Mobile network operators can do much to optimise services and conditions for their users. They have control of the network but there are limitations. MNOs cannot take action to manage conditions in user equipment. As smart devices have proliferated and as users have enthusiastically adopted more and more bandwidth intensive applications and services, the need to be able to manage user experience in devices has become increasingly pressing.
An additional complication comes from the fact that networks are increasingly heterogeneous. That is, in addition to the RAN technology deployed – UMTS, or, increasingly, LTE – complementary technologies such as WiFi are being deployed to increase coverage, provide backhaul and offload solutions.
MNOs are striving to provide the best experience for their customers. They want them to use the best technology for their applications and will be deploying solutions such as the ANDSF to manage handover and switching between different access networks.
But to do so intelligently requires detailed knowledge of what the user is doing – both in terms of active applications that require bandwidth and in terms of applications that consume resources in the background via automated updates and so on.
This means that MNOs have to take steps to obtain information on application demands and consumption from inside smart devices, so that they can efficiently manage network resources and connectivity to the most appropriate access solution. All of this must be managed in real-time: some applications – for example, video streaming – can have fluctuating demands, which need to be managed. MNOs need both to be able to monitor application requirements from devices in real-time and to be able to manage connectivity and resource consumption locally so that an optimised experience can be delivered, all of the time, taking into account the needs of other adjacent users.
One solution is to deploy specialised client software such as the GoS distributed ANDSF / PCEF in smart devices. GoS can both report to centralised platforms such as the PCRF and execute policy control functions, including handover to alternative access networks or managing excess signalling in order to ensure an optimised user experience.
It is only by extending their reach to smart devices that MNOs can overcome limitations to their network management capabilities. If they do not extend QoE and policy frameworks into smart devices, they will be unable to deliver the user experience required. Network performance and quality will be key differentiators in the future and there are already signs that users are churning to networks in the expectation and promise of better performance. MNOs have to take steps to ensure that they can really deliver on their promises and client-based solutions can help them to achieve this goal.
Tags: #policycontrol, ANDSF, bandwidth demand, Customer Experience Management, GoS 360, MNOs, Mobile data, PCEF, PCRF, Policy enforcement, QoE, QoS, Real time visibility, subscriber churn reduction, subscriber retention, User Experience