Webinar Recap: QoE Monitoring for Virtualized Networks

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Friday, November 18, 2016 with No comments

As network operators move toward virtualization, how are they addressing performance monitoring for critical services in this new environment? What strategies look most promising to be cost-effective in the short- and long-term? What market factors are influencing those strategies? These and related questions were explored by Scott Sumner, Director of Business Analytics at Accedian, and Sandra O’Boyle, Senior Analyst at Heavy Reading, during a recent webinar: “The Future of QoE Monitoring in Virtualized Networks.” Key points from the webinar are summarized below; watch the full replay for more. 

O’Boyle began by framing the discussion around the main themes and business drivers of the software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) revolution that’s shaking up the telecom world. She noted that operators are primarily concerned with speeding up time-to-market for new services, and reducing costs while creating new revenue streams. These goals depend on achieving exceptional customer experience, which is only possible through automation and service orchestration.

Sumner elaborated, explaining that next-generation networks are too complex—involving a slew of interactions at various levels—for human control; automation is required to manage service quality on a per-customer, per-service basis.

And, because those interactions create results that are often surprising or unprecedented, it is absolutely necessary to have service performance automation be deployed in a pervasive way, physically and virtually, Sumner stressed. (There are many examples of outages and QoE problems occurring in next-generation networks that appear, based on traditional monitoring, to be operating normally.)

O’Boyle and Sumner spent some time discussing the results of a September, 2016 Heavy Reading survey that asked 92 mobile operators globally to share their future plans for QoS and QoE performance monitoring during the transition to virtualized networks. This discussion included insights into the types of networks being operated (4G/LTE coming out on top), where and how mobile network monitoring now occurs (a third of mobile networks are not monitored end-to-end today), and how confident operators are in their ability to effectively monitor QoE (only one in five said they are doing an excellent job in this area).

One part of the survey asked how much each operator is spending on a per-user basis to monitor QoE, and Sumner explained that more money spent does not necessarily equal better service quality. Why? Because virtualized instrumentation is an opportunity to improve performance assurance, often at much lower cost than with old tools and methods that are proving no longer sufficient.

Sumner and O’Boyle also discussed the role of analytics in QoE assurance and operations; why operators are investing heavily in active, virtualized probes; and the evolution of network monitoring and service lifecycle automation by global region.

Watch the full webinar replay for a much deeper dive into these topics, including a very informative Q&A session following the presentation.