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Passive fault management is a kind of fault management that helps in detecting, isolating and correcting problems in a communication network by gathering alarms from computers or devices when a malfunction happens. Unlike in an active fault management system, it only sends an error report to the management tool and does not send an alarm if a device completely fails.
A drawback of this method is that it relies solely on the alarms sent by nodes in devices, that is, of course, assuming that they are smart enough to send alarms, or are still capable of doing so when a problem occurs.
This kind of fault management system observes the input and output behavior of a device without really making a move to interfere with its operation flow. Its approach is simply to record the flow and behavior of the device being monitored and compare the stored observations with the original specification. There are other approaches, though, and they sometimes include the checking of other relevant properties of the device.
An algorithm based on variables was first used to perform passive testing on Extended Finite State Machines (EFSMs). This kind of Finite State Machines are the main basis on how passive testing works. This algorithm, however, cannot detect every transfer error, though it traces the variable values and the system state.