Broadband Forum Announces Wi-Fi Testing Standard

The products and services that service providers introduce depend in large part upon customer premise equipment (CPE) that can support them without leading to customer disappointment and complaints.

The Broadband Forum’s new BBF.398 Grade Wi-Fi testing program aims to help. The consortium says that Altice Labs and Calix are the first two vendors to be listed in the program.

Broadband Forum Wi-Fi Testing Standard

The goal of the program is to reduce customer complaints via use of what is referred to as Issue 2 of TR-398, which validates devices and optimizes performance by identifying and addressing operational issues before the devices are introduced to the field. It also updates several performance test cases and, finally, adds test cases for mesh and Wi-Fi roaming between access points (APs) and for the new IEEE Standard 802.11ax-2021.

The quantitative evaluations in TR-398 are receiver sensitivity, throughput, coverage, multi-user support, anti-interference and stability. Used in conjunction with key performance indicators (KPIs), the standard is designed to enable operators to find the best Wi-Fi solutions for their subscribers. The tests provide an overview for service providers of how devices used to support their services are performing.

“Issue 2 builds on the foundations laid by TR-398 – the industry’s first open Wi-Fi performance testing program – in allowing operators to efficiently test Wi-Fi performance, capacity, coverage and stability,” Lincoln Lavoie, University of New Hampshire InterOperability Principal Engineer and Broadband Forum Technical Chair, said in a press release. “The performance test plan measures an Access Point’s performance against the growing expectations of service providers to make sure devices used in their deployments are meeting customer needs and expectations.”

Altice Labs General Manager Alcino Lavrador points to optimization of in-home connectivity and the advent of Wi-Fi 6 as the important goals of BFF.398. Shane Eleniak, Calix’s Senior Vice President of revenue for EDGE products, said that the Broadband Forum plan is superior to proprietary approaches to the same issues.


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