Why should you soak test your 5G CPE?
For any technology to become mature, a huge amount ofÂ testsÂ have to happen behind the scenes. WithÂ hardware and software components recently developed and, usually, under very tight deadlines,Â extensive testingÂ is an assured way to avoid market failure.Â 5GÂ is no different in that respect. In fact, testing this technology becomes especially relevant because it is not a simple upgrade, it involves muchÂ complexity. Those offeringÂ 5GÂ are looking at high demand users who may depend on it for enabling furtherÂ technological advancements. As such, the scope for flaws are practically non existent.
Much of the currentÂ 5G device testingÂ has a focus on signaling and raw throughput tests using tools like iPerf. For example,Â ConformanceÂ TestingÂ for 5G (3GPP 38.523) does not have any real world data transfer scenarios. WhileÂ 5G signalingÂ test is of much significance, there is also a critical need forÂ real data transfer testsÂ from an end user angle. This allows a real, clear, on-ground understanding of how the device will perform.
Wireless devicesÂ today are incredibly complex which, in spite of heavy testing, may leave possibilities for issues like memory leaks and race conditions. For mobile devices such issues are usually not observed because mobile phones usually getÂ rebootedÂ for one reason or the other â€“ battery draining out, turning on the airplane mode (soft shutdown), etc. In cases where none of these happen the user might just reboot the phone when s/he thinks it is getting slow or unresponsive.
Unlike mobile devices, the reboot option does not apply toÂ 5G CPEÂ devices. Once installed, these devices are supposed to beÂ out of sightÂ and out of mind. They are meant to work for years, without any external support. Other devices such asÂ TVs, home IoT devices, security cameras, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, smart watches etc areÂ connectedÂ to it constantly. SinceÂ 5G CPEÂ devices are expected to run for years at a time, without any reboot, issues like minorÂ memory leaksÂ etc. might show up and affect their performance within a few months into usage. These may be taken as symptoms forÂ lower performance, difficulty in connecting new devices, etc. Certain parts of the system get tested only under heavy loads, e.g. buffer limits, queues. Many borderline events like race conditions get hitÂ under heavy loads. Hence, theÂ device behaviourÂ must be tested in suboptimal conditions.
A normalÂ 5G end userÂ (e.g.: a 5G connected home) will have multiple traffics that have differentÂ QoS requirementsÂ â€“ video streaming, browsing, voice calls, security camera, IoT devices, etc. â€“ running simultaneously. It is critical toÂ simulate real world environmentsÂ and multiÂ QoS traffic loadsÂ in the test lab because the alternative to troubleshoot real field issues would be to send support staff onsite, a ratherÂ expensiveÂ option.
It is possible to minimize this challenge by running multipleÂ long duration soak testsÂ on different setups under differentÂ client loadÂ andÂ trafficÂ conditions. Even a seemingly simple action likeÂ adding/removing multiple 5G cellsÂ might unearth some issues if done long enough. Another example is real time traffic likeÂ Skype for Business callsÂ getting dropped during peak business hours when maximum number of employees are using the online resources.
AÂ two weekÂ soak test covering the different usage scenarios in a typical home or small office can help bringing outÂ issues. For home use cases,Â video trafficÂ at different resolutions might be of higher importance whereas forÂ office use casesÂ productivity tools likeÂ emails, ftp, Skype for Business callsÂ might carry more weightage.Â VoIP call dropsÂ during peak business hours is a common issue reported from multipleÂ real offices, so that is definitely one use case to cover in theÂ soak test.
5GÂ is stillÂ unprovenÂ in the real world. AnyÂ negative experience, even if it is caused by non-3GPP components in the device, mayÂ get blamed onÂ 5G. So, the stakeholders in the ecosystem will have to leave no stone unturned to ensure that whatever they put in front of the customer is theirÂ best.
How do you test 5G CPE for long duration?
SWAT WiCheckÂ emulates 100s or 1000s of WiFi clients and helps you toÂ recreate real world scenariosÂ very easily. ItÂ helps you to test yourÂ 5G CPEÂ for 1000s of hours with multiple users accessing the network simultaneously. It runsÂ real applications(Facebook, YouTube, YouKu, Skype for business calls & more) and measures the end user experience.
Have you got any questions regardingÂ 5G CPEÂ end to endÂ testing for long duration? Please reach out to usÂ HERE
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