Broadband Forum on Sept. 23 announced Altice Labs and Calix as the first two vendors to be listed as part of the Forum's newly launched BBF.398 Grade Wi-Fi Program. Via the program, service providers and device manufacturers will be able to reduce the number of customer complaints they receive about poorly performing devices thanks to the latest performance test plan released by Broadband Forum.
As explained by a Broadband Forum statement:
Broadband Forum’s BBF.398 Grade Wi-Fi Program has a primary goal of providing a standard set of test cases and framework to measure aspects of the performance between the AP (such as CPE with Wi-Fi), reference Stations (STAs) (such as a Personal Computer, and integrated testing equipment), and if applicable, a Wi-Fi repeater environment.
Issue 2 of TR-398 can seamlessly validate the devices used in broadband deployments and optimize their performance while addressing and identifying potential operational issues before the devices are introduced to the field.
It also updates a number of performance test cases and adds additional test cases for mesh and Wi-Fi roaming between Access Points (APs), and for the recently published IEEE Standard 802.11ax-2021.
Lincoln Lavoie, University of New Hampshire InterOperability principal engineer and Broadband Forum technical chair, commented, “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. 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. Operators around the world continue to use TR-398 as the Wi-Fi performance admission specification for broadband Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) products into their networks. It is vitally important that test labs, vendors and service providers continue to come together to meet subscriber Wi-Fi demands and elevate the overall customer experience.”
Broadband Forum notes that receiver sensitivity, throughput, coverage, multi-user support, anti-interference, and stability are quantitatively evaluated in TR-398 and that owing to its defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the standard helps operators select optimal Wi-Fi solutions. These tests may also provide a clearer overview for service providers regarding the overall performance of devices used to build their products and services, adds the association.
“Altice Labs has been successfully deploying FTTx networks throughout the market over the past few decades. In-House networking is one of the critical segments for us to take into consideration when looking deep into technical and operational Quality of Service and Quality of Experience aspects as perceived by our end-users,” commented Alcino Lavrador, Altice Labs general manager. “In our view, the BBF.398 initiative is fulfilling a significant industry and market requirement by positioning the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 performance together with the relevant technical metrics.”
“Calix is proud to have achieved BBF.398 Grade Wi-Fi industry benchmark recognition, which is the latest milestone in our longstanding and continued commitment to open industry standards,” added Shane Eleniak, senior vice president, Revenue EDGE products for Calix. “A collaborative industry approach ensures that broadband service providers of all sizes can accelerate innovation and achieve excellence at scale. In doing so, customers know that our solutions offer superior performance and in turn, amazing experiences for their subscribers. This is a far more productive strategy than proprietary approaches that limit the kinds of ground-breaking advancements required to continue propelling the industry forward. We are excited to work with other members of the Broadband Forum to support broadband businesses in their quest for excellence.”
In partnership with telecom industry research firm Omdia, the recently published Broadband Forum ‘The Future Telco – Connected Home 2021 Survey' report highlights the notion that customer dissatisfaction around Wi-Fi experience is becoming a growing driver of customer churn. The Forum emphasizes that any service calls related to the customer network can be costly and may lead to further operational expenses through engineer call outs or equipment replacements. The report found that over 30% of user support calls were related to poor Wi-Fi performance. Having access to high-quality Wi-Fi is crucial to deliver an enhanced broadband experience for subscribers and Issue 2 of TR-398 is the next step in providing a unified performance testing standard.