TR-398 Issue 3 WiFi Testing


May 27, 2023 – Good performance of WiFi networks are necessary for the proper functioning of the applications and the communication networks of the users/clients.
There are two basic approaches to measure the quality of WiFi networks, through passive measurements and active measurements.
The use of passive measures, mainly through coverage studies, has been shown to be insufficient to verify the quality of WiFi services. It is true that at least it allows us to know if the WiFi signal will reach a certain area of the office or home, but it does not guarantee that the WiFi terminals/equipment have good functional behavior or adequate performances. The reason is that not all WiFi devices are the same, right?

To answer this question, several associations (WiFi Alliance, Wireless Broadband Alliance and Broadband Forum) have been working over the years on different approaches to measure the real performance of WiFi equipment.
Thus, during 2019, the Broadband Forum elaborated the TR-398 WiFi Residential & SOHO Performance Testing recommendations.
Here are collected a number of active measures focused on testing the quality of WiFi so that equipments can be compared, not only from the perspective of signal level, but rather on behavior and real performance.

These tests have evolved (Issue2) to include some improvements + WiFi 6 equipment and now with the new revision (Issue 3), WiFi 6E equipment is included.
Although this latest revision is still in development, we can already know the new tests that are incorporated, such as:

  • Latency-under-Load
  • Quality of Service,
  • Multi-band throughput
  • Mesh test cases,
  • 6E supports
  • Automated calibration of the test bed

To release this latest revision of the TR398, some thresholds (Pass/Fail) and small changes in some of the tests remain to be closed.

In any case, our company, through its alliance with Candela Technologies, is already capable of carrying out the TR-398 tests (including a large part of those of Issue 3), in our Madrid lab. Also, and based on our experience, we can carry out tests tailored to our clients, both in the lab and at the client's premises. In this way it is possible to know the performance of the WiFi equipment, either to be able to compare them with each other (benchmarking) or to be able to plan the deployments according to the actual performance.

Some examples of tests carried out can be found in our blog posts

TR398 tests of low-cost WiFi6 routers

Real tests of WiFi5 vs WiFi6

Tests of a WiFi6 8x8 device

By measuring we can really compare the performance and it turns out that what one expects does not always happen ... :-)

With our experience of more than 10 years carrying out WiFi QoS tests, we can help our clients to assess their scenarios (use cases) and to validate the real performance of the equipment.

More information here.