Qualifying Wi-Fi 7 devices using automated testing

Much emphasis is put on radio-layer performance testing for Wi-Fi 7 devices. But what are the critical things to test in your product to comprehensively qualify them for development? In the video above, our CWNA expert Brian Dubreuil covers the main types of testing that can be done with Wi-Fi 6/6e and Wi-Fi 7 devices in CDRouter, using the NTA3000 platform’s Wi-Fi 7 capabilities. (You can also download the slide deck here).

The four main types of testing in this area are basic connectivity, functionality, scaling, and performance.

Connectivity Testing

Connectivity testing is foundational, ensuring that devices can establish and maintain robust connections under various conditions. This involves assessing the device's ability to connect across different bands (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz for Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7), using different security protocols, and handling various modulation and spatial stream configurations. For Wi-Fi 7 devices, this includes testing capabilities like Multi-Link Operation (MLO), which allows simultaneous operation across multiple bands.

Functionality Testing

Once connectivity is established, functionality testing evaluates the device's ability to support essential internet services and applications. This encompasses the testing of network protocols, such as DHCP, DNS, HTTP, and more, across the established connection. It's crucial to ensure that the device not only connects but also performs its intended functions correctly, handling network traffic efficiently and securely.

Scaling Testing

Scaling testing assesses how well a device can handle multiple connections simultaneously. This is increasingly important with the advent of Wi-Fi 6 and 7, which are designed to support higher densities of connected devices. Testing involves evaluating how many clients a device can support on a single band or across multiple bands and how this affects the device's performance. It's a critical test for environments where numerous devices will be connected, such as in smart homes or offices.

Performance Testing

Performance testing goes beyond basic connectivity and functionality, measuring the actual throughput (or "goodput") that devices can manage. This includes single-client and multi-client scenarios, testing both upload and download speeds across different bands and configurations. For Wi-Fi 7, with its enhanced throughput capabilities due to wider channel bandwidths and higher-order modulation (4K-QAM), performance testing is vital to ensure devices can deliver on the promised speeds.

Stability Testing

Stability testing combines elements of connectivity, functionality, scaling, and performance tests, running them over extended periods to identify potential issues that might only emerge over time. This type of testing is crucial for uncovering intermittent problems or performance degradation that could affect user experience. It simulates real-world usage, including the network conditions and user behaviors that devices will encounter, ensuring they can operate reliably under sustained stress.

We cover everything about stability testing in our stability testing series.

How does CDRouter support these tests?

The CDRouter NTA3000 platform itself is a significant upgrade from its predecessors, featuring enhanced processing power, increased memory and disk capacity, and expanded interface options, including support for Wi-Fi 7 cards. This allows for a more extensive range of testing scenarios, including using up to 115 clients across different Wi-Fi standards and bands, offering unprecedented insight into device capabilities and performance under various conditions.

This testing plays a crucial role in ensuring that Wi-Fi 7, Wi-Fi 6, and Wi-Fi 6E devices meet the high standards expected by consumers and businesses alike. By comprehensively evaluating devices across these dimensions, manufacturers and developers can identify and address potential issues before products reach the market, ensuring they provide the performance, reliability, and user experience that modern network environments demand.

Looking for more about the NTA3000 platform for CDRouter? Contact us.