Ruckus Wireless announced that is has released its "Zap" performance-testing program to the Open Source Community to encourage further development of advanced testing tools that provide a better understanding of actual wireless network performance.

Originally developed by Ruckus engineers to characterize wireless behavior of real-time IP-based video streaming applications, Zap is a wireless performance measurement utility designed to determine wireless network signal performance accurately over time, space and frequency.

By design, Zap lets network planners test sustained throughput of an existing wireless network and determine the true, sustained and worst-case performance that it is capable of delivering 99.5 percent of the time. Using Zap, organizers can also predict the real-life performance of a system before deployment.

"With wireless you need to understand the statistical throughput distribution in order to really characterize performance. Zap gives you that. Other performance testing tools only tell you average throughput, which is often irrelevant to demanding applications," Bill Kish, CTO and co-founder of Ruckus Wireless said in a statement. "As good as Zap is, by releasing the code as open source, we believe the software community can make it even better."

According to Ruckus, the historic challenge with wireless testing has been the inability to control environmental changes that cause fluctuations in performance. Even in the absence of external interference, the performance of wireless products vary dramatically from channel to channel due to a variety of factors such as regulatory power limits, local digital noise and RF component variation. Because actual wireless performance is inherently statistical in nature, accurate performance testing must account for this random component.

Zap provides a statistical analysis that anticipates the performance of a wireless network by predicting the percent of time and the locations at which performance will be above or below a certain limit.

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