Case Study: Multi-Node Wi-Fi Solution Testing

A major European operator needed to select a new multi-node Wi-Fi product for the consumer household market. Here is how the company was able to decide which vendor offered the best solution.

Comparative Multi-Node Wi-Fi Solution Testing for a Major European Operator

The increasing number of connected devices and desire for high quality video bandwidth throughout the home are driving the in-home connectivity trend towards “Wi-Fi everywhere”. With this concept, households are looking for solutions to have fast, good quality connectivity throughout the home. To remain competitive, service providers are seeking advanced in-home connectivity solutions, such as a multi-node, or mesh, Wi-Fi system.

Our client’s situation

A major European operator wanted to provide a better Wi-Fi experience for their customers by offering a multi-node home Wi-Fi solution.

Multi-node Wi-Fi solutions  can provide full home coverage with improved throughput in hard-to-reach locations and seamless roaming of mobile devices around the home.

The operator needed help to decide which multi-node solution it should deploy and turned to Cartesian for support.

What we did

Our Wi-Fi Services team worked with our client to determine the characteristics of their ideal Wi-Fi product. We then devised and performed empirical Wi-Fi tests to score and rank the performance of rival multi-node solutions.

Cartesian has two Wi-Fi Test Houses. For this evaluation, we used the larger two-story Test House as our base and took a four-stage approach to conduct our performance tests:

  1. Onboarding/Installation. Example tests: What is the customer experience of ‘onboarding’? How easy is it to set up the multi-node solution, and to find and use any associated app to optimize the placement of the solution’s nodes?
  2. Empirical Performance. Example tests: How does the performance of the multi-node Wi-Fi solution compare with the standalone legacy router that the customer has today? Does the solution deliver the consistent high throughput, whole home coverage that it promises?
  3. Roaming Behaviour. Example tests: If the customer streams a video to a smartphone and roams around their home how well does the multi-node solution perform – any buffering or disconnections?
  4. Network Capacity. Example tests: How future-proof is the multi-node Wi-Fi solution? For example, will it support large numbers of Ultra HD video streams being streamed to several Wi-Fi clients concurrently?

Our simulations tested performance of the solutions in “outside-the-lab” conditions that considered real-life scenarios throughout the product lifecycle and the customer journey.

We provided unbiased insights and user-experience considerations to our client. For example, we found that the high performance of some multi-node solutions was negated by a poor onboarding experience. The operator was looking for an easy self-install experience to avoid large numbers of installation support calls that may also lead to product returns and a negative brand image.

Client gains

Our client received:

  • Access to an unbiased, independent, expert test team;
  • An interference-free test environment;
  • Multiple user scenario tests/simulations;
  • Video and telco network specialist advice; and,
  • A detailed report setting out the results of the independent tests.

Our client gained valuable insights into the pros and cons of the rival multi-node Wi-Fi solutions. Based on our findings, they could make an informed decision on the choice of multi-node product. The operator was also able to use the test results for product specifications and marketing of their whole-home smart Wi-Fi service.

> Learn more about Cartesian’s Wi-Fi Services