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Dave

WiFi Testing Standards

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Dave

I recently had a "Fail" in some wifi testing and chatting with you guys here on the board brings me to something I have wanted to do for some time.  Testing and Measuring standards.  Not just wifi but testing and measuring in general.  I propose we gather up a set of standards for testing here at HSS Forums and reporting as well.  Let's start with what is fresh on our minds and that is Wifi testing.  I want to also cover LAN speed, disk speed, Server speed tests, NAS speed tests, etc.  If we set a standard in which we test as well as a standard in which we present the data, we can compare a little better.

 

One thing we have to agree on is that we all can't afford major testing tools or laboratories.  We cant all build anoechoic chambers for wifi testing or purchase ixchariot.  We can however, recommend tools, test distance, setup, test processors, and certain methods of reporting in order to make it happen.  

 

If you want to assemble a team and take volunteers for such endeavors I would be happy to set up some private forums where you can hash out the data and reporting forms.  Otherwise, open forum it is.  There will be disagreements so just chill and recognize that we all won't agree 100% on the process.  There will have to be some give and take.  It's possible we could agree on a "good, better, best" test method and incorporate a little of all your ideas.

 

Take my recent fail in wifi measuring and run with it.  We need to be able to test routers, AP's, wifi cards, wifi USB adapters, etc.  Maybe start with AP's since that is what is hot at the moment.  Eight foot test, one drywall away at 10 feet, 20 feet, etc.  What to use to run the test. What to use to monitor strength of signal. How to report all this back. Do we do it with a desktop and wifi card, or a phone, a laptop, etc?  Geez, after typing this all out I'm thinking it's going to be quite the feat to accomplish!  What do you guys think?

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cskenney

I am a glass 1/2 empty sorter so bear with me.  One issue is going to be your neighbors.  I live in a community where our houses are on top of each other.  I can pick up about 15 wireless SSID's from inside my house.  This many wireless radios have to be creating some issues on my bandwidth.  My old house was out in the country.  I could only see my own network.  That alone is going to create some differences.

 

I still think there is merit to doing this but there are many non-obvious variables that may mess around with the results.

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Trig0r

We also struggle with closeness of neighbours, I cant see 15 SSID's though, thats harsh.. then there's Bluetooth on everything as well these days..

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Dave

So true.  Rural Wisconsin i saw ZERO and here I constantly see new SSID's.  

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schoondoggy

Consistency.

Are we measuring WiFi or Internet speed? I like Speedtest for Internet and file transfers for throughput, but it is best to use different files each pass to rule out caching.

Same tools before and after changes on the same devices you will be using for comparisons. Xirrus WiFi inspector gives good connect and signal strength data.

I had four laptops setting on the same table running the same tests all with very different numbers. Tablets are all over the place. 

Connect speed versus throughput? Even though you are connected at a high speed you will not transfer at that speed..

 

Last test, get every desktop, tablet, laptop and console in the house streaming something. Are you saturating your Internet? WiFi?

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pcdoc

I pretty much do what schoondoggy does for testing.  One point to make is the testing will be against yourself and it is really hard to compare against anyone else due to too many variables.  Test your old setup and then the new one exactly the same way preferably around the same time and you should have pretty good results.  One last thing is make sure you test latency.  Wireless, especially with a mesh network can be heavily impacted with latency and it is good information to know.

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diegolrz

I recently had a "Fail" in some wifi testing and chatting with you guys here on the board brings me to something I have wanted to do for some time. Testing and Measuring standards. Not just wifi but testing and measuring in general. I propose we gather up a set of standards for testing here at HSS Forums and reporting as well. Let's start with what is fresh on our minds and that is Wifi testing. I want to also cover LAN speed, disk speed, Server speed tests, NAS speed tests, etc. If we set a standard in which we test as well as a standard in which we present the data, we can compare a little better.

 

One thing we have to agree on is that we all can't afford major testing tools or laboratories. We cant all build anoechoic chambers for wifi testing or purchase ixchariot. We can however, recommend tools, test distance, setup, test processors, and certain methods of reporting in order to make it happen.

 

If you want to assemble a team and take volunteers for such endeavors I would be happy to set up some private forums where you can hash out the data and reporting forms. Otherwise, open forum it is. There will be disagreements so just chill and recognize that we all won't agree 100% on the process. There will have to be some give and take. It's possible we could agree on a "good, better, best" test method and incorporate a little of all your ideas.

 

Take my recent fail in wifi measuring and run with it. We need to be able to test routers, AP's, wifi cards, wifi USB adapters, etc. Maybe start with AP's since that is what is hot at the moment. Eight foot test, one drywall away at 10 feet, 20 feet, etc. What to use to run the test. What to use to monitor strength of signal. How to report all this back. Do we do it with a desktop and wifi card, or a phone, a laptop, etc? Geez, after typing this all out I'm thinking it's going to be quite the feat to accomplish! What do you guys think?

Dave, I just listened to your last podcast and I think that iperf is a better tool to do local testing.

 

My experience has been that using iperf yields pretty accurate results. You can run iperf in a way that you measure memory to memory speeds thus one less thing to worry about.

 

Some APs (like ubiquiti) have iperf server built into the code. However there is a performance impact by running a client to AP test since processing resources are required to run iperf.

 

The problem with real-life wifi testing is that the results are extremely specific to that network, client and environment (distance from AP, obstructions, SNR, etc) combination due to all the factors at play. So I am not sure that a test would mean much to others.

Edited by diegolrz
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schoondoggy

One other item of note, when you are testing WiFi with mobile devices, be sure your body is not between the device and the access point. The human body is a fairly good filter of WiFi. The bigger the body, the better the filter! :o

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itGeeks

One other item of note, when you are testing WiFi with mobile devices, be sure your body is not between the device and the access point. The human body is a fairly good filter of WiFi. The bigger the body, the better the filter! :o

Thanks & noted :)

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