Success of End-to-End Mobile Experience Management Depends on Accurate Service Performance Metrics
By Ari Banerjee
Heavy Reading research has shown that the ability to define service performance metrics tends to be a key challenge for mobile operators and it is therefore imperative that end-to-end mobile experience management solutions help guide operators to handle this task effectively. Today, most operators do not have well-defined metrics for monitoring data performance on a wireless network. Mobile operators are still struggling with exactly how to move from monitoring voice-specific parameters (e.g., the number of dropped calls, voice mail response time, ineffective attempts) to data-specific parameters (e.g., throughput, packet loss, latency). Mobile operators’ performance management systems typically monitor packets discarded, errors, throughput, and trunk/port utilization in order to determine performance. However, most operators lack a good understanding of how to merge these metrics with Radio Frequency (RF) metrics to illustrate wireless data performance accurately. Only if mobile operators manage to do this can a more concrete set of performance parameters be defined for collection and correlation.
Today, most operators are working on understanding the QoS for specific services, such as MMS, SMS, voice mail, and Internet access. Once an operator can understand service-level QoS, the next step in this process is tying advanced service performance characteristics to SLAs and enforcement. Most operators provide this today, by either using simulations of network traffic rather than actual network traffic (and performance) to address this issue or by selecting a single session at random. However, since there are many transient and short-lived problems that can cause certain sessions to behave properly and others to degrade, these methods are flawed. End-to-end mobile experience management solutions must be capable of monitoring and analyzing each and every session that traverses the network. Only then can complete reliability and quality be guaranteed.
End-to-end mobile experience management solutions need to be able to provide a data management layer that works with operational investments to provide aggregation and filtering of raw customer and network data. Through experience models that correlate customer and network data by customer-centric dimensions such as customer, service, cell, node, device, group and address, operators can use the data collection layer and modeling layer to create new customer-centric KPIs.
In Heavy Reading’s opinion, an end-to-end mobile experience management solution should be able to monitor service performance based on the customer’s view, not the network manager’s view. Based on defined key performance indicators (KPIs), key quality indicators (KQIs) and service-level agreements (SLAs) and other service performance metrics, these solutions help mobile service providers connect network and service performance with the end-user experience. This helps augment customer satisfaction, enables subscriber ARPU growth and positively impacts a mobile operator’s profitability. Typically, to create service performance metrics, network-facing, low-level KPIs are combined to develop KQIs that closely mirror the service-level contracts. This helps monitor customer-specific service behavior. Collecting network performance data and using analytical tools to understand subscriber behavior, usage characteristics and application performance will help optimize a subscriber’s service experience by comparing captured parameters with defined service performance metrics. This helps monitor customer-specific service behavior. End-to-end mobile experience management solutions should enable users to create user-defined KQIs easily and also allow easy correlation across subscriber services, service resources and supporting network configuration, according to the carrier’s needs. End-to-end mobile experience management solutions should help service providers view services in the context of the end-to-end infrastructure over which those services are provided. Last, these solutions must be capable of applying QoE/QoS performance or defined service performance metrics within the model to automatically correlate user experience, business metrics, etc., with the underlying end-to-end wireless infrastructure.
Ari Banerjee is a senior analyst at Heavy Reading, where he focuses on service provider IT, including all aspects of telecom software research. Banerjee examines the breadth of software used by communications service providers in customer, business, service, and infrastructure management. His area of focus includes all aspects of BSS, OSS, SDP, digital commerce, revenue assurance, service assurance, and elements that span both the infrastructure and network software markets, such as data warehousing, analytics, and business intelligence.
This is the second of a three-part guest blog on Key Service Provider Insights for Ensuring Mobile Quality of Experience, a feature of the End-to-End Mobile Service Assurance Expert Blog Series. Subscribe to Proactive Network News in order to be notified when the series conclusion is available.