Communication services providers (CSPs) hosting 5G and fixed wireless access (FWA) services must contend with a wide range of variables to ensure the combined components within their services deliver a superior user quality of experience (QoE).
The failure to do so can be an unwanted cost-intensive result. Wi-Fi drives significant Opex spend. Over half of ISP technical support calls are due to problems with Wi-Fi. 30% of those calls involved truck rolls to resolve the issue. Too often, hardware is replaced but the issue remains unresolved. Service calls and truck dispatches continue until the issue is resolved.
The need to assure nothing is ‘broken’ in the process is essential. The service planned must be the one delivered. Each component of the 5G/Wi-Fi equation has its own requirements for validation. Stakeholders are asking: What’s required for 5G FWA to perform satisfactorily?
The simple answer is to optimize user experience (UE) with comprehensive end-to-end testing. But to achieve that means delving deep into a number of critical areas, with more questions that must be answered:
QoE/ Benchmarking: What is the baseline performance of the 5G and Wi-Fi aspects in the individual router?
5G Wi-Fi Co-existence: What are the impacts on Wi-Fi performance of a 5G cellular donor signal?
Mesh: Does my client receive service from the optimal serving node?
Reliability: Does the router provide consistent performance and availability?
Compatibility: Are the myriad device types that are used in the home compatible with this router?
Features: Do the features of this router behave as designed?
Security: Is my residential gateway secure from threats?
Those questions are just for starters. Being able to answer them all, and more, requires a proven testing strategy that draws from a range of technologies and testing expertise that are brought together for this singular objective of ensuring the service planned is one delivered.
Those questions are just for starters. Being able to answer them all, and more, requires a proven testing strategy that draws from a range of technologies and testing expertise.
Strategies for advanced 5G fixed wireless access and Wi-Fi testing
A primary focus of the testing approach should be on the user experience and have KPIs in the various categories clearly defined. Testing coverage should include:
QoE/ Benchmarking: End-to-end user experience tests to verify router performance is comparable to commercial APs and better than previous generation
5G Wi-Fi Co-existence: Interference and Wi-Fi performance tests in the presence of a 5G signal to verify that gateway performance is optimized
Mesh: Home emulation to verify signal steering
Reliability: End-to-end UE, 5G Only, Keep-Alive Test to quantify uptime measures IP renew rate and performance over time
Compatibility: Testing data compatibility to verify the typical mix of products found in a residence and service diversity
Features: Testing router features and functions to validate feature functionality
Security: Device hardware and firmware penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities
The value of advanced 5G FWA and Wi-Fi testing
Having a qualified testing solution in place that delivers information CSPs need to deliver the QoE of their ongoing service is essential for assured success. A proven testing approach 5G FWA and Wi-Fi ensures that deployment strategies and objectives work as planned to realize the best user experience – to gain and retain subscribers. And for the long term, CSPs understand the need of continuously strengthening their service infrastructure through ongoing 5G mobile network optimization, fortified by continuous test and assurance of their offerings.