The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), an independent provider of broad-based testing and standards conformance solutions for the networking industry, announced an expansion of its “Wi-Fi” performance testing services to now include the new Broadband Forum TR-398 Issue 2 test plan and Wi-Fi 6 requirements defined in the IEEE 802.11ax standard. The testing is crucial for validating consumer and enterprise-grade IEEE 802.11 stations and access points used in broadband deployments. Verifying performance can help reduce support expenditures and customer complaints due to poor Wi-Fi caused by badly performing devices.
Mike Talbert, Associate Fellow, Verizon said that service providers will be looking to their device suppliers for TR-398 results and reports. These reports will allow service providers to better understand the performance of the developed product prior to release, which will be crucial to ensure the customer experience. Service calls associated with Wi-Fi performance issues have emerged as one of their industry’s biggest pain points. It’s not only that there’s a terrific cost saving to be realized if those issues can be caught before devices go into the field; there also is the opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction and reduce churn.
The Broadband Forum’s TR-398 test plans, both Issue 1 and the new Issue 2 represent a first in the industry to define absolute requirements on device and Wi-Fi performance in a way that is repeatable and allows direct comparisons between devices and testing results. TR-398 testing encompasses a set of performance metrics in different scenarios and focuses on Wi-Fi router performance. The performance test plan measures an access point’s performance against the expectations of broadband service providers. Issue 2 increases the testing coverage, specifically adding testing for new IEEE 802.11ax technologies in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. In other test cases, the Broadband Forum has also increased the required performance for access points to successfully pass the test plan.
Lincoln Lavoie, senior engineer of broadband technologies at the UNH-IOL also stated that their updated Wi-Fi performance testing services enable service providers and device manufacturers to validate the devices used in their broadband deployments before those devices ever reach field deployment. Testing also can apply to new software versions for existing devices. These are valuable benefits for the industry in terms of reducing customer support costs and enhancing satisfaction.