Must-Have KPIs for New FTTH/FTTx/DAA Infrastructure

Do all your customers have service? What are their service levels? How do you know?

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Service availability and user experience are arguably the two most important metrics a cable/multiple-system-operator (MSO) or fixed-line carrier needs to constantly measure. Nothing is more important than making sure subscribers have service availability and that they receive high-quality services.

The number of services offered by cable/MSO and fixed-line carriers has exploded. From basic voice, video, and data, now operators offer video-on-demand, streaming video, over-the-top (OTT) services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, home security, and gaming, and all must be monitored by the network infrastructure over which they transmit. Meanwhile, the cable infrastructure is continually evolving and moving—from hybrid coax to all fiber with fiber to the x/fiber to the home (FTTx/FTTH) initiatives and onto Wi-Fi 5G as well. Understanding user experience from traditional cable modem termination system (CMTS) to new FTTx/FTTH and Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) as well as over Wi-Fi is essential.

Big Investment and High Expectations for FTTx/FTTH and DAA

FTTx/FTTH offers significant advantages of greater bandwidth, reliability, cost efficiency (cheaper to manufacture versus copper), and future flexibility to add new services. In FTTx architecture, both the data over cable service interface specifications media access control (DOCSIS MAC) layer and the physical (PHY) layer are moved to the fiber node, which has a much higher capacity. Additionally, with radio frequency signals initiated at the node, operators implementing DAA benefit from a better signal-to-noise ratio, which affords their customers a better quality of service (QoS) and experience. By moving functions deeper into the network, DAA reduces the amount of hardware the headend (hub) requires reaching the home or business, thus creating efficiencies in speed, reliability, latency, and security in support of 10 gigabit (10G) networks.

With work-from-home (WFH) and hybrid work arrangements now the norm, subscribers expect and need high-speed internet (HSI) connectivity for Webex and Zoom calls, voice, and a myriad of other video and high-bandwidth, low-latency applications. Small, medium-sized, and larger businesses also want to take advantage of the improved service offerings afforded by this new infrastructure. MSO/cable operators are also looking to gaming and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) applications to help grow revenue. 

By looking at TCP round-trip latency over traditional hybrid coax, FTTx/FTTH, DAA, and/or Wi-Fi, cable/MSO and fixed-line operators can monitor with KPIs and troubleshoot specific subscribers and services. These TCP-based KPIs can provide a measure of service quality by looking at the delay of packet arrival over the respective infrastructure for various services as well as identify subscribers who are out of service. Alerting on service degradations is perhaps just as important as hitting base service-quality thresholds, and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) routines can help to automate the assurance process to identify the most important, business-impacting service outliers for network operations and engineering teams.

Such service assurance can help reduce unwarranted truck rolls to subscriber and business premises by identifying the root cause of the network element or device that is impacting service. Having end-through-end visibility is fundamental to moving from reactive to proactive service assurance and onto automated assurance with the addition of AI and ML routines to improve service quality and customer experience while continuing to evolve the network to the latest fiber technologies and architectures. 

Learn more about assuring FTTX infrastructure.