As service providers embark on their complex journey to 5G, there is a growing need for effective analytics that shed light on how things are going and how strategies should be shaped. In particular, this perspective is critically important to executives who want to know that their investments are going to pay off.
Many service providers have elected to start with a non-standalone approach to 5G, leveraging their existing LTE core rather than completely redesigning the core. This is logical, because it allows for a smooth transition from 4G to 5G without requiring significant technology upgrades.
With the rapid rollout of 5G, service providers are looking for greater insights into the throughput and latency of networks by location, as well as insights into what models of mobile devices consumers prefer. Executives need granular visibility into the readiness of their 5G deployment to ensure a superior customer experience. All of this calls for deeper and more extensive analytic capabilities.
The Importance of Detecting 5G Leakage
As consumers begin to purchase 5G-ready devices, service providers are under pressure to ensure their 5G services are up to snuff. If a customer goes out and splurges on a brand-new high-end 5G phone and then starts watching “Tiger King,” only to have a less-than-stellar viewing experience, the provider risks having an unhappy customer, which can lead to churn. And nobody wants that.
In this use case, the reason for the slow video streaming could be that the customer’s 5G phone is connecting primarily through the 4G network, a phenomenon known as “leakage.” Providers need to know when this is happening, and what is causing it. Perhaps it’s a cell tower or signaling issue. The bottom line is that providers want to keep customers connected on 5G as much as possible.
The Need for Smart Analytics in a Hybrid Environment
In this increasingly complex, hybrid environment, service providers need an analytics solution that can provide critical insights into throughput, latency, service and device availability, subscriber adoption, and other critical elements. Such a “smart analytics” solution must deliver visibility into large virtualized networks with millions of subscribers, yet be able to boil that analysis down to one user who is having a problem.
Smart analytics will allow service providers to track every application subscribers use. Video streaming can serve as an effective benchmark for determining whether throughput levels are sufficient. For example, if throughput is not at 30 megabits, then you’ve got a problem that must be addressed. Smart analytics offers a means for tracking and assessing different applications to ensure the SLAs are being met.
Also, of key concern to service providers is the rate of subscriber adoption. Smart analytics can provide those insights, allowing providers to see exactly how many subscribers are using 5G and which applications they are utilizing. Similarly, it’s important to gain a clear understanding of which handsets are accessing 5G more frequently. Service providers can use this data to target marketing efforts encouraging greater use of 5G.
Ultimately, smart analytics delivers crucial insights into new services and helps to ensure that the level of experience your customers are getting from these new 5G services meets the highest expectations. Nothing could be more important.
Heather Broughton is senior director of communications service provider marketing at NETSCOUT. She leads a team of service provider industry experts with many years of experience serving the telecommunications global industry.