Deciding if Automated Testing is Right for Your Application

From routers and modems to cable TV boxes and mobile phones, a variety of Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) are present in an even wider variety of today’s homes, businesses, offices, and other spaces. People rely on these devices daily to do work, communicate with friends and family, binge their favorite shows, get up to date on the latest news, and a lot more. The type of CPE installed will have a direct impact on the quality and reliability of the telecommunication service(s) a customer receives, and with how much people rely on these devices, you obviously want to guarantee customers a high-quality product that can keep up with their use if you are a provider. Automated testing helps you feel more confident in your product, but it can be costly – especially for CPE devices that have cellular capabilities. So, is automated testing worth it for your application? That’s the question we’ve set out to answer here.

Deciding if Automated Testing is Right for Your Application

Why is CPE testing important?

Before getting into how to determine if automated testing is right for your application, let’s first identify why testing CPE in general is important. To put it simply, cable modem testing, PON device testing, set top box or wireless router performance testing is crucial because even the most stable and expertly built CPE in the world could fail on the user end. Testing ensures that you know that a product not only works as intended but can and will be used by a customer after it has been installed. In many cases, CPE are recycled by a provider and then reissued to a new customer. During this process, you must sort the lemons from the gems.

Automated vs. manual CPE testing

Automated testing offers several key benefits over manual testing, and these are things you need to consider when setting out to test a cable modem, ONT/ONU, set top box, router, or other CPE equipment. Automation is faster, more objective, and can save you money in a few different ways. The testing appliances used in automated testing can perform their job quickly, accurately, and precisely while not tiring or taking breaks as a human might. Manual testing is prone to human error and potential oversights, whereas automated testing is not. With automated testing, you can confidently know that nothing will be overlooked, no steps will be skipped, and there won’t be any subjectivity in the process. This sped-up testing process and improved quality assurance means you’re able to produce more CPE and reduce the number of instances where an improperly tested piece of equipment make it out to a customer, and a service representative must be called out to fix the issue. Automated testing also provides you with data that can be analyzed and used to improve product development and deployment.

Is your application right for automated testing?

Manual testing is almost always used when the testing process should be simple, and labor costs are low. Many times, a company will stick with manual testing simply because they struggle to move to automated testing, typically due to the cost. However, automated testing appliances for cable modem testing, PON device testing, set top box testing or wireless router performance tests are becoming less and less expensive, making their deployment more widespread. This is happening as labor costs around the world are rising, which has caused manual testing to be more costly in comparison. Automated testing also reduces the cost and time spent looking for experienced professionals to test products manually, especially in niche industries where highly specialized skills are required. Finally, automated testing can scale as needed to handle fluctuation demand for test volume.

Even with the respective declining and increasing costs of automated testing and manual testing, automated testing still isn’t right for every application. In addition to cost, the type of product being manufactured will impact whether or not automatic testing is a good choice. Automated testing works for both low-volume/high-cost and high-volume/low-cost products, but manual testing is frequently used when testing new products because flexibility is required. Manual testing is also ideal for “what if?” scenarios that likely wouldn’t make it into an automated test script and if you need to test just one or two aspects of a product tested, rather than the whole thing. Some situations, such as compliance, may require manual testing due to regulatory pressure. When a government agency asks about an application's use, companies often feel they have more control over the process with manual testing. The manual tests may satisfy any concerns from the agency about the reliability of an automated test, warranted or not. A manual tester could address any contentions directly.

If you’ve decided that automated testing is right for your cable modem testing, PON device testing, set top box or wireless router performance tests, or for other CPE equipment, Promptlink has the appliances you need. We have a range of broadband CPE testing solutions for data, voice, and video. Give us a call today to learn more!

Contact us today to consult with our professionals on a properly scaled solution to meet your needs.

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