Blog


Need for Accurate Testing

Tuncay Cil
EVP Strategy and Corporate Development

Posted on April 25, 2018

Speed Test as a de facto metric for making technical and business decisions

Quality of Experience (QoE) metrics for broadband internet connectivity are critical tools to plan, monitor, troubleshoot, optimize many business and technical decisions.  For better or worse, broadband speed has been the de facto QoE metric for broadband connectivity for the last decade.  Regulators, network operators, data centers, network equipment and software vendors, content and application providers, all rely on some interpretation of speed test results to make key investment, operations and marketing decisions.

Speed Test methodologies vary significantly

Contrary to common expectation, the speed test measurement goals, methodologies, and results differ significantly. Moreover, the content providers, service providers, and regulators all see significantly different results based on different speed test measurement methodologies, and even for the same service in the same location for similar large number of sample set.  For example, Akamai, Netflix, YouTube, FCC, and many speed test vendors produce aggregate analytics for broadband speeds for a particular nation/location and the results can vary over 200% at times.

Some of the variation can naturally be attributed to the motivations/goals of measurement:

  • Using average speeds as performance benchmarking for “speed as experienced by end-user” (ex: do I get the speed that was advertised to me? How is my connection speed compared to others?).
  • End-to-end vs. component by component testing. (ex: Where is the bottleneck in delivery of the service across content servers, internet backbone, last-mile access network, home networks, consumer device, etc)
  • A single connection vs. many ex: (aggregate by location, or other attribute of connectivity profile)

Inaccurate results are caused by inadequate tools and implementations

Beyond different purposes, the testing method inaccuracies are also responsible for wildly varying speed test results:

  • Bias in end-user initiated only-at-time-of-trouble speed tests.
  • Using end-to-end testing as a proxy to home network speed.
  • Inaccurate data sampling
  • Single vs. multiple server measurements
  • Single vs. multiple TCP stream measurements

Ideas on how to improve the methodology, tools, and accuracy

Providing full visibility on individual component performance while measuring end-to-end connectivity performance would address most gaps in current tooling for broadband speed testing.  However the design and deployment of such new tooling have to take into account regulatory rules, service providers operational concerns, varying capabilities of network equipment vendors.  We believe there are five different segments and associated testing capabilities that need to be refined and made available to internet eco-system partners:

  • Wi-Fi throughput via device measurement: This test is made from the consumer device to the AP (with or without agent) through the consumer device. The measurement method should allow single-end Wi-Fi measurement to avoid CPE software update where it is not possible to such change to the CPE.
  • Wi-Fi throughput from the CPE should also allow single-ended Wi-Fi measurement methodology but this time through the CPE instead of the consumer device. This way the consumer devices would not need additional software installation to enable testing. Also, the measurement should be made automatically on a configurable schedule without end-user involvement. A software agent in CPE can initiate this kind of testing to all devices connected to the CPE.
  • End-to-end throughput test by the consumer device provides upstream and downstream measurement as well as latency. The test should be performed to/from a test node placed on or off network. This measurement can be initiated by the consumer device.
  • Network throughput test from the CPE is initiated by the CPE agent to/from a Test node placed on or off network. The end-user usage should not impact the test results. In addition, the testing software agent in the CPE should collect traffic data on a frequent basis and can thereby derive maximum and average throughputs over pre-set intervals and peak/off peak times.
  • Access Sync/Contracted rate should be passively collected on access nodes in service provider backend Physical and upper-layer transmission impairments can also be detected by Access Network Data Collector (ANDC).

ASSIA’s CloudCheck® today already has some of these features with more being added all the time….


G.fast, MGfast, and Beyond

Ken Kerpez
ASSIA Ph.D., IEEE Fellow

Posted on April 17, 2018

G.fast is now being rolled out by several operators to provide ultra-fast broadband. G.fast can deliver nearly one Gigabit per second (Gbps) on telephone lines and over one Gbps on coax. G.fast provides an economical alternative to Fiber to the Home (FTTH), eliminating the high cost of fibering the last few hundred meters, while still pulling fiber deeper to provide ultra-fast service.

G.fast management

G.fast has many capabilities which enable robust high-speed service over existing and in-home telephone wiring; including:

  • Vectoring to cancel crosstalk
  • Retransmission and coding to correct errors
  • Low-power modes and reverse-power feed (RPF)
  • Many on-line reconfiguration capabilities, including:
    • Seamless Rate Adaptation (SRA)
    • Fast Rate Adaptation (FRA)
    • Robust Management Channel Parameter Adjustment (RPA)
    • RMC recovery (RMCR).

ASSIA works throughout the standards communities to ensure that equipment vendors provide open interfaces for operators to manage such capabilities. Each of these capabilities can be configured in many ways via many operator-configurable parameters. And, these are in addition to the margin, data rate, re-initialization and many other configurations common to DSLs. Further, the downstream:upstream asymmetry ratio of G.fast is configurable and can vary with real-time traffic loads. The G.fast environment is highly variable line-by-line, and to configure each G.fast line for best performance is impossible (unless perhaps an operator recruits an army of Ph.Ds in communication theory). But there is a solution: ASSIA DSL Expresse® is now adapted to automatically configure G.fast for the highest customer satisfaction and fewest trouble calls.

Multi-Gigabit fast (MGfast)

After G.fast, the ITU-T is now defining multi-gigabit fast (MGfast) for applications such as fiber-to-the building, fiber-to-the curb, and feeding small cells. MGfast is expected to have all the capabilities of G.fast and more, while running at multi-gigabit speeds. New duplexing and frame structures are being defined to provide wireline and 5G applications on a single backhaul or fronthaul MGfast line, including ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, and ultra-fast broadband. These traffic types should be supported on separate virtual network slices with the operator-configured boundaries. MGfast management will be even more challenging than that of G.fast.

Waveguide over copper

Beyond MGfast lies a new concept now being studied by a group of ASSIA® researchers: Waveguide over copper, which enables the Terabit DSL (TDSL). This exploits waveguide transmission modes, in particular transmission modes that are efficiently transported on the surface of a conductor such as copper wire. Waveguide over copper runs at millimeter frequencies (about 30 GHz to 1 THz) and is synergistic with 5G/6G wireless. A type of vectoring is applied to effective separate the many modes that can propagate within a telephone cable. Preliminary analyses project that waveguide over copper should support about the following per-home data rates:

100 meters 300 meters 500 meters
1 Tbps (=1000 Gbps) 100 Gbps 10 Gbps

 


Telefonica & ASSIA® Relationship Expands to CloudCheck® Wi-Fi

Alberto Tellado
VP of Sales Southern Europe, Latin America

Posted on April 10, 2018

Telefonica and ASSIA® have worked together for years to bring reliable broadband to millions of homes throughout Latin America.  This includes the use of ASSIA’s DSL Expresse® software for diagnostics and optimization of high-speed DSL networks, GPON Expresse® software for diagnostics of GPON networks, and ClearView® software for precise network analysis and recommendations for customer care agents and field technicians.

Valued Relationship, Talented Team

Telefonica has firsthand experience working with ASSIA’s talented team who are the best in the world at diagnostics and optimization.  The ASSIA team has always highly valued the relationship with Telefonica.

Broadband in Good Shape….what about Wi-Fi?

Although ASSIA’s products helped keep Telefonica’s customers happy with reliable broadband and in return decreased Telefonica’s customer support costs, the growing demand on the Wi-Fi in the home started to become a source of many customer issues several years ago.  This resulted in Telefonica’s review of different Wi-Fi management solutions back in 2016.

Vision or Luck?

Fortunately, ASSIA’s vision of this need with operators around the world was many years before this when it started to invest in a product called CloudCheck®.   The vision, early development, experience with operators and proven expertise in this area resulted in a well architected cloud-based solution that addresses the challenges of today and just importantly the ones of tomorrow.

The Bake Off

This foundation resulted in ASSIA successfully passing many challenging tests and in-depth functionality analysis at Telefonica.   As with other operators around the world that do this type of detailed comparison of the ASSIA CloudCheck product against the other solutions on the market…. ASSIA wins.

Experience up, costs down

The CloudCheck solution is a highly scalable, big-data-analytics, and machine-learning platform that enables Telefonica call-center agents and field technicians proactively to detect and resolve subscriber Wi-Fi issues while automatically optimizing Wi-Fi performance for their subscribers. This improves Telefonica’s customer experience while also driving down support costs significantly.  With the CloudCheck product deployment and ClearView software, Telefonica now has end-to-end network visibility and management from the central office into the home.

Leveraging Existing Investments

CloudCheck is a flexible platform that provides diagnostics and optimization analysis from a variety of data sources throughout an operator’s network.   For high performance, current generation CPEs, the CloudCheck system deploys a software agent to provide the most accurate diagnostics and best performing optimizations.  For the rest of the existing investment in CPE and TR-69 based management systems, ASSIA’s CloudCheck has been developed to use data from these devices and management systems as well to provide a baseline level of functionality.

This says it all…. from Telefonica

In ASSIA’s April 9th Press Release, Eduardo de Santos, Customer Service Delivery Director, Global Network & Systems, Telefonica SA was so kind to provide the following quote:

“Telefonica is transforming its operations towards an optimal Customer Experience. In this transformation process, it is key for us to move from a network approach to a service-customer-centric focus approach; from reactive to proactive processes.  In this context, Telefonica has selected ASSIA’s CloudCheck product for Wi-Fi monitoring and optimization. The maturity of the solution, the unique approach of assessing subscriber Quality-of-Experience (QoE), the extensive expertise of ASSIA in analytics, diagnostics and optimization with products already deployed on the Telefonica network, were all key factors in this decision. Telefonica is very pleased with the current features available in the solution, especially diagnostics and optimization for band steering, support for extenders, and care recommendations for providing better service and support to clients and internal proactive maintenance policies.”

ASSIA is pleased that CloudCheck is currently under commercial deployment in several Telefonica affiliates.


Defining the next Wi-Fi-Revolution

Tuncay Cil
EVP Strategy and Corporate Development

Posted on April 3, 2018

Since 2000, I refrain from using the word “revolution” because a “tech-revolution” is a morning routine where I live, in Silicon Valley. However, for Wi-Fi, the word “revolution” seems to be just right to describe the dual nature of the change this technology is experiencing. Over a series of blogs my colleagues and I will try to present ASSIA perspective on this revolution in detail.

Merriam-Webster lists two main definitions for the word revolution. One is about a rotation or completing of a course, the other is about sudden radical change. The type of revolution we are bound to experience in Wi-Fi in the next couple of years fits both definitions of the word “revolution”.

Completing and restarting another course of Wi-Fi technology cycle

Over 20 years ago Wi-Fi’s main promise was about providing connectivity to masses without the restrictions imposed by the carriers or the government.  Wi-Fi has since fulfilled this promise and became the de facto connectivity standard for connected devices.  Over the years, we have observed significant improvements in speed, and capabilities of Wi-Fi over multiple “courses” around the technology cycles.

Carriers have spent the last 10 years improving broadband performance and reliability.   Now a 100Mbps connection to the home is not uncommon.   But, that’s not satisfying if you are then limited by your WiFi connection.    The improvements in broadband have exposed weaknesses in WiFi.   WiFi related issues are the biggest driver of customer technical complaints.

Similarly, the number of WiFi devices in the home has exploded over the last 10 years.  Even if the data rates for each device only modestly increases, the number of new devices puts a much greater load on the home network. Widespread adoption of video services have made consumers much more aware of data drops.   Where lower data rates and higher error rates were acceptable for data applications, video applications are much less forgiving and inspire swifter consumer reaction.

The upcoming advances in Wi-Fi are being fueled by the actions of the government, the industry alliances, and the continuous improvement in the price/performance of Wi-Fi chipsets.  This includes a new unlicensed band at 6GHz, faster and better reach/coverage with different flavors of 802.11 (Example: 11ax/ad/ah/af..), and better interoperability across multiple access points. The net effect of this technology cycle/rotation is going to be observed as 10GBps connectivity between your laptop and your TV screen, 1GBps connection speed between your phone and your home network when you are out in your garden, uninterrupted video streaming where it is not possible today without wires.

Radical change in industry focus

While the rate of adoption of Wi-Fi has been fast, the quality of experience (QoE) has been poor and the management of the network has been labor intensive and costly.

The fundamental drawback of Wi-Fi has always been the lack of guarantee for any level of QoE.  This was interpreted as “carte blanche” for not incorporating QoE as a key input to the Wi-Fi network.

Over the last couple of years Carriers, CPE vendors, and chipset vendors finally accepted the need for self-management and end-user QoE driven decision making in Wi-Fi management systems. For carriers, the ever increasing cost of customer complaints and service calls was one of the key driving factors.  Also, recently the adoption of multi-path TCP and Wi-Fi-LTE bonding technologies by the handset manufacturers provided another path to guarantee certain level of QoE to end-user devices over Wi-Fi on unlicensed spectrum. 

ASSIA’s mission in the Wi-Fi-Revolution

For the average home Wi-Fi user, intelligence of network and technical advances are not comprehensible. The complexity of the issue reflects mainly on the OPEX of service providers and CPE vendors who must bear the cost of supporting the consumers.

Consumers mostly relate to fast and reliable connectivity as they just expect it to work.  The rest of the technical discussions regarding Wi-Fi is reserved for the enthusiasts and professionals. ASSIA believes proper management of connectivity is the only solution to a fast and reliable connection no matter what technology improvements become available in networks.

By proper management, we mean managing the performance issues as they relate to the end-user QoE and taking actions to improve the QoE.  ASSIA’s QoE based Wi-Fi management approach has been enabled by its patented technologies that utilize different forms of Artificial Intelligence to detect patterns of problems that affect the end-user QoE in a dynamic/ever changing network environment. After a long period of field testing and more recenty full deployments by service providers, many carriers chose ASSIA’s CloudCheck® Wi-Fi Management solution among a large set of alternatives mainly because of real world impact on OPEX costs and end-user QoE scores.

ASSIA’s mission is to deliver fast and reliable Wi-Fi connectivity to consumer and help service providers address OPEX and complexity associated with delivering reliable service in an ever-changing world of wireless connectivity.  We look forward to improving Wi-Fi Quality of Experience as the complexity of the technologies increase.


Why are key market leaders committing to ASSIA’s vendor-agnostic Wi-Fi and Broadband Management Solutions?

David Raun
President & COO

Posted on March 28, 2018

On March 26th ASSIA announced that three more major operators recently selected ASSIA as  their Wi-Fi and Broadband Management supplier.

These three operators are rolling out ASSIA solutions in 2018 and beyond, providing for up to 25 Million subscriber lines/households over the next several years, with the opportunity to expand over time.  Once deployed, ASSIA’s total number of managed households will be well over 100 million worldwide.

This included a top tier cable operator in North America and two of the world’s largest Telecom companies with operations in Europe and Latin America.

So why are these well known operators selecting ASSIA over other solutions in the market?

  1. The Solution Works – Proven Technology
    1. Both the Expresse DSL/GPON Broadband and the CloudCheck Wi-Fi solutions have been deployed in volume and provide solid returns for ASSIA’s customers providing for a great experience for each of their home subcribers. Remember this is all ASSIA does.  Hardware companies tend not to be as strong at Software.
  2. Hardware Agnostic
    1. ASSIA’s software solutions can work with virtually any hardward platform. This allows operators to use multiple Gateways or DSLAM suppliers and yet be able to standardize on an single powerful agnostic software platform.  Why would an operator want to deal with having multiple interfaces and solutions for their customer care centers?   ASSIA solves that.
    2. Although some of the hardware vendors have their own solutions, ASSIA is open to working with all hardware supplier to support our customers and to form lasting partnerships.
  3. Real Comparisons Done
    1. Most of our customers have formed rigorous selection processes, including extensive and lengthy evaluation and testing. In all cases the provider ultimately determined that ASSIA’s solution was vastly superior.
  4. Growing markets looking for solutions
    1. Whether it is cleaning up Wi-Fi in the home, which everyone can relate to, or the inpractical highly costly deployment of fibre in some of the largest developed markets in the world, ASSIA solutions allow its customers to focus on growth by conintnuing to levereage its current networks.

ASSIA’s CloudCheck® and Expresse® platforms include the best diagnostics and optimization solutions available on the market today.

ASSIA’s vendor- and hardware-agnostic market-leading CloudCheck® Wi-Fi management solution is becoming the de facto Wi-Fi management solution. ASSIA has already deployed this rapidly-maturing solution at multiple service providers – all of which are improving customer experience while driving down customer support costs.  The cloud-based solution manages and optimizes customer in-home Wi-Fi environments to enable improved performance and facilitate Self-Healing, Self-Help and Self-Install capabilities for the home user.  Based on demand from multiple service providers, ASSIA’s CloudCheck is now supported on over 100 different gateway models from the leading vendors.

ASSIA’s Expresse® product line brings superior diagnostics and optimization of high speed DSL and GPON networks.  Over 30 of the world’s leading telecommunications providers use ASSIA’s technology to drive service costs down and improve customer satisfaction.  A list of ASSIA’s current key customers can be found on the ASSIA web site at: https://www.assia-inc.com/customers-partners/assia-key-customers/


Significance of TELUS’s deployment of ASSIA’s CloudCheck® to Manage Residential Wi-Fi

David Raun
President & COO

Posted on March 21, 2018

On March 12, 2018, ASSIA announced in a press release that TELUS deployed ASSIA’s market leading CloudCheck Wi-Fi Management solution across their extensive network in Western Canada, including its advanced PureFibre network.

Why is this deployment at TELUS significant and why ASSIA? 

FIRST, TELUS has been a great customer of ASSIA’s as they deployed the company’s Expresse® “broadband to the home” management solution years ago.  TELUS is familiar with the rich history, technology, engineering talent and execution that ASSIA has demonstrated when it comes to the best diagnostic and optimization capabilities.

SECOND, the CloudCheck product allows TELUS call center agents and field technicians to proactively detect and resolve subscriber Wi-Fi issues, while optimizing Wi-Fi performance for their subscribers.  TELUS and its subscribers take advantage of a highly scalable agent-cloud based architecture that provides real-time diagnostics, self-healing, and optimization of Wi-Fi networks.

THIRD, since TELUS engaged with ASSIA in early 2017, they have already broadly deployed the CloudCheck product.  TELUS’s Director of Internet Products and Business Enablement, Mr. Ghani, spoke of ASSIA in a recent press release, in which he graciously said, “ASSIA’s CloudCheck software enables TELUS’ network operations and customer care teams to gain the visibility they need to diagnose and proactively resolve subscriber Wi-Fi issues. The CloudCheck solution allows TELUS to confidently deliver the high-performance, reliable Internet and Wi-Fi services our subscribers expect.”

So, what is ASSIA’s strategy in the Market with CloudCheck?

Many years ago – and well before others – ASSIA recognized the Wi-Fi management need that was developing.  ASSIA’s solid track record over the years with superior management tools for service providers delivering broadband and this early investment has led to a highly mature Wi-Fi management product among a field of less proven/committed products from others.

While competing solutions might be developing the basic functionality, ASSIA is adding new innovative features/improvements from its rich road map and close customer engagements. Service providers invested in the CloudCheck solution understand the challenges will increase over time with the dramatically increased demand for bandwidth and number of connections on home networks, so they want to see a solid foundation today and committed supplier for the long run.

Unlike the suppliers of many of the alternative Wi-Fi management solutions in the market today, ASSIA’s strategy is to only focus on hardware agnostic software. This enables CloudCheck to support virtually any hardware its telco and cable customers wish to deploy.  This vendor agnostic approach was a key differentiator also with the company’s broadband to the home Expresse software platform.

Although several gateway and chipset providers have included Wi-Fi and SON functionality to some degree today or in the past, our customers recognize CloudCheck’s broad feature set and solution maturity. Most also understood that having a single software management platform across an environment which leverages multiple gateway vendors avoids the complexity of multiple management solutions and interfaces in their customer care centers.   A number of these operators have requested that their hardware suppliers work with ASSIA to allow them to standardize on this one CloudCheck platform.   As a result, ASSIA today supports over 100 different gateway models from the market leading suppliers.

ASSIA values its strong relationship with TELUS as well as other operators around the world and looks forward to continuing to work closely with their teams to offer the best Wi-Fi in the industry today and tomorrow.


Enabling Wi-Fi Subscriber Care Across CPEs

Kevin Mukai
Director Product Marketing, Wi-Fi Solutions

Posted on March 14, 2018

ASSIA recently announced CloudCheck support for over 100 gateway/router models. Why is this important and why does it matter?

WI-FI is a Problem!
Despite the availability of high speed broadband to the home, and the adoption of high speed 5GHz Wi-Fi routers and gateways,  Wi-Fi issues in the home remain the:

  • Number one customer complaint for carriers and operators of all sizes
  • Highest cost driver for those providers

During global deployments and trials of ASSIA’s CloudCheck Wi-Fi software platform, ASSIA  found that, on average:

  • 50% of homes experience slow Wi-Fi due to broadband performance bottlenecks
  • 40% of subscriber devices never connect to the 5GHz band
  • 30% of subscribers experience coverage issues in the 5GHz band

Visibility and QoE
Service providers are committed to improving subscriber Quality-of-Experience (QoE) while reducing network operating expenses related to Wi-Fi.  Historically, operators have been unable to gain visibility and control into the home to assess the health of the subscriber Wi-Fi network, let alone trying to resolve Wi-Fi issues.  As a result, the operator care protocols often lead to costly and brute force methods such resetting the subscriber’s router and/or dispatching a field tech to address Wi-Fi related problems.

TR-069 has Limitations
Most solutions in the market for Wi-Fi management have been based on extracting CPE data via TR-069 and TR-181 based data models.  The problem with this approach starts with the inconsistent Wi-Fi and CPE data types available across various CPE vendors and models.  In addition, an effective and accurate Wi-Fi management solution based on TR-069 requires significant network infrastructure and bandwidth to support wide scale deployments across millions of subscribers

Agent-Cloud
As the market leader in Wi-Fi management, ASSIA has taken a different approach in utilizing a cloud and agent architecture to achieve visibility, control, and proactive care of subscriber Wi-Fi.    A lightweight software agent resides on the CPE and gathers extensive Wi-Fi related information from the CPE in a real-time.  This data is sent to the cloud at periodic intervals for analysis and processing in order to provide historical and predictive QoE diagnostics and optimization in order to proactively improve the performance of the Wi-Fi.

Adoption of CloudCheck
Service providers around the world have been embracing ASSIA’s market leading product, and as of today, the CloudCheck® agent is currently available for CPEs which contain Broadcom, Qualcomm, Quantenna, Mediatek, and Intel Wi-FI chipsets.  Over 100 unique platforms from gateway vendors and OEM companies such as ARRIS, ADTRAN, Askey, ASUS, Arcadyan, AirTies, HITRON, Huawei, Linksys, Mitrastar, Netgear, TP-Link, Sagemcom, Technicolor, Zyxel are supported.

Direct-to-Driver
Since integrating a software agent on the CPE has historically been a logistically challenging process, ASSIA® has incorporated a direct-to-chipset driver agent approach, which allows access to rich CPE data while simplifying integration across the same chipset vendor.

API
To facilitate agent deployment across an even broader set of  CPE platforms, ASSIA has also developed a CloudCheck agent API.  The API enables CPE manufacturers to incorporate API functions into a hardware abstraction layer in order to provide CloudCheck agent support independent of Wi-Fi chipset and platform. The agent API allows CPE vendors to ensure portability and provide consistent CloudCheck® functionality across all of their platforms.

Source Code
Agent source code licenses are also available for chipset and CPE ecosystem partners that wish to incorporate the agent into their own platforms.

As the industry embraces agent-based Wi-Fi management, ASSIA is making  agent integration fast, easy, and flexible for all ecosystem partners.

Ecosystem
Contact ASSIA to learn more about its Ecosystem Partner Program (EPP) at [email protected]


CloudCheck® Management Software Delivers Quality Residential Wi-Fi

Kevin Mukai
Director Product Marketing, Wi-Fi Solutions

Posted on October 18, 2016

Fixed-line broadband is most often no longer the bottleneck in delivering content and services to the home. Instead, Wi-Fi is frequently the problem as customers access more services, content, and streaming over-the-top (OTT) video across more Wi-Fi devices.  Global operators report that half of inbound technical related service calls today are due to problems in the subscriber Wi-Fi network.

The CloudCheck®  software platform by ASSIA manages and optimizes residential home Wi-Fi networks. It is the cost-effective solution that accurately addresses the underlying Wi-Fi network issues affecting subscriber Quality-of-Experience (QoE). It scales to the entire subscriber network, and seamlessly integrates with existing operator care workflows. The CloudCheck platform dramatically reduces customer-care costs.

The CloudCheck cloud-based architecture uses ASSIA’s Real-Q™ technology for accurate, real-time throughput, connectivity, and latency measurements for each device on the subscriber’s network.

With CloudCheck software and Real-Q technology, true self-healing and optimization for each Wi-Fi device in the network is now possible.

CloudCheck software provides:

  • Accurate Wi-Fi throughput, connectivity, and latency measurements without any software required on the end-user device
  • Powerful server APIs for integrating into the operator OSS/BSS systems
  • Mobile APP for field techs and subscriber self-care

 

KEY CLOUDCHECK PLATFORM FEATURES AND BENEFITS

  • “Real-Q” Technology. Accurate, real-time, historical, predictive Wi-Fi QoE analysis based on user context and measured performance of the Wi-Fi network. Ensures the subscriber’s Wi-Fi experience is always optimal.
  • Real-time speed test capability measures true broadband AND Wi-Fi throughput without any additional software required on the user devices.
  • “Beyond–the-Box” visibility and control. Extends operator QoE beyond the RG to the end-user device. Other solutions cannot heal Wi-Fi issues on a per device level.
  • Self-healing of the Wi-Fi network for optimizing QoE.
  • Self-care and assisted-care for subscribers, field techs and agents via a simple-to-use mobile app so that users can avoid making unnecessary service calls.
  • Software-only solution ensures compatibility with existing and future back-end systems and vendor CPEs.
  • Highly scalable cloud architecture accommodates subscriber networks of any size.
  • Flexible APIs offer capabilities and benefits to ISP operations in a highly adaptable and configurable manner. It ties to existing OSS/BSS, portals, and business intelligence systems.
  • Customizable report generation capabilities. Analytics data is accessible with a set of essential built-in reports for the operator to view, analyze, and correlate data.

The CloudCheck platform is the only solution that supports accurate, real-time, historical and user context based QoE optimization.

Users no longer have to experience gaps in service.  CloudCheck software ensures the Wi-Fi and broadband networks to the home work as advertised.


Wi-Fi’s Extraordinary Future: The Impact on Wireless Connectivity

John M. Cioffi
CEO and Chairman of the Board, ASSIA

Posted on October 16, 2015

Wi-Fi’s extraordinary progress needs smart policy to thrive. Wi-Fi physical-layer technology is improving remarkably. Peak speeds are a gigabit or more. Several chipmakers (Qualcomm, Broadcom, Quantenna, Mediatek, Marvell, and others) advertise 1.3 gigabit (peak-speed) .ac chips, while reports of tests cite raw peak speeds as high as 10 Gbps. While these heroic physical-layer speed demonstrations attract attention, the reality of the situation suggests smart policy will be necessary for even small fractions of these peak speeds to be enjoyed in use by consumers of Internet data.

These high-peak Wi-Fi speeds often use much of the existing unlicensed Wi-Fi 5 GHz spectrum to achieve the high advertised speeds (along with several spatial paths of that spectrum). However Wi-Fi uses a “collision protocol.” Collisions are attempts by more than one user/device/thing to use Wi-Fi on any of the access points at the same time. In this case, both “things” must wait a random period of time before attempting to transmit the same data again, leading to significant speed loss and delay in delivery of data. The more devices using the spectrum, the more rapidly the performance decays. It is not unusual for the latest Wi-Fi systems advertised at Gbps speeds to actually provide only a few Mbps to devices in real use.

Wi-Fi speeds can be expected to drop very significantly in neighborhoods and buildings where several Wi-Fi access points are in use with typical numbers of Wi-Fi-capable devices, namely the Internet of Things today, and even more so into the future. Recent field tests of true throughputs in such crowded systems (using state of the art Wi-Fi access points and chips) often see speeds of just a few tens of Mbps, or even less. Super crowded systems, such as the 50M “digital divided” users in the USA who go to public libraries for free Internet connection, will see speeds of less than 1 Mbps at times because of heavy use during busy hours (4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at libraries). Schools also can experience very low speeds from over-use, an issue to be addressed hopefully by recent E-rate allocations for public schools in the USA.

Some solutions for “enterprise environments” (big company sites, hospitals, bank and insurance company headquarters, and so on) require all access points to be from the same manufacturer (see Cisco Meraki, Ruckus Wireless, and/or Ericsson/Belair) and expensively require the use of both manual tuning and automatic tuning specific to that manufacturer. This can lead to significant improvement if no other manufacturers’ systems are within “ear-shot.” However, Wi-Fi by its very nature is unregulated, and recent FCC decisions (see the Marriott case for instance) suggest that single-enterprise supply of Wi-Fi access points violates the law. Residential use in a crowded apartment complex or even urban/suburban neighborhoods lead to the overlap of dozens of access points’ transmissions, often with many different manufacturers’ products in use. Thus, the need for smart policy or use magnifies with increased Wi-Fi use.

Better physical-layer performance and these problems of contention/collision inspire new applications. ASSIA’s CloudCheck first measures and identifies Wi-Fi issues specific to the device, time, and location, while also evaluating whether the remainder of the Internet connection has sufficient speed to sustain the Wi-Fi speed.

Such tools empower consumers themselves to help understand and improve their own connectivity, as well as help regulators and ISPs know the true source of an Internet bottleneck. Statistics generated can help policy makers decide on spectra allocations. When Wi-Fi is not the issue and fixed-line access (for instance DSL) is the bottleneck, Cloudcheck further uses the cloud, when systems are compatible, to bond (combine connections into appearance of a single, faster connection) fixed-line-WiFi connections to connection speeds of hundreds of megabits and more, while avoiding the high cost of fiber to the home (or to the “wristwatch”).

Using fixed line + Wi-Fi means far more homes can receive ultra broadband than would be possible given fiber’s high costs. For instance, an apartment complex of 20 units all with 100 Mbps fiber/VDSL service has a 2 Gbps data rate that can be shared if Wi-Fi systems have some level of smart policy underlying their usage. Essentially, such policy would reverse the contention issues to an efficiency advantage.

Simultaneously, with smart policy today’s broadband home can be rapidly transformed. With 4×4 MIMO and beamforming, home gateways should be able to stream HD and UHD TV throughout most homes with minimal collision/contention issues. However, letting the boxes run full speed selfishly wastes spectra and creates spatial wars among multiple access points. Access point manufacturers (boxes and chips) want to quote the highest speed to potential buyers, but they really have no control over the contention issues, so simply “blast away,” wasting spectra and power, and reducing real speeds to all. Furthermore, it helps no one for a Wi-Fi system to run at 1 Gbps when the fixed-line Internet connection supporting it runs at 10 Mbps, or if the ISP network behind it supports only a few Mbps speed to the application being served to the consumer using the Wi-Fi device.

Gateways can also simultaneously connect literally dozens of devices, which is essential as we connect more things. Current IoT estimates show more than 10 connected devices per home in the developed world, and a rapid increase in smart-device use in the developing world. All phones, as well as most audio players and TVs, now have Wi-Fi. Consumers can hear any music anywhere in the home without wires. This situation only compounds and makes more frequent the incidence of collisions and contention within the Wi-Fi spectra.

The rich ecosystem and near ubiquity of Wi-Fi make it a primary tool for the exciting Internet of Things. Devices like Google’s Nest home thermostats, connected by Wi-Fi, save money. Wi-Fi connected medical equipment and smoke alarms can save lives. Industry economists calculate Wi-Fi’s benefits as high as $200,000,000,000 each year. Recent bidding in the USA for relatively small amounts of licensed spectra saw amounts from a small number of bidders approach nearly $50B.

With Wi-Fi’s great success to date come some great challenges for the future, perhaps with the greatest opportunity to much more cost effectively and spectrally efficiently address the exploding needs with unlicensed spectra.

 


A Software-Based Approach to Green Broadband

ASSIA
Marketing Team

Posted on November 20, 2014

Energy consumption in the telecommunications industry is staggering. In Europe alone, the Broadband Forum estimates that 50 terawatt hours of electricity are consumed per year for broadband equipment across both fixed-line and wireless.

In relative terms, this amount of electricity meets the annual needs of more than 2.8 million households, based on an average annual consumption of 17,793 kWh across the EU27 group of countries.

Another way to look at it – telecom energy requirements in Europe consume the equivalent output of six nuclear power plants with an average capacity of 880MWe, standard for today’s nuclear power plants in Europe. Now extrapolate these numbers for the rest of the world. The numbers aren’t just staggering – they’re overwhelming!

In telecommunications, even small improvements in energy efficiency can amount to tremendous cost savings, as well as a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Of course, significant effort focuses on the largest areas of opportunity – base stations for wireless providers, and consumer premise equipment (CPE) for fixed line access.

These areas offer tremendous room for improvement, yet the improvements come with significant capital cost for purchasing new equipment, and with a relatively long implementation time to deploy all of the new equipment in the field.

What if a service provider could significantly reduce energy consumption today by using software that manages its network equipment for optimum efficiency? The software simply runs within the service provider’s existing infrastructure, without the cost and expense of purchasing new equipment.

A service provider in Central Europe pursued this type of software-centric strategy using ASSIA’s DSL Expresse Power Management to manage power consumption more efficiently on the company’s DSLAM equipment. The results speak for themselves.

The provider identified energy savings totaling more than €350,000 per year for every million DSLs. Using power management software in conjunction with DSL Expresse Profile Optimization, the provider also improved the customer experience with a more stable network.

Lower energy consumption and a more stable network through software – it’s worth a look! Download the case study to learn more!