Options and technology approaches to consider
The official start of the FCC performance measurement deadline is fast approaching, and as we explained in the first part of our blog series, there are several solution options out there to consider to achieve compliance with the FCC requirements. In Part 1 we looked at home-grown solutions. In Part 2 we will look at the white box approach, OEM vendor-specific device management, and leveraging the capabilities of remote device management with a TR-069 Auto-Configuration Server.
This performance measurement approach features a pass-through device or white box placed inside each subscriber premise and a central test server capturing test data. This means you may need hardware for all 50 subscribers for all speed tiers, per state. This is costly from the perspective of CAPEX investment in additional hardware, increased operational costs due to truck rolls for white box installation, and of course, the time pressures of getting this in place and tested ahead of the deadline. You may also face concerns from subscribers about data privacy (“what the heck is this box for?”) and intruding into their homes for regulatory testing.
OEM Network Vendor-centric Solution
This next solution moves into the broader network or device management approach where specific OEM device vendors offer a complementary solution to comply with FCC requirements for speed and latency against their devices. If you have a single OEM vendor, and a couple of device models, this may work for you. However, longer-term, this could present vendor lock-in challenges and prohibit you from introducing new devices and vendors. With the consolidation in the US telecom and cable MSO space and the decreasing cost of CPE hardware, the access network footprint of operators is becoming multi-vendor and multi-network, and this is where an OEM-centric solution falls apart. Are all the devices TR-143 capable? What types of firmware upgrades or test clients are required on the CPE devices? Worst case, if the CPEs can’t be patched, you may need to swap out equipment in the subscriber’s home. Another potential hit to hardware cost, customer experience, and your readiness to start testing.
TR-069 Auto Configuration Server and TR-369 User Services Platform
A final approach to consider is remote device management which leverages a standards-based TR-069 Auto-Configuration Server (ACS) or User Services Platform (TR-369) that addresses the FCC performance measurement requirements out of the box, while also ensuring preparedness for future speed “proof” of ongoing regulatory audits. This lessens your operational burden and provides in-home CPE network control remotely to manage the entire lifecycle of devices, including discovery, onboarding, diagnostics, firmware upgrades, and configuration.
An investment in remote device management with an ACS, along with USP support, is a major consideration beyond FCC compliance. If you are feeling the operational pain today of un-managed devices with extensive truck rolls and long meantime to repair (MTTR), then now may be the time to consider implementing device management with the added benefit of regulatory compliance. Not all ACS and USP solutions are created equal! You need to ensure that your choice of ACS/USP vendor brings added functionality such as support for digital self-care channels for CSRs and customers, and out-of-the-box reporting and measurement frameworks.
Technical teams are taxed already, particularly for American Tier 4-6 operators. Burdening operations with regulatory needs of weekly tests, spanning from 6 PM to 12 AM local time across numerous subscribers and speed tiers, is a distraction from working with your customers. If you choose to pursue an ACS- or USP-led implementation, ask vendors about the services they can offer in terms of training, implementation, and even an ongoing managed services model that can get you up and running quickly, all while avoiding any additional CAPEX investment.
The Wrap Up
Incognito enables all participating service providers, regardless of size, to meet weekly network speed and latency test reporting requirements with automated and industry-proven remote device management. The Incognito Digital Experience Solution, powered by Incognito’s TR-069 Auto Configuration Server featuring TR-369 User Services Platform support, can measure subscribers’ service quality by leveraging automated speed and latency testing to fine-tune your network, guarantee compliant results, and keep customers happy. Incognito’s solution is vendor and device neutral – we can manage any device type, from any vendor, over any network.
Leading US service providers are already using Incognito’s solution to support their FCC reporting needs. Learn how Incognito can help you.