Automation of the Best Practices used to Evaluate 802.11 Access Network (2017)

By David Brownell & Salman Naqvi, Shaw Communications

As the breadth of 802.11 standards increases to meet market demands and convergence with other technologies, the amount of capabilities provided by Customer Premise Equipment and Access Point (AP) devices is increasing dramatically. This coupled with introduction of interpretations by vendors for new and evolving standards places extreme pressure on service providers who endeavor to ensure the highest quality metrics for their network are maintained and enhanced by the new product introduction.

Typically, service providers will rely on the expertise of their engineering teams to vet the new products against the network requirements. The level of test coverage required and the turn-around time to deploy in the market bring in its challenges. Hence, automation of test coverage methodology is necessary to meet these demands.

This paper will address the implementation of the process and methodology applied in identifying the Key Performance Indicators to evaluate the 802.11 Access Network. There will be a brief account describing the test cases used and their importance to 802.11 service provider like Shaw Communications.

The paper will also describe the challenges and benefits that automation brings to this subject. The test coverage will include the SW/HW tools used to test the full functionality of the network from layer 1 through 7. Based on these results the Quality Assurance (Q) engineering team at Shaw Wireless Lab can provide a set of guidelines to the deployment engineering team, for better deployment of the 802.11 Network.

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