Silex Unwired

Product Testing – In-House or Outsourced?

Posted by silex_admin on July 24, 2012

Wi-Fi Testing Expertise

Here at Silex, we have been testing wireless networking products for over 15 years. This includes Silex branded products as well as customer branded products. In that time, we have built up a large and complete test suite to test the plethora of requirements asked of us by customers. There are so many 802.11 wireless Access Points, devices and standards that our experience in Wi-Fi has become an integral part of our value to our customers.

The Risk of Insufficient Testing

Out-sourced testing and certifications can be expensive. So for customers, the benefits of testing in-house may seem to outweigh the risks.

However, there are many parameters to consider when testing Wi-Fi products. If you have ever logged into a Cisco Access Point’s Web configuration page, then you have seen the large number of options available. This is true of any Enterprise level Access Point. What about authentication? What type of Radius Server will your customers be using? Do you need to test with all the major brands of Access Points and Radius Servers? What about legacy authentication and encryption methods? Do you need to test the older WEP, WPA and LEAP standards? If you have been shipping Wi-Fi products for years then you may already have learned your customers’ needs and adapted. However, if you’re introducing Wi-Fi for the first time, you may need more expertise.

The Benefits of Expert Testing

When introducing a new product to the market, the last thing you want is a bad out-of-box experience or product failure resulting in unhappy customers that costs you a big deal. How important is it when launching a new product to work perfectly the first time the customer tries it? What if the customer is trying to decide between your company’s product and your competitors? If theirs works and yours does not then the competition could be over. What if that was a million dollar deal?

The fact is, no amount of testing can guarantee every possible configuration of every combination of Access Point, Radius Server and the large number of settings between them. The fact is if something does fail during a customer evaluation, I bet testing that feature will be added to your test plan the next time you test your product. Eventually, after years of adding to your test plan, you will have a comprehensive set of use cases that accurately test the most common equipment and settings that your customers use. Unfortunately, you may lose some big deals along the way.

By outsourcing product testing to a company with many years of experience in Wi-Fi testing, you can lessen the risk typically associated with launching a new product line. Of course, this does not mean that you cannot bring testing in-house eventually. Finally, when you outsource testing you will be provided with a comprehensive test report detailing test procedures and results assuring you and your customers of your products quality and interoperability with other Wi-Fi equipment.

Tags: DVT, Testing, Wi-Fi, Silex