the Service layer of the IoT architecture becomes crucial because IoT demands standards to enable platforms that are operable, programmable, and communicative among devices.




The varied IoT testing methodology should be derived from the system and architecture involved. Consider innovative approaches and think outside the box because the conventional testing methodology may not be entirely applicable in this case.

The focus is mainly on field testing because this is more of a TaaS (testing as a service) approach than a requirements-based one. Testing a comprehensive mesh of hardware, software, firmware, operating systems, protocols, and devices is demanding yet interesting.

About Author

Nuzhat Siddique

Nuzhat is a highly skilled Quality Analyst with a strong background in both manual and automated testing. She possesses extensive knowledge in manual testing methodologies and excels in all aspects of Test Documentation processes. Her proficiency in using tools such as MySQL, Postman, MongoDB, LambdaTest, and Selenium has enabled her to perform effective application testing. She has successfully completed and delivered software testing projects for various domains, including E-Learning, Healthcare, ETL, and IoT. Her notable contributions include projects such as Konfer and HP1T. Additionally, she have experience in test management and defect tracking systems such as Trello and Jira. Nuzhat also has hands-on experience with test automation tools such as Selenium and Protractor. She is a self-driven and self-motivated person with excellent communication and presentation skills.

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