For internet service providers taking responsibility for managing their subscriber’s home Wi-Fi, or wanting to, the recent announcement by the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) regarding Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data Elements™—a standard set of Wi-Fi diagnostics parameters—is welcome news. It defines a standard set of Wi-Fi data elements for diagnostics that will make it easier for service providers and vendors like ASSIA to gather and make sense of data from diverse CPE.
ASSIA is an active contributor to this new standard as well as upcoming Wi-Fi standards. The CloudCheck architecture, which is proven to effectively manage home Wi-Fi, is designed to take advantage of the WFA Data Elements, as well as the WFA EasyMesh standard, and the upcoming TR-369 User Services Platform standard from the Broadband Forum.
Now, let’s talk about this new standard and how it will help internet service providers.
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data Elements™
The Wi-Fi Alliance Data Elements give service providers better visibility into customer Wi-Fi networks for such key performance indicators (KPI) as Wi-Fi data rates, airtime, and retry rates. It establishes a standardized data model built specifically for Wi-Fi networks that encompasses 130 KPIs.
Helps Service Providers with Remote Troubleshooting
Wi-Fi Data Elements contains a carefully selected set of Wi-Fi diagnostics parameters which are important for remote Wi-Fi troubleshooting. When a customer contacts their service provider, Data Elements enables technical support personnel to review Wi-Fi performance, status, counters, and network data for remote diagnosis. Used with an automated Wi-Fi management system, Data Elements can reduce trouble calls, lower truck rolls, decrease hardware replacement, and increase customer satisfaction.
Helps Service Providers Optimize In-Home Wi-Fi Topology
A big challenge service providers have managing and assuring QoS, is not having insight into what is going within the home. Wi-Fi Data Elements can be used by a Wi-Fi management system to identify coverage issues in a home, which can then be resolved by deploying a Multi-AP network configured via Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh™ .
Both single-AP and multi-AP profiles are supported by Wi-Fi Data Elements. The Data Elements Collector is in the gateway or other AP for the single-AP profile. The Data Elements Collector is in the Wi-Fi device that also has the EasyMesh controller for the multi-AP profile. The Data Elements Agent records the data model. Information is gathered rapidly by the Data Elements Collector and timestamped without use of significant network resources. Upon request, the agent sends saved data models to the Data Elements Collector, as shown in the Figure. In addition, association and disassociation event notifications are sent autonomously from the Data Elements Agent.
Wi-Fi Data Elements Objects and Parameters
The objects and parameters in Wi-Fi Data elements are read only and include those in the following table.
|Network device list||Data rates|
|Device and radio IDs and capabilities||Signal strengths|
|Utilizations (airtime)||Scan results|
|Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) prioritization capabilities||Neighboring APs data|
|Operating class||Unassociated station data|
|Counters per AP and per associated stations||Association and disassociation events|
The Data Elements YANG model and JSON schema are included in the Data Elements Specification Package. There is a Data Elements test plan in addition to the specification, this test plan enables certification.
Data Elements and TR-369/User Services Platform
Data Elements is being written as a new object in the TR-181 2.13 Device.WiFi data model, which already specifies 250 parameters including write objects for remote configuration that has been commonly used by TR-069. The upcoming TR-369/USP standard from the Broadband Forum, will not only use this updated TR-181 data model, but also will be able to handle the real-time data, communication, and control requirements of today’s Wi-Fi networks. Requirements that are driven by the high number of IoT, mobile, and entertainment devices in a home, mesh networking, security concerns, and multiple OTT services connecting to CPEs in a distributed fashion.
ASSIA CloudCheck and the New Standard
Wi-Fi Data Elements uses an Agent-Cloud system for gathering data as depicted in Figure 1 above, similar to the architecture of ASSIA CloudCheck for Wi-Fi management. The CloudCheck Agent, which is embedded in APs, gathers a significant amount of data in addition to those in the Data Elements standard, at a very fine timescale. This data is pre-processed, filtered, and sent up to CloudCheck Server. Our field experience gathering this data has been instrumental in our contributions to the upcoming TR-369 standard which will help CloudCheck get the data it needs at the speed it needs.
Retrieving Wi-Fi data is an important first step; however such a torrent of raw data can overwhelm technical support personnel. Data analyses are vital to interpreting the data for presentation to personnel, or to enable automated responses. CloudCheck uses sophisticated cloud-based machine learning algorithms to identify:
- problems related to coverage
- legacy Wi-Fi clients
- time-of-day usage.
To help service providers distinguish between internet QoS and user-perceived Wi-Fi QoE, CloudCheck can identify broadband access vs. Wi-Fi bottlenecks, and their impact on the user experience.
CloudCheck further automates Wi-Fi configuration optimization; to optimally allocate channels, bands, client associations, and other Wi-Fi configurations. Wi-Fi Data Elements and other data is analyzed by CloudCheck, to automatically identify Wi-Fi troubles, and in many cases to also automatically remediate these troubles before they would adversely impact customer satisfaction and increase operations costs.
The Future of the Wi-Fi Diagnostics Standard
Work has now started on Data Elements release 2, and ASSIA is very involved in moving this forward. At this time, Data Elements release 2 is envisioned to include objects for: Remote Configuration and Control, Multi-AP Release 2, Wi-Fi 6, and Agile Multiband (MBO).
As always, ASSIA is very committed to the advancement of industry standards and will support future versions of this Wi-Fi Data Elements standard so that more service providers can take responsibility for their subscribers Wi-Fi QoE and:
- Offer new services in the form of different levels of service, leasing or selling additional access points, etc.
- Reduce service and support operational expenses
- Improve customer satisfaction and retention
- Increase revenues
Read the Interview with Tuncay Cil, ASSIA Chief Strategy Officer, about Data Elements on Wi-Fi Now.