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A test simulation is a process in which the circumstances under which a good or service would be used is recreated in a controlled environment. The object of the simulation is to ensure the product does perform within the standards set by the manufacturer, and is highly likely to meet customer expectations. Test simulations can be conducted on any type of product, including the hardware and software used to create computer networks.
The concept of the test simulation makes it possible to experiment with computer equipment in order to determine if all components used to create the equipment are functioning at optimum efficiency. By creating a controlled setting where the components can be tested in a manner that is similar to how they would be used after their purchase by consumers, the manufacturer can often identify issues that could adversely affect the customer at some future point. For example, the simulation may show that the equipment is not compatible with certain makes or models of computers or other electronic devices that are normally used to create a viable network for an office or home setting. Since the simulation identifies these potential issues, it is possible to address the problems before they ever have a chance to impact the customer.
A test simulation is also a common part of the processes employed before software is released for general distribution or sale. Simulations that help determine how the software functions with various operating systems or different amounts of available RAM, or how the software can interline with other software products are invaluable to identifying and resolving issues that could deter a consumer from using the product. As with the simulations ran on hardware, the software simulations are conducted in a controlled environment, making it possible to test each and every possible scenario that can be imagined.
Use of the test simulation as a tool for computer modeling or even system modeling is also common. This approach often involves setting up a network simulation that makes it possible to determine how well the network functions under various sets of circumstances. Running these tests can help engineers and other information technology specialists understand how many work stations can be established as nodes on the network, the capacity that is needed to accommodate projected network activities, and what type of contingency or backup procedures should be implemented to protect the network itself.
Test simulations benefit consumers, in that many of the issues with hardware and software products are identified and corrected before the products ever reach the store. Manufacturers also benefit from conducting a test simulation on each product they offer, since the reputation of the manufacturer depends a great deal on how well the products work once they are in the hands of consumers. For this reason, many businesses that have anything to do with the manufacturing of computer components or the creation of computer networks will routinely run simulations as part of their quality control efforts.