Quality of experience (QoE) is crucial for the success of mobile network operators because subscribers are increasingly sensitive to the perceived quality of applications in mobile networks. Operators will only grow their subscriber base if they can lure subscribers from competing operators by offering a better perceived QoE.

In a recent webinar, we provocatively asked the question “Are you really taking care of QoE in your mobile network?”. The webinar speakers Arnd Sibila, Technology Marketing MNT, and Carlos Menendez, Product Marketing MNT, offered arguments and the latest insights and test solutions to answer the webinar’s title with a convincing “yes”.

After introducing market trends and challenges, Arnd and Carlos analyzed all options for network quality assessment. These include the MNO operations support system (OSS), crowdsourcing and user-centric QoE benchmarking. To really compare different networks, you have to execute the same tests, at the same time, at the same geographical location and in different networks.

Execute the same tests, at the same time, at the same location, in different networks.

This can be called “real benchmarking”. The gold standard for evaluating quality of experience and comparing mobile networks are the benchmarking and analytics solutions from Rohde & Schwarz mobile network testing (MNT).

The main part of the webinar examined the two essential parts of benchmarking: data collection and data analytics.

Data collection
The data collection tools have to ensure that the data is accurate, precise and reliable and that the measurement results can be repeated, validated and used for statistical purposes. This ensures that the test solution itself does not have an impact on the network measurement results.

TCM for reliable and repeatable quality of experience measurements

Test device containment modules (TCM)  hosted in the vehicle roof box for accurate and reproducible quality of experience measurements

Important factors for reliable and reproducible measurements include:

  • Temperature control: the measurement probes’ temperature needs to be consistent. Our research shows a correlation between increasing smartphone battery temperature and decreasing data performance.
  • RF environment control: the measurement probes’ RF environment needs to be steady. Our research shows that measurement probes installed in-car are exposed to varying RF attenuation.
  • Hosting the measurement probes in the test device containment modules (TCM) on the car roof ensures stable thermal environments and uniform RF conditions for all probes.

Data analytics
After data collection, the key question is how to add value to the raw data. A higher level of understanding the collected information correlates with a higher ability to define actions.

Data analytics to optimize quality of experience

The webinar discusses in detail how the solutions from Rohde & Schwarz MNT fulfill both the data collection and analysis requirements to support operators in defining operative, tactical and even strategic actions. These steps are necessary to optimize network performance and quality of experience.

Insight into quality of experience

The webinar attracted an international audience of specialists working mainly for leading mobile network operators, regulators, testing service providers, and infrastructure providers. During the broadcast, participants had the opportunity to engage with the speakers in a live Q&A session.

A central part of the Q&A session was around QoE and QoE metrics such as MOS (mean opinion score) ratings for voice and video quality. Arnd and Carlos also explained the TCM in detail and shared tips for how to optimally position the probes outside the car by hosting them in a TCM in the vehicle roof box.

Watch the webinar now.

Another Q&A focus concerned the feasibility of crowdsourcing versus real benchmarking. Crowdsourcing can offer general trends by averaging the huge amount of data and statistics. This can be helpful for getting a rough overview. But to really compare networks and measure QoE, the measurement results must be accurate, reliable and reproducible. Remember, the same tests at the same time at the same location.