The Tracker works by capturing a motion profile while walking through a house. The user can then replay this walk in an octoBox testbed to test the performance of wireless devices. Mesh networks, stations and access points experience the walk in the testbed just as recorded in the real world.
The solution combines the benefits of real-world testing with the repeatability that only a controlled testing environment can deliver. The result is the speed and cost of in-the-lab testing with the confidence that the test results represent realistic end user scenarios. For a video demonstrating the power of the Tracker follow this link.
The Tracker captures synchronous measurements of pathloss to multiple APs along a walk path using the fieldPal. It captures the timing and the speed of the walk as well as path loss in between the APs themselves. The captures can also be stationary corresponding to fixed locations in a house.
The Tracker capture is imported into an octoScope testbed and stored there for subsequent testing. The test engineer is able to perform any type of test available in the octoBox testbed while a virtual walk corresponding to the capture is performed in the testbed.
The system consists of three parts:
Use octoScope’s synchroSniffer to capture data for analysis while the test is taking place. This allows for detailed recording of any anomalous behavior observed during the testing.
|Bands supported||2.4 GHz, 5 GHz|
|Walk path selection||Selection available from as imported|
|Walk path recording||Requires fieldPal, feature not available yet|
|Flexible mesh network configuration during replay||Yes|
|Path loss synchronization between APs||Yes|
|Tests available during replay||All tests available in a standard octoBox testbed: throughput, latency, jitter, packet loss, handover speed|
|Testbeds supported||STACK-MESH, STACK-MAX and subsets of these testbeds|
|Number of simultaneous mesh nodes supported||3 maximum|
The Tracker is useful for testing multi node mesh systems. In the consumer market, mesh systems often in come in packs of two or three. Figure 3 illustrates the STACK-MESH testbed suitable for testing up to three node mesh networks. This testbed consists of four chambers: a chamber for each of the mesh nodes and one for the station. The Tracker can also be used in subsets of STACK-MESH or STACK-MAX.
Figure 3 - STACK-MESH testbed
Figure 4 and Figure 5 highlight the paths used to connect the station to the mesh under test. Figure 4 shows the paths for any station off the shelf station or STApal-open. Figure 5 shows the paths for the STApal subsystem of the smartBox-STA. Path losses for these paths are generated during replay from the captured motion profile. The testbed makes no assumptions about how the station will roam through the mesh as the motion profile is played. The testbed only reproduces the pathloss between the station and all the mesh nodes as captured in the field. Whether the station roams aggressively or acts as a sticky client can be observed in the captures. The testbed doesn’t attempt to influence the station behavior in any way.
Similarly, the testbed makes no assumptions about any possible steering behavior by the mesh network under test. AP steering, band steering, channel steering, 802.11k messaging, 802.11v messaging are all possible actions and are transparent to the testbed. The testbed reproduces the pathlosses of the house where the motion profile was captured and exposes the station and mesh network to the house as would have occurred in the real life when the recording was made.
Figure 4 - Fronthaul paths used in STACK-MESH when using off-the-shelf devices
Figure 5 - Fronthaul paths used in STACK-mesh when using STApals
Figure 6 illustrates the paths used in the testbed for backhaul in between the mesh nodes. Wired backhaul in between the nodes is also supported in the testbed. The testbed makes no assumptions about how the mesh system establishes its backhaul links in between the nodes. The testbed just reproduces the pathloss in between the access points as captured in the motion profile from the field.
Figure 6 - Backhaul paths used in STACK-MESH
The Tracker manipulates the attenuators in the testbed to simulate movement through a mesh network in a home. The Tracker is independent of the test case run. All of the features and testing capabilities available in the octoBox testbeds are available for testing with the Tracker. For example, a throughput test can be run while the motion profile is playing. Also, synchroSniffing can be used to observe the behavior of the mesh under test.
Example outcome of a throughput test while a motion profile was replayed in an octoBox testbed