Embedded Testing Vs Software Testing – Key Differences

Embedded Testing Vs Software Testing – Key Differences

As the complexity of the modern world grows by the day, testing current software has become critical for enterprises. Periodic testing is required to ensure the software’s functionality and system integrity. Similar to that, embedded systems/hardware do require proper testing to ensure high-end security for both software and hardware.

This blog offers a substantial difference between embedded testing services and regular software testing, finely highlighting the challenges around embedded software testing and the different ways to implement it.


Key Differences: Software Testing and Embedded Testing

Embedded software testing and software testing may appear to be comparable, however the phrase “embedded” is the key differentiator.

The process of verifying and validating both software and hardware is known as embedded application testing. It assures us that the entire embedded system, involving software and hardware, is defect-free. It is primarily performed on hardware in order to uncover flaws. It also guarantees that the system satisfies the needs of the end user.

Embedded Testing Software Testing
Embedded testing can be executed on both hardware and software Majorly performed in a client-oriented server application
Embedded can either be based on black box or white box testing Software testing is purely dependent on manual black box testing
It is carried out to test the behavior of the hardware for the number of inputs provided to it, not related to any database Functionality, authentication, and some kind of database testing are the primary areas in software testing
Take less time and money as the complete testing process is manual Much costly and time-consuming compared to embedded system
Generally performed on embedded systems/hardware Software testing is majorly carried out on mobile, client-server and web applications
There is less scope for automation, mostly the whole process is manual Testing software can be done using both manual and automation approaches in the process



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Embedded Testing Challenges

The primary differences listed above may provide some insight into the difficulties that one may encounter while performing embedded software testing. Here are a few major consequences that software engineers need to face during embedded testing:

Scope of Automation

Developers and test engineers face a hard time automating things while working on embedded testing projects, as embedded software testing solutions are more dependable on hardware and the interfaces involved with it. Thus, there’s a need to create a test rig that can support automation for both software and hardware.

High Hardware Dependency

Because of constrained access to hardware, hardware dependency is one of the most significant challenges encountered during embedded software testing. However, emulators and simulators may not exactly mirror the behavior of the actual device and may provide an erroneous sense of system operation and application usage.


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Periodic Software Updates

Security fixes, RTOS updates, kernel upgrades, and other upgrades must be performed on an embedded system on a regular basis. Such modifications can have a direct impact on testing processes, rendering them more complicated. As a result, more attention is required during the development, production, and deployment processes.

Repeatable Defects

Defects in embedded systems are more difficult to reproduce/recreate. This indicates that the embedded tester should pay more attention to each and every error occurrence, significantly higher than in a conventional situation. Aside from collecting as much data as is reasonably required to change the system and locate the source of the fault.

High Ratio of Open-Source Software

The availability of open-source components for embedded application testing is pretty high and dominant. As a result, they lack comprehensive testing. There are several test combinations and resulting outcomes.


Different Ways of Performing Embedded Testing

There are basically five levels of testing for embedded systems which are followed industry-wide:


Infographic on Integration

Software Unit Testing

The unit module can either be a function, procedure or class. During the software development process, it is accomplished by isolating a part of code and validating its accuracy. Unit testing is typically carried out under the supervision of a developer and then passed on to a peer-review model. Test cases are created based on the module specifications.

Integration Testing

Integration testing for embedded systems can be further classified into two parts for better understanding – A) Software Integration Testing and B) Software/Hardware Integration Testing

It comprises the interaction of software components with the hardware domain. This test can also be used to examine the interaction between software and built-in peripheral devices.

Embedded application testing is always performed in a real-world context that is similar to that of software. Because thorough testing cannot be performed in a simulated environment, most testers regard embedded testing services as an essential task.

System Unit Testing

The test module is a framework that contains complete information on software codes, and the real-time operating system (RTOS), including specifics about communications, mechanisms, and interruptions, among other things. From here, the point of control protocol is used to send communication and guarantee that it is routed through the RTOS message queues.

The developer or system integration team then examines the system resources to ensure that the system can support the embedded system execution. Gray box testing is frequently used in this process.

System Integration Testing

The whole testing module starts from a set of components, including subsystem components, within a single nod. The Control and Observations Points are a combination of network communication protocols and RTOS, including network messages and RTOS events. Additional mentionable components such as Virtual Tester can play a similar role to a node.

System Validation Testing

The module which needs to be tested is either a complete subsystem or the entire embedded system. The goal of this final test is to meet the functional criteria of the external entity. It should be noted that an external entity can be either a human or a device in a telecommunications network, or both.



From this point, it is understandable that the difficulties involved with embedded software testing are higher compared to software testing. The heavy reliance on the hardware environment, which is developed concurrently with the program and is frequently necessary to do reliable software testing. It can be difficult to test software without custom tools, which makes focusing on testing in the late phases extremely appealing.

Partner with us, ImpactQA is a prominent embedded testing service provider, which has been aggressively involved in giving intelligent embedded solutions to worldwide organizations to strengthen their embedded system.


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