Its new IxVeriWave test system is designed to go beyond measuring network availability and signal strength to test a broader range of capabilities and show how well a Wi-Fi network is delivering specific applications such as voice, data, unicast video or multicast video.
"We are not measuring one dimension," says Joseph Zeto, market development manager, wireless products, at Ixia. Instead, the system tests how well the combination of a 4G service such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and the Wi-Fi network are delivering on end-to-end service level agreements (SLAs) for specific apps.
Zeto says signal strength tests alone aren't a reliable enough indication of how Wi-Fi is performing, and stresses that both network operators and equipment vendors that are incorporating Wi-Fi into their networks and equipment will have to go further in testing performance.
Why this matters
Wi-Fi offload is becoming a part of the service that wireless operators will deliver, particularly in public venues such as airports, stadiums and auditoriums. While LTE adds significant bandwidth to the wireless pipe, it still has constraints, and wireless operators are looking to Wi-Fi offload as one means to beef up bandwidth, particularly at congestion points.
As they do so, however, the Wi-Fi performance becomes part of the overall service, and consumers will measure how well their wireless operator is meeting their expectations by how well the Wi-Fi performs. Tools such as Ixia's IxVeriWave will deliver in-depth information on which operators can act to improve Wi-Fi performance by adding access points and upgrading their networks.
Here's a look at how operators and equipment vendors are integrating Wi-Fi into their wireless operations:
- O2 Trials VoIP Service
- BelAir Small Cell Packs Backhaul Punch
- Celeno Chips in Video-Grade WiFi
- WiMax Hits the High-Speed Rail in Taiwan
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading