Servicing the Connected Home Requires a Service Everywhere Strategy

Remember the last mile—that stretch of service the telecommunications, cable and Internet providers talked about providing to all their customers? That’s in the past with dial-up and Atari. Now, providers are moving beyond that, and looking to provide connectivity within their customers’ four walls. These inside networks, often Wi-Fi, are used to carry the data, voice and video among PCs, laptops, mobile devices, gaming consoles, smart systems and next-generation TVs. Businesses too are demanding transparent yet heavy-duty and reliable networking to support cloud services, mobile workers branch offices, Big Data and bandwidth-hungry VoIP and video apps. There’s plenty of opportunity for service providers in these connected homes and businesses, but they’ll need to leave their service-to-the-door approach at the door (as it were) so they can deliver service everywhere.

Simple connectivity—as in, your service is up—won’t be enough. Performance needs to be measured. Problems need to be resolved before they become issues. Trouble spots need to be fixed. If a retailer’s kiosks stop working or customers can’t access an online catalog, where’s the failure? If a family can’t gather around the Wii for a game night, who do they contact?

Measuring, monitoring and fixing issues require an integrated service assurance approach. That’s where having the right methods and tools for use throughout the lifecycle of a network comes in, so providers can ensure performance from the moment the network goes live through daily use, and so they can efficiently troubleshoot when issues arise. With advanced test points that provide dynamic monitoring—and not just inert probes that collect data on the network as it passes—along with automated, real-time capabilities for full control of service quality management, providers can be proactive and predictive, and ultimately deliver a better customer experience.

Consider turn-up tests, which validate performance before a service is delivered to a customer by stressing the network elements beyond capacity with active traffic. If the service performs as expected, the test’s traffic emulator generates even more traffic and the analysis continues until the upper limit of network performance is reached. Traditional turn-up tests have relied heavily on throughput and loss metrics as performance indicators, but this is no longer enough for the services, such as VoIP and video, being used in the connected home or IT-driven business. Instead, advanced test standards are needed to evaluate one-way and round trip latency, jitter, and loss, along with burst performance, across multiple classes of service.

There are other must-have tests and tools to help providers move beyond service-to-the-door. Passive and active monitoring tools lets them watch and test the network services continuously, to see what the user is experiencing and verify network response and performance through emulation. A centralized analytics engine can layer in even more insight. Remote troubleshooting—done via virtual probes that can be activated remotely, without any manual intervention—is another critical piece. The probes are lightweight and inexpensive, yet provide a wealth of information.

All these tools and tests are part of Spirent’s end-to-end framework, Service Assurance, which is designed to ensure service delivery from its origin at the data center throughout the backbone network and to the on premise network. Each of the tools are critical components of a service everywhere strategy, which service providers will need to succeed in today’s highly competitive market.

To better understand how to gain insights on how to deliver outstanding customer experience while maintaining Service Everywhere, download this white paper.

Are service providers ready to deliver a next-gen experience to their end customers? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

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