Network operators are fighting hard to differentiate their service offerings. In most industries consumers can choose what quality they want for particular products and services based on a variety of ratings. But this is not the case for mobile and fixed broadband operations. Traditionally, operators have focused only on network volumes and speeds to try and entice customer to join them. Customers are now asking “Who has the best network” and “Who delivers the best subscriber experience”. As higher bandwidth and volume service plans are being offered to consumers, network operators are struggling to cope with the flood of video traffic and the high expectations for network performance for social networking, gaming, and VoIP. Over-the-Top video providers like YouTube and Netflix have begun to rate operators with their own Speed and Performance indexes, and consumers are using services like Speedtest to make snap judgments on the performance of an operator’s network. Unfortunately for operators, speed is not a good indicator of network performance and operators are stuck without ideas on how to improve their rankings.
Procera’s Network Scoring Solution provides a ScoreCard view that gives operators an understanding of what quality their network is capable of delivering. Networks are rated from A to F in categories that subscribers care about: Web Surfing, Streaming Video, Social Media, Real-time Gaming, Upload, Download and Voice Applications. Executive Management can use the scores to prioritize and make decisions on CAPEX and OPEX investments. Engineers can drill down deeper and analyze the actions to take at different parts of the network. Marketing can use scores to differentiate with services where the operator is particularly strong.
All traffic is measured for every subscriber, all the time. Using sub-second measurement intervals guarantees that we see the quality even for very short sessions, such as a webpage download. A score is given to each category, based on the throughput, latency and packet loss measured. Procera has developed a scoring matrix that provides a score for each category based on current application needs, and the scoring matrix will be updated yearly. The data can be captured anywhere in the network, minimizing the number of measurement locations needed for a network-wide deployment.
When combined with a selected Perspectives, the scores can be filtered by device type, location (such as Cell ID or DSLAM), and subscriber-tier. The visualization in Insights includes a breakdown of where and/or what is causing a low score, and where investments should be made to improve the overall network or application score using Procera’s playbook. The Scores are saved per Perspective based on the peak hour, enabling historic visibility of how the quality capability evolves over time during peak usage.
- PRE Platform
- Traffic Perspective
- Subscriber Perspective
- Score Perspective
- Topology Perspective
- RAN Perspective
- Device Perspective
- Engineering Insights
- Executive Insights
The Network Scoring Solution is composed of several mandatory and optional components that add value to the overall solution.
The PRE acts as the collection engine on the networks for gathering the subscriber experience scoring data. For the network experience scoring solution, the PRE can be deployed in either a passive or active mode to colelct the scoring metrics. The PRE can also be deployed as eithe virtual or a packaged appliance from Procera. The PRE will inspect all subscriber traffic on the network and stream it to the Insights database for visualization.
Traffic Perspective is based on Procera’s industry-leading Datastream Recognition Definition Language (DRDL) DPI engine, and provides visibility into the applications running on the operator’s network. Over 2,500 unique applications are included like Messaging, VoIP, Video Streaming, Audio Streaming, File Sharing, Gaming, and many other categories of applications. Traffic Perspective guides the operator on the application types that they should focus on improving their Score for based on subscriber usage patterns.
Subscriber Perspective is the integration point with the BSS/OSS to glean subscriber-specific information to associate with each flow on the network. With Subscriber Perspective, each subscriber is associated with their IP address, service plan, location, device, and other information available in the operator’s OSS and BSS. This data is crucial to Scoring, since the subscriber is the fundamental measurement basis for the solution. The Score Perspective measures active subscriber traffic to create the subscriber’s score.
Procera’s unique Perspectivesbased intelligence provides additional filtering metrics for the Network Experience Scoring solution. Each Perspective adds another view to look at the experience delivered to subscribers. Device and Location Perspectives are especially important to come up with an actionable ScoreCard for the operators network.
Score Perspective measures each subscriber’s throughput, latency, and packet loss at sub-second intervals to gauge the ability of the network to deliver a high quality experience to the subscriber. The scoring reflects the performance during peak usage applied to the expectations for each application class - Web Surfing, Streaming Video, Social Media,Real-time Gaming, Upload, Download and Voice Applications. The measurements include location, device, and service plan to provide context for each subscriber’s traffic if available from other deployed Perspectives.
Topology Perspective integrates the subscribers location with their traffic. For mobile subscribers, this can include the cell, SGSN, GGSN, Gateway, and APN, as well as any other logical geographic grouping. In Fixed networks this can include the CMTS port and/or channel, DSLAM and/or BRAS Port. In WiFi networks it can include the Access Point name and location. Location is extremely important for capacity planning and QoE monitoring. This data enables the ScoreCard to detail the experience per network location, and can help maximize the ROI for CAPEX spent to improve the network score.
RAN Perspective adds the exact cell location in real-time for a mobile subscriber as well as the RAN Signal Strength and Quality for the subscriber’s device. The real-time location information is sent to the Subscriber Perspective where it is provisioned in the PRE to capture the subscriber’s location for the collection of Score data. This information is extremely powerful for ensuring the quality of the RAN for a mobile operator, and identifying which cell sites are contributing to a low score for the network.
Device Perspective is a mobile-centric perspective that adds device-specific information for each subscriber. In addition to the device manufacturer and type, the database includes screen size, resolution, access type, and many other metrics that can identify if a subscriber is receiving the level of service that matches the expectation for the device that they have purchased and is part of their service plan. Device Perspectives can help identify if a specific device type is causing a low network score.
Engineering Insights (EI) is one of Procera’s role-based visualization and decisioning platforms. Designed specifically with Engineering and Network Operations as the target audience, Engineering Insights visualizes the subscriber experience intelligence collected by the PRE. Each Perspective is represented as a different view of network activity, so each additional Perspective purchased adds to the overall value of the data. Engineering Insights contains the drill down capability to help Engineering isolate the root cause of a bad score.
Executive Insights visualizes the overall ScoreCard for the network, traffic, devices, and subscribers. It is tailored to meet the needs of an operator’s executive management by simplifying the network status into an easy to understand ScoreCard. Executives will be able to gauge the status and performance of their network at a single glance, and explore what areas of their network need investment in order to improve the overall experience for their subscribers.
PROCERA’S UNIQUE SOLUTION VALUE
SCORING NETWORK CAPABILITIES
Procera’s ScoreCard is the operator’s answer to Over-The-Top broadband service ratings, enabling prioritization of investments to get maximum subscriber experience ROI. It rates the experience that the network is capable to deliver, segmented per service type as perceived by the subscribers: Web, Social, Video, Gaming, VoIP, etc… ScoreCard is quick to implement, monitors all data traffic and provides actionable matrix with break down to root cause.
ACTIONABLE BREAKDOWN BY PERSPECTIVE
Procera’s Perspectives combine to deliver more intelligence on the subscriber experience than any other solution. Easy to use GUIs enable exploring through the data to identify performance degradations within certain location, cell ID device group or subscriber tier. Procera’s playbook will associate identified root causes with the actions that can be taken to improve the network scores.
ScoreCard provides operators with clear indications of their network’s strengths, and can be used to launch marketing programs targeting specific application audiences. Customers focused on video streaming can be offered a service plan that scores an “A” based on the score for that subscriber’s service plan group.
HIGH PERFORMANCE VIRTUALIZATION
The PRE platform is available in either Procera hardware or running in a virtualized environment as a virtual probe. The PRE has demonstrated up to 155Gbps on a standard COTS server, with no tradeoff in features or scalability between COTS and packaged hardware. For a Network Experience Scoring solution, many operators can deploy a small number of virtual systems to cover their entire network, minimizing cost while maximizing the value of measuring all subscribers on the network to gauge the full subscriber experience.
The perception of quality for mobile or fixed broadband is changing among consumers. ScoreCard clarifies network quality in an easy to install product available on a physical or virtualized Procera solution. ScoreCard will help operators to present their networks capabilities to subscribers in a way they understand, while at the same time providing actionable data to fix issues found or invest in the best areas to improve the subscriber experience.