Network experts forecast that global Wi-Fi traffic will steadily grow in the long run and it will soon exceed the fixed part of total IP traffic, reaching 49% of the global traffic by 2021. Mobile to Wi-Fi offloading also demonstrates steady growth since mobile devices in most of the cases prefer Wi-Fi to a mobile connection if they find a Wi-Fi network they can connect to.
ICT service providers typically offer customers Wi-Fi routers that connect over the access network to their network core. The overall growth of the Wi-Fi traffic and large density of Wi-Fi routers in urban areas will put more pressure on ICT service providers in the near future in very diverse areas ranging from technology to customer experience. Customer experience is generally considered as overall customer experience that includes every interaction of a customer with an ICT service provider such as inquires, purchases, paying bills, disputes, etc.
Most of ICT service providers have strategic plans and targets to set higher standards on the customer experience of their subscribers. Better customer experience helps to meet customers' expectations, makes them satisfied with quality of the services they receive and makes them loyal to the provider that at the end makes provider's the cash flow stable and generates additional revenue by increase in sales to existing clients and by widening of the client base - i.e. by inflow of the new customers attracted by the quality of offered services.
Customer Experience and Wi-Fi
Issues with customers Wi-Fi connections have a potential adversary impact the customer experience and put additional pressure on ICT service provider operational activities in a variety of different areas. If customers experience network connectivity issues with their mobile devices the first thing they typically check is their Wi-Fi connectivity. The next step would be to contact the customer care and report the problem. A customer care agent will try to fix the problem or in more complex cases will connect the customer with the second or third lines of support. Going through all these stages of the customer support may have such a negative impact on customers experience that the customer may decide to switch provider and sign up for a competitor´s services.
Most of the customer complaints related to "Internet not working", "slow Internet" and Wi-Fi can be generally attributed to the wireless channel that customers devices are using to communicate with the Wi-Fi router. Wi-Fi routers are getting more and more popular and they are widely used across the Globe. As a result of this popularity they can congest radio bands where they operate (typically 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and this problem is becoming increasingly important in dense populated urban areas. The number of available radio channels within each band is limited by available spectrum therefore multiple Wi Fi routers of different providers must share the spectrum and co-exist with minimum possible interference with each other. This is why it is very important to select channels wisely and, thus, provide the best possible network performance with highest possible data transfer rate with minimum connection drops. This will ultimately make positive contribution into customer experience and in the end into the provider's economic growth.
ICT service providers need to be able to control, configure, update and troubleshoot their core and end user devices. Automatic Configuration Server/System (ACS) is one of the best scalable solutions available on the market that has capabilities and technical means to control large numbers of devices at all network levels. These capabilities also include automatic monitoring and analysis of current network environment for all controlled devices. The ACS is capable of setting all controlled devices to the channels determined as optimal based on the network environment analysis. The network analysis algorithms use data on signal strength of other devices in the network neighborhood, their noise levels, channel type/width and a few others. Obviously, data collection, aggregation and analysis of such large scale networks require for high performance monitoring solutions.
Finding an optimal radio channel for one single customer and one single Wi-Fi router is typically an easy task for the modern high-performance ACS solutions, but Wi-Fi networks in dense populated areas require for a different approach. In such cases providers must deal with the situations when there are tens and sometimes even hundreds of Wi-Fi routers managed by different providers, operating in close proximity and interfering with each other. This requires for a different type of algorithms for mass optimization of Wi-Fi networks that are capable of conjugated optimization of multiple coupled and interfering Wi-Fi routers in the scale of a residential complex building, for example.
In order to optimize such a larger Wi-Fi network, the mass optimization algorithm must collect and analyze the network environment data from all devices in the building and set all controlled devices on the channels best for them in the terms of network performance and connections stability.
ICT service providers that employ novel high-performance Wi-Fi networks monitoring and analysis solutions and provide Wi-Fi mass optimization capabilities have great potential to improve overall customer experience by making their Wi-Fi networks better, faster, more robust and reduce load on the customer care departments.
And at the end it makes them more sustainable and profitable on the modern highly competitive market of Internet service providers.
AXESS is the flagship product of Axiros, for management of CPEs with Broadband Forum-compliant CWMP (TR-069) stacks but also other open management protocols. It allows for highly flexible and scalable interactions with a large number of devices for the purposes of (re-)configuration, mass firmware downloads, fault clearance and general real-time subscriber support.
AXTRACT is a high-performing monitoring solution designed to gather high-volume diagnostic data without the need to pass it through a productive third-party ACS.
AXSmart WiFi module regularly samples Wi-Fi routers through any protocol (HTTP, SNMP, TR-069, Telnet) and collects basic statistics like traffic, errors, connected devices, channel scans, etc. Wi-Fi optimization algorithm uses both collected and historic data to provide a recommendation for Wi-Fi router setup. Recommendations are provisioned on Wi-Fi router using AXESS ACS.
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