The Beacon

Wi-Fi® Device Metrics helps network operators select Wi-Fi devices to meet the demands of applications and services

November 1st, 2022 by The Beacon

Choosing high-quality customer premises equipment (CPE) is part of the set of responsibilities of network operators, Wi-Fi® network architects, and Wi-Fi device vendors. However, key performance indicators (KPIs) vary according to the use case that the device is meant to perform under. These KPIs can be challenging to assess due to the complexity of deployment scenarios. Test results can also be difficult to evaluate when using detailed parameter-based testing. Alternatively, Wi-Fi Device Metrics provides a consistent methodology and framework for characterizing device performance across a diverse set of use cases. This ensures that Wi-Fi devices can provide the throughput and latency necessary to support new applications and increasingly complex scenarios.

Wi-Fi Device Metrics tests

Wi-Fi Device Metrics provides testing methodologies by recommending setups and configurations for common use cases found in operator networks.

  • Rate versus range
  • AP latency with one way delay
  • Channel switching
  • Band steering
  • Roaming
  • AR/VR

These test cases guide test engineers in determining the performance of Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi Device Metrics does not offer pass/fail criteria, but allows operators to set their own criteria of performance.

Benefits of Wi-Fi Device Metrics

By evaluating the performance of Wi-Fi devices according to a common framework, operators can more easily provide users recommendations for devices with high-quality, reliable network connections, providing an excellent user experience. As a result, operators will see a reduction in the number of customer service calls received.

Wi-Fi Device Metrics standardizes test methods and KPIs, which means these factors are no longer subject to interpretation and disagreement between the operator and suppliers. This significantly streamlines product selection during the RFP process, as operators can perform benchmark tests that allow for real comparisons between products of various providers.

Capabilities and guiding principles

Several key Wi-Fi capabilities, including beamforming, multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO), and orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) are included in Wi-Fi Device Metrics’ test methodologies for selected use cases.

While designing this framework, Wi-Fi Alliance’s testing experts observed the following principles:

  • Consumer proclivity for “out of the box” device operation
  • Repeatable and reproducible testing procedures
  • Test result statistical presentation to account for high populations of Wi-Fi devices
  • A focus on key Wi-Fi capabilities that most impact end user experience

By establishing a baseline for Wi-Fi device performance using consistent testing parameters and methods, Wi-Fi Device Metrics will result in increased uniformity across device behavior. Industry adoption of this framework will allow operators and Wi-Fi equipment providers to compare their test results and work together to make products even more efficient.

The Wi-Fi Device Metrics framework is available for all industry partner use.

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to info@wi-fi.org.

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