Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night worrying whether your subscribers, critical staff, emergency services, and remote sensors still had connectivity with the mobile network? Many businesses and organizations rely on wireless connectivity for the security and efficiency of their organizations. They care passionately about connectivity and, with the emergence of IoT and 5G, their number will grow significantly in the future. In this first post of a series, we examine the growing role of service quality monitoring.

As operators see service revenues from consumer segments either flatten or decrease, the enterprise and government market becomes increasingly crucial. It is a market that has seen operators move beyond the mere sale of airtime, SIMs, and devices to the provision of dedicated network services that are, in many cases, business and safety-critical. Furthermore, as the industry develops 5G technology and services, a key financial target will be the increased engagement and revenue streams that 5G will make available to mobile operators from industry verticals. These new verticals can only be accessed if the network delivers the required performance to support the use cases. Consequently, real-time monitoring of performance becomes essential.

Service quality monitoring at the CERN facility

Service quality monitoring is a step-change. It enables enterprises and organizations to verify network performance themselves and allows operators to demonstrate they are delivering the voice, video, and data services they have promised and are being paid for.

It is realized by deploying probes in the RAN, namely our QualiPoc Android Probe, and by remotely monitoring the network performance using SmartMonitor, a web-based management and user interface. The system delivers detailed metrics on network performance in real time, provides immediate visibility of network failures, and can trigger alarms when a critical situation arises. Customized reports can be compiled to provide insight into network performance and allow analysis of critical situations.

One example is the world-renowned nuclear research center CERN, headquartered in Switzerland, where a network of QualiPoc Android Probes delivers real-time information on coverage from right around the Large Hadron Collider ring. The probes provide continuous verification of the service provided by a local mobile network operator via 60km of leaky feeder RF cable in CERN’s underground facilities. This network ensures that the thousands of scientists and engineers working in the sprawling area are reachable 24/7.

Service Quality Monitoring

CERN telecommunications infrastructure

The QualiPoc Android Probe is a standard smartphone equipped with test agent software that can be deployed in fixed or mobile mode – either in a shell on a wall, or within a vehicle – to give a user-centric view of network performance and of the voice, video or data services delivered over that network.

SmartMonitor manages multiple probes and schedules tests, giving high-level real-time feedback to the management platform. As well as monitoring network performance KPIs, such as signal strength and throughput, SmartMonitor can also execute quality tests based on specific applications and services, including app services, such as Facebook and WhatsApp, and video streaming such as YouTube and Netflix.

Service quality monitoring at Mobile World Congress 2017

As mobile network operators target enterprise verticals and government organizations, and as 5G and the IoT enable new service capabilities, but also present diverse and demanding requirements to the network, independent verification of service level performance will become critical for their sustainable and profitable operation.

See service quality monitoring for yourself at the Rohde & Schwarz mobile network testing booth (6B50) at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona from February 27 to March 2 and check out our interactive demonstrations. To request a meeting and for more information about our activities, see https://www.rohde-schwarz.com/mwc.

Download our CERN customer case study “CERN – Large-scale, 24/7 mobile quality monitoring and SLA verification”

Text by Jeremy Carpenter, Marketing Manager Mobile Network Testing