How network operators and communication service providers can improve customers’ quality of service
Almost every business, no matter whether they are a network operator or communication service provider, is built on providing a quality product or service to customers. But what if that comes under threat and customer satisfaction drops because of bad quality of service? This is a question that plagues every network operations team, who are dedicated to identifying and reacting to irregularities that could result in service downtime. The strength of the business depends on them and their ability to keep the network online and ultimately deliver end-user availability.
A few years ago, we saw a stark reminder of this, as mobile operators were held to ransom as their LTE deployments suffered data outages. Reputations lay in tatters and it took several years for them to gain back the trust of consumers.
Fast forward to 2015 and consumer demand for services such as LTE and mobile services in healthcare and government is on the rise. This means that network operation teams have a bigger task on their hands. Not only do they have to deal with new digital infrastructures and the rise of big data, but also working across multi-vendor technologies to gain end-to-end visibility of performance.
Additionally, a further challenge comes in the form of monitoring a large scale network, as LTE/IMS architecture collapses what were previously two separate networks (voice and data) into a single all-IP system.
What then can network operation teams do in the face of this historic shift, but presented at an unprecedented scale? And how can they avoid a repeat of the disastrous collapse seen previously when still using legacy systems that were unable to prevent failures at a time when the strain was significantly less?
The answer is they cannot. In order to meet these challenges, network operation teams need a monitoring solution that provides a real-time, end-to-end view of the entire digital infrastructure, independent of Element Management System (EMS) and equipment type, and performance metric collection methods. This enables them to:
- Effectively manage and optimise network capacity while reducing LTE, backhaul, and IMS expenditure and customer churn
- Proactively monitor network performance to ensure the digital infrastructure at all points meets current service level agreements and addresses future demands
- Optimise LTE and IMS infrastructures to support increased multi-media traffic levels, markets and geographies
- Isolate, determine, and alert on performance issues ahead of service impact to meet and exceed customer expectations
Effective monitoring will track the real-time health of mobile services and identify areas of need and traffic congestion, filling in the knowledge gaps.
Monitoring, of course, needs speed and needs to provide access to all the data. Network operation teams, in the aftermath LTE outages, learned that some of the outages could have been avoided if data had been collected faster. This allowed them to put pressure and demand more from their monitoring vendors, ensuring they could deliver a reliable service to their customers.
As we look to the future, demand for services such as 5G and the continued rise of big data means that the battle to maintain customer satisfaction will become more complex than ever. With the right tools in place, network operation teams will be best positioned to identify, react and learn from transitions and deployments a lot faster, gaining trust and loyalty from the consumer and, ultimately, driving business growth rather than shouldering responsibility for its failures.
By Tom Griffin, Director Systems Engineering EMEA at SevOne