Performance management was a big topic at MWC and there was much discussion of how technology can be applied to enhance the customer experience through improved network performance.
Traditionally, network performance monitoring is provided by network probes or statistical analysis of performance from network equipment. These elements are deployed in the network and are able to analyse traffic streams, detect anomalies and generate the data that can be used by analytic applications to support service assurance and diagnostic applications.
The emphasis here is on the network view: despite the capabilities of such equipment these solutions are all network based. It is network centric, not user centric. This means that true end-to-end performance management is beyond their capabilities, as they only obtain a view of performance from the perspective of the network. They do not and cannot capture or gain an appreciation of the end user’s view or what actually happens locally in the applications that are utilised. This lack of user and application perspective and awareness is likely to become an increasingly important issue.
What’s more, traditional performance monitoring solutions are tied to a specific access network, whereas, today, a user’s experience is based on their use of multiple access technologies (e.g. 3G, LTE, WiFi, WiMax). The ability to monitor user and application views of performance across these technologies requires that the solution becomes more ‘device view’ centric as opposed to network centric.
Growing consumer and enterprise demand for smart devices, coupled with the continuing performance growth of such devices, means mobile users are increasingly using applications that have very specific requirements in terms of the carrier network. Maintaining Quality of Experience for users is increasingly difficult. That’s why we need to include the smart device within performance monitoring solutions.
Incorporating user devices in an end-to-end solution provides a user’s and even individual application’s view of actual performance. In fact, while it’s necessary to monitor conditions experience by users on their devices, this is still not sufficient to deliver the kind of end-to-end experience that is required.
We need solutions that can also respond actively to instructions from network-based solutions so that in addition to reporting on local conditions, they can proactively help manage traffic to optimise sessions. In reality, this means parsing, filtering and tagging data so that reports can be generated and action taken by other equipment in the chain. In turn, the smart devices can respond to instructions that are provided from the network, through policies enabled on the smart connected device.
Performance monitoring begins in the device. If we want to deliver a truly optimised end-to-end experience, it’s an inescapable conclusion that we have to incorporate devices into our plans. This means deploying solutions like the GoS Agent, which takes performance-monitoring functionality and enables it through policy control on user devices.
With such a solution, users can benefit from a co-ordinated, optimised policy and experience management infrastructure, and operators benefit from end-to-end visibility of the issues users really encounter in the field. This, coupled with the ability to actively correct and optimise conditions for users is what will, finally, deliver the end-to-end experience that users demand.