Broadband Forum defines carrier-class premium wi-fi experience
February 27, 2019
Nick Snow @ MWC
Broadband innovation, standards, and ecosystem development body Broadband Forum has released the industry’s 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.
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 optimise Wi-Fi performance to support end-to-end performance of broadband services, including development of 4K video and VR services, and to minimise operators’ operating and maintenance costs. This need is highlighted by Ovum reports which show that Wi-Fi problems account for 30 to 60 per cent of operators’ broadband complaints.
Although home Wi-Fi quality is vital to both delivering a high-quality broadband experience and to operators’ operational efficiencies, there were no existing unified performance testing standards – until now.
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.
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.”