Wi-Fi gets benchmarking for connected home video delivery

Michelle Clancy | 31-08-2012

Wi-Fi networking products are often the gating factor in delivering HD video to multiple screens and devices in the home. To help mitigate the obstacle, Farncombe is rolling out a new benchmarking service for operators, OEMs and semiconductor manufacturers to measure Quality of Service (QoS) for 802.11n devices.

If operators had information about the performance of each router, the reasoning goes, they could ensure the right device is deployed and positioned for each subscriber.
The new Wi-Fi benchmark tests are designed to rate throughput and reach of 802.11n Wi-Fi devices in the connected home.
"Wireless performance is the Achilles' heel of the connected home," said Ian Walsh, head of business development for Farncombe's test lab services. "With consumers demanding HD video on multiple devices, the quality and reliability of wireless home networking products has become the gating factor in delivering TV Anywhere products and services."
To date the industry has focused on solving Wi-Fi's inherent unpredictability and instability by adopting technology advances that support higher capacity and resilience. Farncombe's approach evolves that to an approach based on benchmarking and test services.
Through a set of standardised tests, farncombe's service will help operators navigate the wide choice of Wi-Fi-enabled set-top boxes, gateways and routers by validating their performance. This will help them guarantee their subscribers' QoS as they face increasing demands for simultaneous real-time streaming of HD video channels to multiple devices, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing calls to call centres.
"When a viewer experiences artefacts through buffering or a dropped signal, it is often related to the router's positioning in the home with respect to the receiver, its antenna setup, and its ability to adapt to changing network conditions in real-time," Walsh explained. "This testing will help operators understand the performance capabilities of products so they can ensure their subscribers have the best-in-class device for their environment and enjoy the appropriate quality of experience."
The service also supports the OEMs as they evaluate chipset reference platforms as well as helping semiconductor vendors improve the performance of their chipset reference platforms and design of the complex Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna arrays involved in 802.11n devices.