Today, the UNH InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL) announced an expansion of its Wi-Fi performance testing to include performance validation of consumer- and enterprise-grade IEEE 802.11 access points (APs) used in broadband deployments.
UNH-IOL's “Wi-Fi®” performance testing services will 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 parties say such testing is crucial for validating the 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.
“Our 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,” explained Lincoln Lavoie, senior engineer, broadband technologies, the UNH-IOL. "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.”
UNH-IOL states that the Broadband Forum’s TR-398 test plans are a first in the industry to define requirements on device and Wi-Fi performance that allows direct comparisons between devices and testing results. TR-398 Issue 2 specifically adds testing for new IEEE 802.11ax technologies (Wi-Fi 6). Testing also can apply to new software versions for existing devices.
Per UNH-IOL's announcement:
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 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.
The new testing capability at UNH-IOL enables service providers to verify device performance before deployment, which reduces service calls associated with Wi-Fi performance issues - one of the biggest pain points for service providers. The result is increased customer satisfaction and reduced churn for the service provider.
Commenting on the news, Mike Talbert, Associate Fellow, Verizon, asserted, “Service providers will be looking to our 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 customer experience. Service calls associated with Wi-Fi performance issues have emerged as one of our industry’s biggest pain points. It’s not only that there’s a terrific cost savings 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.”
UNH-IOL and Verizon will host a webinar on March 31 at 10 am ET to provide details of UNH-IOL’s expanded Wi-Fi testing based on the Broadband Forum TR-398 Issue 2 test plan and Wi-Fi 6 requirements. Broadband gateway vendors and service providers are encouraged to attend. You can register for the webinar here.