How to Perform Smart IoT Hardware Test in the Process of Product Development

Hardware testing plays a pivotal role in the entire product development lifecycle. This critical process allows IoT hardware developers to pinpoint and rectify issues or bugs that might impact performance, reliability, or the overall user experience. By ensuring that key features operate as intended, hardware testing guarantees the integrity of your product's quality. Ultimately, this proactive approach minimizes risks, cuts costs, and enhances the overall product quality, positioning it for successful market entry.This article is going to tell you how a Dusun IoT hardware testing engineer performs smart hardware testing and how to deal with testing problems. Welcome to read and take it as a reference.
how to perform smart iot hardware test
Table of Contents

Developing smart IoT products involves a multitude of tasks, including PCB design, firmware development, software integration, packaging, and more. The ultimate goal is to deliver a fully functional hardware device. To ensure the success of this intricate process, hardware testing emerges as a crucial step, verifying that your device aligns with the installed technology and meets functional requirements.

At Dusun IoT, the testing team within our R&D department takes the reins, orchestrating a meticulous process to guarantee the reliability and performance of your hardware project. Now, let’s delve into the world of a hardware testing engineer and unveil the intricacies of this essential process!

Know How to Use Hardware Before Testing It

What is Smart Hardware?

Simply put, smart hardware is the fusion of hardware and applications. This innovative concept marries traditional devices with the digital realm, connecting them to the internet and facilitating control through dedicated mobile software apps. Through this integration of software and hardware, smart IoT devices enable remote control and imbuing intelligence into everyday objects. Examples of smart hardware span diverse industries, including shared bicycles, smart speakers, smart gateways, smart sockets, and more.

Smart hardware spans a diverse spectrum, ranging from chips, sensors, and wireless modules embedded within the hardware, to network communication devices, servers, and an array of devices with integrated applications. 

How Does Smart Hardware Connect with Apps?

In today’s landscape, one-click configuration stands out as the most popular method for connecting smart hardware with applications. This approach primarily leverages technologies like SmartConfig, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and sound waves.


Developed by TI, SmartConfig is a provisioning technology designed to connect new Wi-Fi devices to an existing Wi-Fi network. By using a mobile app, network credentials are broadcasted from a smartphone or tablet to an unprovisioned Wi-Fi device. This technology require less knowledge of SSID or password of an Access Point, which is especially crucial for headless devices and systems lack of a user interface.


Managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology standard facilitating data exchange between fixed and mobile devices over limited distances. It plays a important role in establishing personal area networks (PANs).

Bluetooth hardware devices, such as headsets and mice, are designed to support point-to-point connections and come with stringent distance requirements on the device and the application.

Know more about Bluetooth Versions


Zigbee is used to create personal area networks utilizing small, low-power digital radios. It is widely used in applications like home automation, medical device data collection and other low-power low-bandwidth needs, making it ideal for small-scale projects requiring wireless connectivity. Zigbee devices employ a mesh network of intermediate devices to transmit data over long distances.

Zigbee protocols are specifically designed for embedded applications, prioritizing low power consumption and accommodating low data rates. To pass certification, individual devices within the network must boast a battery life of at least two years. However, it’s important to note that Zigbee, not being a TCP/IP protocol, lacks direct connectivity to the internet. Consequently, a Zigbee gateway is essential for converting signals into a WiFi protocol.

Sound Wave

This method revolves around the mobile phone emitting coded and encrypted sounds, captured by the smart hardware’s microphone. The hardware then decodes and decrypts the signal, successfully configuring the device.

How Does App Control Smart Hardware?

When the hardware is connected to the mobile application, the application will access the server interface through the Internet. Subsequently, the server receives the request, processes the corresponding logic, and sends the response data back to the mobile app. The application, acting as an intermediary, then transmits this data to the hardware directly connected to the smart device.

How Do Smart Hardware Connect to the Cloud?

Smart hardware can establish connections with cloud servers through various methods, each offering distinct advantages and considerations. Currently, the primary connection methods include WiFi, 4G, and Ethernet. The selection of a specific method depends on the application scenarios and the actual requirements of the smart device.

WiFi is a prevalent choice for smart home and office environment. While 4G is ideal for mobile environments, well-suited for smart devices that require communication on the go. With a built-in 4G module, these devices can function across different locations. For instance, express cabinets utilizing 4G connections enable real-time communication between cabinets scattered in various locations, supporting simultaneous usage of multiple cabinets. Ethernet offers reliability and stability, and is a robust choice for smart devices that demand a higher level of network stability.

Conclusion: Navigating the Complexity of Smart Hardware Testing

As we delve into the intricate relationship between smart hardware and apps, coupled with the diverse landscape of current applications and devices, it becomes imperative to develop strategies tailored to meet the testing needs of different products.

It’s also crucial to recognize that smart hardware extends beyond the mere fusion of software and hardware; it encompasses the intricate interplay between intermediate networks and the cloud. This broadened scope requires a nuanced understanding of testing methods, with the testing focus extending beyond the realms of simple app and hardware testing. Embracing this complexity ensures a robust approach to quality assurance in the realm of smart hardware and applications.

Formulate Hardware Testing Strategy and Use Cases

For Smart Hardware

Sensor Testing

In the anatomy of smart systems, smart sensors play a crucial role similar to the “nose” in the facial features of the human body. Alongside technologies like radio frequency identifiers (RFID), barcode readers and writers, and the global positioning system, sensors work collectively to define the intricate features of the system. When testing sensors, it is recommended to evaluate the following key aspects:

  • Basic parameter: testing transmission power, sensitivity, accuracy, and stability, etc., to ensure optimal performance when delivering data to users.
  • Performance: testing vital metrics like response time and decay time that gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of sensor operations.
  • Environmental factors: testing temperature resistance and anti-interference capabilities ensures reliable performance across diverse scenarios.
  • Reliability: assessing metrics such as lifespan and mean time between failures provides insights into sensors’ durability and consistent functionality.

Network Connection Testing

It is crucial to ensure that your device and network connections are always available. Therefore, there are two aspects that need to be verified during testing:


Testing focuses on preventing disruptions or data loss. In normal operation, data transfer should be coherent without interruption or loss. When real-time synchronization is unattainable, the system should ensure data synchronization within an acceptable range of user response time.

Fault Tolerance

In scenarios where the device goes offline, user prompts must be given to inform the device status and allow users to detect it. Additionally, data added before the device went offline should continue to be transmitted and utilized once back online, ensuring a user-friendly experience.

Usability Testing

Ensuring hardware usability is paramount, particularly in the pre-mass production phase. Here are some key considerations:

  • Functional Testing: conduct a meticulous functional test, especially the WiFi and Bluetooth modules in the device, to verify whether its functions are working properly.
  • Batch Testing: using a sufficient number of devices for testing facilitate the ability to better discover potential hardware defects thoroughly.
  • Data Synchronization Testing: parallel testing across multiple devices is imperative to validate the accuracy of data synchronization between different devices.
  • Fault Detection and Warning Mechanism: in the event of device malfunctions, timely alerts should be issued.

Hardware Performance

Hardware performance is a critical focus in scenarios like smart home, when user frequently engage with hardware and require long-term stability. Given the indispensable role of network connectivity in enabling smart functions, hardware testing engineers are advised to assess hardware performance under challenging network conditions, including situations with weak or unstable signals. Key considerations include:

  • Response Time: test the time of smart hardware responsive to instructions. Achieving a low response time ensures users get immediate feedback and excellent operational experience.
  • Boundary Testing: evaluate hardware performance under various boundary pressure situations (network and storage constraints, etc.). Assesses whether the hardware can function effectively under extreme or adverse conditions.
  • Stress Test: simulate long-term use and repeated operations to stress-test the hardware. This is particularly crucial for smart home hardware, as users frequently utilize these devices over an extended period without frequent replacements.

Upgrade Testing

Smart hardware operates within a complex ecosystem of multiple protocols, operating systems, firmware variations, and intricate networks. When undergoing upgrades, these combinations demand thorough testing to guarantee seamless operation and an enhanced user experience.

  • Coverage Testing: ensure the execution of upgrade tests across different hardware versions, spanning the transition from older versions to newer releases. Verify compatibility and stability throughout the upgrade process, in order to assure normal functionality post-upgrade.
  • Cross-Version Testing: conduct testing that spans multiple releases, such as directly upgrading from an old version to the latest version. This testing validates the compatibility and stability of the hardware across different software iterations.

Power Consumption Testing

As user preferences shift towards devices that do not necessitate real-time charging, evaluating the power consumption of these devices becomes increasingly crucial. Thorough power consumption testing ensures that the device aligns with user expectations and delivers an optimal experience.

Circuit Testing

All functionalities of smart hardware lies in the circuits. A flawless smart hardware circuit foundation is imperative to unleash perfect functionalities and achieve performance that surpasses industry standards. Testing the circuits (circuit power, signal integrity, RF compliance, etc.) stands as the cornerstone of the entire testing process.

Integrated Application Testing

Sensors, IoT connectivity M2M modules, and a range of components within the smart hardware are connected to the software networks, where the transmission of protocols or instruction happens. Therefore, the software testing is relatively cumbersome. Beyond conventional software testing methods like functional testing, UI testing, usability testing, and performance testing, the following aspects demand focused attention in smart hardware testing:

  • Business/Functional Testing: ensure the software meet business requirements and have the diversity of functionalities.
  • Interface Testing: Verify that interface returns are displayed correctly and assess the system’s fault tolerance.
  • Security/Privacy Testing: address concerns related to network security, data encryption, permission protection, and privacy safeguards.
  • Compatibility/User Experience Testing: evaluate compatibility across different systems and assess the user experience. We need to check whether it is ease of use.
  • Network Testing: validate the software’s ability to meet users’ needs under diverse network conditions, ensuring consistent performance.
  • Performance Testing: thoroughly assess CPU, memory, power consumption, startup time, FPS, and other performance metrics to optimize overall functionality.

For Interaction between Smart Hardware and Integrated Applications

Device Linkage and Multi-Scenario Interaction Testing

Evaluating the device linkage and multi-scenario interaction and performance of both the application and smart hardware in diverse and complex situations is critical for enhancing user experience and functional reliability. The following are some key test solutions to ensures a thorough assessment.

  • Communication Testing in Different Networks: Test the communication between the app and smart hardware under different network environments such as office networks and home networks. Verify that the devices and app can establish a stable and reliable connection and can transmit data and commands properly across different networks.
  • Server Error Handling Testing: Simulate server errors and observe the response of the devices and app. Test if the devices can handle server errors properly, such as using local data caching or providing appropriate error prompts. Additionally, verify if the app can handle server errors appropriately by providing clear error messages and user-friendly error handling options.
  • Multi-User and Multi-Device Bindings Testing: Test the data transmission and command execution when multiple users are bound to one device or when one user is bound to multiple devices. Ensure that the app can correctly identify and differentiate between different users and devices, and guarantee accurate and error-free data and command transmission.
  • Device and App Network Interplay Testing: Test scenarios where the device is connected to the network while the app is offline, or the device is offline while the app is connected. Evaluate if the app provides user-friendly and easily understandable prompts regarding the network state changes. Verify if the app promptly reflects network status changes and offers appropriate user feedback and options.
  • Device Status Display Testing: Simulate various device statuses such as busy, sleep mode, network connection errors, network switches, weak network signals, etc. Test if the app accurately displays the current status of the device. Ensure that the app correctly represents the device’s different states and provides relevant user feedback and operational options.
  • App Control and Device State Testing: Test the app’s behavior during different operations, such as killing the process, running in the background, clearing data, switching networks (for devices requiring the same local network). Verify if the app can restore the connection with the device correctly after these operations and ensure that the device responds appropriately to app commands.

Interface Testing

Interface testing plays a pivotal role in guaranteeing effective communication between the application (app), server, and ensuring the proper functionality of smart hardware products. Smart hardware typically manage requests from two ends: one interfaces with the app, and the other establishes a TCP/UDP long connection with the server, regularly sending heartbeat packets and other communication content.

Different smart hardware devices utilize diverse interaction methods. For instance, express cabinets rely on push notifications for communication, while smart chargers utilize socket protocols. To ensure timely and accurate communication, hardware testing engineers need to simultaneously verify interfaces on both ends.

Validating the accuracy and consistency of data through interface testing is essential. This not only ensures a stable and reliable user experience but also safeguards system security and optimizes performance. Here are some key suggestions for effective interface testing:

  • Verify Communication Protocols: Ensure that the TCP/UDP long connection protocol established between the hardware and the server is functioning correctly. This includes validating the sending and receiving mechanisms of heartbeat packets and the accurate transmission of other communication packets.
  • Test Server Interfaces: Test the server interfaces, including the correctness and timeliness of requests and responses. Verify that the server can handle requests from the hardware and app correctly and provide accurate responses.
  • Test App Interfaces: Test the app interfaces, including the correctness and timeliness of requests and responses. Ensure that the app can send requests to the server correctly and handle the server’s responses appropriately.
  • Validate Data Consistency: Verify the consistency of data transmitted between the hardware, server, and app. Ensure that data is correctly transmitted between endpoints and that corresponding data changes are accurately synchronized.

Security Testing

The app connects to smart hardware through a router, and currently, the authorization process is relatively simple. This poses a potential security risk as attackers could potentially compromise the network, gain access to the hardware’s entry point, and obtain the instructions sent to the smart devices, thereby gaining control over their behavior. To address this situation, it is important to take the following measures in the security testing:

  • Encryption and Protection of Data Transmission: Ensure secure communication protocols and encryption mechanisms are used during the data transmission between the application and smart hardware. A common practice is to employ SSL/TLS protocols to encrypt data transmission, preventing eavesdropping or tampering. Additionally, it is important to check for any vulnerabilities in the communication between the application and hardware, such as weak encryption or plaintext transmission.
  • Device Identity Authentication: Device identity authentication is crucial before establishing a connection between the application and smart hardware. It ensures that only authenticated and legitimate devices can communicate with the application. Common methods of device identity authentication include the use of unique device identifiers, access tokens, or certificates to verify the device’s identity.
  • Authorization Mechanism: Ensure that the application has a robust authorization mechanism to restrict specific operations or access to sensitive data only to authorized users or devices. This can be accomplished through mechanisms such as Access Control Lists (ACL), Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), or Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC). It is also important to check for security vulnerabilities such as authorization bypass or unauthorized access.

Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing is a crucial testing phase that ensures smart hardware can communicate and interact seamlessly across different devices, operating systems, and versions. Considering the diversity of devices, iterative updates, and the presence of various phones and operating systems in the market, hardware testing engineers need to ensure that the smart hardware can be used by users from different households.

Upgrade Testing

When either the smart hardware or the application undergoes an upgrade, it is crucial to ensure compatibility between different versions of both components.


To summarize, testing smart hardware products differs from traditional device testing, as it requires a focus on both the hardware and software aspects. The two components complement each other, and testing involves various combinations and permutations, including network interactions, which present new testing directions.

Reliability and Stability Testing

Reliability and stability are critical aspects of product testing, ensuring that the device performs consistently and reliably under various operating conditions. Here are some key considerations for conducting reliability and stability testing:

Reliability Testing

Reliability testing focuses on assessing the device’s ability to function consistently and accurately over a specified period of time. It involves subjecting the device to different environmental conditions, such as high temperature and humidity, to evaluate its performance and endurance.

Hardware testing engineers should consider industry standards and guidelines relevant to the device’s usage environment. For example, temperature and humidity devices may require testing under high-temperature and high-humidity conditions to ensure their suitability. For door magnetic devices, there are specific requirements related to operating environments with vibrations and impacts.

Stability Testing

Stability testing aims to evaluate the device’s ability to maintain stable performance over an extended period. It involves simulating specific long-term operating conditions that mimic real-world usage scenarios. Hardware testing engineers should define the desired operational environment and assess the device’s performance and behavior over an extended duration. Additionally, stability testing may include assessing the device’s battery life and power consumption under various operating conditions to ensure it meets the expected lifespan and power efficiency requirements.

How to Address Bugs Presented in the Hardware Testing Process?

During the testing process, it is important for hardware testing engineers to record and track the bugs they discover. This not only helps in resolving the problems but also serves as a crucial metric for evaluating the quality and output of the testing and development work. Nowadays, there are many mature issue tracking software or management systems available. Each issue follows its own lifecycle, and below is a brief description of the various stages:

Create an Issue Ticket

  • Specify the hardware platform or system where the issue occurred and identify the specific module or component affected by the problem. This helps in categorizing and assigning the issue correctly.
  • Document the actions or operations performed that led to the issue. Include detailed steps, input data, and any specific conditions or settings required to reliably reproduce the problem. This helps in understanding the root cause and eventually fixing the issue.
  • Evaluate the severity level of the issue based on its impact and urgency. Assign appropriate severity levels such as critical, major, minor, or trivial. Critical issues may like system crashes. These high-priority issues should be addressed promptly.
  • Ensure that relevant stakeholders are notified about the issue by sending notification emails or using a notification system integrated with the issue tracking software. This helps keep everyone informed and involved in the resolution process.
  • Record any available relevant information related to the issue, such as error messages, log files, screenshots, or any other supporting documentation. Gathering as much relevant information as possible helps in analyzing and resolving the issue more effectively.

By capturing these details during issue ticket creation, hardware testing engineers can provide a comprehensive and structured view of the problem, facilitating efficient troubleshooting and resolution.

Address the Issue Ticket

After receiving an issue ticket, the following steps are involved in handling the ticket:

  • Once the development team acknowledges the receipt of the issue ticket, the hardware testing engineers should work closely with the testing team to reproduce the issue.
  • Once the issue is reproduced, the development team will assess its impact and severity. They evaluate the potential solutions and consider the implications on the existing stable architecture. Careful evaluation is necessary, as some fixes may have a significant impact on the stability of the system.
  • If feasible, the development team proceeds with resolving the issue. They make the necessary changes to the software or system to fix the problem while considering the potential impact on the overall stability. For issues that cannot be directly addressed or require further investigation, the development team documents the problem and makes recommendations for future design and manufacturing considerations. This helps in providing insights for future improvements and avoiding similar issues.

By following these steps, the testing and development teams can effectively handle issue tickets, prioritize fixes, and ensure the overall quality of the software or system.

Closing the Issue Ticket

After a bug is fixed, the following steps are still involved in closing an issue ticket:

  • The testing team needs to retest the issue by following the original reproduction steps. If the problem is no longer observed and the fix is confirmed, the issue can be considered resolved.
  • If the testing team finds that the problem still persists despite being marked as “resolved” by the development team, it indicates a lapse in the developer’s responsibility. In such cases, the bug should be reopened, and a record should be made to highlight the ongoing issue.
  • It’s important to note that even after an issue has been verified, it can reappear due to various reasons. To mitigate this risk, it is advisable to have automated scripts or tests in place to provide ongoing coverage and detect potential regressions.

By following these steps, the testing team can ensure that fixed issues are properly validated, any recurring problems are addressed, and the overall quality of the software or system is maintained.

Final Words

For companies developing smart hardware, there is little room for error due to the potential financial and reputational impact of product failures. You may have heard a lot of news and stories on on-market products being recalled. Hardware testing plays a crucial role in mitigating these risks and ensuring the smooth launch of products.

A smart hardware test plan is a strategic document that outlines the scope, methods, resources, and progress of testing activities to be conducted. It encompasses both hardware assembly testing and confirmation testing across the entire information system. The test plan identifies the specific items to be tested, the features to be evaluated, the tasks involved, the responsible individuals or teams, and potential risks that need to be addressed.

By having a well-defined test plan in place, companies can effectively identify and prevent risks associated with product development. It helps ensure that all necessary testing activities are carried out, enabling the identification and resolution of potential issues before the product is launched. This proactive approach minimizes the likelihood of product failures, reduces the need for costly recalls, protects the company’s reputation, and saves significant financial resources.

Note: This article has been written with the assistance of AI tools, particularly in terms of copy optimization. However, the content of the article has been verified and validated by the author to ensure its accuracy and reliability.

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