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Dec 11 2017

Monitoring QoE: Wi-Fi offload and beyond to 5G

When I arrived home last night, I was in the middle of a conference call that I had taken in the car. Not too long ago, I would have been forced to finish the call while sitting in the driveway. That’s because the cell signal in my area is too weak to give reliable service in the house.

Fortunately, my local service provider has implemented Voice over Wi-Fi offloading, so last night’s conference call seamlessly transitioned to my home’s Wi-Fi network before I even got in the front door. Last night, though, the call didn’t go so smoothly on the Wi-Fi network; maybe my son was downloading something big (I don’t want to know). Fortunately, I didn’t lose the connection, but the experience wasn’t what it had been in the car.

Being in the telecom business, my colleagues on the phone understood that Wi-Fi can be like that, so it wasn’t a problem. But not every customer will be so understanding. Which raises the question, does my service provider monitor the quality of my call when it offloads from the LTE network onto Wi-Fi and back to LTE? Do their analytics give them a MOS score (measure of voice quality from 1–4) for the Wi-Fi portion of the call?

The short answer is that, in all probability, they don’t. So, they won’t know anything about my sub-par experience, or the Wi-Fi experiences of any of their subscribers — that is until their call center lines light up, which is less than ideal. And unnecessary, as it can be easily avoided.

The Nokia Cognitive Analytics for Mobile Networks solution is unique in its ability to monitor voice quality for the duration of the call, even across Wi-Fi. It monitors every voice packet in the network and timestamps them. By using these timestamps, the analytics solution is able to measure delivery times, not only across cells, but even the handovers to Wi-Fi and back to LTE. This gives the service provider MOS scores not only on the LTE portion, but on the Wi-Fi portion and even the amount of silence measured during the inter-technology handover.

As we evolve to 5G, we will gain the ability to diversify our access connectivity even further. The access network will act more like a mesh with a service, such as a voice call, potentially running across multiple access technologies at the same time. Thus the Nokia approach to analytics will be critical for understanding the customer experience. The problem may only be Wi-Fi offload today, which for some service providers might not be a priority, but with 5G it will be the case for all services. The good news is that Nokia analytics is ready today, for Wi-Fi offload and beyond.

Have a look at our Cognitive Analytics for Mobile Networks infographic for more details.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #wifi #analytics #CEM