packetdrill: Scriptable Network Stack Testing, from Sockets to Packets


Testing today’s increasingly complex network protocol implementations can be a painstaking process. To help meet this challenge, we developed packetdrill, a portable, open-source scripting tool that enables testing the correctness and performance of entire TCP/UDP/IP network stack implementations, from the system call layer to the hardware network interface, for both IPv4 and IPv6. We describe the design and implementation of the tool, and our experiences using it to execute 657 test cases. The tool was instrumental in our development of three new features for Linux TCP—Early Retransmit, Fast Open, and Loss Probes—and allowed us to find and fix 10 bugs in Linux. Our team uses packetdrill in all phases of the development process for the kernel used in one of the world’s largest Linux installations.