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Sources: Our guidance and/or articles are written in part based on publicly available information, and our own practical experience relating to product testing, compliance and certification. These are some of the primary sources we use:

How does your Wi-Fi router’s performance stack up with other devices? It sounds like a simple question, but finding answers is anything but. You’d think you could just pull up a vendor-neutral report comparing routers across standardized performance tests, but until recently there was no standard test set for residential Wi-Fi. There’s not even consensus around what “good performance” means.

If the lack of apples-to-apples metrics sounds frustrating as a consumer, imagine what it’s like for service providers choosing which platform to roll out to millions of subscribers. Behind the scenes, residential Wi-Fi operators have been grumbling about this problem for years. Now, the industry has come together to advance multiple standardized Wi-Fi performance testing frameworks. With 92% of residential broadband customers using Wi-Fi as their primary Internet connection in the U.S. alone, this change couldn’t have come at a better time.

The challenge of Wi-Fi performance testing

Groups like the Wi-Fi Alliance provide invaluable testing and certification regimes. But these regimes focus on conformance testing—validating that a device conforms with wireless standards and regulatory requirements governing RF transmission. This testing is immensely important; the confidence customers gain from knowing a product will interoperate with other certified devices has been a key driver in Wi-Fi’s success. But conformance testing just validates that a device will work. It doesn’t tell you how well it will work, especially compared to other devices.

Obviously, mechanisms exist to measure attributes like signal strength, throughput, and range. So, historically, why hadn’t Wi-Fi industry groups added performance testing to their regimes? Partly because vendors resisted such efforts, pushing back on any testing that would rank one Wi-Fi device as objectively better than another. But the vendors had a point. The performance of a given device, in a given deployment, depends on many factors outside a vendor’s control. There are also practical considerations that complicate standardized performance testing, including:

  • Wide variability: Wi-Fi devices are extremely sensitive their RF environment. Physical characteristics of a deployment site, building materials, and especially other devices sharing their airspace can dramatically affect performance. RF environments also constantly change, making it difficult to produce consistent, repeatable results, even when testing the same device.
  • High costs and complexity: Tools do exist to compare Wi-Fi performance in a given environment, but this testing tends to be time-consuming and expensive, usually requiring skilled onsite RF experts with specialized equipment. Professional site surveys make sense for an enterprise outfitting a new factory, for example, but they’re a nonstarter for service providers deploying to millions of homes.
  • Lack of consensus: What constitutes “good” performance is highly context-dependent. Each Wi-Fi device provides a specific mix of throughput, range, supported features, etc., at a specific price point, and what matters most for one application won’t necessarily apply to another. A device that provides great value for home broadband deployments, for instance, may be poorly suited to crowded offices with significant RF interference, and vice versa.

Standardizing Wi-Fi performance testing

Establishing a uniform performance test set to address all of these complications was always going to be a near-impossible task. Instead, the industry has adopted a “fit-for-purpose” approach that measures performance for specific applications and environments. And rather than trying to create a single standardized testing plan, industry groups have advanced three, each targeted towards a different use case:

  • Wi-Fi in-premises performance testing plan (TR-398): Developed by the Broadband Forum (BBF), this is the industry’s first test plan to focus exclusively on measuring performance of residential Wi-Fi access points (APs). Designed specifically for single-AP home broadband environments, it measures RF capability, coverage, and stability, both at baseline and with multiple connected clients. It includes a well-defined set of test cases and methodologies, with clear pass/fail criteria for each test.
  • Wi-Fi device metrics test plan: This test plan from the Wi-Fi Alliance also measures home broadband performance. But where TR-398 validates that an AP passes minimum thresholds, this plan enables statistical analysis for comparing how different devices perform across specific tests, including rate vs. range, latency, and channel switching.
  • Broadband radio access network (BRAN) multiple access points performance testing plan (TS 103 754): This specification, from the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), addresses more complex residential environments with multiple APs, such as Wi-Fi mesh or extender scenarios. It covers a variety of test cases including roaming time, one- and two-hop throughput, band-steering, and self-healing.

Together, these standardized test sets give vendors, operators, and customers a way to objectively measure and compare Wi-Fi device performance for the first time. Even better, they don’t attempt to squeeze all devices and applications under a single test plan—likely producing results that create more confusion than clarity. Instead, they offer practical toolsets to understand how residential Wi-Fi devices perform specific operations, in specific environments, so service providers can make more informed business decisions.

Looking ahead

Like the airspace in which wireless devices operate, Wi-Fi technology itself is continually changing, so residential performance testing needs to keep evolving as well. In particular, Wi-Fi 6 and 7 introduce multiple new technical capabilities, including:

  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA)
  • Multi-link operation
  • New mesh capabilities
  • New power saving mechanisms

These and other innovations will bring faster speeds, higher quality, improved reliability, and other benefits to Wi-Fi users. But they also add new layers of complexity in how Wi-Fi devices operate, raising new variables to control and new questions around what good performance looks like. For those seeking to answer these questions, ongoing Wi-Fi evolution drives a need for ever-more sophisticated test cases and increasingly complex testbeds to implement them.

Fortunately, industry groups and the testing leaders and vendors who drive them – are already developing new approaches to address these challenges. The industry has gone long enough without standardized performance testing. As Wi-Fi becomes more mission-critical for more applications, we can count on standardized performance testing to evolve along with it.

Why the biggest brands choose GTG Group?

GTG Group is a leading provider of wireless testing and certification services in China. We offers a range of services to clients in the wireless industry, including RF testing, EMC testing, SAR testing, Bluetooth testing, and Wi-Fi testing. These services are important for ensuring that wireless devices meet industry standards and are safe for use by consumers. If you are in the wireless industry and looking for quality testing and certification services, GTG Group is the company to choose.

(1) Perform real testing

One of the most significant advantages of working with GTG Group is that we perform real testing and are responsible for the end customer. This is essential because it avoid risks and provides peace of mind to businesses and individuals who use the products.

(2) Comprehensive testing services

GTG Group offers comprehensive wireless testing services that cover a wide range of wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and cellular technologies. Our testing services cover the entire product lifecycle, from design and development to certification and market launch.

(3) State-of-the-art equipment

EMC chamber is a specially designed room that is used to test electronic devices for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). The chamber is designed to be completely isolated from external electromagnetic fields to ensure they do not cause interference with other electronic devices.

Our state-of-the-art EMC test laboratory includes a 10m semi-anechoic chamber (built by ETS-Lindgren), a radiated immunity test chamber, conducted emissions testing system, and other conducted immunity testing systems, ensuring that testing is performed accurately and efficiently.

What makes it stand out:

  • 5-meter large diameter turntable can test substantial EUTs.
  • 10-meter chamber measurement results and data are accepted by Taiwan and South Korea.
  • Eligible for FCC 3 meter Class A & B (3 meter and 10 meter test methods) facility filing.
  • Full suite of testing covering EMC/EMI emissions and immunity.
  • Fully automated measurement & reporting software ensuring the accuracy of data acquisition, as well as fast test report generation.

(4) EMC/EMI testing capabilities

Our EMC/EMI testing laboratories are capable of testing frequency ranges of up to 120GHz and uniform field levels of 30 V/m.

Test ItemTest LevelTypical Standard
Radiated Emissions9KHz to 120 GhzCISPR 11/EN55011, CISPR 16/EN55016, CISPR 22/EN55022, CISPR32, EN 55032, EN 60601-1-2, FCC Part 15/Part 18, ANSI C63.4 Parts 15 & 18, EN 50147-2, ICES-003, VCCI, Bellcore GR-1089, SAE J551
Conducted Emissions100-230VAC, 9KHz – 30MHzCISPR22, CISPR32, EN 55022 EN 55032, EN 60601-1-2, FCC Part 15/Part 18, ICES-003, VCCI
Harmonics and Flickers100-230VAC, 16AEN 61000-3-2, EN 61000-3-3
Radiated ImmunityUp to 30V, 0.15MHz to 80MHzCISPR24, EN 55024, EN 60601-1-2, IEC 61000-4-3/EN 61000-4-3, ENV 50140, SAE J-1113
Conducted ImmunityUp to 30V, 0.15MHz to 80MHzCISPR24, EN 55024, EN 60601-1-2, EN 61000-4-3
Electrostatic Discharge30kVCISPR24, EN 55024, EN 60601-1-2, EN 61000-4-2
EFT/B Immunity6kVCISPR24, EN 55024, EN 60601-1-2, EN 61000-4-4
Surge Immunity6kVCISPR24, EN 55024, EN 60601-1-2, EN 61000-4-5
Interruption and Dips100-230VACCISPR24, EN 55024, EN 60601-1-2, EN 61000-4-11
Power Magnetic Fields50/60Hz, 100A/mCISPR24, EN 55024, EN 60601-1-2, EN 61000-4-8

(5) Regulatory compliance

GTG Group has extensive experience working with a variety of wireless device manufacturers, from startups to multinational corporations. We understand the unique challenges that each company faces and can help companies navigate the complex regulatory landscape, ensuring that your wireless devices comply with international standards and regulations, such as FCC, IC, CE, and ETSI. We have a team of experts who are well-versed in regulatory compliance and can guide you through the certification process. Additionally, regulatory compliance can help avoid costly fines and legal fees.

(6) Testing for interoperability

One of the most important aspects of interoperability testing is ensuring that devices can communicate using the same protocols and standards. This requires a thorough understanding of the various wireless protocols and standards, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Testing also involves ensuring that devices can communicate using different versions of these protocols, as well as different security standards.

With years of experience in the industry, GTG Group has developed a comprehensive testing methodology that can assist you in testing your devices for interoperability with other devices in the market. Our testing services cover a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart home devices, IoT devices, medical devices and other wireless devices. We can also test wireless infrastructure, such as base stations and antennas.

(7) Performance testing

GTG Group can assist you in testing the performance of your wireless devices under various scenarios, such as low signal strength, high traffic, and interference.

(8) RF testing

GTG Group can assist you in testing the RF performance of your wireless devices, and their ability to transmit and receive radio signals, including signal strength, interference, and range. If a device fails RF testing, GTG Group will work closely with the client to identify the issue and provide recommendations for resolving it. During the process, the device may need to be modified or retested to ensure compliance with industry standards.

(9) Pre-compliance testing

Pre-compliance testing can ensure that wireless devices meet industry standards before they are submitted for certification, which can save you time and money in the certification process.

(10) Antenna testing

GTG Group provide near-field testing service for wireless device's antennas. We uses a range of advanced equipment, such as anechoic chambers and far-field ranges, to measure the antenna's radiation pattern, gain, efficiency, and impedance. Our highly trained professionals can ensure you that the testing is accurate and reliable.

(11) Environmental testing

GTG Group can assist you in testing your wireless devices under different environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and vibration.

(12) Field testing

Our team of experts includes engineers, developers, and testers who are all highly skilled in their respective areas. They work together to assist you in conducting field testing for your wireless devices, and they can provide valuable insights into how your devices perform in the field and how to improve its performance.

(13) Customized testing services

Our team of experts can work with you to develop a testing plan that meets your unique requirements. We also offer flexible pricing options and can work within the budgets of our clients to ensure that they receive the best value for their money.

(14) Faster time to market

Our testing services can help you avoid costly delays and ensure that your devices are ready for market launch. GTG Group standardized testing process and state-of-the-art testing equipment allows us to deliver accurate and reliable testing results within a short timeframe. By partnering with GTG Group, you can reduce your time to market by ensuring that your wireless devices comply with international standards and regulations.

Contact us today to learn more about our WiFi testing & certification services, and how we can help your business with valuable insights provided by our team of experts.

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© 2024 GTG Group | Global Testing Group. All rights reserved.