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Test Requirement:
Perform Testing of Apps on Mobile devices (Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows), IETVs, Set Top Boxes connected via Home Wi-Fi networks (multi vendor cable modem hardwares).

Problem description:
There are hundreds of WiFi APPs and devices causing unwanted interference and throughput issues and invalidating testing of the Apps functionalities (primarily around streaming).

What we have tried but not worked:
The team has turned the WiFi signals off of unused modems/routers. There are just too many which are still On. They have also tried to allocate WiFi channels for dedicated test devices and networks but still it did not solve the problem. Hiding SSIDs is not an option.

What the company is suggesting:
To find a friendly customer ( trialist ) and use his home for testing.

What I am suggesting as I think the company’s suggestion is just not realistic as the products quality and my teams’ test coverage cannot rely on such an option:

I am currently working on a Business Case for having a dedicated lab environment and I am quite hopeful it will get through and get the funding approved.

Has anyone build any such Test Lab and has any experience to share?

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I have encountered this problem while working for a major mobile device manufacturer in the Seattle area. Ultimately what I ended up doing was building an Anechoic RF Test Chamber - on the cheap - which allowed me to control my RF environment to a very fine degree. In my case, I acquired an interior storage closet and had it painted with RF shielding paint over all of the major surfaces. I then used anechoic RF tiles to shield the door, drop-down ceiling and my power and data sockets. I was about to achieve about a 40db reduction in RF for WIFI channel 11 which was more than sufficient to reduce most interference. Total cost for my 6'x4' "RF Chamber" ended up being about $3000 when all was said and done. You can spend a lot more fore a professionally designed RF Chamber/Lab, but if your application is for simply getting rid of unwanted WIFI interference in your testing this is a pretty cheap way to get there. The ROI argument follows directly from the cheapness of the solution.

There are also other alternatives - you can by an "RF Tent" which will give you some RF isolation - these can be as cheap as $300 for a 2'x3'x2' box-style tent that you can build around one of the shelves of a wire-shelf set, but these can be a little frustrating because the attentuation achieved will vary depending upon how well the tent is fitted to it's framed. Even a very small gap in the sides of the tent can let in RF if the emitter is close enough. It is very important to validate your RF environment cleanliness before every test run using something like this.

Testing at home is VERY problematic. Some people live in Condo's and apartments. The RF environment in high-density housing can approach that of an office building. When you combine that with trying to get good results from un-trained "friendly customers"...

There are various products available cheap on Amazon, such as https://www.amazon.com/Y-Shield-Shielding-Paint-liter-size/dp/B0025Z8GAY that you can use to get started. You only need a small closet sized space, probably - just enough to put in a wire-rack or an equipment rack. A broom closet will work...

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    If even this solution is too expensive, consider that a microwave oven is a Faraday cage. Disconnect the power and neutral wires inside the case, leaving ground connected. Plug the device in to ground it. Put your DUT and AP in the oven and begin your test. Suitable ovens can be had on garbage day for free and only require a screwdriver and a little electrical knowledge to convert it to a WIFI test environment. The downside is that the space is very small. – Jerry Penner Nov 30 '16 at 16:41
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This scenario happens in almost all the projects. There will be 10+ projects running in parallel but with only 2 environments available for testing. An activity performed by 'Project 1' will affect the testing done by 'Project 4' in the same environment. It is not always worth to dedicate an entire environment to a single project.

There might be exception cases when a project is very critical and is already running RED, so it makes sense to hold all other projects for a short time and focus all resources on to this one project. In such scenario, it is not just the environment but even the team members come to support that one project for a brief period.

In all other scenarios, the reasons that you quote for a dedicated environment might very well be applicable for every other project running in parallel. You could 'Time Slice' the environment and use it along with other projects. Say, 9AM to 11AM, the whole environment is for your project and all other projects should not cause any interference. If there is an option for your team to come in shifts or weekends, you could devise a plan around the same too. Even for a dedicated lab case, you could work with other project teams and get their buy in such that this new environment will always be fully dedicated to business critical project.

As for the company's suggestion on using friendly customer's home, this might be a little too much. But what if it is the home of someone in the team who is willing to support? You could use their home for initial testing where you catch most of the defects. This will also give you time to plan forward and agree upon the environment usage.

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