The Broadband Forum and its member partners have released the TR-398 Indoor Wi-Fi Performance Test Standard, which the group says is the first to measure residential Wi-Fi performance.
The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The standard, according to the BBF, systematically and quantitatively evaluates home W-iFi for throughput, coverage, multi-user support, anti-interference and stability. It defines key performance indicators (KPIs) including Wi-Fi equivalent bandwidth (a measure of throughput), rate at different distances and throughput for multiple users.
“Wi-Fi performance of single gateways must meet service requirements and comply with standards to support industry development,” BBF CEO Robin Mersh said in a press release. “The goal of TR-398 is to define carrier-class home Wi-Fi performance.”
The rapid proliferation of services such as 4K TV, online gaming and smart homes have created a world in which more than 1 billion users have access to fixed broadband. Wi-Fi, of course, is front and center in this, especially in residential settings. At the same time, the BBF says, Wi-Fi service is “far from perfect.” The group cites a key Ovum statistic: Thirty percent to 60 percent of operators’ complaints about broadband stem from Wi-Fi. The firm says that poor Wi-Fi quality slows growth of new service and increases operations and maintenance costs.
TR-398 aims to gradually reduce that percentage. It describes the purpose, test scope, conditions, test cases and standard thresholds for indoor home gateway Wi-Fi performance testing, the BBF says.
The ubiquity of Wi-Fi also means that it must be easy to set up and operate. In December, Comcast Xfinity announced a feature that automatically imports the names given to devices as they are connected to a customer’s home Wi-Fi network. This type of functionality is seen as vital as the density of services and connected devices in smart homes grows.