WiFi QoE Assurance with TR-069 — Part 1: The Toolbox

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Subscribers today expect to be connected at all times with exceptional service quality. For communication service providers operating in urban environments, multi-dwelling units (MDUs) are a big cause for concern.

Delivering consistently high WiFi service quality in high-density environments is a challenge. The sheer number of nearby access points, electronics, and outside influences can result in a host of WiFi service quality issues that are difficult to diagnose without visibility into the customer premises. Issues affecting WiFi service quality in MDUs may include:

  • Signal blockage or poor range within the customer premises
  • Device outages or devices that have trouble joining the network
  • Interference from neighbouring access points and external influences like cell towers
  • Interference from other electronics inside the premises operating on the same frequency

These issues are becoming more prevalent with the increasing global dependence on wireless devices and the Internet of Things. Research from Intel predicts that 200 billion wireless devices will be in use by 2020, highlighting the importance of residential WiFi. Rightly or wrongly, if something interrupts a customer’s home WiFi service, the customer is likely to blame the service provider — or at least expect the provider to fix the problem. How can you guarantee a high quality of experience for your MDU subscribers when you can’t see or control the factors influencing their WiFi service?

A number of operators and vendors are working towards adding control to the subscriber Wi-Fi network which has sparked interest in extending self organizing network (SON) and radio resource management (RRM) techniques to residential consumer Wi-Fi. For instance, 802.11k with 802.11r RRM and Fast Transition capabilities are being exposed in some of the most recent advanced DOCSIS Wi-Fi access points.

Vendors, operators, and standards teams have been working collectively to expand the scope of available data models in remote management. These include the family of TR-069 standards as well as vendor-specific methods implemented more frequently through disruptive and highly-scalable cloud architectures.

Combining each of these trends begins to form an image of a future for residential Wi-Fi with more addressable spectrum. The result is more available bandwidth and a more efficient Wi-Fi network — one that is supportive of massive IoT demands, and a more intelligent Wi-Fi network moving from provisioning into trending and onto autonomous quality and policy capability.

Available Data

The table below outlines the data available for QoE management of WiFi Access Points via TR-069.

Local Access Point Surrounding WiFi Connected Devices in the Subscriber Network
(B) SSID (B) SSID MAC
Hardware information e.g. number of radios, supported bands, supported channels MODE DHCP Lease Info
RPI histogram Channel, Bandwidth RSSI
Bytes or packets sent/received/errors/discarded RSSI, Noise Bytes sent/received/errors/discarded
Security/encryption mode Security/encryption mode Number of re-transmissions
Basic and supported data transfer rates Basic and supported data transfer rates

Stay tuned for part two of this WiFi QoE series next week — how you can use this data to optimize the quality of a single access point.

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