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    Article's Authors
    Nikos Tsantanis
    Telco Software Marketing,
    Intracom Telecom

    Christos Rizos
    Wireless Systems Solutions,
    Intracom Telecom
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    Tiered QoE in Wireless Networks for Enterprises pdf (668 Kb)

    Article - Tiered QoE in Wireless Networks for Enterprises

    How carriers can leverage Policy to meet the expectations of their most valued customers

    Serving corporate clients, who belong to a demanding and highly-important customer segment with inelastic communication needs, is one of the many tough challenges a modern Communications Service Provider (CSP) can face.

    Wireless access networks are often deployed to deliver carrier-grade IP services (voice and data) to corporate users, offering the quickest possible activation of new subscriber connections. In a typical wireless network, the signal is transmitted from suitably positioned Base Stations to the Terminal Stations located at the roof of the corporate clients' enterprise premises.

    Occasionally, subscribers may experience poor quality due to congestion that can occur at various points of the network due to:

    • Oversubscription during network design
    • Adverse weather conditions (e.g. heavy rain) that may affect the wireless transmission
    • Bandwidth-demanding Internet usage, associated with video streaming or peer-to-peer file-sharing.

    Irrespective of the cause of congestion, the operator has to react in real-time and enforce usage restrictions (e.g. through throttling or blocking) until the network performance is restored.

    Unfortunately, many off-the-shelf network and service management tools that are being used for this purpose can only handle traffic at OSI Layer 2. This leaves no other option to the CSPs but to apply undifferentiated policies horizontally across all subscribers, no matter what their individual importance and needs are.

    Such a global restrictive reaction may hurt the Quality of Experience (QoE) of the most important customers, violate committed SLAs, create unnecessary frustration and eventually backfire on CSP's customer churn and revenue. On the other hand, over-investing in network capacity is not an option.

    UniMS & ActionRuler solution diagram

    An operator's "wish list" for overcoming such pressing situations would include the ability to:

    • Get alerted in a timely, even predictive way, once key metrics indicate that congestion is about to happen.
    • Make fast - real-time - decisions on how to differentiate the impact of temporarily-unavailable bandwidth on the affected audience.
    • Base the differentiation on the subscriber importance, the criticality of the applications in use and the fluctuating state of the network itself.

    It is evident that striking a balance between satisfied customers and an optimized, cost-efficient network is a delicate challenge puzzling virtually any operator.

    To that end, Intracom Telecom has developed a solution which combines powerful, state-of-the-art components, namely:

    • uni|MS™, a unified telecommunication networks management suite
    • ActionRuler™, a robust Policy Charging and Rules Function (PCRF) platform integrated with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) equipment, enabling subscriber awareness and policy enforcement.

    These components are working synergistically to manage WiBAS™, Intracom Telecom's point-to-multipoint microwave access platform. The approach involves three stages, which are described below.

    Stage 1 - Detect Congestion

    uni|MS™ constantly monitors the status and performance of all network-managed elements. Based on key performance metrics, trends and threshold-crossing alerts, congestion is predicted / detected.

    uni|MS™ then collects real-time performance data from all elements involved in congestion and in-turn forwards it to ActionRuler™.

    Stage 2 - Assess Involved Subscribers

    ActionRuler™ first brings together a multitude of parameters needed in support of an optimal decision. These include:

    1. The availability and status of network resources, provided by uni|MS™.
    2. The subscriber's significance as expressed by the respective tier (e.g. Gold, Silver, Bronze), obtained through the subscriber database.
    3. Awareness about the applications running at any moment (OSI Layer 7) and their criticality for the subscriber, obtained through the DPI.
    Stage 3 - Trigger Smart Policies

    ActionRuler™ is preloaded with as many policy rules as the operator considers necessary to proactively lay down the way the network should behave, once certain congestion conditions occur.

    These policies are automatically launched in real-time thanks to ActionRuler's inference engine, capable of evaluating thousands of conditions at once and associating them with the right rules. These policy rules are then enforced by the DPI.

    The proposed configuration offers valuable insight of what is going on throughout the network from a comprehensive, multi-dimensional point of view. The key benefit of this is that it blends deep visibility of the network status with the subscribers' identity and the criticality of applications used. Combining all these findings, both the operator and the enterprises are able to offer tiered QoE as follows.

    Operator-to-Enterprises tiered QoE.

    In case of congestion, the solution automatically prioritizes the restrictive actions based upon the tier of the Enterprise (customer) and the criticality of their running applications. For example, the operator may leave intact all applications used by Gold customers, while throttling only non-critical services of Silver customers. At the same time, all applications of Bronze customers are throttled.

    Additionally, the operator can send an automatic notification (email, SMS, web page redirection) to those Silver or Bronze customers systematically sustaining the consequences of congestion-induced QoE degradation, offering them the option to upgrade to a higher tier with preferential terms. Such promotional campaigns help the operator to benefit from up-selling opportunities by leveraging ActionRuler's advanced notification functionality.

    Enterprise-to-employees tiered QoE.

    Each Enterprise will be able to define and administer their customized policies through a customer care portal in a "self-service" manner. Enterprise policies can be applied and customized either globally - throughout the whole enterprise, or port-based - to all users connected to via a certain port, or individually - narrowed down to specific end-users.

    For example, in case the total available bandwidth allocated to the particular enterprise is not sufficient, certain employees may still use email but their access to other non-critical bandwidth demanding services may not be guaranteed.

    In this way, operators can offer "Policy Management as a Service" to their enterprise / corporate customers in the form of a new, value-adding offering. Depending on its commercial policy, the operator might want to either apply charge (e.g. activation fee, recurring fee, per rule, etc.) on these policy-powered services or to offer them for free as a bonus / incentive to a selected Enterprise audience.

    Intracom Telecom's state-of-the-art policy-based solution is equally applicable to other wireless technologies, such as 3G and LTE, and enables operators to manage congestion in an intelligent and creative manner. In this way, the challenge of congestion can be transformed into opportunity, strengthening customer experience, loyalty and profitability.

    ActionRuler™, is a 3GPP-compliant, state-of-the-art Policy Management software solution that enables operators to define - fast and intuitively - fair usage policies, optimize network capacity and introduce innovative services.

    More at: www.intracom-svyaz.com/ActionRuler™.

    uni|MS™, is a carrier-class, multi-technology Unified Management Suite for the management of elements, networks and services, that protects the network investment and leverages network operations through advanced monitoring & troubleshooting tools.

    More at: www.intracom-svyaz.com/uni|MS™.

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