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HSCN readiness testing guidance note

Test processes - HSCN consumer


The following tests to be carried out and test results recorded by the HSCN consumer.

Initial set up

Once a HSCN customer has received its final 'Readiness Certificate' from their CNSP they should consider carrying out the following steps (typically, under DPS as part of milestone M1.2. - regardless of the procurement mechanism there should still be confirmation of readiness):

  1. Each CNSP has been issued test IP addresses at their disposal. Check that the CNSP has requested some test IPs from NHS Digital Internet Protocol address management (IPAM).
  2. Address will typically be 10.120.x.0/24 (where x is specific to a CNSP).
  3. The test IP address range can be used for testing prior to migration but should not be used for production traffic.
  4. Request that their CNSP sets up a test port in the CPE router, configured with the IP allocated test IP range (subnet such as /30, IP for router port and IP for test laptop or /29 for a resilient link).
  5. Prior to migration day the CNSP is required to disable/remove the test connection from the customer CPE.
  6. The HSCN customer’s test laptop/device to be configured to point to the TN Domain Name System (DNS) servers

Other DNS server definitions will work, however connectivity to the HSCN DNS service is crucial for resolving connectivity to internal services available on TN/HSCN (for example, connecting to services). 

The HSCN customer’s test laptop/device network interface is configured - as per the example below:
HSCN - network interface configuration example

Figure 1 - network interface configuration example

The HSCN customer can then connect their test device to the new HSCN test port on the CPE and begin their HSCN readiness confirmation tests.

Base connectivity tests (including internet outbound - if applicable)

Once the 'Initial set up' has been completed the following tests will validate that the new connection to HSCN is successful.

Note - the results of the following tests should be recorded in the test report spreadsheet, which you should have received from your CNSP with their section completed.

HSCN connectivity tests

1. From a command prompt ping the HSCN DNS servers. For example:

command prompt ping DNS IP example

Figure 2 – Command Prompt: ping DNS IP example

2. From a command prompt conduct a trace route to the HSCN DNS servers. For example:

Command prompt tracert DNS IP example

Figure 3 – Command Prompt: tracert DNS IP example

Trace will show the hops from the test connection, across the CNSP network, transverse the peering exchange into the TN and navigation to the end DNS servers on the TN.

3. Open a browser and connect to a site on TN that is available to all users on HSCN/TN. The following sites are three such examples.

Secure File Transfer service SFT website screenshot

Open Exeter portal screenshot

Calculating Quality Reporting Service screenshot

HSCN internet connectivity tests (where applicable)

This section only applies to consumers who intend to connect to the internet over HSCN.

1. From a command prompt ping For example:

Command prompt - ping bbc URL example

Figure 4 – Command Prompt: ping BBC URL example

2. Conduct a trace route to

Command prompt - trace to the bbc URL example

Figure 5 – Command Prompt: trace to the BBC URL example

The trace will show a connection route from the test connection, across the CNSP network to the Advanced Network Monitoring (ANM) service and out to the internet.

ANM is a central service which provides internet filtering, firewall controls, a reporting capability and associated monitoring services.

Note: ANM does not provide an echo response to a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) traceroute. 

The trace will still reach the destination however and confirm connectivity. For a full end-to-end trace response Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) traceroute must be used. 

3. Open a browser and browse to a common site on the internet, such as The BBC website should load in the browser.

User defined connectivity tests (including internet outbound - if applicable)

Upon completion of the 'generic HSCN readiness connectivity tests', the HSCN customer is now able to conduct a set of user defined connectivity tests.

We strongly advisee that the HSCN customer defines and executes tests that are relevant to their specific business needs including TN/HSCN/internet - sites and applications, where the HSCN customers user(s) would:

  • navigate to the application’s homepage 
  • log in (when appropriate)
  • execute any business-critical transactions
Last edited: 18 February 2019 5:24 pm