How Service Providers Can Build and Scale Quality of Experience

Network architectures and subscriber demands, both to-the-home and in-the-home, continue to evolve. And rapidly. To meet the quality-of-service (QoS) and quality-of-experience (QoE) levels customers expect, ISPs must squeeze as much performance as they can out of their existing infrastructures by replacing hardware when needed and building for the future, versus rebuilding their entire networks.

Meeting modern standards and customer demand requires proactive maintenance and troubleshooting while ensuring network uptime and efficiency. That’s a lot to do at one time, and that’s why global service providers are turning to ASSIA Commande™ to deliver support and service at scale.

ASSIA Commande diagnoses, optimizes, and helps to heal the root causes of customer complaints and network issues. As internet traffic patterns and subscriber needs are quite different from what they were a year ago, Commande’s role in overseeing how the systems, devices, and links that deliver home internet and Wi-Fi services work together is critical.

Subscriber service issues, what causes them, and how to fix them

Subscribers need more from their home Wi-Fi networks, more than they’ve ever needed before. Imagine a family of four: two high-school kids on Zoom classes, a startup CEO leading a team of 50, and a therapist that uses a proprietary platform to counsel clients. Every family member downloads and uploads web traffic (for work or fun) all day and possibly until late at night. When there’s an internet hiccup, their immediate response is to troubleshoot the issue themselves, and if that doesn’t work, they call the service provider for help.

There’s a lot that can go wrong. Is an outage or a “pause” the result of what’s happening in the home, such as competing devices? Or maybe it’s an out-of-house issue, or some line is down in the neighborhood? Or perhaps it’s a middleware failure? It’s hard to diagnose the problem unless you can see into the network. ASSIA CloudCheck gives operators full network path visibility and diagnostics, from the exchange to Wi-Fi connected devices inside the home. Rather than deploy a technician, issues can be diagnosed and fixed remotely. What’s more, CloudCheck allows operations to detect and locate breakdowns before customers complain.

A research study conducted earlier this year with one of our customers showed that CloudCheck reduced call volume by 50,000 and customer churn by about 2% in 30 days. Further, an end-user application keeps subscribers up-to-date on progress with real-time information about what’s going on with their Wi-Fi and assistance with self-installation and troubleshooting, as needed.

Software-defined service for multi-platform networks

Many operators, DSL providers, and even cable companies have large-scale upgrades in the works: moving to fiber or upgrading existing copper and coaxial networks to make them reliable. Further, service providers are looking to gain flexibility and find the most suitable fiber and copper combination to deliver the best service.

But this flexibility leads to complexity in the network and introduces new challenges for optimizing service delivery—ultimately impacting subscribers’ QoS and QoE. ASSIA GPON & DSL Expresse offer a unified software-defined solution, applicable to any network deployment model, to address the complexities of deploying and operating a multi-platform FTTx network.

GPON Expresse abstracts the underlying technology and hardware so that providers have a unified view of broadband delivery. As such, operators are better able to monitor performance, optimize the networks, and detect the location of faults when (or before) they occur—from fiber damage to congestion. Utilizing machine-learning algorithms, network optimization gets more precise and smarter over time.

ASSIA Commande: The power to oversee it all—end-to-end

Think of ASSIA Commande as a cloud-based, intelligent overseer with end-to-end visibility, from network operations to the home, bringing all the components of the diverse world of Wi-Fi management together.

Commande helps service providers improve their wireless and wireline access networks’ broadband-to-the-device QoE through artificial intelligent best-practice diagnostics, analytics, and optimization. It oversees the systems, devices, and links that deliver internet and Wi-Fi service at every point. Commande is capable of diagnosing and optimizing the network and healing network issues when they occur. Further, ASSIA has built Commande to be vendor-agnostic to support service providers’ choices and accommodate emerging Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi management standards as they evolve.

Commande Delivers Tangible Results to ASSIA Customers

We have deployed Commande to a number of large telecom providers around the world. These customers employ Commande to bridge data and analysis between broadband and Wi-Fi and to get end-to-end diagnostics, recommendations, and severity classifications.

Commande offers much higher diagnostics’ accuracy because the insights are based on both DSLAM/OLT (digital-subscriber-line-access-multiplexer) data and CPE (customer premises equipment) data. Commande also mitigates the uncertainty about where issues exist by providing accurate issue detection, problem source definitions, and recommended resolutions based on all the information we collect from so many sources.

With an integrated view of the network and diagnostics, here are some of the ways customers are using Commande today:

  • Measurement
    • Customers can better understand subscribers’ behaviors, issues, and experiences​.
    • With intensive monitoring, they gain an in-depth service understanding with a high level of precision and detail.​
    • Because we capture a large volume of network usage data to feed proprietary machine-learning models, customers get deep insights into subscriber habits, which might lead to the development of new products and services
  • Control
    • We diagnose any network impairment, at any point from the central office to Wi-Fi devices​.
    • Customer care and marketing teams get full visibility on subscriber satisfaction levels and future needs.​
    • Operations and network planning teams control network resources and shape future resource requirements by observing collected data and recommendations.​
    • Field technicians have the definitive toolbox to diagnose, locate, and verify activities​.
    • Operations teams detect and locate massive breakdowns before subscribers complain.
  • Improvement
    • Automated optimization of subscriber’s wireless connectivity delivers the best QoE.
    • Detailed recommendations improve customer service by identifying needed, proactive repairs before subscribers call, which further maximizes network QoS and QoE.
  • Integration
    • We automate operating processes by integrating BSSs (business support systems) and OSSs (operation support systems) with end-to-end solution APIs​.
    • We are able to integrate customer indicators from other sources into Commande to complement QoE.​

Put it all together and Commande reduces operational costs, increases efficiencies, reduces subscriber churn rates, and maximizes customer satisfaction.

When you think about the issues operators and ISPs face when ensuring reliability and speed to home Wi-Fi users, you can see why it makes better sense to focus on improving and evolving existing performance and infrastructures, versus replacing hardware unnecessarily or overhauling entire networks.

ASSIA’s global expertise and understanding of over 100 million customer access connections—including Wi-Fi to the home—help us bring all the pieces together now and for the future.

Contact us for more information on Commande.


Survey Results: The Future Telco-Connected Home

The Future Telco-Connected Home

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Download the new survey from Omdia and Broadband Forum on the importance of greater open standards to enable service providers to protect their position in the connected home.

This report is a follow-up to a report produced in 2015 in association with the Broadband Forum entitled Efficient and Automated Smart Home Rollout. The analysis in this report is based on a quantitative service provider survey of more than 100 representatives across 19 countries, in-depth qualitative interviews with key executives from 11 service providers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and China, and existing Omdia research and data in the broadband, connected, and smart home domains.

Survey Overview

For many years broadband service providers viewed the connected home largely as a cost driver and, therefore, focused their strategies on developing cheaper hardware and driving greater operation efficiency. However, the connected home is now a far more advanced environment than it was in the early days of broadband. Over just the five years to 2020, the number of installed connected devices has doubled to 13.4 billion, and this figure will increase again by a further 70% over the next five.

It is not just the sheer number of devices that is increasing but also the applications that they are running, including ultra-HD video, cloud gaming, tele-health, and home working, all of which require a highly reliable, quality network to perform to the required standard. Managing this network is, therefore, of paramount importance, and if done well it can bring the service provider significant brand differentiation and new revenue opportunities.

Industry standards and open frameworks are vital to this success, because they remove technical barriers and better equip broadband service providers to compete with global tech and consumer electronics companies.

This report is a follow-up to a report produced in 2015 in association with the Broadband Forum entitled Efficient and Automated Smart Home Rollout. The analysis in this report is based on a quantitative service provider survey of more than 100 representatives across 19 countries, in-depth qualitative interviews with key executives from 11 service providers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and China, and existing Omdia research and data in the broadband, connected, and smart home domains.

Key findings and recommendations

Ensuring a wall-to-wall advanced Wi-Fi experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the importance of broadband and a good home Wi-Fi solution. Wi-Fi solutions, therefore, must now be optimized to provide the best-quality connection possible to all corners of the home. However, this is not just about throwing more hardware at the problem: in some cases this only makes the situation worse. Service providers must take a comprehensive view of the connected-home predicament and look to invest in both hardware and software platforms that will deliver the right solution to each individual customer.

Balance operational efficiency and new service development to optimize the customer experience. There are two sides to modern smart Wi-Fi platforms: one is around driving service and operational efficiency; the other is about developing and enabling new applications and services. However, this is not an either/or situation. All service providers, regardless of their market position, should look to do both, because it is only through driving service optimization and new service features that they can optimize the customer experience. The key question is how this should all be monetized, and service providers should develop an overall roadmap with a clear monetization strategy in mind.

VAS prioritization remains focused on safety and security. In terms of new value-added-services, the priority today remains on applications that bring added safety and security to the customer. Especially considering the pandemic, during which many more people are working and being educated from home, this prioritization makes perfect sense. However, service providers should also have a longer-term roadmap that means that their service portfolio will continue to evolve, unveiling new revenue opportunities over time.

Telcos’ attitude to smart home has changed, but for the better. Since Omdia carried out its last service provider connected-home survey in 2015, there has been a distinct shift in not only strategy toward the connected-home gateway but also smart home strategy. Five years ago, there was a greater focus on and optimism around developing service provider own-branded smart home solutions. Since then there has been a real shift toward more smart home enablement, working with third-party developers, with the connected-home gateway a key element of that strategy.

Help drive open standards to a better-connected world. Without greater standardization, service providers will continue to be restricted by industry fragmentation that will limit both their ability to gain scale and the pace of innovation and thus their ability to compete with global tech and consumer electronics companies. All service providers and equipment vendors should, therefore, invest time and money in driving new open standards that will help ensure broadband service providers maintain their place at the core of the future connected home.


Improving Customer QoE at Globe Telecom

Over the last several years we have seen increasing pressure on ISPs from regulators around the world to deliver on performance metrics for the services they deliver to their customers. Governments are pushing their ISPs to increase overall bandwidth across their countries, recognizing the crucial role access, speed, and Quality of Experience[1] play for competitive advantage in the digital age accelerated with the expansion of work from home adoption during the pandemic.

We are helping Globe, a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines, do just that on their copper broadband networks that utilize multiple DSLAM vendors and DSL technologies while they continue to expand their fiber networks. Customer experience is vital in this day & age where customers are dependent on their ISP provider to deliver a reliable and stable internet service at home.

Globe selected ASSIA DSL Expresse for managing the performance of their xDSL network nationwide to improve their existing xDSL services because of DSL Expresse’s hardware-agnostic approach, advanced diagnostics, and data-driven optimization. These allowed Globe to identify and maximize DSL lines while maintaining a good customer experience in terms of speed and stability. Its proven track record of managing over 100M DSL lines for service providers globally, was also a key consideration especially as Globe embarked in its major network transformation to bring about improvements through its 3-pronged strategy for its network upgrades and expansion, which includes aggressive cell site builds, upgrading its cell sites to 4G/LTE/5G using many different frequencies, and fast-tracking the fiberization of Filipino homes nationwide. Our partnership with Globe complements its network builds through an equally aggressive modernization of its existing network infrastructure.

The DSLE implementation will improve the stability of customer lines, increase their bandwidth, and identify unstable lines to proactively dispatch field technicians, thus improving customer quality of experience. It also prevents churn while expansion towards fiber is underway.

Globe supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 9 which highlights the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development. Globe is committed to upholding the 10 United Nations Global Compact principles and 10 UN SDGs.

[1]  Quality of Experience is defined as the overall experience resulting from improvements in bandwidth, access, speed, latency, throughput, and connectivity for broadband services to devices at home.

 


Here’s Why 2021 Will Be the Year for Wi-Fi 6

The holiday season is here. And so is something that can make home internet work better. On November 10, Apple announced that its newly released MacBooks, Mac Mini, and now the iPhone 12 would support Wi-Fi 6. Consumer Reports recently published an article explaining why it’s time to buy a Wi-Fi 6 router. Manufacturers are rushing to add Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices to everyone’s shopping lists.

As a service provider, you need to know what Wi-Fi 6 offers, anticipate likely questions from your subscribers, and understand how ASSIA can help you support your customers as this standard comes to maturity.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi standards. It was a planned effort designed to accommodate the growing number of internet-enabled devices coming on the market and appearing in places of business, in homes, and pretty much everywhere. While Wi-Fi 6 has been around for over a year, there are three solid reasons for its suddenly rapid roadmap.

  • Work-from-home and stay-at-home mandates led to unprecedented home internet usage and associated challenges.
  • The FCC recently ruled to make available new spectrum “to enable wider channels that can be immediately used by Wi-Fi 6 to support gigabit connectivity with lower latency, improved coverage, and better power efficiency.”
  • The additional 6GHz band is known as Wi-Fi 6E. Essentially it’s like the FCC turned a two-lane into a six-lane highway.

At a high level, Wi-Fi 6 solves several fundamental problems for end-users:

Speed
Wi-Fi 6 is about 6x times faster than Wi-Fi 5 though speed is largely dependent on the number of access points, devices on the network, and environment. Overall, users can get Wi-Fi speed, stability, and availability on the level of a wired connection.

Consistent access and performance
As important as speed is consistent access and optimized performance. This is where Wi-Fi 6 shines. As we bring more and more internet-enabled devices and applications into the home—from video games to online education to light switches, Wi-Fi 6 can use what bandwidth is needed, only when it’s needed. Essentially, a way better job of balancing the load.

Capacity and density
Whether your teenagers in the next room have hijacked the internet or all your neighbors and/or roommates are on video chat, Wi-Fi 6 can handle co-channel interference. It solves for dense environments with myriad devices and simultaneous connections.

Reach and coverage
Another common challenge that users experience with Wi-Fi is reach. You walk around the house, and your Wi-Fi comes and goes. In some places, it’s an internet dead zone. Wi-Fi 6 can offer consistent coverage throughout your home and a better job at prioritizing access for applications, devices, and users.

Better security
WPA3, emerged in 2018, but only now in Wi-Fi 6 is a new security protocol that makes it harder for hackers to crack a user’s password with repeated guesses. It also makes some data less useful if hackers get it.

How does Wi-Fi 6 work, technically?

Wi-Fi 6 offers several many capabilities to improve Wi-Fi network coverage and performance. Some include:

  • OFDMA (Orthogonal frequency division multiple access): Enables greater network efficiency and lower latency for uplink and downlink traffic.
  • Multi-user MIMO (Multi-user multiple input, multiple output): Allows for more downlink data to be transferred and to handle more devices concurrently.
  • TWT (Target wake time): Improves network efficiency and extends device battery life by letting devices “sleep” when they are not used.
  • BSS (Basic Service Set) Coloring addresses densely populated areas where networks are transmitting lots of data, typically in proximity which leads to overlaps between access points, interference, and latency.

These are just some of the technical details. Learn about the rest here.

Will non-Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices become obsolete?

Yes and no. Yes, Wi-Fi 6 will eventually eclipse older devices. But, no, because Wi-Fi 6 software and devices are still being rolled out. The good news about standards is that new devices will be Wi-Fi 6 enabled by default.

As The Verge advises, the one purchase you might want to add to your holiday shopping list is a Wi-Fi 6 router. Especially if you plan to invest in a Mac, Asus, Samsung, or Lenovo laptop. Here’s why:

“If your router doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, you won’t see any benefits, no matter how many Wi-Fi 6 devices you bring home. (You could actually see a benefit, though, connecting Wi-Fi 5 gadgets to a Wi-Fi 6 router, because the router may be capable of communicating with more devices at once.)”

ASSIA has been working with service providers, CPE vendors, and chipset manufacturers to enable the value that Wi-Fi 6 can bring. 2021 is the year when it will all come together—home network, new devices, and cloud management—to deliver a superior quality of experience for the end-user.


A Wireless-Wireline Physically Converged Architecture: Introducing Cellular Subscriber Lines

As customer demand for high-bandwidth services increases, providers look for ways to maximize existing infrastructure and manage costs. ASSIA is proud to be at the forefront of an innovative approach to solve this challenge: CSL (Cellular Subscriber Lines). CSL, as detailed in this paper published for IEEE, is a ground-breaking new concept for greatly extending radio coverage and data rates. CSL re-uses existing wireless-wireline architecture—copper phone, Ethernet, coaxial cable, and other wireline connections—to deploy numerous wireless small cells in an economical manner. The value of this approach is improved bandwidth at a much lower cost.

How CSL Works

CSL leverages existing cabling in a very low-cost architecture. As shown in the figure below, a single BaseBand Unit (BBU) communicates over existing cabling to many remote radio heads. The CSL-IFs down-convert the wireless baseband unit’s (BBU’s) signals to the appropriate frequencies for transmission through the wireline connection, with up-conversion at the CSL-RF. The same process also runs in reverse (with up-conversion at the CSL-RF) to provide bi-directional transmission. Complex modulation, coding, signal processing, MIMO, and other functions are performed at the BBU. The CSL-RF remote radio head (RRH) only needs to perform simple analog frequency conversion and amplification, thereby allowing a very low-cost, small and simple radio head. Further, communication over the wire is exceedingly simple, using existing cabling, with no need to run new fiber, and no costly optical to electrical (O2E) conversion.

 

Identical to 4G LTE and 5G NR, CSL modulates OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) signals, thereby providing complete interoperability with existing 4G/5G systems and handsets. The authors show that these OFDM signals are advantageously also nearly optimal for wireline transmission, when sent at the proper frequencies. For more details, refer to the IEEE paper to learn how cellular’s OFDM systems can be used to implement near-optimal DSL performance with the wireless signals.

Because radio head/base stations are simply-constructed and low-power, they cost less to deploy. When feeding many distributed small cells, these cost-savings could be significant.

Cost-Effective Wireless Deployment

With CSL, the baseband wireless link now includes the metallic baseband/IF signals, which has less attenuation than the same-length wireless link. Furthermore, several spatial streams can be multiplexed on single wire, allowing low-cost deployment of enhanced MIMO (Multi-Input, Multi-Output) systems for increased wireless performance.

Further, the electrical power that existing copper wire may deliver to the home could also energize the CSL-RF, solving the thorny problem of powering numerous small cells. Similarly, this architecture accommodates Wi-Fi systems, which is well-suited to enterprise deployments where Ethernet cable is present. The super-heterodyning concept of IF and RF can enable very low-cost proliferation and allow cloud-based control to enhance existing standardized infrastructure.

IDEAL MU-MIMO

CSL systems may well provide an excellent solution to the increasing need for more cost-effective wireless deployment so that the promise of a highly connected wireless future can advance with much less economic risk. CSL can enable the 5G vision

Massive Bandwidth Lift

As consumers demand better wireless quality in- and out-of-home, quality of service is critical but potentially costly. CSL would address this increasing demand with less economic risk. Cellular-wireless (or Wi-Fi-wireless), MCS, and MIMO methods’ re-use on copper costs less, uses more existing infrastructure, and improves wireless residential networks’ profitability.

Further, and possibly most dramatic, is the spectral efficiency, increase in effective speeds, and low latency provided by the ability of CSL to provide a cost-effective massive decrease in cell radius.

Data Rates (down plus up)

In the example above, an approximate decrease by a factor of 5 in cell radius provides over a factor of 25 increase in cellular reuse, with a consequent factor of 25 increase in effective bandwidth.

In summary, CSL is a dramatic and less expensive way to put a cell base station at every house so every customer gets a massive bandwidth increase for their mobile devices. By using their existing copper wiring (pair cable or coax), providers avoid the need to deploy a lot of fiber to the home.

While an exceptional solution for areas with wireline access built out 20-50 years ago, CSL is also a disruptive concept for the many countries that have already started to invest in getting fiber to every home.

For more information on CSL, contact the ASSIA sales team.


It’s proven. We’re helping service providers keep people connected.

Broadband connection has taken center stage during Covid-19 as subscribers of all sorts rely on the internet for almost everything—from frequent video conferencing to distance learning. This pervasive and ongoing Wi-Fi use requires service providers to move even more quickly to address customers’ demands and needs.

Optimizing for excellent customer experience can come at a high cost unless service providers take a proactive approach to maintaining networks and detecting issues before they arise. And, further, giving consumers the ability to solve problems quickly on their own, without having to call an agent or request a visit. Doing this gives subscribers what they want, and also reduces the costs needed to serve them.

Troubleshooting across the network

As demand for high-bandwidth services increases, network operators and service providers are searching for the fastest, most reliable, and cost-effective broadband delivery. With this comes a complexity of network management issues to ensure that the customers get the bandwidth they are paying for and expecting.

ASSIA solutions are designed to manage the challenges of deploying and operating a multi-platform networks (DSL, GPON, cable) and to reduce complexity in their overall operations. When subscribers can’t resolve issues on their own, service providers risk high operating costs from lengthy support calls, unnecessary truck rolls, or replacing perfectly healthy hardware. And possibly all of this without resolving the root cause of the performance issues.

Optimization, though, is precisely what fixes many common problems. A combination of Expresse and CloudCheck gives service providers full network path visibility and diagnostics, from the exchange to Wi-Fi connected devices inside the home. And, they give providers the means to optimize and address issues before they occur.  When customers call service centers, agents are quickly able to troubleshoot where the problem exists, diagnose, and resolve them.

ASSIA Expresse environment

ROI that’s proven in the field

Recently, ASSIA has performed in-depth work with multiple customers to help them improve operations around the world. We studied detailed call data and technical measurements that our system collects to tune up our optimization and diagnostic algorithms.

Key metrics we measure include:

  • Call analysis: average handling time, first-time resolution of calls, truck rolls, and returns
  • QoS/QoE: service continuity, speed required, drop-outs, disconnections

We also do detailed analysis over a month or more to monitor any seasonal issues or other impacts on the service.

Our results with one customer showed:

  • 50,000 fewer service calls for Wi-Fi support in six weeks’ time.
  • Fewer truck rolls than would normally occur in a 60-day period.
  • Customer churn was reduced by 2% in 30 days.

Altogether, we were able to show our customers, with actual data, how our software and technology help them control costs and deliver a better experience to their customers.

Demonstrated revenue and cost savings per 1,000,000 lines with an ASSIA customer

Fixing issues IRL, but not in person

What has been a service provider’s greatest challenge can also be considered their greatest opportunity: resolving technical issues without an in-person visit. The CloudCheck mobile application helps call center agents, field technicians, and subscribers work together to solve problems and handle installation remotely.

Through this app, field technicians can use CloudCheck to optimize the Wi-Fi network environment. And, when a customer calls in, the agent can view the entire network to see whether the issue is inside a subscriber’s home or outside and fix the problem without requiring a field technician to make an in-person visit unless deemed necessary. Remote management provides access to functionalities from anywhere once user-authenticated, so users can manage their networks remotely and field techs can conclude work orders.

An end-user application offers subscribers real-time information about what’s going on with their Wi-Fi and assistance with self-installation and troubleshooting. Features include:

  • Self-installation capabilities, eliminating the need for an appointment or an in-person visit when people are sheltering in place;
  • Parental controls to manage who has access and when;
  • Where to put an extender to get better Wi-Fi coverage around the house;
  • Self-service assistance to troubleshoot password issues or reboot when something is stuck

Self-service and field technician apps

ASSIA also provides diagnostics and recommendations so users can improve service on their own. And, to improve the service down the line, subscribers can leave feedback through the app.

Unparalleled expertise you can trust

ASSIA is a strategic partner and trusted vendor to over 35 service providers worldwide with more than 125 million broadband and Wi-Fi lines under contract, in 17 countries, across 5 continents. ASSIA is a trusted name in the industry for a reason. Our products are built and maintained by experts and leverage our global experience to make internet connections run faster and more reliably by optimizing the performance of whatever infrastructure is in place—copper, fiber, various generations of Wi-Fi including Wi-Fi 6, or 5G. As a result, ASSIA has a deep understanding of the challenges services providers face—from network stability to cost controls to churn.


Testing Quality of Experience, Not Just Speed

What matters to internet subscribers is that things work when they need them to. Speed and reliability take center stage when the bandwidth they’re paying for is not what they’re getting. Imagine the frustration of not seeing or hearing participants in a sales call on Zoom, or not having them see or listen to you. When issues like this occur, providers should expect a flood of calls or possibly churn.

Quality of Experience (QoE) is more than raw speed measurement; it ensures that end-users get the internet experience they want on whatever device they use—upstream or downstream. Consumers care more about “just working” than any technical measurements. That’s why providers need to make sure there is enough bandwidth to support end-users and their services, with a little headroom or extra in reserve.

Making sure everything always works

Delivering a QoE that meets or exceeds industry standards can be complicated. ASSIA is working with regulators to define and implement better ways to measure QoE for every customer type. Here’s why that’s important.

Global telecommunications regulators are adopting stringent rules to ensure service providers deliver advertised/minimum speeds, with financial consequences such as allowing consumers to terminate contracts when commitments are not met. To increase and measure speeds, service providers must manage the loads on their networks, which means frequent testing—a challenge when the equipment to run the tests requires a lot of processing power. 

Service providers are on the front lines of customer complaints. They must diagnose lagging performance and get the issue resolved—quickly. Whether the choke point is the Wi-Fi inside the house or the broadband to the home, taking a proactive approach to monitoring, diagnosing, and fixing issues ensures better service and lowers costs. It’s not only the speed of the network to the house, but also performance inside the house and through the system. Test often, not now and then.

TruSpeed Provides Visibility and Transparency 

ASSIA TruSpeed is a CloudCheck® software module that enables service providers, communications regulators, and wholesalers to gain visibility to true broadband and Wi-Fi throughput across the entire network. TruSpeed uses cloud-based machine learning to intelligently monitor and measure broadband and Wi-Fi speeds while assessing bottlenecks across five key points. Other solutions that only measure broadband speeds (not Wi-Fi) can disrupt subscriber experience or are constrained by the limited number of measurements gathered across a subset of the network. 

TruSpeed throughput measurements

In a growing number of countries, regulatory agencies require service providers to directly or indirectly provide speed data to the public. Traditional approaches rely on crowdsourced data or expensive hardware or one-off testing. These methods lack accuracy and reliability because of a limited sample size across the network. With TruSpeed, all network lines are tested regularly (including during peak hours). All data collected can be aggregated for regulatory compliant reporting. Transparency of this data shows end users that they are getting the experience they are paying for and regulators that service is being delivered as advertised. 

ASSIA has a deep understanding of customer requirements and the expectations of service providers and regulators. We maintain the highest standards of measurement and are working on technologies to improve internet connectivity worldwide. To that end, we will be conducting a study to obtain a complete picture of how testing and how quality assurances can be enhanced end to end. We aim to provide consumers with the confidence that they are getting the service they need and deserve.


Impact of MAC Randomization on Wi-Fi Management

MAC Randomization and CloudCheck: What ASSIA Customers Need to Know

Apple released a beta version of iOS 14 at WWDC 2020 in June, and with it, came a new feature intended to protect consumer privacy: changing the default state of the iOS device’s media access control (MAC) device address from static to dynamic. Google Android 10 also released a similar function in 2019, however, the default state is static. In both operating systems, the user has the ability to manually change the MAC address setting from dynamic to static.

What is a MAC address, and why hide it?

A MAC address is a unique identifier assigned to every device that connects to a network—smartphones, watches, tablets, computers. Because a MAC address is usually hard-coded into the device’s network card, the information is permanently there and accessible to third parties to collect data from network-enabled devices.

When users connect to public Wi-Fi in an airport, advertisers or stores can collect data on users’ locations, visits to stores, and engagement. With the release of Android 10 and iOS14, users can now mask their MAC addresses through a process called randomization.

What is MAC randomization, and what does it do?

Randomization creates a different, anonymized MAC address, instead of the real address, every time the same device connects to the internet. By hiding the exact address, users protect their privacy and prevent tracking when they connect to a network. MAC randomization has been present in most operating systems in some form over the last few years, but now the industry is moving to put tighter controls in place for consumer privacy and network security reasons.

What’s the impact on Wi-Fi management systems like CloudCheck?

Wi-Fi management systems, like CloudCheck, use MAC addresses as station identifiers. Station identifiers help CloudCheck know how many devices are on the network and optimize the Wi-Fi accordingly.

When subscribers connect to a Wi-Fi network and surf the internet, there will be no impact on CloudCheck’s capabilities without randomization. When randomization is enabled, some of the tracking features will not work as designed because the same device will use multiple MAC Addresses and appear as multiple devices in the system.

Impacted functions include:

  • Parental controls
  • Tracking daily Wi-Fi stats for a station – RSSI, throughput and data consumption
  • Station list in the user interface—some of the stations will appear twice or more
  • Optimization actions using historical network and operation data of a station
  • Blocking list of stations

Further random algorithms and impact will vary depending on the operating systems:
Android 10: As long as the user connects to an existing SSID, the MAC address would remain constant

  • iOS 14: Addresses change daily.
  • Android 10: Both options above are available for the user to select.

How is ASSIA addressing the impact of randomization?

ASSIA’s patent-pending device identification methods allow ASSIA to recognize the non-privacy-related devices for management and thus preserve the consumer’s good connectivity.

For more details, please contact your ASSIA representative or visit our contact us page.