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Wireless How To

Test Process

Note: "Downlink" means data flows from router to client device. "Uplink" means data flows from client device to router.

The general test process is as follows:

  1. Check / update latest firmware
  2. Reset router to defaults
  3. Change router settings:
    • LAN IP: 192.168.1.1
    • 2.4 GHz: Ch 6, Mode: 20MHz, WPA key: 11111111
    • 5 GHz: Ch 153, Mode: Auto or 80 MHz, WPA key: 11111111
  4. Associate client. Check connection link rate.
  5. Run IxChariot manual test to check throughput
  6. Run test script
  7. Power cycle DUT and repeat steps 4-6

Two test runs are made in each band for dual-band devices.

Testing is controlled by a Tcl script modified from a standard script supplied by octoScope. The script executes the following test plan:

  1. Move the turntable to starting position. This places the DUT at the "0 degree" starting position previously described.
  2. Program the attenuators to 0 dB
  3. Move the turntable to -180° (counter-clockwise)
  4. Start 90 second IxChariot test (throughput.scr with 5,000,000 Byte test file size) simultaneous up and downlink (0 dB only)
  5. Wait 30 seconds, then start turntable rotation to +180° at 1 RPM.
  6. Wait for test to finish
  7. Discard first 30 seconds of IxChariot data, calculate average of remaining data and save to CSV file. Save entire IxChariot .tst file.
  8. Repeat Steps 3 to 7 for downlink only (DUT to STA)
  9. Repeat Steps 3 to 7 for uplink only (STA to DUT)
  10. Increase attenuators by 3dB.
  11. Repeat Steps 3 to 9 until attenuation reaches 45 dB for 5 GHz test; 63 dB for 2.4 GHz test.

We continue to use the throughput.scr IxChariot script instead of the High_Performance_Throughput.scr script used by many product vendors.

The main difference is the high performance script uses a 10,000,000 Byte default test file size, Microsoft's Overlapped IO socket and sets the transmit and receive buffer sizes to 64 K bytes. The regular throughput script doesn't use Overlapped IO, leaves the transmit and receive buffers at default and a 100,000 Byte test file size.
We found in testing that using the throughput script and adjusting the file size upward actually produced slightly higher throughput than the high performance script.

The CSV files from the two test runs are merged into a single Excel file and the average of the two runs calculated. The average of the two runs is the value entered into the Charts database.

Test Notes

Moving the DUT through an entire 360° while the IxChariot test is running removes any orientation bias from the test and eliminates the need to determine the "best" run out of multiple fixed-position tests. Because throughput typically varies during the test run, the averaged result tends to be lower. Rotation at lower signal levels, particularly in 5 GHz, frequently causes the connection to be dropped sooner than if the DUT were stationary. For this reason, V8 5 GHz test results will generally not extend beyond 39 dB.

The IxChariot plot below shows a typical test run. The first 30 seconds of the run include a throughput step-up that is caused by an IxChariot artifact and does not reflect true device performance. The first 30 seconds also provides time for DUT rate adaptation algorithms to settle. For both reasons, the test script excludes the first 30 seconds of data in the average value saved in the Router Charts database.

IxChariot Test Data detail

IxChariot Test Data detail

Our testing focus has always been to provide results that provide the fairest relative comparison among products. This new process achieves that goal by removing multiple sources of test setup bias to achieve even fairer product-to-product comparison.

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