Are you ready to deliver the 5G-era customer experience?
Every day, we connect multiple devices to fixed and mobile networks to communicate broadly (e.g., voice calls, video chats, texts), consume media, and perform digital tasks through apps.
But are subscribers happy with the quality of service (QoS) they receive? Does their personal experience (QoE) match their expectations regarding network quality for both fixed and mobile services, considering factors like available bandwidth, capacity, coverage, and server caching?
Enhancing the subscriber experience is imperative as we embrace the technological shift to 5G standalone (SA) and F5G networks, which must uphold top-tier quality standards.
QoS or/and QoE: What should you measure?
Understanding the QoS and QoE new deployments deliver is critical because there are factors within (or beyond) the control of communications service providers (CSPs) as they strive to deliver the best experience for end users.
Nowadays, we know more about how to measure QoS, but we’re uncertain when we try to quantify QoE. We tend to create models based on the signaling from the device up to the Internet to determine the user’s overall happiness or frustration with the network service experience. These models use OSS counters, KPIs, probe data, and drive testing to draw inferences about how satisfied a user is with a service. QoS is useful for measuring technical performance, but it tells only part of the network performance story. Such methods fall into the Objective Customer Experience since they do not capture human opinion and sentiments about the service.
Should we survey users directly for feedback on their experience while or immediately after using a service? This method would better capture users’ thoughts and emotions, allowing for a more precise assessment of Subjective Customer Experience (QoE). But, in general, it’s not possible to measure the impact of the signaling generated from networks on the consciousness of individuals after a data or voice call.
With QoE, the end user’s overall happiness or frustration with the network service experience is the litmus test for successful network performance. QoE looks at the impact of the network behavior on the end user, a fuzzier domain where certain network imperfections go unnoticed, but others may render an application essentially useless. For example, a 5% packet loss might have a negligible impact on a cloud-based CRM system, while 0.5% packet loss can result in a data throughput reduction of >30%. A 100-millisecond delay could destroy the utility of a connected device operating in the field, such as a car sensor and 500 micro-seconds is the maximum delay for ultra-low latency services on 5G.
Figure 1: Convergence of subjective and objective experiences contributes to shaping the overall customer experience
Tackling the challenges with end-to-end optimization
Mapping Subjective Customer Experience insights with Objective Customer Experience insights sets the stage for end-to-end optimization. The motivation is that CSPs must be able to predict network performance and its impact on customer experience and implement zero-touch operations to continuously deliver the best service quality for customers.
End-to-end optimization involves combining subscriber-generated data from the user session; domain data from radio, transport, backhaul, CDN, and core network; device type; and the Subjective Customer Experience.
However, we must tackle the challenge of identifying objective quality issues in encrypted content sent through common protocols. To tackle this, one must apply inference models on the packet data coming from N3 or S1-U interfaces. Such models can track the protocol handshake per subscriber, monitor the DNS responses, the content view delays, jitter, RTT change of resolutions on video, and buffering evaluation on multiple protocols including TCP, SSL, and QUIC. Furthermore, we can make use of correlation keys to combine call data records (CDR) data with the L3/L2 call trace data per user and control plane data.
We come to terms with the fact that the use of OSS counters, drive tests, and DPI data is no longer sufficient to ensure the best subscriber or application experience.
The best of both worlds
QoS is the gold standard for network performance management, but it must be combined with QoE – and for good reason. The combination of QoS and QoE takes a more holistic look at network performance and the end user, focusing on real-world network outcomes. Bringing QoS and QoE together is truly the best of both worlds.
5G and F5G technologies support increasingly immersive customer experiences that excite and delight customers. By enhancing current methods, platforms, and services, we can optimize customer experience, leading to increased monetization potential.
With comprehensive data sets and advancements in automation and AI, we can now deliver superior customer experiences. Now, we can isolate bad sessions and sentiments, proceed with automatic root cause analysis, and trigger the prescriptive actions while having a real-time geographical view of user location, failures, and applications.
Nokia’s multi-vendor managed services are uniquely designed to analyze and boost the 5G-era customer experience. Get in touch with our experts to understand how.