troubleshooting Question

Is it Possible to simulate many physical IP endpoints using a single machine?

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Server HardwareQuality AssuranceVirtualization
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I work for a company that makes a network access control device. It is an out of band solution that controls access through user and host authentication/registration. It also does  device profiling, endpoint compliance, tracking and location, creation of guest/contractor accounts etc, etc. It's extremely configurable.

To test something like this is very challenging as there are thousands of test permutations, but I want to ask about load testing.... For one you need many, many IP endpoints. My question to you all is this....Is there any clever way to simulate a large number of online connected endpoints? Obviously (and for sure)  each endpoint needs to be physically plugged into a layer2 switch and have its own unique hardware mac address but I'm wondering if there is any clever way to build something or if something is already available that could simulate a large number of endpoints (like 50-100 or more) using a single PC. Again I'm pretty sure this controlling PC would need to plug into something that in turn would have a large number of physical endpoints...but is there a way to make all these endpoints each look like it's own PC? (virtualization?) I guess the answer is no but thought I'd throw this out there.
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