Hanging by a thread: subscriber experience in the hybrid network world: Page 2 of 3

January 09, 2018 //By John English, Netscout
Hanging by a thread: subscriber experience in the hybrid network world
Change is inevitable in technology, and operators are no strangers to it. 2G to 3G to 4G and now onto LTE-Advanced and 5G; each evolutionary change in the mobile lifecycle has made network management an increasingly complex feat of engineering. The shift to LTE has undoubtedly been the biggest so far, and has put pressure on operators to deliver a consistent quality of experience to a data-reliant user base. Now that OTT applications are gaining more and more interest from subscribers and therefore having direct impact on operator revenue, this has become a complicated competitive issue. However, it isn’t a new one by any means.

This competitive mobile environment demands total uptime, which means that NFV mobile experience, has to be top quality – no excuses. There is no avoiding that operator ability to maintain consistent and good subscriber experience during migration from the physical to the virtual will mean success or failure of NFV initiatives. What, then, to do? Real-time tracking, monitoring, and analysis of network resources is the answer; flagging network issues and resolving them as they emerge, long before the end-user is aware of or affected by them.

 

The answer is in sight

This could feel like a shuffle backwards for operators. After years of trial and error they have streamlined their physical assets to great effect. On the fly analysis of network data has meant that operators can identify root causes of issues immediately and restore service levels rapidly. These approaches are fundamentally important to understanding a network’s and application’s performance, and are equally vital in the virtual world of networking.

Operators know that they can have full visibility in regards to their legacy and all-IP networks, but their new and virtualised assets? Not so much. The greater degree of complexity that must be managed in the case of NFV-enabled networks must also be considered. Many virtualised functions that make up the virtualised network are critical to service quality, including authentication services, routing and switching, and even domain name services. If operators can’t monitor these areas in real time, the performance of these elements will suffer, which will more than likely mean end user experience dropping off a cliff.

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