By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
The ‘expectation gap’ between marketed Wi-Fi data rates to the device and what is actually delivered in households around the world is massive, says ASSIA. The company has amassed and analysed millions of data points while optimising residential Wi-Fi performance for service providers. The objective truth of home Wi-Fi performance is overdue to bust at least a couple of big home Wi-Fi myths, ASSIA says.
The Wi-Fi industry is as guilty of hyping speeds and feeds as much as any other wireless segment but until now, a detailed view on hype versus reality in residential Wi-Fi – meaning hard measurement data from real households – has been hard to source. Enter ASSIA: As one of a small handful of managed Wi-Fi service vendors, the company is one of a very few with reliable performance data.
“The truth is that there are a lot more and more serious residential Wi-Fi quality problems than most people realise or are even ready to accept, despite advances in equipment and standards. Most stated data rates or wishful marketing statements are highly theoretical and don’t come close to the reality on the ground,” says Tuncay Cil, EVP, Corporate Development & Strategy at ASSIA.
Mythbusting a handful Wi-Fi performance myths
Today, most ISPs accept responsibility for delivering Wi-Fi to the device and have come to think of Wi-Fi as the conduit for delivering bandwidth – although this was not always the case, Cil says. One of the most important myths in dire need of busting is the idea that a new generation of Wi-Fi automatically delivers high bandwidth to the device. This is often not the case, says Tuncay Cil.
“Severe noise and interference affect close to half of all 2.4 GHz connections. About a third of 5 GHz connections suffer from severe coverage issues,” says Tuncay Cil. The company also has evidence to prove that adding unmanaged repeaters (or APs) has little or no effect on fixing coverage problems.
And it gets worse: ASSIA’s data also all but wipes out the popular myth that applying 5 GHz bands will enable speeds of at least 450 Mbps to the device. In reality, 80% of 5 GHz connections fall below 100 Mbps and even a full one third of them deliver less than 30 Mbps. “In the case of 5 GHz real speeds are a far cry from what is often believed to be the case or even marketed,” says Tuncay Cil.
Remote management: Driving up Wi-Fi quality
A great deal of progress and improvement can be made by monitoring and optimising Wi-Fi services remotely, says Tuncay Cil. The techniques (in addition to real-time data collection) include machine-learning-based predictive and prescriptive analysis as well as diagnostics, says ASSIA. Today, ASSIA is serving more than 35 service provider clients with remote Wi-Fi management and optimisation.
“There are many effective ways to improve Wi-Fi quality through remote management and monitoring, for example by forcing better utilisation of 5 GHz and less utilisation of 2.4 GHz. We can also substantially reduce degradation due to noise and interference,” he says. He also says that support calls from Wi-Fi end users can be reduced by as much as 30%.
For more about ASSIA’s approach to residential Wi-Fi quality management, meet Assia founder and President John Cioffi in person at Wi-Fi NOW APAC in Shanghai on March 5-7.
Above: Tuncay Cil, ASSIA EVP, Corporate Development & Strategy, speaking at Wi-Fi NOW Europe in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 2018.