Broadband Forum releases home Wi-Fi test standard

Enterprise Innovation editors
04 Mar 2019

With the rapid development of 4K TV, online gaming and smart homes, statistics from Broadband Forum show that more than 1 billion users now have access to fixed broadband, and Wi-Fi has become an essential part of broadband services provided by operators.

Operators are increasingly providing service packages featuring Wi-Fi to enhance the home broadband experience of end users. This has created a compelling need to optimize Wi-Fi performance to support end-to-end performance of broadband services, including development of 4K video and VR services, and to minimize operators' operating and maintenance costs.

This need is highlighted by Ovum reports, which show that Wi-Fi problems account for 30% to 60% of operators' broadband complaints.

Clearly, home Wi-Fi quality is vital to both delivering a high-quality broadband experience and to operators’ operational efficiencies, yet there were no existing unified performance testing standards - until now.

To address this issue, Broadband Forum announced the release of the first Wi-Fi performance test standard – Technical Report 398 Indoor Wi-Fi Performance Test Standard (TR-398) – during Mobile World Congress 2019.

TR-398 is the first standard that systematically and quantitatively evaluates home Wi-Fi device performance across six dimensions: receiver sensitivity, throughput, coverage, multi-user support, anti-interference, and stability.

By defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as the Wi-Fi equivalent bandwidth (throughput), rate at different distances, and throughput for multiple online users, the standard helps telecom operators and end users select optimal Wi-Fi solutions.

The TR-398 standard describes the purpose, test scope, conditions, test cases, and standard thresholds for indoor home gateway Wi-Fi performance testing, helping telecom operators efficiently test indoor Wi-Fi performance, develop home networks and video services, and improve home broadband experience.

From its inception as a project within Broadband Forum, TR-398 has received extensive industry attention. More than 16 operators and equipment vendors have actively participated in and supported the drafting of the standard.

Many operators around the world are known to be planning to use TR-398 as the Wi-Fi performance admission specification for home broadband customer-premises equipment (CPE).

According to Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh, Wi-Fi is the key infrastructure for broadband Internet access in the connected home and for a high-quality ultra HD video experience.

“Wi-Fi performance of single gateways must meet service requirements and comply with standards to accelerate industry development,” said Mersh. “The goal of TR-398 is to define carrier-class home Wi-Fi performance. We are delighted that a critical mass of key industry players has participated in crafting this standard and are excited for the role that this standard will play in enabling a superior broadband experience in the connected home of the future.”

First published in Enterprise Innovation

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